Predictions for 2018's Housing Market

The Michigan real estate market is no exception, 2018 is projected to be a strong year in real estate.  Here are some pros and cons of buying and selling your home in the Michigan real estate market in 2018.

 

Mortgage Rates are on the Rise

Although rates are projected to increase in 2018, they are only projected to slightly rise. This means now more than ever is a great time to buy as they will only continue to rise over the next year or so, and you can still get a great rate!

Rent Prices Increase

Millennials are reaching the point in their life where they are having to make the decision of continuing to rent or becoming a homeowner. As rent prices rise it is becoming increasingly affordable to take on a mortgage. Many renters are finding they are able to take on a mortgage for the same, or at times, a cheaper monthly payment!

Low Inventory on the Market

Low housing inventory will continue into the new year, which will make it a great time for sellers. This trend will result in homes to selling quicker at a higher price. It's more important than ever for buyers to have a real estate agent working for them. Having an agent will get you the quickest access to homes once they're on the market.

Housing Prices on the Rise

As the demand for houses remains higher than the supply, many home prices will rise. Housing will become less affordable which will hurt Millennials and those that are renting the most. It's always best to work with a trusted real estate agent to best determine the listing price for your home. An experienced real estate agent has the knowledge and experience in your market and will be able to guide you to reach top dollar for your home.

The market for 2018 is really at a stage that can work well for both sellers and buyers.  Since rent prices are on the rise and mortgage rates are slowly increasing as well, now is a great time for renters to become homeowners!  with motivated buyers on the market and low inventory now is a great opportunity for sellers to get multiple offers on their home. If you are looking to buy, the first step is to consult an experienced real estate agent and get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Sellers will want to consult with a real estate agent for expert advice on their home value and the current market!

 

Sept. 13, 2018

A Few Tips to Help You Find a Home Inspector

The time will eventually come when your realtor will call you asking who you plan to use for your home inspection. If you don't know the answer, that's okay, we have tips that can help make this process easier for you! If you don't already have a relationship with an inspector your realtor will typically recommend a few to you. Their recommendations will usually be people that they typically use and trust, as well as people who are easy to work with! Within the time period given to you to complete the inspection you will need to find the inspector that is best for you. Not every inspector can be an expert in every type of construction or neighborhood! Here are a few helpful tips for you while you look for someone that best fits your purchase.

  • First check that all of the potential inspectors are members of the American Society of Home Inspectors. The members of this group are required to completer 250 inspections to be considered certified. That means that your chance of getting someone who is willing to do the work and go the extra mile is high. 
  • Get informed of what inspections they perform. Some inspectors will do general home inspections and others could have a specific expertise because after all, home inspectors do come from all over the construction industry. 
  • Find out if they have inspected any houses like yours before. An inspection on a house built in the 1900's is different than an inspection on a newer built home. If you have an older home and an inspector that is not experienced with older homes they may flag things wrong with the home that are actually very typical for a home of that age.
  • See if your home inspector includes photos of the potential problems they find wrong so that it is easier for you or someone else to fix when the time comes. Photos will make the process a lot easier to get things fixed accurately and quickly.
  • How soon can they come out? When you are working in a limited window of time to ask for repairs this question doesn't seem as silly. The sooner you can get your inspection completed the better. 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 11, 2018

Upgrading Your Closet Storage System

Whether you are blessed with a large closet or you have just a simple one, it always seems to be crammed full. However, closet storage systems will help tremendously with making it seem like you have more space. Getting organized is a lot easier than just tossing extra clothing, shoes, and accessories in the corner and then going digging when the day comes that you need one of those items. 

When it comes time to take your next trip to the home improvement store you'll be overwhelmed when you find more than enough DIY closet options to choose from. The wide range of products will include metal kits, laminated wood kits, and even just the basic wire shelving. So many options that you will begin to have so many questions about. Asking yourself about not only what you need but also what you may want. So now is the time to take a step back and create a budget before buying, so that you will be sure to buy not only what you need but what you can afford as well.

Let the planning begin..  start with sketching out your closet and its dimensions so that you can figure out how much space you have and how to divide it up between the various things you want to incorporate. The dimensions will help you figure out how much rod space you have, if you'll need another lower rod, if you'll have enough room for drawers in your closet, where you will put shoes and hampers, and also how the space will be divided if the closet has more than one persons belongings. Remember that you can not buy cabinets bigger that the provided space, if you attempt to buy a cabinet to large it will not fit. 

How to properly hang your rods..  

Double hung rods. You should place the bottom rod about 42 inches off the ground so that is about waste level and then place the top rod about 84 inches from the ground. This will provide you with the same vertical hanging space for each level. 

Long rods. A long rod is used for items that are too long to be hung on the double hung rods such as dresses or overalls. Due to the length of the items that hang on this rod, it should be about hung about 70 inches off the floor. 

Medium hang rods. Items that are about knee length will hand good on this rod. Hang them about 60 inches off of the floor and free up some space on your long rod.

Pants rods. Install these around 54 inches off the floor to hang the pants in your closet.

One last tip to remember is that closet rods will need support at least every 3 feet. However, you can create a much more stable rod by providing support every 2 feet. The more secure the shelves are, the more they will be able to support and hold. 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 28, 2018

How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer for You

The best tool for cleaning up the summer mess around the outside of your home is a pressure washer. Cleaning the siding, sidewalks, decks, and other areas is made a lot easier when you have a pressure washer. However not just any pressure washer will do the trick, there is a lot to consider before making this purchase. Believe it or not pressure washers can be dangerous. Although it seems that a it's just a high powered garden house, pressure washers can send water out at 3,000 PSI or possibly more. Even professionals using pressure washers can make mistakes the can result in a damaged surface or even a sliced boot. Always be cautious when operating this machine. 

Time to Shop.. Now that you know that a pressure washer is capable of doing damage its time to learn about how you pick the one that will work best for you. Know that the more water coming out at a higher pressure rate will do the job faster. However, you do need to make sure you find a balance because there is such thing as a machine that is too much for the task at hand.

Here are a few of the top tips for choosing a pressure washer that's best for you.. 

1. Get informed before you buy. Whether you are getting information from reviews online or borrowing a pressure washer from a friend it is important to learn about the machine and the experiences that other people have had with the product you are buying. When buying items like this that are bigger and more expensive you should make sure you are buying a good quality product. Reading reviews will help tell you if others have had problems with this machine or if they love it and they are sure you will too. 

2. Always be cautious. When you are out shopping for tools you normally want to buy the tools with the widest functions. However with a pressure washer it is smart to buy a less powerful washer and spend just a little more time working. Instead of jumping into a super industrial model, consider a higher end homeowner model and save yourself and your family from the possibility of a possible injury. 

3. Go mobile. Buying a pressure washer with wheels is always the better choice. It will be a lot easier to pull it behind you as you move around rather than dragging around one without wheels. In the end it will not only save you time but the energy as well.

4. The choice between electric and gas. Most of the lower end units are meant for easy jobs around the house and are typically electric. However, if you choose one of these you will most likely be lugging around the long extension cord as well. That being said, the heavier duty models will almost all be gas powered, which means you will have to maintain them just like your lawnmower. However, you wont need to carry the cord around with you on the move. 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 21, 2018

How Your School District Affects Your Home's Value

Home values are determined from many factors that not only include the quality of the home itself but also the prices of previously sold homes nearby and where the home is located in relation to shopping, highways, and of course the school district your home is located in. In fact, studies show that your  school district will definitely effect the value of your home; the better the school the higher the value. One study shows that higher-quality school districts will increase each home price value well above the value of the home itself. If you then compare the schools that were below average for quality you'll see that the value of the home itself is not affected at all at all. The National Association of Realtors reports that 26 percent of all buyers choose their house based on school district quality. 

How much more will you pay?  Although school district quality does affect the price of the house it can be hard to find the exact value because it can be difficult to measure such a non concrete idea. You may have one idea of how much a house located within a certain school district is worth but someone else may counter with their idea of the value of that same home. For example homes are frequently sold for more than their listed price because someone out there has to have that home in that exact location right now. 

Compromises.  A survey from 2013 shows that buyers were making major compromises to get their kids into a great school district. Giving up parks, trails, extra rooms, highway access, and shopping accessibility. Home buyers are willing to give up all of these things so that they are able to live in a great school district. This shows the importance of school district to home buyers as they are looking at your house.        

Posted in Selling Your Home
Aug. 20, 2018

What to Know About the Radon Levels in Your Future Home

If you have found a home you love that just happens to have a radon problem don't worry, fixing a radon gas problem is a lot easier than it seems. Radon is a radioactive gas that you can't smell, see, or taste but is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Exposure to radon will increase the chance of cancer overtime if the radon issue in the house is left alone. Here are a few things that you should know about radon in homes.

It's easy to test for: There are a few different types of tests that you can perform (short-term, long-term, and continuous) to test the levels of radon in a building. The most common type of radon test is the short-term test that are active charcoal-based. Theses will only take about a week to complete and are done most commonly by radon inspectors. 

It's everywhere: As the radioactive elements break down in the environment radon will occur. So because of the elements breaking down in many places radon will typically be in those various areas in small amounts. Although it doesn't become a major problem until you're exposed to high concentrations of the gas at once. Smokers are at an even higher risk of radon-related lung cancer. Just because radon is everywhere doesn't mean that you have to live with it.

Mitigating radon in any home is possible with enough money and effort. Radon mitigation systems are great at removing large amounts of radon from any home.  It is important to test your home because 1 in 15 homes has an unacceptably high radon level. This can be a DIY job however if you aren't familiar with your homes construction methods, radon gas, and sampling procedures than you should be aware that you can make the radon levels higher than before doing the process incorrectly. If your walls are radiating radon more than normal you will definitely need an expert to help you through the process.

 

 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 16, 2018

What to Consider Before Starting Your Master Bath Remodel

Remodeling your bathroom can be a great investment, especially if you have just purchased a beautiful home that is in need of a little TLC. Although remodeling your bathroom doesn't always return the total cost of the improvement in the end Remodeling Magazines show that bathroom remodels will typically reap around a 70 percent in return. You may think a 70 percent return wouldn't be worth the investment, but when you compare that percentage to the percentage of a whole master suite remodel (between 50 percent and 60 percent in return) a bathroom remodel isn't to shabby. To ensure that you get the most for your hard work do lots research to see what you like and dislike so that you can came up with a new bathroom plan that will work best for you. It may seem like the research is becoming very time consuming but it is necessary for you to get the best possible results. 

The idea of a remodel can be very exciting but it is important to keep a level head so that you don't end up spending a boat load of money and only gaining a small fraction back. After you have cleared you head here are a few questions you can ask yourself before starting your master bathroom remodel:

  • How does the existing bathroom work for me?

Although you may not like the style of the bathtub it could still be placed in the right area of the bathroom in your eyes. However you could hate where other items, such as the toilet, are placed. Keep notes of how the placement of your existing bathroom arrangement works and and how it does not so that you can then start arranging the new parts properly. 

  • What are my goals for this bathroom?

This is an odd question, but you may use this bathroom in different ways than the previous owner. For example, decide if you will want more wall space or even more plugs. This decision also includes deciding if you want to ditch the wallpaper or change up the flooring materials. 

  • How long will this project take?

Any remodeling project can be very time consuming and take a while to complete. This project will more than likely take you longer than a just a few weeks to complete if you're doing everything on your own. If you plan on hiring a contractor they should be able to get the job done quicker. Even if it is a massive remodel it can be done in just a couple months or less!

  • What is this project going to cost me?

