Real Estate Sellers

These Home Improvements Matter Most to Young Adults

For the past five years in a row, it has been determined that due to the Millennial generation, who represent the largest share of the home buying market, has resulted in a seismic shift in the real estate market.  

Now that Spring is in full swing, Home Sellers wanting to make that fabulous first impression towards Millennials (and anyone else for that matter looking to buy a new home) a memorable and successful one, now is the time before the hot summer months arrive.

Following is an article addressing those key improvements a homeowner can make to capture the eye of young adults searching for that perfect home.

 

By Patti Stern

Millennials, who make up the largest share of home buyers, are looking for properties in move-in condition and want to avoid the expense of significant repairs, according to National Association of REALTORS® most recent Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. As such, sellers may want to invest in updates that will be most appealing to these younger buyers. Our list below features the top modest home improvements to get your home noticed and boost its perceived value in a competitive market. 

Enhance Curb Appeal

Make the best first impression for buyers—even before they step foot in the door—by investing in the exterior of the property by sprucing up curb appeal:

  • Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report lists replacing siding, garage doors, entry doors, and windows as the upgrades with the greatest return on investment.

  • Refresh landscaping by trimming bushes, weeding, eliminating dead shrubs/trees, and manicuring the lawn. 

  • Power-wash and make any necessary repairs to siding, windows, walkways, and steps.

  • Enhance the entry with a fresh coat of on-trend paint color for the front door, and update or clean all outdoor light fixtures. Finish with a colorful welcome mat, fresh wreath, and seasonal potted plants.

 

Refresh the Heart of the Home 

The 2020 Cost vs. Value Report also lists minor kitchen remodels as a top investment for resale. Our top kitchen upgrades for an instant boost include:

  • Introduce modern lighting options with fixtures in different materials (metals, woods, rattan) and geometric shapes.

  • Swap out dated faucets and cabinet hardware for more contemporary, full-functioning styles in trending finishes, such as matte black, brushed brass, or polished nickel. 

  • Rather than completely replacing dark, dated, and worn cabinets, simply repaint them in a bright white or soft gray hue to brighten and enlarge the space.

  • Replace or refinish damaged or dull hardwood floors to make the room shine.

 

Give the Bathroom an Update

Potential buyers evaluate bathrooms both functionally and visually—the colors, the style, the layout, the amenities, and the fixtures.

  • Start by fixing leaky faucets and shower heads, worn caulking, broken toilets, or chipped tile.

  • Replace outdated lighting in modern designs and finishes to instantly set the mood and add sophisticated style. Pair with matching hardware and faucets to complete the look.

  • Change out damaged and dated countertops with marble or quartz and/or paint darker-colored vanities with an on-trend neutral or soft color (the robin egg blue pictured above is a perfect example).

  • Be sure the wall and/or tile color is soft and soothing to give the room a spa-like appeal.

 

Revive the Dining Room 

Buyers want to envision where they can entertain guests. Be sure to present the dining room as spacious, inviting, and elegant. 

  • The best way to make the space feel larger and enhance the room’s features is by covering dark walls with neutral paint. It will also pair well with bright white crown molding and/or wainscoting for an added touch of elegance.

  • Replace traditional chandeliers with chic, contemporary fixtures to set a more sophisticated tone.

  • Spruce up your dining room table with a stylish table setting to help buyers envision their own dinners here.

 

Create a Master Bedroom Retreat 

Make the master bedroom feel like a cozy getaway with these simple changes: 

  • Remove and/or replace heavy draperies with simple, sheer white curtains or shades that allow for a little privacy while letting in natural light.

  • Install stylish ceiling and bedside table lighting.

  • Deep-clean soiled carpeting to restore plushness, or add a neutral, textured area rug to hardwood floors.

  • Layer fluffy, white bedding with accent pillows and soft throws in different colors and patterns.  

Once all the updates are complete, you can hire a professional home stager to add in some finishing touches before listing the home for sale. Home stagers can add inviting, modern furnishings and accents that set out to help buyers emotionally connect with a home. 

