Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 16, 2019

Popcorn Ceilings: What They Are, How to Get Rid of Them & Are They a Health Hazard?

 

Popcorn is great for lots of stuff. You can enjoy a big bucket with family and friends while at the movies, string it on a thread to give Christmas that old-fashioned touch and even turn it into questionable “treats” for Halloween. One place that it’s a lot less welcome is on the ceiling.

 

Unfortunately, too many homes still have popcorn ceilings. They often create a lot more questions than they answer.

 

What Is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Back in the day, someone had a brilliant idea.

What would happen if there was a cheaper alternative to meticulously applied plaster ceiling coating and decoration for homes? This person asked themselves. Well, that would be just lovely!

 

And that person wasn’t wrong in concept. It was practice that turned out to really be the killer.

Popcorn ceilings, the solution to the problem, are still around, largely haunting homes built between the 1930s and 1990s. The ceiling texture that oddly resembles cottage cheese far more than it does popcorn, was popular for its ease of application and, at the time, low maintenance requirement.

 

Popcorn Ceilings: The Kicker

Even if you don’t object to the generally dated appearance of a popcorn ceiling (hey, maybe retro’s your thing, we’re not judging), think twice before going all in because that house you’re looking at has one that’s still intact.

 

So many popcorn ceilings contain some amount of friable asbestos that they are generally not a great idea to keep around. Even though popcorn ceiling mixtures containing asbestos were banned under the Clean Air Act in 1979, the remaining mixes that hadn’t been purchased were still allowed to be sold. In some areas, this means that new installations of potentially hazardous popcorn ceilings lingered well into the 1980s.

 

If the asbestos wasn’t enough, many popcorn ceilings have been painted since they were installed, or were installed using paint as part of the initial mix. Lead-based paint was the norm until it was banned in 1978. It’s kind of a double-whammy.

 

Friable Versus Non-Friable Asbestos

There are two kinds of asbestos: friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos is the most dangerous kind, since any amount of disturbance can result in particles floating around in the air and being inhaled. This is not good news. Risks of free-floating asbestos can range from lung scarring to mesothelioma, an insidious and heartbreaking form of cancer. This is the kind in popcorn ceilings.

 

While non-friable asbestos isn’t a picnic, it’s a lot safer because the asbestos is encapsulated within another material. For example, older homes often have siding made of cement fiber-board tiles. These often contain asbestos, but unless you’re cutting the tiles, it’s safely contained.

 

There are very specific laws about dealing with both types of asbestos, but those surrounding friable asbestos are as much about protecting humans around the material as the environment. In most areas, homeowners are legally allowed to remove popcorn ceilings from their own homes, but it’s still a really good idea to at least have a test for asbestos before you try it.

 

Before You Even Think About Scraping That Ceiling

There are few things easier than removing a popcorn ceiling. A scraper and a lot of time will do the job, but the hazard to someone who goes in blindly cannot be understated. So, before you even think about scraping that ceiling, take some samples. Carefully.

Send one to a lab for testing for asbestos. Send another for testing for lead based paint (or use a high-quality at-home test kit). Wait until you have results to move forward.

If you test positive for either or both, consider calling in a pro. They have all the right equipment to ensure that asbestos doesn’t get loose in your home, where you, your family and your pets will be at risk of exposure. If you DIY this one, do not skimp on ventilators and other filters to keep any friable asbestos contained.

 

This is Definitely One for Your HomeKeepr Community

Usually, easy jobs are a slam dunk for DIY, but when it comes to one that can create such a significant risk to health and home, it’s really best to call on a home pro with the right kind of equipment to keep everyone safe.

 

Your HomeKeepr community is full of people who can help you with your popcorn ceiling woes. They can even recommend someone who can refinish that ceiling if your removal contractor doesn’t handle both. Just log in and your real estate agent will be more than happy to point you in the right direction with a recommendation from their extensive network of home pros.

May 16, 2019

Raising the Roof: Can You Lay New Shingles Over Old?

 

A house is more than just four walls and a roof (it has way more than four walls, for starters), but when your roof springs a leak, shingles start to blow away or age has just gotten the best of it, all you’re thinking about is that roof. You may ask yourself a few very serious questions, like “how am I going to pay for this?” and “what are my least expensive options?”

Pros and Cons of Re-roofing Your Home

First, a few terms to clarify any confusion. “Re-roofing” is a term that specifically applies to homes that have one or more layers of existing shingles and then have another one added to the pile. A roofing job that starts by removing all the old shingles is a “tear off.”

