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2019 Trends for Buyers and Sellers to Look For

There is both good and bad news in store for the new year in real estate.  Buyers and sellers will both benefit but have an increased number of obstacles from what is being forecast within the housing market.

There will be more homes for sale and available to meet the past demands of buyers.  While this may be a perk for buyers after a record low of homes for sale over the past 18 months, sellers must be more competitive and keen to the marketplace than before.  The past year or 2 may have been slanted towards a seller’s market, that scale is tipping to the buyer.  Buyers will have more homes to compare and contrast, to meet their needs, and to meet their demands.  A note of interest may be that there will be a significant increase in property for sale in high-end markets in larger metro areas and their surrounding suburbs and neighboring towns.

More homes may open for purchase, but less money will be on the table to make the transactions.  Affording a home, buying, financing, and maintaining these properties.  The mortgage rates are expected to increase as well as the actual selling price of homes.  These increases are likely to increase at a higher rate than the increase in income and net payments.  Budgets will be tighter and those affected most will continue to be first time home buyers.

Millennials, will once again, reign the buying market.  For many the homes purchased will be their 2nd, not seeing the struggle associated with those first-time home buyers and owners.  Though this population subgroup will reign in buying, they are much more price conscious than others and more willing to be flexible in their “needs” and wants in their residences.  Because of the increased amount of student debt and desire to maintain a particular “lifestyle” millennials will make more compromises, such as smaller living spaces, different neighborhood or location, and fewer perks to stay within their comfort zone of daily living.

One factor that may change and alter the outlooks for home buyers and sellers is the new tax law.  The expected outcome of those changes in tax law is unknown, forecasters are uncertain of how this key component of home buying, financing, and selling will affect the market for the year and into the future.


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Decking the Halls of Your “For Sale” Home

How to decorate without turning off buyers, enticing them, and welcoming them thoughtfully into your home’s open houses and showings. Simple but inviting should be well balanced, as you want potential buyers to imagine themselves celebrating their holiday traditions in a home where you’ve created many memories.

Decorations should be neutral, tasteful, and subtly placed throughout your home. When decorating for your holiday season, keep in mind that personal ornaments, stockings, Christmas cards, and Christmas photos may overwhelm the home, distracting potential buyers from focusing on the unique and purposeful features of the home. Too much thought and family tradition may be too much for buyers.

Consider your neighborhood along with the curbside appeal of your home. Some streets and neighborhoods are known for their holiday light displays and outdoor attractions. You do not want to be the only home not participating, sticking out like a sore thumb or “Scrooge”. Other neighborhoods are known to be much more conservative in expressing celebration of the season. Each homeowner seeking as successful home sale should use their best judgment and discretion of going with the current climate of their location, maintaining the appropriate spirit with an “impersonal” and appropriately attractive display.

If and when you decide to deck the halls, trim the tree, and light up for the season, remember these tips:

Avoid the tacky by stay away from adding the large outdoor decorations and obnoxious displays. Keep the lights to a minimum, indoor and out. Consider skipping the Christmas tree; when displaying your home, you want to emphasize the rooms for all seasons not just the Yuletide.

Keep it SIMPLE, traditional, and classic. Have decorations be appealing to all types of individuals, seasonal yet understated. Avoid the clutter of cards, presents and gifts, wrappings, and excessive trimmings.

Remember that there are multiple senses to pique the interest of potential buyers. Light a fire to create warmth, coziness, and a place of refuge from the elements. Place scents throughout the home that are reminiscent of the season, pine or balsam, baked cookies, cider, and peppermint. Choose colors that evoke the season and celebrations on the season.


Insulating Your Attic Choices and Options

    An attic can be one of the primary sources for potential heat loss in your home and insulating it properly can maintain a comfortable environment during the frigid winter months and in the heat of summer as well.
In an unfinished attic your main goal is to keep the rooms below warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Insulating the floors of your attic will ensure the comfort of the lower floors of your home.
If your attic is finished, on the alternative, you would want to insulate it as you would the rest of the home, insulating both the floors and the walls.
There are quite a few options out there as far as choices for insulation so depending on your needs & price point some options may work better for you than others.
There is a rating system in place for insulation products. It’s called the R-Rating and is a rating system based on the insulating materials resistance to conductive heat flow in terms of its thermal resistance. The higher the R- value the greater the insulating effectiveness. In addition to the type of insulation, thickness & density also affect an insulation’s rating.
Below are a few of the most common types of Insulation and some facts about each one.
Fiberglass Insulation is the most common insulation made from finely spun glass. With an R-value of 3.1 it is also non flammable. The biggest challenge comes from handling the batts or blankets of fiberglass. Since it is made of glass it can get into eyes, lungs and irritate the skin if one is not properly handling it. Great price point $
Mineral Wool Insulation comes in three specific varieties: Glass Wool, Rock/Stone Wool or Slag Wool. These types of insulation have an R- rating of 3.1 and can be purchased in batts or as loose insulation making it versatile in its uses. It is not however fire resistant. But if used with other fire resistant materials can be a good choice. Slightly higher price point than the fiberglass. $$
Cellulose is one of the most environmentally friendly options for insulation as it is made of recycled paper, cardboard, and other similar materials. It comes in loose fill and can also be blown in. It is one of the most fire retardant insulation options out there. So not only is it environmentally friendly it is fire resistant as well. With an R-rating of 3.7 and a decent price point this is a great option for insulation purposes. $$


