Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The House Painting Myths You Have to Stop Believing Immediately

If you own a home, there's a pretty good chance you've wielded a paintbrush a time or two. And even if you haven't, chances are that you will eventually.

It might seem like picking up a paintbrush and slapping some paint on the walls is the most basic, no-directions-needed, DIY project you can do, but it's not. Plenty of painting fails will put that rumor to bed. It turns out, there's a lot more to it than you might have imagined.
But which house painting principles do you really need to pay attention to? We spoke with the experts and asked them to dispel the myths most people believe—but definitely shouldn't.

Dark colors make a room look small

Believe it or not, there's really no rule that says you have to use light paint colors in small rooms. If dark colors are your thing, go for it—in moderation.
Real estate agent Ashley Blackmore with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Western Colorado Properties has seen lots of color schemes, and she says moody hues can work.
"If you use a dark color for an accent wall, it can truly make the home look much larger by adding variation to the eye," she says.

You need two coats of paint

If you ask anyone on the street how many coats of paint a typical wall needs, 9 times out of 10 they'll tell you the answer is two. That's just an unwritten rule of painting that we all blindly follow. Unfortunately, it's not a rule you can count on.
"This is not true," says Kayla Martin, owner of ACME Home Interiors. "If you apply primer and are using a quality brand of paint, you can absolutely get away with one coat of paint."
Blackmore, on the other hand, has seen it go the other way as well.
"This depends on what type of paint product you are using and if the room is prepped for it," she says. "I have found sometimes we've needed to do six coats of paint on walls that were previously a darker color."

You don't need primer

If you're one of the homeowners who think primer is an optional step when painting, we're sorry to tell you that's just a myth.
"In order for your project to look like it was done professionally, you absolutely need to use primer," says Martin. "It helps make the paint job look smooth and allows the paint to adhere to the wall."

Using primer means you don't have to clean the walls

Since dirty walls won't hold on to the paint properly, your walls need to be cleaned with soap and water before you paint. But there's a dirty rumor going around that a good primer makes that step unnecessary. Don't heed it, Martin says.
"Painting on dirty, dusty, greasy walls will make it very difficult for the paint to adhere to the surface—even primer," she explains. "Cleaning your walls will also help provide a professional look to your paint job."

Your trim should always be white

It's very common to see white trim on walls—no matter what color the walls are—but home decor and DIY blogger Morgan McBride of Charleston Crafted says it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, extending your wall color to your trim (both the top and the bottom) can make the walls look taller and emphasize the details in your moldings.  "It can make a huge impact!" McBride says.

Glossy paint is more durable

It's long been said that glossy or satin paint finishes are best for rooms that get a lot of moisture, like bathrooms. They're also often the paint of choice for walls that may get messy, like in kitchens or kid's rooms, since they're easier to clean.
But thanks to improvements in paint quality, McBride says most paints are now durable enough for those areas—meaning you can choose any finish you want and know you won't be stuck with fingerprints or peeling paint just a few months down the road.

Don't paint before you sell

It may seem like a waste of time to paint your walls before you move. After all, the new owners will probably just change the colors when they move in, right?
But Tonya Bruin, CEO of renovation company To Do-Done, says that's usually not true: "This is always a good idea, as it increases the home's selling value since a lot of people don't want to invest any more time, effort, or money in doing it themselves."

| Mar 12, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Go BIG: Tips for Upsizing With No Regrets

Remember when you bought your home? It was just perfect for the two of you. But now—with a couple of kids, some ever-shedding pets, or maybe an in-law living down the hall—that's no longer the case. Whether you’re already bursting out of your house or about to expand your family, the time to move to a larger home might have arrived.

So what do you look for in a home when you’re bringing so many people under one roof? There’s plenty more to consider before you upsize beyond just square footage. Topping the list: how to upgrade your home without fully downgrading your bank account. Yes, upsizing will cost you, upfront and on down the line. But that doesn't mean it's a bad investment. It just means you need to be smart about it.

Here are six things to keep in mind before leaping into a larger home.

1. Think critically about your goals

Yes, we get it: You want more space. But have you thought, specifically, about why?
Before you hit the house-hunting trail, take a moment to pin down what you really, actually need, like do you want a bigger kitchen? Or do you need to make rooms for seniors and young adults coming back from college? Is open concept right for you and your family? It sounds fabulous to watch the kids when they’re little, but you’ll get a lot of noise as they get older.  In other words, have a plan and find a home that works into it.

2. Determine whether bigger is truly better

Before beginning your search, consider not just the home's square footage.
What people want and need isn’t necessarily what builders are producing.  In this very hot market, they’re building the largest houses they can on the smallest possible lots in order to amortize the price, which doesn’t necessarily equal good rooms for families.  You might think you're getting more space, but if that space isn't useable or feels tight, does it really help you in the long run?  Sometimes, the more bedrooms a home has, the smaller those bedrooms are. You don’t always need more rooms; sometimes you need more spacious rooms.

3. Buy only the space you’ll use

On a related note: Before you speed forward with your upsizing plan, you should make sure the rooms or features in the larger house will actually be used.  An example from the not-too-distant past: When home theater rooms were all the rage, it was a status thing to have a room with a very expensive system and theater chairs, but many of those expensive rooms were barely used. That's not the way most people live.

4. Crunch the numbers

Are you prepared for the real financial burden of upsizing?  It’s not just the sticker price on the house; it’s the long-term costs associated with it.  When you go up (in square footage), you get higher property taxes, higher utilities, and more maintenance, and acquiring more rooms means shelling out for more furniture, too.

Make sure you can afford to move up without becoming "house poor." You can prevent this sad fate by using online affordability calculators to figure out how far you can stretch your dollar. Or talk with your lender to get the big picture on the costs of your move.

Pro tip: If you call the utility company, you can usually unearth historical data about the energy costs for a particular address year over year.  Really do your research. You don’t live in the price of a home; you live in the monthly payment and all the associated costs.

5. Consider the resale value

Upsizing now can mean a tidy profit later if you choose your home and location wisely.
Sure, you might think that once you've found the right size home, you'll stay forever. But you might find yourself downsizing a few years from now. As with any home purchase, look at your potential new place through the eyes of future buyers. That means doing your research about what home buyers want. And right now, that's flexible space.  Keep the latest buying trends in mind as you scope out listings, and your new home could pay off down the road.

6. More space might mean buying in a different neighborhood

After you’ve predicted the future, don’t forget what you learned from the past: It’s all about the neighborhood.
Perhaps your starter home is in the perfect up-and-coming community—close to the city, public transportation, and your favorite craft brew pub. But having more room to spread out often means spreading farther away from the city center. So make the choice. Are you willing to move to a different neighborhood—one that might be far from where you live now?

Life is about trade-offs, right? So consider all your options.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Current State of the Housing Market

Whether you just want to understand more about the housing market, or are looking to buy or sell a home this coming year, tune in to get a sense of where the market might be going.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Benefits of Downsizing Your Home

It’s no secret that homeowners are always looking for more ways to save money.

The average American homeowner spends around $1,030 a month on their mortgage payment. Of course, this average varies drastically state-by-state. In many other states, homeowners pay double that amount – every month!

Real estate experts are predicting that the prices of homes will rise gradually in 2019. They’re also predicting that, despite price jumps, more houses will be up for sale by the middle of the year.

So, it comes as no surprise that more homeowners are downsizing.

But why is moving to smaller quarters the best option for many families? In this article, we’ll explain the main benefits of downsizing.

The following benefits could ultimately mean more money in your pocket – and so much more!

A Smaller Home Means Reduced Costs

Mortgage payments typically factor in a number of things.
The property type, its location, and the economy affect mortgage rates. Your personal credit history and the loan you secure can also affect your mortgage rate.
Credit reports and loans aside. Smaller properties that cost less have lower mortgages. Which makes this the obvious reason why downsizing is a viable option for homeowners.
You’ll likely pay less in property taxes, as well as insurance. You’ll pay even less if you live in areas where the cost of living and property values are lower.

Research Before You Buy a Smaller Home

Before downsizing, you should check the average property value of the area you want to move to.
Unfortunately, you can still wind up moving to a smaller property in an expensive area. In these cases, you’ll downsize only to pay the same mortgage rates (or more).
In most – but not all – cases, the rule of thumb is this: The smaller the house, the smaller the mortgage payment. Just make sure to do your research beforehand.

More Money In Your Pocket

The ultimate goal of downsizing is to save money.
By living in a smaller house, you can significantly reduce your monthly bills and living costs. You can then use this saved money any way you please.
Some homeowners put the extra money towards going back to college or to pay off other debt. Some put the money towards their retirement, a new car, or for vacation.

Fewer Utility Costs

Most homeowners who downsize not only have smaller mortgage payments to worry about. They also enjoy having lower monthly utility bills and reduced living costs.


Less Stress & Better Quality of Life

Smaller homes tend to have smaller properties. The less property you have, the less maintenance you’ll have to worry about.
This not only means you’ll use spend less on water for your lawn. You’ll also have less yard work, fewer repairs, and fewer renovations to care of.
All in all, you’ll have more time for the things you love. Top that off with more money to spend or save, you’ll live a less stressful lifestyle overall.

Reduce Clutter

With less space, you’ll have less room for your belongings. By downsizing, you’ll have to get rid of things that you don’t have room for or have no purpose for.
This may seem like a disadvantage. After all, American society has long emphasized the importance of having material things.
But in a world that’s mired in economic strife, as well as the threat of climate change, minimalism is on the rise.
Having less is better for your mind and health. It’s also less stressful and gives you more time and freedom to enjoy the things you want to do.
Plus, having less means fewer distractions. Which means more time to focus on the things you want to do and with the people you love.
Downsizing doesn’t just mean moving to a smaller home. It also means simplifying your life.

Smaller Neighborhoods Mean Stronger Social Circles

Smaller homes tend to come in clusters. Smaller neighborhoods tend to be more close-knit than larger, or even gated, communities.
Downsizing could mean more for the future of your family. It could mean your children have more friends to grow up with. It could mean you and your spouse have more friends to grow old with.
A bigger house doesn’t always mean a happier family. With less housework to worry about and more neighbors to spend time with, you’ll live your best life.

Downsizing Is the Future of Home Ownership

15 years ago, owning larger, more expensive property was highly valued in our society. But after the market crash of 2008, Americans became smarter about mortgages.
Today, the housing market is stronger. Owning and living in a smaller home is also more embraced and encouraged across most of society.
Downsizing is becoming a realistic option for many homeowners – young and old alike. In many ways, it’s the best option.

article source: 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Key Trends Home Buyers and Sellers Should Watch in 2019

We're entering the home stretch of 2018, when you can actually say, "See you next year!" to someone you'll see in just a few weeks. It's a time to look ahead, to make new plans, to achieve new dreams.
And if those dreams include buying your own home, you should keep an eye on the ever-changing tides of the housing market. Now, markets are like the weather: You can't entirely predict how they will act, but you can get a sense of the forces that will push things in one direction or another.
The® economic research team analyzed a wealth of housing data to come up with a forecast of what 2019 might hold for home buyers and sellers—and it looks like both groups are going to be facing some challenges.

1. We'll have more homes for sale, especially luxury ones

We've been chronicling the super-tight inventory of homes for sale for several years now. Yes, homes have been hitting the market, but not enough to keep up with the demand. Nationwide, inventory actually hit its lowest level in recorded history last winter, but this year it finally started to recover. We're expecting to see that inventory growth continue into next year, but not at a blockbuster rate—less than 7%.
While this is welcome news for buyers who've been sidelined, sellers must confront a new reality.
“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition," says Danielle Hale,'s chief economist.

"It’s still going to be a very good market for sellers," she adds, "but if they’ve had their expectations set by listening to stories of how quickly their neighbor’s home sold in 2017 or in 2018, they may have to adjust their expectations."
Although next year's inventory growth is expected to be modest nationwide, pricier markets will tell a different story. In these markets—which typically have strong economies (read: high-paying jobs)—most of the expected inventory growth will come from listings of luxury homes.

2. Affording a home will remain tough

It's no secret that home sellers have been sitting pretty for the past several years. But is the tide about to change in buyers' favor?

“In some ways, life is going to be easier for home buyers; they’ll have more options," Hale says. "But life is also going to be more difficult for home buyers, because we expect mortgage rates to continue to increase, we expect home prices to continue to increase, so the pinch that they’re feeling from affordability is going to continue to be a pain point moving into 2019.”

Hale predicts that mortgage rates, now hovering around 5%, will reach around 5.5% by the end of 2019. That means the monthly mortgage payment on a typical home listing will be about 8% higher next year, she notes. Meanwhile, incomes are only growing about 3% on average. That double whammy is toughest on first-time home buyers, who tend to borrow the most heavily and who don't have any equity in a current home to draw on.


3. Millennials will still dominate home buying

Just a few years ago, millennials were the new kids on the block, just barely old enough to buy their own homes. Now they're the biggest generational group of home buyers, accounting for 45% of mortgages (compared with 17% for baby boomers and 37% for Gen Xers). Some of them are even moving on up from their starter homes.

As we mentioned above, things will be tough for those first-time buyers. But the slightly older move-up buyers will reap the benefits of both their home equity and the increased choices in the market.
And regardless of whether they're part of that younger set starting a career or the older set that's starting a family, "they’re going to be more price-conscious than any other generation," says Ali Wolf, director of economic research at Meyers Research.