Homes are re-roofed every single day. There are plenty out there with several layers of shingles and the roof still functions more or less just fine. The houses underneath aren’t buckling, so it’s all good, right? Depends on the situation. This is a short list of pros and cons for choosing a re-roofing job:

  • Pro: Easier than a tear off. Re-roofing literally consists of climbing on the roof and putting new shingles on top of whatever is there. Instead of the ripping, tearing and banging lasting days, a re-roof is done in a fraction of the time because it’s so much less complicated.
  • Con: Re-roofing can cover up major roofing defects. Tear offs are more involved, it’s true, but by removing all the old shingles, your roofer can more easily locate defects and replace decking that’s been water damaged. This is also a good time to correct problems like incorrectly installed drip edge and to flash chimneys, exhaust vents and other vulnerable areas.
  • Pro: You can save a lot of money. Less labor generally means less cost, and it certainly applies to a re-roofing job. You won’t need to pay for removal and disposal of your old shingles because they’re not going anywhere and the lower number of man hours keeps cost way down.
  • Con: Your new shingles will likely not last as long as promised. Although some people claim that your roof will be just fine with an extra layer, the truth is that the only time that really applies is when the shingles below are perfectly flat, and even then they will likely have a shorter lifespan than shingles that are part of a tear off job. The extra layers of asphalt (that stuff they fill potholes with is also what the majority of shingles are made of) cause the roof to get hotter than it would with just one layer, breaking down both old and new shingles faster. Some roofers assert that layered shingles have life spans shortened by as much as 40 percent.

Subtle Issues to Complicate Things

When you need shingles for your roof, it’s best to get several quotes from different roofers. They’re going to give you the best idea about what is possible with the budget that you have. Because you can often lay other roof types over an intact asphalt shingle layer (for example, a metal roof over an asphalt one) without issue, it could be cheaper to go that route and avoid a tear-off entirely. But, this is only something your expert can tell you for sure.

Other things to consider when pondering the re-roofing issue include:

  • Resale potential. A house that has a lumpy roof is going to catch a lot of attention, even if that lumpy roof is brand new. It’s also going to show up on the inspection report, causing jittery buyers to run the other way. You might then be forced to settle for less for your home to simply be able to move on.
  • Local building codes. Many municipalities have building and fire codes that address shingles and the layers allowed. Generally two are permitted before a tear off is required. This isn’t because your local government is evil, it’s a safety issue for you and your home. Houses aren’t really built to support thousands upon thousands of pounds of shingles. Oh, and extra shingle layers can pose a serious hazard should a fire break out.
  • Glossing over serious damage. Re-roofing can sometimes turn into a bandage on an infected wound. There’s damage under the surface, but you can’t tell from all indicators. Even when roofers walk the roof looking for soft spots, they’re not stepping on each square inch, nor are they going to be able to tell that an area that still has some amount of integrity is badly damaged and will rot through in the near future. What you end up doing is covering up decking that could be bad or tar paper that’s shot (it helps protect your roof decking from water).

So Where Do You Find a Roofer?

If you’re looking for the best roofers in your area, there’s no better stop than HomeKeepr. The community will happily recommend their favorite roofers, now you can be confident in their work, too. At HomeKeepr, recommendations mean a lot more than reviews. Come check out all it has to offer for free!

May 15, 2019

Saying Goodbye to Your Family Home

 

It’s easy to tell yourself that your house is just a building made of walls and ceilings and light fixtures and flooring, but when it comes time to sell, you may start to feel the sting of grief.

After all, you don’t know if the new owners will take care of the rows and rows of brilliant iris that line the fence in the spring or if they’ll cut down the crepe myrtle because they don’t realize it waits for the first kiss of summer heat to spring back to life.

 

Will they paint your son’s former bedroom and cover up the mural he spent so much time creating? Will they take out the built-in desk and bookcases you made for your daughter?

Maybe saying goodbye isn’t the easy process you thought it would be.

 

Selling Your Family Home is a Type of Loss

When you’re selling your family home, it’s not just a building that you’re saying goodbye to. It’s all the memories you made there, the familiariarity and, maybe most importantly, the security of that one place you could always fall back to if life started kicking you too hard. This goes for the house that you raised your kids in as well as the house where you were raised — both are genuine losses.

