Kaminsky Real Estate Group Blog

 
Jan. 30, 2017

Home Improvement Projects to Make Your Home More Desireable in 2017

 

Planning on selling your home? It might be a good time to start thinking about investing in home improvements. According to Redfin.com, here are some changes to consider, along with a couple you might want to let fall by the wayside.

Stainless-steel appliances

Stainless steel has been a popular feature to have in the kitchen for many years, and it’s no wonder why. Stainless-steel appliances have a sleek look and they’re easy to clean. Stainless steel also has become somewhat of a status symbol, with guests often in awe if your kitchen is dressed in name-brand stainless-steel appliances such as the popular brand Viking. Not into the stainless-steel look? Some homeowners also are opting for other types of material for appliances, including glossy black, brown or slate, depending on the kitchen decor. Matte black or slate is another option.

Smart homes

It looks like smart features are starting to make a comeback, with a 40.9 percent year-over-year increase from 2015 to 2016. This could be due to the ever-increasing intelligence of home technology as it develops from year to year. From controlling lights and the air-conditioning system with a phone, to connecting to home security systems from work, or being able to connect to multiple devices between rooms, people seem to love easy and efficient, which is the name of the game when it comes to home technology.

Quartz

Out of all of the materials, quartz is the one choice a person can make that will stand the test of time. Not only does it look fabulous in almost any kitchen, but it also is easy to maintain. If you want to wow potential homebuyers, quartz is leading the change for home-improvement projects over marble.

 Hardwood

While bamboo has been a hot item for the past few years, it looks like more homeowners now are leaning toward the traditional hardwood floors and other materials that resemble hardwood. This includes synthetic hardwood flooring, which is made of a composite material underneath and a hardwood finish on top and also is a more affordable option than 100-percent hardwood flooring. Nothing can beat the real thing, though, since you can refinish actual hardwood over and over again and it will last forever, unlike composite material, which can really only be refinished about two or three times.

 Built-in bar

This hot new trend is perfect for homeowners who like to entertain. The addition will give you a special space for everything you could need to host a party, such as wine and cocktail glasses, drink fixings and anything else for a ritzy gathering.

 Freestanding tub

This trend was super-hot back in 2014, but it looks like it is falling behind in the hot trends category and there could be a few reasons why. You really need to have the space to have a freestanding tub in your bathroom; this isn’t a trend you will find in most urban areas, where space is limited. This is more of a luxury item since it isn’t necessarily a “needed” amenity in a home.

 Minimalist living

What does living simply mean when it comes to home design? Think open floor plans, neutral tones for interior design and wallpaper that looks more like a coat of a paint than the busy prints of decades past. Also, the less cluttered and, well, personalized your house is when it hits the market, the easier it is for a potential homebuyer to envision living there themselves. So, it is definitely worth simplifying before putting your home on the market.

 Breakfast nook

While kitchen islands and peninsulas still are something people want in their homes, these areas usually are desired solely for more counter space. Separate breakfast nooks or eating areas other than the dining room just don’t seem to be cutting it in the trends department. So, you might want to spend your money elsewhere.

Jan. 24, 2017

Three Crucial Reasons You Should Buy a Home Before 2017 Ends

 

 

Interest rates have begun to rise and likely will climb higher. Inventory is low and could shrink more. And home prices are increasing and not predicted to fall any time soon. With that said, Realtor.com offers these reasons why you might be too late if you don’t jump aboard the real estate train now.

Rates are rising

In 1981, when mortgage rates hit 18 percent and seemed to rise daily, single-digit rates seemed like an impossible dream. Last August, however, rates on 30-year mortgages bottomed out at 3.55 percent. Now that the Federal Reserve decided to raise its key interest rate, mortgage rates have been slowly climbing. Currently, the average rate is just above 4 percent; by 2019 or 2020, rates could easily climb to 6 percent.

