Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring after Severe Winter

Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring after Severe Winter

gutter_repairAs much of the United States recovers from one of the harshest winters in recent history, it is important to inspect your home for damage and plan for home maintenance, repair and remodeling projects. Winter weather can be particularly damaging to a home and the tips from NAHB Remodelers can return your home to top condition after the severe winter.

“Winter weather can damage homes in ways that aren’t easily visible,” says NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. “Home owners should protect their investment and hire a professional remodeler to repair or replace damaged components now, before spring storms create more problems.”

NAHB Remodelers recommends these top 10 tips for home owners to inspect for damage and make sure your home is ready for spring from top to bottom:

• Inspect roof—Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.

• Clean and repair gutters—Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.

• Look for leaks—Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.

• Clear exterior drains—Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.

• Inspect siding—Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose during winter storms.

• Check window and door seals—Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.

• Patch cracks—Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.

• Paint the exterior—Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.

• Inspect the HVAC—Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.

• Check your home’s grading—Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home’s foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.

Don’t wait to inspect your home and get damage fixed. Many professional remodelers not only renovate homes; they repair or replace damaged or deteriorating roofs, windows, doors and other home features. Remodeling and repair projects can require your home to be open to the elements and companies may have a backlog of work due to the length and severity of the winter season. Choose your repair and renovation projects for the year ahead and start planning now.

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Top 5 Home Seller Real Estate Mistakes

 

November 11, 2013  By 2 Comments
 

Mistakes Made By Home Sellers

Selling your home is challenging at the best of times. It may be the largest sale you have ever made. Combine this fact with a tough real estate market and you have a recipe for serious stress. Though it may be stressful, there is no reason to make selling your home any more difficult than it has to be. But first, you need to know what to avoid. Don’t make these common home selling mistakes when it comes time to place your home up for sale. Making any of these errors can be the Real Estate kiss of death for getting top dollar.

Overpricing The Home

Top Home Seller MistakesThis is a difficult hurdle for many home sellers to get over, especially if it is their first time selling a home. You love your home; you may have raised a family in your home. You may have also purchased your home at a price that later proved to be fleeting – such as at the height of the housing bubble. All of these situations can give you a feeling of certainty that your home is worth a lot – perhaps even a lot more than the comparable homes in your area.

Overpricing your home could prevent potential buyers from even considering it, or it could cause the home to sit on the market for an extended period of time. The longer your home sits, the more it is perceived as overpriced – or perhaps as a home with something wrong with it. When you finally do drop your price to something more reasonable, buyers begin hitting you with low-ball offers in hopes that you are desperate. After having your home on the market for six months or more, they may be right.

Overpricing often leads to you accepting a price far below your original number, and sometimes even below similar homes. Putting your home up for a fair price, and perhaps even for a slightly lower price than others in your market, can do the opposite. It can drive up the eventual selling price through multiple bids from hungry buyers.

Aim for a fair price that reflects the current market. Typically you can get a good handle on this after your home has been on the market for three to four weeks with ample people looking at it and providing feedback. Listen to what the market is telling you!

Neglecting Their Homes Condition

Home looking neglectedHomes are made up of many different components, all important to its overall look and performance. Buyers want to purchase homes that are in good repair, where everything works and can be expected to work in the near future. At least, this is true of buyers looking to pay close to the asking price of your home. This is why home sale preparation is essential to get top dollar for your home.

Bargain hunters are different. They want to find a home with obvious or not so obvious flaws. They look for weaknesses in the appearance or the function of a home, and hope to take advantage of those weaknesses in the bargaining process.

If you are like most homeowners, you want to sell your home for the maximum amount of money possible. However, you must realize that top dollar only goes to properties in good repair. Unless you want to haggle with the bargain hunters, you need to keep your home in good condition. If it is not that way now, you need to make it so before putting it up for sale. If your home and yard looks like the one in the old sitcom Sanford and Son then it is highly unlikely you will be getting top dollar for your home. In fact it goes without saying you will more than likely sell it for far less than what it is really worth with some minor repairs and upkeep!