 

“You’re dismantling something that was once precious, and you have to go through grief and mourning when this happens.” psychologist Dr. Arthur Kovacs explained in an interview with the Chicago Times.

 

Of course, that’s only part of the story. Another element that makes it so hard to quit a family home is the link between memory and physical space. When your memories are tangled in with your home, it can be hard to let go.

 

“We have memories and associations that are connected to all of those things that make houses so heavily connected to ourselves,” Duke University’s department of psychology and neuroscience chair, Dr. Scott Huettel, goes on to explain the phenomenon to the New York Times.

 

Easing Into Selling Your Family Home

Much of the time when you’re looking to sell a family home, it’s due to a big change in life. Maybe your kids have all left home and you’re planning to downsize or maybe your parents have died and you’re having to liquidate their estate. No matter the reason, it’s one of the hardest things you can do, even if you think you’re totally prepared.

How do you get ready for such a big sacrifice? It’s all about your mindset. Start to detach from the house by taking down and packing anything that’s personal. This includes photos, crafted decorations, paintings and so forth. As you take these things off the walls, the space starts to become more generic, less personal and it gets easier to consider selling the house.

If you’re still feeling the pain at this point, work on other parts of the house. Remember that crack in the wall from four years ago when the game controller flew from your daughter’s hand and hit the drywall at full force? Patch that up. Your buyer probably won’t even notice it, but you will. Sterilize your home until you can bear to sign the papers

 

When the Offer Comes Through

The day will come that you get an offer. Resist the urge to flat out reject it, no matter the price. This is where the rubber meets the road — it’s now grossly apparent that you’re selling the house you poured so much of yourself into rather than just thinking about it.

It’s time for a wake.

 

Maybe you’d be better to call it a “remembrance party” or something a little cheerier, but the whole point is to say goodbye in a big way so you can get the closure you need. Some people go room by room to have one last good walk down memory lane, others celebrate by doing something they hadn’t gotten around to doing, like hosting a luau.

 

Your goodbye will be best if you do it in a way that’s meaningful to you and your family. There aren’t really any shortcuts when it comes to grief, unfortunately. Don’t beat yourself up, it’s not “just a house.” That’s the building that sheltered and protected you year after year. That’s the stuff that attachment is made of.

 

When You’re Ready to List…

The market’s heating up even as you’re reading this blog. If you’ve been thinking about downsizing, this is a great time to sell that big home and move into something more energy efficient and easier to care for. You’re not alone in your efforts, your HomeKeepr community has your back all the way. With the best real estate agents, movers, handymen, painters and other home pros at your disposal, your sale will go smoothly so that all you have to focus on is your last hurrah in your home.

Posted in Home Owner, Real Estate
May 15, 2019

5 Things to Consider Before Listing Your Home as a Short Term Rental

 

All homes have quirks that require special care and consideration, but when it comes to homes with basements, it’s a whole different ball game. Instead of fighting with the lightswitch on the north wall, you’re trying to keep the carpet dry and catch any water long before it becomes a problem.

 

Waterproofing the basement can be useful if water is seeping in, but there are also plenty of easy DIY friendly things you can do around the house to keep more water out of your basement.

 

Basements Aren’t Swimming Pools

Your basement is more than just a cement-lined hole in the ground, it’s a part of your home like your kitchen or your bedroom. Unlike those rooms, many basements can develop problems with water, either coming in from outside or coming down from the floor above. Water in a basement can result in higher humidity levels, musty odors and the rapid growth of mold colonies.

 

Your basement isn’t meant to be a swimming pool. It’s high time you found out where your water is coming from so you can cure it for good.

 

Keeping the Water Where It Belongs

Even a little bit of water seeping into your basement on the regular is cause for concern. Besides the mold and foul smells mentioned above, that water helps encourage pests that need moist environments, like, say, cockroaches.

