10 Best Ways to Get Organized for a Big Move

Make your next move smooth, short and sweet with these tips for preparing, organizing and packing

Whether you are going across town or across the country, moving an entire household can bring on meltdowns, even among the best of us. But by beginning the planning process as soon as you know you will be moving, you can minimize stress and increase the likelihood that everything will go smoothly on moving day and afterward. Read on for 10 sanity-saving ways to get ready for the big move.
Posted on June 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

A Seller’s Market? Consumers Express Diverging Sentiment on Home Buying and Selling in May


The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) decreased 0.5 percentage points in May to 86.2. The slight decrease can be attributed to decreases in three of the six HPSI components being larger on net than the three increases.


The net share of Americans who reported that now is a good time to buy a home reached a record low after falling 8 percentage points, while the net share who reported that now is a good time to sell a home reached a record high, increasing 6 percentage points.


This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy. Americans also expressed greater belief that mortgage rates will go down over the next 12 months, with that component increasing 5 percentage points. Finally, the net share of consumers who think home prices will go up fell by 5 percentage points this month.


“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market, perhaps due in part to concerns over finding an affordable replacement home. Prospective homebuyers are likely to face continued home price increases as long as housing supply remains tight.”


Home Purchase Sentiment Index – Component Highlights

Fannie Mae’s 2017 Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) decreased in May by 0.5 percentage points to 86.2. The HPSI is up 0.9 percentage points compared with the same time last year.

  • The net share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home fell 8 percentage points to 27%, reaching a new survey low
  • The net percentage of those who say it is a good time to sell increased by 6 percentage points to 32%, rising from last month’s decline to a new survey high.
  • The net share of Americans who say that home prices will go up decreased by 5 percentage points in May to 40%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage rates will go down over the next twelve months rose 5 percentage points to -52%, following the trend from last month.
  • The net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job fell 6 percentage points to 71%, back near the level seen in March.
  • The net share of Americans who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 5 percentage points to 18% in May.


Source:  Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI)  –  June 2017

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 3:48 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

RIP Forever Homes: Millennials More Inclined to Move

a young couple celebrate getting the keys to their new home by taking a selfie in the garden .



Say goodbye to the idea of a “forever home.” No, I’m not talking about taking home a rescue pup. Instead, I’m referring to the antiquated idea of buying that dream house and living there forever.  A recent community survey from Taylor Morrison showed that over half (56 percent) of homeowners no longer believe in the forever home.


To get these results, Taylor Morrison employed Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 U.S. adults who have purchased a home in the last three years, or who are likely to purchase a new home in the next three years. While the study focused on homeowners of all ages, it’s clear that millennials (the next gen of homeowners) are way beyond the forever home trend. Fifty-eight percent of millennials believe that the forever home is dead, and expect their home to evolve as their life does. From a growing family to a new job or a lifestyle change (buh-bye bar scene, hello golf course!), millennials want their living situation to be adaptable.


According to the survey, a third of millennial buyers intend to live in the next home they buy for less than 10 years, and 80 percent are equally or more interested in a newly constructed home over a resale home.


 Zoe Eisenberg, RIS Media’s Housecall – May 24, 2017 
Posted on May 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

4 Popular Design Trends at Model Homes







1. Quartz countertops: Buyers are showing willingness to spend the most in upgrading their kitchens, and one of their first targeted upgrades tends to be the countertop, says Lesley McCarthy, Builders Design regional vice president. They’re opting for quartz over granite. Granite has become the standard in many new homes nowadays, but buyers are showing greater desire for the more environmentally friendly quartz countertops.

2. More windows: McCarthy also points to the increase in windows in homes. Many buyers want to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors and they’re turning to extra windows to get that feel.

3. Wider plank flooring: Hardwood and tiling floor are the most in demand, but consumers are opting for bigger plank widths and larger tiles. They’re also experimenting with greater color options in hardwood, and designers in some cases are showcasing greater options in engineered wood for its added durability.

4. Owner’s entries: Model homes are also showing off “drop zones,” but places for more than just to hang your coat or stow your shoes away. These “drop zones” are serving as places for your keys, electronics, and a central command post for automated systems.



Source: “Top Showroom Trends,” BUILDER (April 3, 2017)

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

kitchen“There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it.  And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

Ready to get to work?  Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start.  Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern.  Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time.  That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding.  Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

The project is easy enough to complete, too.  You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis.  Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most money:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Living spaces
  • Master bedrooms

These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase.   Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard.  It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms.  All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

Another easy fix — your garage door.  If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

You don’t have to stop with the front of your home.  Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

4. Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers.  They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen.  Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Hardware
  • Countertops
  • Tile

You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

5. Out With the Really Old

Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings.  By removing these three offenders alone — a popcorn ceiling doesn’t take much effort — your home will snap right back into 2017.

Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work. You go, weekend warrior.


 Megan Wild – RIS Media’s Housecall    March 1, 2017
Posted on March 7, 2017 at 7:11 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

Empty Nesters: Some Upsides to Downsizing

Moving to a smaller home can come with unexpected challenges along with a bounty of benefits



Your kids have moved out, and you’ve traded in the family home for a smaller abode, one that’s closer to the action (or the beach). Along with the memories you’re leaving behind, about which you’ll have mixed feelings, your new home will bring with it changes to your lifestyle you may not anticipate. Prepare for this exciting next stage in your life by arming yourself with knowledge. If you know what may be coming, you’ll be better equipped to make the transition with ease.
Posted on February 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

Aging in Place? Prepare to Pay—or Change Your Mind


Forty-three million homeowners plan to stay put in their current home as they age, but lack the accessibility features to make it practical. A recent Insight from Freddie Mac reveals that adding those features—levered handles, widened doorways and hallways—could be costly, or impossible.

According to Freddie Mac, half of Americans age 55 and older and three-quarters of Americans age 75 and older have one or more “physical functional limitations” that necessitate accessible features at home. Approximately 1.5 million existing homes require some retrofitting to make them accessible—and 2 million will require retrofitting by 2030. Retrofitting includes relocating living space to a single floor and replacing stairs with ramps.

Simple retrofits, according to the Insight, such as grab bars and pull-out cabinets, can cost on average $100-$270. Complex retrofits, however—a bathroom remodel, for instance—can cost between $5,600 and $13,000.

Some homes, as well, are unable to be retrofitted at all. Fifty-seven percent of homes in the Northeast—which tend to be older than homes in other regions—can accommodate single floor living, compared to 73 percent in the Midwest and 80 percent in the Southwest and West.

“Nearly a quarter of all baby boomers are going to be faced with the financial realities of aging in place, which can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist. “Of course, the cost depends on the type and condition of the home. Many older homes, such as many of the Colonial-style homes common in the Northeast and Midwest, may not be good candidates for retrofitting. For some of them, aging in place until the bitter end may not even be a possibility. Like Bette Davis said: ‘Old age is not for sissies.’”

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, only 3.5 percent of homes today have accessible features.


Source: Freddie Mac


Posted on February 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

Why You Should Sell Your Home During the Holidays

 Sell your home


Despite the fact that most shy away from listing their home during the holidays, it’s actually a great time to sell your home. Below are reasons you should deck your halls—and then sell them.

Time off. The holidays are a great time to sell!  There can be people relocating before the New Year, or people who have time off to shop for a home.

Weather. It can be good for buyers, too, because in states with wet weather, buyers will see homes when it matters, not when the sun has dried everything out and made everything look pretty. After all, roofs never leak in August!

Black out dates. For sellers, avoid stress by advertising the days you DON’T want to show your home so you are not bothered.  Maybe Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s Eve/Day, and Thanksgiving weekend?  It causes a lot of stress on whomever maintains the home to worry about providing a happy holiday and keeping the house clean!

Decorations. Decorate to the hilt!  Have fun!  It will exemplify the love you have for your home.  Personal holiday photos are an exception; you still want to keep the house rather “mute” as far as truly personal innuendo.  That is the only thing that might turn off a buyer.

Variables. Many sellers and their agents argue about the best time to sell.  The reality is that if you want to sell, the best time is usually now.  A day, a week, or a month can change interest rates, the economy, the political climate, and even your health.  Selling a house is hard and if you want to sell, why put it off if you can do it now.



Matt Parker   November 30, 2016 – Housecall.com

Posted on December 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

What to Know About Homeowners Insurance

home insurance


  A homeowners insurance policy will protect you against certain losses and  damage to your new home and is generally required by lenders prior to  closing. Some lenders will collect the money you owe for homeowners  insurance as part of your monthly mortgage payment and place it in an  escrow account, paying the insurer on your behalf when the bill is due.




Coverage exclusions:

Most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item. You may need to buy these types of coverage separately.

Dollar limitations on claims:

Even if you are covered for a risk, there may be a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

Replacement cost:

If your home is destroyed, you’ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you’ll still receive only $150,000.

Actual cash value:

If you choose not to replace your home when it’s destroyed, you’ll receive replacement cost minus the depreciation. This is what’s referred to as actual cash value.

Your liability:

Generally, your homeowner’s insurance covers your liability for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that amount is sufficient, especially if you have significant assets.


NAR – REALTOR magazine

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling

What Living in a Tiny Home is Really Like

tiny house



There's a growing hype surrounding tiny homes and micro-apartments, especially in places with skyrocketing rents like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, but what's it really like to live in one?




A New York Times reporter recently spent the night in a brand-new 302-square-foot micro-apartment, and gave an in-depth account that may help real estate pros understand the benefits and the drawbacks of this real estate niche.

Key Tiny Housing Takeaways:

  • Tiny homes are defined as being 500 square feet or less, and while micro-apartments like the one featured in the New York Times represent the most extreme side to this trend, apartment size across the country is dropping.
  • Micro-apartments are typically designed in a way that maximizes space and features a lot of storage storage options. Even an apartment like the one features in the New York Times story has kitchen amenities that include a refrigerator, microwave, stove top, and even a dishwasher, though it surprisingly did not come with an oven.
  • Tiny housing is often already furnished, with pieces that are designed to have multiple functions, including desks that transform into dining room tables or beds that fold into walls so they're out of the way during the day. The downside to this, however, is the daily grind of moving and transforming furniture can get a little tiring, and the wall-bed featured in this story was pretty difficult to set up.
  • These types of spaces are probably only ideal for one person to live in, but even the smallest unit can be used to entertain up to 10 people comfortably.
  • Not only are these spaces eco-friendly and leave a smaller environmental footprint, as the New York Times points out they may offer residents in high-rent areas the only chance to afford living alone and having some peace and quiet from hectic city living.


Posted on June 27, 2016 at 12:56 am
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Category: Buying and Selling