Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018

10 Tips For A Pain-Free Renovation

Whether youre painting your kitchen cabinets or ripping the whole kitchen out, renovating is exciting. Not as exciting is the mess thats created, the potential issues with contractors, and the mad scramble to come up with more money when something goes awry. While you cant avoid every unpleasantry associated with home renovations, you can prepare well to keep yours as pain-free as possible.

Move out

Depending on how extensive your renovation is, staying in the home while its going on can be horrible. And, trust us when we say that this is one of those things you only think you can get through easily if youve never been through it before. A little time at a friends house or in a hotel instead of cramming your family into a bedroom or basement with one bathroom to share and a makeshift kitchen will make your world so much better.

Dont hover...but dont fail to check the work from time to time

True story: We had our floors redone last month Goodbye, ugly tile and concrete where where foundation work had been completed, Hello luxury vinyl plank and we had to face this reality head on. While we didnt want to be in their face all day, paying attention at key points uncovered areas that needed to be addressed. What we learned is this:

Finding that perfect balance is key to establishing trust with your contractor while also making sure the work is up to your standards.And, in the end, having cookies and other treats in the house makes everything better.

Concentrate on safety

If you are staying in the home and you have kids or pets or both, youll want to make sure your contractors leave their work area as clean as possible and dont create hazards with their equipment. On the first night of our flooring installation, our contractor left his tools - including two saws - in an open area, which our dog quickly discovered Everyone is fine, but he got to spend the rest of the night in the bedroom.

"While working in your home contractors should be willing to remove all tools at the end of each day. At the least, equipment should be stacked out of the way and out of the reach of young kids," Art Donnelly, former chairman of the board of theNational Association of the Remodeling Industry, told Parents. "You can even request that your contractor set up temporary walls to shield your kids from the work site and reduce the amount of dust filtering into your living quarters."

Budget more than you think youll need

Its always going to cost more than you think. Setting aside an extra 10 percent - at least - will help you avoid a freak out and a panicked search for more money in the middle of your reno.

Invest in a good vacuum

And a carload of Swiffer dusters. Whether youre having your floors done, adding a room, or redoing your kitchen, its gonna get dusty. And it doesnt matter how well your contractor cleans up after the job is doneit still wont be up to your expectations.

Dont pay upfront

A contractor who asks for payment before work has begun could be a red flag. You dont want to get duped, nor do you want to work with someone whose cash flow problem becomes your problem. Paying for materials as they are purchased is common and payment arrangements that include paying for a portion of the work at certain completion markers are sometimes worked out, but if it feels off, dont be afraid to stand your ground.

Do your research

Even the most trusted referrals require further research. Perhaps the company is under new management since your friend used them or standards have dropped over time. Google the company and check reviews online before you move forward.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Our project was almost derailed by a simple miscommunication that was, thankfully, discovered and worked through but that could have derailed the entire flooring installation.

"Ninety-Nine percent of problems are caused by breakdowns in communication," said CAVDESIGN. "Dont overwhelm your contractor with bits of paper and random suggestions. Instead, organize your thoughts, schedule a time, and go over any questions point by point. Then send a line-item list of what was decided upon so there is a clear paper trail."

Pack up your valuables ahead of time

Yes, you want to protect yourself from theft. But you also want the things that are important to you to be safe from getting bruised or broken. If your contractor is moving furniture for you, it behooves you to take care of anything thats an heirloom or that would devastate you if it was damaged during the renovation.

Check outside when the renovation is done

Some contractor clean up the work area better than others. There might be an errant piece of tile or a few wood pieces youre not aware of on your front lawn because you typically come and go through the garage. But you can be sure your neighbors will be aware If youve already pushed the limits of their patience with the constant sound of power tools, nows the time to make sure your front yard isnt an eyesore.
Full Story >


6 Easy Steps For Integrating A Dog Into Your Home... Without Chaos Or Clutter

So youre finally adding a dog to your household. Congratulations Youre about to bring so much joy to your world. But also hair and dirt and slobber. You can easily integrate a new dog into your home and still keep it clean and >Protect your floors

Your pups hairy chin probably means theres going to be water dribble. One of the best ways to handle this is with a tray under the food and water bowl. We love this Easyology Premium Pet Food Tray, which has a graphic design, comes in four colors, and has a lip that helps keep the food and water contained.

Get a crate

Youve probably heard that dogs love to be in a den-like area like a crate, but does it feel cruel to you? We get it And, truth be told, you wont find a crate in our house.. But, that doesnt mean we dont wonder if our free-range dogging was the right choice. The truth is that puppies are easily trained to sleep in their crates and hang out in them while youre gone, which makes potty training easier and also gives you the confidence of knowing they - and your home - are safe and secure while youre gone.

Heres what the professionals have to say: "Prison or cozy retreat? It all depends on perspective and on how you use the crate. Dogs have a natural denning instinct, normally preferring safe, enclosed quarters for their naps," said Modern Dog Magazine. "In the wild, a den is a secure place to get some shut-eye without becoming someone elses meal. If a dog is properly introduced to a crate as a young pup he will view it as a safe refuge from the hustle and bustle of the house and away from any pesky children - a place for peace and quiet and serious snoozing. Most domestic dog owners are surprised to learn that wild dogs spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping


Wayfair
Rest periods in snug quarters are a natural part of caring for our dogs needs. But... dogs have many other needs that crates interfere with. Dogs are social animals; they require interaction with other dogs or people. They also need exercise, mental stimulation, and appropriate potty opportunities. So, while some time spent in a crate is usually a positive element of dog rearing, too much time spent in a crate can have disastrous consequences."

If you do opt to get a crate, youll be happy to know you can find stylish options today that actually add to your homes dcor instead of the standard cage look.

