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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.


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.


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

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.



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.


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.


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

Featured Gay Friendly Realtor: Tim Cardy, Santa Barbara, California

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Tim Cardy, Gay Santa Barbara 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.

Allow me to help you find your dream home! We have a wide range of community groups and a strong presence in Santa Barbara.

See Tim’s Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

Gay Friendly Realtors and Real Estate Professionals in Santa Barbara

Is the US Real Estate Market Stalling?

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$1million buys this

After picking up momentum over the last couple of years, there are some signs that the US housing market may be slowing.

The Washington Post reports:

The third installment of Freddie’s “Multi-Indicator Market Index” (or MiMi), which sizes up homebuying activity and other factors, found that only 10 states and the District of Columbia fall in the “stable” range, as do four of the 50 metro areas included in the index – San Antonio, New Orleans, Austin and Houston. The outlook for the rest of the housing market looks bleak. “Less than half of the housing markets MiMi covers are showing an improving trend, whereas at this time last year more than 90 percent of these same markets were headed in the right direction,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Even in Manhattan, there are signs that housing prices may have run up too far, too fast.

MoneyNews reports:

Sale prices for previously owned units dropped 1.4 percent from March, the biggest decline since September 2010, after four consecutive monthly increases, according to a report today by real estate website Condo prices are likely to be little changed through the spring, rising 0.1 in May, StreetEasy projected… “After a record-breaking finish to 2013 and beginning to 2014, we may have approached the upper price limit to where buyers are willing or able to meet sellers,” Alan Lightfeldt, a data analyst at New York-based StreetEasy, said in the report.

So how have home prices managed to run up so fast in many cities during the sluggish recovery, often past the point where locals can afford to buy?

The Dish points at the globalization of real estate:

The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals – above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case. If there are enough rich people in China who want property in Vancouver, prices can float out of reach of the people who actually live and work there. So just because prices look out of whack doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a bubble. Instead, wealthy foreigners are rationally overpaying, in order to protect themselves against risk at home. And the possibility of losing a little money if prices subside won’t deter them, [urban planner Andy] Yan says, “If the choice is between losing 10 to 20 per cent in Vancouver versus potentially losing 100 percent in Beijing or Tehran, then people are still going to be buying in Vancouver.”

What happens next is anyone’s guess.

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.

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

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at

Prevent Basement Floods

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Prevent Basement Floods

Making your basement into a comfortable living area can significantly raise the value of your home but it is extremely important for you to take the necessary action before you start your remodel. The basement could turn into a massive loss if not protected. The largest concern a basement has is its weak defenses against flooding. The below grade location creates a situation it is surrounded by soil. As we all know soil retains water and that water can be detrimental to your basement. Here are four preventative actions you can take to protect your investment.

1.  Grading

The most important step you can take to prevent flooding is to make sure the grading around your basement is sloping away from the foundation. This helps ensure that when it rains the water will not pool any areas. If pooling water does occur it will eventually make its way into your basement. If you are not sure if you have proper grading, take a look for any pooling water. If you do spot any water consider adding more soil to that region or hire a landscaper to re-grade your yard.

2. Gutters

Check the location of your downspouts, too often they drain too close to your foundation leaving opportunities for water to seep into your basement. If this is the case, buy downspout extensions that will carry the water away from your foundation or connect your downspouts to a French drain system in your yard.

Secondly, check for clogs. Any sort of blockage can cause an overflow which can create soil erosion, improper grading and basement flooding.

3. Window Wells

Like gutters, window wells collect leaves, dirt and debri that can prevent proper drainage. Once water starts collecting at the surface of your window seepage is inevitable. Consider hooking a window well drainage system or install window well covers to protect the well from debris.

Written by Todd Moeller, 714-404-9540 – Unique, open and caring specializing in helping people find good values and good homes in Orange County. Visit Todd’s website here.

Featured Gay Friendly Realtor: Edward Brooks, Las Vegas

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Edward Brooks, Gay Las Vegas Real Estate AgentPeriodically 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.

I’m a new agent, but very eager to help you find your home or help you sell your property. Vegas has everybody. And that includes the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community.

See Edward’s Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

Gay Friendly Realtors and Real Estate Professionals in Las Vegas

Waiting to Buy?

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Tuesday Blog Picture

Waiting to Buy a House?

Do you know someone on the fence, waiting to buy?


Are interest rates are going up? The experts agree that it’s not a matter of “if” interest rates will go up, but rather “when”. They have been held at artificially low levels thanks to the Federal Reserve pouring money into the financial system and keeping the discount rate at an extremely low level for quite some time. Economically, it is inevitable that interest rates will rise.


