The Michigan real estate market is no exception, especially after such an unpredictable year that 2020 was. Of course, no one can predict with 100% accuracy what is to come this year. However, we can make some guesses based off the information that realtors all over provide. Remember, housing market predictions can only give you an idea of what to expect if you buy or sell a house this year. Don’t let them dictate your housing decisions – only your personal situation and finances should do that.
Housing Market Forecast
Experts are predicting that after 2020 there will be a post-pandemic rebound in 2021. This would involve steady mortgage rates, job recoveries, and the law of supply and demand working together to get home sales rolling. In 2020, there were so many unknowns of the pandemic that caused many home buyers and sellers to feel uneasy about making the big move. However, this time has allowed real estate agents to adapt to the ways they can respect social distancing guidelines when needed.
Due to the low inventory on the market and the excessive number of buyers trying to enter it, experts believe that low mortgage rates and the rise of remote workers with flexible schedules will keep home sales booming in 2021. Home sales and the prices for which they are sold are likely to be higher in 2021 as opposed to last year.
Several Buyers will Enter the Market
Buyer traffic in the market has been consistently stable over the past few months. Often time there are more buyers than sellers which has created a very competitive market to be in. This is a great sign for sellers. Millennials are also reaching the point in their life where they are having to make the decision of continuing to rent or becoming a homeowner. Due to rent prices rising it is becoming increasingly affordable for them to choose taking on a mortgage payment.
Not Enough Homes will be Listed for Sale
Experts predict that low inventory will continue into the new year, which will make it a great time for sellers. This trend will result in homes selling quicker at a higher price. Therefore, it is more important than ever for buyers to have a real estate agent they can trust to get them the quickest access to homes one they’re on the market. Buyers will have to work a little harder to find their dream home.
What Does This Mean for Home Buyers?
If the experts are right it is going to be a very competitive market this year, so buyers are going to have to bring their A game when they are ready to start looking for a home. In order to make sure that you are prepared for the heavy competition as a buyer make sure that you have a pre-approval ready when you start looking at homes and a real estate agent that you can trust!
What Does This Mean for Home Sellers?
With many motivated buyers on the market and the existing low inventory this will create the perfect opportunity for sellers to get multiple high-priced offers on their homes. Due to this low inventory, there will also be a low number of sellers for you to compete with. We have no doubt that a trusted real estate agent will be able to provide you with the knowledge and experience in your market and will be able to guide you to reach top dollar for your home. As a seller in 2021 you should have no problem selling your home!
When you think of a garage area, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is a place to store your car or other vehicles. You might also picture some shelving or storage on some of the walls, but for most people, the garage is largely a single-purpose structure. It doesn’t have to be this way, however; for an increasing number of homeowners, the garage is becoming a multipurpose room with easy access to fresh air, light, and the outside in general via the garage doors.
There are a lot of options available when it comes to converting a garage into some other space. To really get the most out of these conversions, you might consider upgrading or changing your garage door as well. The type of door that you have can make a big difference in the overall effectiveness of your converted space, so here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your new garage door.
What Will You Use It For?
There are several ways that you could use a garage for something other than just storing your car and little bits of assorted outdoor junk. Common garage conversions include building a personal gym, making a craft room or other creative space, creating a lounge area that connects to an external patio, or even making a learning space for children who are learning from home. You might be surprised at how much of a difference some paint and the right flooring can make when it comes to a garage space!
Regardless of what you use the space for, you’ll likely want to change out the garage door to get the most out of the space. While having the option to open the door to increase access to your garage space is usually desirable, having a solid garage door probably won’t be ideal for the garage’s new purpose. That’s why it’s important to think about the actual purpose of the room, since that can affect the type of garage door you need.
Choosing the Right Door
There are a few different garage door options that you might choose depending on your needs. While some garage doors have small window spaces and that can be useful if you just want to add a little bit of light, garage doors made of clear plexiglass panels can provide much more light and a largely unobstructed view, which is ideal if you are using the garage space as a lounge area or have plants growing inside. Side-mounted garage doors that roll back along a side wall instead of the ceiling can also be useful, allowing you to control the size of the entryway if the converted area is being used more as a standard room. If you plan to decorate the door like you would any other wall, a single-panel garage door that opens without bending or rolling might be your best bet.
