Your Neighborhood Real Estate

I hope you’re enjoying the fall season!

Have you ever noticed that, when it comes to real estate, there’s news, and then there’s news you can actually use?

For example, most major newspapers, both print and online, publish updates on the real estate market — but only nationally and regionally. They don’t tell you what’s going on in your specific neighborhood because, by necessity, they can only cover a broad area.

But news that’s broad and general has limited value to you.

The real estate information that’s most useful, especially if you’re thinking of selling, is local. It’s specific to your neighborhood – maybe even to your street.

That’s where I can help.

When you have questions about the local real estate scene, give me a call. I can provide you with the latest information, data, and insights for your particular area. That’s news you can actually use to make better decisions about selling or buying.

It would be my pleasure to assist you with your local real estate needs, call today. Cathi Pospisil (928) 273-0538

Home Features Americans Consider Crucial

August 7, 2020

Let’s talk windows: Home buyers care about them more than you may have considered.

In a recent survey conducted by Homes.com, consumers said the most important exterior feature of a home is the size and amount of windows, followed by a porch or patio, when sizing up curb appeal.

Homes.com surveyed more than 5,000 U.S. adults to learn their favorite home features, architecture, and more. (View consumers’ favorite architecture picks by state.)

For the interior, consumers ranked the home’s layout as the most important feature by far.

Important home features chart. Visit source link at the end of this article for more information.

Staging & cheap home updates!

  
If you haven’t heard of “staging”, it’s a fairly straightforward concept. It simply involves cleaning, organizing and preparing your home in such a way as to make it look its best to potential buyers.
One of the most difficult rooms to stage is the kitchen, because it’s one of the most used. You can’t just set it up to look nice for a viewing and then never go back in! Yet, an effectively staged kitchen can help sell your home, because it’s the room that buyers often scrutinize and remember the most.Here are some basic kitchen staging tips:Be relentless when decluttering your kitchen. Stow or get rid of any unnecessary items.Clear the countertops. Leave no more than two appliances in view. This will give the impression that there’s a lot of counter space available.Make sure the sink shines. If regular cleaners don’t work, there are a number of specialty products available for cleaning sinks of all kinds, including stainless steel.Consider making upgrades. You could do something as simple as replacing cabinetry hardware, or go as far as installing a new countertop.Paint or stain cabinetry. One of the most affordable and impactful improvements you can make to the kitchen is painting. A new coat of paint or other finish can make older, worn cabinets look like new.Add some fresh flowers in a vase. Flowers brighten up any room, especially the kitchen.Need more tips on making your home show well, so it sells faster and for the price you want? Call today.
 
Cheap Ways to Improve Curb Appeal
  
Let’s face it. If you’re selling your home, you probably don’t want to spend the time or money on a complete landscaping project. Luckily, you probably don’t need to. There are a number of affordable ways to improve curb appeal and impress buyers who drive up to your home.
You can make a big impact by creating a more welcoming entrance. For example, paint the front door and frame, and place potted plants on either side.You can also significantly improve your curb appeal by not only mowing the lawn, but also pruning trees and shrubs.Use a power washer to clean the walkways and driveway. A good cleaning can make them look almost new.And, don’t forget the front windows. Make sure window coverings look just as good from the outside as they do inside.
 
Give Outdoor Furniture a Facelift
  
As the summer stretches on, and your patio furnishings start to show the signs of use, you may want to try these simple ways of restoring them to their original luster.Before trying any of these techniques, always test in an inconspicuous area first. 
For vinyl cushions and fabrics without specific instructions for upkeep, try a mixture of water and mild detergent with an “oxicleansing” additive for stains. Avoid chlorine bleach that can corrode stitching and cause discoloration. Rinse thoroughly and dry without direct sunlight.Furniture frames require specific care, depending on the material. Wicker should be vacuumed and/or brushed before a gentle washing and rinsing with a garden hose (not a power washer). Aluminum frames will keep their appearance longer if you apply and buff a coating of car wax after wiping clean and drying. Natural woods fare well when scrubbed with commercial oil soap (not detergent), and can retain their integrity longer with a weather-resistant stain or urethane treatment. To help your outdoor furniture last from season to season, invest in weather-resistant slip covers.