Don’t encourage mold and bugs. Instead, try these easy ways to keep that water out of the basement:

 

  1. Check the grading around your house. As water flows around a home’s foundation year after year, it’s reasonable to expect that some erosion will occur. A little bit is not a big deal, but that little bit usually turns into a lot as time goes by. Eventually, you may even end up with a negative grade, essentially a grade in your yard that diverts water to your house rather than away from it. It’s not difficult to regrade the land around your house, though it can mean a lot of labor. Check out Today’s Homeowner’s tutorial to get started!
  2.  
  3. Ensure that all gutters and downspouts are in working order. Water that spills over the sides of your gutters is water that can go anywhere it pleases. That’s why clean gutters are so important to keeping water out of your basement. Clean those gutters at least twice a year (and be extra thorough right after the last leaves have fallen) and check that all your joints are fitting well. Water from the garden hose can help you figure out where problems exist, if any. Other add-ons like splash blocks and downspout extensions further redirect water once it’s on the ground.
  4.  
  5. Maintain basement window wells. Not every basement house will have window wells. But if yours does and they’ve been neglected a good long while, they could be contributing to your water issue. Clean them out, lay down some fresh gravel and put new window well caps on to drive water away from your basement windows. You may end up needing an expert to help, depending on how much damage water and wet leaves sitting against the window frames has caused.
  6.  
  7. Check the plumbing. It may be unpleasant to consider, but if that water isn’t coming from outside, then it has to be coming from inside. Leaky toilets and shower drains are always suspect, but any part of the plumbing system could have a small persistent leak. If you can find it, you can fix it and stop any potential damage that could be happening overhead, too.
  8.  
  9. Examine your furnace air handler. When your run your air conditioner, room air is pulled into your furnace or air handler, run across something called an a-coil (due to its shape) and pushed back out much colder than when it started. In the brief moments that the room air is above the a-coil, it drops a significant amount of water into a pan below as it rapidly changes temperature. From there, the water goes away through a condensation line. This is what happens in a perfect world. In a world where people don’t’ always maintain their air handlers like they should, the condensation line can get plugged up, causing the pan in the furnace to overflow onto the floor. If this looks to be the case, it’s often a fairly easy fix. With the HVAC system turned off, remove as much water as you can from the condensation pan, then fill the condensation line with vinegar. Let it sit until it’s freely draining once again.
  10.  

These tips should help solve your basement water problem, but if it continues to reoccur, waterproofing or installing a sump pump (or both!) may be warranted. Generally, if your water issue is more than a small puddle, it’s better to just to go ahead and call in a pro rather than to continue to beat your head against the problem.

 

Where Can You Find the Best Basement Pros Around?

They’re members of the HomeKeepr community! Just log in, ask your HomeKeepr family for some recommendations and you’re already well on your way to a dry basement you’ll love to spend time in. Since other pros are staking their reputations on the referrals they’re giving, you know the expert you hire will be the best!

 

Posted in Home Owner, Real Estate
May 15, 2019

Garbage Disposal Care – Tips and Tricks

The modern world has so much to offer, from microwaves that can talk to your favorite smart home assistant to refrigerators that can remind you you’re out of milk. It’s amazing that something as innocuous as the garbage disposal remains relatively unchanged since its inception.

Time marches ever on, leaving the garbage disposal essentially untouched and easily ignored. This is why it’s so important to take proper care of the indispensable kitchen appliance that spends most of its time being wholly overlooked.

Garbage Disposals: Safety First

Before you begin to do anything with your garbage disposal, it’s important to understand how much potential for disaster it represents. You can grind bone, ice and other hard objects with this appliance, don’t think for a second that it will somehow spare your fingers and hands should you stick them inside.

Instead of risking digits, always use tongs or other long grabbing tools to retrieve things that have fallen inside. It doesn’t matter if it’s your wedding band or your keys, your garbage disposal can become a very seriously dangerous machine if you just go poking around in there.

Caring for Your Garbage Disposal

After that cautionary section, you may be wondering if your garbage disposal deserves to be maintained, especially if it’s just going to turn on you. Garbage disposal accidents are generally the result of a lack of care and improper use. So, go on, check out these tips for keeping it in prime shape:

  • A clean disposal is a happy disposal. When you’ve run your disposal, put a little dish soap inside and run the cold water. This will help keep smells down and also flush out any remaining food particles. Dropping citrus peels inside and grinding can also improve the situation.
  • Only put food in it. Only biodegradable items should go inside the disposal. Really, only food and not even every type of food. Lots of fats, for example, will clog the disposal faster than anything. Pasta, rice and other expanding foods can also be a problem for your disposal and plumbing.
  • Grind some hard things to keep the blade sharp. Bones and ice are hard enough to sharpen the blades, so don’t forget to toss a few in from time to time. Do not feed your disposal fibrous foods like celery, even though they are sometimes thought of as hard food items. The fibers can tangle around the moving parts and interfere with function.
  • Always use cold water. Flushing with hot water will melt fats inside, making it hard for your disposal to do much with them. Instead, always use cold water, which will cause those fats to solidify, so they can be broken up and flushed away. A little fat in the disposal is ok, don’t pour lots of fat into the plumbing, though, unless you want to call a plumber.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals. Although a degreaser can help your disposal stay clean and live longer, other harsh chemicals should be avoided. Drain cleaners in particular are very hard on disposals, They can and will damage your disposal. Best to use a plunger or hand crank the disposal to break up jams. If that won’t do it, call in a pro.