If you are in doubt about the state of your home, you can always consult with an experienced real estate agent that is known for making sales. A good agent will give you a straight-faced answer about the current condition of your home, and what you can expect to get for it. Along with a home appraiser, a good agent is an excellent person to look to for advice on the saleability and state of your home.

Problems With House Showings

 Real Estate Home ShowingsHouse showings are an absolute necessity to make a deal. Buyers want to see your home, and they want to do it on their time. When you put your house on the market, you have to accept the fact that you are committing to showings, and you must be willing to make your available for those showings. Turning down showings is a sure way to kill potential sales.

Your agent is trained and experienced in “selling” a home. He or she knows how to present the home in the best possible light, and how to answer important questions that buyers are certain to have. They know how to make your home look good, and how to talk to buyers in a way that encourages a purchase. Choose an agent you trust, and let them do the heavy lifting.

This means that, if possible, you leave the buyer and the agent alone to tour your home. This will cut down on confusion, and ensure the best possible buyer experience. In addition do not expect the agent your hired to sell your home to accompany showings. This is a mistake that many sellers make thinking that the Realtor “sells” the house by being there. Realtors do not sell homes. Homes sell themselves! Purchasing a home is a very emotional decision. DO NOT expect that an agent pointing out minutia is what sells homes.

Keep in mind that most buyers and their agents do not want YOUR AGENT hovering over them. They want to be able to view the home and speak freely without the listing agent impeding their ability to do so.

Strong Odors In The Home

Home StinksIt may seem obvious, but sellers that forget to do things like take out the trash regularly, especially on the day of a showing, are not doing themselves any favors. Pet odors are also a concern, and should be addressed.

Strong odors are a turn off for buyers, and will greatly impact their impression of your home. This is why real estate agents always recommend a professional cleaning prior to listing a home. Make sure your carpet is clean and that all other odors are eliminated prior to showing. If you are a smoker it is highly recommended when selling to refrain from doing so in the house. More than likely you have become immune to the smell of cigarettes. For someone who does not smoke this is one of the biggest housing turn-offs.

If you start to show your home and are getting feedback that there is an older of cigarettes yet you have not been smoking in the home for a while it is probably safe to assume that the smell has become embedded into the furniture and curtains. It may be time to have these items professionally cleaned. Never under estimate odors when trying to sell your home. Above all else do not take this personally. Remember selling your home is a business transaction. Don’t take the attitude that you will find a buyer who also smokes, unless of course you don’t mind getting less money for your home!

Dark and Dirty Homes

Keep your home well lit and extremely clean. You want to make your home look as inviting as possible, which means good lighting and no clutter. If your home does not have a ton of windows make sure that on darker days you plan ahead and leave lights on in the darkest areas of the home. Dark homes are not appealing to buyers. Don’t rely on the buyer’s agent to be the one turning on lights. While you may not want to go to the expense of hiring a professional stager, you can at least make the effort to make minor staging concessions yourself.

Cleanliness applies to the exterior as much as the interior, so make certain the landscaping is cleaned up, leaves are raked and the grass is cut. Any clutter in the lawn should be eliminated. Keep the inside vacuumed, counters cleared off and all clothes put away at the very least.

The Importance of An Agent

Real Estate AgentAll of these mistakes are easily avoided with the help of an experienced real estate agent. A good agent knows what makes a home sell, and what does not. If you want to be certain that your home looks good to buyers, find a local agent that will work with you on selling your home. It may make the difference between a satisfying sale and serious disappointment.

Keep in mind that not all Real Estate agent are the same. In fact Realtors are a dime a dozen as it is very easy to get a Real Estate license. Do your home work and hire an agent that has a track record in both soft and strong markets. A top notch Realtor will thrive whether the market is doing well or not. Good internet marketing is a must as this is where buyer’s will be looking at your home. A great real estate agent will have an exceptional presentation for your home. This is something you deserve – a fantastic agent knows this.

