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Karen Miglin

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Karen Miglin

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Transforming Nursery into the best "Big Kid" Room

(Published on - 5/14/2021 2:01:47 PM)

It’s never easy to accept that your little one is growing up. But something fun that happens when they do start to become a little bit taller and stronger is moving them from a nursery into their very own big boy or big girl room full of their blossoming personality. Let’s go through five tips to help you transform that nursery into a kid’s dream room!

The Big Kid Bed

The biggest change when converting your child’s nursery into their long-term big kid room is going to be saying goodbye to the crib and introducing a toddler or full size bed. This transition may be a little hard at first since your child is most likely going to want to get out of bed now that they aren’t surrounded by the crib bars, but it’s also something to be celebrated! Your kiddo will be so excited to have a big bed of their own and you can make it even more fun by adding a cozy comforter and placing their favorite blanket or stuffed animal on top. You can find plenty of different bed frames for various prices that will fit your style and/or theme.

Play Area

When you design your family nursery you often don’t think about a big play area since you often have the baby with you in the larger rooms of the home so you can keep your eye on them or have a designated pop-up playpen. But as your child grows, so does their toy collection and love of play space! Setting up a play rug for them to set up their dollhouse or racetrack, placing a small table and chairs for building Legos or an easel for arts and crafts, are all great ways to give your child their own private area to play and be creative that is still safe and easy to clean up.

Decor

The nursery decor and theme is completely up to you before the little one arrives but when making it into the room of your child’s dream, it’s important to ask for their input! They have now started to show off their own personality, likes and dislikes so they will be much more excited about the new room if they have a say in some things. Have them pick three theme options and see what you think would work best. Then have them pick out a special painting, picture or other piece of decor that they for sure want to have in their space. Giving them a special project will allow you to decorate the room with what you and your child want seamlessly!

Make Room for More

Like we mentioned before, the older your child grows, the more stuff they accumulate. From clothes, toys, school books to larger furniture, it’s a given that you will need to do a little reorganizing to their previous nursery. Try to find storage pieces that are easy to clean and easy to open to make your life much easier. You can also find plenty of creative ways to make extra room in their closet by adding shelves or cabinets (if space permits). Lastly, getting rid of baby toys and clothes can be hard because of the emotional attachment they hold, but it’s essential to only keep the important things and donate the unnecessary items to make room for a growing boy or girl.

Invest in the Future

Remodeling isn’t cheap and redoing a nursery is no exception. You can find plenty of affordable decorations, or DIY makeover tips but you may want to consider splurging a bit on the big furniture purchases. Investing in items that can be used throughout not only their toddler years but into their pre-teen ages will save you money and time in the long end. The best way to do this is by creating a budget with different categories. Designate the least amount for decor or “knick-knacks”, then add in for paint or flooring if necessary, next assess what furniture you need to buy and then look online to see what pieces go for what price. After you know the range of pricing, you’re able to decide what is most important to you and what makes the most sense to splurge on.

Just remember to have fun, ask for help from your little one and invest in quality or quantity and your big kid will have the best room on the block!

UPDATED


Backyard Remodeling Projects to Increase Value

(Published on - 2/4/2021 9:59:59 PM)

UPDATED

For households that are lucky to have a backyard, the area serves as a haven where they can truly enjoy their free time or escape from the hustle and bustle of life. Whether you spend a lot of time in the backyard, are planning to use this space to entertain your guests, or want to boost your property value, a backyard remodeling project could be the right choice for you. 

No wonder, a majority of homeowners are investing in upgrading their backyards. 

In this post, we have a few simple yet profitable backyard upgrades that will boost the curb appeal and value of your home.

Refresh Your Landscape for Privacy

Curb appeal doesn’t stop at your front door and yard. It goes all the way to your backyard and speaks of the overall upkeep of your home. What better way to improve a home’s curb appeal than working on its landscaping.  

Good backyard landscaping can have a huge impact on your property value. In a report shared by the National Association of Realtors, 17 percent of real estate agents agreed that a property with good landscaping helps them seal the deal faster. 

A well-maintained green hedge around the deck not just improves the privacy of the space but also makes the area more inviting. Add trimmed boxwood shrubs, climbers, or pergola fencing to render a secluded and snug feel to the area. If you are planning to add mature trees, make sure you leave enough space, allowing them to grow without uprooting your deck’s foundation. 

Add a Functional Deck or Patio 

The 2019 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling confirms that the addition of a deck with railings and a built-in bench is the fourth most valuable home improvement project a homeowner can undertake. 

Adding a functional deck will make your backyard conducive to entertainment. It’s fantastic to have a functional area where you or your guests can sit and enjoy. 

Here are a few quick ideas to build a rock-solid and aesthetically pleasing deck. 