Need a New Furnace?
Tell Tale Signs of When to Replace Your Furnace

That time of year is quickly settling in; the shorter days and longer, colder nights.  The winter season is quickly approaching, and the sampling of the cold, frigid temperatures are beginning to rear its head.  Your home’s furnace is booting up after months of non-use, as you adjust to the weather your furnace is also.  The ability of a furnace to perform at peak performance is a key issue in monthly energy costs, safety for you and your family, and the calm, cozy, inviting atmosphere of your home in the long days of winter.  Home owners should know when and if their furnaces need to be repaired or replaced to maximize this major appliance.

The age of your furnace will help to determine the next best step.  Often the home you purchased and are living in came with the furnace.  Home inspectors and inspections will provide you with the estimated age of the furnace, along with make, brand, and model; referencing an inspection report, the user’s manual, and informational labels on the unit are your best resource.  A general rule is if your furnace is older than 15 to 20 years, a new furnace may soon be in your future.  Older furnaces do not run as efficiently.  This will be evidenced by increased utility and energy bills and more repairs, more often.

Do you notice that different rooms are different temperatures; different areas of the home or warmer or colder?  This could mean that your furnace is not distributing heat evenly, properly, or efficiently.  Your ducts may be outdated or needing to be cleaned.

Are your rooms dirtier than normal; are the vents in your rooms dustier, rustier, and sooty?  These may all be signs that your furnace isn’t working properly.  Not only is it showing the bad health of your furnace, this can cause increased health risks and problems for your family.  More carbon dioxide may be eliminated from the unit or increased dryness within the home, leading to humidity problems can alter the overall health of your family.

The sounds coming from your furnace are another key indicator to the condition of the furnace.  If the unit is louder and/or cycling more often, making popping, rattling, or humming noises, the furnace should be examined to determine the cause and what can be done to fix this issue.

Calling an HVAC professional may help to determine the cost of repairs, if any updating should be done (such as changing the thermostat, changing or repairing the filter, or cleaning the duct system), or if a new unit would be the most economical.  Be sure to seek out the expertise of more than one professional, comparing and shopping around.  A good tip to remember: if the cost of a new furnace is 50% or less than the repairs, buy new.




https://www.bobvila.com/articles/furnace-replacement ]



Fire Safety: Preparing Your New Home, Preparing Your Family

Fire Safety: Preparing Your New Home, Preparing Your Family
Have you just purchased a new home?  Are you moving into your dream house?  Did the home you are buying meet your needs, standards, and expectations; passing the home inspection?  Do you think that you are ready to move in, unpacking your boxes, and establishing your new home?  Are your smoke detectors working properly, in the right locations, and does your family have a plan in case a fire happens in your home?

The final question asked is probably not one that comes readily to mind for a new homeowner but should be on the top of one’s to do list in making your new home complete, safe, and comfortable.  Putting our belongings in your new home, establishing their place and location is priority.  Securing a properly working smoke detector is as equal a priority as making sure your big screen TV is securely mounted on the wall.

In installing your smoke detectors, be sure to have one in each bedroom, outside of each sleeping area, and on each floor of your home, including the attic and basement.  Smoke detectors should be securely fitted to the ceiling or high on the walls.  Detectors should be at least 10 feet away from a kitchen, so as not to signal a false alarm, and away from windows, doors, or ducts that may interfere with proper functioning.  Remember to test detectors once a month and replace batteries every 6 months.  A good reminder is November and April, during daylight savings time changes; “change your clocks, change your smoke alarm batteries”.

Mapping out locations of fire alarms may also help in creating a family escape plan in the event of a fire.  All family members should be aware of what to do, where to go, who to call in case a fire breaks out in the home.  Various scenarios should be considered, including a fire at night when everyone is sleeping in their bedrooms, or throughout other times of the day where family members may be dispersed in and on varying levels of the home.  Practice the escape route and encourage reviews of the plan.  Enlist the help of friends and neighbors, to raise neighborhood awareness and comfort and ease in what could be a frightening situation.

Other tips to consider in case of a fire include closing doors as this may help to slow the spread of a fire.  Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.   There are smoke detectors that are specialized for those who are hard of hearing; some are interconnected, when one goes off, the others also alarm.  When in doubt, recruit the help of your local fire department.

Moving into a new home should be fun, exciting, and hopeful for the future.  Ease any worries by being prepared and properly securing your home with the tools to keep your home and family, valuable assets, safe and enjoying life.



http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms ]

Holiday Home Safety: Fire Prevention

The holiday season is quickly coming upon us and just as we need to prepare our cupboards, tables, and schedules for the festivities, it is important for our homes to be prepared also.  Much thought, attention, and care are taken into consideration when decorating for the holidays and welcoming friends and families into our homes.  And one thing that is an unwelcome threat that can exist if we do not take the time to prepare properly is a home fire.

