We know most of us are in the midst of making lists and checking them twice but have you taken a moment to think about your house and what it might want for Christmas? No seriously! Your home is your biggest investment, it gives you shelter and warmth shouldn’t it get a gift or two?
(Remember, this is your house speaking…)
New windows: Things got a little drafty this year, and I know you weren’t too happy about the hike in utilities cost. Some new windows will make both of us happy.
A Deck: Not only will this make my yard more inviting, but just think about all the family time that can be gained by a new deck. When summer comes around again, barbecues can take place somewhere that everyone can get together, instead of out in the driveway.
A New Front Door: To be honest, the peeling paint and warped wood on my front door is more than a little embarrassing. Just think about what will happen to your curb appeal with a brand-new front door. Maybe the mailman won’t be afraid to knock on the door anymore.
A New Roof: Do you really think that those spots on my roof are supposed to be there? Not only will I look better with a new roof, but you’ll also get your money back in increase in home value. Santa almost didn’t land on my roof last year, I’m not sure what he’ll do this year.
A New Garage Door: That dent from when your daughter accidentally put the car in reverse before letting the garage door open all the way is not going to fix itself. A new garage door could really make my exterior look like you did a major makeover, and don’t worry, I’ll keep it between us that all you did was swap out the garage door.
New Siding: Do you wear clothes that are frayed or have holes in them? Well, I don’t know if you’ve seen some of my siding recently, but I’m pretty sure your “work jeans” look better than it does. I’d look as new as the day you bought me with some newly-replaced siding. Maybe you could even switch to that siding that Bob down the street just put in on his house. I heard he doesn’t have to paint it. Tempting, right?
Some Custom Upgrades: Maybe instead of a regular front door, you could spring for a nice iron one, or maybe a custom window for my foyer, so that all the neighbors’ jaws will drop in awe every time they pass by. I just know that something custom will really make me stand out on the inside.
And if you have splurged on other people on your list, here are some easy and last minute gift ideas:
Have my furnace inspected and serviced, and give me a clean filter.
Have my chimney swept (ahhh it will feel like a massage to me).
While our local market has been what is called a “seller’s market” and homes are selling fast that doesn’t mean you don’t need to be sure to take time to properly prepare your home for the market. As a home seller you always want to increase your list price and decrease your time on the market by putting your home’s best foot forward.
Doing home improvements before putting your home on the market is important but sometimes your time frame and or budget limits your options. Typically people will spend money updating their kitchen, traditionally the return on your investment is 75-78% - but if you spend your money and time on updating the kitchen but neglect the rest of your home that return on your investment will be greatly reduced.
Today we want to talk about some “different” ideas for quick and inexpensive updates:
Your garage – paint the floors with a garage floor epoxy; it is amazing what an impression this makes on home buyers. A crisp and clean looking garage is a real statement to the care you give your home.
Curb appeal, landscaping – some say that buying a home is a lot like dating “a pretty face gets them in the door” – buyers will make a decision about your home before they even get out of the car. Paint the front door; be sure there are no screens missing or not fully attached, remove screens and clean the window frames; mow the yard; have blooming flowers if possible; trim the shrubs; don’t have toys on the walk ways or lawn; wash the windows; remove any cobwebs from the porch.
Painting – this is always a good idea, a fresh coat of paint brightens the room as well as showing your commitment to home maintenance; a neutral color makes it easy for buyers to imagine their furniture in the room.
A good way to give your home a fresh new look is to update the fixtures. Look at faucets, especially bathroom faucets, if they are brass or “crystal” and if they are leaking then definitely repair and replace. Look at switch plate covers, are they scratched, dated (brass) or to personal? Lighting fixtures is another item that can be updated to give your home a fresh look. Be sure your door knobs and cabinet pulls are clean and in good shape, or replace them as well.
We are always happy to consult with you about improvements to make before putting your home on the market. Contact us today.
Outstanding and immaculate home on a large corner lot in the highly sought after and amenity rich community of Bandera, in Lantana. Gourmet kitchen! Generous sized rooms! Split bedroom floor plan for privacy and quiet. Something for everyone, you are going to love this one!
Home prices across the country are steadily increasing. A recent report for nationwide housing indicates that prices jumped 12.4% in July over a year ago and that is the biggest jump in 7.5 years.
