What to expect for 2024’s housing market

 

Michigan home prices continue to rise as more buyers compete for the same properties. Currently, the median value of homes in Michigan is typically $230,000. Michigan home values have gone up approximately 3% over the last year. Lately, the lack of available housing inventory will prevent prices from falling. The actual demand is driving the pricing increase. Those who cannot compete on pricing will be compelled to continue renting or remain in their current residence.  

 

Days on Market

 

Michigan homes are, on average, going to PENDING in about 16 days. This quick turnaround time underscores the high demand for properties in our state. This continues to create a competitive market and means you should act fast when viewing potential new homes.

 

For Sale Inventory

 

Experts predict that the lower inventory will continue throughout the year, which should make it a great time for sellers. This trend will continue to result in homes selling quick at higher prices. Therefor, 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. Buyers may have to work a bit harder to find dream homes.

What to expect for 2024’s housing market

Michigan home prices continue to rise as more buyers compete for the same properties. Currently, the median value of homes in Michigan is typically $230,000. Michigan home values have gone up approximately 3% over the last year. Lately, the lack of available housing inventory will prevent prices from falling. The actual demand is driving the pricing increase. Those who cannot compete on pricing will be compelled to continue renting or remain in their current residence.

 

 

Days on Market

Michigan homes are, on average, going to PENDING in about 16 days. This quick turnaround time underscores the high demand for properties in our state. This continues to create a competitive market and means you should act fast when viewing potential new homes.

For Sale Inventory

Experts predict that the lower inventory will continue throughout the year, which should make it a great time for sellers. This trend will continue to result in homes selling quick at higher prices. Therefor, 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. Buyers may have to work a bit harder to find dream homes.

 

To provide a brief overview, home sellers are expected to return to the market in 2024, mainly the ones who chose the sidelines for 2023. Mortgage interest rates are predicted to stabilize by the 2nd half of 2024 as well. The number of home buyers is expected to rise, along with home prices rising until the low supply-high demand dynamic changes. New home construction sales may increase, builders & sellers want to compete with 2024 buyers. 2024 is going to be a great year for sellers as pricing will continue to rise. 

 

 

April 18, 2024

2024 Housing Predictions

After watching mortgage rates hit two-decade highs and inventory plummet last year, many hopeful homebuyers are eager to get off the sidelines and into a new home! 

While 2024 is expected to be a better year for the housing market in many respects, a lot of buyers are still going to struggle to find affordability. If you do plan to buy a house this year, here's what you need to know about the housing market and how you can prepare. 

2024 Michigan Home Prices and Tips

The average home price in Michigan is $251,600 this is a 5.4% year-over-year increase. Experts predict further price increases due to lower inventory levels. This means you should be preparing early before starting the process of buying a home. Getting your finances in order while home prices are likely to remain high. You'll also want to take advantage of lower mortgage rates by making sure you get the lowest rate possible! 

One fast way to get your credit score up and obtain that lower interest rate is to lower your credit utilization. This will also decrease your debt-to-income ratio, which is another factor mortgage lenders look at when considering which rate to give you. Try to pay off or pay down some credit cards, start with cards or credit lines with the highest interest rate first, then pay off smaller balances. This will improve your debt load and your overall credit score! 

You can also look for affordable mortgages and possibly first time homebuyer assistance. A big advantage for many buyers in 2024 will be utilizing mortgages geared towards first-time homebuyers and combining them with grants or other forms of down payment assistance. 

Timing your purchase is a simple yet effective way to ensure the best outcome for yourself and/or your family. There may not be a single "best time" to buy in 2024 because that depends on each buyers priorities, so it is important you figure out yours. For example - If getting the lowest rate possible is most important to you, you may want to wait 6 months to a year before making this large purchase, shop rates, pay off debt etc. However, if you are looking to avoid competition, buying within the next few months might be a better bet. Plus, you can always plan to refinance later on as rates drop. 

 

Inventory Levels

Michigan's housing market is facing a shortage of properties, with this limited inventory this should create a seller's market environment. If you have been on the fence about selling your home, now may be the time you'll get the most amount.... 

The limited inventory and high demand position shows that sellers can dominate the market in 2024 as home prices are expected to continue rising. Sellers who hesitated to list their properties in 2023 may think about re-entering the market, contributing to increased inventory levels. 

 

Conclusion 

Overall, the Michigan real estate market for 2024 offers opportunities and challenges for both buyers and sellers. While sellers are poised to benefit from rising homes prices and limited inventory, buyers can capitalize on lower interest rates. Understanding the market and working with knowledgeable real estate professionals can help individuals make informed decisions in the environment! 

