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Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home

Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you’re not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don’t pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you’re unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

Source:  http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/top-10-expensive-mistakes/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email

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Speed Along the Real Estate Transaction with a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Speed Along the Real Estate Transaction with a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

Arguably one of the more significant steps of the home-buying process is the home inspection. Done properly, the home inspection allows buyers to gain a clear understanding of the property they are about to purchase as well as provide sellers the knowledge of what can (or should) be improved at their home.

As the real estate market becomes increasingly competitive and consumer confidence rises, buyers and sellers are more motivated to seek opportunities to close deals efficiently. That’s why real estate professionals often suggest a pre-listing home inspection — an inspection prior to putting the home on the market. Pre-listing inspections provide an added benefit for the buyer, seller and real estate agent, and often allows sales transaction to be completed more quickly.

Here are some key points to remember for your pre-listing inspection:

Involve your Real Estate Agent

When it comes to real estate, agents are pros and they play a key role in moving the home buying transaction along. During a pre-listing inspection, agents know what questions to ask the inspector to be sure they fully understand any issues, and to alleviate client concerns. Good real estate agents take the time to work with their clients post-inspection to go over the inspection report. Their goal is to make sure buyers and sellers fully understand the findings of the inspection report.

Build Trust with the Buyer

For homebuyers, a pre-listing inspection builds confidence. It allows buyers to immediately know all the under-the-surface details within the home. If there are parts of the home that need fixing, the seller’s repairs can increase the asking price or be touted in the listing description to help a home stand out. Where repair issues are identified but not repaired, credibility through disclosure is gained and the issue is factored into the pricing upfront. In each case, sellers who disclose the condition of a home upfront gain the trust and faith in a buyer during the initial stages of their purchasing decision.

Spotlight Your Home

A pre-listing home inspection report is a great marketing tool for sellers and agents because it clearly points out the best features of the property. Any recent home renovations will be noted and stand out to buyers. These updates can offer both aesthetic and mechanical value with items such as new flooring, new appliances or a new furnace or air conditioning unit. A home buyer likes to see updates have been made to the home as they are often costly — and it reassures them the home is properly maintained. This assurance will help to accelerate the transaction.

Planning Can Save Time and Money

For the seller, a pre-listing home inspection allows for time to make repairs before putting the house on the market. They can then make these repairs on their own budget and timeline rather than having to pay for a buyer’s contractor to quickly complete the work.

Remember, the goal of a home inspection is to provide a true reflection of the issues concerning the home and offer a non-alarmist, practical solution. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of professionals ensures important things aren’t missed, reports are received in a timely fashion and all parties are enabled to move the home smoothly and successfully through the real estate transaction.

Source:  https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1002898-20170608-speed-along-the-real-estate-transaction-with-a-pre-listing-home-inspection?rtmpage=null

 

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Are Colorful Kitchen Appliances the Next Big Trend?

Move over, black, white and stainless steel — appliances in a variety of bright colors are starting to sizzle

White and gray may be holding steady as the most popular colors for kitchens, but I’m noticing a definite uptick in interest in adding touches of more vibrant hues into the mix. One way homeowners are seeking to introduce color is through appliances in unexpected shades, such as magenta, lime green and coral.
Source: https://www.houzz.com/magazine/are-colorful-kitchen-appliances-the-next-big-trend-stsetivw-vs~119323395?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u10410&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery1_1&newsletterId=10410
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It’s a Whole New Zestimate as Zillow Announces $1 Million Winners – Or Is It?

Is Zillow’s Zestimate about to get better? It depends on how you define “better.” First, some background:

We have written extensively about Zillow’s proprietary home valuation tool, which, according to the company, “is calculated from public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions.” Buyers and sellers love to hate the tool—or just plain hate it depending on their circumstances (and their understanding of how far off Zestimates typically are).

Forbes commented last year that, “Online home value estimators are far better than they were a few years ago but they aren’t comparable to value estimates made by professional appraisers. They’re great data points for home sellers to have as long as they realize that online home value estimates are just ballpark estimates.”