Smart Home on a Budget

adjusting temperature on smart thermometer from phone

The Ultimate Smart Home on a Budget

Get a comparative analysis and cost breakdown on smart home products that won’t break the bank.

July 1, 2020 by Brandon Doyle

Getting started with smart-home technology doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You just have to know where to look. Here are some of my top recommendations.

Pay attention to local ads for good deals on smart home gadgets. Often places like Best Buy, Target, and Home Depot will have a sale that includes smart-home products. Recently, Lowe’s had GE Z-Wave smart switches and plugs on clearance for around $8 each. These items were originally priced just under $60, but the manufacturer rebranded and came out with new packaging.

Amazon owns Ring, so if you or your real estate clients are interested in a video doorbell, I’ve found they typically go on sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday and of course on Prime Day. There are occasionally package deals where you can get a free Echo Dot or Google Home Mini included with the purchase of a TV or other home electronics.

When a new version of a product becomes available, manufacturers will discount the remaining inventory of the previous model. While you won’t have the latest and greatest features, the core functionality is the same and you can get a great deal. Examples include Amazon Echo devices and thermostats such as Ecobee—the Lite version does not have Alexa built in but works great at about half the price.

Remo+ makes a very stylish video doorbell similar to Ring for less than half the cost. It operates the same way and includes three days of free cloud storage within the app.

Knowing what’s available in smart-home technology is a value-add for agents selling new and existing homes. Check out more articles from my Ultimate Smart Home series.

The goal at Wyze is to make quality smart-home technology accessible to everyone. By working with efficient manufacturers and selling directly from their website, they’re able to offer high-quality products at much lower prices. The Wyze Cam V2 is capable of streaming full 1080p HD; it records 12-second videos to the cloud automatically when it detects motion or sound, and the videos are accessible for up to 14 days for free. With the addition of a 32 GB micro SD storage card, which is not included, you can record up to eight days of continuous standard definition video or two days of HD footage. Once it has run out of cloud storage, it will record over the oldest footage. All of this is available for only $19.99 with no subscription fees. While Wyze Cam V2 is designed for indoor use, Wyze will be releasing an outdoor version in the future. In the interim, for some, it may work to place the camera in a window looking outside.

Last year, Wyze expanded its product offering to include a smart sensor kit ($19.99), bulb ($7.99/each), and plugs ($14.99 for two). They’re all controlled via the Wi-Fi connection and do not require a hub. The Wyze App is very easy to use, and it integrates with your favorite voice assistant. Setting up an automation is straightforward. For demonstration purposes, I put a door sensor on my pantry and a Wyze bulb in the existing light fixture. Now when the door opens the light turns on, and when it closes it turns off, which is great when your hands are full. I was also able to setup the motion sensor to turn on a lamp using the smart plug.

Just after the 2020 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, Wyze announced its smart-home lock, which replaces the inside of your current door lock, adding smart capabilities while using your existing keys and deadbolt. This has allowed the company to keep the cost down to $89—again, less than half the price of competitors. Wyze Labs will be a company to watch as they continue to offer affordable solutions for smart home technology without sacrificing features.

Wiz smart bulbs are a great alternative to more expensive Philips Hue or LIFX colored bulbs. I recently tested several different bulbs and found the Wiz bulbs to be very competitive. They’re four for $38 on Amazon, connect via Wi-Fi, and are controlled with the Wiz app or with your voice assistant. The app features different scenes, modes, timers, etc., which is comparable to the experience you’ll find with Philips Hue or LIFX bulbs.

Here are some typical costs for common smart-home products:

Smart Bulbs: $8 to $45 each

Light Strips: $25 to $90 each

Smart Switches: $27 to $60 each

Thermostats: $170 to $300 each

Indoor Cameras: $25 to $130 each

Outdoor Cameras: $89 to $500 each

Smart Locks: $150 to $250 each

Video Doorbells: $100 to $250 each

‘Dated Homes’ No Longer a Deal Killer?

July 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many residents to rethink their home and priorities, nudging some residents to leave city abodes in favor of the suburbs and more space. With a limited number of homes for sale, many sellers are fielding competitive offers and bidding wars as some Americans look to relocate. And those looking to move quickly may be willing to make greater compromises in their preferences than they were just a few months ago.

“Sellers are realizing the sudden new demand—it’s like catching lightning in a bottle,” Jaime Sneddon, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in New Canaan, Conn., told The New York Times.

The New York Times recently called out five trends from the coronavirus pandemic that are changing suburban real estate, and spotlighting the trend that some buyers may be getting less picky under such limited housing choices.

Move-in ready homes are still high in demand, but buyers may not be so quick to dismiss those that need a little more TLC as they may have done so in the past.

“Younger buyers have really not wanted to take on renovation projects, so if a house wasn’t move-in ready, it would take longer to sell and would sell at a discount,” Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Group, told The New York Times. “It sill has an effect on the selling price of a home, but the need for work is no longer an impediment to sale.”

There may be a tradeoff that more buyers may be willing to make, such as accepting a dated kitchen or bath in order to get something else on their wish list like a swimming pool, Cyd Hamer, a real estate professional in William Pitt Sotheby’s Westport office, told The New York Times.

Ann Hance, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Manhasset, N.Y., says she listed on June 12 a a dated three-bedroom colonial for $1.599 million. “It’s a house that needs work,” she acknowledges. “It’s got a great backyard and nicely scaled rooms, but it needs updating.” She says she received seven offers that weekend and the home is set to close for “substantially more than the list price and it’s all cash.” “This wasn’t the case in 2019,” she adds.

Smart BBQ Maintenance

BBQ Maintenance that Can Save Your Life
  
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 160 people are injured each year in BBQ mishaps. That doesn’t sound like a lot considering the number of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don’t want to be one of those who get injured!
The best way to prevent fire and injury is maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that BBQ maintenance is necessary. It is.Every summer, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built-up dirt and debris. Don’t be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!Your BBQ grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough. Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you’re getting a lot of flare-ups, this may be the cause.Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by BBQs tipping over or collapsing.

HomeSmart Real Estate made Easy! I’m here to help!

Your future housing needs?

Predicting Your Future Housing Needs
   
What will your housing needs be in three to five years? If you can figure that out, you can watch the market, target areas and neighborhoods you might like to live in, and reap the benefits of planning ahead.
To begin the process, start by asking yourself the following questions: What will my family look like in three to five years? Will there be a new addition (or two) to your family? Will you have kids that are grown up and about to move out? What is the possibility that an elderly relative (Mom, Dad or grandparent) will be living with you?

What will change regarding work and school? Will a teenager be off to college? Will you or your spouse be retired? Will someone in your household be starting a home business? How will your lifestyle be different? Will you take up a hobby that you’d like to be able to reach easily (such as golf)? Do you see yourself wanting to live closer to shopping, theatre, walks in the woods, etc.?

Will you eventually be traveling more often and, therefore, not be at home as much? How is the neighborhood changing? Where is it heading relative to your future needs in terms of residents, noise, sense of community, local developments, etc.? Do you see yourself wanting to live in a quieter community, or a more urban center? Will the type of home you need change?

In three to five years, can you see yourself wanting a larger home? Smaller home? More bedrooms? Larger kitchen? What are your dreams? Do you dream of living in a particular area or neighborhood? Would you love to have a big backyard with a garden someday? Do you sometimes think, “It would be great to have a wooded park with walking trails just a few minutes away.” By looking three to five years into the future, you will be able to predict your housing needs and make plans – today – to ensure you get what you want in the future.

I am here to help you move when the time comes! Cathi (928) 273-0538

When the Outside Matters More Than Ever…

6 Curb Appeal Tricks To Make Your Home Irresistable During Coronavirus | realtor.com®

6 Curb Appeal Tricks To Attract Buyers

By Lisa Marie Conklin | May 11, 2020

Beautiful luxury home exterior at twilight
hikesterson/Getty Images

Curb appeal: It’s the make-or-break first impression of your home. It either beckons a second look or turns buyers off entirely. And now, in the age of the coronavirus, curb appeal is more vital than ever—since buyers might not be able to tour your home and are placing more weight on the exterior, or might be limiting in-person tours to only their top choices.

If you’re trying to sell your home during this pandemic—and the facade is a little worse for wear—don’t panic!

1. Keep the yard green and pristine

The lawn is one of the first things buyers notice, whether they are pulling up to the curb or looking at an online listing. When it’s lush and green, it creates a favorable impression.