As we have all heard the low supply is contributing to the value increase. The real estate market took big hits during the poor economy period and as many said "it will come back" and it is, which is good news for everyone. There are of course indications that the "peak" has been reached or is close to being reached. Many reports show that the overall gains are slowing when we compare month over month, and many experts say a slower pace will be better in the long run.
Mortgage rates have increased which is another factor when buyers are considering how much and when to purchase. Many markets experience a "seasonal" increase or decrease in purchasing so that will also factor into the next several months reports.
Home builders continue to report an increase in permits pulled, this will help the inventory and could spur another surge in homes sold in the next 3-6 months as these homes are completed.
We all know that the market stats can vary from state to state, from city to city and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. Our local market is strong and showing steady activity.
If you want to know the value of your home, contact us and we can provide you with the details.
Now that the traditionally “busy” summer season is behind us we wanted to review the market stats again to see how our local market is preforming.
As you might suspect all of the stats support a rebounding market, here in the Plano/Dallas area we did not experience the deep valley drops like many of metropolitan areas across the country. So our market may be better termed as “continuing a strong upward path”.
First let’s talk about average days on market. For the period of September 2010 through August 2011 the average days on market was 109, we saw a 13.4% decrease for the period of September 2011 through August 20112 and then an additional 23.9% decrease during the next 12 months. Days on market are important to sellers, homes are selling faster! For buyers it usually means they have less time to “think about” – typically homes are sitting on the market long enough to delay your decision.
Here you will see a graph showing how many homes sold in different price ranges over the past three years. As you can see the number of homes increased every year in each price range, except one – the past 12 months homes under $105,000 showed a decrease.
Of course everyone wants to know the value of their home, are homes selling for more now than they did last year or the year before that? The answer is YES! Each year we have seen an increase in the median sold price.
As we have said this information is based on an overall picture of our entire area, each individual neighborhood and community has its own stats, and they may differ than what we are seeing in these reports.
Contact us and let’s share with you how your home in your community compares to these facts.
Us Realtors can really talk a blue streak when it comes to preparing your home for sale. Remove clutter! Clean the closets! Clean the garage! Organize the cupboards! Well, you get the idea! Those are the “normal” suggestions when a seller is preparing their home for the market.
Today, just for fun we want to talk about some ‘unusual’ ideas for preparing your home for the market.
Your refrigerator and freezer. The outside should be clean, free of finger prints and “famous” art work, but what about the inside? Potential buyers are known to look in cabinets, closets, so it is not that much of a stretch to think they may look inside your refrigerator and freezer – especially if the appliance is included in the sale! So, let’s take a moment and think about what a potential buyer will see? Old and growing food? Foil wrapped mystery food in the freezer? How many bottles of Vodka are in your freezer? Is the appliance clean? Is there spilled milk or red juice stains? Are there broken parts? Does it seal and close properly? Now we aren’t saying this could be a deal killer but if someone looks in a refrigerator or inside the oven what they see may lead them to wonder how you care for the rest of the home. Just some “food for thought”!
While we are at it here are a few other ideas that may make your home more appealing or at least help it standout in the buyers mind:
Bake cookies and have them sitting out for showings (the smell is appealing as is the treat)
Have the bread maker baking (great smell)
Put out a bowl of candy for your guests
Light the fire in fireplace
Have soft music playing
Empty the trash can often so there is no worry of odor
Put some baking soda, or Liquid Lysol cleaner (with a nice smelling scent) in the drains so there is no chance of a foul odor and it makes the whole house smell clean
Turn on the lights in each room
Be sure the towels in the baths and kitchen are straightened
Close the toilet lids
Do a quick run through the house with a laundry basket, anything that is out of place or laying around can be quickly loaded into the basket and then taken with you when you leave for the showing.
As we head into the “dog days of summer” it is a good time to talk about how the temperature of your home can help – or hurt – can influence prospective buyers. The heat in your home can be a selling factor. No one want to move into a house that is too warm or too cold, so keeping your home at an even temperature is a trick especially when prospective buyers can show up at any time to see your home.
Climate control has many elements - temperature, humidity, and light all play important roles. Here in Texas keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is very important. As we show homes to prospective buyers it is very common for them to comment more on the room temperature of a home almost before they notice the size of rooms – this is especially true when we are experiencing one of “hot Texas” days.