 

Posted in Community News
March 5, 2024

Why landscaping can make your home sell faster and for more money

With Spring approaching read why landscaping can make your home sell faster and for more money!

You have probably heard the phrase "first impressions are important" and this true! Especially when selling a home! 

Plain and simple! The quality of your landscaping determines whether or not your home feels inviting from the outside. 

Curb appeal is what it is called and it is a key ingredient in the decision to buy a home. As you know, landscaping plays a huge role in the curb appeal that you present to prospective buyers for your home. The first impression is key: if buyers don't like what your home looks like from the front of your house when they first pull up, they may not even go into your home. 

From a return on investment (ROI) perspective, investments in landscaping tend to provide a much higher payout. 

While a kitchen upgrade can yield as much as 68% ROI, money invested in improving your landscaping could net you a lovely 215%. Without question, it is money well spent, especially if your neighbors have upgraded their home's plush greenery and flowers. 

If you are willing to do what's necessary, having great landscaping can make your home sell faster and for more money. Here are four things regarding your landscaping and the positive impact it can have on your home sale! 

 

1. Maintenance 

If you're planning on selling your home, you'll need to get ahead of the game. What that means is it's going to take time to make sure your lawn, shrubs and overall landscaping scene are going to be ready for when you sell. You see it can be more than just cutting the lawn and planting a few flowers. 

First, you need to clean your yard: Remove dead branches, pick up dog droppings, weed everywhere and remove or repair anything that is broken. 

  

From there, you need to attack the hidden or unseen things like ensuring the downspouts are clean and functional and taking time to make sure drain pipes are properly buried and draining so you don't get standing water anywhere.

After that, pay attention to what industry experts call "hardscapes". Areas like patios, walkways & fences. Make sure they are level and don't have roots pushing up around the base or any cracks. Also, make sure your deck does not have wobbly railings or loose steps.

Lastly, review the health of your plants & shrubs. Dead, dying and/or yellow plants not only look bad, but they can lead to additional maintenance problems that may need attention or correction in the future. In addition, trim back overgrown shrubs, especially those that encroach walkways and will impede people's access into your home. 

Because your front yard plays such a pivotal role in getting people into the front door to sell your home, it should look pristine as possible. 

 

2. Landscaping features 

While the front yard is the curb appeal that gets people in the door, the backyard is the "eye candy" that keeps people there. People look at the backyard as a comforting spot to hang out, socialize and spend time with friends and family.

When you think backyard, think decks and patios. Also consider other personalized options such as fire pits, outdoor kitchens, fountains and lighting. These are things that make a backyard seem like paradise to people. You don't want folks to walk out and just see a fence. It is not very appealing nor exciting. 

 

When it comes to the furniture outdoors, it does not need to be expensive either! However, it should be in decent condition for a potential buyer to be able to vision what life would potentially look like in that seat for them. Try scrubbing it clean or getting new cushions!

 

3. Don't waste your money 

Expenses can add up quickly when you're making upgrades and renovations so your yard looks good for buyers. Just like you wouldn't put highly customized and expensive upgrades inside your home, you wouldn't put extremely unique plants, decorations or hardscapes in your yard prior to sale. 

 

A couple key things to avoid:

-Spending a lot of money on mature plants that someone might rip out the day they move in. 

-Pick neutral decorations & neutral colors for hardscapes that would be appreciated by a wide number of buyers.

 

Invest wisely as you choose to upgrade your yard. For example if you know you will be selling your home one day down the road and you need to put in a fence, choose an alternate board option. It may cost a little more but it will be more appealing to future buyers than a traditional picket or chain link fence. 

 

4. Simplicity speaks volumes 

Sometimes, the most elegant things are also the simplest. Doing something like carving out a small part of your backyard with a little patio, a couple of chairs and a chiminea would cost you a small amount of money, but could increase the perceived value of your home greatly. 

Same thing goes for plants. 

If you are going to put in flowers, plants, shrubs, etc. make sure that they are the type that do well in our climate and look like they belong in the area. Use plants that grow well in our area during the season's in which they flourish. 

Lastly, make sure that your lawn is lush & full. It doesn't have to be huge and it doesn't have to be deep and dark. Just maintain it to make sure it looks pretty. 

