The Benefits of Downsizing

Owning a home has been the American Dream for generations, and while many still seek the biggest house their money can afford, for many buyers and current homeowners in the United States, finding a smaller home has become very appealing. Throughout the U.S., homeowners are jumping on the downsizing bandwagon, and with the current trends of tiny homes and minimalism becoming more and more popular coast to coast, there are many homeowners and buyers looking into smaller homes and the many benefits provided by downsizing.

437 Collyer St, Longmont

Save Money

Smaller homes just cost less to live in (depending on the location). Downsizing can provide a number of financial benefits and help save money in the long term. By downsizing, many homeowners can reduce or eliminate mortgage payments (a reduction in the monthly amount, or even paying off the loan sooner than expected). Downsizing or buying a smaller home can also mean deductions in other areas pertaining to home ownership: lower property taxes, lower property insurance costs, reduced utility costs and much more. If you’re moving from a high-cost area, you may also experience a reduction in the overall cost of living, and if you’ve built up a lot of equity in your current house, downsizing to a smaller and less expensive home can actually free up that extra money for immediate use or saving all of it since federal tax law may well eliminate taxes on any gain from the sale of your previous home (verify your specific situation with a tax professional prior to the sale of your current property).

Less Maintenance/Upkeep

If there’s something that almost every homeowner complains about, it’s home maintenance and upkeep. A larger home ultimately means more to clean, more to maintain, and overall more upkeep. For many households in the U.S., a larger home also brings wasted space: according to the book Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, for many average households in the U.S., most of any main floor traffic occurs in the kitchen, living and family rooms. Downsizing not only means less maintenance overall, it also means more of the house is utilized on a daily basis.

Optimize Small Spaces

While a ragtag mix of second-hand furniture might be perfect for the rented college house, for many adults a design-savvy décor is often sought-after when it comes to a furnished house to call home. With a large house, the cost of furnishings and other design elements can run into the thousands, and if you or your family members happen to have luxury taste, costs could go even higher. Downsizing to a smaller home gives homeowners the ability to optimize the small spaces: for example, going from a house with a family and living room to just a family room can mean splurging on a nicer sofa or bigger television when only one room needs to be furnished, not two. Downsizing to a smaller home can also mean getting rid of all the items you’re currently not using, which for many American households, is quite a lot of stuff.

Afford Popular Areas

For many different cities throughout the U.S. there are specific areas and neighborhoods that are sought-after by buyers and investors alike. Whether they have great schools, affordable real estate prices, up-and-coming amenities, or are a hub of events and activities, buyers will inevitably look to owning a home in or around the area. Downsizing can actually make the popular areas more attainable for many buyers, as smaller homes will or should be more affordable than larger houses. It’s also important to note that if you decide to downsize, smaller homes may be more readily available throughout a popular area’s real estate market than those that offer more square footage, and buyers may even experience less competition in those more popular markets for smaller homes

Reduction in Environmental Footprint

For many in the U.S., being more conscious of the environment and ‘living green’ has become a way of life. Homes are not excluded from an environmental footprint, and for those looking to reduce their own energy consumption, downsizing can provide that opportunity. A smaller home means less heating and cooling of the property, a reduction in electricity use, and overall less waste. But it’s not just an environmental footprint that can benefit from downsizing — homeowners can also find it more affordable to upgrade a home’s current systems to more environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies when the home is small and more compact.

Thinking About Downsizing? Give me a call!  As your local real estate expert, I an help you determine the current market value of your home, as well as provide you an advanced look at what to expect as you seek to purchase your new one.

 

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5 Ways a Buyer’s Agent Can Make Shopping New Construction Easier

By Jennifer Lyons

Five good reasons to have a pro on your side throughout the process.

Buying new construction seems simple, right? Just pick out the floor plan you want, choose the perfect lot, and watch it go up. No sellers to deal with, no unexpected repairs that come up during inspection, no drawn-out negotiations. Right?

1255 Hawk Ridge Rd, Lafayette

Not so fast. In any real estate transaction, it’s important to have a professional on your side, even if the process seems straightforward.

“Having your own agent provides a sense of security,” says Seattle-area homeowner Kristy Weaver, who has bought two new construction homes from two different builders. “It gives you some peace of mind, knowing that someone is looking out for your best interest.”