With minimal expected appreciation in 2014 compared to prior years, the sense of urgency to buy is not as prevalent. Instead, many potential buyers are taking their time or putting off purchasing to a later date. This is not necessarily a sound strategy with interest rates forecasted to increase about one-percent in the next year.


Considering that rates will climb, the impact on monthly payments cannot be ignored. For a buyer that is looking to purchase a $600,000 home with 20% down, the monthly payment would rise by an additional $291 per month with a 1% increase in interest rates. To drive home the point further, if a buyer qualifies for the $2,397 payment, that’s a purchase price of $600,000 today. When interest rates climb by just one-percent, that same payment allows a buyer to purchase a $535,000 home, $65,000 less than today. Rising rates erode purchasing power and affordability drops.


In June of last year, Bernanke and the Federal Reserve announced that they were going to start to reduce the amount of money they dumped into the monetary system every month, also known as tapering. Immediately, interest rates shot up by one-percent. Buyers that did not lock were looking at an instant increase in their monthly payment. These increases are just the beginning. Interest rates prior to the downturn were at 6.4%. They dropped after the Federal Reserve intervened. The Fed is now strategically moving the other direction and interest rates will rise.


For the homeowner who is looking to move up in value, waiting to make the move really does not make any sense at all. Many would like to wait for their homes to appreciate in value before they pull the trigger on selling. Not only are they looking at eroding purchase power with a rise in rates, they are looking to pay more as well. 10% appreciation in a $750,000 home is an additional $75,000. For a $1 million home, it is an additional $100,000. The appreciation rate may be the same, but the net result is additional equity for higher priced homes.

If you have any more questions or would like a free home valuation, contact us directly or visit us on Facebook.

Written by Todd Moeller, 714-404-9540 – Unique, open and caring specializing in helping people find good values and good homes in Orange County. Visit Todd’s website here.

Today’s Real Estate Report – Colorado

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Colorado mapAt 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. If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at

Today, in our ongoing series about local real estate markets, we’ll take a look at home sales and trends in the Colorado real estate market.

First off, Denver home sales spiked in March, up 46% from February, according to the Denver Post.

Million dollar home sales were up too, reports:

There were 48 Denver-area homes that sold in March for $1 million or more, 50 percent more than the 32 sold in March 2012. In the first three months of 2013, 108 luxury homes in the area were sold totaling $160.24 million compared to the 83 sold in the same time period in 2012 totaling $127.11 million.

And The Denver Channel reports that home prices have reached 2007 levels:

Denver’s S&P Case-Shiller home price index for December was 134.14, meaning that local home resale prices averaged 34.14 percent higher than they were in the benchmark month of January 2000. The last time Denver topped that price level was in October 2007, when the Case-Shiller index stood at 136.09. The peak index reading for Denver was the summer of 2006 when it hit 140.26 in July and 140.28 in August.

The Colorado Springs Business Journal also reports on the Colorado Springs market:

Colorado Springs home prices increased 6.8 percent year-over-year in February, including distressed sales. CoreLogic, a real estate analyses firm released its price index for Colorado Springs and the country today. While a 6.8 percent increase in the Colorado Springs home price index is significant, prices aren’t rising as dramatically in Colorado Springs as they are nationally.

The Wall Street Journal reports that military cuts may hurt the Colorado real estate market:

But federal budget cuts affecting the Colorado Springs area’s large military bases threaten to weaken the area’s economy and raise questions about the outlook for the region’s real estate. Some $85 billion in sweeping federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, were triggered last month. “You have to be concerned if you’re a buyer,” said Brian Wagner, managing director of Sierra Commercial Real Estate Inc. in Colorado Springs. Lower federal dollars spent on defense would likely result in lower lease rates, he said.

And KUNC reports on improvement in the overall Colorado real estate market:

Homes in Northern Colorado are selling faster than they have in years. That’s not too surprising, considering recent state budget projections showing Colorado’s economy improving. What is surprising to some in the business community is how quickly the real estate market is heating up. Northern Colorado Business Report publisher Jeff Nuttall says low interest rates, limited rental vacancies and a short supply of homes are all combining to fuel the demand.

Featured Gay Friendly Realtor: Nicholas J. Russo, Orlando, Florida

No Comments » 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.

Nick has been a dedicated Real Estate professional since 2003. Proudly, Nick is the Executive Realtor of Design Studio 15. Located in the Sunshine State of Florida, Orlando has it all when it comes to diversity, arts, entertainment, and dining.

See Nicholas’s Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

Gay Friendly Realtors and Real Estate Professionals in Orlando