Simple Water-Saving Bathroom Upgrades

Guest post by Katy Caballeros 

Between the toilet, shower, and sink, your bathroom accounts for nearly 60% of your home’s water usage. With water scarcity estimated to affect 2/3 for the global population by 2025, water costs are bound increase. Make a water-saving change and an investment in the future, without sacrificing performance. Read about the three simple bathroom upgrades that have a positive impact on your wallet and the world.

1. Install a Low-Flow Aerator
Although a sink doesn’t seem to use as much water as the shower or toilet, it can pour out around 3 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Those extra gallons add up, especially if occasionally forget to turn off the sink while you shave or brush your teeth. By installing a low-flow faucet aerator on your bathroom sink, you can cut your water waste in half, reducing it by as much as 1,400 gallons per year. Purchasing an aerator for your sink is one of the cheapest conservation renos, with aerators available for as little as $1.

 

2. Switch Out Your Showerhead
It’s easy to waste water in the shower—many of us use the shower to relax or perhaps leave the water running as we wait for it to warm. While taking shorter showers can definitely help with water conservation, new energy-efficient showerheads can help reduce water waste without sacrificing enjoyment.

WaterSense labeled products are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help save water and are worth consideration as you search for the right products for your home. Showerheads labeled “low flow” are another option for your bathroom reno, as they deliver 2.5 gpm instead of the wasteful 5 gpm of older showerheads.

Newer models, like Evolve’s showerheads, have features like smart home technology, which conserve water and reduce energy use. Here’s how it works: instead of wasting water as you wait for the shower to warm, this technology automatically reduces the water flow to a trickle when it reaches 95 degrees. When you’re ready to shower, you pull on the showerhead’s built in lever and the flow returns to normal. No more letting energy-burning hot water flow down the drain. They estimated this showerhead technology can save homeowners 2-6 gallons of water per shower!

3. Replace Your Old Toilet
The toilet is the most water-wasteful piece of plumbing in most homes. Nearly 1/3 of a household’s total water consumption is flushed down the toilet. They can use as much as 7 gallons per flush! Luckily, toilet technology has come a long way in the past few decades. Newer energy-saving models can reduce water waste up to 67%. There are three main types of water efficient toilets:

  1. Low Flow Toilets
  2. Duel Flush Toilets
  3. Pressure Assist Toilets

Some toilets use a combination of low flow, duel flush, and pressure assist to create a conservation-friendly commode. Low flow toilets are designed to use significantly less water than older models, whereas duel flush toilets customize each flush for either solid or liquid waste. Pressure-assist toilets use an air cartridge to push water from the tank, which means using as little as one gallon per flush. With thousands of gallons a year in water savings at stake, a toilet reno is a must for water-conscious homeowners.

HomeAdvisor surveyed homeowners and found that replacing a toilet cost an average of $377. Compare that to savings up to $2,200 over its lifespan, and that’s more than a 580% return on investment.

Luckily, with innovations in water-saving technology, it’s easy to drastically cut back on water consumption without sacrificing performance. And, compared to other home updates, purchasing and installing water-saving products is relatively cheap and promise big savings on your water and energy bills. Whether you’re conserving water for your wallet, the environment, or state regulations upgrading bathroom fixtures can make a positive impact.

 

Katy Caballeros is a freelance writer who enjoys scheming eclectic home design ideas for her apartment. She can usually be found with a book and bottle of ginger beer on the weekends.

10 Easy Fixes for That Nearly Perfect House You Want to Buy

From price and location to the physical structure itself, the list of things to keep in mind when shopping for a house can seem endless. But some problems you encounter don’t need to affect your final decision. Although easy is a relative term, accomplishing the 10 fixes that follow is generally pretty straightforward. We also point out some big-ticket fixes to watch out for. Happy house hunting!


1. Easy fix: Repaint or reface existing cabinetry. If the interior structure of the cabinetry is still sound, refinishing, repainting or refacing (replacing the cabinet fronts) can be a more cost-effective way to refresh a dated kitchen than completely replacing the cabinetry. If the cabinet doors are in poor condition or you want to change the style, consider refacing.