Decorate

The doggy dcor world is more varied and interesting than ever, and the options for your pup go far beyond crates. Just in the dog bed category alone, you can find everything from crushed velvet options to graphic patterns to match your >


dog-milk.com

Set some boundaries

"The big day comes when you pick up the dog. Everybody is excited and happy as you drive home, and you all come bounding up the walk, throw open the front door and let the dog off-leash and insideAnd youve just planted the seed for a lot of future issues. In human terms, youve unleashed a juvenile delinquent," said Cesar Milan. "In order to have a well-balanced dog, we have to teach her the house rules, and set boundaries and limitations from the get-go. The message you send your dog the moment she enters your home for the first time is critical, because it immediately establishes the ground rules in your dogs mind. If you just let her run in the door, the message is, Here Everything is yours, and you can do whatever you want."

Milan has eight essential steps for setting rules for a new pup. A good training program can help reinforce them.

Be consistent

Your four-year-old may think its adorable to invite the dog up onto the couch, but if you have established a no-dog-on-the-couch policy, this can be confusing. Consistency is key, and that means you probably have to spend at least as much time training your human family members as you do the dog.

Get a good vacuum

Unless you get a Chinese Crested hairless dog or a breed that genuinely does not shed, you can expect to have at least some dog hair collecting in the corners of your home. If you just have a simple broom and vacuum, it may be time for an upgrade.

Keep that dog hair in check with a vacuum that is built to suck it up. Experts like the Hoover REACT Professional Pet Plus and the Dyson DC39 Animal Canister Vacuum Cleaner. Also consider getting a microfiber dry mop. Hair loves to stick to microfiber, which can make quick cleanups easy.
Full Story >


Five Steps To Furnishing Your New Home

Congratulations on your new home This is an opportunity to think holistically about the interior design and decoration of your home. Have you ever been in a house where nothing seems to go with anything else? A house with stylistic clashes in its furniture and decor can feel like a conversation in which no one is listening to anyone else. Follow these steps for a smooth decorating transition to your new home.

1. Planning

The first step is to survey the territory. Start by listing any furniture or decorative element a rug or framed art you are keeping from your prior home. Also consider design aspects such as wall color, textures and lighting. Some of these you can choose and others you will need to take into consideration as you plan.

Do you have a family heirloom piece of furniture that is coming with you to the new house? Your subsequent purchases will need to work well with the heirloom. Always take a moment and ask yourself why you are keeping a piece. If you dont love it, theres no shame in letting it go to a home where it will be loved.

2. Preparing

The perfect time to paint is before the furniture goes in. Dont make your paint purchases without thinking about the rest of the interior. For example, have you always wanted a bright red sofa? If you are going to pick a bold color for a major item of furniture, think neutral for the walls.

Another common preparation is refinishing wood floors. Take into consideration the color of the floors and moldings and how they will interact visually with the rest of your interior.

3. Prioritizing

You may be able to acquire all of your furniture before you move in. But that isnt always possible. Prioritize your furniture purchases around your familys needs. Especially if you have children, your first wish may be a dining or kitchen table and chairs. The table is a gathering place for the whole family, and being able to eat together will make the house feel like home quickly. Make sure the kids have a say in what their rooms will look like mdash; seeking their input can help ease their moving blues.

If you are a couple without children, you might find it an adventure to picnic on the floor for the first few weeks, and the bedroom might be the first room you want to furnish.

4. Purchasing

Consider buying all the major pieces in each room from one furniture line. These pieces are designed to go together, and once you find a piece you really love, see what else is available from that designer.

Celebrity brand lines of furniture are not mere gimmicks to capitalize on the stars name recognition. Rather, such brands are designed to evoke the mood and emotion most associated with that celebrity. A lot of work goes into the line to create a cohesive and evocative >

5. Getting Help

You dont need to hire an interior decorator. However, if you need some help, you can find many online tutorials on interior decorating and design, some of which are free.


Full Story >


Home Inspections Can Save You Money In The Long-Run

If youre hiring someone to inspect the home you want to buy, or youre a seller trying to find out if there are any hidden problems that need fixing before you put your home on the market, here are five things you need to know:

1. You can choose your home inspector.

Your real estate professional can recommend an inspector, or you can find one on your own. Members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc. NAHI, must complete an approved home inspector training program, demonstrate experience and competence as a home inspector, complete a written exam, and adhere to the NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

2. Home inspections are intended to point out adverse conditions, not cosmetic flaws.

You should attend the inspection and follow the inspector throughout the inspection so you can learn whats important and whats not. No house is perfect and an inspection on any home is bound to uncover faults. A home inspector will point out conditions that need repair and/or potential safety->3. Home inspection reports include only the basics.

A home inspector considers hundreds of items during an average inspection. The home inspection should include the homes exterior, steps, porches, decks, chimneys, roof, windows, and doors. Inside, they will look at attics, electrical components, plumbing, central heating and air conditioning, basement/crawlspaces, and garages.

They report on the working order of items such as faucets to see if they leak, or garage doors to see if they close properly. Inspectors may point out termite damage and suggest that you get a separate pest inspection. The final written report should be concise and easy to understand.

4. Home inspectors work for the party who is paying the fee.

The NAHI Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics clearly state that members act as an unbiased third party to the real estate transaction and "will discharge the Inspectors duties with integrity and fidelity to the client." A reputable home inspector will not conduct a home inspection or prepare a home inspection report if his or her fee is contingent on untruthful conclusions.

The inspector should maintain client confidentiality and keep all report findings private, unless required by court order. That means it is your choice whether or not to share the report with others. If youre a seller, you dont have to disclose the report to buyers, but you must disclose any failure in the systems or integrity of your home.

5. Inspectors are not responsible for the condition of the home.

Inspectors dont go behind walls or under flooring, so its possible that a serious problem can be overlooked. Keep in mind that inspectors are not party to the sales transaction, so if you buy a home where an expensive problem surfaces after the sale, you wont be able to make the inspector liable or get the inspector to pay for the damage. In fact, you may not be entitled to any compensation beyond the cost of the inspection.