Need More Garbage Disposal Help?

Whether you need a new garbage disposal because your old one has given up the ghost or you just need help with a unit that won’t do its job quite right, the home pros in the HomeKeepr community have your back. Just login and ask your real estate agent to recommend a plumber who can help you get your disposal game back on track.

May 13, 2019

5 Easy Ways to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

All homes have quirks that require special care and consideration, but when it comes to homes with basements, it’s a whole different ball game. Instead of fighting with the lightswitch on the north wall, you’re trying to keep the carpet dry and catch any water long before it becomes a problem.

 

Waterproofing the basement can be useful if water is seeping in, but there are also plenty of easy DIY friendly things you can do around the house to keep more water out of your basement.

 

Basements Aren’t Swimming Pools

Your basement is more than just a cement-lined hole in the ground, it’s a part of your home like your kitchen or your bedroom. Unlike those rooms, many basements can develop problems with water, either coming in from outside or coming down from the floor above. Water in a basement can result in higher humidity levels, musty odors and the rapid growth of mold colonies.

 

Your basement isn’t meant to be a swimming pool. It’s high time you found out where your water is coming from so you can cure it for good.

 

Keeping the Water Where It Belongs

Even a little bit of water seeping into your basement on the regular is cause for concern. Besides the mold and foul smells mentioned above, that water helps encourage pests that need moist environments, like, say, cockroaches.

 

Don’t encourage mold and bugs. Instead, try these easy ways to keep that water out of the basement:

 

  1. Check the grading around your house. As water flows around a home’s foundation year after year, it’s reasonable to expect that some erosion will occur. A little bit is not a big deal, but that little bit usually turns into a lot as time goes by. Eventually, you may even end up with a negative grade, essentially a grade in your yard that diverts water to your house rather than away from it. It’s not difficult to regrade the land around your house, though it can mean a lot of labor. Check out Today’s Homeowner’s tutorial to get started!
  2.  
  3. Ensure that all gutters and downspouts are in working order. Water that spills over the sides of your gutters is water that can go anywhere it pleases. That’s why clean gutters are so important to keeping water out of your basement. Clean those gutters at least twice a year (and be extra thorough right after the last leaves have fallen) and check that all your joints are fitting well. Water from the garden hose can help you figure out where problems exist, if any. Other add-ons like splash blocks and downspout extensions further redirect water once it’s on the ground.
  4.  
  5. Maintain basement window wells. Not every basement house will have window wells. But if yours does and they’ve been neglected a good long while, they could be contributing to your water issue. Clean them out, lay down some fresh gravel and put new window well caps on to drive water away from your basement windows. You may end up needing an expert to help, depending on how much damage water and wet leaves sitting against the window frames has caused.
  6.  
  7. Check the plumbing. It may be unpleasant to consider, but if that water isn’t coming from outside, then it has to be coming from inside. Leaky toilets and shower drains are always suspect, but any part of the plumbing system could have a small persistent leak. If you can find it, you can fix it and stop any potential damage that could be happening overhead, too.
  8.  
  9. Examine your furnace air handler. When your run your air conditioner, room air is pulled into your furnace or air handler, run across something called an a-coil (due to its shape) and pushed back out much colder than when it started. In the brief moments that the room air is above the a-coil, it drops a significant amount of water into a pan below as it rapidly changes temperature. From there, the water goes away through a condensation line. This is what happens in a perfect world. In a world where people don’t’ always maintain their air handlers like they should, the condensation line can get plugged up, causing the pan in the furnace to overflow onto the floor. If this looks to be the case, it’s often a fairly easy fix. With the HVAC system turned off, remove as much water as you can from the condensation pan, then fill the condensation line with vinegar. Let it sit until it’s freely draining once again.
  10.  

These tips should help solve your basement water problem, but if it continues to reoccur, waterproofing or installing a sump pump (or both!) may be warranted. Generally, if your water issue is more than a small puddle, it’s better to just to go ahead and call in a pro rather than to continue to beat your head against the problem.