Peace of mind is just one benefit of having an experienced agent along for the ride. Read on for five more reasons you’ll want a local real estate agent by your side when buying a new construction home.

1. Help you find a reputable builder

“Your agent can rely on their own experience and that of their colleagues to help you find a builder you can trust,” says Portland, OR-based real estate agent Kim Ainge Payne of the Realty Trust Group. “What’s the quality of the workmanship? What kind of warranty do they offer? What’s their track record of resolving issues? Getting a clear understanding in the beginning can alleviate serious headaches down the road.”

2. Go to bat for you

The timeline for purchasing new construction is typically quite a bit longer than buying an existing home. From the first time you visit the sales center, to choosing your layout, construction, inspections, and finally closing, there are ample opportunities for things to go sideways — think construction delays, permit issues, and financing concerns. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you navigate all of these sticky situations.

3. Help you review your contract

Even if you’ve purchased a home before, the contract for new construction is a whole different animal, and an experienced agent can help you make sure you understand everything, from floor plans to earnest money requirements, deadlines for requesting changes, and timelines for completion.

“It’s crucial to have a third party who represents your interests in the transaction,” says Dmitry Yusim, a Seattle-area agent who has represented new construction buyers. “A good agent can add the proper addendums to protect you if something falls through.”

4. Assist with negotiations

Buyers’ agents know the areas where you’ll find the most wiggle room when it comes to negotiations.

“Builders are trying to keep their sales price up so that the next buyers through the door see the higher closing price,” explains agent Britt Wibmer of Windermere Real Estate in Seattle. “They’d much rather throw in closing costs or additional upgrade credits.”

5. Point you toward smart upgrade choices

Builders will offer you endless options for finishes and upgrades, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A seasoned real estate agent can recommend the upgrades that will get you the most bang for your buck in resale value, suggest finishes that might be cheaper to do on your own, and help you avoid over-improving, which can jeopardize your appraisal before closing.

Even though a friendly sales representative will greet you with a smile the moment you walk through the door of the sales center, don’t forget that they work for the builder. Bring your own agent with you starting with your first visit — in fact, many builders require your agent to register with them from the very beginning in order for them to be involved in the process and receive their commission.

With a professional you trust by your side, you’ll rest easy knowing someone is there to protect your money, your time, and your new home.

Wondering if new construction is right for you? Search new construction listings, and get more home-buying tips and resources to help you decide.

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Planning to Sell? How to Stage a Home for Maximum Impact

Are you thinking of putting a home on the market? Then understand more about how to effectively stage a home and improve the experience for anyone walking through the home. Proper home staging may even help homeowners boost a home’s value in the eyes’ of potential buyers. What are a few staging secrets that any seller can use?

How to Stage a Home or Maximum Impact

Learn more about home staging to attract multiple offers and improve chances of selling a home quickly today.

Depersonalize the Space

Take down personal pictures and make the area as neutral as possible to reduce the potential of turning off buyers. Personal keepsakes, memorabilia and family photos should be stored away. It may also be useful to remove furniture that is not essential and rearrange remaining furniture to improve the flow in a space. If a homeowner is unsure of how to proceed when staging their furniture, they can consult with an experienced agent or home stager to best showcase the features of their home.

Light It Up

A well-staged home is a well-lit one. Visitors need light to view all areas of a home. A dimly lit bathroom or basement may make potentially buyers uncomfortable. During the daytime, try to use as much natural light as possible. Use 100 watts for approximately every 50 square feet in order to properly light a home for staging. Mix up the lighting with a combination of accent lighting, ambient lighting and task lighting.

Eliminate Clutter

In addition to getting personal items out of sight, it is important to make a home feel as spacious and visually appealing as possible. Clutter can include bills, knick-knacks, children’s toys and more. Items that are not thrown away should be stored away in an organized manner. Other items that will not be going to a new home may be donated or thrown out.

All About that Flow

A fresh coat of paint in smaller rooms can help connect spaces and create a more continuous feel. Individuals may want to paint walls in dining areas and kitchens the same color to create a connection between the spaces. Drapery and walls that are the same color helps create an uninterrupted visual flow. Such rooms then look larger than their reality.