As a buyer, you need the home inspection to decide if the home is in condition that you can tolerate. You can use the report to show the seller the need for a certain repair or negotiate a better price. You can also take the report to a contractor and use it to make repairs or to remodel a section of the home.

One thing you should not do when buying a home is skip having the home inspected because of cost or undue pressure by the seller. A home inspection is reasonable, it can save you money in the long run, and its required by many lenders, particularly for FHA loans. Theres a reason why buyers should beware, and a home inspection gives you the information you need to make a sound buying decision.
Full Story >


For Sale By Owner Dot Com...

This is Breaking News...wonder what the plan is? Media Company, Brokerage, and FSBO site combo...

ForSaleByOwner.com, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company the "Seller", an indirectly, wholly-owned subsidiary of tronc, Inc. the "Company", completed a disposition of substantially all of its assets used in its business of operating a for-sale-by-owner real estate market place, pursuant to an Asset Purchase Agreement, entered into on March 13, 2018 the "Purchase Agreement", among the Seller, ForSaleByOwner.com, LLC, a Michigan limited liability company the "Buyer", Tribune Publishing Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company "Tribune" and In-House Realty LLC "IHR". The closing purchase price consisted of 2.5 million in cash, subject to a post-closing working capital adjustment, of which 700,000 is being held in escrow as security for specified indemnity obligations.

https://bit.ly/2s6HFFz


Full Story >


Six Surprising Retirement Trends You Need To Know

Tiny homes. Rockin communities where Jimmy Buffet is your spirit animal. Rockin a strenuous hike minutes from home. Yeah, this is not your Grandfathers retirement.

Long gone are the days when people packed it in and moved to a nice, calm little home for the aging in Florida the day they turn 65. Not only are people working longer today, but they are looking for more out of their retirement - more fun and excitement, more job opportunities, and more opportunity to hang out with family. If youre getting ready to retire, these are the trends youll want to know about.

Life>

And were not just talking about weekly bingo. There is a wave of new retirement communities, most notably Jimmy Buffets foray into a new career path, that cater to a much more active life>


aarp.org

Other developments, like the new 100 million-plusnbsp;Rancho Mission Viejonbsp;in Orange County, CA is being developed "as annbsp;upscale mixed-generation development, with housing catering to older adults integrated into clusters of neighborhoods," they said. "Developments like New Yorks new community center for thenbsp;Morningside Retirement amp; Health Servicesnbsp;MRHS showcase anbsp;renewed focus on active, communal space. A cohousing development for seniors on Oaklands waterfront called Phoenix Commons has been compared to a lsquo;dorm for grownups."

Retiringhellip;but not all the way

Mid-size and larger cities are becoming havens for retirees because, among other positive attributes, they offer thriving job markets. So why would that be important to someone who is getting ready to stop working? Because, increasingly, retirees arent retiring all the way. Or, theyre embarking on secondary careers, often part-time, post retirement. "74 of working Americans plan to work past retirementnbsp;age, with 11 expecting to work full time and 63 expecting to work part-time," said The Street.

Chasing happiness

U.S. New amp; World Reports 2018 list of the Best Places to Retire compared the top 100 metros for their potential as retirement spots, using data including housing affordability, taxes, and access to healthcare facilities. Their overall desirability and average levels of happiness were also key to the rankings. "Several cities in Texas made the top 10," while "three cities in the mid-Atlantic region are highly rated." You can see the entire list here.

Multi-generational living

Multi-generational living is on one of real estates fastest-growing trend. "In 1940, about one-quarter of the U.S. population lived with three or morenbsp;generations in one home. After WWII, American families largely became two-generational, with parents and minor-age children under one roof," said Forbes. "The percentage of households with multiple generations started declining to 21, reaching a low of 12nbsp;by 1980." According to Pew Research Center data, 60.6 million people, or 19 percent of the U.S. population, lived in multigenerational homes, including 26.9 million three-generation households."

In fact, the trend is so pervasive today that builders are increasingly creating highly livable granny flats and tiny homes that can live on family land or in backyards. Theyre also building new construction homes like Lennars Next Gen, which is billed as a "home within a home" and includes "all the features youd expect in a separate unit a kitchenette, single car garage and full bathroom while giving you the freedom to pop in whenever youd like," they said.

Increasing the activity level

"The choice of recreational activities is gradually shifting as the baby boomer generation heads into retirement," said U.S. News amp; World Report. "A recent study by the Physical Activity Council revealed some interesting findings. Activities that are increasing in popularity include camping, bicycling, hiking and canoeing. Activities that are decreasing in popularity include golf, swimming for fitness and working out using machines or weights."

The AARP found that boomers are increasingly migrating to states "with mild climates and recreational options. "A newly >

Following family

Another of todays top trends has retirees moving closer to family. For many grandparents, moving toward their children and grandchildren is "the last chance to focus on family and to leave a legacy of special memories," says Christine Crosby, editorial director ofnbsp;Grandmagazine," to Kiplinger.


Full Story >


Remodeling Your Home Office To Increase Productivity

Working from home is both a luxury and a curse. Sure, you dont have to fight with traffic or even get dressed in the morning, but the line between home and work can begin to blur to the point where youre not sure if youre working from home or living at work. Additionally, it is much easier to get distracted when your office is part of your house. Kids, pets, phone, doorbell mdash; these distractions can add up to sensory overload and prevent you from working productively.

The key to overcoming this problem is to redesign and remodel your home workspace. With a few tips, you can have all the advantages of working at home and still achieve the level of productivity that comes with working in an office.

Create a Reasonably Comfortable Workspace

You want your home office to be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you are inclined to take a nap. You want it to be welcoming, but not so welcoming that your kids set up camp in there with you. The design of the space should be infused with elements of your personality, including paintings, furniture and decor, but these elements should not detract from the functionality of the space. These elements should take up as little floor and leg space as possible. Keep items like floating shelves, fold away desks and chairs, and wall-mounted cabinets in mind when considering how to best use your limited space.