These are only a few of the options that are available when it comes to picking a garage door that meets your needs. Some options even work as add-ons that can work with many door types, such as a screen that allows fresh air and light in while the door is open but keeps out the bugs and other unpleasantness much like a standard screen door would. These sorts of add-ons provide even more possibilities and allow you to further customize your garage space to meet your specific needs.
Garage Door Installation
Whether you’re doing a complete remodel of your garage space or simply want a different door to make the area more useful, you’re likely going to want your new door professionally installed. You may even need a contractor to help you convert your garage into the convertible space you have in mind.
So-called “smart” devices are increasingly popular, adding new features and functionality to just about every room in your home. One room that you might not consider for a smart upgrade is the kitchen, but you should. There are a number of sensors and connected devices that can transform your kitchen into something special. One great option that’s often overlooked is the addition of a smart faucet to your sink.
While smart faucets aren’t as well known (yet) as other smart home add-ons such as smart lighting and smart thermostats, they can have a significant impact on how you use your kitchen. Not only can you turn the faucets on and off in different ways, but you can also have your smart faucets automatically save you money on your water bill. If you’re wondering whether a smart faucet might be a good addition to your home, read on for more info on just how these faucets can help you.
Smart Faucet Controls
One big advantage to smart faucets is that there are multiple ways to control the flow of water. In addition to standard handles or levers, many smart faucets contain features such as touch panels and motion sensors that allow you to turn the water on and off with little to no contact with the faucet itself. This adds convenience to using the sink in general, and can help keep your kitchen area clean if your hands are dirty or covered with batter or other substances that you wouldn’t want to clean off of everything later.
Depending on the model, some smart faucets can also be controlled remotely using apps or voice controls. In most cases, you can even pair the apps on your smartphone with digital assistants such as Alexa and the Google Assistant. This lets you control the faucet using Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, turning the water on and off as needed while doing prep work or otherwise getting things ready for the water.
Smart Water Usage
Another big benefit of smart faucets is the way that they help to control your water usage. The water-saving features of smart faucets help prevent wasted water by cutting off the flow when you aren’t actually using the sink. This keeps you from accidentally leaving the water running when you’re doing something that takes too long and can also help prevent drips and other problems that might occur when you don’t close a valve all the way.
Some smart faucets also let you track your water usage over time via their connected apps. This can make you more aware of how much water you’re using in the kitchen and may help you to ratchet back on your usage over time. Eliminating unnecessary water use will save you money and help the environment as well, and the awareness of how much water you’re using is a big part of cutting back on that unnecessary use.
Installing Your Smart Faucet
For the most part, installing a smart faucet is a lot like installing any other faucet. Depending on the faucet model, its smart features will be powered either by batteries or a nearby outlet; if the faucet is outlet powered, you’ll need to make sure that there’s a source of power close enough to hook the faucet up for it to work properly. Once installed, some smart features may require additional setup, especially if you plan to use the faucet with external devices such as an Echo or Google Home.
You’ve done everything right, saved for a down payment, built your credit, and now you’re under contract to settle on a new home. These 14 items listed below could cause your purchase to go sideways.
Your windows are one of the most important features of your home. They provide you with natural light and visibility while also giving you the option to let fresh air in when your home gets stuffy. As with everything else in your home, your windows will start to accumulate some wear and tear over time. Eventually they might even have to be replaced. How do you know when it’s really time to replace your windows, or when a little maintenance will keep them in operation for a while longer? While this varies a lot depending on the specific windows that are installed, how well they’re maintained, and what the average temperature and other environmental factors are like, here are a few things you can look out for to see if you need new windows.
Leaks and Drafts
Two big signs that your windows might be having problems are drafts and leaks around your window. Both of these problems can cost you money and make your home less comfortable overall. Drafts can drive up heating and cooling costs, while leaks can cause water damage that in some cases may need a significant amount of work to repair.
Sometimes these issues might not be readily apparent at first. A small leak may disguise itself by traveling along seams in wallpaper or similar wall features, so you may not even discover it until it has been there for a while. Drafts can also start small, requiring you to come toward the window from a certain direction before you feel the draft at all. These small issues can become much larger problems if left to fester over time.