 

Where Can You Find the Best Basement Pros Around?

They’re members of the HomeKeepr community! Just log in, ask your HomeKeepr family for some recommendations and you’re already well on your way to a dry basement you’ll love to spend time in. Since other pros are staking their reputations on the referrals they’re giving, you know the expert you hire will be the best!

 

March 22, 2019

Should You Jump Into the Current Real Estate Market?

 

Deciding you’re ready to buy a house is a big moment in your life, whether it’s a first time purchase or you’re snatching up yet another investment property. The home buying process is fraught with dangers, both real and imagined, as well as very real financial risks.

That’s why there are so many pieces of advice about when to buy a house. The truth is that there’s no one answer for anyone. Because market conditions can vary dramatically, there’s no way to safely predict if or when the neighborhood you’re looking at will be ripe for the picking. These are the times when having a really knowledgeable Realtor comes in handy.

Today’s Real Estate Market: An Overview

You should have some idea of what you’re walking into before you jump in the real estate market. Sometimes, there’s way too much supply (too many houses for sale) and not enough buyers — this is a “buyer’s market,” and that’s who has the upper hand in negotiations. Sometimes there are too many buyers and not enough supply — a “seller’s market.” Often, there are roughly balanced parts supply and buyers, which makes for a very healthy and predictable market.

We’re not in a healthy and predictable market at the national level. There are currently way too many buyers who want to buy at any price and not nearly enough new homes being built, nor are there enough existing homes to meet demand. Generally, this would push prices up. However, since interest rates are increasing, some buyers are starting to get squeezed out of the market entirely, which should be pushing prices back down, but doesn’t seem to be.

What we seem to have right now, as of the writing of this blog, is a market that’s sort of stalling. Normally, the summer is the craziest time of the year for Realtors — no one wants to pull their kid out of school mid-year to move across the city. And although many Realtors are reporting that they have plenty of potential, well-qualified buyers, they’re fighting over scraps as the supply continues to shrink.

Should You Be Trying to Buy Right Now?

Depending on who you are and where you are in your life journey, the competitive, weirdly stalled market we have this year may be as good a time as any for you to buy. Below is a brief breakdown of major buyer types and how the market could affect them if they were to buy today:

First time homebuyers. Jumping into the real estate market as a first timer is always a little terrifying, but the current market may give you a serious complex. If you’re buying a house to live in, not one that you expect will make you a bundle down the road, and your life is fairly settled, there’s no time like the present to go down the home purchase road. Just bear in mind that you will probably have to write several offers before you land that starter home — give yourself plenty of time for houses that will get away.

Maturing family. When you’re looking for that last house, the one you’re going to send your kids away to college from, the most important thing is finding a house that’s suitable for your family. There’s no time that’s better or worse for this purchase, especially if your plan is to hold it indefinitely. Sure, you may end up paying a little bit more now than you would have a couple of years ago, but the value you get from living in the house, as well as natural appreciation, generally ensure you come out a little bit ahead. It beats renting, anyway.

Empty nester. Aging in place is the thing these days, and for good reason. That just creates one big problem: not enough inventory that will accommodate mobility equipment like walkers and wheelchairs that you may ultimately need. Housing starts are really rising, though, so you might as well visit a few Open Houses to see if there’s a builder out there that you can picture building the home where you’ll retire. Although existing homes can work for your needs, new construction gives you the option to create an age in place friendly universal design from the foundation up.

Investor. Investors! You are literally the only group on this list that should be seriously concerned about the timing of your purchases. Since owner-occupied homes tend to be held for the long term, the risk to those buyers is minimal, but you’re looking to buy and almost immediately start making money.

Finding a good price on a listed home may be tricky right now, but switching gears to the building of new homes will introduce a lot of competition. Buying and holding properties as rentals could pay off, but only if you really buy them right. Now may not be a great time for you to buy if you have investments that are already paying for themselves. It would, however, be a pretty good time to unload properties that you’ve fully depreciated or those that just really don’t fit in with your portfolio.

When it comes down to it, the biggest factor you should be considering when purchasing real estate that you intend to occupy is whether or not you’re really ready for homeownership. A close second, of course, is whether or not you can really afford a house, but your Realtor and mortgage lender will help you with that part.

You’ll have to decide for yourself if today is a good day to buy, there’s no way to know what the market will look like in five to 10 years when you may want to buy again.