All homeowners would agree that safety, security, and peace are welcome this time of year as much as yuletide greetings.  Here are tips and measures you can take to keep your family and home safe…:

Be sure to check the condition of all electrical wires of strings of lights or other various light up holiday decorations. Ensure that light bulbs are not cracked or completely broken.  These lights have not been used or seen since the last holiday season and could have endured harsh conditions, exposure to moisture or critters, were mishandled or store improperly.  Keep and read instructions for light strings being placed on your trees, inside or outside.  Plug into outlets with correct capabilities, with no more than 3 sets at one time while trimming the tree.  Take your time and enjoy the process.  Tree lights should not remain lit throughout the night or while one is not home.

Hosts and hostesses often receive candles as gifts this time of year and are eager to light them to create a warm ambiance for their guests.  But leaving an unattended open flame can be both irresponsible and dangerous.  Ensure that the lit candles are on flat, solid, and stable surfaces; out of the reach of young children, paper products, and high traffic but also in a location that is visible and not easily forgotten.

Christmas Trees
Where we place our Christmas tree each year is a tradition and brings true feelings that the season has entered our homes.  But with the Christmas tree, real or fake, and where it is placed, also brings with it another risk for a home fire.  Trees should be at least 3 feet from any heat source, well secured in it’s stand, not blocking any exit or doorway, and well-watered to prevent dryness.

Kitchen and Cooking Precautions
Main dishes, appetizers, cookies, and other treats are continually being prepared, cooked, and baked this season.  Kitchens need a quick scan before the cooking begins as another step in each recipe.  Ensure that there is a properly working and accessible smoke detector in the kitchen or directly near it.  Locate your home’s fire extinguisher, storing it in the kitchen, knowing exactly where it is with ease of use.  Keep your work areas clean, free of clutter, and stay organized.  Know what is being cooking or baked and where.  Keep floors free of hazards like throw rugs, mats, toys, small pets, and young children.

This is the time of year for joy, celebration, blessings, and happiness.  We welcome family and friends not danger, additional stress, or fear.  Take a little extra time in preparing and decorating, keeping alert and attentive.  Savor the season with safety and care.

Christmas trees can be major Fire Hazard

Did you know that your live Christmas tree can be a fire waiting to happen? We don’t want to be a Grinch, but many a devastating fires have occurred due to improper Christmas tree care and maintenance. A live Christmas tree can become completely engulfed in flames within mere seconds and an entire room can be aflame in less than one minute!

WATER is the number one preventative measure in preventing a Christmas tree fire in your home. A dry tree is the worst kind of hazard. An average cut tree can “drink” up to a gallon of water a DAY. Did you know that HOT water is better for the tree than cold water? The warm water expands the trees water transporting arteries for more effective absorption.

ONE IN FIVE home Christmas tree fires is caused by placing a space heater too close to a tree. Combine a heat source and a dry tree and you could have trouble on your hands. The best place for a tree is in a corner where it cannot be knocked over. Keep space heaters away from the tree and always turn them OFF before leaving the room/home.

ONE IN FOUR home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical issues. Common culprits are old, faulty cheap extension cords, lights and overcrowded outlets. It’s best to discard lights if any of the bulbs burn out and make sure that you are plugging into a surge protector and not creating an “octopus” in your wall outlet.

ONE IN 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 reported home fires! These few extra steps can help ensure that your Christmas is a safe and joyful one.

From Our Families to Yours

Inspection Tech




Winterizing Your Home

     As cold weather approaches, it is important to take a few preventative measures to protect your home through the chilly months. Winterizing your home is a relatively inexpensive task that can save you a lot of money and ensure that you have a warm, comfortable and efficient home.

Many of these tips can be performed at home by the homeowner and require little to no “handyman” skills and can make a real difference once cold weather hits.

  1. Clean those gutters and downspouts in mid-fall and double check them just before winter arrives. If you can install leaf guards it will be a great preventative step year round
  2. Replace the filter in your furnace. Close any open vents and check your heater to make sure it’s in working order. If you want that extra level of security and knowledge hire a heating & cooling guy to test the efficiency of your furnace.
  3. Disconnect any hoses from outside faucets and make sure water is off
  4. Get your snow shovel and winter tools ahead of the game and check your snowblower tomake sure it is in proper working order
  5. If you have a deck, get a fresh coat of sealant down to protect it from the harsh winterelements
  6. Check windows and doors for drafts and apply caulk or weather stripping around problemareas. In older homes windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to letting the heat out and the cold in! Having weatherproof windows can make a huge difference in comfort and cost during the winter months. Energy efficient double paned windows are a great option the create a more efficient and comfortable home.
  7. If you have a chimney/wood stove be sure to have it cleaned early in the season and test the flue for each fireplace for a tight seal when closed.

These are just a few suggestions for weatherproofing your home during the chilly winter months. Be sure to check back often for more suggestions and tip to help you maintain the health and comfort of your family and your home!

From our family to yours,

Inspection Tech.