Cracks and Condensation
Visible cracks are also a sign that there is some problem with your windows. These cracks can appear on the frame of the window itself or in the surrounding wall. In some cases, cracks in the window glass may be visible as well. Regardless of where the damage occurs, cracks in your window are bad news, since each crack is a potential entry point for drafts, water, and other problems that could become costly to repair down the line.
Some of these problems may not be immediately visible if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Condensation between the panes of double-pane glass is often seen as a big red flag, since the condensation means that water is getting in somewhere. That little bit of moisture can eventually lead to mold and mildew in your windows as well as other damage occurring within the walls.
Replacing Your Windows
If you do need to replace your windows, finding the right new windows for your home is important. You’ll want to make sure that the windows you choose are well insulated or have other features to help control the temperature in the summer and winter. If you want to add security alarms or other sensors, it’s important that you choose windows that are compatible with these devices as well.
Most people don’t see window installation as a DIY job, since depending on the window layout and materials involved it might be a significant undertaking without assistance. If you think that it’s a bit more than you can handle, don’t be afraid to consult a contractor or professional window installer. They can help with everything from the installation itself to selecting styles and materials that go best with your home.
Many people like homes with high ceilings because of the spaciousness they convey and the vertical space they provide for hangings, artwork, and a variety of other items. There are a few drawbacks to high ceilings, though, and one significant one is how difficult they can make heating and cooling your home. If you aren’t careful, those high ceilings that look so nice can result in a significant increase in your heating and cooling costs when compared to similar homes with lower ceilings. This doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to spend a lot on heating and cooling, however; there are a few things that you can do to make your HVAC system more efficient in your home even if you do have high ceilings.
Improve Air Circulation
One big thing that you can do is to get the air in your home moving by using ceiling fans or other types of fans. Even though the fans won’t heat or cool the air on their own, they do move the hot or cold air around to provide a more comfortable environment overall. This can be especially important during the hottest parts of summer and the coldest parts of winter, as in both instances fans keep hot air from collecting up high and cool air from staying too low for you to really enjoy.
A whole-house fan can help in this regard as well, especially in the heat of summer. This type of fan will remove the hottest air from your home, which keeps your attic from heating up the rest of the house or trapping warm air. Once the days start cooling down, the fan can then be shut off and insulated to keep warm air from escaping.
Make Use of the System Fan
Most people keep their HVAC system on automatic, which uses the system fan to circulate air while the air conditioning or heater is on and then shuts it off afterward. Just like with ceilings fans, though, the system fan can help to circulate air even when the unit isn’t actively heating or cooling the air. This circulation helps to eliminate stagnant, still air that can seem uncomfortable regardless of the temperature you’re shooting for.
Turning on the system fan can be useful throughout the year, but it’s especially useful during the summer when it’s coolest near the floors. HVAC registers at the floor level will move that cool air higher into your home. The added air circulation also provides some benefit in winter too, helping to get heat out from around the high ceilings and down into the rest of the house. During the milder spring and fall, you can enjoy the added air circulation if you wish or simply switch the fan back to auto.
Consider Your HVAC System
If your HVAC system can’t keep up even with additional air circulation, it may be that your unit is too exposed outdoors or simply isn’t powerful enough to fully heat and cool your home. If possible, your HVAC unit should be in the shade for at least part of the day to keep its components as cool as possible even during the heat of summer. Installing a shade or awning over the unit can be one way to accomplish this, just so long as you don’t use large supports or side pieces that could restrict airflow. If the unit is too small, though, there’s not much that you can do other than installing supplementary air conditioning or heating solutions or upgrading the whole system.
Ponds are increasingly popular water features for homeowners. Having a small decorative pond in your yard can help you unwind, provide a unique ecosystem for certain animals, and just generally add some beauty to your property. With that said, it’s important to realize that installing a yard pond is a bigger task than just digging a hole and adding some water. Before diving into a pond project, it’s important that you stop to consider everything that’s involved with the installation, as well as some of the things you’ll need for upkeep once the pond is finished. This isn’t meant to discourage you, just to make you sure that you’re aware of all of this before you get too far into your planning.
Installing a Yard Pond
Yard ponds can range in size between a small 550-gallon pond to one that holds 2,000 gallons or more, so it’s important to take the time to plan exactly how large you want your pond to be. Try outlining your pond with a rope to get an idea of its dimensions, then add an extra 2 feet or so around the entire border to account for transitionary plants, rocks, and other border features. You’ll want to keep an eye on the area once you have it outlined, since most pond plants require at least six hours of sunlight or more per day to thrive.
You’ll also need to have a way to get power to the pond to power any pumps or fountains that you use to circulate water, and a means to add additional water as needed if your local rainfall isn’t sufficient to counter evaporation. Other necessities include a pond liner to keep the water from simply soaking into the ground, any fish or plants that you want to add to the pond once it’s installed, and a pond net or skimmer to keep leaves, seed pods, and similar items from clogging up your pump in the spring and fall. In addition to all of that, you may also need permits or other legal documents before you can break ground, and you will likely have to have a survey to mark underground pipes and wires to avoid potential fines.
Yard Pond Upkeep
Once a pond is installed, there are some things you should keep in mind as part of your ongoing maintenance plan. You’ll need to check your pond every week for leaves, debris, and other things that might gunk up the works and potentially harm fish or plants, though this can be negated with a pond net during the fall or other times when a lot of potential debris is likely. Checking the water level is also important, especially during the summer. If you have cold winters, you may also need a heater or air bubbler to keep everything from freezing as well. In most cases you will only need to spend around 15 to 30 minutes a week checking on these issues, but that can vary depending on where you live.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is insects. While dragonflies and similar insects are often a welcome sight around ponds, water features like this can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes if you aren’t careful. Making sure that the water is sufficiently circulated or adding products that are designed to prevent mosquito growth without harming fish or other animals are good ways to take care of this problem, though some of these treatments may have to be repeated multiple times per year. Certain fish may also help to keep the mosquito population under control.
There’s nothing like the feeling of a rush of cool air from your air conditioning system, but what happens when that cool air turns lukewarm, or worse, won’t kick on at all? It may be time to get that ailing HVAC system replaced.
Talking to an HVAC professional about an air conditioning replacement can be intimidating. There’s a lot to know, and it’s probably not going to be cheap. But considering that a typical air conditioning unit lasts 10 to 15 years, what you invest today will help pay for itself in the longer term. That being said, it’s still important to know what to ask and the pitfalls to watch for.
Always Ask About Licensing and Insurance
Before you so much as let someone start to quote your HVAC job, ask about their licensing and insurance status. Not only will this save you a ton of time by weeding out anyone who isn’t actually a practicing professional, you’ll avoid issues that can arise if, for example, your HVAC is installed without a permit, or there’s a jobsite accident without proper coverage. HVAC installers should always be licensed according to your state and local guidelines.
Your installer should also carry the proper insurance policies. For example, a comprehensive policy will protect you should there be damage to your property as a result of a mistake made during the installation. And Workers Compensation insurance can also help by protecting you from being held liable should your HVAC workers have an accident on the job. Be aware that small shops don’t always carry Workers Compensation because of rules on who can be insured, so if your installer doesn’t carry Workers Compensation, be sure to get a liability waiver.
Your HVAC Estimate
As far as the estimate itself is concerned, there are several questions you should ask right up front. These questions and their answers should also be included on the estimate itself, as it serves as a sort of informal contract on the job you’re having done. Make sure you’ve hit these points:
Spring is a great time to get things done around the home, and this includes revamping your landscaping. Maybe you’ve always wanted to add flowers and other plants but have never had the time, or you just want to expand on what’s already growing around your home. Regardless of why you’re shopping for new plants, knowing what to look for to find the best new plants will save you a lot of frustration and wasted effort in the long run. Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you hit the nursery.
Check the Leaves, Stems, and Roots
A lot of people buy plants based on the early appearance of flowers and buds, but that can be misleading. If you want a better idea of how healthy a plant is, there are much better places to look. Some of the biggest indicators come in the form of the leaves and stems. You want to pick plants with undamaged leaves that have vivid colors that are even across the plant, with no signs of wilting, yellowing, or drooping. Stems should have smooth surfaces, as opposed to cracks or rough patches which can be signs of insect damage or other problems.