That's because they typically are still carrying student debt and want to be able to spend on experiences, like travel. That takes away from the funds they can put aside for a down payment, or a monthly mortgage payment.

"They want to maintain a certain lifestyle, but they still see the value in owning a home," Wolf says.
So they might compromise on distance from an urban center, or certain amenities, or space—70% of millennial homeowners own a residence that's less than 2,000 square feet, Wolf notes.

There's plenty of time to expand those portfolios, though, as millennials' housing reign is just beginning: This group is likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade. The year 2020 is projected to be the peak for millennial home buying—the bulk of them will be age 30.


4. The new tax law is still a wild card

At the time of last year's forecast, the GOP's proposed revision of the tax code was still being batted around Congress. While there was talk that it might discourage people from buying a home, no one really knew how it might affect the real-estate market.

This year ... well, we still don't really know. That's because most taxpayers won't be filing taxes under the new law until April 2019. And while some people might have a savvy tax adviser giving them a better idea of what's in store, for many, the reality check will come in the form of a bigger tax bill—or a bigger refund.

Renters are likely to have lower tax bills, but might not be tempted to buy while affordability remains a challenge, and with the new, increased standard deduction reducing the appeal of the homeowner's mortgage-interest deduction.

"I think the new tax plan will affect mostly homeowners and home buyers in the upper parts of the distribution," says Andrew Hanson, associate professor of economics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. "Those who either own or are buying higher-priced homes are going to pay a lot more."

Sellers of those pricier homes will also take a hit, as buyers anticipating bigger tax bills won't be as willing to pony up for a high list price.

The biggest change resulting from the new tax law, Hanson predicts, will be in mortgages, since people will be less inclined to take out large mortgages.

"If anyone is going to be upset about the tax plan, it'll be mortgage bankers," he says.

article source:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Moving: Should You Hire Movers or DIY?

Depending on where you're moving, how many items you're moving and a slew of other factors, you need to decide whether to hire a moving company or tackle the job yourself. Before making your final decision, read through these pros and cons, plus a bonus option for the less-traditional move.

Moving yourself pros
  • More cost-effective: A DIY move can save you money on paying movers an hourly or flat rate. Depending on the company you go with, hiring movers can cost thousands of dollars! 
  • No scheduling conflicts: Rather than being beholden to the moving company's schedule, moving yourself gives you much more freedom. 
  • Ensure precious items are protected: If you move on your own, you can be sure that anything valuable or precious remains safe under your care.
  • Save money for furnishing your new digs: Many people move themselves because they would rather save money for furnishing their new place or start an in-case-of-emergency fund for home repairs. 
  • Time-consuming: If you don't have a lot of time on your hands, you should consider hiring movers. 
  • Stressful: Moving yourself requires a lot of physical and mental strength. That's why people turn to professional movers. 
  • Moving truck fees, gas and tolls: Make sure that a DIY move is actually more cost-effective than hiring movers. Factor in the cost of a moving truck, gas and tolls before making a decision.
Hiring movers pros
  • No heavy lifting: If you hire a moving company, you can rest assured that you will not pull a muscle or break anything while trying to maneuver heavy furniture out of your current home and into a new one.
  • Insurance to protect valuables: If anything gets damaged during the move, moving companies come with insurance that will cover the cost of anything that doesn't make it out alive. 
  • Huge time-saver: If you're short on time, a moving company can swoop in to save the day. It can even offer packing and unpacking services to make your life simpler! 
  • Very efficient: Moving companies offer professional services, meaning that the men and women you hire can get your items in and out in a timely fashion. If you decide to go it alone, that might not be the case. 
  • Extremely expensive depending on the packages: Before you get too excited about someone else packing and unpacking your home for you, be aware that adding on this service will increase your bill astronomically. 
  • Insurance doesn't mean your items won't get damaged: If your goal is to not have anything broken, then the insurance a moving company offers won't be worth it to you. No amount of money can replace a family heirloom or other priceless item. 
  • Less control over scheduling: If you hire movers, know that they may not be available on the date you need. 
Consider a portable storage unit
If neither of these options impresses you, try looking into portable storage units. Typically, the storage company will bring the container to your home so that you can pack it with your belongings and then bring the container back to its storage facility.
Some people go this route if they are in the process of selling a home and want to move some of their belongings out of the home to stage it for buyers. Or if you're doing a home renovation, a portable storage unit is a good option.
What does it boil down to? 
Take note of all the pros and cons mentioned above before you decide on movers or a DIY move. Your unique situation will impact the best option for you. Make sure you do the numbers and that you're getting the right deal for your situation.
Feel free to contact us at any time for questions on how to make your next move as seamless as possible.