“One of the cheapest things you can do to enhance curb appeal is to keep your yard mowed and groomed,” Hire someone to mow it and keep it tidy, or take the time to keep it pristine.”

2. Mind your driveway and walkway

Hose down the driveway and walkway before showing your home or taking photos.
Hose down the driveway and walkway before showing your home or taking photos.Timber and Love Realty

You might be inclined to overlook the driveway and front walk—how much can you really do to make concrete look good? But, truth be told, these areas are like the red carpet of curb appeal: They lead buyers to the main event, the inside of your home.

A driveway and front walk with minor cracks and weeds popping up through the expansion joints (the straight lines that divide the driveway and walkway) are an eyesore.

Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Remove the weeds, and patch the concrete with caulk, Robertson suggests. Hose it down or power-wash it. For extra pizazz, finish a concrete driveway or walkway with a clear, glossy sealer.

At the very least, hose down the driveway and walkway before photos, or a video or in-person tour, to give it a fresh look.

3. Flaunt your nighttime appeal

Photo by SINGLEPOINT DESIGN BUILD INC.

Prospective buyers might be driving by after dark see what your house looks like at night. Turn on the charm with a warm glow from exterior lighting.

“I like to do a 60-watt clear lightbulb on both sides of the door, but one that has a warmer tone so it doesn’t feel like you have that overly LED blue light,” Caldwell says.

All exterior lighting on the house and garage should match or have the same style for continuity, if possible.

“I love having glass fixtures flanking the door because it’s more welcoming when you see the actual light,” he says. “Just make sure that all exterior lights—including the ones on the garage—have the same type of bulb for a unified glow.”

4. Don’t forget the garage

Match your garage door color to the trim.
Match your garage door color to the trim.Timber and Love Realty

The garage is a key component in curb appeal, too, especially if it’s attached to the house. But how do you spruce up this often dull space? Suggestion: painting the garage door the same color as the trim on the house. Garage doors with a row of windows are pleasing to the eye, too.

DIY garage window kits are available for most newer garage door models and allow you to remove a row of existing panels and add glass inserts. If you’re adding windows where people can see in, don’t forget to stage inside the garage, too.

5. Replace outdoor accents and give your landscaping some love

Photo by David Morello Garden Enterprises, Inc.

A shabby doormat, dingy house numbers, and a rusty old mailbox are hardly deal breakers, but they do leave a stale impression. If your outdoor accents have seen better days, replace them.

Then make sure your landscaping looks lush for any passersby. Prune overgrown shrubs and trees. Weed flower beds, and spread a layer of fresh mulch. “It’s like getting a new haircut for your house,” Caldwell says.

Add pretty-looking annuals if your yard is lacking color. Plant a Japanese maple to fill a bare spot and create symmetry.

Then wrap up by cleaning the windows and sweeping the cobwebs from the front porch. Tidy up and stage the front porch so buyers can imagine themselves relaxing there on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

6. Give your front door a face-lift

Would a shabby door with peeling paint, rusty hardware, and scuff marks entice a buyer to go inside?

“If you’re going to spend money on one thing to add curb appeal, make it a new door,” Front doors with glass inserts evoke a warm and welcoming feeling. If there isn’t room in the budget, rejuvenate your existing door with a fresh coat of paint and hardware.

“A fresh pop of color in red, yellow, or blue can bring life to your house immediately and catches people’s eyes as well,” Caldwell says. “It feels like thoughtful consideration has been put into the home, and ultimately that’s what we’re trying to do—to let the home feel like a home that’s been loved and cared for and thought about. A home that’s been cared for stands out.”

We’re all in this together…

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

During this trying time, it’s not surprising that so many homeowners are anxious and exhausted. Perhaps you’ve been feeling the same way. If so, keep in mind that the COVID-19 outbreak will eventually wind down and, hopefully, things will be back to normal soon.

We’re all in this together – and we’ll get through it.

As you probably already know, a key to getting through challenges like this one is to remember to reach out for help when you need it. That’s why I’ve been making myself fully available to those who have real estate questions or need advice and help.

As a real estate professional, I have access to the latest data and information, and can give you a clear picture of what’s going on in the local real estate scene. I can offer you some clarity, which is so important in a time of so much uncertainty.

So, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help. Call today 928-273-0538… Cheers!