Poll Shows More Renters Wanting to Buy

shutterstock_107287946_1New year, new home? A recent poll suggests yes, especially for renters. The poll finds a dramatic increase in the number who now say that they intend to buy in the near future. Offering more evidence of a swing toward homeownership as the housing market continues to recover, the survey by PulteGroup reports that about 6 in 10 of those renters plan on buying a home in the next two years. You can read more on the poll’s findings here.

That’s great news for sellers as we head into the spring selling season. If you’re considering selling or you’re one of those renters wanting to buy, make sure you have the best information available. Check out our video market updates for the latest information on the housing market in local neighborhoods. And be sure to visit www.PetersenPartners.com for more information on the local market and what’s available now.


What Message Does Your Front Door’s Color Send?

Your home’s front door plays an integral part of your home’s curb appeal. A new front door or a fresh coat of paint on the existing one can be the primary factor in a potential buyer’s first impression. Your front door is what beckons (or deters) a visitor inside and sets the stage for their experience of your home. So have you ever wondered what the color of your front door conveys?

According to the Paint Quality Institute, your front door’s color sends a powerful message to visitors. Color psychologists say different front door hues can influence a visitor’s experience by signalling different things to their brains. According to the Paint Quality Institute:

  • Blue: Conveys a place of refuge or retreat
  • Green: Projects health, tranquility, and harmony
  • Black: Projects strength, power, and authority
  • Red: Conveys passion, energy, and excitement
  • Brown: Offers a natural look that can convey warmth, stability, and reliability

For more tips on painting your home’s interior and exterior, check out http://www.paintquality.com/homeowners/index.html

De-Cluttering 101

feature1b_230x172If you’ve dug through your supply closet for more than five minutes in search of one item, it might be time to re-organize and clear out the clutter. Try these simple tips for getting rid of the clutter and making more room for yourself! American Home Shield offers some great suggestions for de-cluttering your home.

Start Small, Think Big
Pick one space like a countertop or a messy drawer to tackle first and set aside just ten minutes to work. When you choose an area with strict parameters, you won’t feel quite so overwhelmed by the clutter and you’ll accomplish a lot more in the long run.

Let it Go
Are you keeping anything because you might need it someday? Chances are, some of these items may never be used enough to warrant taking up space. As you clean up around your home, start a “might use” pile for anything you don’t often use and dedicate time to deciding if you really need each one—then toss or donate what you don’t want.

Invest in Organization
There are lots of great products that make storage a snap. For a messy closet, consider a vertical shelf unit. A fabric model will hang from your closet rod, is inexpensive and can exponentially increase your storage space. Too many shoes? Try an under-the-bed bag with dividers for each pair or an over-the-door unit for easy access and visibility, plus you’ll never need to dig for that second shoe again.

Put Your Items to Good Use
Once you’ve cleared out your clutter, don’t just toss it—donate it! If old items like clothes, unused appliances or office supplies are in good condition, take them to your local donation drop-off or consignment shop. Many of these stores will be happy to take your donations or compensate you for your goods. Best of all, donating items not only helps local organizations, it could help you earn tax deductions next year!

When you set aside a little time and a few dollars to the cause, you can start clearing out your home for a fresher look and a cleaner feel, just in time for spring!

Is Your Home Prepared for Cold Weather?

bg_hc_feature4Properly preparing a home for cold weather can save energy, help lower winter energy bills, and keep homeowners warm when temperatures drop. A well maintained and efficient home reduces heating bills, which could be a less than obvious selling point and a difference maker for potential home buyers. Home warranty company, American Home Shield, offers these simple and inexpensive tips to prepare homes for the approaching cold weather.

Maintain furnace.
The best way to maintain a furnace’s efficiency is to change the furnace filter every 90 days. Have an HVAC specialist check the furnace, give it a tune up, and make sure it is in top working order. Also check the fireplace damper, and replace older or loose fireplace dampers.

Seal ductwork and wrap pipes.
Ductwork sealing can help a system run more efficiently. Check all the ducts in the heating system, and cover any leaks in the system with metal-backed tape. Find any exposed pipes and wrap them in insulation to keep them from freezing.

Caulk windows.
Windows are often the biggest problem in houses, especially old-fashioned glass-pane windows. Installing energy-efficient storm windows and storm doors can greatly reduce heat loss. Check window frames for cracks and fill them with caulk that contains silicon. Putty-like “rope caulk” can help seal large cracks.

Weatherstrip exterior doors.
Inspect all exterior doors for air leaks and apply weather strip and caulk as needed. A one-eighth-inch gap around a door is equivalent to a 6-inch-square hole in the side of a house. Check doors by holding a piece of paper between the door and the frame and shut the door. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you should weather strip around the door.

Check the perimeter and foundation.
Have a contractor inspect the outside of the house for cracks and seal them with waterproof caulk for window seals and mortar for cracks in brick or concrete facades.

Insulate walls and attic.
Insulation experts can determine if there is adequate coverage throughout a home, including the attic. In most cases, 12 inches of insulation is recommended. Measure the attic insulation. If there is less than 7 inches of insulation or if it is less than R-38, consider upgrading insulation with spray-foam or batt insulation. Additional insulation can be blown into walls, and there are options for insulating flat roofs, crawl spaces and floors.