 

Patti Stern: Patti is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. 

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com (link is external)

 

7 New Things That Will Take Priority When Shopping for a Home

Not only will homebuyers consider moving out of the city and into the suburbs, we can expect a surge of out-of-stater's looking to get away from the more populated neighboring southern states and venture to more rural surroundings. Partly due to the fact, they've come to the realization they can still perform their jobs by working remotely from their homes! So, why not live where you play!

By Lisa Larson , Contributor for U.S. News. 

Homebuyers who enter the market after the risk of COVID-19 has diminished will have a whole new set of priorities for their home search.

There's no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has changed our way of life. It's shifted our priorities in everything from work to love. Even once the virus subsides, the effects of this experience will be long-lasting.

In particular, sheltering in place has made us think about the concept of home in a new light. There's little doubt that homebuyers who enter the market after the risk of COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror will have a whole new set of priorities in place for their home search.

Here are seven priorities you can expect to become prevalent in future home searches:

1.) Let There Be Light (and Space)

When city dwellers who never spent much time at home were expected to make their homes their sole destination, many quickly discovered a newfound appreciation for sunlight and living space. It wouldn't be surprising to see a lot of studio apartment dwellers hoping to upgrade to larger abodes in the months following the pandemic. In general, expect a trend toward light-filled, airy homes with views of something other than the neighboring alley.

2.) A Space for Cooking

If social media is any indication, there are a lot of us becoming newly acquainted with our kitchens as the virus has eliminated the ability to go out to eat, and even trimmed our takeout options. While kitchens are often called the heart of the home, after we've grown accustomed to cooking several meals a day, expect a continued trend toward large open kitchens where families can gather to cook together. A pantry and abundant cabinet space will be critical for storing large quantities of food and easy-to-use, efficient appliances will make the entire process – from prep to clean-up – a breeze.

3.) The Quest for Privacy

Anyone sheltering in place with loved ones knows that privacy is precious these days. Those who once considered separate bedrooms for each kiddo a luxury might have a new set of priorities in a post-coronavirus world. Even a den, bonus room or finished basement can be a boon when family members need a timeout from non-stop family time.

4.) Energy Efficiency

People who normally spend long hours away from home might be surprised to see a bump in their utility bills during shelter-in-place. Working from home, cooking more often and binge-watching Netflix all adds up in terms of electricity, water and gas use, and even trash collection. As temperatures get warmer, the impact on electric bills will be even more apparent. Future homebuyers would do well to consider the energy efficiency of their new house, and even small touches like proper weatherstripping and double-pane windows can lead to sizable savings.

5.) Space for Working Out

For many in quarantine, a significant decrease in activity is more than a vanity issue – it's a mental health issue. While a home gym fully stocked with the latest equipment is a dream-home scenario, a small space with a TV, floor mats and weights can still provide a much-needed break during tense times.

6.) Outdoor Space

Private outdoor space is a godsend when leaving your home can seem downright dangerous. Even a small balcony provides the ability to bask in sunlight and fresh air. Those with larger yards will feel especially grateful that kids and pets have space to stretch their legs. One thing to keep in mind for expansive yards, however, is the ability to maintain them if service providers are unable to visit your home. States and municipalities have disagreed when it comes to designating landscapers and pool maintenance providers as essential, so homeowners should be prepared to handle basic tasks on their own.

7.) Home Office Space

Well before COVID-19, the American workforce had been leaning toward freelance work and jobs that can be done, at least part-time, from home. Now that shelter-in-place orders have made long-term working from home a necessity for many, homeowners will be on the lookout for properties that effortlessly accommodate business needs. This will usually start with a private, quiet space for an office or dedicated work area. Technologyis also crucial, so homes with ample electrical outlets and high-speed Wi-Fi equipment or hardwired Ethernet connections will earn high marks.

Life after the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt require a long period of economic recovery and personal adjustment. For many, new homes to suit our new normal will be the first step in that transition.

