Friday, May 31, 2013

It's As Easy As.......

Upgrading a kitchen can be costly as well as time consuming. If you don't have the time or want to go to the expense of a total make-over try these 6 tips to give your kitchen a fresh new look:

1. Put up an open plate rack for a touch of cottage charm. This can help free up more cabinet space.

2. Coat a wall with chalkboard paint. Frame out the edges. This creates an easy spot for the grocery list, to-dos, etc.  This also works great for a walk-in pantry.  As an added bonus, it gives a spot for little ones' creativity when you need to keep them occupied while finishing up a meal.

3. Turn a piece of furniture into a center isle. A sideboard, bureau or desk works great. Top with butcher block.
Extending the butcher block 12 inches past an edge can create a breakfast bar. Don't worry if it doesn't match the existing cabinetry, mixing styles and colors is very popular.

4. Swap out plain cabinet knobs - go for pizzazz!

5. Install a pull down faucet and replace the existing sprayer with an under-counter mounted soap dispenser.

6. Hang a pendant light over the kitchen sink to transform a workstation into a focal point.

Have fun and get creative this summer!  Send your before and after photos to and I'll post them on our site.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wood Deck Maintenance Checklist

What could be more perfect than a nice spring evening spent sitting out on the deck, enjoying the fresh air? That experience is pretty tough to beat; however, in order to get the most of it, it’s a must to complete routine spring deck maintenance.

Be sure to check the following items off your list this season:
Inspect your deck. Hire a deck professional to check things out, or do the legwork yourself. Things to look for:
  • Rot — check the surface, the steps, the areas where the deck attaches to your home and the underside of the deck
  • Loose nails
  • Loose boards
  • Split wood/splintered areas
  • Debris
  • Moss and algae
Clean the deck. First, sweep off the deck to remove any dry debris. Then use a commercial deck cleaner, along with a power washer, to move any remaining dirt and debris. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for both the commercial cleaner and the power washer. Allow to the wood to dry before moving on to the next step.

Make repairs. Whether hiring a contractor or doing it yourself, be sure to make necessary repairs to problem areas found in the deck inspection. Replace loose nails, repair loose or splintered boards, address any rot, remove debris, etc.

Restain and reseal. After making necessary repairs, keep your deck in its best condition — and preserve its looks — by restaining it and coating with a waterproof/UV-proof sealant.
With these simple maintenance steps, your deck will be enjoyable both now and for years to come!

And for those house-hunters looking for a new home with a new deck this spring, be sure to contact me, I would love to help you find a new home!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We have experienced another sign that the market is continuing in recovery mode....the May slow-down!  At least it feels that there is a slow down. While the sales in Carmel remain brisk, we are seeing a tendency toward normal in the market.

In Indiana we have a seasonal selling time for real estate.  The market tends to pick up around the end of February and continues to build steam until June where it is hot and heavy through the month of August when we see a slowing of sales.  This is the time when most families are wanting to make their move and generally speaking, most everyone would rather move during the warmer months that tackle a move during the snow storms or bitter cold of the Indiana winter.  Once the kids get back in school we see continue to see moderate sales as those last few buyers find their new home so they can get settled before the cold sets in.  

However, one caveat to that is the month of May.  Historically, the month of May, for whatever it graduations, Mother's Day, the end of school...tends to be a slower month for sales.  At least that was the old norm.  Going forward, we'll just have to see if this holds true but I personally want to say this is a sign that we are getting some serious recovery!  And that is great news!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

3 Reasons Your Home May Be Worth More Than You Think!

Today’s housing market is very different from the market of the last few years.
Homeowners in the last 5 or 6 years seemed to fall into two camps: One group found themselves underwater, owing more on their mortgage than the property was worth. Many of these homeowners were in danger of losing their home to foreclosure. The other group, due to dramatic decreases in the value of real estate, had to put off moving into new homes because the equity they had built up in their current home had all but evaporated.

For homeowners in both of these groups, it is understandable that they’d be hesitant to sell their homes today after the roller coaster of the past few years. However, the reality of today’s market is that home values have increased, in some markets dramatically, and it might just be the perfect time to sell.

Your home might be worth more than you think. Here are three reasons why.

1. There are Fewer Distressed Homeowners
One of the big reasons why prices dropped so dramatically in the first place is because millions of homeowners, hit hard by the recession and falling prices, could no longer afford their mortgage. Facing foreclosure, they attempted to sell only to find that the value of their home was less than they owed on them.

These homeowners are called “distressed” homeowners, and to date there have been millions in this situation. Today, however, distressed homeowners may find themselves in a much better position!

However, according to the National Association of REALTORS, distressed sales are at their lowest point since 2008, when the foreclosure crisis started. This means distressed sales are no longer affecting the market as strongly. Non-distressed sellers today find themselves in a much better position than at any point since the housing crisis began.

2. Prices have increased
Many homeowners may not realize it, considering how far the real estate market fell when the housing bubble burst, but in the past 12 months, prices have actually rebounded at a fairly remarkable pace.

In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS, prices rose 11.8% year over year in March of 2013. This is the biggest yearly increase in prices since November of 2005, when the market was near its peak.

For homeowners, this incredible increase in prices means that much of the value that was lost during the housing crisis may have returned, and people who put off selling their homes are beginning to see the value of their properties arrive at levels where selling makes sense again.

For people who were underwater, this is welcome news. These homeowners may very well have equity again for the first time in years. For people who had planned on moving up into a bigger home but held off because the value of their current home was too low, these price increases are a sign that it may be time to start considering moving up again. But price increases aren’t only reason why selling today might make sense.

3. Housing Inventory is Low, and the Number of Buyers is Growing
Generally speaking, the real estate market needs about 6 months of inventory in order to keep up with normal supply and demand. This means that at the current rate of sales, it would take 6 months for all of the homes for sale in the market to get sold.

In today’s market, there is significantly less inventory than that. In fact, nationally there is about 4.7 months worth of inventory available. This number doesn’t tell the whole story, however. In some areas, there is less than a month of inventory. There are even some places that only have a few days of inventory for sale!

At the same time, more people want to buy homes today than at any time in the past 5 or 6 years. Interest rates are at near record lows and a new generation of homeowners are trying to buy their first home.

The result is a simple supply and demand issue. There are fewer homes to sell and more people who want to buy them. Make no mistake about it, today’s market is a seller’s market and people who sell their home today are in the strongest bargaining position in years.

You Are in the Driver’s Seat!
If you have been waiting to sell your home, especially if you or someone you know is having difficulty with their mortgage, it is time for you to start exploring your options because your home may be worth significantly more than you realize. The important thing is to know where you stand.

Do you know what your home is worth today? What are homes in the area selling for? These are all questions to which the answers have changed significantly in the last few months and knowing what your specific situation is can help you make more informed choices.

As a real estate agent in today’s market, I make it my business to have the most up-to-date information and can help you understand exactly what your current situation is. If you have been underwater, it is entirely possible you are not anymore. If you have been holding off until the market started to recover, that time is now.

Contact me today for a free market analysis and let me help you determine your best options. Arm yourself with information and make a more informed choice. It might just end up being an incredibly profitable decision.