  • Think about the foot traffic on the deck. Plan your furniture, grill arrangements, and flooring accordingly. 
  • Employ building materials that are easy to maintain. For the decking and the railing, most people use composites or PVC as they are low maintenance.

Similarly, for the deck flooring, it’s better to choose a skid-proof and durable material like rubber. Rubber surfacing is not just durable and versatile but also improves its overall look. 

  • Consider adding design elements like a conversation pit, lounge chairs, a spa, or a container garden. 
  • Add a grill or barbecue to create a designated spot for dining and outdoor entertainment.
  • Deck lighting should include sconces adhered to the exterior walls, accent lights around the perimeter, and flood lights fixed to the roof awning. 

You can also add a few solar lights along the walkways and the garden to show off your garden at night. This way you can also improve the safety of your abode by reducing the risk of people tripping and keeping burglars at bay. 

Go for an Outdoor Kitchen 

An outdoor kitchen equates to luxury and is one of the most desirable features of a house. In fact, outdoor cooking areas topped theAmerican Institute of Architects’ list of kitchen and bath trends. An estimated $14 thousand outdoor kitchen project can get you about71 percent at the time of resale. 

So, adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard is one of the most profitable decisions you can make. Consider sectioning your backyard to make space for grills, wine refrigerators, side burners, and a dishwasher. Add a lounge area nearby to make it easy for your guests to carry food around and eat together. 

Invest in an Activity Area

Several young families are opting for a build-in activity area in the backyard to make space for kids’ play or working out. For instance, families with kids can invest in a swing set, sandbox, or a playhouse. Similarly, you can look into building an outdoor gym or a setting for things like table-tennis or bean bags. 

The best part about this project is that it doesn’t cost much, yet adds immense value to the space.

Add a Water Body

Water instantly adds an element of relaxation and entertainment to an area. It’s something that can be enjoyed and nurtured by everyone and is proven to relieve stress. 

Add a miniature pond, a koi water pond, or a water fountain to add life to your backyard. If you want to make the space more entertaining, consider adding a hot tub or sauna to convert your backyard into a sanctuary. 

Summing Up 

Whether you are ready to sell your home or merely want to improve your home’s curb appeal, the tips shared in this post will help you add interest to your backyard and boost its functionality. Go ahead and try these backyard upgrades to boost your property value. 


U.S. Housing Market Predictions for 2021

(Published on - 12/11/2020 3:12:17 PM)

UPDATED

First, the facts: According to NAR, July 2020 posted the highest monthly total of existing home sales since 2006, jumping 24.7% over June to hit 5.86 million (SAAR). And for the first time in U.S. history, the median existing-home price for all housing types broke a record with the median surpassing $300,000.

According to Zillow, the typical U.S. home sold in just 16 days in September, a typically slow-moving month for real estate.

Still, delinquencies and subsequent distressed property sales could put the brakes on home price growth in the future. If, for instance, CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft’s forecast holds true, home price growth could slow to 0.6% in July 2021 with prices declining in 11 states, led by Louisiana, Illinois, Connecticut, Iowa and Arkansas.

Consumers may also be feeling the trepidation. In a Zillow survey of more than 1,000 homeowners, about a third who are considering selling in the next three years cite life being too uncertain right now (34%) and financial uncertainty (31%) as reasons they aren’t selling. Despite a strong sellers market driven by high demand and low inventory, home sellers are largely taking a wait-and-see approach.

Among the 99% whose homes are not on the market, more than a quarter (26%) said they were concerned they would not be able to find or afford a new home once their current home was sold, the most commonly cited reason for not selling. General life uncertainty (22%) ranked as the second-most common reason, followed by anticipation of a more favorable sale price if they wait (21%).

Will 2021 Bring a Housing Recession or Continued Boom?

Recently, we asked several real estate coaches, team leads and brokers to give us their best housing market predictions for 2021. Here’s what they forecast for the future.

“2021 will be the year when everyone looks back and says, ‘That’s when it all really changed!’ 2020 was not the catalyst; it was the final straw that drove conflicting priorities into consensus. Change happened in 2021 because it was given permission by the events of 2020. I predict interest rates will hover and then rise a little bit, but until the dust settles, keeping mortgage rates low and the overall ability of most people to get a mortgage will continue to be a simple and timely process, which will be about 30-50 days. For the first six months of next year, I expect that inventory will stay low with a list to contract date of just over three weeks and a list to close date being just under 50 days. That will creep up around the holidays and then go back to this level by mid-spring. By next fall, it will be higher and begin to show a slowing market.

One more key indicator worth mentioning is that for the first time in the history of our industry, there are more agents actively licensed in the business than there are active listings. If that trend continues, which it cannot for long, the overall number of agents will take a hit when it comes renewal time, which is a state-by-state process. I would expect to see a dramatic change in agent population especially among brokerages that hire in volume. By mid 2021, we will see the impact especially if the market begins to slow and other job opportunities begin to open back up.”

-Matt B. Vigh, Real Estate Coach

“I think mortgage forbearance is going to present a problem for some people, but the difference between now and 2008 is more people have equity now. Statistics show that 47% of people who have mortgages around the U.S. have 100% equity in their homes. I predict those who are going to be in trouble own a home with low equity, aren’t able to get back into a job and are facing expired mortgage forbearance. Those distressed properties will present an opportunity to get back on short sales in certain markets, though it will be five months before we even see that.”

-Jan O’Brien, Trainer, Speaker, Coach

“I find the market interesting today because when we started opening things up in the summer we had record numbers. But the problem I worry about for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 is the surplus of distressed properties due to mortgage forbearance. That’s going to have a dramatic effect on many folks. Unemployment is going to play into that. It’s all regional of course. I do think big cities are going to be affected by this because they don’t have to work on site so that will shift the market. I suspect a slowdown in 2021 but, to be honest, I thought it would have already happened. In the next 18 months, I think we will see the brakes put on the market. I don’t see how it can’t.”

-Justin Letheby, Broker, Certified Trainer, Speaker and Coach

“When I look back at the mid-2000s, there was lots of speculation. Now, there’s cash on the sidelines so it gives some cushion against a potential real estate downturn. People are sitting around on cash because they’re scared of what happened to them in 2008. So they’ll hold their cash and, as interest rates come up a little, that will motivate them to buy. I think 2021 is going to be an amazing year and who knows where it’s going from there!”

-Ricky Carruth, Agent, Coach

“A COVID vaccine, treatment or both will likely create an unprecedented market in 2021. While the market has been strong in 2020, both buyers and sellers have been sitting on the sideline due to the pandemic. I expect a market coming that is better than we have seen in many years.

-Greg Sanders, CEO of Realty One Group Edge

“We’ve all witnessed a real estate bull market that we’ve never seen in many generations. Lenders are lending within the constraints that don’t cause any yellow flags, and spring will be strong if not stronger than any spring we’ve ever seen. I’m fully expecting 2021 to be a bigger year and as big if not bigger than 2020 despite COVID.

I’m hearing lots of people saying they want to buy and want to sell, but they also don’t mind waiting. All the batters are on deck, and we have some sluggers. We’re such an appreciating market that, for the homeowner who gets in trouble, there’s a rip chord with the equity they’ve built over the last couple of years, so I don’t see mortgage forbearance as being a big problem. Oh, and I also think the Chiefs will win the Super Bowl again this year!”

-Quentin Dane, Broker

“Already, I’m seeing people circling the city, asking me about whether it’s a good time to look for that pied a terre in New York. I tell them to wait until February.”

Joseph Rand, VP of Innovation at Howard Hanna| Rand Realty


Common Questions About Property Taxes

(Published on - 12/4/2020 9:53:24 PM)

UPDATED

The journey in buying a new home is what many individuals dream of but, buying a home is not always easy and many long time homeowners can attest to that feeling. Owning your own home does come with extra duties and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is property tax.

How much do you know about property taxes? What does it do, and what do you need to know about it when buying a home? If you’re a first-time homebuyer, budgeting the property tax cost is an important first step in knowing what you can afford. 

So, let’s cut to the chase, clarify some things about property taxes and answer some common questions.

What Is a Property Tax? 

Let’s identify first what a property tax is. A property tax is one of the long lists of government-issued tax to all its constituents who own a property, whether it be a house, a rental property or a building. Individuals and other legal entities, such as corporations, are charged with property tax. 

It will be used to provide funding to local utilities, such as water and sewer improvements, better law enforcement, road and highway construction, fire protection and other services that the local government deem to benefit the community.

How Do You Calculate Your Property Tax ?

Calculating your property tax is easy. However, you need a few things to get it done. First, you need to know the assessed value of your property, which the local government’s tax or property assessor has done. Also, you need to know how much the property tax rate is in your state. 

The property tax rate varies from one state to another. You can check an estimated property assessed value by doing a quick search on the website of properties in your city or county tax assessor. 

You can also ask for professional help if you’re not entirely familiar with how property tax goes. Fortunately, there are real estate professionals who specialize in this matter, such as the JM Tax property tax advisors. They can help you understand your property tax, explain how the property assessor assesses your property, and get you into the loop of computing your property taxes. 

Why Is My Property Tax Expensive? 

There are many reasons why your property tax may be more expensive than others, such as the state’s current property tax rate being high. If you’re residing in the heart of New York, the property tax rate is expected to be high. But if you’re living in the countryside, such as Alabama or Colorado, the property tax rate is lower 

Also, if you have recently done a renovation or added more square footage to your property, your property tax is expected to be higher as well. All of these can increase your home value, which also affects your property tax calculation. 

Do I Need To Work With A Property Tax Advisor? 

A smart answer would be yes. A property tax advisor can significantly help you handle property tax, especially if the property is your business. It’s hard to keep up with different property assessment adjustments in each jurisdiction, and unfortunately, not all homeowners are capable of handling it efficiently. 

That’s why a property tax advisor can lend advice to sort things out, clearly identify and explain if you’re charged with the correct property assessment and paying the right amount. 

What Happens If I Missed Paying My Property Taxes? 

Despite already paying off your mortgage fees and freeing yourself from the extended monthly obligations, your property tax will still be present. As long as you’re a legal resident and a property owner, you are liable to pay for the property tax. But this time, you don’t need to pay it to the mortgage collector, instead you will directly pay it to the local tax collector. 

Why Does My Neighbor Pay Less Property Tax Than Me? 

A lot of things influence how a property tax is assessed. Lot size, type of house structure, size of the house, the age and the condition, renovations and even the presence of a garage can affect the property tax calculation. 

Property Tax Relief, Am I Eligible For That? 

Tax relief, usually called tax breaks, are available for every homeowner. It’s one of the perks of owning a property. Homeowners can get tax deductions, tax credits, and rebates on their next tax bill. 

You can also utilize your property taxes paid throughout the year when you file a federal income tax return. This can save you or replenish the expenses you made by being a responsible taxpayer.

Takeaway

Buying and owning a house is difficult, which is why many financial advisors take so much effort in emphasizing that getting one is not an easy feat. Hence, consider this set of questions when you start your journey in finally buying your dream house.

Author Bio

Lauren Cordell is a full-time professional blog writer and an advocate of smart financial management. Before Lauren became a professional blog writer, she used to be a financial advisor from various financial institutions. Lauren focuses on explaining how important better financial planning can be. Now that she has her blog site, her topics revolve around financial management, understanding why you need to be smart with your expenses, and other related topics.


Five Reasons You Should Sell Now

(Published on - 11/19/2020 10:12:33 PM)

UPDATED

With the global pandemic causing many home sellers to put their listing on hold or to take it off the market completely, right now is actually a great time to put your house up for sale. Although, COVID-19. caused weariness, it has actually not affected the market in a negative way like many thought was possible. Here are five reasons to pull the trigger and sell your home now.

Demand is High

The market has more demand than ever right now with not less people selling and more people looking to buy. With the pandemic, many people have resisted listing their home, making it more of a challenge for those looking for their dream place. Plus as more millennials join the market looking to buy for a growing family or a young professional purchasing their first home, there is a growing demand that is just going to continue into the upcoming months.

Lastly, as people transition to working or learning remote, their current homes may not be working in obvious ways that they didn’t see before, increasing the likelihood they look elsewhere.

Less Competition

Just as less people willing to list their home has increased demand, it has also made the market have less competition. There are still buyers looking to buy and with fewer options to look at, your home has less competition to worry about and a better chance to be seen. Fewer homes on your local MLS means the chances of your home being seen online increases. Plus it also helps your real estate agent  market your home and identify what your home may have that is missing in the limited inventory and increase your chances of quick sale or bidding war.

Great ROI

As mentioned above, times when the market is low in inventory can cause buyers to go into bidding wars on the home they like. If a buyer has been struggling to find the right place for themselves or their family, and they finally do, oftentimes they are willing to pay above asking price and engage in a bidding war to ensure they get the sale.

Listing your home now can give you a return on investment that not all home sellers are lucky enough to get. Many major markets and the smaller markets as well have seen lots of listings go for above asking price because buyers are struggling to find options. You can then take your earnings from the sale and reinvest, making an upgrade to your living situation.

Low Mortgage Rates

One positive thing that has come with the pandemic is low mortgage rates. Banks and other lenders are offering better deals in order to compete in the market. Low rates encourage homeowners to think about taking advantage of the deal and buying a home while the economy is still in their favor. Overall, there is no better time to receive a mortgage loan.

Virtual Tours

Many times homeowners aren’t sure they have the time to get their home ready for a sale, with the possibility of renovations or the constant upkeep needed for showings. With COVID-19 making virtual tours and virtual home buying much more accessible, you don’t have to worry about having your home spic span 24/7 in case your real estate agent wants to come over with potential buyers.

Virtual tours also give you more time to do the photos and video all at once, and then start fixing any small renovations to the home that you can highlight if buyers decide to come for a socially distanced in-person tour after seeing it online.


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