Homeowners Stay Away

Home staging is only one essential element needed before actually showing a Boulder home. Those who are ready to show a home have to make every effort to be away from the property when potential buyers arrive. Agents are at a disadvantage when current homeowners choose to stay during a showing and remain in an office or bedroom. In addition, potential buyers may not be at ease while viewing all of the rooms of a home.

Those who are walking through a home may not feel comfortable asking questions of agents or making comments about a home when the homeowner is around. In order to get useful feedback from agents, homeowners should do their best to remove themselves from a property during a showing.

Work with an Experienced Agent

A reputable local agent can offer guidance on how to begin to stage a home. In addition, it is best for sellers to arrange for a professional shoot of a home as those photographs may be used to highlight a home’s features and be uploaded to an MLS listing. This technique often improves online views of a newly listed property and may help drive traffic. Speak with an experienced real estate agent to get more advice on how to best stage a home.

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Safe At Home With Smoke Alarms

Written By Pillar To Post

Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury or death in house fires. Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities occur in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. Most building codes now require smoke detectors in all residential structures, which has resulted in a steep drop in fire- and smoke-related deaths. Homeowners should check with their local public safety office or fire department for specific information on these requirements.

  • As in real estate, location is key! Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Alarms should be placed high on a wall or on the ceiling. It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top; in these instances smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • For areas close to the kitchen, use a detector with a “hush button” that can be used to silence nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke or steam. Alternatively, consider installing a photoelectric alarm near the kitchen, which will not be triggered by cooking. No matter which type is used, never remove the unit’s battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • There are two primary types of smoke alarm technology: ionization and photoelectric. According to the National Fire Protection Association, ionization alarms are more responsive to flames, while photoelectric alarms are more sensitive to smoldering fires. For the most comprehensive protection, both types or a combination unit should be installed.
  • Test each alarm monthly. It’s helpful to put a reminder in the calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. The units have a test button that will sound the alarm for a moment or two when pressed. Any alarm that fails to sound should have the battery replaced. If the test button fails with a new battery, replace the entire detector immediately. Monthly testing is also an ideal time to dust off the unit so that it continues to work properly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall or spring. Remember, a non-working alarm is no better than no alarm at all. Some alarms now come with 10-year lithium batteries that eliminate the need for new batteries, but the unit itself must be replaced after its stated lifespan.
  • If the alarms are hard-wired to the home’s electrical system, make sure they are interconnected for maximum effectiveness – meaning that if one alarm is triggered, all of the others will sound as well. Any hard-wired alarms, interconnected or not, should be installed by a licensed electrician for safety and proper operation.
  • The newest type of interconnected alarms are wireless. This technology allows detectors to communicate with one another and, like their hard-wired cousins, will sound all of the units at the same time even if just one is triggered initially.
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Tips For Getting Your Home Sold In The Winter

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI

So you’ve decided to list your home this winter. Perhaps you’ve had a job change, need to relocate out of the area, or have financial or family reasons for moving. No matter what is driving the move, you may be concerned about selling at this time of year. But just because you missed the boat on the spring selling season doesn’t mean you can’t get your home sold quickly, and for a profit. A few tips can help get it moving.

Take photos early… or late

If you can take photos before the trees become barren and the grass goes dormant, do so! The last thing you want is for your home to look blah and depressing in photos. If you can capture a snowy day (with perfectly scraped walkways, of course), that works, too. It never hurts to have your home looking like a winter wonderland.

Go easy on the holiday décor

“Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard,” said HGTV. “Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.”

Always mind your curb appeal

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can let things slide out front. Potential buyers won’t give you a pass on chipping paint, a fence that needs repair, or a front door that’s seen better days just because it’s frigid outside.

Safety matters

Shoveling the walk from the street to your home is necessary to make it reachable, make it inviting, and also make it safe. The last thing you want is a slip and fall that could result in an injury, and a lawsuit. “Continually shovel a path through the snow, especially if snowflakes are still falling,” said the balance. “Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk. Sprinkle a layer of sand over the sidewalk and steps to ensure your buyers’ stable footing. Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors aren’t forced to crawl over snowdrifts.”

Get a good indoor mat

Perhaps you never use a mat for indoors or yours is grubby or tattered from 10 straight years of winter wear. This one super easy move may not be noticed by visitors – but it sure will if it’s missing or not in good shape. Little things like a $10 mat can give buyers the impression that your whole house is well cared for, or just the opposite.