 

Lisa Larson is a licensed associate real estate broker for Warburg Realty in New York City. Ranking as a Top 5 broker firm-wide for each of the past four years, including Warburg Realty's No. 1 Top Producer in 2017, her strong command of the market has led her to sell an average of $50 million in residential sales per year.

Tax Day may have changed, but you can still file early to get your refund faster

Tax Day may have been pushed back from April 15 to July 15 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but if you think you're owed a refund, you can still file early and get that money faster. 

 

If you are owed a refund, the IRS asks that you file your taxes as soon as possible. Most refunds are still being issued within 21 days, according to the agency.

"Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release last week. "Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds."

If you do need more time, however, there's no penalty for filing your taxes up until July 15. If you need more time beyond that, you can request an extension by filing Form 4868 through your tax software, your tax professional or the Free File link on IRS.gov

For more information on taxes, check out where you can file your taxes for freehow to get financial relief during coronavirus and how student loans affect your taxes

 

 

Home Furnishings Trend: Brass is Back

For years brass has been on the sidelines, but it’s making a comeback. Here are ways homeowners can incorporate the finish to add glamour and help homes stand out.

 

March 27, 2020 by Barbara Ballinger

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

As with many home furnishings trends, the comeback was inspired by what’s occurring in fashion. In this case, gold and rose gold watches became influencers a few years ago, says Chicago designer Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design, who thinks that home furnishings styles tend to be cyclical. Now he’s adding small brass details to rooms in the same way a gold watch might peek out of a shirt cuff.

Using brass now is an easy, affordable way for homeowners to customize and stay on trend.  “Many people want a warmer look, which is also visible in fabrics as warmer colors return,” Segal says.

Erin Imhof, showroom supervisor at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Lansdale, Pa., has noted an increase in brass finishes. She attributes it to how they complement a wide range of colors and other finishes. “Many of today’s top color trends for kitchens and bathrooms, including all-white, blue, and black, pair beautifully with brass fixtures,” she says.

 

twin brass light fixtures over kitchen island

© Capital Lighting Fixture Company 

Others concur that brass is a universal mixer. “Our designers like to integrate brass into their designs, whether it’s an accent like a decorative bowl, object of art, light fixture, or metal base on an end table,” says Julie Sprouse, design sales manager at Ethan Allen, the home furnishings chain based in Danbury, Conn.

Caitie Smithe, a design coordinator and stylist at the Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design retailer based in Itasca, Ill., also considers brass a material that can be used throughout a home, including light fixtures, hardware, and even light switches and vent controls. Other good places to use brass include bathroom hardware, plumbing fixtures such as sinks, and accessory details like candleholders or picture frames.

Here are five tips for using brass.

1. Use sparingly. Brass works best when used in small doses. Too much can create a “too matchy-matchy” look, according to Smithe. Overuse can make it start to look cheap, says Segal. “Moderation is key,” he says.

 

coffee table with brass accents

© Ethan Allen 

 

2. Mix finishes. Brass appears more timeless rather than trendy when it’s matte, brushed, or aged, which helps soften its sheen, Segal says. But be careful, Smithe says, when mixing brasses in a single space from different manufacturers. “There is a huge range in color and brightness. Some take on a bright yellow color while others can be more of an aged gold,” she says.

3. Combine warm metal colors. Brass, gold, and bronze can work well together since they share similar warm values versus shiny nickel, which leans toward the colder side, says Sprouse.  

 

mixed metals used in kitchen

© Walter E.Smithe Furniture + Design 

 

4. Mix metals. Some designers also think brass, satin, brushed nickel, stainless steel, and oil-rubbed bronze can be used together. But Imhoff still offers some caution. “Go with similar warm, muted undertones for some consistency,” she says. Chicago designer Summer Thornton likes mixing metals, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms where she might use brass, nickel, and steel combinations.

5. Consider longevity. How long brass will stay fashionable is unknown. When it becomes too ubiquitous in retail stores, shelter magazines, and on design websites, it may be time to move on. The good news is that brass touches are easy to add in and switch out.

 

Barbara Ballinger is a freelance writer and the author of several books on real estate, architecture, and remodeling, including The Kitchen Bible: Designing the Perfect Culinary Space (Images Publishing, 2014). Barbara’s most recent book is The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Space, co-authored with Michael Glassman (Images, 2015).

 

Hackers Are Trying to Spread Another Type of Virus

Don't let Hackers get the best of you.  Following is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners on their devious ways.

Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies has found a surge in coronavirus-themed malware and malicious software that is targeting the growing number of people working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Cybercriminals are infecting home computers that may not have the same safeguards that employees use at their offices.

“The hackers are out in force, and they know that everybody’s home, so I think working from home without appropriate security is a risk,” Beth McCarty, owner of TeamLogic IT/Central Pinellas in Clearwater, Fla., told realtor.com®.

Phishing emails continue to prey on individuals, security experts warn. Hackers are sending out emails impersonating charities. They’re making requests for money or other personal information. For example, one reported scam purports to be an app by Johns Hopkins University that tracks the coronavirus and urges people to download a file or to click on the link, which contains malicious malware. Some cybercriminals are also hijacking video conferences, displaying pornography.

Check Point Software Technologies’ research shows that more than 4,000 coronavirus-related domains had been registered globally. Three percent were found to be malicious and 5% were labeled “suspicious.”

While companies offer in-house internet networks, many people who are working at home don’t have that same type of security in their home networks. Also, many households are now sharing devices among family members, and aren’t just using them for work. Children may be using devices to access classroom portals or for entertainment.

What can you do?

“Make sure you change that default password on your router,” McCarty told realtor.com®. “Many people have not.”

She also recommends enabling encryption on the router, using two-factor authentication to access programs, not storing any company information on your personal device, and using only approved company storage.

Also, she urges the use of a virtual private network, if available from your company. View more tips at realtor.com®.

Source: 

The Rush to Work From Home Creates Opportunity—for Cybercriminals,” realtor.com® (March 24, 2020)

Scammers Are Trying to Dupe Homeowners Who Need Help

Don't fall prey to these scammers.  Below is an article from REALTOR Magazine alerting homeowners of their tactics and how not to be a victim to their schemes!

Scam artists are reportedly using multiple methods, including spoofing tactics, to try to trick struggling homeowners with offers of financial aid. Freddie Mac warned this week that it learned of a scam where borrowers were receiving fraudulent calls impersonating the mortgage financing giant in offering low interest rates and other false promises.

Freddie Mac says it will never reach out to consumers over the phone with a refinancing opportunity or a new loan.

As some homeowners struggle from the economic toll of the COVID-19 outbreak, scammers are looking to take advantage of those looking for help. They may call owners offering immediate relief from foreclosure or relief from making mortgage payments.

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and many lenders are offering programs to help homeowners at this time, but those calls need to be initiated by the owner.

“Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID in an effort to disguise their identity while pretending to be someone else,” Freddie Mac warns in a statement about the growing scam.

“During times of distress, it is important to be on your guard against fraud schemes,” Freddie Mac says in a post.

Here are some tips from Freddie Mac to help homeowners avoid being scammed:

  • If a call comes from an unknown number, let it go to voicemail. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

  • If you answer and receive a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Hang up.

  • Never give out any personal, financial, or other sensitive information unless you’ve verified the caller is a legitimate source.

  • Be cautious of numbers on your caller ID since scammers can make any name or number appear.

Source: 

Avoiding Fraud: Call Spoofing,” Freddie Mac (March 25, 2020) and “Avoid Getting Caught Up in Coronavirus Scams Involving Your Mortgage,” Forbes.com (March 26, 2020)

Real Estate transactions are now included in New Hampshire's list of "essential businesses"!

 

 

Yes, we are open for business!

Following an appeal by NH Realtors, real estate transactions are now included in the state’s list of essential businesses allowed to function as a result of Gov. Christopher Sununu’s stay-at-home order. 

In our effort to abide by the guidelines in the prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus, we request the following:

 

  • Call us at 603-569-4488 if you wish to speak with an Agent.  

  • Meetings: Meetings between brokers/agents and clients (or prospective clients) cannot take place at a real estate brokerages’ physical offices, but may take place with social distancing or remotely by phone, video or other electronic means.

  • Virtual Tours: If you wish to schedule a showing of a property, you can do so by calling us and we can set up a viewing via virtual tour or Facetime.

  • Closings: Real estate closings can continue either through remote means or with social distancing for any in-person transactions.

  • Inspections: Property inspections and appraisals may continue with appropriate social distancing.

  • Delivery Personnel: You may enter our lobby area but we request you keep a minimum distance of 6 feet between yourself and our Agents and Administrator. 

 

Please follow these preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Stay home and avoid public places as much as possible

  • Avoid close contact through social distancing, at least 6 feet from anyone.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve then immediately throw the tissue away and wash your hands as soon as possible.

 

Stay Healthy & Safe Everyone!  We're all in this together!

 

Melanson Real Estate, Inc.

www.melansonrealestate.com

Mobile: 603-651-7228

 

 

Buying or Selling Your Home in the Lakes Region?

 

List or Buy with Us This Spring!

 

 

The agents at Melanson Real State, Inc. are committed to providing professional advising to both buyers and sellers in New Hampshire's Lakes Region.

With us, you never have to worry about not receiving the personal attention you need through each step of the real estate process.

 

34 North Main Street

Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

www.melansonrealestate.com

603-569-4488

 

One of the Oldest and Most Respected Real Estate Firms in the Lakes Region

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Build Home Equity

As we head into April and the weather starts to warm up a bit, now is a great time to think about home improvement projects to build equity in your home and make it more beautiful. Building equity in your home is usually a process that takes a lot of time, money, energy, and patience. 

Following are some helpful tips to turn your neighborhood into a community and how to get ready for a home inspection. 

Maintenance

Before you start thinking of ways to create equity, consider what you can do to maintain your current equity. Keeping up with routine maintenance and fixing problems as soon as they arise will help your home stay in good shape so that you don’t lose out on existing home value.

Landscaping

Nice landscaping increases your home’s curb appeal, which can add thousands of dollars to your home’s value. Investing in quality landscaping is often the quickest, easiest way to earn a home equity boost. 

Outdoor upgrades

Replacing torn window screens, updating the paint on your porch, replacing your front door, and other small projects can dramatically improve your home’s curb appeal. This, in turn, can be a quick and easy way to improve your home’s value and the equity you have in it.

Indoor updates

Some projects like a full kitchen or bathroom remodel will add a lot of value to your home, but they’ll also cost a lot of money. Some simpler projects like repainting your cabinets, updating your appliances, or checking your attic insulation can improve your home without emptying your wallet.

Raise your payments

Another way to build equity in your home is to pay down your loan. Add extra money to pay down your principal loan or make additional payments on your loan to earn additional home equity.

 

By Christopher Kelly, RE/MAX Bayside, 208 Daniel Webster Hwy, Meredith, NH 03253

 

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Getting ready to sell or purchase your home.  Well, here are some helpful tips suggested by Christopher Kelly when it comes to your home inspection. 

Home inspections are a chance for a homeowner or buyer to learn of any potential problems a home may have. These inspections are often considered a crucial part of the home-selling process. Make sure any inspections on your home go smoothly with these tips.

Turn on the lights.

Turning on the lights gives you a chance to make sure none of your light bulbs are burnt out, thereby avoiding concerns over whether or not those sockets are working. It also makes it easier for the inspector to see where they’re going and to assess your home’s condition more accurately.

Tidy up.

Making sure your house is neat and tidy will ensure the home inspector can quickly and safely make their inspection. Because the home inspector will be evaluating the entire home, remember to tidy up the basement, attic, storage areas, and utilities in addition to the main living areas.

Finish your to-do list.

Most homes have a few minor repairs that need fixing - leaky faucets, running toilets, wobbly banisters, etc. Now is a great time to go ahead and fix those so that they don’t show up on your home’s inspection report!

 

By Christopher Kelly, RE/MAX Bayside