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Updated: Friday, November 17, 2017

House Hunting? How Good Manners Can Help Get The Home You Want

As most people know, the real estate market shifts between a buyers or sellers market, depending on supply and demand. However, regardless of which market were currently in, buyer etiquette can help you get the home you want with the least amount of stress.

It may sound odd to some, especially first-time homebuyers, but manners matter when it comes to the real estate transaction. Im not talking about "Please" and "Thank you." So, what exactly does this mean?

Buyer etiquette is not only about doing the things that are vital to helping sales go through but its also about general manners like being on time for your viewing of a home, being prepared with your financial documents, and being responsive when requests for documents, signatures, or answers are needed from your real estate professionals.

This isnt about lecturing buyers about minding their manners; rather, think of this as the inside tips to helping land the home you really want. For instance, sometimes, being late for a viewing of a listing could cause you to lose that particular home. In a really hot real estate market, if youre late or you dont show up for the listing, you might not get a second chance - the home could be sold.

Another consideration is to be aware of how much time you need to view a home. If you try to see too many homes in one day, chances are youre not going to treat each home with the same respect. The first homes might get lots of attention by you in terms of time and what you notice. However, by the time youre on, say, 15th home of the day, you might be so tired that you blaze through it ba>

One of the most important etiquette tips is to make sure that youve been pre-approved and are a serious buyer, ready to take action should you find the right home. Shopping for homes is serious business. Its likely the largest monetary transaction youll make; being financially and emotionally prepared is good etiquette and will help expedite the process.

When viewing a home, if the sellers are present sometimes this happens, dont share your likes or dislikes about the home with them. Be courteous and keep the conversation to a minimum with the sellers. You want to make sure you leave the negotiation process to your experienced real estate agent. If you have questions about the home, be sure to take good notes and consult with your agent. Your agent is the liaison for good reason. The agent is experienced and knows how to find out the information you need without undermining your bargaining position. Polite conversation with the sellers is appropriate if the opportunity occurs. And, if the house isnt right for you from the moment you set foot in it, at least give it a quick walk-through, just to be absolutely certain.

Good manners when house hunting is about more than just having people like you. It could be the potential development of a successful real estate transaction. Good will during that process helps keep things moving along at a steady pace and possibly with a better outcome than if the sellers were selling to a buyer they really didnt like.

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Choosing The Best Hardwood Floors For Your Home

The rich patina of wood floors adds beauty and elegance to any home.

Older homes were once routinely constructed with hardwood floors, but that practice was abandoned in the 1950s, when new technologies made wall-to-wall carpeting available. Builders were able to build more homes faster, for the post-war baby boom, and save money on labor.

But today, many homeowners prefer hardwoods to carpet. Hardwoods help give the impression that your home is well-built with quality materials. Hardwoods are easy to maintain and improve with wear, unlike carpet that eventually needs to be replaced.

Hardwoods add value to your home, says the National Wood Flooring Association NWFA. In a recent survey of participating real estate agents, the trade association found that real estate agents said that a house with wood floors would sell faster than a carpeted house, by a margin of three to one. About 58 percent said a house with wood floors would bring a higher price.

If you have hardwoods under carpet, its easy and inexpensive to tear the carpet out and refinish your floors. Or, you can choose to install hardwoods if theres only sub-floor underneath the carpet.

You have several options:

Solid hardwoods -- Solid hardwoods are the most expensive option. They come in planks of various lengths and are typically 3/4 thick. The floors are installed as raw wood and sanded down and stained on site. The advantage is that your floors can be refinished often over the years. Solid hardwoods are not recommended over concrete slab foundations. Disadvantages are that hardwoods cannot be washed with water, water leaks can cause them to bow, and direct sunlight can cause stained finishes to bleach.

Engineered hardwoods -- Composed of layers or plies of wood that are glued together and finished with a laminate, engineered hardwoods are finished with a final layer of hardwood that is generally between " and " thick. The advantage of engineered hardwoods is that they are suitable for any foundation. Drawbacks are that laminated floors usually cannot be refinished.

Engineered hardwoods come in a variety of >Stains and finishes

If your floor comes unfinished, you need to know what kind of wood its made of in order to select a stain, as different woods can make stain colors change tone. A good way to choose is to ask the installer for samples, or you can go to a local paint and home improvement store and view stain colors. Sherman Williams "Wood >Keep in mind that unfinished floors must be sanded, stained and sealed on site, which is labor intensive, time consuming and messy as you wait for each layer to dry. Factory finished floors are usually warrantied, they can be installed immediately which saves time and labor, and only the glue to the subfloor has to dry.

Finishes are important to choose because they dictate how you will care for your floor. If your floor has a penetrating seal, you will have to wax it to keep it burnished. If the floor is sealed with a urethane, polyurethane or other polymer coat, its water resistant and easy to clean with a mop.

Types of wood

The most common woods for floors are species of oak, pine, walnut, pecan, birch, beech, ash, cherry, maple, cypress and Douglas fir.

Wood for floors can be exotic, and are prized for their unusual grains and colors. Exotic woods include mahogany, teak, and Brazilian cherry.

One of the most popular flooring options is actually a grass, not a wood. Bamboo is a quick-growing resource that is easily replenished, making it a good choice for green-building. Bamboo can be cut and finished like any hardwood, and is more durable in some cases.

To learn more about wood floors, visit Woodfloors.org.
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9 Ways You Can Score Great Deals For Your Home On Black Friday

For many of us, Black Friday shopping is key to a successful holiday gift-buying strategy for friends and family. But have you taken a look around your home lately? Maybe you need to put it on your list this year.

There are some great deals out there this Black Friday that can help you fix up, fancy up, update, and upgrade the place you call home. Here are nine ways to go about scoring the best deals.

Home improvement

One of the most exciting sale items weve seen for home this year is at Lowes. Wood-look tile is one of todays hottest trends for flooring, and on Black Friday, the home improvement store has it starting at just 99 cents per foot, down from 2.02 per foot.

Lowes also has some great deals on tools and home improvement items in their Black Friday ad. If you can get past the ho-hum-ness of buying yourself tools at this time of year, youll love the prices on this Kobalt 227-piece tool set with case and 39 Shop-Vac Vacuum.


Smart home

Bring the smart home craze to your front door. This Kwikset SmartCode Satin Nickel-Single Cylinder Motorized Electronic Entry Door Deadbolt with Keypad is just 39 on Black Friday, down from 69.


Head to Lowes for this Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. ENERGY STAR High Efficiency Top Load washer and 7.4 cu. Ft. Electric Dryer are 499 each, a savings of 600 for the pair.