Clear the front door clutter

If you live in a climate where there is likely to be snow or rain, there are a few more steps you’ll probably have to take in order to keep your house looking great inside. How does your coat closet look? If it’s stuffed with jackets, scarves, boots, and gloves, relocating some to make room for potential buyers to put their stuff away while touring your home is a good idea – plus, a tidy coat closet gives the impression that there is plenty of storage space in the home. It goes without saying that winter wear and shoes that tend to stack up in the entry should be banished while your house is on the market.

Make sure everything is functional

Imagine you live in a climate that stays relatively temperate year-round, and then you have a cold spell. You turn on the heater for the first time the night before your first showing, and…nothing. Same for the fireplace in the living room. Your freezing cold house is probably not going to make a great impression on buyers. As soon as you decide you’re going to sell your home, go through it room by room, checking all major appliances and home functions and looking for little things that may escape notice on an everyday basis – cracked light switches, chipped baseboards, light bulbs that need to be replaced – so your home is perfect for showings.

Light it up

Shorter days with earlier sunsets limit the amount of natural light in your home. Turning on all the lights before showings is more important than ever. Think about the exterior when it comes to lights, too. If you only have a porch light, you might want to consider adding some landscaping lighting, which will help accentuate your outdoor space.

Listen to your REALTOR® when it comes to price

Will you be able to command top dollar for your home and get the same price you would have had you listed in spring or summer? That depends on so many things, including your neighborhood, the available inventory, the condition of the home, and, of course, your listing price. A trusted real estate agent will take all mitigating factors into consideration and use comparables in your area to develop a pricing strategy.

When it comes to offers, remember this tidbit from Realtor.com: “Just because your home’s on the market during the slow, chilly months doesn’t mean you have to accept a lowball offer. If you make your home attractive in all the right ways, qualified buyers will come.”

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Nine House Cleaning Tasks That Give You A Great Workout

WRITTEN BY JAYMI NACIRI

House cleaning is a drag. That comes as a surprise to no one. But, there is a great side benefit to having a tidy home. Well, there are many, but we’re not talking about the psychological advantages of living in a clean home or even the fact that a clean house just plain looks good. We’re talking about working up a sweat. Go ahead and skip the gym. Grab the broom or the vacuum cleaner instead. Turns out the simple acts of sweeping, vacuuming, and so many more housecleaning tasks can give you a great workout. “You probably know that the U.S. Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week to maintain good health,” said Weight Watchers. “But did you know that any kind of physical activity counts, including housework? Believe it or not, dusting, sweeping, mopping, making beds and carrying laundry all add up to a lot of ‘incidental activity – the type some health experts view as potentially more beneficial than ‘official’ workouts, such as calisthenics.”

So how many calories are we talking here? “According to Health Status, a 150-lb. individual would burn 99 calories doing 30 minutes of housework,” said LIVESTRONG. But the calorie burn varies depending on the activity – and your body weight; consider that the more you weigh, the more calories you burn.

Dusting

Dusting can burn 80 calories in 30 minutes, and give you a good arm and shoulder workout. Want to burn even more? Add weights to wrists and/or ankles for this and any other task. “The American Council on Exercise promotes the use of weights to increase exercise benefit,” said Health magazine. “You can add this to your everyday life by using ankle or wrist weights. Just adding weights can burn 25-50% more calories during your everyday activities – no gym required!”

Washing dishes

“Some activities are more vigorous than others. A 150-lb. person washing dishes for 30 minutes would burn approximately 77 calories, according to Health Status,” said LIVESTRONG.

Cleaning your windows

Improve your view and get a good arm workout at the same time. Washing your windows for a half hour can burn 100 calories.

Laundry

Few of us enjoy the task of doing laundry, but, while you’re putting clothes in the washer, moving them to the dryer, sorting, folding, and hanging, think about this: an hour’s worth of these tasks can burn 68 calories. It’s not as much as hitting the bike at cycling class, but at least now you have something clean to wear when you do go! And, you earned yourself a snack.

Sweeping

“A 30-minute dance with the broom will burn off 136 calories,” said SHAPE.

Vacuuming

Between all the walking, turning, twisting, and bending, vacuuming can burn 170 calories in an hour.

Mopping

Have a lot of hard surface floors in your home instead of carpet? Grab that mop. An hour’s worth of mopping can burn 170 calories, too.

Washing floors

“Extra dirty” floors may be a good thing in this case. “If your floors require a little extra elbow grease, you can shed as many as 187 calories in just 30 minutes,” said Shape.

Rearranging your closet

Whether it’s time to swap out summer duds for winter sweaters or you just need to clean out a closet that’s overstuffed, this task can burn about 85 calories.

Mowing the lawn

How about taking your tidying tasks outdoor? If your lawn is in need of some manicuring, you’ll love the fact that this type of home improvement activity can burn a whopping 300 calories in an hour. If it only takes you 20 minutes, you “can burn more calories than a power walk,” said Health. “But there’s a catch: you have to mow with a push mower. You may feel like you’re living on the frontier, but a push mower will turn your backyard into a boot camp!”

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The Benefits of Downsizing

Owning a home has been the American Dream for generations, and while many still seek the biggest house their money can afford, for many buyers and current homeowners in the United States, finding a smaller home has become very appealing. Throughout the U.S., homeowners are jumping on the downsizing bandwagon, and with the current trends of tiny homes and minimalism becoming more and more popular coast to coast, there are many homeowners and buyers looking into smaller homes and the many benefits provided by downsizing.

Save Money

Smaller homes just cost less to live in (depending on the location). Downsizing can provide a number of financial benefits and help save money in the long term. By downsizing, many homeowners can reduce or eliminate mortgage payments (a reduction in the monthly amount, or even paying off the loan sooner than expected). Downsizing or buying a smaller home can also mean deductions in other areas pertaining to home ownership: lower property taxes, lower property insurance costs, reduced utility costs and much more. If you’re moving from a high-cost area, you may also experience a reduction in the overall cost of living, and if you’ve built up a lot of equity in your current house, downsizing to a smaller and less expensive home can actually free up that extra money for immediate use or saving all of it since federal tax law may well eliminate taxes on any gain from the sale of your previous home (verify your specific situation with a tax professional prior to the sale of your current property).

Less Maintenance/Upkeep

If there’s something that almost every homeowner complains about, it’s home maintenance and upkeep. A larger home ultimately means more to clean, more to maintain, and overall more upkeep. For many households in the U.S., a larger home also brings wasted space: according to the book Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century, for many average households in the U.S., most of any main floor traffic occurs in the kitchen, living and family rooms. Downsizing not only means less maintenance overall, it also means more of the house is utilized on a daily basis.

Optimize Small Spaces

While a ragtag mix of second-hand furniture might be perfect for the rented college house, for many adults a design-savvy décor is often sought-after when it comes to a furnished house to call home. With a large house, the cost of furnishings and other design elements can run into the thousands, and if you or your family members happen to have luxury taste, costs could go even higher. Downsizing to a smaller home gives homeowners the ability to optimize the small spaces: for example, going from a house with a family and living room to just a family room can mean splurging on a nicer sofa or bigger television when only one room needs to be furnished, not two. Downsizing to a smaller home can also mean getting rid of all the items you’re currently not using, which for many American households, is quite a lot of stuff.

Afford Popular Areas

For many different cities throughout the U.S. there are specific areas and neighborhoods that are sought-after by buyers and investors alike. Whether they have great schools, affordable real estate prices, up-and-coming amenities, or are a hub of events and activities, buyers will inevitably look to owning a home in or around the area. Downsizing can actually make the popular areas more attainable for many buyers, as smaller homes will or should be more affordable than larger houses. It’s also important to note that if you decide to downsize, smaller homes may be more readily available throughout a popular area’s real estate market than those that offer more square footage, and buyers may even experience less competition in those more popular markets for smaller homes

Reduction in Environmental Footprint

For many in the U.S., being more conscious of the environment and ‘living green’ has become a way of life. Homes are not excluded from an environmental footprint, and for those looking to reduce their own energy consumption, downsizing can provide that opportunity. A smaller home means less heating and cooling of the property, a reduction in electricity use, and overall less waste. But it’s not just an environmental footprint that can benefit from downsizing — homeowners can also find it more affordable to upgrade a home’s current systems to more environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies when the home is small and more compact.

Thinking About Downsizing? Give me a call! I am your local real estate expert and I can help you determine the current market value of your home, as well as provide you an advanced look at what to expect as you seek to purchase your new one.

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