Follow this advice and you will be well on your way to enjoying a successful Real Estate transaction!

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4 reasons your home isn’t selling

4 reasons your home isn’t selling

          Even in recovering markets, listings must be priced right and properly marketed

By Dian Hymer Inman News®

There’s a buzz in the air. The real estate market has improved and may  be on the road to recovery.

But the improvement in the housing market is not treating all home  sellers equally. Some well-priced listings in prime locations are selling  within a couple of weeks. In other areas, it still takes months to sell, and  prices haven’t fully stabilized.

There are several factors that could be keeping your home from selling.  One is the state of the local housing market. Residential real estate is a  local business. National trends, while informative, don’t necessarily apply to  the state of the market in your neighborhood.

Other factors include: the list price; the condition of your property;  or lack of broad marketing exposure.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Today’s buyers don’t overpay. They need to be  convinced that the price you’re asking for your home is a fair market value.

The housing market is pulling out of the worst recession since the Great  Depression. This is fresh in buyers’ minds. There are plenty of buyers who  think this is the right time to buy, but they’re not inclined to make offers on  overpriced listings.

Sellers often wonder why buyers won’t make an offer at a lower price if  they think the list price is high. Buyers don’t want to waste their time making  an offer if the seller is unrealistic. Making an offer takes a lot of time and  emotional energy. Most buyers who have the wherewithal to buy a home don’t have  time to waste.

There are “bottom feeders” who give sellers lowball offers  below market value hoping to get lucky. These buyers also won’t pay over the  asking price. They want a bargain. You can do better than that if you price your  home right for the market.

Here are clues that your listing might be priced too high. You don’t  receive any showings, or you receive showings but no repeat showings. Buyers  usually look at a listing more than once before making an offer. Another  possibility is that buyers look at your home and then buy another listing that  is priced more in line with the market.

Let your real estate agent know that you want to hear feedback from  buyers who have seen your home. If they like the house but not at the price  you’re asking, that’s a clear indication that you should adjust the price if  you want to sell.

Some sellers have false expectations about the current picked-up market.  In some areas, the improved market means that homes are taking less time to  sell, not that prices have increased.

In other markets, like Phoenix,  prices have jumped approximately 25 percent from a year ago but are still way  below where they were at the peak of the market. If prices dropped 50 percent  in your area, they need to increase 100 percent to get back to where they were  before the decline.

For instance, if your home was worth $100,000 in 2006 and dropped 50  percent in value and then increased 50 percent of the lower value, it would be  worth $75,000. It needs to increase 100 percent ($50,000 plus $50,000) to  recoup your loss.

The condition of your home will influence the market value. You need to  lower the price to account for deferred maintenance or a dated decor, or take  care of these issues so that you can present your home in move-in condition.  You’ll then attract more buyers and sell for more.

It’s always possible that your home has not been properly marketed. Ask  your listing agent to provide you with copies of all advertising. More than 88  percent of today’s homebuyers use the Internet to find a home.

THE CLOSING: Make sure your listing is receiving wide Internet exposure,  including a lot of good-quality photographs.

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12 fire safety tips to heed during winter

12 fire safety tips to heed during winter

          What you should remember about holiday decorations, boarding temporary guests

By Paul Bianchina Inman News

A cozy fire in the winter is something we all enjoy, but  only when it’s confined to the fireplace. The U.S. Fire Administration reports  that winter residential building fires result in approximately 945 deaths and  3,845 injuries each year, along with an estimated $1.7 billion in property  damage.

We’re closing our homes up for the winter. We’re cooking  indoors more, and using fireplaces and heaters with greater frequency. Holiday decorations are going up. The potential for a  fire in your home is no joke, especially this time of year. And statistically,  the peak occurrences for residential building fires in the winter comes between  5 and 8 p.m., so it doesn’t take a lot of reading between the lines to  visualize the human error factors at work.