This Samsung Energy Star reg; 26 cu. ft. 36" Wide 3-Door French Door Refrigerator with Filtered Ice Makernbsp;is regularly priced at 1,999 and will drop to 995 at JC Penny on Black Friday. Other appliances are on sale for up to 40 off at both Home Depot and Lowes.

Also for the kitchen

Looking to do some renovations in your kitchen? This brushed nickel pull-down kitchen faucet is just 59 on Black Friday, down from 109, at Lowes.

Those who love to bake swear by KitchenAid mixers, and the must-have item is typically attractively priced over the holidays. The best price weve seen so far is 249 for the KitchenAidreg; Ultra Power Plus 4.5 Qt Tilt-Head Stand Mixer at Target. Its currently prices at 279, down from 349. You can also get the KitchenAidreg; >


Also for your gourmet kitchen needs, Target has two great deals on Ninja products for Black Friday. Both the Coffee Brewer and the Professional Kitchen System are being offered as doorbusters for 99 - thats half off Perhaps no single Black Friday deal will make home cooks happier than this one: Walmart has the insanely popular Instant Pot, regularly 100, for 50 on Black Friday.

Home Assistants

Google Home is predicted to be one of the hottest items this year, and Walmarts Black Friday sale has it at 79 - a savings of 50. The 49 Google Home Mini Smart Speaker, which offers "hands-free help in any room" and is powered by the Google Assistant, goes on sale for 29 with a 10 gift card at Target. At that price, youll want to buy one for yourself and a few for gifts. If youd rather ask Alexa, head to Target for this Amazon Echo Dot, which will drop from 49 to 29.


TVs are a staple of Black Friday shopping. Personally, we have images of stampeding shoppers hoisting flat-screen boxes over their heads seared in our collective brain forever, but that wont stop us from trying to slide in there for a screaming deal. Forbes calls Best Buys Sharp 50-inch LED 2160p Smart 4K Ultra HD Roku TV for 179.99 - a savings of 320 - possibly "the best deal during the entirety of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017." nbsp;


Television accessories

Once you buy that flat screen, youll need a sound bar. Walmart has a 37" RCA Bluetooth version for just 29 currently priced at 49. Or, pick up this VIZIO 32" 5.1 Soundbar System package, which includes a wi>

And dont forget a mounting system. This one has tilt and fits TVs ranging from 47-80", Black Friday priced at just 19 currently on sale for 59.


A vacuum may not seem like the most exciting thing to buy on Black Friday, but you may change your mind when you see the price of this Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner at Walmart. We did Regularly priced at 369, it goes on sale on Black Friday for just 189


Walmarts high-thread-count hotel sheets are famous to smart Black Friday shoppers and are one of the most anticipated and quickest-selling items. Used to be you had to buy them in store, but theyre now online. If you want a set or four, heres a tip: get them in your cart ASAP when sales kick off, because theyll be gone in a flash. 24 per set. Macys has a worthy alternative with their Devon 4-Pc King Sheet Set, 900-Thread Count, regularly priced at 59; on Black Friday, they will be 29.


Another great sale item thatll make you say, "One for you, one for me," Targets chenille and sherpa throws are just 10 on Black Friday.

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6 Ideas For Selling Your Home In The Winter

1 Keep the house warm.

While you dont have to keep the heat on all the time, keep the house warm during showings. You dont want people shivering while they look through the house. Set the thermostat to at least 70 degrees -- whether youll be in the house or not.

2 Trim the outdoor foliage.

Remove snow from shrubs and trees so that potential buyers dont get wet as they walk up the sidewalk to your home. Brush off snow, prune the tree limbs and trim the hedges as needed. You can even hire a tree service to do this for you if youre strapped for time. While your lawn is dormant this time of year, you can at the very least make it look well maintained to give buyers a sense of what it looks like during the spring and summer. You can also display photos in your entryway of how your home looks outside during the greener months.

3 Handle winter conditions.

If you have ice and snow on your driveway and sidewalk, you need to take care of it way in advance of showings. Clear ice and snow with shovels and salt, so that your exterior looks nice and safe to buyers. It will also increase the aesthetic quality of your home to buyers and keep you from getting sued by a buyer who falls or slips. If you have particular trouble with ice and snow, you can call a snow removal service to do it for you.

Winter driveway photo courtesy of Provino Architecture, LLC

4 Show off the fireplace.

If you have a fireplace, you should showcase it as part of your homes aesthetic appeal. A gas fireplace is easy to turn on before a showing, and it adds natural beauty to your home -- not to mention warmth. A wood-burning fireplace is a bit harder to maintain, because you can run out of firewood. So you need to time the lighting just right before the showing. You also need to make sure the chimney is in good condition, so have it cleaned and checked by a fireplace professional ahead of a showing to avoid any problems.

Fireplace photo courtesy of Pinnacle Development Group, Inc.

5 Add comfort to your home.

There are other steps you can take to make your home more comfortable and inviting during the winter months. Focus on small improvements to your home like:

  • Adding blankets to your couch
  • Turning back the comforter on the bed
  • Baking a pie or cookies for the smell
  • Lighting some candles
  • Turning on some >

    Interior Lighting photo courtesy of Red Rabbit Construction.

    6 Make sure your home is well lit.

    Since winter takes away a lot of sunshine, you need to utilize light bulbs and other forms of lighting. Outside lights, security lights, candles, LED lighting -- every bit of lighting is crucial in the interior and exterior. You want all lights on when buyers are walking through your home -- dont focus on your electricity bill right now. You also want to make as much use of natural lighting as possible. Open your window treatments during the day showings.

    Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

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    The Real Estate Contracts Kick-Out Clause

    Question: We are selling our house and have found a nice couple who have expressed interest. Unfortunately, they cannot afford to buy our house unless they sell their house first. We would like to work something out with this couple, but are concerned about taking our house off the market for an indefinite period while the buyers try to sell their house. How do you resolve this dilemma?

    Answer: While no one likes to sign contracts which are contingent on the purchasers ability to sell their own house, unfortunately it is a fact of life that must be recognized by every buyer and seller. With house prices having increased dramatically over the years, and with the tightening of lender requirements, more and more buyers find that they can qualify to buy a more expensive house only if they first sell their current residence.

    Generally speaking, when buyers present an offer to purchase, they can include a contingency for the sale of their house. This is known as a "contingent contract." In simple English, this means that if the specified event does not occur -- in this case the buyers do not sell their house -- then the contract to purchase the new property becomes null and void and the purchasers are entitled to a full refund of any earnest money deposit.

    Needless to say, as you have suggested, sellers do not want to take their house off the market for an indefinite period.