Let Your Realtor Be Your Guide…

Just like the HomeKeepr community helps you find home pros that can fix just about any problem you might have related to your current or future home, your Realtor is the best person to go to when it comes to the question of timing your real estate purchase. If they tell you to punch it, then all systems go.

Don’t forget your HomeKeepr family as you move through the various buying stages, from securing your mortgage to having your home inspected and appraised. Finding the experts you need is as simple as logging in to HomeKeepr!

 

  •  
Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 25, 2019

The Secrets of Wealthy Home Sellers: Free Book!

 

Are you ready to tap into the best-kept secrets of successful home sellers? You can sell any home in any market when you know these secrets. This book reveals the most effective tactics to get the most money out of your home in the shortest amount of time. These strategies have helped sell thousands of homes, and now, you have them all at your fingertips. 

 

The Ultimate home selling secrets.

 

Inside you will find:

  • The Easiest Way To Sell Your Home For More Money
  • What Most Buyers Look For In a Home
  • How to Answer Nosy Buyer Questions
  • Why Price Isn't The Only Reason Homes Don't Sell
  • How to Avoid Costly Mistakes by Knowing Your Home's True Value
  • How to Win Negotiations and Get More Money
  • And much, much more

 

These strategies have been thoroughly tested and proven effective time and time again. Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn tips and tricks employed by the wealthiest home sellers!

 

If you would like to have a copy of our free book, The Secret of Wealthy Home Sellers send us an email at christy@thedunfeegroup.com along with your Full Name, Address, and Phone Number.

Posted in Free Books
Feb. 25, 2019

Did your Home Listing Expire: Free Book



We want to help disprove the misconception that the only reason a home expires is because it's overpriced. Instead, this book focuses on home-selling strategies — like staging, high-quality photos, and marketing techniques — that can sell even hard-to-sell homes. Yes dropping the price of a home is a proven method to selling a home. By focusing first on alternative factors can help you as a seller make confident decisions through out the selling process.  

 

What's inside:

  • Why listing price isn't the only factor that affects a sale
  • What stops "perfect" homes from selling
  • How to sell a home that didn't sell — without dropping the price
  • Marketing techniques to improve the chances of selling
  • Negotiation tips and tricks
  • When should hiring a real estate agent, be considered

If you would like to have a copy of our free book, SOLD! How to sell homes Others Couldn't Sell send us an email at christy@thedunfeegroup.com  along with your Full Name, Address, and Phone Number.

Posted in Free Books
Feb. 6, 2019

Downsizing, minimalism, or decluttering?

Dream about simplifying your life but don’t know where to start? Join a growing movement! More and more people and families these days are dreaming of a simpler life – and that usually starts with getting rid of stuff that’s holding you down. Maybe you’ve started thinking about downsizing or minimalism, but don’t know where to begin. Here’s the difference between downsizing, minimalism and just plain decluttering.

 

See what makes sense to you and start enjoying life more.

WHAT IS DOWNSIZING?

You’ve probably heard about downsizing when moving to a smaller place to live.

Downsizing is all about getting rid of stuff to fit the place or environment that needs to house the stuff.

So, for instance, you might live in a four bedroom house. You are moving into a two bedroom apartment. You will need to downsize to fit into your new space.

Which means you’ll have to get rid of the furniture that was in those two extra rooms you previously had, because there will likely be no room for it in your new place. So even though you might love the beds and dresser drawers and bedding sets that you had in the two rooms, you need to get rid of them or store them somewhere because there is no room for the stuff.

That is downsizing.

Notice that you might still like all of the stuff. You haven’t dreamed of giving it up before. And it might bring you joy. But the amount of space that you have to live in simply won’t hold it.

It’s like a drawer full of kitchen utensils. You simply can’t add one more spoon, whisk, or strainer unless you get rid of something else. There is only so much space in one place. You must downsize (get rid of stuff) before you can add anything new to that drawer.

 

WHAT IS MINIMALISM?

Minimalism is similar to downsizing, but it also can be drastically different. It all depends on your outlook.

Deciding to practice minimalism might be because you’re tired of having too much stuff. It’s similar to downsizing in that way, because you want to get rid of things that don’t work in your life anymore.

You might feel that you want to practice minimalism because you’re moving into a one room apartment garage to save money. You have got to get rid of everything that is not necessary because you have so little room.

So, downsizing can mean minimalism sometimes.

But sometimes it does not.

Minimalism is all about getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy anymore or that are holding you back emotionally, financially, spiritually or simply not allowing you to live the life that you want.

Notice that minimalism is not trying to fit your stuff into a defined amount of space. Minimalism is about creating a bigger space in your soul to allow more things in.

You can be a minimalist and still own lots of stuff and live in a big house. In fact, here are the ways you can become a minimalist without getting rid of anything.

 

There’s a lot of talk about minimalistic living lately. Is it a cultural fad or a new way of thinking about truly living in life? Time will tell. But in the meantime, you can go nuts reading all about everyone’s minimalism stories and how they have achieved bliss by giving away everything.

 

It’s not that easy. Trust me. (I actually secretly hate the word minimalism, here’s my story why.)

And you don’t have to sell everything you own to achieve a simpler life.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you should ONLY do what feels right to you in your life in this moment of time. Do NOT follow someone’s minimalism checklist or downsizing guidelines to get rid of all of your stuff. That worked for their situation. It might not work for yours. (In fact, I hope it doesn’t work for your life. We’re not all cookie cutter lives, you know.)

If you’re totally confused about how to go about downsizing and simplifying your life, here are some examples of the difference between downsizing vs. minimalism:

EXAMPLE 1

You’ve got a guest spare bedroom that’s full of furniture for guests, and lot of “stuff” that you don’t know what to do with.

  • Downsizing: Find places to put all of those bags and boxes of little things that have accumulated in the bedroom so that your guests have a place to sleep when they come over.
  • Minimalism: Realize that you hate having house guests, anyway, and paying for the square footage for someone else to enjoy. Get rid of all of the stuff in the bedroom and turn it into a yoga studio for you to exercise, meditate and take care of yourself.

EXAMPLE 2

Your kitchen cabinets are bursting at the seams. You can’t find anything in your kitchen drawers and cabinets.

  • Downsizing: Get rid of the extra kitchen gadgets you don’t need (do you NEED three food processors??) and organize your drawers and cabinets.
  • Minimalism: Realize that you hate baking and only open the oven to bake Christmas cookies. Give away all of your baking sheets, mixers and everything you never use to family or friends and rid yourself of the guilt that you should be baking homemade treats.

EXAMPLE 3

You don’t have enough room in your pantry to store all of the food that your family eats in a week.

  • Downsizing: Stop buying as much food and decide to make more frequent trips to the grocery store.
  • Minimalism: Realize that you hate grocery shopping. You’d rather do it once every two weeks (or snag great deals on food by ordering online) rather than twice in one week. So you convert an underutilized closet or space in the garage to store more food so that you don’t waste more time in a week doing something that you don’t love.

Do you see how downsizing and minimalism can be drastically different? Downsizing doesn’t always make life any simpler, it just means having less stuff. Minimalism doesn’t have to always mean getting rid of your stuff, it’s all about creating a simple life that you enjoy.

WHAT ABOUT DECLUTTERING?

Maybe you’re not ready for downsizing or minimalistic living yet.

That’s OKAY!

Downsizing is all about fitting stuff into a certain space and minimalism is all about changing your way of thinking. You might not be in a place of life where you’re ready to change houses or do too much emotional thinking.

That’s alright.

But maybe the clutter is still driving you nuts in your life.

That’s where decluttering comes in.

Decluttering is not always about getting rid of anything. Or making hard choices of how to live your life from now on.

Instead, decluttering is about taking what you have now and putting it in order.

Decluttering is more about organization, finding the right space for what you currently own, and making your home pretty and clean. A fantastic book that is packed with practical information is Organizing Plain and Simple. If you need short bursts of inspiration to organize, this book has everything for organizing your life. I refer to it a lot.

You certainly can get rid of bags of clothes that don’t fit anymore, junk mail, broken gadgets, etc.

 

But notice that decluttering is more about finally getting rid of trash or useless items in your life. Rather than trying to get rid of things that you love or changing your mindset of how to live your life.

 

I think decluttering is super important for your health, both emotionally and physically! In fact, by decluttering you can get rid of potentially harmful things that might be impacting your health in your home. Take my 30 Day Declutter Plan for a Healthy Home to detox your life and get organized, too!

PLUS, we have a great tutorial on How to Declutter Your Bedroom for Better Sleep Tonight. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference!

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on downsizing vs. minimalism vs. decluttering. How have you simplified your life by rethinking your stuff?