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September
6

garage storage space

If it feels like your home lacks ample storage, turn to your garage. The garage is a frequently underutilized space that can significantly increase your home's usable storage.

Our real estate agents recommend following these tips to help you maximize and showcase your garage's storage space. 

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August
1

Front Yard Tips

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. The same holds true when it comes to selling your home. 

Your front yard is at the center of your home's curb appeal, which is a term used to describe how your home appears from the street. If you think about it, your front yard is the first thing people see when pulling up to your home. It's clearly visible to visitors, anyone who drives by, Google Maps, and most importantly, potential buyers who are thinking about scheduling a tour of your listing. 

As a result, our real estate agents always recommend giving your front yard a bit of extra love before listing your home on the market. Luckily, there are many easy and affordable ways to improve your yard this summer. If you want to make your yard stand out, we have a list of ideas for you:

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July
18

In-law suite

With more generations living under one roof, in-law suites have become popular home features. This type of space provides a separate living area for one or more older parents of an adult child, and it can be configured in many ways, including as a free-standing building or a converted garage. Not only can an in-law suite help a parent live somewhat independently, but it can also serve as a residence for an older child, a home office, or a guest house if needed. As a result, our real estate agents point out, this flexible space can help increase the value of your home when it's time to sell.

Before you start planning an in-law suite, make sure to check any local laws or regulations that might affect your plans. Once you know what - if anything - is prohibited, you'll need to thoughtfully plan the space. The following are some of the best features you can add to your in-law suite to make it safe, comfortable, and practical:

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July
5

Work From Home

If you're one of the millions of employees working from home, it's important to create a dedicated space for your work activities. A dedicated workspace helps you increase your productivity and creates a distinction between your home and work life. Our real estate agents suggest adding these features to make working from home even easier. 

  • An Ergonomic Chair
    Many workers experience back and neck pain related to poor posture during their workday. Keeping your body in a neutral position (feet on the floor, arms relaxed by your body, back straight, and head centered above your shoulders) reduces the amount of strain that sitting has on your body. An ergonomic chair encourages your body to maintain a neutral position, allowing you to be more comfortable, focused, and productive. Look for a chair with customizable features and a sufficient lumbar cushion to ensure your body has the support it needs. 
  • A WiFi Booster
    Few things are more frustrating than sitting down to begin your day, only to discover that your WiFi is running at a snail's pace or even refusing to connect entirely. A WiFi booster eliminates connectivity deserts in your home and makes it possible for multiple devices to use your WiFi with minimal buffering. 
  • A Task Light
    A home office needs multiple levels of lighting to ensure that you have proper illumination to reduce eye strain. In addition to an overhead light, you should invest in a task light. A task light makes it easy to adjust the placement of the light so that it's suited to your work activity. Look for a task light with an adjustable arm and multiple dimming levels so you can customize the type and placement of the lighting. 
  • A Desk That You Love
    Your desk is one of the most important elements of your home office space. Since you'll be spending a lot of time at your desk, you must select a design and style that fits your stylistic preferences and work habits. For example, if you need a space for using a computer and completing paperwork, a desk with an L-shape may be a good fit for your needs. Or, if you know that you like to stand for a portion of your workday, a desk that allows you to sit or stand while you work is a smart investment. 
  • A Bin or Basket to Store Your Work Supplies
    When you're through working, you need a spot to stow your work supplies. This will keep your office space uncluttered and tidy, and it ensures that you always know where all your necessities are. A large woven basket is one stylish alternative, or you can invest in a utility cart to quickly stash your work essentials. If you ever need to relocate for part of your workday, having everything in a single location makes it quick and convenient for you to do so. 
  • A Houseplant
    Your workspace should be a spot that you find inviting and welcoming; adding plants to your office instantly makes the area feel brighter and more appealing. Houseplants also purify the air inside of your home, removing odors and potentially harmful chemicals. As you select your houseplant, make sure its lighting needs are compatible with the light in your home office. 
  • A Camera Cover
    A camera cover is a convenient addition to your computer or mobile device that prevents your camera from catching portions of your day that you don't want to share with clients or other coworkers. Camera covers attach to your device or computer and slide as needed to conceal your camera. 
  • A Charging Station
    If you depend on a lot of devices during your workday, it needs to be easy to keep your devices charged. A charging station lets you charge multiple devices and accessories using a single unit; you can even customize the charging cords so that you have the best combo for your work devices. 
  • A Planner
    Whether you prefer an old-fashioned paper planner or like to utilize a digital alternative, a planner is valuable for organizing your workday, keeping track of deadlines, and monitoring your to-do list. If you decide to use a paper planner, make sure that you have a stash of ink pens or pencils readily available for quick schedule changes. 
  • Noise-Canceling Headphones
    When you're on a work call or just need to drown out background noise, noise-canceling headphones are a must-have item. Look for a fast-charging pair with a long battery life. 
  • A Larger Monitor (or a Second Monitor)
    Increasing the size of your computer screen is an effective way to boost your productivity. Or, depending on your job, you may prefer to add a second monitor so that you have a dedicated screen for certain tasks. If you conduct your work business from a laptop, there are also dual monitor options that are laptop compatible. 