    Accordingly, a compromise has been developed, known as a "kick-out" clause. Under this arrangement, the sellers state in the contract that while they are willing to accept a contingency contract, the sellers will continue to market the house. If another qualified buyer is found, the seller will give the current purchaser a certain amount of time -- usually 72 hours -- in which to remove the contingency keep the contract alive or exercise the contingency and decide not to purchase the new property.

    This kick-out clause has to be carefully drafted. If the potential purchasers are confronted with the 72 hour kick-out period, and decide to delete the sale contingency, they may still be able to get out of the original contract if they cannot get financing. Keep in mind that most standard sales contracts also contain another contingency, namely the ability of the purchaser to obtain the necessary financing.

    This creates a dilemma for both parties. If the purchasers remove the sale contingency but still have the financing contingency in the contract, it is probable that a lender will not give a binding loan commitment to the purchasers unless they sell their house first. Thus, the mere removal of the sale contingency does not meet the sellers needs. The purchaser can still find an excuse to back out of the contract, based on another contingency in the contract.

    Thus, sellers should include at the very least the following language in the 72 hour kick-out clause:

    The parties agree that sellers property shall remain on the market during the above contingency period. If the purchaser does not remove the above contingency and provide evidence satisfactory to seller in their sole discretion of ability to perform under the terms herein within a specific number of hours after receipt of written notice that seller has accepted a secondary contract, purchasers deposit shall be promptly returned in full.

    Under this contractual arrangement, the potential purchaser has the right to delete the contingency and go forward with the purchase. But the purchasers also have to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the seller, they are financially able to qualify for the loan. In many instances, the purchasers will not be able to satisfy the seller, because they obviously do not have the funds to permit them to go forward with the purchase.

    From the sellers point of view, this is an acceptable arrangement. Although the sellers have signed a contract, in effect they are keeping the house on the market. The sellers have the right to continue to show it to other potential purchasers, and have the right to take back-up contracts if possible.

    If you are dealing with a real estate agent, insist that the agent continue to market your house even after you have signed the first contract.

    From the buyers point of view, the 72 hour kick-out is also an acceptable compromise -- but obviously is subject to abuse. The buyer can understand that a seller is >The 72 hour kick-out clause is a compromise for both parties, and has become an acceptable practice in the real estate arena.

    However, the sellers should also insist that the buyer immediately begin to market their own property -- whether it be through a real estate firm or on their own. Specific language should be included in the contract that if the purchaser does not begin to market the property within a reasonable period of time -- for example 5 days -- then the seller has the right to void the contract and look for another buyer.
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    Ask the HOA Expert: Who Is Supposed To Fix And Maintain What?

    Question: Our board has a running battle with various unit owners about who is supposed to fix and maintain what. As a result, the board has paid for repairs that were probably the unit owners responsibility. How do we get this under control?

    Answer:The board should adopt a Maintenance Insurance Areas of Responsibility Policy which defines responsibilities HOA vs Owner. The idea is to break down the buildings and grounds into component parts and then describe who is responsible. Always review and use the governing documents as a guideline if direction is provided. While the Areas of Responsibility Policy can be subject to interpretation under certain circumstances, it usually provides clear guidance to both the board and unit owners. Moreover, it provides the board with the basis for consistent handling of maintenance issues. Another benefit is it clarifies for the HOAs and unit owners insurance carriers what things the HOA is responsible for and eliminates claim disputes. This is a "must have" policy in any common wall community. There is a sample of this policy in the Policy Samples section of www.Regenesis.net.

    Question: We have a resident we routinely have to call the police on for disturbing the peace, verbally assaulting and stalking neighbors and threatening them with physical harm. This resident is essentially psychotic and totally unpredictable. This has gone on for years and weve reached our limit. This situation is now affecting sales What can we do?

    Answer: Have you been in contact with this persons >

    Question: I am researching HOA pool liability. Recently, the board enacted pool hours which dont seem safe: 8am to 11pm. Im concerned about allowing people to swim after dark. The pool has no lighting.

    Answer: Since daylight hours change daily, either longer or shorter, it makes sense to tie pool hour closing to dusk or 10 pm whichever comes first. Due to noise concerns, the pool needs to close at a reasonable hour unless the location of the pool doesnt create a noise issue. For the same reason, establish a pool opening schedule to avoid disturbing people who may still be sleeping. Of course in Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun, all bets are off. But the pool is probably frozen anyway.

    For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see www.Regenesis.net.
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    2017 Homebuyer Survey Contains Valuable Information For Agents And Sellers

    One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of REALTORSreg; NAR is the annual survey of homebuyers and sellers. It is particularly useful because it shows sellers and their agents what works and what sources buyers use to find their new homes.

    This is the 36th year that NAR has conducted an annual survey of those who have purchased and sold homes. The most recent version 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers became available in November of this year. The information is based on answers to a 131-question survey mailed to a random sample of 145,800 consumers who purchased a home between July 2016 and June 2017. Names and addresses were provided by Experian, a company that maintains an extensive database of recent homebuyers that is derived from county records. After accounting for undeliverable surveys, there was a 5.6 percent response rate.

    In 2016, first-time homebuyers constituted 32 percent of the market. That was the lowest participation rate by first-time buyers since 1987 30. This year, 2017, the first-time buyer rate was 34. Geographically, the highest percentage of first-time buyers was in the northeast 43. Over the years the historic norms for the country have been in the 40 range. As more low-downpayment mortgage programs come into the market, there may be a good chance of returning to those norms.

    The most useful information for sellers and their agents is to be found in the section on the home search process. While the survey results are not significantly different from those of recent years, the trends continue. For example, this year 86 percent of buyers said that they used the internet frequently during the search process. In 2003 that number was only 42. This past year 55 of buyers said that they frequently used a mobile or tablet application. That is a newer and growing phenomenon. Two years ago it was 41 . 68 of buyers said that they frequently >Forty-two percent of buyers went to the internet as the first step in the home search process. 17 contacted a real estate agent first, and 6 began by driving through neighborhoods looking for homes for sale. How can driving around be an option? Half the homes purchased were within 15 miles of the buyers previous residence. Interestingly, 8 of home buyers began the process by going to a bank or mortgage company.

    Buyers use multiple sources of information in the process of looking for a home. Far and away the most used sources are on-line websites 95 and real estate agents 89. Mobile or tablet applications 74 have replaced yard signs as the third most used source of information. Still though, 48 of buyers indicate that yard signs are one of their sources of information. Only 15 of buyers indicate that they used newspaper ads as an information source. A mere 2 said that they garnered information from television.