 

In the end, taking care of the outside is like taking care of the inside. Remove clutter and keep everything well organized. In some cases, it may make more sense to plant fewer items (or remove) to give your home a fresh, clean look. 

Landscaping should be simple, elegant and beautiful. Strive for that for your home and you should be in great shape when it comes time to sell.  

Posted in Selling Your Home
Oct. 31, 2023

Everything you need to know about buying a haunted house

 

Marianne Bornhoft was locking up after an open house showing when she heard a faint cry: “Help me!”

Following the cries downstairs to the basement, the veteran real estate agent ended up in front of what appeared to be a concealed door. She pushed on it. It sprang open, and a panicked woman rushed out.

“She told me she went down to look at the root cellar and the door closed behind her,’’ says Bornhoft, who called her husband soon after from the living room to relay what had happened. As she talked, a chandelier in the room began swinging for no apparent reason. And then a bathroom door closed on its own.

“I don’t believe in ghosts,’’ says Bornhoft, “but I do think there are spirits among us. And this house definitely had spirits.”

The Spokane, Washington-based agent and commercial developer, who specializes in historic homes, antiques and estate sales, says she later learned that at least three people had died in the house. Those events made the home a “stigmatized” property — meaning a house that prospective buyers might shun based on an event, such as a murder or suicide, that happened there. 

Stigmatized properties can pose challenges for sellers and opportunities for buyers who either don’t believe in ghosts or are more spooked by bidding wars than friendly spirits. 

So what do you need to know about homes with a ghostly reputation and the people who buy them? 

 

Do people seek out haunted houses to actually live in?

Absolutely. In a recent survey of prospective buyers, 29% said they were more likely to buy a home if it was haunted. Only 33% said that nothing could convince them to buy a house they would have to share with spirits.

“Some people want their house to be haunted,’’ says Noah Leigh, founder of and lead investigator for Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, a nonprofit group that has conducted hundreds of investigations since its founding in 2007. “It’s something they see as a point of pride; something fun and interesting.”

Others may be comforted by the idea that a loved one who passed is still present, he says. Or they may be susceptible to suggestions that otherwise innocuous happenings are tied to a tragedy that happened in the home.

“Human psychology runs right through all of us,’’ says Leigh, who has master’s degrees in epidemiology and cell biology.  

While some people can’t run fast enough from a stigmatized home, others are willing to risk sharing space with spirits if it means getting a deal on a beautiful space, Bornhoft says. 

“In my experience, estates are the best deals, by far,’’ she says. “You can build sweat equity right away. Instead of being worried about buying a haunted house, I’d be worried about buying a house that didn’t have instant equity built into it.”

Aside from the prospect of getting a deal on a house that might otherwise cost a lot more, owning a home with a spooky reputation can bring commercial rewards if the property is marketed to people who thrill at the idea of a supernatural encounter. 

And, of course, there would be no shortage of cool stories to scare your friends.  

 

Are there signs that a house might be haunted?

Some people in the real estate industry attest to having other-wordly encounters while others scoff at the notion of ghosts.

“There is no such thing as a haunted house,’’ says Andrew Allen, real estate investor and partner at Barker Hill Realty in Austin, Texas, says. “The only thing more insane than believing in haunted houses is believing in haunted houses and wanting to live in one!”

For the believers, a simple checklist, published by Western University in Ontario, Canada, offers signs any horror movie goer could tick off: 

  • Creaky floorboards and slamming doors when no one else is in the home
  • Sudden drops in temperature unrelated to open windows or vents
  • Pets that bark or hiss at “nothing”
  • Strange noises unconnected to people or events in the house
  • Spotting movement out of the corner of your eye but seeing nothing when you turn

Others have reported foul odors unrelated to cooking, flickering lights, water that turns off and on seemingly by itself, and furniture or objects that appear to move on their own.

 

How do you determine if a house is haunted?

Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee, which is staffed by a volunteer group of six science-minded investigators, has developed a protocol for investigating supernatural claims. The group investigates an average of four cases a month, and uses a combination of historical sleuthing, and a slew of equipment to measure moisture, sound and visuals that can take up to a month to examine and sort out.

During their investigations, PIM’s investigators also leave out “trigger objects,” strategically chosen items that an otherworldly presence might be drawn to: a crucifix, a Bible, a deck of cards, holy water or something the suspected spirit might have been connected to when they were alive.

Leigh says most of the “signs” that a house is haunted can be explained by light and shadows, problems with the home’s heating, electric and plumbing systems or foundation/construction issues. Among the culprits identified during the group’s investigations: falling paint chips, reflections from windows, faulty wiring and plumbing unsecured to floor joists. 