Zillow says their current median error rate on pricing accuracy is 4.5%—more in places like Seattle, where Zillow is headquartered and where the error rate is up to 4.7%, “which amounts to $35,000 on the median home,” said the Seattle Times. Still, some remain incredulous. The Balance recently took a look at four real-world sales in central California to draw comparisons with their Zestimate:

• One property in Midtown Sacramento had a Zestimate of $380,733 and “sold at $349,000, after almost 6 months on the market, with plenty of exposure. In this case, the Zillow estimate was about 9 percent too high.”
• The second was a custom waterfront property in Sacramento with a Zestimate of $983,097 that sold for $1,085,000, 10 percent above Zillow’s number. “If the sellers had relied on the Zillow estimate, they would have lost more than $100,000, which is no small change.”
• House No. 3 was near the University of California, Davis. “Zillow valued that home at $1,230,563, but it sold for $1,495,000. That Zestimate was more than 20 percent too low.
• The fourth home, in Elk Grove sold for $565,500, 16 percent more than its Zillow estimate of $488,711.

$1 million on the line

To address discrepancies in home values and improve upon their algorithm, Zillow launched a contest two years ago that attracted data scientists from around the world.
They just announced the winners; Team ChaNJestimate, comprised of Moroccan Chahhou Mohamed, American Jordan Meyer, and Canadian Nima Shahbazi will split the prize money.

But, before you get too excited, consider this: “On average, Zillow said, the Zestimate is $10,000 off the actual sale price for a median-priced home of about $223,900, and the information gleaned from the Zillow prize winnings could shave $1,300 off that discrepancy,” said MarketWatch. “It also moves the Zestimate’s national median error rate below 4%.”

So, if the current Zestimate really is at 4.5%, we’re not looking at a ton of improvement. It begs the questions: Was it worth the million? Will we really get beneath 4%? Would that be an acceptable error rate if we did?

Source:  https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1024249-it-s-a-whole-new-zestimate-as-zillow-announces-one-million-dollar-winners?rtmpage=null

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How High-Tech Paint Gives You a Competitive Edge

More often than not, a remodeling project includes a fresh coat of paint. However, not all paint is created equal, and that can affect your work. “Professionals should be comfortable and confident in making a [paint] recommendation,” says Glenn Cooper, the vice president of product development at Benjamin Moore. Below, he shares how innovations in paint produce better results and provide peace of mind.
Source: https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/114378472?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u10122&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery0_1_sb&newsletterId=10122
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How to Properly Light Your Kitchen Counters

Like a canvas is to an artist, so a countertop is to the home chef. It’s a workspace that requires proper lighting to create a safe, functional and comfortable environment. If you’re remodeling your kitchen or just looking for a quick update, working with your home professional to place lights in the proper location will make your kitchen work better for you while adding beauty to the heart of your home.
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How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers for Good

Getting your kitchen storage organized and working well is very satisfying, but it can be hard to know where to begin — especially if you’ve been using your kitchen for awhile and are used to its quirks. To help, here’s a quick guide to the best ways to organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers by grouping items by type, storing them near where you use them and getting rid of what you’re not using.
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Maison & Objet: 7 Color Trends to Watch in 2019

Since 1995, the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris has been one of the most important international gatherings for professionals in lifestyle, interiors and design. Held twice a year, the event brings together about 3,000 exhibitors and nearly 90,000 visitors, half of whom come from outside France. Houzz editors scouted the recent January show to find this year’s biggest ideas, including the colors we can expect to see on bedding, walls and more in 2019 and beyond.
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The Power of Staging Your Home to Sell

Often times the smallest changes can enhance a home’s “showability” when it is offered to the public for inspection. Sellers don’t seem to realize when “too much of their home” is showing. Staging your home for its finest presentation requires a room by room critique to offer the best first impressions.

Accentuate the Positive

When studying a room, the first point your eye catches should be a positive one. For example, a home with a massive fireplace commands the first attention spot. However, poor placement of furniture, too many “comfy” afghans and plenty of books and magazines will distort the simplicity of the rooms greatest asset. Add last night’s empty pizza box and full ashtrays and any prospective buyer will less appreciate the fine points the home would have offered.