    While there are a lot of intriguing data about the sources of information used by prospective homebuyers, certainly the most > This year the information source that was highest in that category 49 was the internet. Agents are second at 31. Note that this is not to say that buyers bought their home through the internet. The typical scenario would be that a consumer sees the home on the internet, and then contacts his or her agent. 88 of those who used the internet to search purchased their home through an agent.

    The differences in a little more than a decade are fascinating. In 2001, 48 percent of buyers learned about their home through a real estate agent, and only 8 percent found their home on the internet. The times they have changed.

    Some things, though, remain persistently the same -- or close to it. In 2001, a yard sign was the third most likely source of information leading to the home that was purchased 15. And this year? It is still the third leading source at 7, but this is now the fourth time in the survey history that it has been lower than double digits. Print media may not be dead, but it has shrunk to insignificance in this arena. In 2001, 7 of homebuyers found the home they ultimately purchased through a newspaper ad; in 2017, it was only 1. It has been that way for five years now. Fewer than 1 found their home through a home book or magazine.

    The 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows what works. It is a valuable resource.
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    The Missing Middle: Situation Dire In Toronto; Optimistic In Vancouver

    In the Greater Toronto Area, 45 per cent of housing units are single-detached homes, 35 per cent are apartment buildings and just 20 per cent are known as the "missing middle" -- including townhouses, triplexes and low-rise buildings.

    But soon, demographics suggest that two fast-growing age groups -- those in the 35 to 44 age bracket and those who are 65 -- will both be looking for the same kind of housing in that missing middle. A report from the Ryerson City Building Institute and Urbanation says that few of these projects are underway and there wont be enough to satisfy demand.

    The report says that condo development in Toronto reached its highest level ever this year, but that most of the new homes in the pipeline are in buildings that are more than five-storeys tall.

    "As millennials get older and seek larger spaces, and baby boomers downsize from detached houses, we need housing units that meet the needs and economic realities of these important demographic cohorts," says the report. "Given the current housing affordability context and projected population increases, the GTA will require more family-oriented housing units in mid-rise and low-rise buildings in comparison to the stock built during the last several years."

    "Housing options for people living in the GTA have been either large expensive low-rise dwellings or smaller high-rise condos," says Bryan Tuckey, CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association.

    "The GTA is in danger of becoming the next London, Hong Kong or New York City -- highly desirable cities, but unaffordable for most people."

    The report says there are 105,000 condo apartments under development in the GTA, of which 94 per cent are pre-sold. At least half are owned by investors and will end up serving the rental market.

    The price gap between detached houses and condos has tripled since 2007, from about 200,000 to 600,000. The average condo apartment in the GTA is currently selling for about 500,000, while the average detached home is around 1.1 million.

    "Growth in the 35-44 age cohort will be higher than it has been in decades," says the report. "With an average first-time buyer age of 36, the 35-44 age bracket is one in which many individuals both move into homeownership and begin to seek larger, more family-friendly housing." In addition, more seniors will be looking for options "with enough space and bedrooms to accommodate their life>But the report says just three per cent of all condo apartments that will come on the market during the next five years are missing middle homes, especially in the downtown core of Toronto where the need is the greatest.

    "The proportion of condo units with two or more bedrooms has been declining over time through the GTA -- a troubling trend given the surge of households that will be seeking family-friendly housing over the next 10 years. Only 41 per cent of units currently under construction or in preconstruction have at least two bedrooms, down from 67 per cent in buildings completed during the 1990s," says the report.

    Tuckey blames the situation on "complicated and restrictive government policies, already lengthy yet still worsening approval processes, a shortage of shovel-ready and approved land on which to build, escalating land prices and the growing issue of NIMBYism Not In My Backyard."

    The Ryerson/Urbanation report says, "If these construction trends continue, the proportion of family-appropriate housing available in location-efficient neighbourhoods close to transit, employments, school and services will decrease and affordability will further erode.

    "This increasing demand for family-sized units means that young families will have to drive to qualify for any type of unit, not just detached housing. This may also contribute to pressure on greenfield lands and urban sprawl."

    But theres a better story in other Canadian cities. Tuckey says Montreal "has embraced the power of this missing middle -- developers are building low-rise dwellings, mostly three-storey flats and mid-rise apartment buildings within the city and in the suburbs."

    In Vancouver, like Toronto, "Strong economic growth has created rising labour demand and consumer confidence side effects, while net migration and a wave of millennials entering their household-forming years have rounded out a perfect storm of demand-side momentum," says a report by the British Columbia Real Estate Association BCREA. "The supply of resale homes has plunged to decade lows. This has led to continuing upward pressure on home prices" because supply has not kept up with demand.

    But the report says multi-family starts in Metro Vancouver have recently surged, up to 55 per cent above the 10-year average. There are an estimated 19,700 multi-family starts expected this year and another 19,000 units forecast in 2019.

    Although these are mostly not missing middle projects, BCREA says they will have a positive impact on housing availability and affordability because of three key reasons: renters will transfer into homeownership, increasing the rental supply; move-up or downsizing buyers will increase housing supply when they put their homes on the market; and more investors will buy and increase the condo rental supply.

    "The aggregate increase in the housing stock can also help dilute the impact of migrants, non-income seeking investors and first-time buyers/renters on the cost of housing," says BCREA. "This surge in multi-family completions isnt the only solution for housing affordability in Metro Vancouver. However, a marked increase in aggregate supply can move the needle toward market balance and help slow the pace of housing price/rent growth in the region."
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    Technology for the Betterment of the Real Estate Industry

    Far from being a threat, technology is an asset for the real estate industry. Specific services and applications can enable agents to better serve their clients, be they landlords, tenants, employers or employees. That ability, thanks to the resources agents can leverage, can ease an otherwise stressful process; a process that has too much uncertainty and too little >

I refer to traditional methods of listing space for rent, as well as the way people search for roommates. Agents can be very helpful on both fronts, provided they have access to a site that eliminates the guesswork of renting or sharing space with someone. Agents can offer their expertise regarding a potential match between two prospective roommates, in addition to doing something similar for corporate clients.

In this situation, technology makes a real estate agent more >

How, then, can real estate agents add value to this process?

In a word, experience; meaning they can screen these candidates for an individual or a company, where an extra set of eyes can focus with greater intensity on nuances others might miss or not know to review in the first place.

According to Steven Yos, Founder of WeRoomies:

"Real estate agents are important advisors, ones we should not overlook when using a tool that matches users based on similar interests and compatibility in general. Agents respect a commodity such as transparency -- they seek to ensure people can learn more about one another before entering into a rental agreement -- because that advantage is indispensable to improving quality of life. It is crucial to empowering individuals to live well without living expensively."