“We rule out normal explanations before we look at paranormal,’’ says Leigh. “Most of the time, the problems have a normal explanation. It’s more sensational to have three demons in your house than to realize you have a bad (electrical) circuit in your house and you need to replace the breaker.’’

Leigh says investigators find an explanation for “99.999%” of the events they investigate, including pets that seem to bark or hiss at “nothing.” Leigh says animals have extremely sensitive hearing and process visual information differently than humans, so they could be reacting to a pest infestation or even sounds from several blocks away that are not detectable by humans.

But sometimes rational explanations remain elusive. 

When they can’t rule out paranormal explanations, the PIM investigators offer a degree of assurance to the living dwellers: “It is PIM’s opinion that there is no intent to harm any of the clients.”  

How do they know?

“I’ve done hundreds of investigations at places across the country” says Leigh, “and I’ve never had anything happen to me.”

 

I think I bought a haunted house: Can I get rid of the ghosts?

Hundreds of groups and societies — some fringe, some so mainstream that they have their own TV shows — offer services to homeowners in finding and removing ghosts. Their methods range from inhaling spirits and exhaling them out over a body of water to saging to reciting prayers or Biblical passages.

Catholic priests routinely conduct exorcisms to expel demons from a home, according to the Catholic News Agency, noting that a demonic infestation would involve reciting a particular prayer, inviting God back into the house, casting out the evil presence, or blessing the home with holy water.

Leigh says it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a certified expert in paranormal extractions and no uniform standards for evaluating people who advertise or offer ghost-removal services.

He recommends doing in-depth research on anyone offering to remove ghosts or spirits from a home to avoid being ripped off or being driven from your home by fear.

If you think your home is haunted, Leigh recommends keeping a journal for two weeks documenting in detail what you see, when you see it and who else was present when the happening occurred. Study the journal for patterns: Does the event occur at the same time of day? Are the patterns related to weather or temperature? Are there possible structural or maintenance issues at play, such as a leaky roof or misaligned downspout?

If journal entries don’t shed light, it might be time to call a credible investigator to check things out.

 

What is a seller required to disclose about suspected ghosts?

Real estate law varies by state and city, so ultimately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to disclosing information about a home’s reputation as a hangout for spirits. 

If you ever publicly claim that a house is haunted, you’re required to share the information with potential buyers, says Allen, the real estate investor. This is due to Stambovsky v. Ackley, a New York Supreme Court ruling commonly referred to as the Ghostbusters ruling. The ruling states that a homeowner who publicly advertises that their house is haunted by ghosts must disclose that information when selling it.

“The ethical thing to do — whether that case existed or not — is to tell buyers if you think something is wrong with the house,” says Allen. 

Real estate agents in states like California, where disclosure of deaths at home must be disclosed, will sometimes include that information in the listing, usually with the caveat that it was a natural death at home as opposed to a murder or suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 31% of U.S. deaths occurred at home in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in January 2020, likely led to even more people dying outside of healthcare facilities over the past three years.

Bornhoft, the Spokane agent with Windermere Manito, says prospective buyers shouldn’t necessarily read more into a death at a home than they would a death on an airplane, hotel or a restaurant. People have to die somewhere, she says, and the fact that someone died at home doesn’t mean there’s a spirit lingering around the home.

If you’re shopping for a home, sometimes the best way to learn if a house has a reputation for being haunted is to ask the neighbors. If you’re really worried, you could also check the address on a database that charges a fee to see if there’s been a death or other concerning event that occurred there.

 

Does a seller have to disclose phenomena like “unexplained noises?'

It depends. Not every locale or state requires disclosure of events that might attach a stigma to a home, but sellers generally are required to disclose conditions that could negatively affect the property’s value, and they can be held liable if they don’t.

Often, a house appears to be haunted because of some kind of structural issue. Allen, the investor, recommends that buyers look closely to find out what those issues are. Getting a home inspection is one way to do that.

“I would expect that anyone representing the seller would have the ethical obligation to also figure out what those things are,” he adds, noting that questionable features “obviously would need to be disclosed.”

In those cases, you should ask what’s going to haunt you more: The foundation issues or possible spirits?

 

Do haunted houses come with smaller price tags?

Houses associated with ghost stories tend to sell at a lower price, mostly because they’re older estates that have been neglected, says Bornhoft. 

