It is hard to believe that half the year has come and gone. It certainly has been an interesting six months in the real estate business. We encountered a frenetic sales pace that for several months saw prices escalate tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands above list price with no contingencies and multiple offer situations, with buyers doing all they could to “win” the negotiations. Then, almost overnight, we saw the market tap the brakes. It is still a great market – we just went from 110 miles per hour to 75. Still above the posted limit but speeding. Today, houses are staying on the market longer – days, not hours like earlier this year, with fewer showings and only one or two contracts instead of multiple offers. In many cases, we have been able to negotiate prices and contingencies like finance, appraisal, and even home inspections. So, what is going to happen moving forward? Buyers who took a break after losing out on multiple homes may want to consider getting back into the market as there is less competition, rates are still great, and prices have leveled off. Sellers need to exercise patience, price their home properly and get the house in top condition to get it sold. Previously, anything that came on the market would sell in many cases regardless of the condition; this is not the market we are in today. Buyers are more discerning when looking at homes. The property’s condition, price, and location need to be top-notch, or they will sit on the market longer. All this being said, every situation is different and needs to be analyzed on its own merits. Some properties are receiving multiple contracts, and prices are escalating; there are just fewer of them in our current market. If you are considering a move, please call me so we can come up with the right game plan for you.
I hope you are enjoying the summer!
It’s a good life.
How to Turn Down the Heat on Your Energy Bill This Summer
While summer means rising temperatures, that doesn’t mean your energy bill has to skyrocket as well. There are an array of best practices and projects you can embark on to help you keep energy costs in check. Try a few of the following low- to no-cost efficiency ideas from Duke Energy:
- Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes an HVAC system work harder, which uses more energy.
- Set your thermostat at the highest comfortable setting. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your energy usage and bill will be.
- Close blinds, drapes and curtains during the hottest part of the day. Keeping your blinds, drapes and curtains closed will help prevent the sun’s rays from heating your house.
- Use a ceiling fan in occupied rooms to supplement your air conditioning. Make sure the fans are set to operate in a counterclockwise direction to push cool air down into living spaces.
- Grill outdoors. Using your electric oven and stove top creates a lot of indoor heat. Save energy by firing up the outside grill instead, or prepare meals that don’t require cooking, like salads and sandwiches.
- Turn off unnecessary lights. Be sure to turn off lights when you leave a room. Lights emit heat and cause your air conditioning system to work harder.
Here are five easy home projects that can help improve your energy efficiency:
- Install switch and outlet seals. Cooled air that escapes means that your home’s cooling system works harder. Installing seals behind electric switches and outlets on exterior walls helps keep the cool air in, and warm air out.
- Apply weather-stripping to doors. Keep cooled air inside your home with self-adhesive weather-stripping on door frames.
- Caulk around windows and doors. Applying a bead of caulk around windows and doors is a simple way to keep cool air inside.
- Replace the showerhead. You can reduce the amount of water you use by about 30% after replacing your showerhead with a low-flow model. This energy-saving feature saves water, of course, but also cuts down on energy usage if you have an electric water heater.
- Install a faucet aerator. An aerator on the kitchen faucet will use less water, conserve energy and lower your energy costs.
These simple steps and easy projects will help you save energy and keep your budget in check this summer. Do you have any other tips to share? I’d love to hear them!
Foodnetwork.com | Trisha Yearwood
Mama’s Cornmeal Hushpuppies
Yields 48 hushpuppies ~ Total time 30 min
- 2 cups self-rising white cornmeal
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 large jalapeno, chopped fine
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 8 cups peanut oil, for frying
- In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, onions, jalapeno and a pinch of salt. Add enough of the buttermilk to make a stiff batter. You may not need the whole 2 cups.
- Heat the peanut oil in a deep fryer or a large heavy bottomed pot to 250 degrees F.
- Drop the batter into the hot oil by teaspoonfuls. The hushpuppies will turn over in the oil as they cook. They are done when they are brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep the hushpuppies warm while you fry the remaining batter. Serve hot.
Cook’s Note : If you can’t find self-rising cornmeal, substitute 2 cups cornmeal plus 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Simple Upgrades That May Increase the Value of a Home Sale
A few DIY cosmetic upgrades can drastically alter the appearance of a home and help catch the attention of interested buyers, increasing your return when the home goes from ‘for sale’ to ‘sold.’
Looking to sell your home in the near future? Small investments in the aesthetic of the property could add value and increase the ROI – even if the renovations aren’t too costly. With springtime underway, consider these DIY-friendly upgrades for a space refresh just in time to sell.
Paint the walls
Wall color preferences are personal, and statement choices like bold paint colors or accent walls can help people express their personal style within their home. Unfortunately, prospective buyers may not share that affinity for such boldness – and it may shape their view on the home in its entirety. Consider repainting the interior walls a soft, neutral color. The coherence can help a home feel larger, and will present the space as a clean, blank canvas for an interested buyer to personalize.
Resurface kitchen cabinets
Often seen as the heart of the household, kitchens can be a make-or-break feature for prospective buyers. Unless they are planning on remodeling prior to move-in day, new homeowners will want a kitchen that is functional and at least moderately upgraded. A quick and budget-friendly way to give your kitchen a makeover is to resurface the cabinets. Refacing them structurally and/or with a new coat of paint will update the overall appearance of the kitchen and can turn older or basic cabinetry into a more custom asset. According to The Spruce, resurfacing cabinets can cost 40%-50% less than replacing kitchen cabinets altogether, making it a great option for sellers.
Shape-up outdoor space
From patios to grassy yards, outdoor space is an in-demand feature these days – especially heading into the warmer months. With grass growing green again and flowers beginning to bud, frame any outdoor living space on your property to look like a relaxing sanctuary. Arrange existing patio furniture in an inviting way. Inexpensive outdoor additions include hanging Edison bulb string lights, planting flowers in pots and adding a weather-friendly rug under tables or chairs to frame the space. And remember, the greenery and landscaping in a backyard can make a home look more polished and sell for higher value
Stage with buyers in mind
In addition to thoroughly cleaning, refine any clutter or personal mementos inside the home. Simplifying the space will help it appear tidier and larger. Working with the furniture and décor you already own is easy and free. As you assess what items line shelves, decorate the sofa and accent the bed, consider what you – the seller – would be thrown off by when touring someone else’s house. Also remember to highlight the space by opening up curtains and maximizing natural light when it’s time for showings.
Boost curb appeal
It doesn’t have to cost much money for the outside of a home to look welcoming and well-cared for. Make sure to mow the lawn and tend to any other greenery that may have overgrown or died in recent months. Adding items like a new welcome mat and planters beside the front door are low-cost ways to make a big impact on the home’s external appearance. To give the exterior a more drastic makeover, consider repainting the front door for a pop of color. A pro tip is to paint the framing of the storm door outside as well for continuity.
3 bedroom 2.5 bath townhome style condo in Woodbridge! Call me for more info!