Here is a list of ten points to keep in mind when staging your home for buyer inspections:

1. Start packing the belongings you absolutely do not need to “live.” Extra books, magazines, kids artwork, afghans that don’t match the decor should be boxed and labeled for your next home. Extra knick-knacks from Christmas, cluttered bulletin boards and several months bank statements can easily be stored away. Kitchens are the biggest culprits as they are such a busy meeting place in the home. Discount coupons, excessive decorative magnets, photos, etc. really catch the eye of the overwhelmed buyer. The top of the refrigerator is the largest collector of sometimes used gadgets. Unless you use your “wok” daily, it is better to clear the top and the front of your refrigerator to make the kitchen a little simpler. Convenient appliances also do better when tucked away so counters look cleaner and sharper. Please check switchplates for fingerprints and smudges, as those are the first places to get noticed. Doorbells are another place that fingerprints are evident. Be sure you are making the right first impression.

2. Family rooms are for relaxing, and need to be staged for crisp impressions and not your lazy evenings! Fold up grandma’s afghans, get rid of tired pillows, and pack up slippers, and cribbage sets for neat and clean appearances. Leftover smolderings in the fireplace can add a stale scent to the room. Give extra attention to removing ashes to avoid the less appreciated smokey smells from last nights fire.

3. Bedrooms are other places we enjoy our conveniences the most. Having our robes and slippers waiting for us does not offer top exposure to a viewing family. Get closets slimmed down for a generous look. Freshen with a soft potpourri to diminish the stale odors that come with humidity and small confined places. Although we like our shades and blinds pulled for sleeping hours generally all buyers are drawn to a light, airy and bright room, so open up all window treatments to maximize brightness. With windows being exposed, be sure they are really clean and sparkling. A house really shows its best when it looks like it has been cared for. Remove jewelry and other small personal items from dresser tops. Clean and simple sells the best.

4. The most inexpensive way to brighten a home besides a fresh coat of paint is to increase the wattage in light bulbs. That small guest room may be seldom used, but needs to look bigger and brighter to an interested buyer. Be sure the lamp can handle a stronger bulb and invest in a 3-way if possible. When you know that a showing is scheduled be sure to turn on every light bulb in the house for the best showing potential. Look around model homes, you will notice all the lights are always on, even on sunny days! This is not the time to conserve electricity – it’s part of your marketing plan. If you have a room that shows particularly dark, put in an interesting lamp and leave it on most of the time. It will help the buyer leave with a brighter impression of the rest of the home.
5. Everybody has a “junk” room or closet. It’s acceptable not to be perfect throughout, but minimize the clutter to one room, desk, or area and you are ensured of a better showing. If it is impossible to move around you could be adversely affecting that buyer’s perception of the size of the home, so give careful consideration to overstuffed rooms.

6. Everyone’s basement and garages are relatively the same, full of seasonal equipment, holiday decorations and tools. Garage sales are the best remedy for liquidating extras that you have accumulated over the years. Better to sell than to pay to have incidentals moved you really don’t need anymore. The biggest offender in basement commentary is the strong mold odors from high humidity. A dehumidifier can assist greatly in relieving that damp “basement” feeling and can alleviate concerns of water problem that don’t exist. It’s worth the effort to alleviate this common problem.

7. The worst offenders for dust and dirt are the cold air returns and heating vents. If they won’t clean up with soap and water and painting doesn’t improve them either, purchasing new ones is not that expensive and a great alternative. A house with cobwebs and loaded vents really gives the wrong impression about the cleaning standards of the present owner.

8. Pet dishes of water and food should be relocated to a spot where they will not get kicked accidentally. Water provides the perfect setting for falls or slips that can cause an accident. Cat boxes and pet beds should be clean and fresh and out of sight if possible. Those that don’t appreciate pets as much as you, will be turned off to pet “evidence.”

9. Junior’s bedroom posters of rock groups to minimize the true picture of the room. Limit the “artwork” to 1 or 2 posters and promise him that he can resurrect the rest at his next destination.

10. Bathroom grouts must look like new. Bleaching can take care of some of the problems, but it’s worth the money to have a professional tile person patch and regrout problem areas. This is not a good time to try extensive grouting yourself. Often times amateur attempts convey the problem more than it is. Shower tracks from doors should glisten, along with the mirrors. Remove prescription bottles, pills, old toothbrushes, and worn towels. This room should get the most attention and look its best at all times. Dated colors in sinks can be replaced for generally a low investment and can render a much-updated feeling when a yesteryear color is no longer an objection. Remove old moldy shower curtains and limit shampoos to a few.

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1022397-the-power-of-staging-your-home-to-sell?rtmpage=null

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Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home.
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