By her own estimate, about 20% of the estates she’s sold over the years have been homes where people have died, some by their own hand or the hand of others. All of them sold, she says, as long as the price was right.

That tracks with a recent Zillow survey, which found that 35% of prospective buyers said they would be convinced to buy a haunted house if it was priced lower than the rest of the market.

Some owners want to sell haunted houses as a novelty in an effort to justify a higher price tag, says Allen, but most houses with a reputation for being haunted are run down, so generally, they’re cheaper to buy. 

“There’s not really a market premium for a haunted house,” he says, “even if you were trying to take advantage of it.” The neglected maintenance typically associated with a haunted house means that potential buyers can find themselves spending money on maintenance right off the bat just to make the home habitable.

 

So what happened to that house with the mysteriously closing doors and swinging chandelier?

Bornhoft says the house sat for several months without so much as a nibble from a buyer.

She changed tactics after running into the home’s previous owner and a house sitter, who told her hair-raising stories about lights turning on by themselves, slamming doors, unexplained voices and steam accumulating in a bathroom where no water was running.

Bornhoft buried a statue of St. Jude in the yard, grabbed a Bible and began reciting prayers as she went through the house: “Bless this house and all the occupants who are in it,’’ she said as she walked among the rooms. 

The next day, Bornhoft says, she got a call from an agent whose clients eventually bought the house. 

“They’ve said that they haven’t had any problems,’’ she says of the buyers. “The right family bought it. The house is happy.”

The house may be happy, but the current owner is less so, at least at the prospect of his family’s home being featured in another article on haunted houses. The last time the home was featured in a newspaper article, he says, curiosity seekers cruised by in droves and gaped at the home as part of the city’s haunted house tour.

Which brings up another point: Sometimes the scariest thing about owning a haunted house is the interest it generates from the living.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 12, 2023

Tips On Selling Your Home

Pricing it right

Find out what your home is worth, and then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

 

Half-empty closets

Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

 

Light it up

Lighting in your houseMaximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

 

Play the agent field

A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing services (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

 

Conceal the critters

You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

 

Don’t over-upgrade

Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

 

Take the home out of your house

One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

 

The kitchen comes first

You’re not actually selling your house; you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen areStaging your kitchen endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

 

Always be ready to show

Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

 

The first impression is the only impression

 No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 6, 2023

Things To Keep In Mind When Buying On The Lake

Lakefront

 

Things To Keep In Mind When Buying On The Lake 

Buying a lake house can be a great investment, regardless of whether you intend to use it as a vacation property or a year-round residence. With that said, you shouldn’t rush into buying a lakefront property just because it’s available. As with any house, there are some things that you should think about before you sign on the dotted line. Here are a few specific considerations you should keep in mind when looking at a lake property that’s for sale.

 

High Moisture Levels

One of the first things that you’ll notice is that there’s more moisture in the air close to the lake. Higher humidity can be unpleasant during the summer, but it also can have a negative effect on your property as a whole. Mold, mildew and other humidity-related damage can occur over time, so it’s important to make sure that properties you consider were built and furnished with this in mind.

 

High Water Table

Because the property sits close to the lake, you’re going to have a higher water table than you would with more landlocked properties. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if the property has a basement or other underground area then you need to see what effects the water table has on those areas. Keep an eye out for leaks, flooding, cracks or mold that might be a result of the water table being higher than usual.

 

Lake Access

Having a home close to the lake is nice, but it becomes significantly less nice if it doesn’t offer you lake access that meets your needs. If you have a boat, see if you’ll have easy lake access from your property or if you’ll have to get on the water somewhere else. Likewise, if you just want peaceful evenings to watch the sun set over the water, make sure that there isn’t a busy lake access point or marina close to your property.

 

Inspect the Water Line

There’s more to consider when buying a lakefront property than just the view. Take the time to walk along the water line and see what sort of shape the shore and the nearby water are in. Look for signs of erosion in the shoreline and yard and see whether the water itself is choked with weeds or other plant life. You should also look for signs of debris or other indicators of how high the water tends to get when the lake is swollen from rain.

 

Take a Deep Breath

A lake house can be a feast for the eyes, but those aren’t the only senses you’ll experience your lake property with. Lakes often have a distinctive smell, and in some cases, it can be pretty strong. A little bit of lake odor is usually pretty easy to overlook, especially if your house is set back from the water a bit. For some lakes, though, it can be almost overpowering, especially during the summer months when you’re most likely to want to be out on the lake. Before you buy, make sure that any odors from the lake are tolerable not only for you but also any guests that you might want to invite out.