How to Reface Your Old Kitchen Cabinets


2. Easy fix: New appliances. Swapping out old appliances for shiny new models is one of the biggest-impact ways to make over your kitchen without getting bogged down in a full remodel. And because the cost of appliances and installation is pretty straightforward, it’s easier to plan and budget for this upgrade than projects that might expand beyond your original scope.

Not-so-easy fix: New kitchen layout. Replacing what’s already in your kitchen is one thing, but when you start to move the plumbing and electrical around, costs can rise quickly. If possible, go for a house with a kitchen that has a layout you’re happy with — you can always tweak the details.
 
 

3. Easy fix: Fresh carpeting. Stained, worn-out carpeting is a real bummer, and it can be hard to see past it when viewing a potential home. But ripping out old carpeting and putting in something new — especially something as fresh and fun as the colorful carpet tiles shown here — can make a huge difference in how a space looks and feels.
 

4. Easy fix: New paint color. It’s amazing the effect color can have on us — remind yourself of this fact the next time you tour an open house with some (ahem) unusual color choices. You can easily (and cheaply) replace any wall color with a beautiful hue, like the lovely silvery blue shown here.
 
 

5. Easy fix: Replace light fixtures. Swapping out dated light fixtures with new ones you love is a quick and easy fix an electrician or DIY-savvy homeowner can accomplish in relatively little time. From modern pendants (like the saucer version shown here) to Edison-bulb chandeliers, there’s a light for every style and taste.

Not-so-easy fix: Extensive electrical work. Exchanging one light fixture for another in the same spot is simple; updating old or unsafe systems is another matter entirely. Electrical work should definitely be left to the pros, and electrical repairs in an older home can cost a pretty penny, so be sure to get a thorough inspection and review it in detail.


6. Easy fix: Repurpose a room. Just because a room is shown as a messy kids’ room or workout space doesn’t mean that’s what will make the most sense for you. As you tour potential new homes, think creatively about the spaces you see and try to imagine your own furniture in them. One person’s overstuffed home office could be your perfect sun room.

Not-so-easy fix: Adding on. Remodeling costs get a whole lot bigger whenever you talk about changing the footprint of a home, so try not to be seduced by talk of how “easy” it would be to tack a room on to the back of the house. Although there are always exceptions, your best bet is usually to find a house with a footprint you can work with.
 
 

7. Easy fix: Remove or cover up popcorn ceilings. Not much dates a house like the lumpy, bumpy texture of a popcorn ceiling. Thankfully, fixing it isn’t too complicated, and you’ll soon have a nice, smooth ceiling. The most common method is simply scraping it off, but if there’s any chance that lead and-or asbestos might be present in the paint or the popcorn material itself, you’ll need to cover it up with drywall instead.


8. Easy fix: Add architectural interest. If you love the look of older homes with lots of original architectural details but haven’t been able to find the right one at the right price, it’s still possible to get some of the detail you crave, even in a newer build. Crown molding, baseboards, picture rails and even built-in features like bookcases and bench seating can be added by a carpenter to give a boxy new build added character. It’s an extra cost, but it’s not especially difficult, and it can make a big difference in how you experience a home.


9. Easy fix: Refinish floors. If you’re lucky enough to spot a house with real wood floors, don’t let a dull finish turn you off. While engineered hardwood can usually be refinished only a few times during its life (the number depends on how thick the veneer is) solid hardwoods can take a lot more, so you can have gorgeous, glossy floors (or artfully beat-up floors if you desire) for years to come.
 
 

10. Easy fix: Add landscaping. Yard looking a little bare? Adding landscaping, whether a simple DIY job or a landscaping pro’s design and installation, is something that can make a huge impact on curb appeal and, more important, how you feel when you come home each day.
 

Tell us: If you’re house hunting (or soon will be), what one thing makes you head for the hills? Or, for current homeowners, what do you wish you had known before buying your home?

Why Your Backyard May Be Making You Healthier

 
Whether it’s dining alfresco, tending to the garden, or getting in a run, summer living is an outside affair. But, did you know that buying a home with a backyard can contribute to a healthy lifestyle in more ways than one?  Here are 5 reasons why your backyard may be making your healthier this summer:
 
Better Bone Health
According to the Mayo Clinic, as little as 10 minutes in the sun is thought to prevent Vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is important to maintaining normal blood levels of calcium in the body, which helps to build healthy bones. Spending just a short time outdoors, weeding, grilling or just lounging can have a positive effect on both mind and body.
 