Clean gutters.
Make sure gutters are cleared of debris. If they are not properly cleared, winter precipitation can freeze, causing damage to roofs and other areas of the home.


How ‘Normal’ Is the Housing Market?

images1It’s a question we’d all like to know the answer to: when will we get back to ‘normal’? According to Housingwire and the National Association of Home Builders, the housing market is getting closer to being exactly that. Housingwire reports:

The housing market is poised for a “gradual but steady” recovery in 2013, with housing starts, permits, prices, home sales, and builder confidence all on the rise, the National Association of Home Builders reports. But how close to “normal” is the housing market?

Remodeling has returned to normal levels, says David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist, using the 2000-2002 period as a benchmark for normal levels. Mutlifamily production is 69 percent of normal.

“It’s the single-family market that has the farthest to go, standing at only 40 percent of what is considered a typical market,” Crowe says.

The housing market is expected to make big strides to getting closer to more normal levels, due mostly to a rise in home prices and household formation that is adding to demand, the NAHB reports.

Single-family housing starts are forecasted to reach 534,000 units this year, up 23 percent this year from 2011. For 2013, single-family housing starts is expected to jump 21 percent in 2013 and another 29 percent gain in 2014 to 837,000 units.

Multifamily production is forecast to jump 31 percent this year to 233,000, and gain another 16 percent in 2013 to 270,000.

New single-family home sales are forecast to post a 20 percent jump this year to 367,000 and to rise another 22 percent in 2013, and reach 607,000 by 2014.

Winter Birding Guide

PlatformFeederWebWinter landscapes can be as dull as the weather, but a few feathered friends in the shades of grey, red, brown and blue can be just thing to enhance your winter landscape. Bird feeders and habitats can also provide inexpensive family entertainment without turning on the television! Pike Nurseries offers some good tips on how to best feed and house birds in winter, which birds to look for, and how to attract them to your yard. It’s the perfect weekend project! Check out their blog about winter birding here.

New Year, New Kitchen!

Craving an updat101065654.jpg.rendition.pe to your kitchen? Whether you refresh your space with color or find new ways to store more, these ideas will maximize your style and efficiency and help you stay in a reasonable budget. Check out some great kitchen remodeling and decorating tips from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine:

Low cost kitchen updates can stretch your kitchen budget and put these creative, money-saving ideas to work for updates such as revamped cabinets, a fresh backsplash, and more!

Kitchens of every size can benefit from open storage solutions. See how open shelves and cabinetry can add both style and function to your work space.

Just want a fresh new look without spending much? Paint is the easiest, cheapest update you can make, but walking down the paint aisle can be overwhelming. Check out these no-fail kitchen color schemes.

Solutions to Heating System Common Problems

During the cool seasons it is important to keep heating systems running. Try these simple tips for common heating problems before calling in a professional.

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American Home Shield has teamed up with David Leon, licensed contractor and TV host, to bring you a video library full of information to aid in your home needs. From quick fixes for common household problems to small maintenance tips that make a big difference, take a look at how American Home Shield’s video library can help you or check out this video on tips for fixing system and furnace problems.

Can Certain ‘Lucky’ Numbers Better Your Selling Chances?

Lucky Dice RollGreat staging can help buyers fall in love with a home, but can some lucky numbers help get them through the front door?

Some numbers may be more lucky than others when pricing a home for sale, according to market psychology. For example, prices ending in “9” can make some buyers feel like they’re getting a deal. So “$149,999” versus “$150,000” may not change the value too much, but it can sound like a better deal to potential buyers. Suddenly, the home is priced in the $140,000 range rather than the $150,000 range.

Fifty-three percent of listed homes that Trulia recently analyzed had a price ending in a “9.” Five was also a common last number.

For unknown reasons, listings were most likely to end in a “9” in several New England areas (like Boston; Hartford, Conn.; and Worcester, Mass.) and in upstate New York (like Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse). More buyers looking for a deal in those places, possibly?

However, the perception of a good deal may not matter with higher priced listings. The Trulia study found that more expensive homes were less likely to have a “9” in the price.

“Perhaps sellers think buyers who are ready to spend two million on a home won’t be fooled into thinking it’s a bargain at $1,999,900, and those buyers probably aren’t looking for bargains in the first place,” writes Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, on a recent blog post detailing the study’s results.

The study of listing prices also found other trends with numbers, like fewer prices containing unlucky “13” in them and some areas of the country betting on lucky number “7” to bring about more sales. For example, Nevada was more likely to have a “7” in the list price than the rest of the U.S. The numbers “777” were three times more likely to appear in the list price in Nevada than anywhere else in the country too, according to the study.

Meanwhile, the “Bible Belt”–covering most of the South–places more bets on the numbers “316” in the list price, possibly a calling to John 3:16, one of the most popular Bible verses. And, ironically, the often associated Satan numbers of “666” are more common in list prices in the Bible Belt too.

In Asian-majority neighborhoods, “8” is a common last digit number in home listings. Eight in Chinese culture is often associated with “prosper,” “fortune” and “wealth,” according to the study.

Have you found any lucky numbers in your area?


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