Inventory is shrinking

In November 2016, there were only 1.85 million homes for sale. That’s almost a 10 percent drop from the previous year. Real estate experts predict that inventory will continue to shrink, at least for the foreseeable future. That means, in most areas of the country, buyers have more homes to choose from today than they will next year (or even next month). If you get moving now, you’ll have less competition for those homes than you will in the peak spring and summer months.

Home prices are still rising

Home prices now stand higher than before the 2007 crash, increasing 5 percent from 2015 to 2016. And housing experts expect an additional 2 percent to 3 percent jump in 2017. With rising mortgage rates and the new Trump administration, it’s anyone’s guess how high prices will rise and how long they’ll remain high. The good news? If you jump into the market now, you just might make it before those doors close.

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Jan. 18, 2017

What You Can Learn from an Open House

 

 

There are plenty of reasons to attend open houses, whether or not you are looking to buy. Here, Houzz offers eight reasons to check out those weekend open houses near you.

Get to know your local housing market before you sell.Simply attending a few open houses in your neighborhood can teach you about the area’s housing market. The prices of comparable homes, features that are popular and attendance levels at open houses can be valuable data to gather before placing your home on the market.

Get ideas for staging. Whether you are looking for a professional to help you stage your home or want to do it yourself, attending open houses is a great way to pick up ideas. Notice wall colors, furniture arrangements, styles and accessories, and use this information to help with your own staging process.

Gather design inspiration. If you’ve recently purchased a home and are looking for decorating and remodeling ideas, local open houses can show you what other homeowners have done. It’s especially helpful to look at homes that have floor plans similar to yours.

Get comfortable in a home you are considering buying. If you’ve been seriously looking to buy for a while, and narrowed your prospects down to a few favorite homes, attending the open house can be a nice way to explore the home further and to hear what other open house attendees are saying.

Get referrals for pros. If you live in the neighborhood and are looking for a good contractor, designer or other professional, scoping out open houses can be a great way to view that pro’s work firsthand.

Be a fly on the wall. If you’re thinking of selling your home soon, having some idea of what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood can be incredibly helpful.

Meet your future agent. Seeing an agent in action is a great way to get a feel for his or her style and to consider whether you would work well together when it’s time to get serious about house shopping.

Think of it as a practice run. If you’re buying a house for the first time, it can be a good idea to get in a few practice runs before you begin your search in earnest. Once you’ve viewed 10 or more houses, you won’t be as thrown off by the process.

Jan. 10, 2017

Smart-Home Tech Adoption Motivated by Comfort, Safety

When it comes to adopting smart-home technology, homebuyers and sellers are most interested in privacy and security measures. According to a recent study conducted by Scripps Networks Interactive in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders and National Kitchen and Bath Association, three-quarters of those surveyed said they implement smart-home technology to keep their family safe and comfortable rather than to keep up with the latest technology. Another motivator is energy-efficiency, with the intention to boost resale value and reduce energy costs.

Here, some findings from the study:

  • Millennials are the most likely to adopt smart-home technology to make their home convenient for daily tasks.
  • Those in Generation X prefer smart-home technology as a means to make their home a healthy environment.
  • Baby boomers favor smart home-technology to add value to their home.
  • Eighty-five percent of millennials are likely to add smart-home technology to their home, compared with 73 percent of those in Generation X and 67 percent of baby boomers.
  • The kitchen is the top spot for smart-home technology, with those studied purchasing app-enabled, connected appliances including smart refrigerators, motion-activated lighting and voice-activated speakers. Generation X respondents reported the kitchen as the top spot for smart-home technology more than any other generation.
  • Fifteen percent of study respondents cited the front door as the most desired place for adding technology, while 13 percent cited the living room. Forty-four percent cited energy monitoring and light automation as their most desired tools. Computer-controlled or mobile device-operated systems, a doorbell camera and surveillance equipment also are popular.
Jan. 3, 2017

What to Do Before Settling into Your New Home

 

Whether you are a newlywed just beginning your life with your significant other or a retiree looking to downsize, purchasing a new home is a time of new beginnings. Despite all of the anticipation of owning a new home, RISMedia offers these housekeeping items that should be taken care of before settling into your new residence.

