Archive for the ‘homeowner tips’ category

Is buying a home a good idea in November and December?

October 10, 2014

thanksgivingAs the holiday season approaches, based on my years of experience, the months of November and December are great for home buyers. The reasons for this appear to be:

  1. There are fewer buyers – with all the things going on around the holidays many buyers are simply too busy to focus on finding a home.
  2. Fewer buyers mean Sellers may be willing to deal – when homes stay on the market during the holiday season that indicates the seller is very motivated to close quickly.
  3. I find sellers are more willing to pay closing cost and leave items (like refrigerators) as part of the transaction.

So, if you are looking for a home during the holiday season, be sure to contact me and we will find the best place at the best price.

Are you Taking Advantage of Referrals?

May 13, 2014

How do you handle a referral? When someone gives you the name and contact information of a potential client, do you have a process? If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’re not going to take advantage of the referral.

Your Personal Network

Your Personal Network

Sometimes referred to as a “warm lead”, a referral is not an automatic sale. You must manage and nurture the potential client to prevent them from becoming another name in your client list. Here are five tips recently offered by Zillow.com to turn a referral into a client.

  1. Arrange an Introduction

Try to set up a meeting where the prospect, the person giving the referral, and you can meet face to face. Having everyone together is a great way to create trust, get to know one another and generate rapport which is the foundation for a strong working relationship.

2. Do Your Homework

Once you’ve met the referral, set up a time to discuss exactly what the prospect is looking for and how you can be of service to them. By understanding their “wants” and “needs” is a critical first step in determining exactly how you can best present solutions to meet those wants and needs.

Dig deep, many times people don’t know exactly what they really need or want, but they know what they don’t want. Build a picture for them. Be sure to ask follow up questions regarding what they’ve told you to help explain why they want a specific option or service. “Why is that?” or “Please explain?” are great ways to find out the why behind the want.

3. Assume Nothing

When you receive a referral, the referrer may try to tell you everything they know about the prospect. Don’t rely on this information as the only information you depend on as you move forward. You must get to know the prospect personally. Your relationship may well be completely different than that of the referrer and the prospect may respond completely differently in the context of your dealings.

  1. Don’t Overwhelm Your Contact

It is human nature to want to give the prospect everything they will need to make a decision right at first, but many times this will run them off. We want them to be well informed but remember too much at once can overwhelm and frustrate potential clients. Introduce important information each time you meet with them.

  1. Let Your Personality Shine

It’s quite likely that you received a warm contact through someone that knows you, or at least knows of you. They referred you for two primary reasons: your professional ability and your likability. You can prove your professional mettle in a number of ways — defining wants and needs, educating your client on the local market, and demonstrating your expertise in the buying/selling process. Showing your personality is sometimes more difficult than proving professionalism. It’s important to do though, as people want to work with someone they like. As a real estate pro, you’re used to reading people and understanding what makes them tick. Use that skill to “break the ice” early in the process. While you can’t force someone to like you, making an effort to be personable can pay huge dividends.

Once you’ve taken care of the referral, remember to take care of the referrer. You don’t have to fill them in on every single aspect of what you’ve done for the referral, but a few key points will help strengthen your relationship, especially if you tell them how much they have helped you succeed. Of course be sure to reciprocate with a good quality referral. Building your referral network will do more for your long term success than any advertising campaign.

When does a Buyer’s termination option really end?

April 17, 2014

In a recent blog post on the Texas Association of Realtors web site, asked this very question. When does a Buyer’s termination actually end?

ContractMany Realtors say the deadline is 5:00 PM of the last day of the contract but in actuality “TREC contracts and addenda do not specify a time-of-day deadline.” Further the post commented “The language of the termination-option provision allows for termination at any time within a specified number of days after the effective date of the contract. Therefore, a buyer may provide the notice to terminate up until 11:59 p.m. of the last day of the termination-option period.

The best thing to do, of course, is for all parties to avoid last-minute compliance with performance-of-contract obligations or requirements whenever possible to avoid controversy.