 

Check on Your Insurance

If you’re buying a lakefront home, you may find that it costs more to insure than a property that’s more inland. In some cases, the insurance can cost substantially more. That’s not even counting flood insurance or other disaster-related policies that you’ll likely want to take out. Just make sure that the cost of insuring your new lake property isn’t going to be more than you can really afford to take out.

 

Find the Perfect Lake Property

It can take a lot of searching to find a lakefront property that checks all of your boxes. Fortunately, We are here to help. Contact us today to for professional Real Estate assistance!  

Posted in Buying a Home
April 18, 2023

Picking the Best Flooring

A nice deep pile carpet can look great in your home, but if you have a lot of foot traffic then it’s just asking for trouble. Not only will you have to work harder to keep it clean, but you’ll also have to replace it sooner than you’d like because all those feet and shoes will leave their mark over time. If you want nice-looking floors without worrying about your own personal parade wearing them down before their time, you need to find a flooring option that’s better suited for high-traffic areas.

 

Laminate Flooring

An increasingly popular option in homes, laminate flooring uses laminated wood slats with images applied to them to create the look of a premium flooring option without the premium price. Laminate is available in a wide range of sizes and types. If you want something a bit different than standard laminates, some companies are also now making vinyl flooring that functions similarly to laminate floors but with the water resistance and other benefits of using vinyl.

 

Natural Stone

If you really want something that can stand up against some foot traffic, consider going with natural stone. These stone tiles add a touch of beauty and class while giving you the wear protection that only stone can provide. Depending on the option you choose, this may run a bit more expensive than other options, but there is very little out there that can match the look of stone in the end.

 

Concrete Flooring

Though this may sound unappealing when you first think of it, there’s a lot that can be done with concrete flooring. You can add color, stains, etchings, stamps and even embedded features such as stones or tiles to really bring the floor to life. Best of all, you already know that concrete can stand up to a lot of traffic and use without showing any wear, so you won’t have to worry about your floors showing their age for quite some time.

 

Hardwood

Another option, which can be a bit pricey depending on the wood you go with, is hardwood. There is very little that can beat a hardwood floor when it comes to beauty and wear resistance. You have several woods to choose from, each giving the floor its own touch of color and personality. The maintenance of hardwood is a little higher than some other options if you want to keep it looking its best, but the little bit of extra time you spend keeping up your floor is more than worth it.

 

Ceramic Tile Flooring

There are a lot of benefits to using ceramic tile in your high-traffic areas. Tile is versatile, comes in a wide range of colors and styles, creates a classic look, and is relatively easy to repair and replace if individual tiles get broken. Don’t worry that the look of ceramic tile is dated, either; while you might think that tile will give you the generic “tile floor” look of decades past, modern ceramic tile is truly a sight to behold.

 

Traffic-Resistant Carpet

Yes, carpet isn’t always the best flooring option for high-traffic areas. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t carpeting options available for rooms that see a lot of use, however. Not only are there low-pile carpets and other options designed with higher-traffic use in mind, but you can also get carpet tiles and other carpet options that are both easy to maintain and easy to repair if parts of them start showing a bit too much wear.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
April 5, 2023

Selling your Home in The Spring

 

Selling a house in the spring can be a good idea for a few reasons.

 

Firstly, the spring is a popular time for people to start looking for new homes, as the weather is getting warmer and it's a good time for a fresh start. Additionally, the spring is often a time when people have more free time to search for homes and make moves, as they may have just received a tax refund or bonus from work.

  • Where do you see yourself living?
  • What style home?
  • Neighborhoods or would you rather a country setting?

 

To get the most out of selling your house in the spring, it's important to make sure your home looks its best. This means doing any necessary repairs, deep cleaning the house, decluttering, and staging it for potential buyers. You may also want to consider hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality photos of your home for your listing.

  • Spring cleaning, maybe have a garage sale
  • Fresh coat of paint
  • Plant some flowers, spruce up your curb appeal

 

It's also important to price your home appropriately. Look at comparable homes in your area that have recently sold to get an idea of what your home is worth. Working with a real estate agent can also be helpful in determining the right price for your home and navigating the selling process.

  • Interview agents, read website reviews
  • Research current market conditions
  • Check local inventory to see whats out there

 

Overall, selling your house in the spring can be a great time to get your home on the market and attract potential buyers. Just be sure to take the necessary steps to make your home look its best and price it appropriately for the market.