It can be difficult predicting the exact cost of your master bathroom remodel as some remodels will cost $19k and others will cost as much as $61k. There are many factors that can alter the price dramatically such as the size of the bathroom and how much you plan to move the plumbing around. Keeping your plumbing where it is will save you a great amount of money in the end. 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 6, 2018

A Few Tips for Your New Backsplash

Installing a new backsplash is not exactly a small job, but is definitely a straightforward process. Once you have decided you are ready for this process it's time to choose your materials. There are a lot of different ideas you'll see that may look really cool but make sure that you choose the material that will be most effective.  Keep in mind that your backsplash will be exposed to high heat, water, steam, and most likely food splatter. Make sure that the material you choose to use is one that can be easily cleaned and withstand what it is exposed to. 

Prep..  Changing out a backsplash and replacing it with a new one isn't a very hard process but if the old material was tile it can be messy. Always prepare your kitchen by moving appliances out of the way and picking up a few heavy drop cloths to protect your appliances and masks so that you don't breathe in all of the dust that will be made. You should now make sure the power to the kitchen is off and start removing the tiles from the wall. You can do this by slipping a putty knife under the tile and twisting it back and forth. Continue this process until you have taken off all tiles. You will know that your kitchen wall is fully prepped when there is no left over material from the old backsplash. Make sure that this is the case whether it means you need to sand it down a bit or apply a thin coat of white mastic for consistency. The quality of the project will depend on how much effort you put into prepping. 

Planning..  There are a lot of projects where planning makes the process much easier. Planning for a project like this will help you make sure that you don't find yourself with a Pintrest fail on your hands. There are a few things you should consider when planning for a backsplash. Keep in mind the grout color you choose; it may look great with the color of the tile however you need to make sure it ties together into the whole kitchen as well. A second thing to make sure of is that all the material you have chosen will fit properly. Measure the area several times to be sure, some materials are hard to cut down and can change the pattern if the proper measurements weren't made. Now you need to consider where each piece of material will be placed, numbering each piece can really help you keep on track and avoid mistakes. Remember that no matter what material you choose to use always take your time putting together your backsplash so it will turn out as perfect as you had planned.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 6, 2018

Taking Proper Care of Your Garage Door

As you pull in and out of your garage everyday you never expect it to suddenly quit working on you. As time passes by all that opening and closing can cause your garage door to become loud and rather annoying as it moves up and down. Although if you do regular inspections and maintenance you can insure that your garage door will last longer for you compared to how long it would last as it was being easily neglected.

If someone were to ask you to picture a garage door you would probably just imagine the big door on the front of your house, but your garage door is actually made up of a system of working and moving parts that slowly lift and lower the door itself. This system contains different parts including the opener, springs, cables, and of course sensors. The opener is the box that you see on the ceiling which contains either a chain, screw, or belt-driven motor. Above the garage door you will find the springs and cables that will make the door feel more light weight as you are manually lifting it as it is hung. If you look towards the bottom of the each door track  you will find the sensors that will reverse the door if they sense something is in its path.  

If you haven't checked up on your garage door recently now is the perfect time to do so. You can start this easy process by just making sure all the screws and bolts are tight. As the door moves up and down it can vibrate which can lead to the screws and bolts to back out. If you find that they are not tight start tightening them working your way from the bottom up. After this check the balance of your door by pulling the handle that hangs down from the opener and  then manually open it half way. The safety reversal mechanism is another easy thing to check, do this by placing a cement block in the path of where the garage door would close. If the door stops as soon as contact is made with the cement block then everything right. Door sensors are also important and similar to the safety reversal mechanism, you can check these by closing the door and then swiping an object such as a broom through the beam to make sure the door stops and then goes back up. Last, but certainly not least, grease the squeaky wheels so that they slip easy and reduce that awful noise. 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Aug. 3, 2018

Tools a Homeowner Will Need Most

When buying a new home there are a lot of things you don't know yet that you will learn as time goes on. One of which is that you are probably going to need some special tools so that you'll be able to fix things around the house. Make sure that you always know what type of tool or tools you will need for the job that you are taking on. If you are using the wrong tool and trying to improvise this can lead to unnecessary damaged. If you don't know which tool is right don't be afraid to ask someone, a friend or even someone at a hardware store. Here are a few of the top picked of tool that homeowners will need:

  1. Screwdrivers..  It seems that there are screws everywhere needing to be tighten around your home. That is why it is super important to have screwdrivers around the house. You can even buy a single screwdriver that has different magnetic bits so you don't have to keep track of the multiple screwdrivers that you would otherwise need.
  2. Tape measure..  You will need a tape measure to get the exact distances around your house so that you will know how much space you have when picking out new furniture, for example. A tape measure can also be used for leveling by measuring from the floor to ceiling.
  3. Level..  Owning a level is great for the several picture frames hanging around you house! Whether it be used for hanging up those pictures or for the new construction you are working on in your home. 
  4. Utility knife..  These will come in handy with various jobs you're doing around the house. Utility knives are great for cutting boxes and even carpet if needed. 
  5. Pliers..  There are a few different pairs of pliers that you should have around the house, since they all do different jobs. The first is locking pliers which are an adjustable pliers that allows you to clamp, grab, and adjust. You'll also need groove point pliers the grooves allow you to expand the pliers to a wider range. The third recommended pair is needle nose pliers which will help you do any wiring around the house and even will help grabbing tiny objects out of awkward spaces. 
  6. Hammer.. The two recommended hammers are a standard claw hammer and a rubber mallet. A standard hammer will help you with both putting nails in as well as taking them out. While a rubber mallet will allow you to pound things in without leaving a dent in the surface. 
  7. Stud finder..  This tool will be used when you are hanging heavy objects. It will help you be certain that you are hanging on a stud rather than trying to use a tap test and not being sure that there is in fact a stud there.
Aug. 1, 2018

Deck Building Tips For You

Over and over again you think about what it would be like to have a big deck in your yard. It's common that this idea is put aside until maybe next year because you simply don't have time for it. The process of building a deck can be a very intimidating project for a homeowner, but if its going to be attempted you might as well be prepared. Deck building is all about attention to detail and careful craftsmanship. As you begin the process you will need to learn the basics. For example, you need to get familiar with all the different supplies that will be included in deck building. Whether that be fasteners or what kinds of boards to use. Take your time during the process though because that will help insure your deck will be done correctly and will last longer. All decks are unique in their own way, so always leave room in the budget for surprises and if you don't end up using that extra money you can always purchase new deck furniture or a grill perhaps. Since all decks are unique there is no specific way to build a deck, use your creativity. Although there are a few pointers that will help you build a better deck. Here are a few tips to help you get started!

  1. Take advantage of what is given to you..  Pre-cut deck parts are a great example, often there will be pre-cut items at the local home improvement stores. Purchasing items like stair stringers and spindles will save you a big headache and speed up the deck building process as well. 
  2. Choose your lumber carefully..  Most decks are built with pressure-treated lumber, but this doesn't mean you have to follow suit and since every deck is unique the choice is really in your own hands. Composite wood can be a little more expensive but will often be more worth your while in the end due to the warranty of at least 20 years that it carries. 
  3. The base for your posts.. In the past it has been common that posts were just put in the dirt. However this has proven to be a bad practice. It is now recommend that you place a level concrete pad for the post to sit on and then seal the post end and use bases to prevent any moisture wicking that would otherwise occur.
  4. Flashing..  To protect your deck it important you use flashing so that there isn't water getting between the deck and the structure it is attached to since this could lead to rotting. Use ledger flashing across the tops of the boards that are in direct contact with any building and than apply flashing tape so that it is half on the building and half on the ledger. This flashing will redirect the water away from the space between the boards and building. 
  5. The hidden parts..  It can be easy to forget about the parts of the deck you can't see but it is important to take care of those parts as well. Protect those places that are otherwise "invisible" by sealing joist tops with flexible flashing to keep your deck from rotting or having any other moisture problems. 

 

Posted in Home Maintenance