We stress making your home welcoming and comfortable to the prospective buyers, so it should start with having your home at a comfortable temperature. Be sure your air conditioning is set at a cool temperature – yes it may cost you a little more on your utility bills while your home is on the market but it will go a long way in helping you achieve your goal of selling your home. Many home buyers in warm climates, like ours here in Texas, list central air conditioning as one of the top “must haves”. Additionally since these units are such an important feature you may want to spend a little extra money to have your unit serviced so you are sure it is in top working order before listing your home.
Another nice feature to help cool your home is ceiling fans. Ceiling fans come in many sizes and styles and they can add a unique decorator feature to a room as well as being functional. In addition to providing a cooling breeze, they can move heated air to lower heights in the winter months when high ceilings work against keeping warm. Ceiling fans can be installed outside under a covered porch, or inside, providing a practical and cost effective way of affecting a home's comfort by circulating the air.
Blinds, shutters, awnings and drapes are all other nice decorator options for keeping your home cool. During showings you will want to be sure to leave the window coverings open so your home is light and bright, however outdoor awnings can help keep rooms cool while letting the sunshine in too.
Your ultimate goal is to provide the impression that your home is the perfect place to beat the summer heat.
We have been exploring how to choose a neighborhood that is the perfect fit for you, for your family and for your lifestyle. Neighborhoods have life cycles much like we do.
Let’s discuss your life cycles and how it affects the neighbor you choose. When you are searching for your first home your priorities will probably be different than when you buy your second or third or last home. Often times home buyers concentrate on very specific items – the quality and location of schools; the commute time and options to a job location; the local amenities (community pool & parks; walk-ability; proximity for worship and health care options; transit options) are the most common considerations. You can see how your lifecycle will affect what are most important to you – if you have school age kids, schools will be important, if you are an empty nester then your priorities might be golf courses, or health care options and the size of yards may be what is most important. Some neighborhoods blend all of these options with diverse housing options all contained within one community.
Neighborhoods also have life cycles - some are on the rise, while others seem to struggle, some are in transition, waiting to see who moves in to tackle whatever challenges might be facing the area. In the past couple of years we have seen neighborhoods experience wide and unexpected changes. The number of homes in foreclosure within one community often meant a “whole new lifecycle” began as those homes sold. The market changed some neighborhoods, this was sudden and in some cases drastic. Other neighborhoods change due to the age of homes and consequently the age of buyers.
There are challenging neighborhoods and often times we hear stories of long-time residents who band together to “resurrect” the community. It can bring neighbors together and create a strong sense of community when everyone works together to change a neighborhood. Sometimes new neighbors (buyers) will be the leading force in such a change. Again with this recent market some home buyers found they could afford a neighborhood that had been out of their financial reach before. Overcoming obstacles of a neighborhood is not for everyone, some buyers choose to wait to purchase in a neighborhood that is transforming or needs to transform, some buyers want to be the catalyst in the change. There is a risk, but you know it going in.
Discovering a neighborhood is "finding yourself" all over again - it is a chance to rekindle what is important to you. In fact, you might find that you have a neighborhood where you will live and another neighborhood in which you will work - and they might be close or far apart. You may have other neighborhoods where you shop or find your entertainment - but when you plan to move to an area, take the time to see beyond the minutes to work or school. Seeking out the soul of neighborhoods can ground you in a place and help you to understand where you fit in and how you can make a difference.
We live and work in the greater Plano area, let us help you discover the many neighborhoods in our market and find the one that is the perfect fit for you.
We have all heard the age old real estate adage: "Location, location, location!" But what does that really mean? For some, it is the proximity to certain features, for some it is a view or easy access to a golf course or a lake or the mountains. For others it might be the size of lots and distance between homes, and still others value the “walk-ability-score” or ability to walk for shopping, entertainment, eating, schools, work, healthcare, and transportation. Whatever you are seeking it boils down to one word: Neighborhood.