Another way to check the health of a plant before buying it is to examine the container it’s growing in for signs that the plant may be rootbound. While you won’t always be able to tell, there are a few signs that could indicate a problem. Plants with root tendrils growing out of drainage holes in the container or obvious root growth across the surface of the soil have clearly been in containers that are too small for too long. It can take a long time for rootbound plants to recover fully, and some never will, so avoid plants that show signs of this problem.
Look for Signs of Trouble
It was mentioned that you should look for signs of insect damage when looking at leaves and stems, but holes in the leaves or marks on the stem aren’t the only indicators that a plant might have been damaged by insects. Spots on the top or bottom of leaves, signs of webbing, or oddly shaped leaves and buds can also signal that insects have been on the plant. Feel the leaves and stems as well to see if they feel sticky or excessively soft, both of which could indicate small insects have infested the plant itself. Also, take a look at the soil for signs of insect activity, especially if it looks like something has burrowed down into it.
You should also compare the plant you’re considering to others of its type. Look for signs of disease, such as the plant being generally paler than others, or spots or discolorations on its stems and leaves that are either darker or lighter than the rest of the plant. Color patterns or patterns on leaves or stems that appear on one plant and aren’t present on the others can also be a sign of disease that you don’t want to spread to other plants around your home.
One other potential sign of trouble that you should keep an eye out for is grass, weeds, or other types of unexpected plants growing in the same container as the plant you’re buying. While these often won’t directly attack your plant and can be easily removed, they are still competing with the plant for the same water and nutrients in the container. This can weaken the plant and lead to growth and development problems down the road.
Getting a Second Opinion
If you aren’t sure about which plants are best, don’t be afraid to ask the nursery workers about the various plants you’re considering. They can give you an additional insight into the health of these plants and how well they’ll do in different lighting conditions in your yard. They’re there to help, so be sure to make use of that resource.
In most households, the garage serves many important purposes. It keeps your car safe from weather, theft, and other damage. It provides a storage space for your outdoor equipment and other things. In some homes it even provides a crawl space or attic access. Despite this, however, the garage is often one of the last places many homeowners think of when trying to come up with spring home improvement projects. If you think that your garage might need a little extra love this spring, here are a few things that you could do to give it a refresh.
Enhance Your Storage
One way that you can reinvigorate your garage and make it a much more useful space is to add additional storage options within it. Depending on how your garage is currently set up, this could be as simple as installing a few shelves or adding a couple of cabinets to give you somewhere to put items that might otherwise just be sitting around or cluttered together. You could even add a cabinet with a lock to give you a secure space to store chemicals or other items that you don’t want children or pets to have easy access to.
There are a few ways that you could take this a bit further if you really want some nice storage solutions, though. A pegboard can be a great addition to your garage, especially if you need a place to store tools for easy access; you can even trace around the various tools with a permanent marker or paint pen to make it obvious what goes in which space. Other storage options include a rack to hold a bicycle to keep it out of the way, corner shelves with a lazy Susan for storing small components out of the way, or under-shelf bins to hold small items like screws, nails, and other fasteners.
Fix Up That Floor
Your garage floor takes a lot of abuse, and over time it can really start to show. Stains, discolorations, and cracks are all common in garage floors, and over time the floor can really start to degrade. While it will probably take a while before the damage gets so bad that you have to start making major repairs, having a messed up garage floor can make you less likely to use the garage, and beyond a certain point can even affect the resale value of your home. Luckily, this is usually pretty easy to fix.
Concrete crack fillers can smooth out the surface of your garage floor, preventing further damage and giving you a uniform surface again. In many cases, these fillers can even roughly match the color of your existing garage floor so that the filled cracks aren’t overly obvious. A variety of concrete cleaners are also available to help remove stains and discoloration from the floor as well. If you want to really enhance the look of your floor while protecting it from further damage, epoxy-based sealants and floor paints provide you with a hard coat on top of the cleaned and filled concrete that will resist leaks, stains, and everyday traffic to keep your garage floor looking good for years to come.
Revive Those Garage Doors
Have your garage doors seen better days, or do you not have doors on your garage at all? Either way, installing new garage doors, or even just replacing the door opening mechanism, can give new life to your garage. Modern garage doors help to protect everything in your garage and provide a decorative enhancement to the look of your home. In many cases the openers can even be connected to smartphone apps or other smart home components to give you more control even when you’re away from the house.