Need a home with more space for your remote work days? Contact us to start your search!

May
25

The past several years has seen one of the hottest housing markets in recent memory. Sellers are enjoying high prices while buyers face bidding wars for limited stock. These market conditions have resulted in buyers employing several creative tactics to give them the edge in a competitive market. Many homeowners are skipping the building inspection as one tactic to make their offer stand out.

While this tactic can help a buyer stand out and be the determining factor in closing a deal, it is not without serious risk.

A standard home building inspection can increase your confidence about a home before closing a deal. Having a professional home inspection can work as a negotiating tool if issues are found during the process. It also gives a buyer cause to walk away from a deal.

Why Buyers Are Waiving A Building Inspection

With just 1.04 million homes for sale by the end of 2020, home inventory supplies in the U.S. were at the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began collecting data in 1982.

In this climate, with multiple buyers competing, the pressure to make an offer that stands out is intense. The National Association of Home Builders Trends Report found that in the 4th quarter of 2020, buyers' most common reason for not purchasing a home was being outbid.

In a hot market, it's not unsurprising that desperate buyers are amenable to waving the building inspection. For the seller, this makes an offer look more appealing. This can often be the deciding factor that can close a deal. However, most professionals suggest that waiving the inspection is a bad idea.

When Skipping the Inspection Can Make Sense

There are few benefits to skipping an inspection, but there are scenarios where it can make sense and be beneficial.

  • If the real estate is new construction and includes a builder warranty, it might make sense to skip the building inspection.
  • If a buyer has been renting and living in the home for some time, chances are, they are familiar with the house and are aware of any problems.
  • Finally, an experienced flipper or real estate investor might feel comfortable skipping a building inspection because they plan extensive renovations.

Besides these specific scenarios, there are a few advantages to skipping the inspection process. Waiving the building inspection means less hassle for the seller and can result in increased interest in an offer; however, buyers are putting themselves at significant risk by skipping this step.

Why Skipping the Building Inspection is a Bad Idea

The building inspection is intended to provide the buyer with accurate information on a building's current condition and alert a buyer to significant problems in the home. This information is crucial for both buyers and sellers.

A thorough home inspection will examine the following:

  • Foundation
  • Basement, attic, crawlspace
  • Property drainage
  • Exterior materials
  • Interior ceilings, walls and floors, windows, and doors
  • The electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems
  • Furnace and hot water heater
  • Attached structures like the porch, garage, etc.

Problems in any of these areas could result in costly repairs. Armed with this information, a buyer can negotiate with the seller to make certain repairs or may choose to offer a lower price or walk away from a deal to avoid costly projects.

Alternatives For Crafting A Strong Offer Without Skipping the Inspection

Buying a home is probably the most significant investment you will make in your lifetime. The building inspection process is the best way to know what you are getting yourself into. After the close, it becomes your problem. A missed problem can potentially cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Waiving the inspection is one way to get your offer considered. These are a few other tactics you can take to make your offer more appealing to the seller.

Have your finances in order – Get a preapproval letter from a lender. A mortgage preapproval in hand shows a seller you are serious and have the financing to close the deal.

Ask for an "informational inspection" rather than a contingency. This language lets the seller know that you will be getting the home inspected. Still, it is for informational purposes only, so the seller will not be responsible for any issues you uncover.

Make a larger down payment – More cash upfront is another way to show a seller you are serious. A larger down payment puts more money in the seller's pocket right away and signals that your financing is solid, and the deal will close.

Include an Escalation Clause – Sellers like this because it eliminates back-and-forth negotiations between buyers. For example, an escalation clause will automatically bid $1000 over any offer up to $250,000 on a property listed at $200,000.

With a careful offer in a hot market, you still might not close the deal. But remember, a home is a significant investment, and going in without a building inspection can lead to serious financial ramifications down the road.

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