Many people suffered through the housing crisis. Many consumers were swept away by the waters of a frenzied real estate market that resulted in a crisis even the experts didn't see coming. NOT YOU! You have equity in your house and a nice, low mortgage payment. You played the housing market perfectly but what's next? What's the smart thing to do now? Click here for the rest of the story....
We value the safety of our friends and their families! Please take a few moments to review the following tips from the CDC to help ensure safe and happy Halloweens for years to come.
Halloween Health and Safety Tips
Autumn holidays like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children of all ages, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, enjoy fall fruits and vegetables, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.
Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.
Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests? Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone:
For more information on Halloween safety:
BuyOwner.com is one of many websites out there now that encourage home owners that they do not need to enlist the help of a professional agent to be able to sell their home. So why did Al Bennati, the longtime chief executive of BuyOwner.com, choose to list his home with a local real estate agent?
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As you can imagine, one of the biggest pieces of misinformation that I am having to deal with is Zillow's Zesimtate. This isn't to trash Zillow. In fact, the empowering of real estate consumers is a great thing. (One of the primary motivations in becoming an agent is that I saw so many 'represented' buyers and sellers get taken advantage of. The agents were so focused on getting a sale, that they were willing to forsake their fiduciary responsibility to their clients. So, more transparency and information in any industry is a good thing..... I digress)
Around 2005, I was still a real estate appraiser. There was significant talk at the time of going with automated valuation models and getting rid of appraisers entirely. In fact, some banks used AVM's to underwrite loans. Not that this was the reason for the foreclosure crisis, but needless to say, skewed valuations didn't help.
No matter the AVM, there is no way that it can provide an accurate estimate on a consistent basis. Why?
#1) No AVM cannot assess the condition, quality or upgrades in your home. You can have two homes on the same street, with similar lots and identical floorplans. One could sell for thousands more due to upgrades or difference in condition. There is no way for an automated valuation model to interpret that.
#2) AVM's rely on public sale records. Non-arm's length transactions, such as a sale from one family member to another (at a discount), or a foreclosure, or a short sale, or an estate sale, etc. are factored into the value estimate often with the same weight as the nice home that is in good condition.
#3) AVM's rely on public information about the physical characteristics of you home. This means tax records, and unfortunately, tax records are often incorrect. Square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, whether you have finished basement, can all be incorrect.
#4) AVM's do very poorly in a rapidly changing market. AVM's focus on historical sales, and those sales must have closed before they affect the valuation. In addition, it could take some sales months to be properly recorded and applied to the valuation calculation.
So, the next time you are looking at your Zestimate, just take it with a grain of salt. It should give you an indication of what the market is doing if you track it over time.
And, if you are relying on a Zestimate to make any real estate decision, talk to a good agent (such as myself), to see if the Zestimate is in line with reality. Agents are able to look at a home through a buyer's eyes. They can look at closed sales, but also what the competition on the market is currently and what is under contract that hasn't closed.
Don't hesitate to call us at 678-992-3817, if you have any questions about Zestimates specifically or the value of your home.
The Plan Collection (TPC) notes that having a haunted-looking house might be just the look you want once a year, but what about once Halloween's over? The company shares their list of the top 10 elements of a house plan design that can make any home the scariest in the neighborhood along with advice on how to fix them.
1. Eerie Architectural Style. Remember the rather "unique" look of the home in The Addams Family? Norman Bates' house on the hill in Psycho? Certain architectural styles - such as Victorian and the Second Empire style with its mansard roofs - have a long history in spooky literature and horror films. Ironically, we often associate these same styles with some of the most cheerful and charming places in the country - just think Disney's Main Street USA.
2. Lifeless Color Scheme. Dark paint colors, when used as the primary exterior color, can make almost any home look dreary, uninviting. Lighter paint colors that complement the design of your house are often the better choice for the exterior of your home. Reserve your use of darker color to areas that emphasize special features such as the trim or windows.
3. Ghostly Lighting. No one wants to knock on the door of a house without exterior lighting, but lighting features that cause heavy shadows along walk-ways or at entry points - creating that fear that something or someone might be lurking just ahead -- can be even worse. Redirecting the light features or using lower wattage bulbs is often an easy way to chase the ghosts away. If investing in new lighting, consider lamps that emphasize the beauty of your home's exterior features.
4. Zombie Landscaping. Those trees and bushes might have looked perfectly sized to the house for perhaps the first five years after planted, but don't forget... they're alive. Alive! Neglected trees and shrubs keep growing and need constant tending. Without attention, they end up surrounding your house with an "undead" feel. In addition to detracting from the house design, older, large branches are also a risk to your home in storms. Take those pruners and cut off some heads or at least give everything a good trim.
5. Suspended Maintenance. Most everyone puts at least some repairs off, but rigorous home maintenance is essential. Spring and fall are the best time of year to start checking fix-it projects off your list. Fix that step before you have to fix the entire stairs! If the exterior is starting to look dull consider power washing it. Touch up paint before a small problem becomes a big one.
6. Scary Windows. Small windows or windows covered with heavy drapery create a more somber feel. For small windows, use brighter window treatments to lighten the mood. Take advantage of any larger windows to bring outdoor light into the home.
7. Creepy Front Door. Ever have second thoughts before knocking on a front door while trick-or-treating? Well, the size and color of the entry door play a big role in making first impressions. If the front door feels uninviting, think about using a bolder, friendlier color such as a bright red, or chase away the shadows by strategically using lighting.
8. Bone Chilling Floor Plan. Small rooms and narrow hallways make for a cramped, uninviting floor plan. Consider an open concept floor plan if buying or building a house. If renovating, be sure to consult a professional before removing walls in your current home, as they may be "load bearing" walls, and will have to be replaced with other supports or structures.
9. Mysterious Staircases. Narrow staircases with walls on both sides can be dark and creepy. Lowering a wall to open the staircase up to the room or hallway below can go a long way to dispelling some of the dark, scary mystery and making your stairs more inviting.
10. Horrifying Home Décor. Dark, oversized furniture and heavy rugs can have a tendency to make a home feel less inviting. Stacks of stuff and excess clutter around the house? Not going to help the situation. Ask yourself if you really need all that stuff and if not, get rid of some of it.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.