You also want to make sure that your designated office or workspace is in an airy, well-lit domain in your home. An area with an existing heating and ventilation unit is ideal. However, if the only space available to you is in the basement, stock up on fans, an air purifier and a humidifier to counter the stagnant air.

Use Lighting Appropriately

In an ideal home office, three kinds of light should be available: task lighting, ambient lighting and natural daylight. Task lighting is light you can shine directly on your work, so a desk lamp or flexible floor lamp is a good option. Use compact fluorescent, energy-efficient bulbs for your task lighting because they stay cool, last longer and are available in different watts and color variants to best suit your individual needs.

For natural lighting, try to set up your workspace near a window. Natural lighting is the most effective and the cheapest of the recommended lighting types. Plus, being able to gaze out the window every so often as you work is good for the soul. Be sure to invest in some quality window treatments, though, to block out the distractions that the window might bring and also to monitor the temperature in the office area. A sheer curtain can also be implemented to create ambient lighting for performing tasks that do not require direct or natural light.

Control the Stimulation Level

When considering colors for your workspace, remember that some colors stimulate the brain more than others. Colors that are too dark or too vibrant may prove distracting or can even elicit anxiety. For the walls, choose a neutral color that is soothing in the warm months of the year and also warming in the cooler months. Shades like cream, lemon and pastel blue are smart choices.

Too much noise can also be a stimulant and a distraction when trying to work from home. The kids yell, the dog barks, the television blares. Your workspace needs to block out these noises while still allowing you to hear whats important. A good rug or carpet can absorb some of the noise; however, you can also install panels on the wall or add sound-proofing mats for added absorption. Simply upgrading the insulation in the room and the air sealing can cut back on noise pollution significantly.

So, if home is where the heart and the office is, a few remodeling and designing tips can help you boost your productivity and better enjoy your home office.
Full Story >


The Legal Ties That Bind With Your Down Payment

Question: We are both in our upper sixties and retired. Last October, we put money down on a condominium apartment that is to be completed around September of this year. We put down ten percent of the price in cash and the money is earning a modest amount of interest until settlement. We have some savings, but the balance would be paid in cash from the proceeds of the sale of our present home.

Although we believe the price of the condominium has gone up slightly since we signed the contract, we now have serious thoughts about apartment living and about putting most of our resources into this transaction because of some new and serious health concerns.

Is there any way we can cancel our agreement and not lose the down payment?

Answer: The lawyer in me says that a contract is a legally binding document that must be upheld. The humanitarian in me suggests that, at the very least, you should try to get out of the contract, especially with the facts you have described.

First, review the terms of the contract very carefully to determine your rights and responsibilities. Are there any contingencies in that contract, such as your ability to obtain financing or the necessity to sell your house? If any of these contingencies legitimately cannot be met, it is possible you have the legal right to declare the contract null and void.

Next, determine whether the contract can be assigned. Although most developer contracts are not assignable, it may very well be that you have the right to sell your contract to someone else. And even if you do not have that right, it never hurts to ask the developer.

For example, if the contract is for 100,000 and the market value now is 110,000, if you have the right to assign that contract, you may find someone who would purchase your contract for the contract price -- or even a few thousand dollars above the contract price.

The person who buys your contract would be obligated to follow through on all of the terms of your contract. In effect, the buyer would be stepping into your shoes, assuming all the rights and responsibilities you presently have.

As I have indicated, although most developer contracts do not permit such assignment, it is worth looking at this aspect of your contract.

Next, do not hesitate to discuss this matter with both the real estate firm representing the seller and try to speak directly with the seller. Explain your situation. They may be sympathetic. If the market for your condominium is anticipated to be strong, the seller-developer may be able to make more money by reselling the property to someone else.

Finally, you may want to consider buying the property and then trying to sell it yourself. Unfortunately, this is risky because there never is any guarantee you will find a buyer quickly and the duplicate settlement costs, financing charges and other settlement->You may also have to pay a real estate commission for that second sale. Realize that until the developer has sold most, if not all of the condominium units, you are competing against the house. And as we know, the dealer always wins.

You indicated you have put down a deposit of ten percent and you do not want to lose the money. However, there are times when a buyer would prefer to walk away from a transaction, lose the money and avoid subsequent aggravation.

Peace of mind sometimes cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents. Although I cannot recommend forfeiting your deposit, if this is an option you are willing to consider, make sure you discuss the situation with the seller before deciding. Sign a >Basically, if a buyer defaults on a real estate contract, the seller has three options available:

  • Suing for specific performance, in effect, asking the court to require you go ahead with the transaction.
  • Suing for damages if there are substantial monetary damages involved as a result of your failure to live up to your part of the contract. For example, if the seller has to resell the property at a lower price than your contract price, this would be the measure of damages.
  • Electing to retain the deposit as the only remedy. Remember, if you decide to forfeit, make sure the seller agrees, in writing, that the only remedy will be the forfeiture of the deposit. This may also be spelled out in the form contract you signed.

Although I recognize that conditions often change and new circumstances often arise after a contract is entered into, it must be pointed out that, in most cases, the time to decide whether you want to purchase property is before you sign a contract.

After your signature is on the contract and you have given some money down as a deposit, you are legally bound to comply with all the terms and conditions of that document. Your fate basically depends on how the developer reacts to your situation.
Full Story >


Ask the HOA Expert: Restricted Activities

Question: One of our homeowners kids would like to raise chickens in the backyard. Our governing documents restrict this activity. Any advice to head off this public >Answer: Most HOA governing documents restrict raising poultry and other farm animals or local laws may do so. If this is something like a short term 4-H project, its probably no big deal. If it is an ongoing production facility for eggs and meat, not a good idea. The main issues are sanitation and noise particularly from roosters.

Question: I recently had a leak in my unit that damaged wall and flooring and I am in a battle with the HOA regarding who is responsible for the repair charges. My unit is in a mid-rise condominium. The leak was coming from a rooftop chiller pipe that feeds the air conditioning units for me and several neighbors. The plumber determined that the pipe was leaking because of improper soldering. The board says neither the plumbing repair or damage to my unit is the HOAs responsibility.