"By offering a social network of this kind, in which users may chat on a one-to-one basis or join a group chat or create their own, accuracy becomes the priority it must be. Accuracy of outcome, where roommates are more than people who share the same physical space, is critical to establishing domestic tranquility."

I agree with that sentiment, and I second those remarks, because technology is a tool. It is a tool that experts can use with an intensity all their own; applying their knowledge to something that they alone can analyze for the good of a site or a community of individuals.

We need to welcome technology, lest we ignore its benefits or fail to benefit the needs of the very people real estate agents serve.

The solution Yos speaks of, which is free to use and easy to navigate, promises to revolutionize a multitude of industries.

Real estate professionals can lead this movement.

Lewis Fein is a writer and commentator about the real estate industry. Based in Los Angeles, you may contact him at .

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Stylish Trends For Modern Holiday Dcor

If your idea of holiday decor still centers around popcorn on a string and ornaments that have seen better days, it may be time for an upgrade. Todays hottest holiday decor trends offer modern hues and >

Unique fabrics

Unless were talking about red-based plaid or your Great-Great-Grandmas Gingerbread Man comforter - may not necessarily impact a holiday feel. But rich fabrics like the velvet and faux fur being shown by West Elm this season bring the luxe, helping transform your space into a winter wonderland. "The retailer declared velvet lsquo;this seasons lust-have, offering quilts, duvets, throw pillows, and blankets in the textured fabric. And who could ignore their gorgeous newnbsp;faux-fur throws," asks MyDomaine.


This hot color is another surprising yet ultra-chic choice for your holiday house. "Twas the year of blush pink. Unsurprisingly, trendy galsnbsp;are swapping their red ribbons, buntings and blooms for something something rosier... and much less expected," said PureWow. All you need is some silk ribbon tied around some greenery to achieve a special look for your stairway.


Glittery white trees

Frosted branches, mercury glass ornaments, and twinkling lights create a glowing centerpiece to your holiday deacute;cor. Keeping everything light and bright and effervescent makes for a show-stopping look that is both brilliant and calming.

If thats a little too sedate for you, try this tip from Elle Deacute;cor and "make white your base color" with pops of red.


Blue Christmas

Is the traditional red and green color scheme on its way out? Never. But, this year a festive blue hue is making a strong argument for holiday domination. "Its all about the blue," said MyDomaine of West Elms luxurious take on this years holiday trends. "While red and green made an appearance in the form of an evergreen tree, ornament, or flower arrangement, almost every page featured a deep jewel-tone blue. Think dining chairs, pillows, and even dinnerware."

Black and white

Another color combination is bringing more interest to the holiday home. "One of the hottest 2017 holiday decoration trends is black and white," said Connecticut in >

We love how black and white brings beautiful >


Unique ornaments

Make your tree a focal point with these modern shapes and metallic hues.


But dont stop there Ornaments look great in other places throughout the home, too, like over the dining room table. "Dont restrict magnificent baubles and sparkly snowflakes to the tree when it comes to your Christmas decor ideas," said Real Simple. "Accentuate overhead lighting with shimmery decorations and stick to a fresh winter palette like pale blue and silver. Finish it off with an elegant satin ribbon gently dangling from the chandelier."


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10 Holiday Gift Must-Buys From HomeGoods

Truth be told, its not hard to find a reason to go to HomeGoods. But, ever since we heard that the company is continuing to pay workers at Puerto Rico stores along with Marshalls and TJ MAXX that remain closed, were doing as much of our holiday shopping as possible there. Thankfully, finding thing to purchase is not a challenge not purchasing every one of them for yourself is.

HomeGoods a holiday bonanza right now. Were talking shelf upon shelf and table upon table of every holiday item you can imagine. Wreaths. Santa figurines. Holiday-scented candles. Ornaments. Reindeers. Trees of every size, color, and texture you can imagine. And thats just the themed stuff. For your gift-giving pleasure, weve rounded up a list of 10 holiday must-haves for teachers, neighbors, colleagues, friends, family, and, of course, yourself.

Choose your Santa. Any Santa or tree or bunny. Prices start at just 6.99.

Have a name-brand fan in your life? The festive tablecloth from Kate Spade is just 24.99, and the colorful mugs are 3.99 each.

Oven mitts and kitchen towels may not be what you think about when you think hostess gifts, but you will when you see this cute assortment of themed items, ranging in price from 5.99 to 9.99.

Hello, Christmas Day O.J. Wouldnt it taste so much better poured from this 14.99 jug? The host you gift it to will certainly think so.

Whats even better than a festive holiday platter? One that is UNBREAKABLE. Buy a few of these great-looking plaid plastic platers. At 9.99, youll definitely want to keep one in your kitchen.

Dont forget the little ones. Stuffed animals start at just a few bucks.

Gift pretty without spending a pretty penny. This sparkly bowl set is only 6.99 and the martini glasses 3.99 apiece.

You might not have explored HomeGoods food section, but you definitely should, especially at this time of year. You can find great baskets perfect for your fave foodie, exotic jams, crackers, and gourmet sweets if youd rather make your own, and items like this 9.99 trio of hot chocolates that you may just want to buy 10 of.

Impress the millennial pink lover in your life with this 179 tree.

Or, soothe the dark soul of your moody teenager with this black tree, also 179.

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Expert Advice for Styling Beautiful Home Photography

Annette Joseph shares her tips for styling beautiful home photography and finding the soul of a room.

Atlanta-based photostylist/producer Annette Joseph possesses an intangible skill that keeps us hooked on our favorite shelter magazine publications: the ability to breathe life into interior spaces. My first encounter with Joseph was at a private mock photo styling session where I watched her artistry in action. It was at that moment I realized how much I took for granted the effort that goes into making an interior space magazine-ready.

I often look for her name in the styling credits as I read some of my favorite shelter magazines, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Atlanta Magazine, and Renovation >

Erika Ward: How do people and pets effect the overall mood conveyed in a >

Annette Joseph: Interior shots that include people in this case, the homeowner and pets truly speak to me; they are the key elements that essentially bring the photo to life.

Each shelter magazine has its preference regarding the use of life>

I will say that once you introduce life into the shot it complicates the process and becomes more time consuming. Nevertheless, people and pets are my preference, and they add an element of fun.

Photo by Annette Joseph - Browse home design ideas

EW: How does styling a photo for a magazine differ from staging a home for sale?

AJ: I have >

Photo by Annette Joseph - Look for home design design inspiration

EW: What are some of the key elements that make a space feel welcoming in photographs?