 
Slimmer Waist Lines
When the weather is warmer, salads are a great meal or side-dish.  Mix up any combination of fresh ingredients (fruits, vegetables, legumes or nuts), a heart-healthy vinaigrette and enjoy dinner without any guilt.
For great ideas of summer salads, check out this collection of recipes from Cooking Light.
 
While the science of eating is complicated, grilling can be a healthier alternative to other cooking methods like pan frying.  Grilling lean meats like skinless chicken breasts and omega-3 rich fishes like salmon can make for a quick, tasty and healthy meal.  Add a few veggies like corn or peppers to the fire to round out a delicious summer feast.
 
Because it takes time to carry everything needed for a backyard meal out to the patio and back, you may find yourself more inclined to take your time enjoying the meal and less likely to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar after dinner.  Instead, opt for fresh fruit for a delicious after-meal treat.
 
 
Peace of Mind
Nothing is better for the soul than quality time with those that we love.  Spend some time away from the screens (TV, phones, tablets, etc.) and instead enjoy some down time with family and friends in the great outdoors.  Nature has proven to give your brain a break from daily over-stimulation and can help improve focus and mood.
 
 
Improved Vision
Birdwatching from the back deck may be doing more good than you realize. An Australia study has found that being outdoors can improve distance vision and lower the chance of nearsightedness.
 
 
Healthier Hearts
It’s easy to stay active in the outdoors, whether you choose a run around the neighborhood, backyard yoga, or a lap in the pool.  Almost any activity you enjoy can be done within the confines of a backyard and will not only help keep those extra ice cream calories at bay, but can increase heart health.
 
To find your backyard oasis, visit coldwellbanker.com.

Road Trip: Lock-Up & Pack-Up Properly

Guest post by Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

Road Trip! Remember the days when the whole family piled into the station wagon for a summer road trip with a few bags, a cooler and some mad libs? There were sing alongs, license plate games and quality family time. Today, that simple life is challenging with all of the electronic distractions we have, but with some packing knowledge and creativity, you can still create those memories for you and your kids, tech-free.  

Our digital world can help or hinder the security of your home while you are away. Home burglaries rise in July and August due to summer vacations.  Take simple steps to secure your home before hitting the gas. If you use some tech, you can actually protect your home better than ever before. There are also some good old fashion ways to secure your house, giving you peace of mind while you are on the open road.

So before you hit the road this summer, follow these two check lists for locking up and packing up to keep your home safe, the car clutter-free, wire-free and the kids happy!

Lock-Up

Secure Doors – Locks are not enough to keep a determined thief out. Ask your local hardware store about a strike plate lock. The strike plate protects your door from forced entry. And, don’t forget about sliding doors, they are the most vulnerable. So while you are at the hardware store ask them about a lock pin for your sliding door and place wooden dowels in the tracks. These three pieces of door hardware will frustrate a thief and likely cause them to give-up.

Install Timers – A dark house is a target. Don’t just flip a switch when you head out the door and leave it on the entire time. Place your outdoor lights and a few indoor lamps on timers. This way you will be green and fool potential burglars by setting them to a schedule. Put the timers on a few days before you leave to make sure your lights are going on and off correctly and mimic your regular routine.

Outdoor Lights – Install motion detectors on your outdoor lights. Illuminating a would be thief as they enter your yard is a great way to scare them off.

Refrain from Social Media – In our Facebook world, every vacation moment is shared. While it is tempting to share your fun and latest location with friends, you are also letting a whole lot of people know that you are not home. Save the pics and post them when you get home.

Smart Devices – Consider purchasing a home management system with a camera that detects movement in your home. These devices will send you alerts when there is a presence in or around your home. You can also hire a home security monitoring service, make sure they come highly recommended.

Hire a House Sitter – Have a neighbor, family, friend or babysitter stay at your home or keep an eye on it for you. There are also companies that offer house sitting services. For example, LuxxeLife, a full-service estate management provider, will watch over your home and make sure it doesn’t get into any trouble while you’re gone. This is a great way to ensure complete home security, especially if you are taking a longer road trip.

Lawn Care – An unruly lawn is a giveaway. Have a neighborhood kid or landscaper mow your lawn while you are away.

Hidden Keys – This one may seem obvious, but can often be forgotten. Now is the time to remove any hidden keys!

Mail: Make sure you’ve put a vacation stop on mail and newspapers or have someone picking them up daily. A pile of mail is another giveaway.

Pets: Never leave pets unattended. Make sure they are safely boarded or hire a pet sitter.

Pack-Up

Organized Packing 101

Plan: Think about your itinerary and pack according to your stops. For instance, pack one suitcase with the family’s clothing for your stop to hike the Grand Canyon and another suitcase for the wine tasting and restaurant tour  in Sonoma. This will make unpacking and re-packing simplified as well as finding different weather and activity clothing a cinch.

Color Code: Keep bags and suitcases different colors so that they are easily identifiable or add bright stickers or yarn to the handles.

Involve the Kids: Encourage your kids to pack themselves so that they are involved in the planning of the trip. They can have their own suitcase or backpack that is their domain.

Be An Engineer: When loading up the car, think about when you will need to access to each bag along the trip. Make sure the first stop items are accessible first and so on. Next, place bigger items on the bottom and smaller items on top.

Don’t be afraid to turn things up side down, or on their sides, to fit better.

Essential Extras: Pack one backpack that stays well hidden in the car. Include your first-aid kit, camera, tickets, etc. And, bring one big collapsible duffle bag to for dirty laundry..

Entertainment!

We all know the key to a successful family road trip is keeping the kids happy in the car. Instead of relying on the devices and streaming movies, here are some helpful tips to focus on your surroundings to make the trip a memorable one.

Gift It: Wrap items like car games, deck of cards, sticker books, puzzle books, reading books, crayons, etc. as presents—try reusable bags to be eco-friendly. When you make stops along your route place the presents on the kids’ seats. When they come back to the car they will have an exciting gift to unwrap and play with! Bring extra backpacks to place the toys in once they are unwrapped.

Map It: Before you head out, sit down with your children with a map. You remember maps, right? Remember? AAA has them. Have your kids help you plan the trip out and then have them follow the map as you make your way to your destination. Do some research on each of the places you’ll be passing along the way. Print out a fact sheet for points of interest and use it to create a trivia game.

Happy Tummies: Hunger free kids are happy kids! Bring healthy snacks such as grapes, apples, carrots and string cheese. Include a loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter/almond butter and jelly, as well as treats like snack size packs of crackers and cookies. Avoid juice boxes as they tend to explode. Instead pack bottles of water and glass juice bottles that you can recycle at rest stops. Pack these items with plastic utensils and napkins in clear plastic bags in a cooler. Use blue ice – it is thinner and will easily fit into the mini-freezer in the hotel room.

Don't Leave Home Without...

In addition to your luggage, the following items will come in handy during your road trip to keep everyone safe and happy.

  1. Kleenex
  2. Hand sanitizer
  3. Baby wipes
  4. Paper towels and window cleaner
  5. Extra snack bags
  6. Medications
  7. Personal pillows
  8. Cell Phone Charger (yes, still bring the cells for emergencies and confirming reservations)
  9. Bug repellent
  10. Sunscreen
  11. Reservation confirmations for flights, rental cars, camp sites and hotels

 Now gas up (or plug in that electric car – be sure to know where the charging stations are!) and head down memory lane!



Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

Can Hiring a Professional Photographer For Listing Photos Help Sell Your Home Faster?

A picture is worth a thousand words. We’ve all heard the saying before, and it’s definitely true when it comes to real estate. It would be almost impossible to fully describe a house without pictures. There’s just one problem; too often homeowners forget about picture quality.

Not all images are created equal. Blurry or poor-quality photos can be detrimental when selling your home. The question is, “Does professional photography help sell homes?” The simple answer is yes.

Professional photography can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home more quickly. It’s one reason why professional real estate photography exists.

Don’t just take our word for it. The facts speak for themselves.

Buyers Care About Photos Most
When looking at property, experts revealed that buyers are most interested in real estate photography. In fact, 95.1% of buyers first looked at pictures over everything else on a listing. Only after the pictures caught their attention did buyers move onto the property description section.

Real estate listing photos are particularly important when it comes to using the internet to home shop. According to the National Association of Realtors, 92% of buyers use the internet to shop for a home. Without photos, many homebuyers won’t even bother clicking on an online home listing.

Professional Photos Attract More Buyers
Professional real estate photography can earn you between $1,000 and $100,000 more on your final sales price according to a study. That’s serious cash.

In addition, better quality photos can also increase the number of people clicking on your listing. This means that simply updating your listing with professional photos can potentially double the attention your home gets from potential buyers.

Professional Photos Give You a Competitive Edge
It’s easy to tell the difference between amateur photography and high-quality professional real estate photography. There really is no comparison, and your buyers will immediately recognize the difference and be more attracted to beautiful photography.

What’s the difference?

  • Art Direction: Professional photographers understand the essential elements that make up quality home images. This means that your bathroom won’t just be a picture of the toilet, but a piece of art that makes your bathroom look the best it’s ever looked.
  • Staged Rooms: An empty home won’t get you anywhere. Furnished rooms and spectacularly staged photos attract homebuyers by helping them envision their new life in your home.
  • Perfect Composition: Great real estate photos need the right light, angles, and composition to capture emotion, structure, and beauty. A professional sees all of this and makes it happen.
  • Editing: Few pictures are automatically perfect. Instead, they require careful post-production editing to enhance the final product.

Better images provide an ideal showcase for the home you love. It’s all of these elements together that help professional photos stand out online and in every listing. So, if you want your home to have a competitive edge in your area, you need the right real estate photographer.

Professional Photos Sell Homes Faster
Studies reveal that professional real estate photos can help a listing sell faster than comparable homes without professional photography. This means that if you have limited time or want to get your home off of your hands quickly, you can’t just point and shoot with your own camera. You need images that are produced professionally in order to have a major impact on potential buyers.

In the end, there’s no doubt that professional home photography is a good idea if you want to sell your home faster and for more money. To help get you started, contact a Coldwell Banker affiliated agent today.

Finding Homes for Home’s Best Friend

Nothing compares to the warmth and comfort of being at home. But for many dogs across America, this feeling is foreign.

According to The Humane Society, between six and eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year. Plus, almost three million healthy shelter pets are not adopted annually, and only about 30 percent of pets in homes come from shelters or rescues.

These sobering facts are what served as the inspiration the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project. After more than 100 years of helping people find homes, the real estate company extended its mission to man’s best friend with its “Homes for Dogs Project.” By partnering with Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, the Coldwell Banker network has helped to find more than 20,000 dogs their furever homes.

To increase awareness of the effort, Coldwell Banker has focused its latest advertising campaign called “Old Dog New Dog” to capture the heartfelt story of an agent giving back to her community by helping shelter animals find homes through the “Homes for Dogs Project.”

The commercial features rescue dogs, such as Max, who was adopted in 2014 after being spotted on Adopt-a-Pet.com. Before he was put up for adoption, Max was picked up as a stray and delivered to a “high kill” shelter in San Bernadino, CA. The shelter only keeps dogs for five days before it puts them down, and after Max had been at the shelter for four days, a worker reached out to The Dexter Foundation, a local non-profit dog rescue and adoption agency, which quickly rescued Max and found temporary foster care for him.

“I found him on Adopt-a-Pet.com as I was looking for a dog to rescue of that sort of breed and age,” said Kelly Saffrey, Max’s current parent. “As soon as I saw his picture, I just knew he was the pet for me.”

Adopt-a-Pet.com currently has more than 15,000 shelters and rescues in its network, and it is thrilled to be partnering with Coldwell Banker.

“We share Coldwell Banker’s view that nothing turns a house into a home more quickly than the addition of a loving pet,” said Abbie Moore, executive director of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “And we are so inspired by the desire of Coldwell Banker to launch this amazing program.”