Answer: This is a >

Typically, the HOA is responsible for repairing common plumbing lines. Since the plumbing line in question serves multiple units, it is considered common. Damage repair to units caused by the leaking pipe, however, is usually the unit owners responsibility unless the HOA neglects to perform plumbing repairs in a timely manner when informed by a unit owner. For a sample Areas of Responsibility Policy, see www.Regenesis.net

Question: A homeowner is requesting a copy of a violation letter that was sent to another homeowner. Are we required to provide that?

Answer: Unless state law requires sharing this kind of information, a violation issue is a private matter between the board, management and offender. Such information should not be shared with other owners.

Question: What is the proper protocol for a special assessment? Should the board hold a special meeting to announce it with the homeowners, then follow up with a letter to all of them?

Answer: If the board has decided to move forward with a special assessment, it should definitely hold an informational meeting to discuss the reasons and to answer questions. It is possible that there will be people that take exception to the special assessment and want to express that opinion. They have a right to do that as long as they are civil.

The board should attempt to respond to all questions and concerns if possible. Trying to respond to "I dont have the money" is a waste of time even if true. Special assessments are never pleasant and there will always be some that have a problem paying them due to disability, unemployment, divorce, too cheap, etc. Going forward, the board should have a long range plan to avoid them in the future by setting aside adequate reserve funds to avoid special assessments. It would a good thing to point this out to the members now.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net.
Full Story >


Builder/Realtor Relationships Poised For Long-Term Win-Win

ldquo;I feel about as comfortable as a condemned man, lecturing the firing squad on marksmanship because everything I say can be held against me.rdquo;

Who would have the nerve to think what anyone had to say mattered to 1.3 million Realtors, most of whom are not encouraged or trained to work with homebuilders?

After thanking home builders for providing much-needed inventory, I can only think of two things to say to this hardworking, risk-taking group:

One, stop telling Realtors they wonrsquo;t get paid if they donrsquo;t bring the prospect to your sales office first. This 40-year policy became outdated about a generation ago the first time a home shopper completed a builders internet registration form. We both know you make exceptions on a regular basis. Why not say so up front?

Two, stop telling Realtors they need to learn construction because nothing could be further from the money ndash; or the truth. There no evidence to support this assumption. Case studies do, as we shall see.

What caused builder/Realtor >

The most important event by far happened in August of 2012, when Realtor.com and Builder Digital Index BDX announced a partnership whereby BDX would feed its national inventory of new homes to REALTOR.com.

Homebuilders now had what they had long lacked, access to the Realtors Multiple Listing System MLS. And Realtors had access to inventory of new homes in a format they are trained to use. Realtors can find inventory of new homes, floor plans, prices, amenities, and more side by side with resales.

The increased demand by new home shoppers forced Realtors to start showing new homes, whether they were trained to or not. It seems to be working big time.

ldquo;Millions of new home shoppers were drawn to this new service,rdquo; according to Senior Vice President of Channel Sales and Operation, Tricia Smith, speaking at the 2018 National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show in January.

In December 2013 the headline below appeared in Realty Times:

Bank of America Urging Home Builders and Realtors to Work Together.

ldquo;If you are a REALTORreg; looking for some unusual but timely business advice from a banker, E.J. Achtner, Senior Vice President of Bank of America, has some for you.

"Education, training and >

Why is a banker suggesting new home training to Realtors?

According to Achtner, "many builders, regardless of their size, are taking a much more collaborative view of partnering with Realtors than in the past and we encourage our builders to work with Realtors.rdquo;

It would be safe to assume that other lenders started encouraging their builders to do the same thing,

Then less than two years later, more than 25 MLS Partners were offering inventory of new homes from their local source.

BDX Announces 25 MLS Partners Providing Access To New Construction Inventory For 400,000 Realtors.

"With our partners in this effort, nearly 400,000 REALTORSreg; have direct access to New Home Source Professional through their MLS today," said Tim Costello, President and CEO of BDX.

"More than half of all home shoppers consider new construction, so its imperative that we continue this industry collaboration to help agents and brokers serve their clients.

ldquo;Today builders and Realtors are working closer together than ever,rdquo; Costello said.

Systems are in place to communicate clearly and accurately. Commission issues are few and far between.

While builders are finally working within the MLS system, they still have a way to go with their Realtor training. A study said they need to do a better job of bringing Realtors into their process.

Two Out Of Three REALTORS Say Homebuilder New Homes Training Is Not Useful

According to a study commissioned by Builder Homesite Inc, "nearly two-thirds of Realtors believe that builders are not offering useful training about how to sell new homes."

Why? Because what they teach does not engage Realtors in the sales process. The Builder Homesite study nailed it with this statement:

ldquo;There is a sizeable portion of Realtors that would welcome an outreach effort to engage them in a sales process and increase the proportion of new homes that they sell."

A national position on a few key issues would be helpful. We will get to those issues in Part 4.

nbsp;

Summary: Except for a lingering lack of trust, there is no excuse for Realtors to ignore inventory of new homes.

Homebuilders, your training question is this:

lsquo;Is what I am saying, or about to say, building more trust in my product or me?rdquo;

If you struggle with the answer, you need to rethink your message, which we will address.

nbsp;

Next: Part 2 How Experienced New Home Co-Brokers Feel About Selling New Homes


Full Story >


Home Buying Checklist: What Else Does Location Mean?

"Location, location, location" are the cornerstones of property value and neighborhood popularity. Evaluating this seemingly-simple, triple-impact factor goes beyond me>

Yes, proximity to the places you and family members regularly must or want to visit is an important factor in identifying an ideal location. However, theres more to accessing location than an address.