Commit to a final walk-through

As eager as you may be to finally move in after weeks of paperwork and waiting, it’s beneficial to complete a final walk-through with your Realtor or inspectors. This is the time to make sure all of the requested updates and repairs have been corrected before signing the final binding paperwork. Have your inspector ready to make any last-minute notes or to perform any additional tests to confirm the state of the home. Investing just a few minutes in this process can save you thousands in expensive repairs later.

Make sure you have adequate homeowner’s insurance

Before closing on your new home, you’re often required to provide proof of homeowner’s insurance. As a new homeowner, it is your responsibility to do your due diligence in researching insurance companies and selecting the best fit for your needs. Be sure to consider different coverage and research terms, such as “replacement cost,” “actual cash value” and “depreciation” to help you better understand what you are paying for. Examine your policy thoroughly, select appropriate deductibles and make changes as necessary.

Consider different contracts

Although homeowner’s insurance covers many catastrophic events, what happens if your furnace goes out or you have a power surge off-premises that kills your refrigerator? This type of coverage steps in at times like these to help cover losses that are not otherwise covered by homeowner’s insurance. A home warranty can be a lifesaver when it comes to issues that are not detected at the time of purchase or during the walk-through. Home warranties often are serviced by different entities than insurance providers, so homeowners may be out the cost of two policies. However, many think that being safe rather than sorry is worth the cost.

Complete renovations

It is best to complete any renovations or household changes before moving into your new home. It becomes much more difficult to make these changes when there are people, furniture and belongings in the way. Deciding on what changes you wish to make and establishing a timeline for completing these changes before moving in allows your family to plan accordingly.

Switch utilities to your name

If your new home had previous residents, it would be beneficial to consider changing the utilities over into your name immediately. Some utility companies require a security deposit that will be refunded later after making payments on time. Other companies charge additional fees if services are turned off by the previous owners and then must be turned back on again.

Change your mailing address

One of the simplest, yet overlooked, tasks in new home ownership is the process of contacting the post office to have all mail forwarded to your new address. It can take four to six weeks to get this process fully instated. You also can set up online payments for essential bills or contact companies directly to make sure no important paperwork is overlooked during the transition.

Dec. 27, 2016

Six Reasons to Sell Your Home in 2017

 

Planning to sell in the new year? Get a head start by listing in January or February. Here, Trulia offers six unexpected ways you could benefit by getting in on the real estate market at the beginning of the year.

Low inventory
Research conducted by Trulia has revealed that 2016 was the year of low inventory. That being said, it’s usually a great time to put your house on the market when inventory is low. Your new listing could cause buyers to pounce when there’s little competition, especially if your home is in a desirable neighborhood…so the sooner you get started, the sooner you sell.

Increased urgency
There are plenty of reasons people need to get in a home fast. For example, many companies transfer employees at the start of a year. Whatever the reason, if you encounter a homebuyer in the dead of winter, they probably need to buy sooner rather than later. And, unless you’re in a hot climate, January and February are not the months most people want to be out hitting the streets to browse. Winter buyers often have a sense of urgency — when they find what they’re looking for, they’ll make an offer.

Spring starts early in warm markets
If your home is in a warm climate, you could benefit by listing your home for sale in early spring. Although homebuyers may not be personally visiting houses as quickly, they will be looking online after the holidays. So, the earlier a home is listed, the better it will stand out in the market. Go ahead and list during the first two months of the year.

Early movement for lower price points
If you’re a first-time homebuyer and are currently saving in preparation to buy, you might have earmarked that tax refund coming to you for a down payment. The sooner you turn in your tax return, the sooner you’ll get your refund, usually in fewer than 21 days.

A new administration
Speculation and uncertainty abound whenever a new administration takes the helm. If you think the Trump administration will make it more difficult to buy a home, you might want to sell early in the year.

Potential interest rate hike
Some people are concerned about rising interest rates. If you think rates will rise, you might want to sell sooner rather than later.