For more information on the “Homes for Dogs Project,” head to coldwellbanker.com/homesfordogs

Why You Really Need a Home Inspection

Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make, and you want to ensure you get the best value for your hard-earned dollar. That’s why more and more home buyers today are turning to professional Home Inspection experts. A professional Home Inspector takes a close look beneath a house’s surface, and then prepares a detailed written report for the prospective buyer on such things as the condition of the foundation, electrical service, roof, insulation, and other critical structural factors. Your Coldwell Banker sales professional can help you connect with an experienced trusted Home Inspection service in your community.

Although costs will vary, you can probably expect to spend two to three hundred dollars for an inspection of a single family home. And who pays for it? Well, since the benefit is almost entirely that of the home buyer, it’s usually the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection …particularly in a “hot” real estate market, where the home sellers have more leverage. All things considered, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides, and the negotiating power it can give you — especially if it indicates that there are major repairs required, but you decide to make an offer anyway.

When it comes to making your offer to purchase, your Coldwell Banker professional can provide you with good advice on how to allow for a home inspection as a part of this process. Subject to the homeowner’s permission, you can commission a Home Inspection before or even after submitting your offer to purchase. This is done by having your Coldwell Banker salesperson prepare a conditional offer that’s contingent on a Home Inspection report that’s acceptable to you. This approach gives you some distinct advantages: if the conditional offer is accepted, the property is temporarily held against other offers, yet you still have a legal escape route if the report turns up some major negative surprises, such as a bad roof or a crumbling foundation. On the other hand, if the conditional offer isn’t accepted, then the need to pay for a home inspection may never arise. Your Coldwell Banker professional can counsel you on the best approach to suit your market and your individual situation.

For more information about inspections click here.

Is Summer or Winter the Best Season to Buy a Home?

You hear it a lot – there are best and worst times to make any sort of purchase. Whether it’s a television, a car, or a home, statistics are available that may influence your decision on when would be the best time to make a purchase.

Numerical data isn’t the only thing you should be taking into consideration, though. Each season has something different to offer in terms of making the home buying process easier or more challenging. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying during the summer or winter.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Summer

Did you know there are more homes on the market during summer? According to the National Association of Realtors, inventory in the U.S. is actually 15% greater in the warmer months than in the colder months.

If you have a lot of items on your home wish list, you might be better off searching during summer as you’ll have more homes from which to choose. The only disadvantage (depending on the climate where you live) is that summer results in more competition, as a greater amount of people are likely to visit open houses in nicer weather.

It probably goes without saying, but moving during summer is a bit more pleasant than moving during winter. For many, sweating beats freezing while trying to pack and unpack a moving truck. You can always cool yourself down, but it’s usually harder to warm up. It also tends to be safer if you reside in or are moving to an area that gets snow or ice.

If you have school-aged children, moving during their summer vacation offers more flexibility than trying to move during the winter holidays or spring break.

Lastly, one nice thing about summer is the lack of snow. That can be a huge obstacle when trying to look at the exterior of a home. You might miss the fact that a few shingles (or the entire roof) need to be replaced when there’s a pile of snow on top of it. The same goes for cracks in the driveway, and curb appeal in general.

What to Think About When Buying a Home During the Winter

There’s less competition in the winter as most people are busy with the holidays, their new year’s resolutions, or getting back into the swing of things at work. At this time of the year, buying a home isn’t typically at the forefront of most people’s minds.

What does that mean for you? No bidding wars, and more room to negotiate if a seller is feeling a bit desperate.

They might be if the reason why they’re moving is a pressing one. Combined with having to work around their real estate agent’s holiday schedule, having less showings, and subsequently, less interested buyers, sellers might be willing to give you a better deal or include more bonuses in the offer.

Again, depending on where you live, the weather during winter can be brutal. You’ll be able to easily identify drafts from windows in a house, and you’ll notice how effective the heating system is.

While snow can work against you, it can also work for you as you’ll be able to see how well the roof and driveway handle several inches of accumulation. Are there noticeable dips in the driveway? Have ice puddles formed on the property? These fairly major repairs can give you an advantage during negotiations.

Considerations for Both Seasons
There are a few factors to be concerned with during both seasons – namely, your real estate agent’s availability, and your neighbors.

Obviously, real estate agents may take time off during the holidays in the winter, but if they have children, they may also be likely to take off during the summer as well. Before you work with an agent, ask them about their availability over the next few months. You want to ensure that their planned absence won’t negatively affect your intentions to buy.

On the other hand, an agent looking to work through the winter holidays may be more motivated to help you, given the number of prospective buyers is lower.

Additionally, when you buy a new home, you’ll want to be surrounded by good neighbors, right? Summertime is great for seeing which neighbors excel at lawn maintenance and which ones let their grass grow for weeks on end. If you’re someone that cares a lot about a home’s upkeep, this might concern you.

At the same time, you’ll be able to see if neighbors work together to get rid of snow during the winter, or if houses on the block are nicely (or obnoxiously) lit up with holiday decorations.

Which Season is Better for Buying a Home?
As you may conclude, there’s no right or wrong answer. There are benefits and impediments to searching for a home in any season. You shouldn’t let weather or the trending numerical data hold you back. When you’re ready to buy, you’ll know it.

A Complete Glossary of Home Selling Terms

What’s the CMA of your home and does the buyer have a plan for paying the closing costs? Does that sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo? If it does, then it’s time that you get up to date on the latest real estate lingo.

When selling a home, it’s impossible to avoid real estate terminology. Everyone uses it from your real estate agent to your bank loan manager and the home seller. If you don’t know what they’re saying, you could put yourself at risk of a bad deal or an unfortunate misunderstanding that can cause endless trouble for closing the deal.

To help prepare you for the home selling process, we’ve created a complete glossary of real estate terms.

Appraisal — This is an estimate of the property’s worth/value. To determine the value of your home, you’ll need a real estate appraisal with expertise in your geographic area.

Appreciation — Over time, your house should gain in value due to increased marketing demand and inflation. The increased value of your home from when you purchased it is considered its appreciation in value. Depreciation refers to a decrease in value.

Assessed Value — This is the dollar value that a public tax assessor assigns to your home for the purpose of city/state taxes. This value is separate from a home appraisal value or market value.

Assumption of Mortgage — When the purchaser takes over your mortgage obligating, making them personally liable for payment of an existing mortgage.

Closing Costs — These refer to miscellaneous expenses (typically paid by the buyer) to close the deal. Expenses can include mortgage fees, recording fees, title insurance, transfer taxes, credit check fees, commissions, inspection fees, appraisal fees, and more.

CMA: CMA stands for Comparative Market Analysis, also referred to as “comps.” This report looks at similar homes in your area that were sold or are currently on the market and can help you determine an accurate value for your home.

Common Area — When selling a home, you should also mention facilities and space that are included perks. For a condominium, this real estate lingo can refer to a shared pool, parking, laundry, or courtyard. In a house, it can refer to managed homeowners areas.

Counteroffer — If you reject the initial home offer made by the buyer, you can make a revised offer that is more desirable.

Deed — The deed is a written document that transfers the title of your property from one owner to another.

Earnest Money Deposit — You’ll receive this payment from the buyer as an offer that indicates serious interest in your property. It is counted toward the down payment and is refundable.

Equity — This is the difference between your home’s fair market value and the value of your unpaid mortgage.

Escrow —Refers to an account set up by the lender, which holds funds from the buyer pending completion of sale.

Mortgage — A lien of claim against your property that the buyer gives to the lender as security for the money borrowed. When selling, you’ll need to ensure that you can make back your mortgage note.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — When selling your home, an MLS is an organization that collects and distributes home sale information to popular listing sites.

Principal — The amount of money you borrowed to buy your home that you must pay back with interest.

Real Estate Agent — A professional with a real estate license who has passed a test as required by the state.

Realtor — This is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors, meaning they uphold certain standards and codes of ethics.

Real Estate Broker — A real estate agent that has additional education, has passed the state broker’s exam, and meets minimum transaction requirements.

Sales Agreement — Also referred to as an agreement of sale, contract of purchase, or purchase agreement. This is the contract in which the seller agrees to sell and the buyer agrees to buy under specific terms and conditions.

Title — The title is a document that refers to your right of ownership and thus your ability to sell.

Selling your home should never be confusing. Work with real estate professionals who can make the process as easy as possible and help you understand all the real estate terminology that you need to know. Contact us today to get the help you need and deserve.