LOCATION CHECKLIST

Below is a comprehensive checklist of LOCATION FACTORS many of which may be overlooked by buyers until they move in and discover that their chosen and paid-for location is not all they expected it to be. Many of these factors also affect market value, now and in the future. All these factors will not be an issue for every property. Check off the factors are >

Walkability has many definitions which largely differ by walking purpose: destination-driven, exercising, socializing, exploring, enjoying the outdoorshellip;. Measures of walkability can be useful and may add to market value, but these scores are not absolute, so investigate the reference source and measurement approach. Experiment by walking where you and family members would walk and when. There may be obstacles, like very busy streets, that would affect whether walking would be the best transportation choice.

Nearby Shopping used to be a big location factor, but online shopping has taken the shine off this convenience for many buyers. In some areas, malls are falling into disrepair and closing. Would that be a concern for you? In other locations, new large-scale commercial ventures are underway in or closer to residential areas. How would you feel about having a big box store on your doorstep?

Developments especially large-scale projects, condominium towers, multiple-housing complexes, and commercial ventures, increase density, traffic, noise, andnbsp; pressure on schools and community services. Years of planning and arguing proceed ground breaking, so todays quiet streets may reveal little sign of what will begin once you move in. Ask a lot of questions about local development.

Street Status exists in most neighborhoods, which themselves each carry different status. Certain streets confer status on residents. Which street, side of the street, or end of the street carries greater real estate value or status? One end of the street may be closer to shopping and the other to parks. What do you value regarding physical location?

Sunshine is valued by most buyers, even though they may appreciate it for different reasons, ranging from gardening to solar energy. In some areas, south-facing backyards are more popular and, in others, its south-facing fronts. What is blocking sunlight to the property now and what might block it in the future?

Teardowns or properties more valued as building sites than homes, exist in most established neighborhoods. How many teardowns surround the real estate? Teardowns are not all dilapidated

structures. In many areas, attractive bungalows and two-storeys are demolished to build mega-homes, perhaps like the one you are interested in. During the demolition and build, neighbors are plagued by noise, dust, lack of parking, and inconsideration that can mean restricted use of their own properties for a year or two. Whats planned around the property?

nbsp; Neighbors may include Airbnb hosts and other home-based business owners, some of whom may conduct their ventures in ways that end up disturbing neighbors. Many municipalities and police receive complaints from homeowners concerned about what businesses are doing around their property.

nbsp; Schools particularly popular ones, can be a big influence on a location decision for those with children to educate.

nbsp; Transportation carries different importance for different buyers. Have public transit and road systems kept pace with rising population in the area? Are neighborhood-changing transportation projects like rapid transit scheduled to begin in the next year or so? Will the bulk of >

nbsp; Infrastructure is an often-overlooked factor. How recently have bridges and main roads, essential for access to the area and downtown, been up-dated and up-graded? Have water and sewage

services been upgraded to serve growing populations? Or, will you face months, if not years, of "under construction" streets around your home?

nbsp; Break-ins tend to be more common in some areas than others. Who keeps the neighborhood safe? Whats their track record? Do most neighbors have their own home security system? Are community safety groups active?

nbsp; Water Supply and shortages can be an issue. Droughts seem more common and last longer. How prepared is the community to handle water shortage? Do summer shortages affect lawn watering and landscaping, making local drought-resistant plants and no-grass front yards essential? Are bush fires a recurring threat?

nbsp; Flooding in low-lying areas and drainage basins can be a threat. Could rising water plague that real estate or the immediate area or access? How affordable and attainable is property

flood insurance in this area? When was the last time flooding was an issue and what happened during clean up? If the property is waterfront, is shore erosion or rising water an issue? Is the waterfront often fouled with dead algae or other smelly matter?

nbsp; Traffic is more of a concern in urban areas. Is the residential area under traffic calming and speed-management strategies to reduce rush-hour traffic through the area? If there are speed bumps, how are fire and emergency vehicles affected? Is there a plan to add or remove traffic calming and why?

nbsp; Airplanes can disrupt family life even if a property is not close to an airport. The increase in frequency of planes taking off and landing at all hours has many neighborhoods, even those distant from airports, plagued by airplane noise. Circling a city to land, means planes travel over many homes drowning out conversations and disrupting sleep. Just popping in for an open house or viewing may not make you aware of a noisy flight-path problem.

nbsp; Landscaping and mature trees enhance neighborhoods. Large trees can present hazards as they age. Are trees downed in storms replaced? What invader species are working their way through the area to undermine outdoor enjoyment?

nbsp; History of the home or location may be a concern in special cases. Has anything happened on the property or near it that has led locals to consider the real estate less favorably?

nbsp; Pollution mdash; air, noise, or water mdash;is a problem in some areas? What is being done to reduce the ill-effects for residents?

nbsp; Taxes are a key location-driven affordability factor. All of the above can impact how quickly property taxes and municipal fees go up. Whats the pattern of increase in the area? How does local government raise the funds it needs to maintain quality of life in the area?

Dont panic. All these factors will not affect every property.

Our point is that buyers should find out which, if any, of these issues could significantly affect their new home, its market value, and their life at that location before they buy.

  • Concentrating too heavily on interior decor and not on >
  • What could buyers do about surprises like those listed above after they move in?
  • Would issues like these affect what buyers are prepared to pay for that real estate in the first place?

Who can possibly know all these details about a property?

  • The property owner, or at least the smart ones, keep up on what is going on at or near their location because all of this affects property value and enjoyment.
  • Neighors know a lot mdash;maybe more than sellers realize.
  • Local real estate professionals know this and more because local knowledge and market value are what their work centers on. Listing professionals spend time with sellers to explore the history of the property and the area. Between them they know whats going on locally and how that property will be affected.
  • The local real estate professional or buyers agent who assists you in finding the right real estate for your needs and budget has access to the owners knowledge and that of the listing professional through the Multiple Listing Service. This plus their own local knowledge should help you understand the listed factors >

Full Story >


New Forms To Be Released For Use By California REALTORS

In addition to the reorganized Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory SBSA, three new forms will be >

The first one of these, the Tenant Flood Hazard Disclosure, satisfies a new requirement that in every residential lease or rental agreement entered into after July 1, 2018, the landlord or agent must disclose certain information regarding flood hazards including the landlords "actual knowledge." The TFHD informs the tenant that the property is in a special flood hazard area or an area of potential flooding if one or more of the following conditions are met.