 

The Sedlarik Group agents are here to help! Visit our website to contact one of our expert real estate professionals.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 23, 2023

Spring is in the air

 

Spring clean up 

Many people are starting to look for things that need to be done around the house Spring is in the air and so many people get a boost of motivation to start decluttering for warmer weather!

 

There are a number of spring-cleaning tasks that can keep you busy for a while. Don’t just dust, vacuum and call it a day, though. Consider tackling the following jobs as well to reduce your future maintenance needs and ensure that you’re ready to face the summer.

 

1. Cleaning the windows and screens

Cleaning the windows is a classic spring cleaning task, but it’s one of those tasks that’s all too easy to only do halfway. When you clean your windows, be sure to clean both the inside and the outside with a quality glass cleaner. You should also remove the window screens and clean them as well, especially if any of them have dirt or other icky stuff stuck in them after the winter.

 

2. Pressure washing

Dirt, mold, mildew and moss can all degrade the materials of your home over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to break out the pressure washer and give your home a good ol’ scrub down at least once a year. Spring is a good time to do this since it’s usually still a bit too cool for things that grow on your house to get out of hand. While you’ve got the pressure washer out, you should also look to see if there’s anything else around the house that could use a good deep clean. Check out picnic tables, fences and any other spots where dirt and other contaminants might accumulate.

 

3. Cleaning out the gutters

A lot of people view gutter cleaning as a fall task, associating full gutters with fallen leaves. There are a lot of things that can clog up your gutters, though, including debris that gets washed off your roof by spring rain and melting snow. To reduce wear and tear on your gutters and make cleaning them easier overall, make cleaning your gutters into a task that you do at least twice a year, in the spring and fall.

 

4. Check out the AC

As things start to warm up, a lot of people prefer to open their windows instead of cranking the air conditioning. You should at least give it a test run to make sure that it’s working properly, though. Clean your AC as best as you can, let it run for a while to make sure that it’s able to maintain the air temperature, and change any filters that need to be changed. If there’s a problem, it’s better to find out now and fix it rather than discover it in a few months when temperatures peak.

 

5. Clean your furniture

A lot of dusting goes on in the spring, but it’s easy to forget that dust and dirt accumulate on furniture too. Break out the vacuum or a steam cleaner to give your furniture a good cleaning as a part of your spring-cleaning routine. Not only will this keep your furniture looking good and in good shape for longer, but it can also reduce allergies and other health issues within your home.

 

6. Test those smoke detectors

It’s easy to forget smoke detectors if they aren’t beeping randomly in the middle of the night because they have a low battery. To keep your home safe, though, you should test your smoke detectors and replace their batteries every six months. Spring cleaning time is a great time to do this (and then do it again in the fall when you start preparing your home for winter). Don’t settle for just replacing batteries, either; if a smoke detector doesn’t work or seems to have a larger problem than just dead batteries, replace the entire unit.

Posted in Home Maintenance
March 16, 2023

Trellising 101

Trellising 101

Growing a garden is the ultimate act of faith. After all, you never know if your plants will thrive or if they will cease to be long before reaching their full potential. Hopefully, with diligent care, and a little luck, your plants will grow big, strong, and glorious. When it comes to growing climbing plants (often referred to as “vines,” “climbers,” or “lianas”), two of the most important parts of their success are having the right kinds of things to climb and the right help to get started on their way up.

 

What Is a Climbing Plant?

The term “climbing plant” is kind of a giant catch-all term that includes a range of plants with long, flexible stems, and some mechanism that allows them to reach great heights in their native environments. However, some climbing plants will also just become shrubs if they have nothing to climb, and others will climb for a while, then set roots where they land before shedding their climbing tools all together.

But in most cases, when people think of climbing plants, they think of plants that are vining. These plants climb over structures and other plants using several different mechanisms. This can include stems that twist around supports, leaves that twist around objects or one another, curly tendrils that wrap around supports, long roots that help them cling to solid surfaces, or hooks like thorns that help them move upward.

Although it’s common to see vines sold as ornamentals, there are also a number of climbing plants that are part of the vegetable garden. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes are both vining plants, which makes them perfect for vertical gardening.

 

Trellising Vining Plants

Climbing plants can be easy to grow, if you give them appropriate things to climb and help them get a foothold when needed. Trellising a plant isn’t difficult, but choosing the right trellis can be sometimes. Not every plant will respond to every trellis, so it’s very important to consider the method by which your plant climbs before choosing a trellis for it.

For example, if your plant climbs with tendrils, it will do best with a wire trellis with frequent horizontal cross pieces. Because it needs to be able to reach up and wrap the tendrils around something substantial but narrow, the thick, flat trellises can be difficult for this type of vine to climb. On the other hand, if you’re trying to grow something that uses its roots to climb, like Virginia creeper, you need those trellises with the wide, flat components. It’s very difficult for this kind of plant to climb up narrow trellis material because it has to have some significant space and texture to allow it to really grab on with its roots.

So, whether you choose your trellis first (maybe you already have one in mind) or you choose your plant first, they need to be compatible. For many climbing plants, something as simple as mesh fencing can make a magnificent trellis.

 

How to Train Your Vines

Training vines to their appropriate trellises is surprisingly simple most of the time. As long as your trellis is close enough to the ground that your vine can reach it quickly in its growing process, often all you have to do is wait and let the plant do its own thing. If your plant is a bit more resistant, that’s ok, there are ways to encourage it to grow up.

A common technique for training vines onto a trellis is simply to wait for it to grow long enough for you to start winding it through the trellis material. Be very gentle, as you’ll need those delicate growing tips to remain undamaged, but loosely weaving it through the trellis as it grows will help it establish a framework for where it should be hanging out, so to speak.

With vines that need to attach to flat areas using their roots, you may be able to tie them on loosely until the root has firmly secured the plant. Use a cloth tie if at all possible to reduce the risk of damage to your plant. Before you know it, you’ll be able to untie the plant and let it get on with growing.

 

Still Need Help Moving Your Plants Up?

If your vining plants are still giving you trouble, or you simply don’t know which vine is right for your really magnificent arbor, it may be time to consult a landscaper or other plant expert. We can help you find a pro perfect for you. 

Posted in Home Maintenance
March 3, 2023

Reasons To Put Your Furnace In The Attic Or Crawl Space

Reasons Why Furnace is in the Attic or Crawl Space

Though it’s not as common as traditional furnace setups, some homes feature a furnace that’s installed in either the attic of the house or in a crawl space. It might seem at first that this would be inconvenient compared to standard furnace locations, and in some ways it can be. There are some advantages to having an attic-mounted furnace or a furnace in the crawl space, however. If you’re thinking of buying a home (or recently bought one) that makes use of one of these alternate furnace locations, it was probably done to take advantage of one or more of these factors.

 

 

With that said, you may have some questions about your furnace and how to maintain it. First, the good news: A lot of your maintenance will be about the same as you would have with a more traditionally located furnace. There are a few specific things that you may be wondering about, though, so here are some things that you should know about using and maintaining these furnaces.

 

Filtration and Air Flow

Most of the time, when people get nervous about a furnace that’s mounted in the attic or crawl space it’s because they think they’ll have to venture up there every time a filter needs to be changed. For the most part, airflow with an attic-mounted furnace or one that’s in the crawl space will be pretty much the same as a more traditional furnace setup. The thermostat is still on the wall, there are still vents in every room, and the air return is still inside the main house. This means that maintenance tasks like changing out your air filter will be pretty much the same as it would be for any other furnace, as the filter is placed in the air return.

 

Attic and Crawl Space Advantages

As mentioned before, there are a few advantages to placing a furnace in the attic or a crawl space. Some of these, such as a possibly reduced installation cost, will only affect the homeowner who installed the furnace in the first place. Even if you bought a home that already had a furnace installed in the attic or crawl space, though, there are still advantages that you can enjoy.

One of the biggest is that this installation type frees up space in the home that would otherwise be taken up by furnace equipment. If that doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, think about what you could do with an extra closet or a little bit of additional storage space that’s convenient to rooms like the kitchen. Depending on the layout of your house, an alternate location for your furnace could also simplify the ductwork layout and make checking for damage or other ductwork issues much easier.

 

Accessing the Furnace

There may be a few times when the location of your furnace becomes inconvenient, such as if your pilot light goes out and you actually have to venture into the attic or crawl space to relight it. In most cases the pilot light will be situated to make it convenient to access, but you still have to get to the furnace unit, which can be annoying at least. Bigger issues may arise if you run afoul of actual hardware issues, as the more enclosed space and slightly different layout of the furnace can make some forms of maintenance more difficult.

In these cases, it’s best to call an HVAC pro for any maintenance beyond the basics. They’ll have a better understanding of how the furnace is laid out and just the tools that they need to fix it even in a tighter space.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance