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Clean Machine: Tackling the Fridge and Freezer

by Bill Nelson - Broker

If there’s a funky smell coming from the depths of your refrigerator or small icebergs forming in your freezer, it’s time to bite the bullet and do a deep clean. Not only will this make for an odor-free, organized environment for your fresh and frozen foods, more importantly, it will ensure your food’s safety. Follow these tips from the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association to make the task easy and effective:

1. Prepare. Unplug the refrigerator to save energy and to safely clean coils. Empty ice from your freezer into a cooler where you can store food you plan to keep. Fill the sink with warm soapy water for cleaning shelves and drawers. Set out dishtowels on counter tops for drying. Fill a spray bottle with a cleaning solution of 1cup water, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of dish soap.

2. Purge. Empty the refrigerator, then the freezer, and place items on counter. Take time to sort and discard old, unwanted foods, drinks and condiments. Check expiration dates and beware of moldy and freezer-burned foods. When in doubt, toss it out!

3. Clean. Remove drawers and shelves and clean them in the sink with warm soapy water; set aside to dry. Spray the interior with cleaner, and wipe from the top down with a warm, wet sponge or towel. Thoroughly dry and replace drawers and shelves. Wash the exterior door and handles. Replace water and ice-maker filters if needed. Clean the grill on bottom front of refrigerator. Consider cleaning the condenser coils for optimum cooling efficiency (refer to manufacturer directions).

4. Check Temps. Food kept too long or at improper temperatures can become contaminated with bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness. Your refrigerator temperature should be at or below 40 degrees and your freezer 0 degrees or less to ensure food safety. You can check the temperatures with an appliance thermometer.

5. Organize. When restocking your clean refrigerator and freezer, organize according to usage and group like items together. Label and date new foods so you know when to use or throw out. Do not store perishable foods in the door as temperatures fluctuate there. Place meat, poultry or seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags and keep fruits and vegetables in separate drawers away from the meats to avoid cross-contamination.

Source: National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association 

Use Color Trends to Stage Your Home

by Bill Nelson - Broker

 

A favorite trick of home stagers is to pay attention to the hottest colors and incorporate those hues into the design and look of a home. That’s something that anyone who is selling a home should consider, and all it takes is a little research. To help people with ideas on how to decorate rooms, paint companies and designers announce their colors of the year along with trends in color palettes.

For 2017, Benjamin Moore has chosen Shadow 2117-30 as its Color of the Year. The color is a deep, rich violet or amethyst and is described as “exhibiting a variety of nuanced undertones as the light in a room shifts during the day.” This color has already made its way into various industries including textiles, home accessories, fashion, fine art and automotive.

Sherwin-Williams’ color palette trends for 2017 focus on renewed spirituality, body and soul nourishment and a determination to define a sense of self. Each of its four palettes (each of which consists of 10 colors) tells a distinct color story, offering opportunities for homeowners to explore color in new and exciting ways.

The first palette, Noir, is driven by baroque and romanticism trends, a renewed interest in faith and spirit, and a celebration of the night. The Noir palette is rich with colors that evoke vine-ripe fruits, Nordic blues, moody neutrals and golden yellow.

The company’s Holistic palette includes arctic neutrals, blush rose, wild browns and forest-floor green.

Intrepid is a palette inspired by impatience for social and political change and includes fiery oranges, vibrant kimono colors and the simplicity of black, white and gray. Finally, Sherwin-Williams Unbounded palette is influenced by global immigration and how it redefines national identities. Captured in this palette are earthy mustards and browns as well as ocean blues and corals.

Other colors that designers seem to be gravitating towards in 2017 include colors that bring a feel of the outdoors— greens, blues and earth tones, though a splash of royal colors of purple and orange seem popular as well. Green invokes nature, tranquility, and being more peaceful, and earth-toned taupes make you feel more grounded.

Now that you’ve come up with the colors, it’s time to put them to good use. Painting rooms is the most obvious way to incorporate them into the home, but you could also bring in furniture, rugs and decorative accessories in trend colors to help your home stand out from the rest.

I hope you found this information helpful. Contact me for your real estate needs today!

Moving Checklist

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Moving can be a hassle, especially when we fear were forgetting something. This moving checklist infographic will help keep you on track as well as informing you of deductibles that could apply to you.

