4 Questions You Should Ask Your Real Estate Agent About the Market

When shopping for a home, we’re understandably preoccupied with the physical features of our future abode. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Is there a first-floor master suite? Enough space in the yard for a pool?

While those details are of course paramount, there is some other critical information you should know about any home you’re considering buying: local market statistics. The house you buy is not only the place where you will raise your family and live the lifestyle you’ve always wanted; it’s most likely one of the biggest—if not the biggest—investments you will make in your lifetime.

Make sure you’re making a wise investment by asking your real estate agent the following questions:

  1. What’s the average time on market, and how has it changed in recent years?Knowing how quickly homes in your market sell is a great indicator of how much you will be able to profit off the sale of your home in years to come. Also be sure to ask how the days on market is expected to trend in the coming year.
  2. What’s the average sales price in your market? This is important to know in order to gauge whether you’re getting a sweet deal or potentially overpaying and hurting your chances to at least recoup your money when you sell. Find out if the average sales price has gone up or down in the last year or so and in which direction it will head over the coming year.
  3. What’s the current inventory of homes for sale in your market? Inventory is an easy way to determine whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market. Both have their advantages. If inventory is high and you’re in a buyer’s market, you can negotiate a better deal. If inventory is low and you’re in a seller’s market, expect to pay above listing price. However, if market stats show that you will be in a seller’s market for years to come, you can make a nice profit should you choose to sell.
  4. What’s the rate of building and construction in your market? New homes, apartment buildings and businesses are all excellent indicators that you’re buying in a thriving and expanding market, which bodes well for your investment. Conversely, if businesses are closing or moving out of town, and if new-home construction is stagnant, your market may be experiencing a decline.

Bear in mind, while market stats are extremely important, if you’ve found a great home in an area you love, and plan on staying put for many years, it’s most likely a wise choice. Real estate is still the safest and smartest long-term investment.

If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact the Petersen Partners | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices team at info@petersenpartners.com or Direct: 678-439-6699 • Office: 770-379-8040 

8 Things Interior Designers Notice the Instant They Walk Through Your Door

If an interior designer were to walk through your front door, like, right now, what would this professional think of the place you call home?

We’ll tell you right now: plenty. And that’s even before you’ve given the pro the grand tour. Interior designers, with their sharply honed sensibilities, can take in a space in seconds. In fact, these pros can’t help but make a ton of snap judgments—and typically these first impressions aren’t all that good.

In case you’re curious about what jumps out at interior designers when they first enter a home, here’s an unsettling glimpse, courtesy of some experts who aren’t afraid to spill the beans. But don’t beat yourself up if you recognize your home in some of these criticisms; these flaws are entirely fixable. Read on for an inspiring home decor wake-up call.

1. A wonky flow

Photo by Intrabuild

“The first think I notice is whether or not the furniture placement promotes good flow of traffic,” notes Lorelie Brown, a Showhomes franchisee in Charleston, SC. Most living and family rooms have a focal wall that’s anchored by a fireplace or television, which means the chairs and couch should be arranged to face this point without causing you to walk awkwardly around them.

“I find this problem happens a lot in an open floor plan, with pieces defeating the whole ‘open’ idea,” she adds.

The solution: Less is more. Remove extraneous chairs and side tables to create a natural path in and out of the space.

2. Poor lighting

Photo by Rebekkah Davies Interiors + Design

The wrong lighting can ruin even the best interior design.

“Usually when I walk into a home, the overall look is dark and drab because there’s not enough of the right kinds of light,” says Anna Shiwlall, a designer with 27 Diamonds in Los Angeles.

Of course, we can’t all be blessed with a flood of natural light, but you can install what you need rather easily. Sit in each chair or section of the room, and determine whether you can read easily. If not, add in the missing table or floor lamps; don’t rely on one big overhead light.

3. The insane amount of clutter


Photo by CKS Design Studio

Interior designers dream of a streamlined, junk-free look, which means their eyes will immediately come to rest on the hot mess that is your bookshelf.

“Just because you have it doesn’t mean it needs to be on display,” points out Jeanne Hessen, senior designer at Closet Factory in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Her advice? Pick and choose a few sentimental or interesting pieces to show off, and put the rest away.

4. A lack of theme

Photo by Dresser Homes

Style continuity is a big one for design pros. If your pieces don’t work well together or there’s no unifying color or theme to the rooms, the whole look can feel off.

“This seems to come from a lack of understanding of the style elements and characteristics of the pieces in the room,” explains Mark Sidell, a Closet Factory designer. Too many colors, in particular, can create a sense of disorder. Make it better by choosing a neutral palette and then introducing just a couple of coordinating hues.

5. That (ahem) smell

Photo by Renewal Design-Build

Truth: Interior designers make snap judgments not just on what they see, but also on what they smell. As a homeowner, you’ve become inured to your own odors, but an outsider can nail a scent right away.

Pets are the most obvious offenders, followed by cooking smells and odious candles. Fortunately, the remedy is an easy one: Open the windows as often as you can to air out stale spaces (especially in bedrooms and the kitchen).

6. The state of your loo

Photo by GOMMSTUDIO.COM

We can’t be more emphatic here: Your bathroom must be pristine!

Interior professionals (and potential buyers) will look with a critical eye at every bathroom in your home, and a dirty one will convince them that the entire home isn’t clean, even if it is. Towels must be fresh, grout should be clean, and definitely clear your counters of personal items (makeup, hair dryer, toothbrush).

7. No sense of scale

Photo by Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects

We’re talking tiny lamps on huge tables, or king-size beds squeezed into too-small rooms.

“I always notice the layout and scale of the pieces in a bedroom,” says Hessen. Frankly, most people buy whole packages at the furniture store instead of choosing complementary items in the correct sizes for their home.

“To fix this, try to mix and match your styles and the stores where you shop,” she adds. “You’ll end up with a more interesting, inviting space.”

8. A lack of personal style

Photo by Rikki Snyder

Let it shine! A lack of personality in a home means your space will appear boring or sterile. Even worse is a look that’s been copied directly from a catalog. A designer can certainly help you develop a style, but you can also jazz up your abode with art you love, mementos from a faraway trip, or a collection that has special meaning.

 

Source: “8 Things Interior Designers Notice the Instant They Walk Through Your Door,”  (Aug 14, 2017)

50 Cheap and Easy Ways to Boost the Saleability of Your Home

Want to sell your home quickly? We’ve got some good news for you – chances are, you don’t need to invest in costly and time-consuming renovation projects, or chop the price of your home in half. Often, all it takes to boost the saleability of your home are a few quick, simple, and more importantly – cheap fixes – like painting the walls, clearing away the clutter, and giving it a really, really good clean.

Kitchen

  1. Replace cabinet doors and/or door handles
  2. Replace cheap appliances e.g. toasters and kettles
  3. Add moldings to cabinet fronts
  4. Clean the inside (and outside) of the oven

Bathroom

  1. Replace taps
  2. Throw out any half used products
  3. Buy (and use) a shower caddy
  4. Store towels rolled up
  5. Replace the shower curtain

Bedrooms and living areas

  1. Wash cushion covers
  2. Invest in new duvet covers
  3. Add decorative cushions to beds
  4. Sand and polish tired wooden furniture
  5. Cover worn sofas with throws

General

  1. Clean carpets
  2. Paint walls
  3. Create a sense of space by removing excess furniture
  4. Get rid of, or hide your clutter
  5. Do (and put away) the washing up
  6. Clean your curtains or blinds
  7. Install uplights to highlight your home’s best features (such as fireplaces)
  8. If you have an unused room, stage it – as an office, a kid’s playroom, etc.
  9. Buy new, brighter light bulbs
  10. Fill vases with fresh flowers
  11. Remove family photos
  12. Add artwork
  13. Replace light shades
  14. Hang mirrors (bigger is generally better)
  15. Clean, clean, then clean some more!

Outside

  1. Mow your lawn
  2. Plant flowers
  3. Get rid of cobwebs
  4. Pressure wash your patio and driveway
  5. Replace house numbers
  6. Add hanging pots
  7. Clean your windows
  8. Paint your front door

Before people visit

  1. Open blinds/curtains
  2. Open windows (unless you live on a noisy road!)
  3. Open internal doors to help light flow through the home
  4. Leave pets with a friend or neighbour
  5. Spray air freshener, light scented candles, or bake bread
  6. Tidy up
  7. Empty bins
  8. Close toilet seats
  9. Make the beds
  10. Light your fireplace (if you have one, and it’s not summer)
  11. Fluff the sofa cushions
  12. Arrange decorative cushions
  13. In winter, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature (about 68°F)

Source: “50 Cheap and Easy Ways to Boost the Saleability of Your Home,” Stormclad (October 23, 2015)