It must be noted that the blog has a legal disclaimer (which is repeated here for convenience):

“The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.”

“While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on TexasRealEstate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on TexasRealEstate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.”

To read the comments about the TAR article click on

https://www.texasrealestate.com/advice-for-texas-realtors/article/what-time-does-the-option-period-actually-end

Finding Design Help on the Web

April 14, 2014

You’ve lived in your home now for many years and its time to start making changes to make it more livable. Where do you go to start your design plans? This article introduces you to a couple of my favorites.

The first site to check out is Houzz.com.

Houzz.com offers great articles, idea books, Advice and weekly e-zine.  Design ideas vary from landscaping to building. This site is very visual. Every article is packed with images of finished projects. It is the perfect place to see what others have done. Check out an example article.

Ella Decor

Ella Decor

Another excellent design site can be found at ElleDecor.com. This site, like Houzz.com, has an eclectic array of ideas, concepts and examples. A word of warning, ElleDecor is much more of a typical web site with more advertizing but it delivers when it comes to Desgin and Decorating concepts.

These are just two of the many web sources to help you design that perfect yard, kitchen, or room. Check back regular for more home ideas.

Check List for a Better Spring

April 3, 2014
Time to take care of the yard.

Time to take care of the yard.

Now that we’ve finally reach Spring, it’s time to start preparing the house for both indoor and outdoor activities.  Laura Gaskill recommends things like cleaning off the lawn furniture, fix and patch the house. Check out her entire list:

1. Set up outdoor furniture. If you haven’t yet gotten the outdoor furniture out of storage, now is the time. Give everything a good cleaning, and go shopping for new pieces as needed. Wish you had an outdoor dining area or place to sit with a good book? Jump on the project now so that you have all season to enjoy using it.

2. Tune up lawn mower and gas grill. Make sure all of your outdoor equipment is in working order. Stock up on the types of fuel you will need to run your lawn mower and gas grill. If you have a reel lawn mower (i.e., a push mower), take it in to have the blades sharpened.

Lawn Care

Lawn Care

3. Clean siding. Wash the exterior of your house to remove road salt and grime that has accumulated over the winter. Use a pressure washer or a regular hose with a cleaning attachment, depending on the type of siding.

4. Check fences, driveway and paths for damage. Particularly for regions that experience freezing and thawing conditions, driveways and paths can become cracked over the winter. Take a walk around your home, looking out for signs of damage on the driveway and walkway, as well as the foundation, fences and gates. Schedule repairs as needed.

5. Refresh your mantel. Take everything off your mantel, and wipe down the surface. Bring in something fresh and green — potted ferns, blooming bulbs or cut branches will last longer than cut flowers. If you have a mirror hanging above the mantel, clean it as well. Add a few scented or plain beeswax candles as a finishing touch.

6. Celebrate Earth Day by going greener at home. Commit to making lasting changes to go greener this year by adopting a few easy new habits:
• Trade paper towels for a stack of washable dish cloths
• Use real napkins instead of paper
• Swap out your cleaning products for natural methods
• Check out a local farmer’s market for fresh produce
• Shut off lights when you leave the room

7. Clean windows. Boost natural light throughout your home by cleaning the windows, inside and out. If you have second-story windows, either hire a service to clean the outside or use a hose attachment to clean them yourself (while standing safely on the ground!).

8. Have air conditioning serviced. If you use air conditioning and haven’t had it serviced yet this spring, now is the time. If you use window air conditioning units, change the filters before installing them.

9. Bag up some giveaways. Simplify your life this spring by getting excess stuff out of your home (and out of your way). Grab some boxes or sturdy bags, and aim to fill at least one per room with items to give away, sell, recycle or toss. Your home will feel so much lighter, it’s worth the effort!

10. Rotate artwork. If you love collecting art prints and paintings, you know how easy it is to run out of wall space long before you’ve hung all of your artwork. A simple solution is to rotate your artwork each season, keeping some pieces carefully stored in a closet.

11. Swap towels and bedding. Rotating linens with the seasons is an easy way to perk up your home, and it extends the life of your textiles. You can’t go wrong with classic white towels and sheets, but if you are looking for something a little different this spring, why not pick a bold color instead?

Take care of these things and your Spring and Summer will be so much more enjoyable and healthy.

Powder Room Essentials to Keep Guests Happy

December 7, 2013

Kitchen Remodel in 30 seconds

November 28, 2013

Great Video from Houzz on a Kitchen Remodel

Ever wonder what remodeling a kitchen looks like? So did this homeowner. Only he put his tech-savvy skills to work. For his new kitchen, designed by Main Line Kitchen Design, he recorded the entire three-month-long construction process, then edited the footage down into a three-and-a-half-minute time-lapse video that makes the whole thing look like an organized dance routine.

Workers tear down the old kitchen in a matter of seconds. Oak floors swiftly drop into place board by board like in a smooth game of Tetris. Contractors gracefully slide cabinets and appliances into place as if they were floating from their fingertips. If only the actual process were so flawless and quick.

Whether buying or selling, do you really know what the home is worth?

November 24, 2013

Family Home in Flower Mound, Curb AppealSwitching your questions from thoughts like, “Is it already time to mow the lawn again?” to “How much is my curb appeal adding to the value of my home?” means you are probably thinking of selling your home and buying a new one. And as far as questions go, this is only the beginning.

Sure, you can ask your friends for advice, and your boss, your grandparents, and the guy running on the treadmill next to you – but do they really know, I mean REALLY know how to make sure you get the answers you need to properly move ahead?

Regardless of where you live, you need a proper advocate in your corner, someone who knows not only the market and the area, but also knows how to properly assess your needs to make sure you and your family get the right home at the right price. If you live in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, Ideal Real Estate Group should be your first call if you are even considering buying or selling a home.

Take a look at this resource page on the Ideal Real Estate Group website to find answers for questions like:

  • What is the return on new versus previously owned homes?
  • What is my house worth?
  • What standards do appraisers use to estimate value?
  • Can I find out the value of my home through the Internet?
  • What is the difference between list price, sales price and appraised value?
  • What are the standard ways of finding out how much a home is worth?
  • How do you determine the value of a troubled property?
  • What is the difference between market value and appraised value?

At the Ideal Real Estate Group, we are relocation and negotiation specialists, here to ensure you get everything you deserve. Contact us today!

Open-Loft Living

October 17, 2013

 Functional Space Design and Colorful Accents Create a Cohesive Look in This Small Space

An empty, nondelineated loft is perhaps one of the more challenging projects a designer can take on. Creative loft designs require correlating colors, textures, and precise sizes—and, above all, the ability to make one expansive space perform many functions, and look good while doing it. In this 765-square-foot loft for a homeowner who regularly entertains large parties, designer Greg Wolfson put these small-space design principles to the test, incorporating clever space ingenuity and accents to tie it all together.

“The actual space is always the place to start before deciding what to do with it,” Wolfson says of the design process for this loft, located in the Old Bank District of Los Angeles. “Here we had a client with gallery artwork, a desire to entertain, and this fabulous New York feel….We wanted to use the drama inherent in the penthouse and make it a story worth remembering.”

Wolfson chose to preserve the integrity of the space, leaving the original exposed brick walls and adding new wood floors to provide another layer of texture. “The color and warmth of the wood helped save this from being too industrial,” he says. “The natural brick and the huge period windows overlooking old downtown Los Angeles… tell a huge story.”

Color was used in this loft to define areas for sleeping or eating, and bright tones were placed as an accent to keep the eye moving while providing an appearance of grand roominess. “I used primary colors on the walls in different rooms to delineate space,” Wolfson says. “I then mixed up those colors by almost going the opposite direction with the furniture and upholstery and rugs. These colors give such a contrast to one another that it was exciting to play with the balance.”

Wolfson chose two Ralph Lauren suede colors in tan—one is slightly warmer than the other to give shadow and depth—to neutralize the space between the bedroom and sitting room, allowing him the opportunity to play with color in the upholstery and decorative accents.

In addition to color, Wolfson put on his thinking cap when it came to selecting furniture. He designed a ten-foot-long sectional couch that he placed against the lengthy walls in the living space, and he created curves on the couch sides to serve as conversation areas. In the small space outside the kitchen, he created a formal dining area with a scaled-down booth, a chandelier, and additional matching chairs cleverly spaced throughout the loft that can be drawn up for additional guests.

To delineate the sleeping space, Wolfson created partitions on wheels that enclose the room; one side is walnut to blend with the loft surroundings, while the other is mirror to create the illusion of more space. “The mirrored rolling screens came from necessity,” he says. “We can scatter them through the loft when not in use instead of taking up a whole wall in the bedroom. They fit perfectly in different areas now to enlarge the space.”

While he sought warmth in other areas of the loft, Wolfson allowed the industrial look to shine through in the kitchen, starting with the brushed silver stainless steel countertops. The silver is subtly echoed throughout the rest of the home, from the mirrors, vases, and polished nickel cocktail table to the silver faux crocodile leather that he paired with blue suede in the dining nook. Keeping the color story alive from end to end, Wolfson connected tones and textures to separate areas yet harmonize the complete loft design.

While other designers may shy away from small-space renovations, Wolfson is busy taking on more loft projects in the Old Bank District. Clearly, he’s not intimidated by the challenge—it’s one he’s decidedly mastered.

Written By: Nicole Borgenicht

Photography by: David Blank

A Jewel of a Room

September 22, 2013

A jewel box, even one artfully made, is meant to showcase the jewels rather than the box itself. This room, located in a show house in Westchester, Connecticut, is like that jewel box. The coffered ceiling and wall of windows make bold architectural statements but serve as unassuming backdrops for the brilliant tones of the art, accessories, and accent pieces.

For designer Rona Landman of Rona Landman Interior Design, the jumping-off point for this family room was the fireplace. When she first found it, it was an eyesore clad with wooden planks. “I thought it ruined the beauty of the room,” she says. Landman found a coppery wallpaper and covered the fireplace with it. That choice helped the design come together. “That started to transform the room with the color and feel that I wanted,” she says.

The fireplace wasn’t the only unusual place to get a wallpaper treatment. Landman also lined the edges of the ceiling with a metallic graphic print. The wainscoting on the ceiling center received its own dose of shine with metallic paint. Reflection is a recurrent theme in the room. The light from the windows allows the metallic surfaces to shimmer. Reflections are echoed in the mirrored sofa table and the glossy surfaces of other accent furniture in the room.

The neutral walls serve as a calming balance for the room’s glamour. Landman says, “I kept the off-white paint color. It worked well with everything in there, so I didn’t want to change that. I wanted to show how easy it is to use neutrals as a backdrop and then enhance it by putting in jewel-like pieces of furniture.”  The nesting tables, benches, and bar cart are from Landman’s furniture line, Inspired. “I wanted to highlight the furniture in the room. The pieces are relatively small scale and I believe each speaks for itself. They make a nice statement and bring in a punch of color. ”

The brown tones of the chairs, sofa, and ottoman are neutral elements, but neutral need not be boring. The upholstered pieces have traditional lines, but with an updated twist. “Wing chairs are classics, but we overscaled them to make them more modern,” says Landman. Like the upholstery, the Greek key rug is another classic ingredient that helps anchor the modern elements.

Even more jewel tones are added to the palette via the window treatments. Landman notes the departure from her usual design sensibility. “Most of my work is neutral, but I always try to punch one color. So the curtains were a lot for me. They make a strong statement. I pulled in the red to complement the red nesting tables. And I love red and turquoise together.” The brown center fabric again provides the neutral ground to make the other colors pop. The artwork and accessories add in additional strokes of color.

“The room has a modern feel because of the mid-century modern pieces in it,” says Landman. Yet the balance of the room’s many elements make it warm and inviting, without the austerity that a modern sensibility sometimes evokes. There is a satisfying blend of classic and modern, neutral and bold, brilliant and understated. The room offers the perfect jewel box to showcase so many precious jewels.

WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY

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