How Not to Sell Your Home

by Bill Nelson - Broker



While the fundamentals of home staging, like de cluttering, and removing family photos, are critical when it comes to getting your home sold, it’s just as important to focus on what not to do as certain factors can act as immediate deal breakers to would-be buyers. Make sure your for-sale home doesn’t include any of the following turn-offs:

Odors. Whether it’s pet odors, last night’s stir fry or that musty basement, any type of strong odor can be an immediate deterrent to a buyer, no matter how beautifully your home is decorated or staged. We usually get accustomed to our home’s unique scent, so have a professional cleaner do the necessary work to make the environment odor-free.

Artwork. While all art is certainly subjective, keep in mind that not everyone will appreciate artwork with severe subject matter or nudity. Stick to subtle landscapes and still life subject matter, or remove artwork altogether. Sparsely decorated walls will make your home appear more spacious.

Collections. Your shelves of antique dolls or Norman Rockwell plates might be your most prized possession, but for prospective homebuyers who don’t share the same affinity, collections can skew their opinion of your home - not to mention, make it appear very cluttered. Pack away your beloved collectibles in preparation for their new home.

People. Sometimes, being present during showings can be a plus - you can provide buyers with certain details about your home and what you love most about the neighborhood. But most people don’t want the owners present when they tour a home. So clear out and give them the freedom to pour over every detail of your home and make honest comments to the REALTORS.

Weeds. Curb appeal really is everything, so if your yard isn’t up to snuff, buyers may turn around before they ever step foot inside. There’s no need to break the bank - just make sure the basics are covered: mow the lawn, weed borders and beds, trim bushes and trees, and remove all sticks, leaves and debris.

For more tips and advice on getting your home in perfect condition to list, contact me. 
                         


 

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at January 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the decline in affordability as consumer house-buying power dipped due to rising rates.


“While affordability is lower compared to a year ago, the level of affordability in most markets is still high by historical standards, which is why demand is expected to remain strong this spring.”


“Real purchasing-power adjusted house prices declined 0.1 percent in January, as mortgage rates did not meaningfully change and income growth continued. Despite the monthly increase in affordability and continued strong wage growth, homes are less affordable across the country compared to a year ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

 

For Mark’s full analysis on affordability, the top five states and markets with the greatest increases and decreases in real house prices, and more, please visit the Real House Price Index.

 

The RHPI offers an alternative view of the change over time of house prices at the national, state and metropolitan area level. The traditional perspective on house prices is fixated on the actual prices and the changes in those prices, which overlooks what really matters to potential buyers - their purchasing power, or how much they can afford to buy. The RHPI adjusts prices for purchasing power by considering how income levels and interest rates influence the amount one can borrow.

 

The RHPI is updated monthly with new data. Look for the next edition of the RHPI the week of April 24, 2017.

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Hidden Backyard Deal Breakers That Are Lurking on Your Property

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Every time a prospective home buyer walks onto your Central Coast property, there are a few things that they will absolutely not put up with. These deal breakers can be anywhere in the home, but there is one area that we often forget about: the backyard.

The backyard is very important to family life, especially here on the beautiful Central Coast. After all, this is the place where children will enjoy their childhood and play in a safe and secured environment. Most home buyers prefer single-family dwellings solely because of the usable outdoor space! Take some time to focus on your backyard. After all, there are ways that you can update your backyard without spending money.

Pool in the Backyard

To many buyers, a pool can be seen as an expensive maintenance fee that they will have to pay for on top of the mortgage. Once they see a pool, they’re going to start doing some calculations in their head thinking, “Now how much is this going to cost me?” Whether it’s above or below ground, a pool can raise a flood of concerns over child safety. But then there are those like me who love pools and are prepared to maintain them. 

Size of the Plot

The appraisal of your home is typically made in two elements, the plot size and the actual value of the physical home. That said, the size of your yard comes into play so you want to make sure that you spend a generous amount of time prepping your backyard for visitors. Getting rid of clutter and opening up the yard to make your lot feel larger will help you when it comes time to sell.

Pet Products

Hide dishes, play toys, and photos of your pets as this may make the buyer feel like the home is dirty, especially for a homeowner that doesn’t like the idea of having pets inside the house. This will be a deal breaker if the buyer is allergic to cats and/or dogs.

Landscaping

With the price of water rising rapidly and droughts in California, grass isn’t as appealing as it once was. When frugal buyers see grass, they see a sky-high water bill that will eventually lead to a dead yard and a new project to be undertaken. Think about landscaping trends like xeric landscaping, native plants, and artificial turf to make your home more appealing to all home buyers.