There’s a lot you can do to keep your home fire-safe this  holiday season and all winter long. Since most of it’s simple common sense,  you’re probably going to want to skim over the rest of this. But please don’t.

In several decades as  a contractor, I’ve seen and worked on dozens of residential fires, and their  aftermath is nothing short of tragic; preventing one is the best home  improvement project you can ever undertake.

Simple awareness is  the key

Extension cords:  Don’t use them if you can avoid it. Be sure they’re of the proper wire size for  the item being plugged into it, and don’t ever exceed that. If what you’re  plugging into the extension cord has a grounded plug, then the extension cord  needs to have a grounded plug also; don’t ever alter or defeat the grounding  leg on the cord. Don’t put cords in front of fireplaces, heaters or cooking  appliances, and don’t drape them where they can fall down onto something hot.

Candles: Candles  have a dangerous open flame, so be careful where you set them. A candle on a  window sill can set a curtain on fire if a breeze pushes the curtain over the  flame. Candles can ignite paperwork or books on shelves, or other nearby flammables.  Always burn candles on a candle holder, not directly on a flammable surface.  Jar candles are safer since the flame is contained, and the lid will completely  snuff out the flame.

Holiday decorations: Water your Christmas tree  regularly. It’s no joke — those dry needles will go up with incredible speed  and burn with fierce intensity. Pay close attention to where the tree and other  decorations are placed so that they’re not too close to sources of ignition,  such as a fireplace or a heater.

Hot ashes:  Fireplace ashes are hot long after the fire has gone out. If you’re going to  clean out your fireplace, don’t put the ashes in a paper bag, cardboard box, or  plastic garbage can. Put ashes only in  a metal can with an airtight lid that’s approved for that use.

Space heaters: Be  very careful with the use and placement of space heaters. Never point a space  heater directly at anything flammable, such as a pile of newspapers or  clothing. Never use a space heater with a worn cord, a missing safety guard, or  a model that lacks a safety shutoff that automatically shuts the unit off if it  gets tipped over.

Combustible materials:  Having a stack of newspaper near the fireplace for starting the fire is an  accident waiting to happen. Store newspapers, kindling and firewood a safe  distance away from the fireplace. The same goes for other combustibles, such as  clothing, dog beds, etc. If you have wall heaters, never allow clothing, cardboard boxes, newspapers or other  combustibles to build up in front of them.

Leaves and needles:  Don’t let dry leaves and needles build up on your roof, especially a wood roof.  Make sure the spark arrestor on your chimney is in place as well.

Preventing tragedies

Beyond these acts of simple awareness, there are some other  things you need to be aware of when it comes to preventing a tragedy in your  home.

Smoke alarms:  Beyond the obvious of making sure you have an adequate number of smoke alarms  and checking the batteries twice a year (daylight saving time is an easy  reminder), remember that smoke alarms have about a seven-year life expectancy,  and should be replaced periodically. The other issue with smoke alarms is that  people tend to disconnect them due to nuisance alarms, such as those caused by  cooking. Never disconnect your smoke alarm; instead, if nuisance alarms are an  issue, consider upgrading to a new generation microprocessor alarm, such as the  IoPhic Smoke and Fire Alarm.  These types of alarms respond better to slow, smoldering fires and also  virtually eliminate most types of nuisance alarms.

Never create a  sleeping room that doesn’t have egress: It might be easy to convert a room  in the basement or perhaps an attic into a sleeping room for a temporary  occupant, but if that room doesn’t have an emergency exterior egress, then  don’t use it! In the event of a fire, it can become a literal death trap.

Have an escape plan:  During the heat, smoke and chaos of a fire it’s easy to become confused and  disoriented, especially at night. Everyone in the family needs to know and  practice an escape route from each room all the way to the exterior of the  house. Once outside, have an agreed upon meeting spot safely away from the  house, such as the end of the driveway or perhaps a neighbor’s.

Have an escape ladder:  If you have a multistory house, have an escape ladder for each sleeping room on  the upper floors. The ladder needs to reach from the egress window all the way  to the ground, and every family member needs to be trained on how to deploy and  use it.

Renters insurance:  Finally, if you or someone you know is a renter, get renters insurance  immediately. It’s inexpensive insurance against losing everything you own in  the event of a fire, and it’s simply foolish not to have it!

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13 tips for selling your home in winter

13 tips for selling your home in winter.

By Bankrate.com

What makes selling a home more stressful? Selling it in the middle of winter.

The lawn is brown, the weather is usually bad and, unlike the longer days of summer, you have less time to show it off during daylight hours.

But not everyone has the luxury of waiting until the traditional spring or summer home-buying season to plant that “for sale” sign. And while it’s true that in most areas you’ll probably have fewer buyers during the winter, you will have less competition from other sellers.

The season makes staging — the concept of showing your house at its best — even more important.

Be prepared to put a little effort into it. “It’s more difficult to make something look really appealing this time of year,” says Ron Phipps, broker with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I.

If you do it right, you can really make your house stand out.

1. Keep snow and ice at bay. The top tip from agents: If the buyer can’t get in easily, the house won’t sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff. Just like trimming the lawn in the summer, you want to make the home look like it’s been maintained. If you’re away frequently or live in an area that’s subject to bad weather, it can pay to hire a service to regularly salt or shovel the driveway and sidewalks.

2. Warm it up. If you’re showing during the winter, think “warm, cozy and homey,” says Ken Libby, owner of Stowe Realty in Stowe, Vt., and a regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors.

Before a buyer comes through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming. “Sellers like to turn the temperature down because of heat costs,” says David Ledebuhr, president and owner of Musselman Realty in East Lansing, Mich., and a regional vice president of the National Association of Realtors. “But buyers who come in and aren’t comfortable won’t stay long.”

If you have a gas fireplace, turning it on right before the tour can give the house a little ambience, Libby says.

With a wood-burning fireplace, you’ve got to be a little more careful. If the house is vacant, don’t chance it. But if you’re still living there and will be there during the tour, it can be a nice touch.

Many times, sellers leave right before the agent and prospective buyers arrive. In that case, adjust the heat to a comfortable temperature and have the hearth set for a fire. Buyers feel the warmth and see the potential, and you don’t have to worry about safety concerns.

3. Take advantage of natural light. “Encourage showing during the high-daylight hours,” Ledebuhr says. At this time of year, “if you show after work, you’re totally in the dark.”

Make the most of the light you do have. Have the curtains and blinds cleaned and open them as wide as possible during daytime showings. Clean all the lamps and built-in fixtures, and replace the bulbs with the highest wattage that they will safely accommodate. Before you show the house, turn on all the lights.

4. Get the windows washed. “Buyers act on the first impression,” Ledebuhr says. Windows are one thing that many sellers don’t even consider. In winter, that strong southern light can reveal grime and make it look like the home hasn’t been well-maintained.

5. Play music softly in the background. To create a little atmosphere, tune the radio to the local classical station. Turn it down so that you barely hear it in the background. “It’s soothing,” says Libby, who finds that soft classical music tends to have the most appeal to buyers. “I think people tend to stay around a little longer and look a little longer.”

6. Make it comfortable and cozy. Set the scene and help the buyers see themselves living happily in this house. Consider things such as putting a warm throw on the sofa or folding back the thick comforter on the bed. Tap into “the simple things this time of year that make you feel like you’re home,” Phipps says.

7. Emphasize winter positives. Is your home on a bus route or some other vital service that means it’s plowed or de-iced regularly in bad weather? Be sure to mention that to the buyers.

Set up timers. You want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past. But you’re not home all the time, so put indoor and outdoor lights on timers, Phipps says.

Look at the outside lighting around the door. Is there enough illumination to make it inviting? If not, either get the fixtures changed or have new ones added.

9. Make it festive. Even if you’re not actually going to be present, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party, Phipps says. Set up the dinner table with the good china and silver. Have a plate of cookies for your guests, some warm cider or even chilled bottles of water.

“First impressions are so powerful,” Phipps says. “If it looks like you’re expecting me and greeting me as company, that’s a powerful impact.”

10. Give the home a nice aroma. The No. 1 favorite? “Chocolate-chip cookies,” Libby says. “Just about everybody likes that smell.”

Other popular scents: cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie, apple cider or anything with vanilla, cinnamon or yeast.

“But don’t overdo it, either,” Ledebuhr says. Scented candles in every room or those plug-in air fresheners can leave buyers wondering what you’re trying to mask.

Watch the bad smells, too. Pet smells, smoke and musty odors can cling to curtains and carpets. Ask your real-estate agent or a friend to give it a sniff test. Then clean the house, air it out and replace drapes, carpets or rugs before you show it.

11. Protect your investment. Some sellers (or their agents) will ask buyers to either remove shoes or slip on paper “booties” over their footwear before touring the house. Many buyers like that, Phipps says. It indicates a “pride of ownership and meticulousness that resonates with buyers,” he says.

12. Use the season to your advantage. While the holidays are over (and the Christmas and Hanukkah stuff should come down), you can still use winter wreaths and dried arrangements around the door to spark interest. “Anything seasonally appropriate is fun,” Phipps says.

In the winter, with the leaves off the trees, you might also have a nice view that isn’t as apparent in the spring and summer months. It’s a great time to sell waterfront properties, Phipps says. “You can see the views better this time of year.”

13. Consider the area. In some parts of the country, such as ski areas or warmer regions where the snowbirds flock, winter weather can actually be a selling point. “We’re right in the middle of our selling season,” says Libby, who is located in Vermont. “It’s not always spring and summer.”

By Dana Dratch, Bankrate.com

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12 steps to winterize your home

There’s more to it than replacing smoke detector batteries

By Paul Bianchina Inman News®

The leaves are turning, the mornings are getting chilly, and  winter isn’t too far away. It’s time once again for my annual checklist of  important things that I recommend you do to get your home ready for the coming  change of seasons.

On the inside

__ Check smoke  detectors: Change your smoke detector batteries, and check for proper  operation. Also, check the date on the bottom of the smoke detector. Smoke  detectors have a life span, and if yours is more than 10 years old, it may not  work properly in a fire, so replace it with a new one. Also, make sure you have  a smoke detector at each sleeping room, and one centrally located on each level  of the home.

__ Install a carbon  monoxide detector: If you have a furnace, fireplace, water heater, or other  appliance that’s fueled by propane or natural gas, or if you have an attached  garage, install a carbon monoxide detector. They just plug in, and you can get  them inexpensively from most home centers and other retailers. If your existing  carbon monoxide detector is more than 5 years old, replace it with a new one.

___ Check gas  appliances: Speaking of gas appliances, consider having your utility company  or heating contractor inspect flues, fittings, and other components of your  natural gas or propane appliance and heating systems for potential problems.

___ Change furnace  filters: Always put in new furnace filters in the fall. It’s a simple and inexpensive  way to add to your home’s efficiency and your family’s comfort.

___ Check and seal  heating ducts: Crawl a little, save a lot. Check the ducts in your attic,  basement, and crawl space for gaps between ducts and fittings, and seal them  with a quality metallic tape, not regular duct tape, which doesn’t last. Also, check to be sure that all of the  ducts are off the ground and adequately supported.

___ Check insulation  levels: Increased insulation can make a huge difference in both your  comfort and your heating bills, so don’t put off having your insulation levels  inspected. Call your local utility company or building department to learn what  levels are optimum for your area. Check the attic, underfloor, kneewalls,  skylight shafts and ductwork. Upgrade underinsulated areas as needed, either as  a do-it-yourself project (home centers and hardware stores have all the  supplies you need) or with the help of a licensed insulation contractor.

On the outside

___ Check the roof:  A roof that leaks not only has the potential to cause significant structural  damage, it also wets insulation, which causes a drop in the insulation’s  ability to resist heat loss. Examine roofing shingles and flashings, and repair  or replace them as needed. It’s much easier and safer to take care of these  problems now than during winter’s ice and rain.

___ Seal masonry  surfaces: Apply a sealer to concrete driveways and walkways, brick patios  and other exterior masonry. Masonry sealers prevent water from penetrating into  cracks and crevices where it can freeze and cause serious damage. You can find  sealers at home centers, paint stores and masonry supply retailers. Apply with  a brush, roller or sprayer.

___ Check  weatherstripping: Gaps around doors and windows waste expensive heated air  and create chilling interior drafts. Check and replace or adjust  weatherstripping and door sills to create an airtight seal. Everything you need  can be found at home centers, hardware stores and many other retailers.

___ Handle yard chores:  Many plants require pruning this time of year, and lawns should be fertilized  with a fall/winter fertilizer to feed them through the winter and get them  ready for a fast green-up when spring returns. Clean up all your yard tools and  put them away for the season.

___ Close foundation  vents: You should have opened your foundation vents for the summer to allow  any accumulated crawl space moisture to escape, so now’s the time to close them  up again for winter freeze protection. Also, install exterior faucet covers.

___ Trim trees:  Overhanging trees deposit debris on your roof, scrape and damage shingles,  promote the growth of mildew, and, worst of all, have the potential for  devastating damage if they snap during a wind storm. Consider having a  professional tree service inspect overhanging trees, and safely cut them back  as needed.

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Housing Market in RI: Prices Stable and Activity Up

Housing Market in RI: Prices Stable and Activity Up

Friday, September 28, 2012

GoLocalProv Business Team

The median price of Rhode Island single family home sales remain stable in August – at $204,850, according to the RI Association of Realtors.  The median price fell just .07 percent when compared to sales statistics versus the previous year.

 

The data released by the Realtors also showed a 13% increase in sales activity, marking the 14th consecutive month of rising single family home sales.

“We’ve been seeing a strengthening market for some time now but August sales are evidence of a major turning point,” said Jamie Moore, president of the Rhode Island Association of Realtors. “We may still experience a step or two backward in the months ahead but the forward momentum has clearly become more evident. The market is much stronger than it has been.”

Foreclosure Sales Activities Drop

In addition, the percentage of sales transacted through foreclosure or short sale has fallen dramatically since the beginning of the year which has contributed greatly to the healthier market. Distressed single family sales accounted for 35 percent of all sales in January and dropped to 20 percent by August. In August, 2011, distressed sales accounted for 24 percent of all sales.

Another contributing factor in the market turnaround has been a reduction in the number of homes available for sale. Available inventory fell 17 percent from the prior year in August. It appears that the trend of decreasing inventory will continue as pending sales in August – those that are under contract but not yet closed – rose 25 percent from August, 2011. Pending sales are considered to be a key indicator of the current state of the market. There was a seven-month supply of single family homes available on the market in August. A six-month supply is considered a normal supply of inventory and indicates a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

Condo Market Up

 

The condo market is improving with rising median price and sales activity both up in August. The median condo price rose 7% to $203,000 and sales activity increased 5%.

“Reasonable prices and low interest rates are making home ownership extremely attractive. Rents are on the rise and many people are finding that owning is cheaper than renting,” said Moore.

Multi-Family Weak

Multi-family sales statistics showed multi-family properties to be the only property type which experienced a decline in median price. The multi-family median price was down 19% from August, 2011 to $105,000, according to the Realtors.

“The multi-family median price rebounded significantly last year as investors entered the market once again, but it has subsided a bit in recent months. We should see prices begin to rise again with the depletion of excess inventory in the investor market,” said Moore.

“Overall, we’re thrilled to see hard evidence that the market is recovering. Great pricing and low interest rates have really helped turn things around. Job availability and overly tight lending standards are the main constraints on the market right now. Still, even with those conditions, we’re definitely making headway,” said Moore.

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