Top 10 Threats to Real Estate in 2019

Rising interest rates and the economy are the top two current issues to watch in real estate, according to the Counselors of Real Estate’s Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate 2018-2019, a list of the biggest threats to the housing market. For the first time, CRE broke its annual list down into current and longer-term issues to watch during the industry’s next year.

Read the article on REALTORmagazine

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The Top Landscaping Trends for 2018

Native plants, outdoor yoga spaces, and charging stations are among the hottest landscaping trends growing in consumer demand for 2018, according to a new report released by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Landscape architects were asked to rate the popularity of several residential outdoor design elements. Landscape architects noted a growth in the use of native plants, low-maintenance landscapes, and flexible-use spaces, for yoga classes or movie night.

Overall, landscape architects ranked the following outdoor design elements as the overall most popular in 2018:

  1. Fire pits/fireplaces
  2. Lighting
  3. Seating/dining areas
  4. Outdoor furniture
  5. Outdoor kitchens
  6. Decking (i.e. rooftop decking)
  7. Grills
  8. Movie/TV/video theaters, wireless/internet, stereo systems
  9. Outdoor heaters
  10. Stereo systems
  11. Pools and spa features (hot tubs, Jacuzzis, whirlpools, indoor/outdoor saunas)
  12. Utility storage
  13. Hammocks
  14. Outdoor cooling systems (including fans)
  15. Showers/baths

Source: RealtorMag

The Best Housing Markets for Home Flippers

House flipping activity surged to an 11-year high this year, with more than 207,000 homes flipped, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm. But the key is knowing where to be and when. “The sweet spot for successful home flipping is finding the neighborhoods just emerging as the next hot neighborhoods in a city,” says Daren Blomquist, a senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. The firm says the average profit for a housing flip in 2017 was $68,100.

Realtor.com® ranked the 200 largest metros according to the share of all home sales categorized as a flip (defined as any type of home that is bought and resold within a three- to 12-month period). Researchers limited their rankings to two metros per state for geographic diversity and only included markets where the average profit was at least $30,000.

Read about the best housing markets for home flippers, according to realtor.com®.

4 Ways to Use Your Tax Return to Boost Your Home’s Exterior

Planning to receive a nice chunk of change with your tax return? Consider using it for home improvement projects that will increase your home’s curb appeal. The following upgrades are all under $3,000.

  1. Replace door No. 1

As one of the first things a prospective buyer sees, your front door is critical to your home’s curb appeal. Buy a new door and spruce it up with shiny new knobs, locks and knockers. An energy-efficient door can help you save money on bills and may make you eligible for federal tax credits next year.

  1. Refresh the garage

That dented garage door panel you no longer notice? Prospective buyers will. Two new garage doors will set you back just under $3,000 and do wonders for spiffing up your home’s exterior.

  1. Get lit

Illuminating your walkway, installing motion-sensor lights or adding lighting fixtures that highlight your home’s architectural features or landscaping help your property look as appealing at night as it does during the day. Added light also helps keep your property secure.

  1. Add outdoor living space

Decks and patios are among the top features buyers look for. Use your refund to install a stamped-concrete patio or a small deck, and it’s almost like adding another room to your home.

All spruced up and ready to sell? Or know someone else that’s considering a move? Contact me; I’ll be happy to help!

3 Design Tips to Enhance a Home’s Good Vibes

A space can have an instant effect on your mood. How can you make sure a home gives off positive energy and style? A recent article at The New York Times shares tips from designers on creating a home that supports a person’s well-being. Some of these tips could also apply to creating a more welcoming vibe in the staging of properties.

Embrace the two-foot rule.

Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, abides by a rule that passageways within the home be at least 24 inches between furnishings. “Even in small spaces, if you can leave two feet for these passageways, you tend not to bonk as much and get as cluttered,” she told The New York Times.

Let more light flow in.

“If I had to pick one tool that makes a home feel good, I would pick natural light,” Blakeney says. “Having a big window where there was none is a huge game changer. I would choose that over the sofa of my dreams.” Mirrors can also help add in more light by strategically reflecting whatever natural light the space does have.

Add in more plants.

“Anyone who spends a day hiking in the forest can attest that being in nature is good for the soul,” Blakeney says. “Why not bring that feeling home?” She has 52 houseplants in her 1,100-square-foot home. The plants range from small succulents to large palms in every room. “Living energy in your home is positive energy,” she said. “It’s people, pets, and plants that make a home.”

Source: “Designing a Feel-Good Home,” The New York Times (Jan. 23, 2018)

4 Feng Shui Staging Tips

The Chinese system of Feng Shui is believed to bring people into harmony with their environment. The practice uses design to manage the way chi, or energy, flows through a building. Could feng shui help you, your guests and potential buyers enjoy your home even more? Here are a few general tips:

  1. Energize your entry

Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, preferably in a color that contrasts with your siding. This helps invite energy (as well as guests and prospective buyers) into your home. Add a potted plant on each side of the front door. The living plants attract energy. Plants with rounded leaves are more welcoming than plants with sharp, spikey leaves, which can give off a more aggressive impression.

  1. Create a “room of first impression”

Draw everyone to the most attractive room in the home by arranging the directional flow of furniture toward it. Or hang a bright piece of art in the room where it can be seen, like a beacon, from other parts of the home.

  1. Produce positive energy

Clear your kitchen counters of clutter and set out a bowl of fresh fruit. Food, especially round produce, symbolizes wealth and prosperity.

  1. Lids down

Martha Stewart would surely tell to you to close the lid on your toilet. Feng shui advocates the same, but for a different reason. The philosophy holds that water, energy and good fortune can swirl right down the drain.

Considering a new home, or know of someone who is? I’ll be happy to help; contact me today!

Black Accents Make Comeback in Home Design

Black is making a comeback in home design, with black fixtures, appliances, and furniture emerging as hot trends for the new year. Ryan Brown of Brown Design Group in Southern California predicts that black fixtures will replace brass as the most trendy home hardware in 2018. “They look great in modern applications, as well as transitional homes,” he told realtor.com®. “And the best part is no water spots to clean off.”

Matted black furniture also will gain popularity in 2018, says Amy Chernoff, vice president of marketing for AJ Madison, an appliance and fixture retailer. Black goes with anything, and in matte finishes, it’s easier to clean than lighter, polished metals. Also, Chernoff predicts that black stainless appliances—an alternative to the shiny finish of stainless steel—likely will become trendier in the new year. “The smudge-resistant, minimal and sleek look was in line with 2017 kitchen trends,” Chernoff told Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Source: REALTOR Magazine