Leaving Backyard Photos Out of your Listing

This is a rookie mistake. If you leave out photos of your backyard, homebuyers will think that you have something to hide. If you have a gorgeous yard, why wouldn’t you want to showcase it in your listing? Are you hiding any skeletons in the closet?

Noisy Neighbors

Now this may be seen as something outside of your realm, but it may be worth a knock on the door to let your neighbors know that you will be showing your house at a given time. Rowdy neighbors can be an instant turn off to potential buyers. Make sure your neighbors’ parties are held on a different day than your open house to give buyers a better peace of mind. After all, they will share a fence with these neighbors for an indefinite period of time.

So What Are Home Buyers Looking For?

A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that new home buyers are looking for exterior lighting, lots of trees, a deck or patio, and a fenced in yard. Beyond the basics, an outdoor amenity that is rapidly gaining in popularity is the outdoor fireplace/fire pit, outdoor kitchens, and the outdoor living room.

Investing in the backyard can net you some of the highest returns. Knowing what real estate appraisers (and home buyers) are looking for will help you sell your property faster. That said, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home. Many people assume that the front and backyard aren’t crucial to the buying process so they overlook these pitfalls. Make sure that your backyard does not have any hidden deal breakers that could steer away new bids!

10 Ways to Make a Small Room Look Larger

by Bill Nelson


No matter how large your Central Coast home may be, there’s always one room that’s just a little too small. Luckily, with some quick design tricks, any room can appear larger. Try a couple of these suggestions and watch your room magically expand.

  1. Use lighter paint colors.
  2. Paint or wallpaper the ceiling in order to make a room look taller.
  3. Install wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling bookcases to make the ceilings look higher.
  4. Pull furniture away from the walls to create a feeling of spaciousness.
  5. Hang mirrors opposite windows to reflect light and make the room seem bigger.
  6. Keep knickknacks, framed photos, books, etc., to a minimum to create a sense of spaciousness.
  7. Use furniture that doubles for something else. For example, a lidded ottoman that’s also a seat that’s also a storage unit.
  8. Keep window treatments to a minimum to expose as much of the window—and therefore, light—as possible. Think sheer, white curtains. Or better yet, nothing at all.
  9. Stay away from bold prints and colors. Stick to smaller patterns and neutrals when it comes to rugs and upholstery.
  10. Deploy stripes, either on your walls or floors, which will make the walls look taller and the floors longer.

For more tips to make small spaces appear larger than they are, contact me today.

8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

by Bill Nelson- Past President NCAOR®

Improving the look and functionality of your home goes a long way toward boosting its value. But what types of renovation are today’s buyers looking for?

If you are thinking of remodeling, a national survey by Consumer Reports reveals the most sought-after amenities:

  • Kitchens top the list – Buyers want a clean, updated and well-organized kitchen. A new coat of paint or modernized lighting can be inexpensive starts. Increasing the value exponentially are quartz counters, attractive cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances.
  • Workable floor plans – Regardless of the size of your home, strategically increasing the living space is sure to boost its value. A more open floor plan, a finished basement, or a dedicated playroom or office space appeals to the needs of young families.
  • Energy efficiency – Buyers are interested in energy costs and efficiency. Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency windows, and LED lighting help to lower the cost and increase your home’s ‘green’ appeal.
  • Updated systems and surfaces – Central air conditioning and updated mechanical systems, including water heaters and gas heat, can increase a home’s value by 3 to 5 percent.  A newer roof and hardwood flooring are also much in demand.
  • Allowance for aging in place – As people are living longer and the number of senior citizens continues to increase, buyers see the long-term value of walk-in showers, comfort-height toilets, and master bedrooms on the main floor.
  • Color and light matter – Fresh paint, natural color schemes, and window treatments that let in the light will improve the look as well as the value of your home.
  • The great outdoors – Up your home’s curb appeal by keeping lawns and shrubbery neatly trimmed. Also high on buyers’ wish-lists are a water-smart yard, a deck or patio, and a built-in grill.
  • Smart technology – Some high-tech features may lose value as technology continues to evolve. But security systems, whole house generators, and programmable thermostats controllable by smart phones will add value for their efficiency and convenience.

Your home is likely to be your greatest investment, so making steps to boost its value will pay off in the long run.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8