Gay Realty Network

Real Estate News With a Gay Slant

Featured Gay Real Estate Agent: Brian Scharick, Fort Lauderdale

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Brian Scharick, Fort Lauderdale RealtorPeriodically we’ll feature one of our real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some great Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, and Other Real Estate Professionals.

Dedicated real estate team. Focused on your specific wants and needs throughout the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. With an active GLBT community, South Florida has become a popular destination to call home.

See Brian’s Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

Gay Friendly Realtors and Real Estate Professionals in Fort Lauderdale

Why is DC So Expensive? Hint: It’s Congress

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Logan Circle, Washington DC – Apple MapsA September housing report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is making the rounds this week after The Washington Post published its findings on the Monday holiday. The Post gave it a 100-proof headline: “It’s more expensive to live in D.C. than New York, study says.”

According to “Housing: Before, During, and After the Great Recession,” Washington, D.C., is the most expensive place to live in the country. These findings aren’t new (and they certainly aren’t news to anyone living in the District), but this graphic appears to explain how the nation’s capital costs so much for its residents.

Yet tabulating mean housing costs doesn’t totally capture the true value of a place. I don’t mean value in some squishy sense of the word, as in that it’s worth it to love the place you call home. No, the price of housing alone simply doesn’t translate into affordability, in part because household incomes tend to be higher in those places where housing costs more. That’s why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created the Location Affordability Index, which finds that, when you factor in transportation costs, annual vehicle miles traveled, and so on, the cities of San Francisco, New York, and D.C. start to look a lot more affordable–for high-income earners, anyway.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Authored By Kriston Capps – See the Full Story at City Lab

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in Washington, DC.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Image via Apple Maps

Terry’s Blog: Can’t Get Your House Sold? Follow These Tips And Get It Done!

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Can’t Get Your House Sold? Follow These Tips And Get It Done!

Terry is a gay friendly realtor in Sioux Falls SD.  You may reach him at 605-351-1008 or terry@terrybornitz.com

Terry is a gay friendly realtor in Sioux Falls SD. You may reach him at 605-351-1008 or terry@terrybornitz.com


Getting your home ready to sell can be overwhelming at times. Not only is it hard to know where to begin, but it is especially discouraging when you do everything you can to prepare and don’t receive any offers on your property. This article provides tips and tricks that will quickly make your home the most desirable property in your neighborhood.

Decorating the inside of your residence with seasonal items can make selling your house easier. Choose a few inexpensive products, such as window treatments that display the colors of the season, and complete a mini-makeover on your home. This will make your residence look fresh and well taken care of, giving the buyer a more favorable impression of the property.

Don’t be a desperate seller and accept the first offer that comes in, unless it meets the price you have set. As a seller, it can be worrisome to hear how bad the market is and you might consider selling right away. But waiting, increases your chance of a fair price.

Focus on increasing storage space as a way to make your home sell faster. Buyers are typically looking for a sufficient amount of storage space, and in a pre-owned home that can be hard to come by. Therefore, this feature may be the determining factor in whether or not someone makes an offer on your residence. Consider adding shelving to closets or placing an island in your kitchen.

Be sure to price your home to sell. Overpricing is a very risky move, that in many cases, does not pay off, especially during the fall. If your home is priced too high, the buyers that might be interested in buying it, will not even consider looking at it. A real estate agent can help you find the perfect listing price for your home.

Venturing into the real estate market doesn’t have to be a frightening and frustrating experience. With the information provided in this article, you can transform your home into a residence that every buyer will put on their short list. Get started now and watch the offers begin pouring in!fbcoverTerryBornitz

Is Hunter’s Point on the Cusp of Gentrification in San Francisco?

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San Francisco Shipyard

Just six miles from San Francisco’s increasingly expensive downtown is Hunters Point, a historically blue-collar neighborhood southeast of the city, which has been neglected since the shipyards closed in 1974 amid radiation contamination so bad it was declared a Superfund site. Today, 30 percent of the area’s residents earn less than $10,000 a year.

“This is the San Francisco America pretends does not exist,” author James Baldwin wrote in 1963. And this has remained the case for years, until very recently. As a housing crisis grips San Francisco and there is nowhere left to expand but south, it has begun to change. Because radiation and crime can apparently only scare developers away for so long.

In one of the largest real estate development projects in the U.S., Lennar Urban, part of the Miami based Lennar Corporation, is investing $8 billion to build “The Shipyard”: 12,000 homes for up to 20,000 people, 3.2 million square feet of office space, 800,000 square feet of retail and 300 acres of parks. Home prices range from $450,000 to $900,000. And Lennar’s leaders are positing Hunters Point as an “innovation district,” a high-density, tech-centric space for startups and tech workers.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Authored By Nellie Bowles – See the Full Story at Re/Code

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in San Francisco.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Terry’s Blog: Mortgage Tips That You Can Use

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Home Mortgage Tips That You Can Use

Terry is a gay friendly realtor in Sioux Falls SD.  You may reach him at 605-351-1008 or terry@terrybornitz.com

Terry is a gay friendly realtor in Sioux Falls SD. You may reach him at 605-351-1008 or terry@terrybornitz.com


Owning a home is something you should be proud of. Almost everyone who buys a home must first get a mortgage loan. This process can take a long time and can be confusing. If you are hoping to obtain a mortgage and want to have the right information on hand, read on.

Save enough money to make a down payment. Lenders may accept as little as 3.5% down but try to make a larger down payment. If you put down 20% of your total mortgage, you won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance and your payments will be lower. You will also need cash to pay closing costs, application fees and other expenses.

If a 20% down payment is out of your league, do some shopping around. Different banks will have different offers for you to consider. Terms and rates will vary at each, some will give a lower downpayment, but a slightly higher interest rate. Look for the best mix for your current situation.

Get all of your paperwork in order before seeking a home loan. Bring your income tax return, pay stubs and proof of assets and debts. Lenders will surely ask for these items, so having them at hand is a real time-saver.

When considering the cost of your mortgage, also think about property taxes and homeowners insurance costs. Sometimes lenders will factor property taxes and insurance payments into your loan calculations but often they do not. You don’t want to be surprised when the tax office sends a bill and you learn the cost of required insurance.

If you desire to own a home, you will need to have a home mortgage. There is much too learn about home loans and learning all you can about them can help you make the right decision when buying your home. Use what you learned here and you’ll be on the right track.fbcoverTerryBornitz

Ten Tiniest San Francisco Homes for Sale

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San Francisco Tiny HomesAs home prices continue their upward climb and rents worthy of Manhattan keep right on scaring everyone, it gets pretty tempting to squeeze oneself into the smallest possible box. Miniature houses, some of which could pass for an Architect Barbie starter home, are few and far between (though we’ll certainly keep stalking them).

So how miniature does SF’s housing market go? Tiny apartments have certainly gained a (micro!) share of ground in San Francisco’s rental market, but teensy condos are still pretty much found at Cubix and in some of the more pint-size offerings at the Infinity (though one unit at Vida made our list). With help from PropertyShark and Point2Homes, we’ve rounded up the 10 smallest homes currently on the market.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Authored By Lamar Anderson – See the Full Story at Curbed

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in San Francisco.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Home Value Increase P.1

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Professionals Answer: "How Do I Increase My Home's Value?"

When preparing to sell their home, a common question pops up. Homeowners want to know what they can do to get the maximum selling price on their home. Of course, the answer to “What can I do to increase my home’s value or get a better selling price?” is difficult to answer because each home has it’s own set of improvements, renovations or upgrades that might make the difference for it’s specific market. In general, however, potential improvements can be broken out by the amount the homeowner has available to spend and the return on investment, or R.O.I.

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Low cost improvements make a big difference when your home is structurally sound, but appears a little lived-in. Number one and two on this list are:

  1. Clean, clean and then clean some more. A home that is not clean gives buyers the impression that your home also is not cared for. Dirt and grime on the surface makes them wonder about hidden mold, termites or other less visible problems. Wash walls, scrub bathrooms, make those windows sparkle, deep clean or at least spot clean the carpet. Be sure to dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, clear out cobwebs from corners and polish wood railings and floors.
  2. De-clutter, remove and store. Buyers typically look for space, extra room and plenty of storage. Many potential purchasers do not have the ability to “feel” the size of a room when it is overfilled with furniture, toys, stacks of books or magazines and other collections of items common to an occupied home. They need you to remove as much clutter as possible so that they can visualize their own furniture fitting in that area.
  3. De-personalize. Along with de-cluttering, removing family photos, children’s art, trophies, taxidermy, golf ball collections and other personal or less ordinary items gives your home the opportunity to appeal to a wider group of buyers. When your home appears to be a bachelor pad, a family or couple may be less inclined to see themselves in it, and when a house appears only family oriented, it may have less appeal to a work-from-home entrepreneur looking for extra office space.
  4. Clear the yard. Remove any junk, broken patio furniture, play equipment and other debris from the exterior. You don’t know if a buyer is looking for a house or is looking for a yard for their children to play in, or a place for outdoor entertaining. A cluttered yard gives a first impression that is difficult to overcome, no matter how much you do to the interior.
  5. Fix broken things. Broken outlet covers, screens and other items give buyers the notion that your home may need too much work. Simply fixing that leaky faucet or running toilet, replacing a broken tile or piece of wood trim or otherwise repairing simple items boosts your home’s appeal.

Call us …

Give us a call and we’ll walk through your home with you to give you ideas on the simple things you can do to improve your home’s value.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Home Value Increase P.2

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Professionals Answer: "How Do I Increase My Home's Value?"

A common question sellers ask is “What can I do to get the maximum selling price on my home?” Since each home and every market is different, we, as your real estate professionals, can give you specific advice on your home. In general, however, if you’re willing to spend a little bit on some minor upgrades, a higher return on your investment can be significant. We covered the “no-to-low cost” items in part 1 of this series and in this post we suggest some low to medium cost options for improving that selling price.

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If you have a little money to spend, the next items on your list should be these easy improvements:

  1. Paint. In terms of “bang for your buck,” paint is your best friend. Gone are the days when you should paint everything white, but covering smudged or dirty walls with a pretty neutral color (off-whites, grays, creams and earthy tones) brightens your walls, covers over a host of slight imperfections and freshens their look without breaking the bank. A contrasting color on trim and woodwork brings out architectural details. Add a new coat of paint on the ceilings — paint these white or a light off-white— to brighten and light up a room. Paint the front door, too! A bright, cheery front door adds a welcoming touch.
  2. Update light fixtures. Ceiling lights, vanity lights and exterior carriage and porch lights are inexpensive items to update. Often, larger home-improvement stores offer “contractor packs” of multiple light fixtures for a lower price, so you can update all the rooms.
  1. Change out electrical outlets and switch-plates. Simply updating outlets and outlet covers, light switches and switch-plates can give a home an updated appearance. As with light fixtures, electrical components often come in contractor packs. If you are not comfortablechanging out the switches and outlets yourself and don’t want to hire an electrician, just change out the covers.
  2. Replace bath fixtures. New faucets, along with towel bars, hooks and other matching pieces bring a brand new look to most bathrooms. Make sure your shower curtains are clean, fresh and neutral. If you have the extra money, changing out the toilet for a new water-saving low-flow toilet is an effective upgrade. Along the same vein, if your lavatory sink is cracked, stained or chipped, you may want to switch it out for a new one.
  3. Kitchen hardware and faucet. Just as simply adding new fixtures improves the bath, a new faucet and fresh, updated hardware on your cabinetry can freshen and upgrade the feel of your kitchen. Make certain that cabinet latches are not broken and drawer glides all work properly. Re-paint painted cabinetry and clean and re-stain finished wood cabinetry.
  4. Fix or replace your front door. Sometimes paint is not enough. If your pets have scratched your front door, or it has dry rot, is swollen, or the layers are separating, consider replacing your door with a new one. In moisture prone areas, or for safety concerns, consider using a steel door, perhaps one with a decorative window. You can even give your steel door a wood look with a faux wood-graining kit.
  5. Upgrade your garage door. Especially if your garage door is visible from the front of your home, consider painting or upgrading your garage door.

Let us help …

We can assess the potential R.O.I. for these and similar upgrades to your home. Call us for an evaluation of your home’s fair market value.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Become a Fan of Fans

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Types of Fans

Ceiling fans aren’t just about moving air, they are an important part of creating the right atmosphere in your home. Before choosing a fan, consider what you really want it to do.

Smart ceiling fans

Being smart isn’t just for phones. Big Ass Fan company has developed smart residential fansthat have motion sensors, can detect ambient air temperature and humidity, and even connect with the Nest Learning Thermostat. These fans are about keeping the temperature and atmosphere in your home at optimum levels using the least amount of energy. With five-ply bamboo blades and an automotive grade paint on its glass-infused composite finish, the Haiku fan works both indoors and outside on patios and gazebos.

Whole house fans

Older homes that don’t have central air-conditioning can be fitted with a whole house fan. These fans, typically installed in ceilings of halls or stairways and venting into attics, draw cool air from open windows throughout the home and can cool skin temperatures by up to 10°F and attic temperatures by as much 40°F. Newer designs offer quiet operation and tremendous energy savings. QuietCool suggests its fans can lower your energy bills and they’re good for the environment.

Attic fans

Different from whole house fans, attic fans vent hot attic air to the outside, but do not draw air through the living spaces. Typically installed near the gable vent, attic fans can extend the life of your roof by removing trapped moisture from the attic and releasing the buildup of heat that can warp the roof’s structural components. Solar-powered attic fans operate using only solar power and is a green alternative to a standard electric attic fan, but once the sun sets, the fan needs an alternate source of energy. The U.S. Sunlight solar fan compensates for this by allowing the fan to switch between solar and your home’s electrical power when sunlight isn’t available.

Inexpensive fan options

Window fans fit within the window frame similar to a window air conditioner, but use less energy to operate. The most energy efficient way to use them is to use them at night when the outside air is cooler. This method allows for the delay or sometimes eliminates the need to turn on air conditioning during the day. It uses electricity during off-peak night hours too.

Other options include free-standing box, floor, tower or pedestal fans. You can move these portable fans from room to room throughout the day. Hi-end air movers, like the Dyson bladeless fan move air more quietly than traditional fans and consume even less energy, are safer around small children because they have no blades and offer remote control, variable speed and other options.

Fans aren’t just for summer

With winter just around the corner, some homeowners may think they don’t need fans. However, fans can reduce your heating bills just as well as your cooling bills. Make sure your ceiling fans are reversible (look for a switch on the motor housing on traditional ceiling fans). In the winter, operate your ceiling fan clockwise and the blades will push warm air back down into the room reducing the heating requirements. A window fan in lower story windows and be reversed to push cooler air outside and pull warmer air down from the ceiling. Using exhaust fans in bathrooms and laundry rooms during the winter can reduce the buildup of moisture that leads to mold and mildew growth.

When looking at houses, note the locations you can install fans to reduce your energy costs. We can help you find contractors to install whole house and ceiling fans to give your home the best atmosphere for your family.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Home Value Increase P.3

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How Do I Increase My Home's Value?

A common question for prospective home sellers is “How can I increase my home’s value or get a higher selling price?” In our earlier articles on this subject, we discuss low budget and economical fixes and upgrades that can increase the perceived value of your home. In this article, we discuss those higher cost items that only give you a high return on your investment if you have high equity in your home or will lose more money if it doesn’t sell quickly.

Many buyers look for a home they can move into immediately. While the specifics depend on the age and condition of your home, here are the priority renovations that increase your home’s appeal and return on investment potential.

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Kitchen

No matter what the other advantages of your home, if the buyers do not like the kitchen, they are less likely to make an offer. So, if you’re planning major upgrades, head to the kitchen first.

  • Paint, refinish or replace the cabinets. If your cabinets are dated, damaged or dark, consider replacing them or painting them with a lighter, newer version that still fits into the home’s style. If you’ve never painted cabinets, consider hiring a professional since they are more difficult than painting walls, and poorly painted cabinets actually decrease the appeal of your kitchen.
  • Replace countertops. If granite is all the rage in your neighborhood and comparable homes have granite countertops, consider this upgrade. Granite requires professional installation to measure, cut and polish the rock correctly. A less expensive version, granite tile, is easier to install, but has less overall value.
  • Add new appliances. New, matching appliances including ovens and stovetops or ranges, dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves and refrigerators instantly update a kitchen.
  • Upgrade lighting, fans and fixtures to match the style of your new cabinets and countertops.
  • Kitchen floors with carpeting, vinyl or worn and broken tile should be replaced with new ceramic or other tile, wood, or another new product. Make sure you only replace kitchen floors with flooring that can handle the traffic, spills and constant cleaning that a kitchen requires.

Bathrooms

No new homeowners want to feel as if they are using someone else’s bathroom. Replace the vanity, sink and toilet. Use low-flow toilets, water-saving faucets and other green products. Replace the floor and shower surround with a neutral tile. If your bathroom has a built-in tub/shower replace it or have it professionally refinished to look fresh and new.

Living areas

Carpets harbor dirt, dust mites and stains. Replacing the carpet in major living areas with hardwood increases the visual appeal of your home. As an instant upgrade, hardwood gives your home that updated look. It also attracts buyers that cannot live in carpeted homes for health reasons.

Heating, air conditioning and water heater

These major home appliances often are out-of-sight and out-of-mind, but a new buyer wants to know they’ll work when they need them.

Exteriors

To increase the value of your home, improve the “R” rating and make your home more economical, consider replacing the roof, insulation, siding and windows. If your home has hail or other storm damage, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see if they will cover the replacement. Using better quality, energy-saving products gives your home more curb appeal and buyers know they won’t have to worry about leaks and drafts when weather hits.

Let us help …

We can assess the potential R.O.I. for these and similar upgrades to your home. Call us for an evaluation of your home’s fair market value.

Compliments of Virtual Results