Reconsider These Choices When You’re Designing Your Kitchen

 

 

 

The kitchen is one area of the home that sees the most wear and tear.  All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly, so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal when you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel.  Here are a few things you should avoid:

 

Cheap Laminate Countertops:  The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear.  It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh out of the oven, and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

 

Flat Paint:  A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

 

Trendy Backsplash:  If you watch any home remodeling show, you’ll certainly see kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials.  Those trends can be pricey to pursue and can look dated in a hurry.  Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret, plus you’ll have more room in your budget to purchase quality materials to be used elsewhere.

 

Cheap Flooring:  Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture).  Quality flooring is worth the investment.


 


Posted on September 25, 2017 at 5:09 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Sellers |

What Affects Property Values?

 

Some the features that increase property values are obvious-like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.

 

  1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
  2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
  3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it’s not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
  4. Parking: This isn’t too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That’s why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
  5. First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.

 


Posted on September 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling, Sellers |

Fire-wise Landscaping to Keep Your Home and Property Beautiful AND Safe

Firescaping incorporates the design of the landscape and property surrounding a home to lessen its susceptibility to fire. This can be achieved through a well-thought-out landscape design plan that specifies less combustible plants, incorporates fire-resistant materials and follows the advice and guidelines determined by fire-safe organizations.

In this article I’ve identified several landscape design strategies as well as some of the guidelines I’ve gathered from various professionals and fire-safe organizations in California. These methods will help keep your property and home safe without having to sacrifice having a beautiful and thriving landscape. For specific guidelines in your area, please refer to your state, county or local fire safety organizations.

Eileen Kelly, Houzz contributor   October 7, 2016

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS, Yard & Garden Tips |

8 Best Upgrades to Personalize Your New Home

Custom white toned master bathroom with jacuzzi tubBefore you move into your new house, you may want to make upgrades. These add value to your investment, improve your home’s function and allow you to express your personality. Plus, making upgrades before you move in reduces inconvenience later. Consider the following upgrades to make your new house feel like home.

1. Enhance the Kitchen

Quality kitchen upgrades ensure this room meets your family’s needs, and they add value to your home. Consider several changes that improve the quality and function of your kitchen.

  • Get high-end, energy or water saving appliances.
  • Lower the bar counter from 42 to 36 inches so it’s more accessible.
  • Install quartz countertops.
  • Add lighting under the counters.
  • Choose matching fixtures and hardware.

Worried about staying on budget while renovating the most expensive room in the house? According to HomeAdvisor’s Kitchen Cost Guide, it costs the average homeowner between $12,500 and $33,500 for a full kitchen remodel.

2. Redo the Flooring

It’s definitely easier and more affordable to upgrade a house’s flooring before you arrange all the furniture. Consider stain-resistant carpeting in high-traffic areas, or install hardwood in connected rooms for a sleek appearance.

3. Update the Bathroom

Spruce up a bathroom already in the house or add an additional bathroom before your move. When renovating a bathroom, consider your current and future needs, such as your family size or entertaining habits. Several possible changes include:

  • Install a double sink.
  • Install a walk-in shower or jacuzzi tub.
  • Choose decorative shower, floor, or wall tile.
  • Customize the lighting or fixtures.
  • Hang extra shelves for storage.

4. Bring in New Cabinetry

Before you unpack all your possessions, install new cabinetry that helps you get and stay organized. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets have a big effect on your home’s function and appearance. Choose cabinet finishes and designs that match your personal style and color scheme. You can hang the old cabinets in the garage or attic to expand your storage space.

5. Update Electrical Wiring

Older houses may have outdated wiring or you may find that you need additional outlets in certain rooms. Walk through your house, visualize how you will use each room and plan any electrical wiring updates. With help from an electrician, you can add outlets in the living room to accommodate your gaming systems or wire the den ceiling for a new fan.

6. Wire for Internet Service

Improve security and speed in your new home with wired internet throughout the house. It allows you to install and use a variety of electronics, including security cameras, in any room. Full-house wired internet also prevents outside users and hackers from accessing your network and potentially harming your family.

7. Add Lots of Storage

Getting extra storage throughout your house before you move helps you completely unpack and organize your home the way you want. The price of installing a new closet is about $1,800, as found on HomeAdvisor. Choose from a variety of cabinet types, shelving, and overhead storage designs and materials that match your needs and preferences.

8. Transform the Laundry Room

While you probably plan to use your laundry room primarily for laundry, you may wish to transform it into a functioning pantry, drop zone or mud room. Rearrange the washing machine and dryer hookup to make room for pantry storage. Consider adding a bench and hooks for shoes, backpacks and umbrellas, too.

Rachel Abraham   – RISMedia’s Housecall   Aug 30 2017

 


Posted on September 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in August 2017

 

 

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average  Avg.  Days
 SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF    List   Price   On Market SP % LP
La Canada 26 3359 $ 658 $ 2,206,742 42 100.56%
Montrose 4 1325  $ 531 $ 636,750 6 106.75%
La Crescenta 27 1700 $ 552 $ 874,030 39 103.15%
Tujunga  28 1516 $ 450 $ 618,352 39 101.49%
Sunland  24 1775 $ 406 $ 692.112 57 100.23%

 

 


Posted on September 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

Are Open Floor Plans Losing Appeal?

 

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Open floor plans, which typically combine the kitchen, living room, and dining room in one large, open area, have dominated home design trends in recent years. But now, buyers may be starting to shun this type of layout, The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

 

“While the open floor plan was successful in allowing multiple generations to congregate, it also led to consolidated visual chaos,” New York-based designer Phillip Thomas told the Journal. Some designers say the “helicopter” parenting style—parents seeking to keep a more watchful eye over their children—may have led to the open floor plan’s popularity. But some parents may find they need more personal space.

Jen Altman, a child and family psychologist in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., says the pendulum is beginning to swing away from helicopter parenting, with many of her adult clients saying, “I just need 10 minutes to myself.” Such an attitude may be influencing a rise in the “broken floor plan,” which London architect Mary Duggan describes as large spaces with an element such as a three-quarter height wall to section off areas.

Some designers may also use barn doors or pocket doors (sliding doors that tuck inside walls) to close off an open floor plan when needed. Pivoting glass and curtains are other ways to section off space.

“It’s hard to get away from the open plan because of the way we live,” says Los Angeles-based designer Karen Vidal, who converted her family’s detached garage into a “mom cave.” “It’s the space where everyone congregates—meals are prepared, kids do their homework.” But she has found that cordoning off an area for her mom cave is critical for her peace of mind. “It’s a bit of separation from being on top of one another. It helps me focus.”

 

 

Source: “The Open-Floor-Plan Backlash: How Family Members Are Escaping Each Other,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 17, 2017)


Posted on August 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Sellers |

Homebuyers Prefer Outdoor Space

 

 

 

 

 

Outdoor living is becoming just as important as the indoors. According to a consumer survey, recent and prospective homebuyers are craving green space. More than half (56 percent) of homebuyers surveyed said they would be willing to sacrifice a larger house to obtain a bigger yard.

 

 

 

 

The survey also found the most important exterior feature of a home is distance from neighboring homes. Both millennials (48 percent) and non-millennials (53 percent) believe this breathing room is key, beating other curb appeal elements such as siding, driveway styles, exterior paint color, and roofing finishes.

Features such as outdoor living rooms, floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls that open to the backyard, and matching tile flooring that extends from a home’s interior to its exterior are helping to create a seamless flow in today’s outdoor-oriented homes.

Interest in more outdoor space is stronger among women than it is men, with roughly two in three women (62 percent) preferring less home square footage and larger yards, compared to a little more than half (51 percent) of men. Survey results suggest more yard is a consistent desire across parents and non-parents alike, as well as across generations.

 

California Association of Realtors’ Newsline –  Aug 15, 2017

 


Posted on August 24, 2017 at 1:23 am
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

‘Pub-Sheds’ Quickly Becoming Hot Trend in Backyard Entertainment

lighterside-staff-authorBy Lighter Side of Real Estate Staff

Backyard sheds are a dime a dozen. Most of them are useful for lawnmowers, tools, or perhaps your hubby’s smelly old high school sports paraphernalia. However, there’s a growing trend of pub-sheds that not only allow you to calm your nerves after a hard day’s work, but to do so in style from your very own back yard.

So even if your budget doesn’t allow for a hidden swimming pool or a $2 million backyard paradise, you can now have a fun backyard project to look forward to.

 

Have your guests relax on the swivel stools as you serve them in style.

This one has enough room for a hammock, just in case you need to crash after that extra glass of wine.

You’ll swear Marty McFly sapped you back to the 50’s.  Banjo player not included.

Who can resist a Superbowl party with this shed?

Watching the stars on a wintery night has never been so cozy.

Now THIS is a ‘dog house’ you’ll be begging to stay in.


Posted on August 22, 2017 at 9:33 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design |

5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House

 

powerwashIf you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar. But did you know you should stage the exterior of your home too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home.  Whether your audiences are luxury home buyers, or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior of your home will have a major impact in the sale of your home.  If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

 

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens

Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before authorizing an open house.

 

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways

Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens.  It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

 

Refresh Your Home’s Siding

No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional. Some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream. This is one task that is often best left to experienced professionals.  The last thing you want to deal with is replacing siding before an open house.

 

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage

Something as simple as a new doorknob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the faceplate and/or doorknob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

 

Clean Patio Furniture

Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

 

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

 

Charles Muotoh –  RISmedia’s Housecall   Aug 16, 2017

 


Posted on August 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Boomers Look To Real Estate To Afford Retirement

Keyboard 

 

As many as 10,000 baby boomers retire daily. Members of this generation are increasingly looking to real estate to diversify their retirement portfolios and boost returns.

 

Many boomers have realized their retirement plans are not sufficient and have turned to alternative investments, such as real estate, to compensate. About 30% of baby boomers have no retirement savings and one-quarter have less than $50K saved, according to research by GoBankingRates

These boomers, who were born between 1945 and 1964, survived the Great Recession and were raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. They have been employed in a world where pension funds are growing less common and employer-led 401(k) retirement accounts are increasingly more common.

 

 

Retired couple 

Retired couple


 

 

Paying For Predictability

“The alternative investment world doesn’t become more popular until it’s time for people to retire,” The Entrust Group Director of Professional Development John Paul Ruiz said. Entrust provides services for self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRA), which, unlike typical IRAs, allow for alternative investments like real estate. 

Retirees typically want their investments to become more stable before making withdrawals. 

“Many of our clients think, ‘What other types of investments can I hold in my IRA that are outside the securities world because I can’t handle another crash?,’ Ruiz said.


 

 

Residential Versus Commercial Investment

Many turn to commercial real estate because the monthly rent they can collect does not undergo the highs and lows of stocks and bonds. Precious metals, notes and timber have also become more popular. Investors recognize residential real estate in core markets typically increases in value with proper maintenance, and owners can collect rent on the asset.

In the commercial world, leases run several years, allowing the stability of collecting rent to transcend smaller cycles, CBRE Managing Director of Global Industrial and Logistics Jack Fraker said. 

Within real estate, single-family homes remain the most popular asset for IRA holders to purchase, according to research from The Entrust Group. In 2016, more than half of the real estate purchases made by Entrust clients were for single-family homes. Last year, more than a quarter of clients purchased multifamily properties, and about one-fifth purchased raw land.

“Within the last 100 years, the best places to put money is in the marketplace and in real estate. One of main reasons [why] is familiarity. You may not ever talk to the money manager of your mutual fund. But with a real estate asset, you can see it; you can meet your tenant,” Ruiz said.

 

Calendar 

 

Institutional Versus Individual Investment 

Private, individual investors are not the only ones cashing in on real estate holdings. Institutional investors have increased the percentage of their real estate holdings recently, Fraker said.

“It used to be more like 5% of their assets were in real estate, but has certainly doubled over the last 10 years. That’s good for us [in real estate] because it means more of their money is going into our assets and less into stocks and bonds,” Fraker said. 

Hard assets’ ability to withstand economic cycles better than Wall Street makes real estate a more attractive and less risk-prone asset for investors. 


 

 

Looking To Future Generations

When Generation X, the generation following baby boomers (born between 1965 to 1979) begins to retire in greater numbers, The Entrust Group’s Ruiz said he is unsure what their investment patterns will look like. Many of the real estate assets bought by boomers will be inherited by Generation X, and there is not enough data yet to know what Generation X will do with those assets, Ruiz said.

But there is a new generation of people getting more familiar with self-directed IRAs,” Ruiz said. “Many have accumulated wealth through them, and those getting involved in self-directed IRAs are younger and younger.”

 

 

 

Julia Bunch – Bisnow – Forbes Business  June 20,2017

 

 


Posted on August 14, 2017 at 12:02 am
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |