A Pet Lover’s Guide to Buying a Home

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If you have dogs, cats, or other pets in your home, you probably consider them to be part of your family. And if you’re thinking about making a move soon, that means you’ll want to take their needs into consideration, too. Here’s our ultimate guide to finding the perfect place you and your furry friend will love!

The 4 Factors to Consider When Buying a Home with Pets

According to a recent survey by CNBC, 79% of pet owners who recently purchased a home said they would have passed up a seemingly perfect property if it didn’t fit their pets’ needs. So it’s no surprise that pet-friendly features—like large, fenced-in yards and proximity to parks—are now in high demand with today’s buyers.

Are you searching for a home with Fluffy or Fido in tow? If so, here are four factors you should consider before making a move.

Local Pet Laws

Dog in the grass

Believe it or not, every state, county, town, and even some neighborhoods have specific rules about pets, so you’ll need to read up on any local laws before committing to a home. You’ll often find regulations regarding pet types, breeds, vaccinations, and leash requirements.

If you choose to move to a condo or community with a homeowners association, pet restrictions may be a bit tighter. Some neighborhoods place limits on the number of pets allowed per residence, and they often have noise ordinances to curtail more boisterous animals. If you have any questions about what is and isn’t allowed, don’t be afraid to ask your agent or the HOA for more information.

The Neighborhood

Cat in the grass

Choosing a location is one of the most important parts of the home buying process, especially if you have a pet. Some neighborhoods are more pet-friendly than others and may even have special amenities for four-legged residents, so you’ll want to spend some time scoping out the area to see what’s around.

If you have a dog, consider moving to a community with plenty of sidewalks or a nearby park. You may also want to steer clear of busy streets, especially if your pet likes to sneak out on unchaperoned adventures. Don’t forget to track down the closest pet supply stores and veterinarians, too!

Outdoor Spaces

Puppy running in grass

For most pet owners, having a large, fenced-in yard is a must if your furry friend loves to spend time outside. However, you’ll want to be sure that your outdoor space offers more than just room to roam. Make note of any potential safety risks, like poisonous plants, water features, and holes in or under the fence. If the house next door also has animals, confirm that they won’t be a hazard to your pets.

If a home doesn’t already have a fence, you may need to factor that cost into your budget. Some neighborhoods have restrictions on fences (or don’t allow them at all), so do your research first!

Interior Features

Cats looking out the window

When it comes to finding a new place for you and your pets, the inside matters just as much as the outside. As you tour a potential home, start by taking a look at the floors—hardwoods usually fare better with pets, as they’re easier to clean and restain. You’ll also want to ensure that your new home has ample room for all of your pets, as well as their litter boxes, toys, and crates. Bonus points if a space has some pet-approved upgrades, like doggie doors or built-in feeding stations!

If you plan on staying in your next home for more than a few years, consider your pets’ changing needs as they age. Common features like stairs or a closed-in floorplan can become obstacles for older animals, but if your pet has specific needs, you may be able to make accommodations.

Making a Move with Your Pets?

Buying a home with pets doesn’t have to be hard if you work with the right agent! Contact our team today to learn more about making a move with Fluffy and Fido. We’d love to help you find a place that suits you and your companions’ needs!

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15 Home Selling Terms to Add to Your Vocabulary

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Even if you’ve sold a home before, deciphering real estate jargon can still seem impossible. There’s a lot of unique terminology you should know if you want to make the most of your sale, which means it’s crucial to be well-versed in some of the most common home selling terms before you list. If you’re still confused by contingencies or trying to decode disclosures, our glossary of real estate terms is here to get you on track.

15 Home Selling Terms, Explained

Here’s our A to Z list of the most important home selling vocab every seller should be familiar with. If you don’t see a specific term listed here, feel free to give us a call—we’d love to answer your questions!

Appraisal

House with coin stacks

The estimated market value of your property. Oftentimes a buyer will need to have a home appraised in order to secure financing.

As-Is

Listing a home “as-is” means that you’re selling it in its current state. This term tells buyers that you aren’t willing to make any changes or take money off the price—they will be responsible for handling all repairs.

Closing Costs

Calculating closing costs

This blanket term describes all the extra fees that come with closing on a home, which are usually deducted from the profit you make on the sale. Common closing costs include agent commissions (for you and the buyer), title fees, loan payoff costs, and any outstanding taxes or expenses.

Commission

This is what you’ll pay your agent (and the buyer’s agent) for their services. Commission is often negotiable and tends to be 5 to 6% of a home’s sale price, with around 3% going to each agent. 

Comparative Market Analysis

House figure on top of a calculator

Often abbreviated as CMA, this detailed evaluation of your home’s value is based on similar properties that have recently sold in your neighborhood.

Contingency

A contingency is a certain condition that must be met before a home is sold. If a contingency is not met, the buyer or seller can exit the deal, typically with no penalties. Financing, home inspections, and appraisals are just a few common contingencies.

Disclosures

Signing paperwork

Disclosures refer to any specific defects in a home that you’re legally obligated to share with a buyer. Required disclosures vary from state to state and even town to town, but your agent should be familiar with the most common types in your area.  

Earnest Money

This is a security deposit submitted by a buyer after they’ve put in an offer to show that they’re serious about purchasing your home. The money is typically applied towards their closing costs if the sale moves forward. 

Escrow

Agent chatting about an escrow account

An escrow account is normally set up by a lender to hold earnest money until the sale of a home. However, escrow accounts can also be used by lenders to hold real estate taxes and insurance premiums as you pay off your mortgage.

For Sale by Owner

Sometimes abbreviated as FSBO, this is when a homeowner tries to sell their property without the help of an agent, usually to avoid paying commission.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agent helping a client

A real estate agent is someone who has passed a real estate exam and possesses a license that allows them to buy or sell homes in a specific area.

Real Estate Broker

Real estate brokers are agents who have received additional education, passed a broker exam, and completed a certain number of transactions. Most agents work under the supervision of a broker.

Realtor®

Realtors talking to each other

A Realtor® is an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors® are required to follow a strict code of ethics and pay annual membership dues.

Staging

Staging is the process of styling and updating your home for potential buyers. It can involve cleaning, repainting, decluttering, making repairs, and moving around furniture to make your space look its best. 

Under Contract

Under contract sign

When a home is under contract, the seller has accepted an offer from a buyer, and that buyer has the exclusive right to purchase the property.

Thinking About Selling Soon?

If you’re getting ready to list your home, we can help you navigate every step of the process. Just reach out to us to learn more about the services we offer to our sellers, and let us know if you have any questions. We’d be happy to lend you our expertise! 

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The Pros and Cons of Living in a Neighborhood with an HOA

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As you search for your next home, you’ll probably encounter more than a few neighborhoods that have their own homeowners associations. Often abbreviated as HOAs, these groups usually consist of a few elected residents, although they may also be run by an outside management company or developer.

While they tend to get a bad rap, HOAs actually have quite a few benefits you might not have considered—but they aren’t always the right fit for everyone.

Should You Buy in a Neighborhood with an HOA?

In a nutshell, an HOA’s job is to act as a governing body for a neighborhood. They typically set rules, maintain the community, and may offer certain amenities, like pools or landscaping. However, these perks don’t come free—homeowners have to pay dues to cover an HOA’s services.

Not sure if you want to live in a community with a homeowners association? Here are a few pros and cons to keep in mind before making a move.

Pro: Increased resale value

Neighborhood with an HOA

Believe it or not, an HOA can significantly impact a home’s resale value when you move again. On average, single family homes that are part of a local association sell for 4% more than ones that aren’t—for a home worth $300,000, that’s a gain of $12,000.

Con: More rules to follow

Side view of a home

Perhaps the biggest gripe that many homeowners have about HOAs is having to follow certain rules, especially when it comes to your home’s appearance. In order to maintain property values and a uniform look to the neighborhood, HOAs often restrict personalizations like paint colors, fences, or landscaping.

Associations may also have certain limitations on pets, noise, yard signs, home improvements, or trash removal. Violating the rules can sometimes result in hefty fines, so be sure you read up on an HOA’s restrictions to avoid any penalties.

Pro: A beautiful neighborhood

A pretty community

All those rules may seem irksome, but they do serve a purpose. HOA regulations are designed to make your neighborhood a beautiful and desirable place to live. You’ll never have to deal with eyesores like an overgrown lawn or lingering litter anymore, either!

Con: Additional fees

Paying HOA dues

Most associations charge dues that vary depending on the services and amenities they provide. It’s not uncommon to see fees of over $1,000 per year—definitely an expense you’ll want to factor into your monthly budget.

Wondering what these dues cover? They usually go towards maintenance, an emergency fund, or amenities. If you live in a condo or active adult community, they can also cover utilities and exterior maintenance.

Pro: Extra amenities 

Community pool

If you want to live somewhere with plenty of amenities right at your doorstep, an HOA neighborhood may be a great fit. Many homeowners associations pay to maintain community pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, and much more. Larger subdivisions may even have their own golf courses, restaurants, or clubhouses that are for residents only! 

Con: Risks of poor management

Woman stressed by an HOA

Almost every HOA is governed by residents, sometimes with the help of a management company. Unfortunately, a poorly managed association can be a nightmare for homeowners, especially if the HOA is responsible for maintaining major aspects of the community.

Homeowners associations also have the authority to increase dues without warning—and if they don’t have the money to pay for a big expense, they may even order a special assessment to cover the costs.

Bottom Line: Do your research!

In a recent survey by the Community Associations Institute, a whopping 85% of homeowners said they had a positive experience living in a community with an HOA. However, it’s still crucial to consider your own individual circumstances before making a decision. 

Be sure to read an association’s rules or bylaws, and take a good look at the neighborhood before you buy. If you have any questions, just ask your agent!

Take Your Next Steps

If you’re ready to make a move, we’d love to guide you through every step of the buying process! Just get in touch with us today to get started—we look forward to teaming up and helping you find your next dream home.

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Keep Your Home Ready to Show with These 4 Tips

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As a seller, you have to be able to get your home looking fantastic at the drop of a dime if an interested buyer schedules a tour. And unless you have the time to constantly clean, keeping your space prepped for showings might seem like an endless (and stressful!) ordeal. Luckily, we have a few tips that can help you avoid any pre-showing panicking.

The Easiest Ways to Stay Ready for Showings

The biggest secret to keeping your home ready for buyers is to do most of the work ahead of time. It might be tempting to put off cleaning or wait until the last minute to add your finishing touches, but all that procrastinating can easily backfire right before a showing! Here are some easy ways to keep your home looking spotless at all times…without any added headaches.

Declutter and reorganize

Decluttering a living room

Before you even think about listing, take some time to declutter and reorganize your belongings. This can help decrease the amount of stuff you have to put away before a showing, as well as reduce how much you’ll pack when you inevitably move. Remember, you want buyers to focus on the best parts of your home, not your clutter.

Not sure where to start? Try sorting your possessions in “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away” piles so you can narrow down what you really need. And if you have items that don’t get used every day that you’d like to keep, you can always rent a storage unit until you move into your new place.

Do an initial deep clean

Cleaning a kitchen

After you’ve thoroughly decluttered, you’ll want to do a thorough cleaning of every single room in your home, including your closets. It might seem like a lot of work at first, but it’ll be worth it when you don’t have to completely scrub down your house each time a buyer comes knocking on your door. Don’t shy away from getting into every nook and cranny—you want everything to look perfect!

Many professionals recommend using the top-to-bottom and left-to-right rule. That means starting by cleaning things up high, such as ceiling fans and bookshelves, and ending with your floors and carpets. Going from left to right can also keep you on task and make the entire process go by much faster.

Have a routine for tidying up

Making a bed

Let’s be honest—if you have kids, pets, or actually live in your home, it’s not easy to keep it looking like a showroom at all times. Establishing a regular tidying routine can help you maintain that initial deep clean you did before listing. Assigning tasks—like making beds or vacuuming the floors—to everyone in your household also allows you to divide and conquer! 

To minimize the amount of cleaning you have to do, consider keeping some rooms that you don’t use off limits. You can even designate a certain area, such as an ottoman or a storage bin under a bed, for everyday clutter that needs to be hidden right before a showing.

Create an escape plan

Family on a walk

Keeping your home ready for showings is only half of the battle—you also need to know where you and your household will be going before the buyers show up! Not every tour is conveniently timed, so you’ll want to have a few options in place for different times and days of the week. If you have kids or pets, don’t forget to make arrangements to accommodate their needs, too.

Don’t know where to go? Try using your time to run errands or plan some fun (and practical) outings with your kids, like an outdoor study session or afternoon at the pool. Your furry friend can also be included in the fun—just head to a pet-friendly park for a little sunshine and fresh air!

Want to Get Top Dollar and Sell Fast?

Selling your home might seem difficult, but working with the right agent can make all the difference! We’re ready to help you navigate every step of the selling process, so just give us a call to see what we can do for you.

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Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter: Which Home Buying Season Is Best?

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You’ve probably heard that spring and summer are the best seasons for home buying. After all, there’s more inventory on the market, and the warm weather is ideal for showings. However, the ongoing global health crisis has shattered the idea of the “peak home buying season” and left many potential buyers wondering if now is still the right time to make a move.

The Merits (and Downsides) of Buying a Home During Each Season

Most real estate markets fluctuate from month to month, as do prices and inventory. Before you decide when to buy, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each season and ask a local agent about trends in your area. Here are a few benefits of buying during every season…as well as a few drawbacks.  

Spring: Gorgeous homes, but higher prices

House with landscaping

Traditionally, spring is one of the hottest seasons for home buying, and it’s easy to see why. As temperatures thaw out in March, April, and May, the number of new listings seems to multiply every day. Homes also tend to look their best during spring—after all, who doesn’t love blossoming flowers or lush landscaping after a long winter?

Although you’ll have more inventory to choose from during these warmer months, you won’t be the only one searching for a home. Spring buyers usually have to face more competition, which can result in inflated prices and bidding wars. If you’re getting ready to buy during spring, be prepared to make a quick offer and don’t expect many concessions from sellers.

Summer: Lots of listings, but more competition

Aerial shot of a neighborhood

Summer is another extremely popular home buying season, especially for households with children. Many sellers also decide to list during June, July, or August, which means you’ll benefit from an even broader selection of houses. To top it all off, you can even schedule evening showings as the days get longer.

Unfortunately, summer home buying often comes with problems similar to spring: tons of buyers, higher prices, more bidding wars, and less time to make a decision. And if you wait until July or August, you could actually see a dip in inventory as sellers go on vacation!

Fall: Motivated sellers, but inventory could dwindle

House in autumn

There’s so much to love about autumn: the falling leaves, the cooler temperatures…and the fantastic home prices. Fall is easily one of the most underrated times to buy a house, since you can take advantage of strong inventory, less competition, and lower prices. Many sellers will also be more motivated to make a deal, particularly if they weren’t able to attract buyers during the summer. 

As you plan your autumnal move, it’s crucial to time it just right. It’s not uncommon to see a slight dip in inventory at the beginning of a new school year, which is usually around late August or early September. If you wait until late October or November, sellers might also start pulling their homes from the market due to the impending holidays. 

Winter: Less competition, but fewer choices

Houses in winter

Historically, winter is the slowest season for real estate—but that shouldn’t deter you from starting your home search in December, January, or February. The most obvious benefit of winter buying is decreased competition, which often leads to some of the lowest prices of the year. Real estate agents will also have fewer clients during the colder months, so they can spend much more time helping you. 

Of course, buying in the middle of winter also comes with some challenges. It can be difficult to plan a closing around everyone’s schedules during the busy holiday season. Diminished inventory also means there are fewer listings to choose from, so your search may take a bit longer than expected.

Need Help Planning Your Move?

Whether you choose to move in spring, summer, fall, or winter, you can trust us to help you navigate every aspect of the buying process! Just give us a call today to learn more about our home buying resources, and let us know when you’re ready to take your next steps.

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8 Simple Ways to Get Your Outdoor Spaces Ready for Summer

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The weather’s getting warmer, summer is (finally!) just around the corner, and we’re all staying at home more than ever before. If you plan on spending your days relaxing in nature, now is the perfect time to give your outdoor space a little upgrade. And if you’re thinking about selling soon, you might even impress some summer buyers, too.

These Easy Projects Can Totally Transform Your Outdoor Space

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to get your outdoor space looking stellar. Here are eight quick, cost-effective DIY projects to help usher your yard, patio, porch, or balcony into the new season. 

Do a little tidying

Gardening supplies

Did you forget to do your spring cleaning? Before you start on any big projects, take some time to tidy up your outdoor spaces. Sweep away any dust on your balcony, patio, or deck, and clean off your furniture. If you have a yard, be sure to clear out any lingering debris, trim back your trees or shrubs, and uproot any pesky patches of weeds.

Perform regular maintenance

Late spring is the perfect time to tackle that maintenance to-do list you’ve been putting off! Although these routine tasks might seem mundane, they’re essential to keeping your outdoor space in tip-top shape. Cleaning out your gutters, spraying for bugs and pests, and powerwashing are just a few common projects that you’ll want to handle before the weather gets too hot. 

Give your lawn some extra attention

Mowing the lawn

There are a few steps you should be taking right now if you want to keep your lawn green all summer long. Aerating and fertilizing during late spring is key to keeping your yard healthy. When you start mowing, be sure to not cut more than one third of the grass height in one sitting. You can prevent this by increasing the blade height on your mower.

Add new landscaping

You don’t have to be a professional landscaper to add some new greenery to your outdoor space—but be sure to do some research before you start planting. Try to select flowers, shrubs, or trees that do well in your area, and consider how much sunlight they’ll get throughout the day. If you have a balcony or patio, incorporating a few potted plants can add a fun (and low-maintenance) splash of color.

Plant a garden

Raised garden bed

Have you always wanted to harvest your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs? Raised plant beds make it easy to create a garden just about anywhere, and they’re an easy DIY project that you can tackle before the summer months. Just build or buy the beds, fill them with soil, pick your plants, and start growing!

Invest in some outdoor furniture

Good patio furniture offers both comfort and function, and just a few updates can transform your outdoor space into a whole new living area. Consider investing in some staple pieces, like a table and chairs or a loveseat, depending on the size of your deck or patio. Many retailers will even ship the furniture straight to your front door. 

Incorporate new lighting

Outdoor string lights

If you want to take advantage of your outdoor space during the day and at night, new lighting might just do the trick. You don’t have to get too fancy (unless you want to!)—simply replacing some fixtures or hanging a strand of trendy string lights will elevate the entire area. If you really want to beat the heat, you might even install an outdoor ceiling fan on your covered patio or deck.

Getting Ready to Buy or Sell This Summer?

Whether you’re thinking about moving next week, next month, or next year, you can trust us to help you navigate every step of the process. We have plenty of buying and selling resources to get you started, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions. We’re always on hand to lend our expertise!

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5 Easy Ways to Save Up for a New Home

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Saving for a house might seem difficult, especially as the economy continues to fluctuate. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your home buying dreams! If you want to take your first steps towards homeownership, we have a few simple tricks that can help you build your savings account. 

How to Save Up for Your Perfect Place

Before you begin saving, consider how much you’d ideally like to put down on a house. Your down payment will likely be your largest upfront cost, and most buyers put down around 20% of a home’s value. However, there are some loans that require as little as 0% down, so be sure to explore all of your options.

It can take years to save up for a home. Nevertheless, if you plan ahead and follow these tips, you’ll soon be on a path to success. 

Create a monthly budget…and stick to it

Woman creating a budget

Having a budget can help you set spending limitations and savings goals each month, but it’s crucial to stick to it if you want to make progress. Start by documenting all your sources of income, then subtract your monthly expenses. This shows you what you’re paying for housing, food, utilities, and extra expenses, as well as how much you have left over. From there, you can set spending goals and designate a certain amount of money towards your house fund every month.

Cut unnecessary spending

Person using a credit card

As you craft a new budget, consider cutting out any expenses you can live without. You might have to make some sacrifices, but if you’re serious about saving for a home, your hard work will pay off in the long run. The more you save, the more house you can afford! 

Consider getting rid of any unnecessary recurring payments, like streaming services or magazine subscriptions. Cooking at home, buying generic brands, and putting off that big vacation can also save you thousands every year. If you put that money directly into your savings, you won’t even miss it…because you were already spending it.

Pay off your debt

House with coin stacks

If you’re like many would-be homebuyers, lingering credit card or student loan debt might be keeping you from making a move. Before you start saving for a home, try to pay off debts or reconsolidate them into a smaller monthly payment with a lower interest rate.

Not sure where to start? Consider talking with a financial advisor about any underlying debt that needs to be paid off. It might take a while, but it’s better to take on a mortgage with more manageable payments.

Put your retirement savings on hold

House fund coin jar

While it is crucial to save for retirement, buying a home is also an important step in your life—so it’s okay to temporarily divert some of your savings towards your down payment. However, it’s not a good idea to take money out of your existing retirement accounts. You could get saddled with taxes and unwanted early withdrawal fees if you dip into your IRA or 401(k)!

Start a side hustle

Personal trainers exercising

Even during these challenging economic times, it’s still possible to make a quick buck doing what you love. Starting a side hustle can help you rake in some extra cash on the weekends and evenings—and even a little money can add up over time.

Looking for suggestions? Pet sitting, ride sharing, personal training, and photography are just a few possibilities. Who knows…your passion could turn into a profitable second income!

Ready to Start Your Buying Journey?

Looking for more home buying advice? We’ve got you covered! Just reach out to us for more tips and tricks, and let us know when you’re ready to take your next steps. We’re always here to answer any questions you might have, especially as the market continues to change.

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4 Ways to Maximize the Potential of Your Home’s Flex Space

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Are you stuck at home and looking to take on a DIY project? If you have an extra room or a small nook that you just don’t know how to use, try tackling a mini home makeover! Here are some out-of-the-box ways to transform surplus flex space into a room that you’ll actually use…and will maybe even appeal to future buyers.

Here’s How to Take Advantage Your Flex Space

A flex space is an area in your home that can be customized and used in a number of different ways. They’re designed to be flexible (hence the name), and their function can be changed depending on the kind of room you need. 

Looking for some inspiration to really spruce up your flex space? Here are a few ideas that won’t require much money or time.

Incorporate a home office

Home office desk

Have you recently started working from home? If so, it might be worth setting up your own home office. Even if you don’t have a separate room for your workspace, you can easily create a dedicated office with what you have.

If you really need a place to work, start by moving around some furniture or finding a quieter area in your house that doesn’t get used often. Remember—this is supposed to be an office you’ll want to spend time in, so be sure to add more than just a desk. Some great lighting, storage for supplies, and a comfy couch or task chair can tie the whole workspace together. 

Create a home gym

Workout equipment

Turning your flex space into a home gym is a practical way to show off its potential as a multi-use space. And if you’ve been slacking off on your workouts recently, having a dedicated active area can help you stay fit without leaving home.

To get started, try adding some mirrors, a wall-mounted weight rack, and exercise equipment that you’ll actually use (like resistance bands, a stability ball, or dumbbells). You can also incorporate a television or child-safe mats to easily turn your workout spot into a media room or play area!

Make the most of smaller spaces

Woman reading in a hammock

Does your home have a smaller room or nook that doesn’t seem to serve a purpose? You can make the most of these awkward spaces by transforming them into whatever you want—the options really are endless here, so feel free to get creative.

If you aren’t sure where to start, just let your imagination run wild. If you love to read, consider creating a small library or reading nook where you can relax with your favorite book. Want to pick up a new skill? Having a dedicated hobby room makes it easy to spend time doing what you love. You can even design a designated space for your pets or a playroom for your children—it’s all up to you! 

Add tons of storage

Shelving in a home office

No matter what you choose to do with your flex area, it’s crucial to have enough storage space. You never know what you might use a particular room for in the future—but closets, shelving, and cabinets are always useful additions. 

Even if a room doesn’t have a dedicated closet, you can create stylish storage by adding built-ins or tall bookcases. For a more minimalist look, wall mounted shelves are the way to go. You can even incorporate storage as part of your decor by investing in a trendy ottoman or a set of matching baskets.

Getting Ready to Sell?

If you’re thinking about listing your home and want to maximize the potential of your flex space, we’d be happy to help! While it may be impossible to predict how current events will affect the market, you can still sell quickly and for top dollar—just give us a call for all the details.

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How COVID-19 Is Impacting Real Estate

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If you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home in the near future, the unprecedented events of the last few weeks might have left you feeling a bit uncertain. COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected all of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you need to press pause on your real estate dreams. 

We want to set the record straight about how these changes to everyday life affect buyers, sellers, and agents…and how you can protect yourself while continuing to pursue your goals. 

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Real Estate Market?

Our way of life has changed dramatically within the course of just a few weeks, and the real estate market has shifted, too. Have a few questions? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but here’s what we know right now.

Expect some major market shifts

Person studying COVID-19 graph

As we adjust to a new normal, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on every industry in the country—including real estate. However, this doesn’t mean that investors aren’t still buying and selling homes. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that 61% of sellers plan to keep their houses on the market, and over half of buyers will continue to shop for a home.

Although we’ll likely see a reduced number of sales in the coming weeks and months, record-low interest rates and a continuously low supply of homes might help to prevent any drastic price drops. Many economists also believe that another housing market crash is unlikely due to new regulations and stricter mortgage qualifications. 

Buying and Selling a Home During COVID-19

As of early April, agents are continuing to help their clients buy and sell homes—but you can expect to see some changes aimed at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Essential Tips for Sellers

Cleaning supplies

Selling a home during the COVID-19 outbreak is definitely uncharted territory, but as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, it’s not impossible. Many sellers and their agents have worked together to pioneer new marketing strategies…some of which might last even after life returns to normal. Before you start scheduling those virtual showings, here are some tips to consider.

Make sure you’re healthy

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that every member of your household is healthy before and during the selling process. Alert your agent right away if you’re feeling sick so they can halt in-person showings. 

Sanitize your home

As a seller, your main priority should be ensuring that your home is germ-free, especially before a showing. We recommend wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes and sprays and offering hand sanitizer to potential buyers. Reduce unnecessary touching by pre-opening any doors, cabinets, or drawers and turning on all lights before a showing.

Capitalize on digital marketing

If you still plan on selling soon, have your agent use the latest digital marketing techniques to really showcase your listing. Open houses and showings might be out, but virtual tours and showings via video sharing platforms are in—and it’s important to capitalize on these techniques to draw in potential buyers.

Essential Tips for Buyers

Person using a tablet

Believe it or not, it’s still possible to buy a home during these uncertain times—and modern technology is making everything easier than you might expect. Here’s how to stay safe and healthy throughout the entire buying process.

Make sure you’re healthy 

If you’re feeling ill, it’s important that you stay home, practice social distancing, and avoid any showings. However, you can still continue to tour homes virtually and chat with your agent via online meetings.

Use virtual homebuying technology

Thanks to new innovations, it’s easier than ever to explore listings from the comfort of your couch. If you don’t want to attend a showing, many agents provide in-depth virtual tours and personal walkthroughs through video platforms like FaceTime and Zoom. 

