Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE HEATING SEASON


Fall has arrived! In many areas around the country, that means that the heating season is right around the corner! It’s important to be sure that our heating systems and our homes are properly prepped for the heating season, and here’s how:





  1. ​​Inspect windows and doors. Window should have properly fitted storm windows. Windows should open and closely easily. Weep holes should be functional and not blocked with debris. (Clean with pipe cleaners). Is the weatherstripping around your window perimeters in working condition? Exterior doors?


  2. Seal leaks around windows, doors, pipes, recessed lighting, and electrical outlets. Seal door leaks with weather-stripping or a door sweep; seal window leaks with caulking. You can add gaskets to outlets on outside walls. We had one of our inspectors try it and here were his results.

  3. Consider sealing more “hidden” air leaks like at your duct work. Seal ductwork joints with high-quality foil tape or mastic paste (despite the name, avoid duct tape). But don’t go overboard sealing the home in general. Your home still needs to “breathe.” Make sure your home retains heat but also provides enough fresh air to maintain good indoor air quality.

  4. Consider purchasing a properly sized cover for your air conditioning condensing unit. If not already, very soon you’ll be turning off that cool air device and you’ll want it covered to keep out winter’s ice and migrating debris.

  5. Inspect your fireplace. Working doors and screen? How about the damper? If you have a gas log, make sure the damper is restricted from closing completely. You must not allow this damper to close entirely as Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas from your pilot light must be able to escape up the chimney at all times. How long has it been since you had the fireplace chimney cleaned? Consider every 3 years.

  6. Change filters. Change the filter in a forced hot-air system monthly during the heating season to help keep the system at peak efficiency. Most homeowners can change the filters themselves.

  7. Have your heating system professionally serviced. Getting your system professionally serviced now reduces the likelihood of needing emergency service come January. As a general rule, oil systems should be cleaned and serviced annually, while gas systems should be serviced every other year.

  8. Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Read more about proper insulation and ventilation here.

  9. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now is a great time to get one installed. Be all set (pun intended!) and ready to go when winter comes.

  10. ​Upgrade where necessary. Lastly, if your home and systems are older, it may be time to consider new windows or a new heating system in order to really be prepared for the heating system this year.



10 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE HEATING SEASON

Do You Have the Home That Buyers Want?



Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®





Do You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Builders Haven't Felt This Confident Since 2005

SONY DSCBuilder confidence in the new-home market rose to its highest reading in nearly 9 years, according to the latest reading from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. September marked the fourth consecutive month that builder confidence has been on the rise.


“Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.


For the new-home market, builder confidence rose to a level of 59 in September, according to the index. Any reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as “good” than “poor.” The seasonally adjusted index measures builder perceptions of the single-family new-home market on home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, as well as builders’ perceptions of buyer traffic. All three of the index components in September posted gains, with current sales conditions and traffic of prospective buyers rising to 63 and 47, respectively. Expectations for future sales also rose two points to 67.


Builder confidence also rose across every region, with the Midwest posting the largest gain in September, followed by the South.


While builder confidence is up overall, builders are noting that one segment of buyers is notably missing from the market.


“While a firming job market is helping to unleash pent-up demand for new homes and contributing to a gradual, upward trend in builder confidence, we are still not seeing much activity from first-time home buyers,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Other factors impeding the pace of the housing recovery include persistently tight credit conditions for consumers and rising costs for materials, lots, and labor.”


Source: National Association of Home Builders



Builders Haven't Felt This Confident Since 2005

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

6 Design Trends You'll See More Of

HOME KITCHENWhat home-design trends will likely catch on in new construction? Builder Online recently spoke to Mollie Carmichael, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, and Nick Lehnert, executive director at architecture firm KTGY, about the design trends that are gaining popularity in the new-home market this year:


Private space


Baby boomers, empty nesters, and Gen Yers are showing a preference for homes that have more private outdoor spaces, straying from the traditional “public” backyard, according to surveys. One way some builders are fulfilling this desire is by positioning the home’s architecture strategically around the outdoor space to enclose it more and allow it to be more open to the interior living spaces. They also are creating more covered outdoor spaces.


The “Super Kitchen”


Besides being a place for cooking, the kitchen is also the entertainment/conversation area in a home. Open-kitchen layouts have continued to grow in popularity, putting kitchens more front-and-center and visibly exposed to other areas of the house. Kitchen islands are offering extra seating and prep space while larger pantries are offering greater storage. “As the hub, it becomes a consumer’s dream to design these elements together with function, practicality, and flair,” the designers say.


Bigger Media Hubs


More home owners are looking for a place for their large flat-screen television. Larger television sizes are prompting more builders to realize the need for greater wall space to hang the televisions and larger entertainment rooms to accommodate more seating.


Larger Garage Spaces


If home owners had their way, garages wouldn’t be just for parking the cars. More home owners want spaces for hobbies and storage, and builders are taking notice by creating larger garages for multi-use purposes.


Home Offices


An office and den space is becoming a bigger desire among home buyers, and the location of it in the home is becoming increasingly important. Placing the home office off the entry is no longer considered the most practical location for it, but builders are experimenting with moving it closer to the “living” area, such as off the kitchen or the family room.


Two Homes in One


As multigenerational living gains popularity, builders are responding by carving out more separate spaces for several generations to live together. For example, some builders are offering semi-independent suites with separate entries, bathrooms, and kitchenettes.


Source: “14 New-Home Design Trends for 2014,” BUILDER Online



6 Design Trends You'll See More Of

Top School Districts Lift Home Prices

Homes within highly rated school districts tend to have a higher median sales price, sell for a greater percentage over the list price, and sell faster, according to a new study by the real estate brokerage Redfin.


Highly rated public schools were found to have homes with a median sales price of $474,900 compared to $290,000 in an average-rated school zone. Redfin researchers also found that homes in top school districts are more likely to sell for 30 percent above the list price versus 23 percent. They tend to sell faster too: A median of 25 days on the market versus 21 days.


school busHomes in top-level school districts can be more difficult to come by, the study shows. For every 100 homes in a neighborhood, on average, only 5.8 were on the market in the past year compared with 6.5 for the greater metro area.


Redfin analyzed test score data from GreatSchools ratings, provided by Onboard Infomatics, in 22 major metro areas to determine the neighborhoods that have the most highly rated public schools. Redfin also included data on median sales price, and the percentage of homes that sold above the asking price.


The following metros have some of the top rating averages from GreatSchools, and listed below them are the top three neighborhoods containing the most highly rated schools within each metro. (For the full list of 22 metros and the top schools identified, visit Redfin’s research blog.)


  • Orange County, Calif. metro area

Turtle Rock, El Camino Real, Northwood


  • Austin, Texas metro area

Steiner Ranch, Circle C Ranch, East Oak Hill


  • Long Island, N.Y. metro area

South Wantagh, North Syosset, North Baldwin


  • Seattle, Wash. metro area

Queen Anne, Ballard, Factoria


  • Phoenix, Ariz. metro area

Desert Ridge, Hillcrest Ranch, Ahwtukee


  • San Jose, Calif. metro area

Monta Vista, Blossom Hill, North Los Altos


  • Houston, Texas metro area

Shadow Creek Ranch, Kingwood, Sugar Creek


Source: Redfin



Top School Districts Lift Home Prices

Why It Pays to Be a Home Owner

SOLD HOUSEHome owners are building net worth at a pace that is up to quadruple that of a renter.


In the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical home owner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the net worth of the typical renter, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which is based on 2013 data.


On average, home owners had nearly $200,000 in net worth compared to the average $5,000 net worth of renters, according to the survey.


“Home owner equity is a substantial component of home owner wealth,” Danielle Hale, research economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, writes on the association’s Economists’ Outlook blog.


Source: “Net Worth of Home Owners vs. Renters,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook Blog



Why It Pays to Be a Home Owner

10 Hot Spots for Seniors by 2019

RETIREMENTOn the verge of retirement, where will those aged 55 and over choose to live? Realtor.com® recently analyzed Nielsen Demographics data to find the metro markets that will see the largest percentage of growth in residents aged 55 and over within the next five years.


Those 10 markets are:


  1. Williston, N.D.

  2. Gillette, Wyo.

  3. Summit Park, Utah

  4. Dickinson, N.D.

  5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

  6. Junction City, Kan.

  7. Juneau, Alaska

  8. Andrews, Texas

  9. Elko, Nev.

  10. Raleigh, N.C.

Source: “Top 10 Metro Areas Where Seniors Are on the Rise,” seniorhousingnet.com (Sept. 5, 2014)



10 Hot Spots for Seniors by 2019

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Real Estate Newsletter

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September Real Estate Newsletter

Fall projects to make your home sensational

20003730_web(BPT) – There still is time to complete your unfinished outdoor projects. Sixty percent of homeowners will accomplish a home improvement project this year, according to survey data from the Zillow Digs Summer Home Improvement Trend and Spending Survey.


Follow these tips to make your home’s exterior shine.


* Smooth over concrete surfaces. In order to prevent trips or falls, now is a good time to fix and patch those cracks in the driveway or garage.  Be sure to fix them now before they get larger and you could incur larger repair costs. It will also help prevent any future accidents. Small cracks can be fixed with concrete caulk while large cracks require a patch. Make sure to clean out the crack before applying either of these substances.


* Repaint the deck. Improving your deck, patio or porch is the seventh most popular home improvement project according to RE/MAX and it’s easy to see why. When you picture yourself outside, you probably picture yourself sitting on the deck. So, make your deck stand out with a fresh coat of paint. “Decorating outside of your home is now all the rage,” says Matthew Mead, author of Backyard Style. “Your deck needn’t be brown and sullen. Infuse your backyard space by selecting whatever color you want and spray the floor of your deck with the Wagner Flexio 890. Your deck will be the toast of the neighborhood.”


* Give your old patio furniture a new look. If you’re going to reinvent your deck, why stop there? Why not refresh your patio furniture to complement your deck’s new color, too? “Revive any outdoor furniture with an easy spray using the Wagner Flexio 890,” says Mead. “With a simple coat of paint you can transform tables, chairs, and anything wicker in any hue or shade you desire. In my new book Backyard Style, I show how to take simple flea-market finds and, with some paint and very little effort, transform them into show-stopping decorative accessories.”


* Caulk around windows and any exterior joints, including doors. Many people think of this as a preventative project for winter, but a fresh application of caulk will protect cool air conditioning from escaping when you need it most.


* Make your home’s exterior sparkle. If your home suffered any damage during the winter, now is the perfect time for repairs that will make your home look great again. Walk around your home and look for damaged or missing siding. Replace these pieces and then use a pressure washer to clean and wash away excess dirt and grime. Using a special detergent appropriate for cleaning your home will give you better results. Once you’re done with the siding, don’t forget to grab the window cleaner and make those windows sparkle.


Each of these projects can return between 67 and 112 percent of their value to your home, according to DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding, not to mention the added joy you’ll receive from these home improvements. So get out there and get to work. The sooner you finish your project, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the year in style.




Fall projects to make your home sensational

Make a grand entrance: simple ideas to refresh your entryway

18662454_thumb(BPT) – Most people enter their home through the garage or backdoor, forgetting how the front entrance looks to neighbors and guests. Your front door is often the first thing others notice about your home. That’s why it’s key to make a positive first impression.


How to create an inviting entrance


Transform your home’s curb appeal with a new front door. With so many new entry door systems to choose from, ranging from single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass, or transoms and sidelights, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style. Pella offers stylish wood, fiberglass or steel options. Choose from ENERGY STAR-qualified design options to create a distinctive look, whether you’re building a new home, remodeling, or simply replacing an old door.


Pick a standout color for your front door


Sticking with your door? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders. Try a bold color to brighten a neutral color scheme. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal.


Update your hardware


Why stop with a fresh coat of paint? Refresh old doors with new hardware. Choose handles and door knockers that complement your home’s exterior design. Pella offers hardware in a variety of finishes, to instantly upgrade exterior doors.


Replace broken or damaged items


Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat, and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.


Clean up, accent with contrast


Use a little elbow grease and ammonia-free, vinegar-based glass cleaner to wash the windows. Wipe down window and door frames and sweep sills with a dry paint brush or vacuum to remove dirt. See pella.com/news for tips on cleaning windows and doors.


Fill flower boxes or containers with boldly-colored plants to accent your front door. If you’ve painted your door red, plant red and white or red and purple flowers to create a designer look. Or if you’re keen on green doors, try purple or orange flowers for contrast.


Illuminate your walkway


Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.


Trim bushes, create great container gardens


Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects, and help eliminate a place for prowlers to lurk. Keep your porch and steps clear of clutter and create container gardens to accent your entry. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door and landscape design.


Visit Pella Windows and Doors on Pinterest and Houzz for more design inspiration and Pella.com/news to connect with your local Pella representative for ideas on how to transform the look and comfort of your home inside and out.




Make a grand entrance: simple ideas to refresh your entryway

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Home improvements that make your home more valuable

20094139_web(BPT) – More and more homeowners are embarking upon home improvement projects, spending nearly $200 billion a year on home renovations, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If you’re looking to make some home improvements without breaking the bank, spend smartly and invest time and money now into the projects that will pay back later.


Curb appeal


When it comes to first impressions, house hunters first notice curb appeal, or lack thereof. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, curb appeal is important to 71 percent of homebuyers. So beautify the outdoor space to attract possible buyers by focusing on small exterior improvements that’ll pay off big like planting seasonal shrubs, painting the front door, refreshing a rusty mailbox or replacing old porch lighting with updated fixtures. These minor details will make a major and lasting statement. At the very least, you should clean the yard of any debris, trim trees and spread mulch in planting beds.


Take outdoor renovations to the next level by transforming the look of your home completely with a fresh coat of paint. Be mindful of your home’s location when selecting paint colors. Bold or bright colors might be the norm in Florida but wouldn’t look right in a region like the Pacific Northwest where neutral earth tones are popular.


You can also increase the value of your home by giving your siding material an overhaul. Remodeling magazine suggests replacing aluminum and vinyl siding with a durable fiber-cement mixture, which will recoup about 88 percent of its cost upon resale. It resists fire, rotting, moisture and termites – all potential hazards that could otherwise end up costing thousands.


“Let your insurance agent know whenever you complete a renovation project to make sure any new upgrades to your home are properly covered under your existing policy. If not, your agent can work with you to make sure you get the coverage you need,” says Erie Insurance Vice President and Product Manager Joe Vahey. “In addition, some home improvement upgrades may entitle you to discounts, especially if renovations make the home safer or more secure.” For example, Erie Insurance offers discounts for installing smoke alarms or a central station alarm. Erie also provides a discount for installing sprinkler systems in your home.


Bed, bath and beyond


As house hunters head indoors, there are a few things that are likely to increase a sale. Most tend to look at kitchens and baths first. Experts recommend timeless fixtures instead of trendy ones since they hold their own over time and appeal to buyers who favor both contemporary and classic looks. Don’t waste your money on fancy fixtures and features – they rarely make or break a sale.


Most people seem to think that a huge kitchen overhaul is necessary to snag interested buyers. However, Remodeling Magazine reports that you’ll actually recoup 8.5 percent more of the costs of a minor kitchen renovation compared to a major kitchen renovation. So instead of redoing the kitchen completely, accomplish a few minor DIY kitchen updates like changing out faucets and lighting fixtures, painting cabinets, adding new hardware to drawers and cabinets, and replacing old appliances with newer (and often more energy-efficient) models.


Experts also say that adding an attic bedroom and finishing the basement are two of the largest renovations that give you the best return on your investment, allowing you to recoup more than 84 percent and nearly 78 percent of the cost, respectively.


Before jumping into complicated or expensive DIY projects, take a moment to assess which ones are worth your time and money. Test your knowledge of which home improvement projects give you the most bang for your buck at www.eriesense.com.


No matter what updates you end up doing, it’s always a good idea to regularly assess the value of your home. This will assure you’re asking for an appropriate return on investment when you finally decide to put it on the market.




Home improvements that make your home more valuable

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Home Owners Have Big Interior Design Plans

Only 2 percent of more than 1,700 home owners in the U.S. and Canada surveyed recently by the remodeling website Houzz say they have achieved their design vision for their homes. On average, most home owners say they’re only halfway there with the home’s décor.SONY DSC


Forty-four percent of the home owners surveyed say they would like to do a complete overall of the décor of their homes, while 36 percent say they just want to refresh their existing décor.


What’s guiding their décor decisions? Personal style and comfort, the survey finds, while basing decisions on current design trends is a low influencer.


Younger home owners tended to say more often than older home owners that they wanted to get more “bold and dramatic” with their décor choices, such as incorporating wallpaper and brighter color schemes.


Among some of the survey’s findings:


  • White paint is the most popular wall covering.

  • Artwork is sprucing up more wall décor. One-in-five of home owners say they use art prints and original art to decorate their home’s walls.

  • Accent walls remain popular but are most likely to be reserved for the study/home office, followed by a kids’ room or the master bedroom.

  • Solids are the most popular fabric choice, followed by classics like stripes and florals. However, home owners under the age of 45 are more than twice as likely to use Chevron patterns than home owners over the age of 45.

  • Hardwoods are the most desired flooring throughout a home, but 38 percent of home owners also said they planned to add carpet in the master bedroom.

  • Nearly two-thirds of home owners are creating living rooms in the master bedroom by adding seating, a fireplace, or even a mini-fridge, the survey found.

  • Dining rooms are getting more use and attention. Nearly three quarters of home owners surveyed say they use their dining room on a weekly basis. They most want to decorate the dining rooms with rectangle tables in dark wood or glass tables, with seating available for up to six people.

Source: 2014 Houzz Decorating Trends Survey



Home Owners Have Big Interior Design Plans

Is Your Greatest Fear Losing Your Phone?

CELL PHONEYour phone has likely become an extension of who you are, and if you ever lose it or have it stolen, you might suffer from Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder, a new term coined by researchers.Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, say the anxiety is real and the loss of your phone stems from feeling disconnected from the depth of data “assets” that many have entrusted to their phones.


“These assets may include personal and business contacts, private pictures and videos, meeting and lecture notes and the like, banking details, utility statements, company spreadsheets and much more,” researches Zhiling Tu, Yufei Yuan, and Norm Archer write in their paper. “All such assets are potentially sensitive to abuse by third parties.”


Losing your personal and business data can trigger anxiety. But researchers say coping with this anxiety must start before you ever lose your device. They suggest smartphone users get acquainted with security measures to protect against theft or loss. Therefore, the blow of losing your phone may not be as great if it ever does happen.


But researchers found that few participants in their study are aware of “countermeasures” such as remote device locks or “time bomb” data deletion settings that effectively can wipe out everything on the phone before someone manages to break into it.


Too many people, the researchers say, are in denial about ever losing their phone that they fail to investigate phone security measures to protect their information.


In an article published by the International Journal of Mobile Communications, researchers urge an awareness campaign to encourage users to take more steps to secure their phones and protect their data. Read more: 4 Ways to Keep Your Phone Safe From Hackers.


Source: “The Anxiety Disorder Lurking in Your Pocket,” Forbes.com 



Is Your Greatest Fear Losing Your Phone?

West Columbus 2-Story for Sale



West Columbus 2-Story for Sale

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September Enjoy Magazine

Read articles about  happenings, recipes, movies, fitness & nutrition, travel, lifestyles, music and more.


SEPTEMBER 2014 COVER PAGE



September Enjoy Magazine

August Real Estate Trends

Get the latest real estate trends, stats and news for your area: http://teresabutler.housingtrendsenewsletter.com/


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August Real Estate Trends