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March 2019

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I can offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. Don’t hesitate to contact me and allow me to help guide you through that process!

Pam French
Broker
PamFrenchRealtor@gmail.com   |   574-849-3037
http://www.pamfrench.bhhsni.com

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HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE

Organization for the Disorganized

If you’ve heard of Western Minimalism or Japanese KonMari, you know that these are principles that promote happiness through living with fewer possessions and eliminating clutter. These intentional lifestyles allow only items that make you happy and are useful to live in your home. By eliminating clutter, or things that don’t bring you joy, you’ll experience less stress and have more time and money to spend.

The applications of “less is more” to home ownership and home selling are obvious. With less clutter, your home will be cozier, easier to navigate, show better to homebuyers, easier to keep straight, and easier to pack up when you sell.

The most disorganized areas in your home are typically closets, countertops and drawers. Here are a few tips to make decluttering faster and easier:

  1. Start small, one closet or drawer at a time.
  2. Assign a home for every item in the appropriate room.
  3. Organize so that you can see at a glance what is available in every storage space, from kitchen cabinets to dresser drawers.
  4. Fold sweaters and socks vertically so you can see every item.
  5. Use marked containers for small, miscellaneous or boxed items.
  6. Keep only beautiful, favorite or currently useful items.
  7. Don’t let guilt force you to keep anything you don’t want, such as gifts or expensive items you don’t like. Instead, offer these items to people you know or donate them.
  8. Remove donations and discards from the house the same day.

HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE

Poor Rain Drainage Can Drain Your Equity

As a new homeowner, you may not know much about drainage, but rainwater that isn’t properly drained away from your home and yard can result in high repair costs and mold remediation that can deplete your equity quickly.

So what can you do to avoid drainage problems? Drainage issues are typically manmade and can be easily fixed. Watch how your home performs when it rains for clues.

Check gutters. Rain gutters are designed to route rain into drain spouts that carry water away from your foundation and home. A gutter blocked with leaves and dirt will produce a gush of water that doesn’t reach the drain properly. Preventive maintenance like keeping gutters clear of debris can help prevent damage to the siding and structure of your home.

Look for yard erosion. Puddles, gullies and pools caused by rain are exacerbated by yards without poor sloping, eroding topsoil, missing downspouts and catch basins, and breaks in underground drains. Where the rain collects can tell you what action to take, from rerouting drain spouts, to installing decorative “dry” creek beds of rocks and stone, to installing additional drains under the soil.

Look for basement puddles. A yard that slopes toward the house, clogged gutters, cracks in the foundation, and inadequate landscape drainage can lead to puddles in the basement. If there are stains and mildew near the ceiling, then it’s a drainage issue. If they appear near the floor, there could be broken drainage pipes under or near the house.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Slowing Market Good for Both Buyers and Sellers

Experts are predicting that the housing market will slow down in 2019. But, that’s not such a bad thing. A slower market is more stable and offers advantages for both buyers and sellers.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.45% in mid-January 2019, according to Freddie Mac. While rates were nearly half a point higher than they were a year ago, they’ve since pulled back, making homes a little more affordable for homebuyers heading into spring.

Existing home sales in December 2018 were the lowest since November 2015, more than 10% lower than year-ago levels, reflecting sensitivity to rising interest rates and prices, according to The National Association of REALTORS. NAR chief chief economist Lawrence Yun explained that softer December sales reflected homes under contract at higher mortgage interest rates.

NAR also reported that the median sales price was $253,600, 2.9% higher than a year ago. While gains have been higher in previous years, prices are still rising – a benefit to home sellers.

Realtor.com economist Danielle Hale told Forbes.com that 2019 will bring less competition for homebuyers as the inventory of homes increases on the market. The Realtor.com forecast for 2019 is a 2% decline in home sales volume and a 2.2% rise in home prices from 2018.

These statistics are national averages, and market conditions could be very different in your area. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can share important local data with you that will improve your ability to buy or sell a home.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Three Ways to Get Your Finances in Shape

You want to buy a home, but first you need to get your finances squared away. You’ll need money for a down payment, for moving and for other costs. How can you get more money in just a few months? Here are three ways that work together as nicely as compound interest.

1. Slow down your spending.

Like counting calories on a diet, tracking your spending can be an eye-opener. You’ll identify “spending leaks” that can be easily plugged, like eating out less often or only buying items at the grocery store that aren’t on your shopping list. You’ll see that small changes make a big difference to your bottom line.

2. Save more.

Like spending less, setting money aside is important, too. Look at your monthly expenses and determine how much you can save, then have that money debited from your checking account and put into a savings account, a short-term CD or other vehicle with every paycheck. This account should be considered separate from your retirement savings.

3. Pay off revolving debts.

If you can’t pay cash (or debit) for something, don’t buy it. Focus on reducing credit card balances. Pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, make payments on time, and pay much more than the minimum payment.  As you eliminate each debt, double down on the remaining cards.  

Keep your goal to buy a home top of mind always, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can make your dream happen.

 
 
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