AJ: A sense of order is very important in a photograph; great composition, balance, and warmth are a key factors. But that is not all - its not that simple. When I work with talented photographers to make a beautiful image, it is collaborative and artistic. A photo needs a soul, and finding that soul in the home is what I do. It is not a tangible thing.

Photo by Annette Joseph - Look for home design pictures

EW: Give an example where you >

AJ: There are times when the flow of a space is not ideal, but most of the spaces we photograph are beautiful to start. When the flow is not ideal the camera angle is actually more important than the styling.

Photo by Annette Joseph - Look for home design pictures

It is very difficult to >

EW: Why should an interior designer consider using a stylist when shooting photographs for a portfolio?

AJ: When a potential client sees your portfolio, they should want to live in a space that you designed. This feeling should resonate through every photo in your portfolio no matter the room.

Photo by Annette Joseph - More home design photos

A stylist can help your client to translate comfort, function, and great design without them having to physically visit the space.

Simply put, designers and stylist work hand in hand to tell a story and evoke feelings through interior photography.

Interested in styling your home? Start with a small vignette to gain confidence. Many of the items pictured above are pieces you may already own.

With a wall mirror, stylish lamp, books, vases, and flowers you can create a gorgeous feature in any room of your home.

Photo by Annette Joseph - More home design photos

Annette Josephs photostyling tips and tricks:

1. Photograph your rooms in slices. Looking at your room from a photograph gives you an objective view of the space.

2. When photographing multiple rooms, use a color thread throughout each room to make the photo story come together.

3. Less is more.

Photo by Annette Joseph - Search home design pictures

4. If you like tchotchkes, corral them in a tray for a cleaner look.

5. When making a space look lived-in, pull the chair out just a little from the dining room table. When shooting a bed ruffle the sheets a bit.

6. Instead of purchasing flowers from a prepackaged bouquet, buy a mass of the same flower.

7. Continue to examine each photo for equal weight and balance.

Also See:

  • Stylish Plant Stands Hold Fresh Blooms
  • Desk Lamps in Every >
  • Picture-Perfect Bedroom Designs

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Condominium Owners Must Pay Their Condo Fees

Qustion: I am the President of a large condominium association, and most of our owners pay their condominium fees each and every month on time. However, one owner is refusing to pay the condominium fee, claiming the association is not performing certain functions properly, and the owner is attempting to offset the fee as leverage to get the condominium to do that work. Does the owner have the right to withhold the fee under these circumstances?

Answer: A condominium unit owner, in my opinion, never has the right to withhold the condominium fee -- whether or not the association legitimately owes money or some other duty to the owner.

If one unit owner decides unilaterally to withhold the monthly fee, this can put a serious strain on the condominium associations budget. More importantly, if one owner is permitted to withhold the fee, every other owner in the complex will be able to claim the same right, and clearly this will raise havoc within the association. The condominium association has certain monthly obligations. It has to pay taxes, it has to pay insurance, it has to pay a water bill, and it has to pay a management fee. And of course it has to pay its attorney. Every year, the board of directors of the association -- often in conjunction with the property manager -- develop a projected budget, estimating what the annual income will be for the next year, and attempting to estimate the operating costs for the coming year. These estimates are often based on the past two or three years history of the association, and of course the association also has to budget an adequate amount of money each year for reserves.

Reserves are an important part of any condominium budget. Every association must have adequate reserves available in the event an emergency occurs, or an unforseen problem occurs that will necessitate a considerable expenditure of money. Most owners will acknowledge that they would rather pay 5 or 10 a month each and every month into a reserve account, than be hit with a special assessment of 2,000-3,000 or more because there are not sufficient reserves.

Thus, if the projected income on a month to month basis is not reached because one or more owners refuse to pay their fee, this begins to put a serious strain on the overall budget of the association.

There is a case in California that is instructive to all condominium association owners, property managers, and boards of directors.

An owner refused to pay the condominium associations assessments, because he alleged that the condominium association had violated the condominium documents and had committed wrongful acts when it performed certain repair work to his unit.

The court in California recognized there is generally a right of setoff, which can be defined as follows: "A" owes 100 to "B," but "B" owes 75.00 to "A." In our example, "A" really owes 25.00 to "B," and "A" can withhold setoff the balance of the 100.00 owed because "B" owes "A" that money.

However, the court also determined that if the claim of setoff defeats public policy, such a setoff would not be permitted.

The language of the court in discussing the public policy of a condominium assessment is very instructive:

Because homeowner associations would cease to exist without regular payment of assessment fees, the legislature has created procedures for associations to quickly and efficiently seek >Thus, as a member of your board of directors, you must take prompt action to collect the delinquent fees owed by all unit owners. The collection procedures vary among the various states, but you and your property managers cannot permit the delinquencies to continue to stay on the books.

There is another important legal concept in condominium and homeowner association law, namely uniformity. A board of directors cannot treat one unit owner in a different manner than they treat other owners. The board cannot be arbitrary and capricious in its application of the laws, but must enforce the laws uniformly across the board. If the board permits one owner to stay delinquent, all of the other unit owners may soon claim the same right, and thus your association will begin to have serious financial consequences.

This does not mean to suggest that unit owners have no rights. On the contrary, they certainly can file suit against the association, and in those jurisdiction where mediation or arbitration is provided, can request a dispute resolution mechanism in an effort to settle any outstanding matters. But unit owners cannot be permitted to let their condominium fees lapse.
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3 Tips for Aspiring First-Time Homebuyers

After years of renting, you are more than ready to take the plunge into home ownership. You dream of having a cozy casa to call your own, and you cannot wait to start the house hunting process.

While looking for your first home is exciting, it can also be stressful as unexpected bumps in the road tend to pop up. To avoid as many negative curveballs as you can, keep the following cautionary tips in mind:

Get your finances in order

Many Realtors will not work with home buyers until they have been pre-approved for a loan. In order to be sure that you qualify for a decent amount, spend some time getting your financial house in order. As Bank Rate notes, start by checking your credit score and report, since it will be a key factor in how much you will qualify for, as well as determining your interest rate. You can use a free credit score checking service like CreditKarma, or if you have a credit card like Discover, you should be able to check your FICO score there as well.

In addition, get copies of the actual reports from these companies that show all of your lines of credit as well as the reasons for your score, and go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. Look for mistakes, unpaid accounts and any collections, and if there are any issues, start the repair process at least six months before buying a home. Having a high debt to income ratio may also negatively impact your FICO score; if this is true for you, do all you can to pay down your credit card bills and other debts before shopping for a home.

Choose your neighborhood carefully

Some first-time home buyers are so focused on getting a certain >

Check to see how close needed amenities are, like grocery stores, gas stations, coffee shops and hospitals, and do a practice commute to see how long it takes you to get to work. You can also check the local crime stats, and if you drive through it at different times of the day, you can check for unexpected noises and activity levels; like a busy fire station nearby or a sports field where high school bands go to practice.

Make sure technology is working

Once you start the actual home search, you may be pleased to see that some of the homes come with innovative features like a home security camera system, thermostats and other cool forms of technology. Rather than assuming that everything works, either check these gadgets yourself to be sure they are functioning properly, or if you have made an offer on the home, ask your home inspector to determine that the tech is in good working order.

If you find that the security system and other tech is broken or woefully outdated, you can either ask the sellers to change it out to a newer system, or you can ask for a credit so you can purchase a new home security camera system or other tech when you move in. If you go with the latter option, you might want to check out HD security cameras and other home security systems from Lorex Technology; the company offers DIY high definition surveillance systems that are affordable, easy to install and do not require you to sign a contract.

By doing your financial and neighborhood homework and remembering to never assume that anything in a potential home is working properly, your house hunting experience is sure to be more fun and fruitful than stressful and overwhelming.

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Gifts That Give Back To Fire, Flood, Shooting Victims, And Charities Around The World

We do a "gifts that give back post" every year about this time, providing a look at those presents that offer a charitable component. This year, more than ever, people are looking to make a difference with their gifts. Floods, fires, mass shootings - its been a year filled with heartache for so many. The options we have chosen can help change a life while supporting companies and organizations that are doing good all around the world.

Support for Puerto Rico flood victims via T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods

Many of us need little or no prodding to head to T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods throughout the year, and holiday time is no different. But the news that these three stores are continuing to pay displaced workers of stores that remain closed as a result of the Puerto Rico floods means we may just be doing all of our shopping holiday and otherwise here in support of these generous efforts. Hurricane Maria killed more thannbsp;50 people, and approximately 30 percent of Puerto Ricos population is reportedly still without water and 25 percent without electricity.

Massachusetts-based corporation TJX is getting a lot of praise for supporting itsnbsp;employeesnbsp;in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

"The owner of TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods confirmed to WBZ-TV it is stillnbsp;payingnbsp;workers at stores that remain closed because of hurricane damage," said CBS Sacramento. "We believe it is the right thing for us to do under these circumstances," a TJX spokeswoman said.

Donations to aid Sutherland Springs shooting victims

One of the knocks on charities set up to help after natural disasters or other tragedies is the unknown of how much actually reaches the people in need. Texas-based grocery store H-E-B is known for its generous charitable outreach, and its response to the Sutherland Springs shooting is no different. They have pledged to donate 150,000 in support of the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting and have also set up a donation site, with 100 of the donations going directly to those affected.

Sonoma County fire victim help

Public Good is a clearing house for charities to aid those impacted by the fire that killed more than 40 people and decimated whole neighborhoods in Sonoma County, CA. Donations are split between "recommended, IRS-verified nonprofits," they said, including Community Foundation Sonoma County, Convoy Of Hope, Direct >

South Asia flood help

South Asia has also experienced devastating floods recently, with more than 1,000 killed during the summer. There are several ways to make a difference for those affected, including donating to Goonj, which "aims to reach 75,000 families throughout rural India," said In>

Oxfam "is helping those affected by the floods to get clean drinking water, hygienenbsp;kits, shelter, and food supplies while also working alongside local partners to prevent future crises from emerging," said In>

Starling Candle

Elon Musk of Tesla made news with his pledge to return Puerto Rico to power with solar power and has already installed "Teslas Powerpack commercial energy storage batteries and solar panels, restoring power to Hospital del Nintilde;o,nbsp;a childrens hospital in San Juan," said Big Think.

So, get out there and buy Teslas for everyone in your circle Or, purchase a few soy candles fromnbsp;The Starling Project, which "help providenbsp;solar energy to under-resourced countries across the globe, granting needy communitiesnbsp;access to electricity, clean water, safety, health, education, and more," said Womans Day.nbsp;

Zebra Wood Fillmore Wi>

Not only are these headphones from LSTN, a speaker and headphone company, cool and useful, but the innovative company actually puts its profits toward providing hearing aids to those in need. "So far, its helped over 20,000 people hear in the U.S., Peru, Kenya, Uganda, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic," said Womans Day.nbsp;

Brooklyn Candle Studio Love Potion 9

This fragrant candle with notes of jasmine and lavender from Brooklyn Candle Studio was a favorite project before the horrific events of Charlottesville. In light of the tragedy, the company decided to direct a portion of its proceeds to the ACLU.

"As a graduate of UVA, the events in Charlottesville obviously hit very close to home, and I am absolutely appalled by them," said Tamara Mayne, founder of Brooklyn Candle Studio and a 2006 graduate of UVA. "As a woman, a mother, an Asian-American, and as an employer of woman and minorities, and, frankly, as a human being, I feel that I have a duty to give back by helping those fighting for equality here in the United States. I would like this candle to serve as a reminder to choose love, not hate."

Sudara Punjammies

Support women free from the Indian sex slave trade with your gift of colorful printed punjammies from Sudara.org, loose fit and 100-percent rayon pajama pants "made proudly in India by women working to forge a new path, free from sex slavery," said Real Simple. The punjammies are "inspired by the beauty, colors and textures seen throughout the local culture and are crafted by brave women in the community who wish to remain free from the trade they escaped," according to the website.

Conscious Step Sock Collection

Socks have grown in popularity and are no longer considered a throwaway gift. Make them even more impactful with socks from Conscious Step that are stylish, unisex, comfortable soft organic cotton, and created under fair trade conditions. "The money from each collection purchased goes to three causes," said Real Simple. "The yellow and black pair donates the equivalent of two books to schoolchildren in Asia, the argyle pair provides 18 months of safe water for a person in need, and the red and black pair raises awareness around the issue of poverty."

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Realty Times Acquired by Industry Visionary

Real estate news portal poised for rapid growth and digital innovation

November 7, 2017 -- Realty Times, one of Americas largest and most trusted real estate news portals, announced today that it has been acquired by a new leadership group led by industry veteran Mr. John Giaimo.

The new company has extensive plans to leverage its news legacy, while introducing new programs and partnerships with many of the top players in the real estate sector.

"Our goal is to align a variety of groups with community-based initiatives that benefits everyone involved in the real estate process. This includes nonprofits, homebuyers and agents, through the innovative Agent with Heart program, as well as creating programs to connect more millennial buyers with leading-edge digital technology," explained Mr. Giaimo.

As part of the acquisition, Realty Times will also be able to work with real estate companies to introduce and expand product offerings through bundled services and marketing expertise, both through the media portal and its real estate focused call center.

Mr. Giaimo is transitioning into his new role with Realty Times immediately.

About Realty Times: As one of Americas largest and most trusted real estate news portals, Realty Times connects buyers, sellers, brokers, nonprofits and agents with everything real estate >
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Proof That We Jumped to Conclusions about Millennials and Home Buying

Ever since the millennial generation reached adulthood, demographers and social scientists have been exploring the many trends that set this younger generation apart from their parents and grandparents. These studies have confirmed that Millennials are very different from Generation X and the baby boomers in many ways. One supposed difference that has recently proven to be incorrect, however, is a lack of interest among Millennials in buying homes.

What Previous Assumptions Proved to be Wrong?

Assumptions regarding Millennials and home ownership have evolved considerably over the past several years. As recently as 2015, the prevailing explanation for historically low rates of home purchases among the younger generation was that Millennials simplydidnt want to buy their own homes. Many different factors were presented to support this hypothesis, including the concomitant decline in marriage rates among Millennials driving down demand for single-family homes. Similarly, as Millennials a>More recently, another picture of Millennial attitudes toward home buying has emerged. In this version, Millennials wanted to buy houses, but simply couldnt afford to save for down payments. Many Millennials reported havingless than 1,000 saved up, far less then even the lowest possible down payment on an average home. Though this vision of how Millennials >What the Most Recent Research Shows

Now, starting from the knowledge that Millennials did want to buy homes, researchers began looking into their specific plans and ability to do so more closely. Among the roughly two-thirds of Millennials who dont already own homes, a majority report that they plan to own a home at some point in their lives. What was more surprising than this, however, is the fact that68 percent of Millennialsplan on owning more than one home in the future. This finding indicates that, while mobility may still be a factor Millennials consider, they plan to approach it through serial home ownership, rather than through perennial renting.

Another encouraging statistic with regards to Millennial home ownership rates is the fact that some 40 percent of this generation who are over the age of 25 have begun saving in earnest for the down payment on a house. In part, this may be part of an effort to save money, as new studies have shown that buying is now less expensive than renting in42 of the 50 US states.

What do Millennials Look For in a House?

Given that Millennials are now seriously planning to become consumers in the real estate market, it becomes interesting and important to understand what members of this generation look for in a home. Arecent surveyin which 1,000 Millennials were given a hypothetical home buying budget found, unsurprisingly, that technology plays a major role in what Millennials think of a house. In that survey, some 47 percent of respondents wanted solar power, while an astonishing majority of 75 percent said they wanted all-new appliances. In the survey, luxury and larger properties proved less popular among younger potential buyers, with extra-long driveways being a feature only 9 percent of respondents wanted and properties of more than one acre being popular with only 24 percent.

The same survey also found that location is important to Millennial buyers. Roughly one-third of those surveyed said they wanted a home within 10 miles of a major city. This indicated a preference for the conveniences offered by larger cities over the greater privacy to be had in smaller, quieter communities. Overall, Millennials prefer areas with easy access to services like dining and shopping. They also tend to prefer close access to vital service providers, such as a doctor or dentist, as opposed to suburban or rural areas where those providers may be more difficult to reach.

With this more complete picture of how Millennials plan to approach home ownership and what they value in a property, real estate professionals can now begin adapting their businesses to the needs and wants of the next generation of buyers. As Millennials continue to age and settle into homes, it is likely that the trend of historically low rates of home ownership will gradually return to more normal levels, leaving the myth of Millennials not wanting to buy real estate firmly in the past.
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Solutions To Saving Money On Your Next Move

Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you. Theres no way around it. Right? Well, actually, there may just be a way to make it not quite so painful. A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs. Here are eight ways to save money on your move and move in.

1. Dont take it all with you

Furniture youre no longer in love with or appliances like washers and dryers or the fridge you have in the garage can be a pain to move. You can potentially save money and time and hassle by including them in your home sale. First-time buyers or someone moving from out of state may appreciate your old stuff far more than you, and you dont have to pay to haul it to your next place.

2. Leave the flat screen

If you have a mounted flat screen TV thats at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind too. The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving it might not be worth it. Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so its a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.

3. Negotiate everything

If youve been looking for a house or have bought one before, youre probably already aware of closing costs. But you might not be aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender.

"Shop around before choosing a mortgage lender, but dont stop there," said Bankrate. "When you receive your good faith estimatenbsp; of closing costs, or GFE, the negotiation hasnt ended." This itemized list of estimated closing costs includes lenders fees as well as items such as appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.

"The lender or broker charges some fees, and third parties charge others. The first step is to find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees. Dont guess. Ask the lender or broker."

Bankrate advises that while "some items are non-negotiable: taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, prorated interest and reserves," negotiating on others that can "be waived or reduced" can save you money."

4. Barter for services

Need a handyman and have appliances or furniture youre getting rid of? You just might be able to make a deal. Ask around for referrals and then introduce a barter system into the equation during your first conversation. You might be surprised what you can get for what youve already got.

5. Move Smart

Once youre out of college, or maybe out of your first post-college apartment, thinking about renting a U-Haul and moving yourself or with a few good friends seems less than desirable. But if youre willing to sweat a little ok, a lot you can save a bundle. Just remember two important things to entice and thank your friends: Pizza. And beer.

If you dont want to do the whole thing on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a hybrid move:

  • Do the packing and unpacking yourself
  • Have everything on one floor. Stairs can add considerably to the cost of a move.
  • Pare down. Maybe you dont need to bring all that stuff with you. Selling it will earn you a few bucks and save you a few more.

6. Consider moving and storage hybrid options

A company like PODSnbsp; or U-Packnbsp; might be a solution for you if you need self storage wrapped into your move. Essentially, the company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself. They then pick it up and move it for you. You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in. This type of move can cost up to 35 percent less than traditional movers, but keep in mind you will be doing the labor - just not the driving.

7. Take advantage of special offers

Move-in offers for cable, Internet, and phone service can save you a lot of money. But they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line. Look out for special limited-time offers - one-year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.

8. Dont rush the renos

Chances are, after you move in, youre going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to refi, redo your lawn, and apply for 72 different credit cards. In what seems like an endless pile of junk mail will be some special offers for new homebuyers, but they might not arrive for a month or more. Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and window coverings, home furnishing companies like Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients. If youre planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.

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Copyright©2017 Realty Times®.All Rights Reserved

Today's Real Estate News and Advice Updated: Friday, November 17, 2017

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Copyright © 2017 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved