Selling Your Home in the Summer

Summer may be waning, but deals for the home seller are still hot.  Low inventory, multiple-offers, and offers that soar over asking price are great for sellers, not so much for buyers. If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, here are a few tips.

Up your budget

If you’re a first-time buyer looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market. Getting pre-approved for a little more could move you into a higher price bracket and eliminate some competition. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.

Cut associated expenses

If you’re worried about upping your budget, think of ways to save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute (or, better yet, where you don’t have to drive at all). Those savings add up.

Watch the contingencies

“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” says NerdWallet. Asking the seller to pay closing costs, purchase a home warranty, or requesting that they make small repairs like fixing a leaky faucet can get your offer thrown in the trash.

Be flexible

In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until they’re ready to make their move.

Write a letter

Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Include a picture and don’t hesitate to include your cute kids or four-legged friends.

This article provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Real Estate

6 Kitchen Design Trends Inspired by Restaurant Kitchens

Not all kitchen design trends stand the test of time, but a restaurant kitchen is meant to be as functional as possible for as long as possible. Taking a few cues from restaurant kitchens can help you create a residential kitchen that you’ll be sure to love for years to come!

1. Forget the island

A kitchen island allows for lots of prep space and storage but can also make even a large space seem cramped and crowded. A work table in place of the kitchen island still provides plenty of room to work, offers shelving underneath for storage, and can be moved easily when not in use.

2. Consider a Stainless Steel Backsplash

Stainless steel is durable, doesn’t absorb microbes, and is fire-resistant, which is why it’s long been a popular material for commercial kitchen backsplashes. It’s also easy to clean and coordinates with most kitchen styles.

3. Hang Utensil Rods

Rarely do restaurant kitchens keep utensils in drawers, as this is a surefire way to create a cluttered, jumbled mess. A utensil rod or two will keep all your kitchen tools organized, in plain sight, and close at hand.

4. Install a Magnetic Knife Strip

Much like utensil rods, many commercial kitchens include magnetic strips along walls to hold chefs’ knives. Storing knives on a magnetic wall strip reduces the risk of cutting yourself while rooting around in a drawer and also allows you to easily see each knife blade type and size. A magnetic knife strip also eliminates the need for a bulky knife block on the countertop.

5. Use Wire Shelving in Your Pantry

Wire shelving allows for air circulation around your stored foodstuffs, reducing damage from heat and humidity. Wire shelves also don’t need cleaning as often as standard wood shelves.

6. Install an Open Shelf Over the Stovetop

Many commercial kitchens feature an open shelf or two over the stovetop, for holding pots and pans, spices, timers, and even a recipe or prep instructions. Consider asking your kitchen contractor about an open shelf over your new stovetop, for added convenience and to break up the look of a bare wall behind the stove.

These ideas will make your kitchen functional as well as the envy of your friends!

This article provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Real Estate

Gen Xers Driving Multi-Generational Housing Trend

This Is Us. Jane the Virgin. Black-ish. What do they have in common? They are all family television programs that have members of multiple generations living under one roof. But the reality of multi-generational living is more than sitcom fodder.

According to the 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), multi-generational housing continues to be a growing trend among homebuyers. This trend is driven largely by Gen Xers, who are the second-largest band of homebuyers today at 24%. Of that cohort, one in six purchased a multi-gen home, half of whom cited accommodating adult children as their reason for doing so.

When it comes to millennial buyers, nine percent purchased a multi-generational property they could share with aging parents, per the report.

Whether you’re looking to accommodate aging parents or making room for your boomerang child, these tips will help you find the right place to make it work.

Look for a home that was built with multi-generational living in mind.

Schumacher Homes, Lennar, and Plantation Homes are just a few of the builders offering a multi-gen solution in a brand-new residence.

Tailor your home search

If custom built multi-generational home isn’t doable, look for a home that’s easily convertible. A downstairs bedroom and bath is key for older residents, and an en suite bathroom is even better. A home with a basement or attic may seem like an ideal place to turn into a grandparent’s haven, but stairs can be dangerous and obviously wouldn’t work for a parent using a walker or wheelchair.

A property with a guesthouse or enough land on which to place a granny suite or tiny home is another option. Just make sure the land is zoned properly to accommodate this type of structure.

Make smart renovations

Taking down walls to create an open floorplan is a smart move that can have a positive impact on your home’s value and also make it more accessible for aging parents.

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist recommends a “5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom.” They also suggest wide hallways that measure a minimum of 36-inches across, good lighting, and non-slip flooring.

This article was provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Real Estate

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

You may work to reduce your personal carbon footprint by driving less and recycling, but do you consider the footprint of your home?

Here are some tips to make your home and your wallet a little greener:

Buy efficient appliances –Appliances are getting more efficient every year, and some have better energy and water-use ratings than others. The energy rating of an appliance is easy to find and can be a great guide for those looking to reduce their electricity and water consumption.

Install low-use fixtures-Shower heads, toilets, faucets and other fixtures now come in models that use less water than others. These fixtures can lower a home’s utility bill as well as reduce the amount of water a home uses.

Plant a garden– Plants remove carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Keeping a garden can help counteract your carbon output, provide a fun hobby and supply you with homegrown vegetables or beautiful flowers. Install a drip irrigation system so that plants get only the water they need.

Using climate-appropriate plants-Local plants are better adapted to the environment, are non-invasive to other species and require less water than outsiders.

We can all reduce our carbon footprint without a major lifestyle change!

This article provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Real Estate

Are you working Memorial Day weekend?


Memorial Day weekend is almost here. It’s a national holiday dedicated to the memory of our soldiers who have fallen in service to our country. The long holiday weekend is a getaway for most, but for others, it’s all about keeping current with work.

Many small business owners and B2B professionals use time on the weekend to catch up on email, billing and other work. It’s a strategy that might work in the short-term—you get to a place where you feel caught up—but it has more serious repercussions: Stress, burnout and other mental and physical issues.

Of course, this email is being written over the weekend—it almost always is—so there will be no lecture. We won’t get into the many benefits of taking time off. Everyone probably realizes that. What you don’t realize, if you can’t take actual days/weeks off, there are things you can do to stay refreshed.

For example, taking short “play breaks” during the day to break up the work day somewhat. A post-lunch nap of 20 minutes can also have wonderful benefits. These are not substitutes for time off. Just things you can mix into your routine.

If taking extended time off is an issue, then schedule one long weekend a month and conduct zero business for those three days. You would be amazed at how beneficial it can be.

To stay fresh without taking an actual vacation, there are a few simple things you can do. Go for a long, quiet walk in the fresh air and sunshine, spend some time with the family, exercise, and most of all, “unplug” when you can – no phones, laptop, or looking at emails.

As for Memorial Day, please do take some time to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we in the United States hold dearly and, many times, take for granted. Memorial Day is about honoring those who serve and protect us.

This article is based on a blog by My Pinnacle Network.

Four Easy Ways to Add a Colorful Curb Appeal

Spring is here and it’s time to update your home’s curb appeal with pops of color that add a cheerful touch.

Get a Step Up with Railings

Chipped, tired railings can make a home look outdated and unkempt, but making those pieces look new again is a relatively quick and easy project. Keeping the railing monochromatic in a color that complements the rest of the home’s paint and trim creates a clean look. If you want to add some variety, use a secondary shade in the same color family and apply it to the main posts or spindles.

Create DIY Doormats

An affordable and unique way to create a “wow” moment at your home’s entry is to craft a DIY doormat with spray paint. A chevron pattern is an easy way to make a statement by simply using painter’s tape and two different colors of spray paint.

Put the Spotlight on Light Fixtures

Small splashes of color can go a long way, especially with a feature like exterior light fixtures. For light fixtures to stand out against a neutral-colored home, try spray painting them a bold hue, such as bright yellow, for a burst of color.

Refresh Patio Furniture

Over time, patio furniture loses its luster. If it’s still in good shape, you can bring it back to life with a fresh coat of spray paint. All the angles can make it difficult to cover every surface, so choose a product that promotes easy application. Remember to tilt furniture back and apply color to the feet and legs for an all-over finish that’s ready to weather the season.

This article furnished by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Realtors

Hottest Home Decor for 2019

Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle.

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven decor trends:

Scaled down furnishings – After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings.

Wall coverings – The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals. Expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns.

Color changes – While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings.

Color ‘pops’ – People are ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces. Yellow is the hottest color for small accent pieces–from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows.

Warm woods and traditional styles – Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history.

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces – The coziness trend favors indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are preserving the joy of summertime barbecues.

Crafts and artisanal accents – In a world of increasing mass production, there has been a shift back to artisanal and boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts and other accent pieces all around the home.

This article provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Realtors



Short Winter Days Survival Guide

When we turned the clocks back an hour last November, we might have gained an hour of sleep, but we’re also lost an hour of daylight.

During these short winter days, it feels like you haven’t seen the sun in forever. A lack of sunshine means that you may not be getting enough vitamin D, which is essential for sufficient calcium, bone health, and a strong immune system. All of these are critical during this cold and flu season.

So what can you do when your exposure to sunlight is restricted in winter? Here are some ways to get this critical vitamin throughout the shortened days:

Get Out When you Can

As long as the weather permits, be sure you take breaks throughout the day and step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. And don’t eat lunch at your desk! Spend your lunch hour on a walk around the park, or even just a walk to and from a café.

Devour Some Vitamin D

While not many foods contain vitamin D naturally, there are a few that can help you get your daily dose:

•Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel — these are the best natural sources with the most vitamin D

•Beef liver

•Portobello mushrooms

•Egg yolks

 •Cheese

•Cod liver oil

•Vitamin D supplements

•Foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice, cereals, and yogurt

 Be aware that many nutritionists do not believe you can get the full recommended daily dose of vitamin D through diet alone. The best way to get your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is to expose your skin to direct sunlight.

Healthy Sleeping Habits

The time change can throw your internal clock and circadian rhythms out of whack. Need some tips for a good night’s rest? Try these:

•Turn off all screens an hour before you go to bed.

•Avoid eating and drinking late at night.

•Go to bed at the same time every night.

•And get up at the same time too (no sleeping in on weekends!).

•Make sure your bedroom is dark.

•Spend time outdoors in the sunshine. (Double benefit!)

•Get regular exercise.

•Cut back on sugar.

•Don’t hit the snooze button.

We’re just about halfway over the winter hump.  The spring sunshine and longer days will soon be here!

This article furnished by Susana Griffin of Envision Bank and Mortgage

Home improvement projects that add big value to your home

Even if you don’t have the funds or the energy for a big improvement project or remodel, small changes can make your home a more enjoyable place to live, increase its value, and help you command the best possible price when you sell.

Exchange light fixtures for ceiling fans. A stylish new ceiling fan instantly updates a room and can add value to your home. Choose fans that create a rustic vintage look or add a cool island vibe to an outdoor patio

Replace your kitchen faucet and sink. If your sink is chipped and stained, or your faucet is grungy, new fixtures will make food prep and washing dishes more enjoyable. Even a basic but deeper stainless steel basin will sparkle, and a pullout faucet will add a modern touch

Other simple changes in the kitchen and bathrooms can have a huge impact. A new backsplash can tie together the colors in your counters, floors and cabinets and can be an easy do-it-yourself project. New drawer and door knobs are a lovely addition. Adding a medicine cabinet or changing the mirror in a bathroom will instantly update the room.

This article provided by Beth Davis of Keller Williams Realtors, Plymouth

Keeping Safe During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years Day. The holidays are here! It’s a joyous time when family and friends gather.

It’s also the most dangerous time of the year. There are more fires and accidents than any other season.

Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe during the holidays at home or on the road:

At Home

Christmas tree – If you’re having a real tree, make sure it is fresh and not dried out. Keep it away from all heat sources (radiators and vents) and open flames (candles and fireplaces). Replenish water in the tree stand.

Holiday lights/electrical cords – Check all light strings and extension cords. Make sure they are not broken or frayed. Do not connect more than three strings of lights together. Do not overload outlets. Use UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved power strips with surge protectors. Never run wires under rugs.

Pet Safety – Keep live plants such as poinsettias away from pets. If consumed, these plants can be deadly to your dog or cat. Also, keep small decorations that can pose choking hazards out of their reach.

Deliveries – If you’re going away or not home during the day, have a neighbor or a family member get your packages that are delivered to your front door. In recent years, there’s been a surge in delivered packages being stolen from front steps.

On the Road

No Social Media – Do not post your travel plans on social media. An empty house is a magnet for holiday thieves.

Buckle Up – Make sure you and all your passengers have seat belts fastened before heading out in your vehicle. Check children’s car seats that they are properly secured.

Don’t Rush – Leave plenty of time for traveling to destinations. Obey speed limits and traffic laws. Slow-down in stormy weather. You’ll have plenty of company on the roads, so patience is a must.

Have a Happy and Safe holiday!