1. The owner has actual knowledge of that fact.
2. The owner has received written notice from any public agency stating that the property is located in a special flood hazard or an area of potential flooding.
3. The property is located in an area in which the owners mortgage holder requires the owner to carry flood insurance.
4. The owner carries flood insurance.

There are no conditions under which either of the other two advisories is mandated by law; however, individual companies may choose to include them among their required documents.

The Disclosure Information Advisory is addressed to sellers. It provides them with some general information about required disclosures. It addresses many of the questions that sellers often ask their agents as to what is expected of them. The advice it provides for sellers is very similar to the advice that brokers often give their agents. For example, "you should not let subjective beliefs limit, qualify or downplay your disclosures. Avoid words such as lsquo;never, lsquo;minor, lsquo;insignificant, lsquo;small, or lsquo;infrequent as these terms may reflect your opinion but that opinion may not be shared by Buyers, professionals or others."

The DIA is 2 frac12; pages in length. It covers a lot of ground, much of which good agents already cover, although verbally. A particularly good piece of advice -- for agents as well as sellers -- is this:

"If you are unsure about whether something is important enough to be disclosed, you should probably disclose it. If you dont want to disclose a piece of information about the Property, think about your reasoning for why you do not want to disclose this information. If the answer is because you think a buyer will not want to buy the Property, or will want purchase at a lower price, that is exactly the reason why the fact ought to be disclosed: it materially affects the value or desirability of the Property."

Finally, there is the Buyers Homeowners Association Advisory. We have discussed in other contexts the fact that people who are buying a property subject to an HOA will receive a high volume of legally-required disclosures. Probably, there is a pretty low percentage of those buyers who have actually read all the documents they receive. This advisory provides a brief summary of the kinds of documents they should receive and emphasizes the importance of reading them. It also emphasizes that the buyers agent has not and cannot verify the information provided. It particularly notes, "Real estate agents are not qualified to assess the financial viability of any HOA."

Some of the advice, however, does challenge credulity. For example, "You should directly contact the HOA Board to determine whether the property can be used for your intended purposes."

Brokers and agents will do well to familiarize themselves with the new forms when they are made available. Theres no doubt that some will want to adopt them.


Full Story >


Recipient of the William R. Magel Award of Excellence Revealed

The most important and prestigious award Association Executives can aspire to in the real estate industry is the William R. Magel Award of Excellence.

ldquo;The William R. Magel Award of Excellence is presented annually to an individual who has truly excelled in his or her role as an association executive of a REALTORreg; association.rdquo;

This yearrsquo;s recipient is Walt Baczkowski. Walt is the CEO of the San Francisco Association of REALTORSreg;. He is a second generation Executive Officer with almost 40 years of service in the capacity of an Association of REALTORSreg;. His career path began as the Toledo Association Exec, followed by the San Diego Association, the New Jersey Association, the Greater Metropolitan Association in Michigan, and his latest position of the last 4 years, at the San Francisco Association of REALTORSreg;.

Walt is a dynamic leader who has made a difference in the real estate industry for many years.

Congratulations Walt...Well deserved


Full Story >


9 Silly Little Things That Could Be Sabotaging Your Home Sale

If your home is in pretty good shape i.e. its decently updated and not in need of a total overhaul, you might think its ready to go on the market as is. But little things you wouldnt expect can end up being deal breakers. And, when youve got competition, you need your home to stand out for all the right reasons. Give your home a good look and address the little things now before they become big problems when buyers are balking.

Cords hanging from your mounted TV

This is one of those things that tends to fade into the background in a home we live in every day. But dont be surprised if new eyes go right to those dangling cords and wonder why you didnt take the next step and hide them in the wall. Anything that makes a potential buyer question whether you cut corners or were lazy elsewhere could spell bad news for your home sale.

An unkempt yard

So, you had your landscapers out to clean out your flower beds, trim the bushes, plant colorful new blooms and mulch everything. And then, the night before a showing, a storm blew a whole mess of leaves into your yard. Grab that rake and make it a family affair out on the lawn at dawn. You know what they say about first impressions. Buyers likely wont be forgiving of a messy lawn, and your house may stand out if they can see the effort made to clean it up when the neighbors yards are still 15-deep in leaves.

A dingy front door

Again with the first impressions. Your home may look great inside, but if the front door is chipped or faded, or the hardware is worn, your potential buyers may never get past it. This is an easy fix, and one that consistently rates high on the ROI scale.

Animals

While homebuyers in general may not mind if animals live in the home they are considering purchasing unless there are severe allergy issues, they dont want to see - and, especially, smell - evidence of them. You have probably gathered up and stowed away the overflowing box of toys and balls. But have you considered the smell? You might not notice it, but first-time visitors likely will.

You dont have to rehome your pets; Use these tips from petMD to make your home smell pet-free.

Cobwebs

Even if you keep a pretty clean home, there may be areas that need attention, like ceiling fans or windowsills that are out of reach. You may not have a housekeeper on a regular basis, but doing a one-time, super deep clean before your home hits the market is a good way to make sure potential buyers dont nitpick and find a reason to question the homes condition.

Poor furniture arrangement

If youre rolling your eyes at the idea that the way you have your living room laid out could make a difference in whether or not your home sells, remember back to when you saw the home for the first time. Were you picturing your own furniture in the space? Thats what real buyers do, and if they cant picture how it will work because you have too much stuff in the space or its oddly configured - blocking a fireplace or doorway, for instance - youre keeping them from doing the thing that could make them buy the home.

"Square footage is important to homebuyers, so when youre selling a house its important to maximize the space to appear bigger and highlight each rooms dual functionality to enhance buyer appeal," said U.S. News World Report. "A home seller can do this by decluttering,lighting up the roomand especially by having your furniture strategically placed to show off the square footage. The layout will determine the visual size and flow of the room." You can learn more staging tips for arranging your furniture here.

