The Cost of Home Improvement Fraud/Scams by HomeAdvisor

7 11 2016





2016 Horizon Realty Charity Drive

13 10 2016

What?  Charity Drive

toy-drive

When?  Now through November 17th

Where?  Your home or office.  I’ll pick up the donations.  Or you can drop off at our office – 9606 N. Mopac Expwy., Ste. 150, Austin, TX  78759

How?  Find gently used or buy new toys, puzzles, board games, stuffed animals and art supplies

For Who?  Austin Hospice and Operation Blue Santa





This 3D Map Shows America’s Most Expensive Housing Markets

23 09 2016

map_3d

—>>>   To access maneuverability, click here!   This is an interactive map showing average values across the Unites States by using average price per square foot.  New York City tops out at $1397 per square foot with San Francisco coming in second at $878 per square foot.  This map makes our high Austin prices seem much more affordable.

Info provided by: Metrocosm





5 Kitchen Design Trends to Take From Model Homes

25 08 2016

The model homes of builders are known for showcasing the latest interior design trends in trying to appeal to home shoppers. So what’s trending when it comes to the kitchen?

PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team is merchandising about 425 model homes in 2016. The kitchen is a big area that gets a lot of the design team’s focus too.

“Today’s home buyers are willing to spend more in the kitchen – from energy-efficient appliances to quartz countertops,” says Janice Jones, PulteGroup’s national vice president of interior design. “We continuously conduct consumer focus groups to best understand what they want in their kitchens and are constantly refining our kitchen designs and its elements to ensure it delivers on functionality, creative design and easy maintenance across all our buyer groups.”

Jones cites five kitchen trends in 2016 that they are reflecting in many PulteGroup model homes lately. These trends also can serve as inspiration for home owners planning renovation projects or wanting ideas for easy updates, Jones notes.

1. Contrasting materials

Materials are getting mixed in the kitchen. Contrasting colors and styles are combined to create a more unique space. For example, mixed marbles and metals in a space can help highlight gray wood tones.

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2. Decorative lighting

Bold and oversized lighting choices are popular choices. “Decorative lighting is key in the kitchen and adds dramatic flair as well as functionality to the kitchen, especially over the kitchen island,” according to PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team.

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3. Transparency

Switch out some cabinet doors with glass doors. It can help you extend visual boundaries while also allowing home owners to display some of their favorite things and add more personalization to a space.

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Home owners are always looking for more storage, especially in the kitchen. Double-stacked cabinets that extend to the ceiling can help maximize storage space.

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5. More drawers, less doors

Having plenty of kitchen drawers can add more functionality in storage. Home owners are showing preferences toward more drawers over extra cabinets. Bold hardware can then added to the drawers to add more design appeal, PulteGroup says.

Pulte_kitchen3





Home sales across the country

29 07 2016

Home Sales Accelerate During The “Dog Days of Summer” [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Sales Accelerate During The

Some Highlights:

  • Existing home sales have accelerated to the highest pace since February 2007 at an annual pace of 5.57 million.
  • Inventory of homes for sale remains below the historically normal 6-month mark at a 4.6-month supply, down 5.8% year-over-year.
  • Median home sales prices rose to $247,700, 4.8% higher than a year ago and replaced the previous peak in May of $238,900.

Source: KCM Blog





7 Home Fixes You Must Complete Before Selling

28 07 2016

The process of getting a property ready to put on the market can seem daunting enough. There’s clearing the clutter, endless amounts of cleaning, organizing and scrutinizing your property with a fine-tooth comb. What needs attention and what can you leave alone?

Welcome to the new world of “fixing to sell.” Gone are the days of throwing it on the market and seeing what happens. Prepping for sale is a highly choreographed dance of repair along with a bit of renovation and presentation.

Don’t ignore these seven areas.

1. Structural and mechanical

It might not be glamorous, but buyers are looking at big-ticket items like the age and condition of the roof, air conditioning and heating systems, water heater, electrical panel and pipes.

Now, I’m not saying all have to be replaced, but if any of these components are on their last leg, you might seriously need to consider replacing them as these items could factor into the kind of financing the buyer is able to obtain as well as insurability of the property.

Appraisers are notorious for requiring a roof to be replaced, for example, as a condition of a loan when it comes to FHA and VA financing.

Replacing a roof that is at the end of its life before putting your home on the market will go a long way to solidifying buyer confidence in deciding to make an offer.

The buyer (and you) won’t have to sweat what an inspector says, deal with a potential renegotiation before closing or face a price reduction. The last thing you want to be doing is putting on a new roof in the midst of trying to pack.

If you lack the budget to replace these items, get estimates on the cost involved to replace. You can always offer to contribute to the replacement cost in the form of a credit to the buyer’s closing costs and offer a home warranty that can provide some coverage should something fail or need repair.

2. Exterior

How does the exterior of your home look? Is there any wood rot? When was the last time it was painted? Are there any stucco cracks that need attention?

First impressions start from the outside, and the exterior will show up in photos across a multitude of websites, etc. This is definitely an area worth spending the money.

3. Landscaping

Speaking of the exterior, how does your landscaping look? Are the plantings overgrown, worn and wilted? What about the ground cover?

Are the planting beds in need of some fresh mulch, pine straw, rock, etc.? Are there any overgrown tree limbs hanging over the house or blocking the home’s view? For a relatively inexpensive investment, you can transform how your exterior looks by trimming back and freshening things up with new plants and landscaping.

4. Cosmetic

Let’s face it: buyers buy with their eyes, so now is the time to go through the interior in detail. Are there dents and dings on the walls, scratched moldings or worn paint? Now is the time to spruce up the inside with a fresh coat of paint.

Pick light, neutral and on-trend colors. Choose a neutral palette that will transition well with any buyer’s furniture.

Look at your light fixtures, ceiling fans and light switches — these are relatively inexpensive things to update and replace, yet they go a long way toward creating value.

The front door? This is critical! Does it need a fresh coat of paint or new hardware? Consider adding a glass panel to create light that evokes a sunny and warm space.

5. Kitchen

This area is always huge with buyers. Even if the buyers barely know how to boil water, they always envision themselves in the kitchen cooking and entertaining or perhaps auditioning to be the next Food Network TV star surrounded by sleek appliances and cabinetry.

Here’s where you need to give them the look for less. Think new hardware on cabinets, adding or changing out a dated tile backsplash and updating appliances. Also, consider changing out counters — you might be able to find a reasonably price remnant of a granite slab.

6. Bathrooms

Simple and clean rules the day. Sprucing up your bathrooms to sell can be as simple as having the grout on the existing tile steam cleaned or regrouting where needed. Caulking, new plumbing and light fixtures along with mirrors can create value.

7. Flooring

What you walk on creates value. If you can only afford to make the investment in one significant part of your home, consider updating the flooring. There are a ton of low-cost options to choose from that include wood plank tiles and highly upgraded laminate flooring — think wide plank, light colored or hand-scraped styles.

New flooring can totally transform the look of your space and give it the “wow” factor that buyers desire.

In undertaking for sale preparation, strike a delicate balance between what to fix and what to leave alone, but in the end, make the right improvements that will result in a faster sale for top dollar.





Landscape to deter burglars

20 07 2016
In 2014, just over 1.7 million individuals fell victim to burglary according to the FBI. Sometimes deadbolts and alarm systems just aren’t enough to deter thieves. But there are outdoor security measures you can take to prevent property loss at the hands of a burglar. Here are 10 ways you can help protect your home with a well-planned landscape design:

  1. Use plant deterrents. Thorny shrubs and bushes like holly or roses help thwart would-be burglars.
  2. Prune vegetation regularly. Unkempt hedges provide hiding spots where perpetrators can lurk.
  3. Trim the trees. Leave sufficient distance between tree branches and the roof or second-story windows to limit intruder access.burglar
  4. Leave a clear line of sight to windows or doors. Blocking these views leaves your home more vulnerable to break-ins.
  5. Invest in accent lights. Illuminate your yard to eliminate potential hiding spots.
  6. Install additional lighting. Don’t just rely on the porch light. Consider adding motion-sensitive lighting to help ward off possible intruders.
  7. Put gravel beneath ground-floor windows. Burglars rely on silence; stepping on gravel can be a startling repellent.
  8. Protect the back door. Many thieves try this less obvious point of entry first.
  9. Replace solid privacy fences. Solid fencing helps intruders go undetected. Partial privacy fencing is a more secure option.
  10. Lock all gates. It seems obvious, but it’s still worth a mention. Keep front and back gates locked at all times.

While pleasing to look at, landscaping does more than enhance your home’s outdoor aesthetic. Consider whether your current setup promotes security or makes your home appealing to thieves. Use these landscaping security tips to help prevent your home from becoming the target of a burglary.





What does Brexit Mean for Real Estate?

29 06 2016

BREXIT: What's the FIXIT for U.S. Home Buyers and Sellers? Now that much of the dust has settled and the panic has waned, let’s take a look at what impact Britain’s exit from the European Union may have on the U.S. housing market. The most immediate impact of Brexit will be on mortgage interest rates. Interest rates have remained at historic lows for the last several years. Contrary to what many experts believed, rates have remained low throughout the first half of 2016.

Possible impact of Brexit on mortgage rates?

In a recent article, the Washington Post explained:

“Brexit has spawned the recent bout of volatility in global financial markets. That has anxious investors scurrying for safety — and few assets are safer than U.S. Treasuries. High demand for government debt pulls down interest rates. That all translates into ultra-low mortgage rates for American households. And with Britain voting for Brexit, they could go even lower.”

However, the lower rates caused by Brexit may be short lived as Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin pointed out in a recent post:

“While the departure of the UK from the European Union has driven down the 10-year bond, and thus mortgage rates, we expect them to rebound later in the year as uncertainty over the economic consequences of the departure lifts.”

Bottom Line

Rates are already at historic lows. The UK’s exit from the EU almost certainly guarantees they will remain low (and possibly go lower) over the next few months. If you were thinking of buying your first home or trading up to the house of your dreams, this may be the time to act. The cost of money may never be better for a potential buyer.





8 Ways to Prep for Resale

16 06 2016
It may be a seller’s market, but that shouldn’t stop you from fixing up your home before you list it. As you know, kitchens sell homes. However, what you might not know is how to create a space that seals the deal. If you update your kitchen’s finishes and stage the space properly, your home won’t be sitting on the market for long. Here are eight ways to prep your kitchen for resale.




Non-MLS Listing, Sneak Preview

7 06 2016

2017D Simond Ave., Austin, TX  78723

Pre-MLS $535,000

Rare 4 bedroom condo with fenced in yard.  Master bedroom downstairs with 3 bedrooms up.  Rear entry garage with plenty of storage. 2,377 sqft.  Granite in kitchen and bathrooms.

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Click here for video!