It’s also possible to complete the entire closing process remotely. Chances are, most documents can be signed electronically, which adds another layer of convenience and safety. Some states even allow you to virtually notarize your paperwork! 

Take extra precautions during in-person showings

Want to see a home in person before making an offer? If your agent still offers normal showings, there are a few extra steps you should take to keep yourself (and the sellers) safe. Carry hand sanitizer with you and try to refrain from touching any surfaces. This might be difficult, but it’s the easiest way to mitigate the spread of germs. If your community has a shelter-in-place order, you may have to postpone any in-person showings until restrictions are lifted.

Have More Questions?

As we navigate the changes inflicted upon the market by COVID-19, it’s crucial to consider your individual needs and follow local guidelines. We’re constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist our clients, and we’re determined to protect your health and safety while helping you meet your goals. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Decor for Spring

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The days are getting longer, temperatures are starting to climb, and the trees are finally starting to turn green again. As spring approaches, it’s a great time to freshen up your decor and add a splash of color to your space. Looking for some quick, easy, and affordable design tips? Here are a few ways to welcome spring into your home…especially if you’re thinking about selling in the next few months!

Our Top Spring Decor Tips

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Person cleaning a kitchen

Before you make any decor updates, it’s crucial to get every inch of your home looking pristine. Spring cleaning involves more than just a little scrubbing—you should take some time to reorganize, too!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just start by working room by room and removing any clutter. It may also be beneficial to make “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away” piles to ensure that everything stays in order. After you’ve freed up some space, break out the cleaning supplies and banish any dust, cobwebs, and grime. Don’t have time to do it all yourself? Consider hiring a professional cleaner or organizer.

Incorporate a Little Greenery

Roses in a vase

Want to breathe new life into your home? Take some inspiration from nature! Adding freshly-cut or potted flowers and greenery can turn your house into a home—and if you’re selling, your buyers might appreciate the extra pop of color.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider picking up a ready-made bouquet or some low-maintenance houseplants for your living room, kitchen, or bedroom. Placing them in trendy planters and decorative vases can create an added level of style. For a final splash of spring, try hanging a wreath of seasonal blossoms or greenery on your front door to welcome guests inside.

Add New Accessories

Blue-themed living room

Take some time to get rid of your winter accessories and usher in a brand-new season. Light and bright colors, linens, textured pottery, and raw wood accents are all on-trend this spring, and adding these small details can really elevate your home’s style.

Start by incorporating some new accent pillows and paring down your current accessories in favor of a more curated collection. This is particularly important if you’re getting ready to sell; you’ll want to depersonalize your space, but it should still feel like a home. Hanging some different art on your walls can also help you transition to spring—we recommend floral prints or paintings.

Freshen Up with Inviting Scents

Lit candle in a living room

Is your home smelling a little musty after a long winter? Throw open the windows and freshen up with some invigorating scents…especially if you’ll be inviting buyers into your home.

Before you integrate spring fragrances, however, be sure to eliminate any unpleasant odors first. Once you’ve deodorized, swap out those holiday candles in favor of some fresher aromas. Lavender, fresh cotton, and lemongrass are all great choices, and they won’t be too overpowering. 

Don’t Neglect Your Outdoor Space!

Spring patio with a table and chairs

As you prep for the warmer months ahead, the outside of your home matters just as much as the inside. Your outdoor space can really make or break a sale during the spring, as buyers are probably ready to spend some time outside. Even if you aren’t selling soon, your yard, porch, deck, or patio could probably use a little extra attention. 

Brush off the winter blues by sweeping away any debris, addressing brown spots on your lawn, and getting rid of any dead or wilting plants. You might also want to incorporate some new outdoor furniture on your deck or patio to show off its potential. 

Ready Sell Your Home This Spring?

If you’re looking for spring decorating tips because you’re planning on selling your home soon, we’d love to help you navigate every step of the process. Feel free to reach out to us for more staging strategies and seller tips—we can even help you list your home with just a few clicks!

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