Some definitions of “neighborhood”:
A section lived in by neighbors and usually having distinguishing characteristics
A distinctive area: a district with characteristics that distinguish it from the areas around it
Vicinity, the general vicinity or surrounding area of a place
Often times when the word "neighborhood" is mentioned, it takes us back in time to our youth with remembered times and images of playing with friends in the cul-de-sac or street close to home, and mom calling kids for dinner. Sometimes those memories are centered on a specific house but often times it is more an area, street or streets, or a park – the overall landscape of our childhood. Neighborhood is a powerful word. It speaks of a sense of community, a sense of family, a sense of belonging. And it certainly can be part of our identity.
An attractive neighborhood can drive up the value of a property. The personality of a neighborhood shows up in the homes, yards, streets, schools, parks and stores that service the area.
When you are considering a property, especially with a family, you might want to familiarize yourself with the various neighborhoods in your target area. The best way to determine if a neighborhood will live up to its reputation is to spend time there. Visit the chamber of commerce for the town, and find the local newspapers online. Talk to people who have lived in that region and don't be afraid to ask the tough questions: what do they like and/or dislike about an area, and why?
It is always a good idea to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and evening – the feel and flow of a neighborhood may change significantly at different times of the day – if many of the residents work during the day and are home in the evenings you may discover an complete change in the neighborhood’s personality and the level of activity. How many cars are on the street? How do the outsides of the homes and buildings appear to you? Are there kids and families, and is that important to you? If there is a school within walking distance, how many kids are walking around the community, or is there a bus stop across the street from the home you have your eye on? Does that matter to you? Is there parking available – do people park in the street or in their driveways/garages?
Taking enough time when you visit neighborhoods can be difficult, but worthwhile. If you can get to the area where you will move, try to mimic your own daily routines as you explore. If it is a work day, seek to drive the streets around the times that you might leave and return from work. Explore where you might have dinner out at, how far is it to your favorite restaurant? Where is the nearest grocery store, is it one you prefer or will you have to travel to continue your shopping preferences? Where and how many gas stations are nearby? What route – and is there more than one – you can take to get to work? To your families and friends homes? To other places you visit frequently? Often times it appears you are closer to these type of places only to find that it take you much longer to get out of a neighborhood and to the main streets or maybe the main streets are easier to access therefore your commute time decreases.
For each home buyer there is a list of different important places, here are some to consider: medical care options including a doctor’s office, hospital, urgent care, dentist; place of worship; parks; library; lake/water; daycare; gym; walking paths; schools (all levels); post office; bank; hardware store; courthouse; police station; dry cleaner; pharmacy.
In our next article we continue to explore the neighborhood concept and how it relates to your real estate goals.
Until next time, remember our goal is to help you find your next home and getting you through the process is our expertise!
Next week is July 4th - our nation's birthday! Many of us celebrate cookout's, friends, family and baseball games - and of course fireworks! We wanted to share some fun facts and local events. However you choose to celebrate, we wish you a safe and relaxing holiday!
The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 2, 1776; the date of celebration was later revised when the final version was adopted 2 days later, July 4, 1776. However most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men representing the 13 colonies.
Three U.S. Presidents actually died on July 4th. John Adams & Thomas Jefferson actually died within hours of each in 1826. James Monroe died in 1831. Adams & Jefferson were the only signers of the Declaration who went on to be President.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President was born on July 4, 1831
31 places have “liberty” in their name; 4 of them are in Iowa.
11 places have “independence” in their name.
5 places have “freedom” in their name.
5 places are called “America”.
1 place has “patriot” in its name.
AREA FIREWORK SHOWS
Kaboom Town! Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Addison Circle Park
Spirit of Coppell Patriotic Parade Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 9 a.m.
The parade kicks off at the corner of Samuel Blvd. and Parkway Blvd., where it will proceed on Parkway Blvd. to the Town Center Plaza.
The S & P / Case-Shiller Home Price Index recently showed that home prices in 20 major metro areas have increased at the strongest pace in the past 5 years. North Texas pending sales are up 6.2%; pending sales tell us the market will continue at a strong pace. The Median Sold Price is up 13.1%.
Below you will find county-wide stats, to learn how your neighborhood is preforming contact us and we will provide a personalized report.
I am a spacious home located on a large corner lot with an in-ground diving pool! I am a ranch style home offering one level living with beautiful updates that include granite counter-tops, double ovens, a fireplace and of course a private master bath. I am immaculate and move-in ready! It is a great time for you to come see me for yourself and let's begin making life-long memories together!