Junk drawers and crammed cabinets

Buyers who are genuinely interested in your home are likely going to open everything and look everywhere. Its not snooping at least, we hope its not snooping - its an interest in how much storage there is in the home. You may be forgiven for one "junk drawer," but the neater and cleaner you can make everything else, the better. You want people to see the space, not your stuff.

Overfilled closets

The need to showcase the space, not the stuff, goes double for closets. "Whether its a hallway coat closet or a master suite walk-in, your homes closets will have a major big impact on prospective buyers," said Apartment Therapy. "Box up off-season appa>Cluttered countertops

Eliminating, or at least cutting down on, clutter in your home is key to getting it sale-ready, and this is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms. While people may be impressed by your professional mixer and juicer, theyre much more interested in knowing they have ample countertop space for their own stuff.
Full Story >


5 Smart, Easy Ways To Add Smart Home Technology To Your Place

Has technology passed your home by? Its never too late to update it. Whether you just want to bring the homes function into this century for your personal use or are looking to put it on the market, incorporating some smart home items is, well, a smart strategy.

"The stock advice for homeowners putting a house on the market used to go like this: Give the exterior, or the front door, a fresh coat of paint; tame unruly shrubs; and swap out a few light fixtures. But todays homebuyers are expecting a little more," said Consumer Reports. According to Coldwell Bankers latest annualnbsp;smart-home survey, most potential homebuyers want smart-home tech preinstalled."

Specifically, "Seventy-seven percent wantnbsp;smart thermostats, 75 percent want smart smoke detectors, 66 percent want smart home security cameras, and 63 percent wantnbsp;smart locks, to name a few."

Smart thermostats

Not only will a smart thermostat make your air conditioner function better and make your house more comfortable, it will save you money in the process. "With anbsp;smart thermostat, easily control the temperature in your home from a central control panel, with the sound of your voice, or using your mobile device," said Vivint. "Combined with a smart assistant that intuits and learns your preferences and behaviors, your thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature - saving you valuable time, energy, and money."

The Nest Thermostat is one of the most popular options on the market. It "currently costs 249 butnbsp;projects an average savingsnbsp;of around 173 per year," said UpNest. We also love the ecobee because it has multiple sensors. The latest version, the ecobee4 249, also has built-in Amazon Alexa.

Smart door locks

There are lots of smart door locks out there, which eliminate the need for a key and replace it with a keypad and code that are used for entry. But, we love this August Smart Lock, which takes smart home capabilities up a notch.

"This battery operated device sells for 199, and communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth," said Nerds on Call. "When the Smart Lock identifies your Bluetooth signal approaching, it unlocks your door, and can lock it behind you if you choose that setting. It also allows you to set up virtual keys for guests, with the ability to grant access for only certain dates and times for each key. The activity log keeps track of when each unique user comes and goes. Perhaps the best part about this smart home upgrade is that it goes over your existing lock, meaning that you can have strong security and an intelligent lock. If you choose, you can pair the Smart Lock with the lsquo;August Connect for 79, which lets guests in and locks the door behind them. The Connect also grants real time status of locked or unlocked, and alerts you instantly when somebody comes or goes."

The August Smart Lock Pro is also a Consumer Reports fave. "We tested the previous-generationnbsp;August Smart Locknbsp;and found that it offers a wealth of smart features that potential homeowners will appreciate," they said.

Video doorbell

The humble doorbell has come a long way in the past few years," said Business Insider. "Gone are the days when all a doorbell would do is alert you to the fact that someones at the door. These days, doorbells can connect to your Wi-Fi network to offer enhanced home security with built-in cameras and microphones. Of all the doorbells you can buy, thenbsp;Ring Video Doorbell 2nbsp;currently 199 is our top pick because it doesnt have to be hard wired and it has an excellent 1080p camera."

Smart smoke detectors

If youve ever dealt with a smoke detector going off in the middle of the night, this product should thrill you. But, of course, knowing your family is safe is obviously your No. 1 priority. And why not save a little money at the same time, right?

"Another smart technology product, the smart smoke detector, could not only save you money approximately 5 on yournbsp;insurance premiums, but could even save your life," said UpNest. "One 2014 CBS news report cites a figure of 2/3 of all home fire fatalities occurring in residences where the smoke detectors are missing or disabled -- which is something many of us have resorted to at one time or other out of sheer frustration when our typical lsquo;dumb detector insists on shrieking an alarm every time we try to fry up some bacon. A smart detector will allow you to keep on frying without fear of interruption. Two such products, thenbsp;Birdinbsp;and the Nest Protect, will not only monitor smoke but also carbon dioxide and general air quality. They can even send an alert to your smart phone or tablet if anything is amiss.nbsp;These products retail for 119 and 99 respectively."

Smart irrigation system

The SkyDrop: Smart Irrigation System Controller is a next-level automatic sprinkler system that allows you to control your irrigation from anywhere by using their app, and, "The best part is the irrigation will adjust itself based on your local weather," said Nerds on Call. "The SkyDrop can be programmed to adhere to local water restrictions in order to contribute to saving water. An amazing part about SkyDrop is that it can calculate how much water your lawn uses every day and adjust the amount of watering time to keep your lawn healthy. This device sells for 200 on Amazon, and connects to your existing irrigation system along with your WiFi network."


Full Story >




Copyright©2018 Realty Times®.All Rights Reserved

Broward County Schools, Palm Beach County Schools, Miami Dade County Schools
What's My Home Worth
The Mortgage Center
Receive New Listing Alert
Blair Damson Testimonials, Blair Damson Reviews
Blair Damson Awards, Coldwell Banker Recognitions
Additional Resources
Palm Beach Information, Broward Information, Miami-Dade Information
Client Login
Real Estate News
Bookmark this Site
Visit our Mobile Site