Latest Event Updates

Treat Your Valentine to a Romantic Indoor Picnic

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Transform your everyday space with textiles and accessories to set the scene for lounging, sipping a cocktail, and enjoying an intimate meal with someone special.

Creating a fantasy escape at home is an excellent way to surprise your significant other or a treasured friend. An inexpensive solution to date night, this at-home indoor picnic is a recipe for romance and a chance to just relax.

It’s all about comfort, ordering in from your favorite restaurant (Thai is a great choice), and setting up a movie night or romantic playlist.

Leave those work-week vibes at the door, and spread out with popcorn, a spiked Thai iced tea, and some mood-setting accents. The floor pillows, layered blankets, and picnic side crates all transport you to another place. This great setup delivers much needed hang-time, with no commute and no stress.

Re-plating takeout means one less trip to the grocery store, and no mad dash to make a reservation in time. Pair your meal with a lovely cocktail or special libation. If you’ll be ordering sushi, grab a bottle of sake, and if Southern comfort food is on the menu, just grab some seasonal brews.

Cheers to a lovely night in. Hope you made it a special one!

Spiked Thai iced tea

For each serving, pour 1-½ cup brewed and chilled Thai tea, such as Pantai Thai Tea Mix. Stir in one teaspoon of honey simple syrup (one part honey, one part water, heated until the honey dissolves, and then cooled). Add one ounce of whiskey, then top with a splash of coconut milk (not to be confused with coconut water).

Design resource guide

  • Lucite tray, CB2, $40
  • Gold cutlery, Target, $20 for 5-piece set
  • Graphic linens, Minted, $24/pair
  • Blank canvas white plate, Crate & Barrel, $5

Production sponsors: Patina Rentals

Posted by Douglas Calhoun on Zillow

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have In Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

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Home-Equity-KCM

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 256,000 properties regained equity in the third quarter of 2015. This is great news for the country, as 92% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News For Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“Home price growth continued to lift borrower equity positions and increase the number of borrowers with sufficient equity to participate in the mortgage market. In the last three years, borrowers with at least 20 percent equity have increased by 11 million, a substantial uptick that is driving rapid growth in home equity originations.” 

Anand Nallathambi, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2016 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity is the largest source of wealth for many Americans. The rise in home prices, expected to be at least 5% in 2016, will continue to build wealth and confidence across America. As this process continues, it will provide support for the housing market and the broader economy throughout [the] year.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their home as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 8% of homes are in that position (down from 9% in Q2).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%), when in actuality, 74% do!

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This means that 37% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who are unsure how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2016! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!

Posted by The KCM Crew

15 Words That Could Add Value to Your Listing

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When it comes to writing an effective listing description, don’t hold back. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Why do some homes sell for a premium? Timing, for starters. An analysis of 24,000 home sales in “Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate” also reveals listings with certain keywords tend to sell for more than expected.

“Bottom-tier homes described as luxurious tend to beat their expected sale price by a whopping 8.2 percent,” write co-authors Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries. “Top-tier homes described as captivating tend to beat theirs by 6.5 percent. That means, if your home’s estimated home value is $110,000, but your listing includes the key word ‘luxurious,’ you could pocket an extra $8,965.”

If one of the following words accurately describes your home, you might want to consider adding it to your listing.

1. Luxurious

As mentioned above, lower-priced listings with the word “luxurious” sold for 8.2 percent more on average than expected. “Luxurious” signals that a home’s finishes and amenities are high-end. This is a huge selling point, particularly in this price range.

2. Captivating

Top-tier listings described as “captivating” sold for 6.5 percent more on average than expected. Unlike the word “nice,” “captivating” provides a richer, more enticing description for buyers. Plus, it’s less open to interpretation. Anything can be seen as “nice,” but “captivating” sets a high bar.

3. Impeccable

On average, listings in the bottom tier with the word “impeccable” sold for 5.9 percent more than expected. Like “captivating,” “impeccable” is a rich adjective. It also implies something about the quality of a home: The features are desirable and the home is move-in ready.

4. Stainless

“Stainless” is typically used to describe kitchens with “stainless steel appliances.” It’s in your favor to talk up these features in your listing — especially if your home is in the bottom price tier. In our analysis, lower-priced homes with the word “stainless” sold for 5 percent more on average than expected.

5. Basketball

On average, lower-priced homes with the word “basketball” sold for 4.5 percent more than expected. This may seem like an odd word to include in this list, but when you consider the context it makes sense. Among lower-priced homes, a basketball court — or even better, an indoor basketball court — is a huge selling point. While it may not stand out as much among higher-priced homes, it’s definitely worth mentioning in this price range.

6. Landscaped

It’s just as valuable to describe your yard as your house. In all price tiers, listings with the word “landscaped” sold for more than expected on average. The biggest premium was seen among lower-priced listings, which on average sold for 4.2 percent more than expected.

7. Granite

In the same vein as “stainless,” “granite” is typically used to describe countertops or another high-end home feature. Listings with the word “granite” sold, on average, for 1 to 4 percent more than expected across all price tiers.

8. Pergola

Not only should you include high-end home features in your listing description, you should also mention features not found in every home. They’ll help your listing stand out, especially if buyers are searching for homes online by keyword. The data shows mid-priced listings with the word “pergola” sold for 4 percent more on average than expected.

9. Remodel

Was your home recently remodeled? It may be worth mentioning. On average, bottom-tier listings with the word “remodel” sold for 2.9 percent more, middle-tier homes for 1.8 percent more and top-tier homes for 1.7 percent more than expected.

10. Beautiful

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a beautiful feature like a view may be worth noting. Lower-priced listings with the word “beautiful” sold for 2.3 percent more on average than expected.

11. Gentle

“Gentle” may seem like a weird adjective to have in a listing description. It’s typically used to describe “gentle rolling hills” or something about a home’s location. Top-tier listings with the word “gentle” sold for 2.3 percent more, on average, than expected.

12. Spotless

You may think all homes are spotless when a buyer moves in, so it’s not worth mentioning in a listing. But when it comes to lower-priced homes, cleanliness isn’t always a given. In this price range, listings described as “spotless” sold for 2 percent more on average than expected.

13. Tile

Much like “stainless” and “granite,” “tile” is a great word when it comes to describing the features of your home. A newly tiled backsplash or updated bathroom tile not only indicates a home’s aesthetic value but also sends a message to buyers that the home’s been well cared for by the current owners. Bottom-tier homes with the word “tile” in the listing sold for 2 percent more on average than expected.

14. Upgraded

On average, lower-priced listings with the word “upgraded” sold for 1.8 percent more than expected. Most buyers will agree that upgrades are a selling point. They indicate a home not only looks nice but also functions well. Spelling out which features have been updated is a good approach, so buyers have the right expectations when they see your home.

15. Updated

“Updated” sends a similar message to “upgraded.” But in addition to speaking to the quality of a home, it signals that something old has been replaced with something new. This is a great fact to communicate to potential buyers, as evidenced by the data. Mid-priced homes with “updated” in the listing sold for 0.8 percent more on average than expected.

Posted by Catherine Sherman on Zillow

What to Unpack First in Your New Home

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Where are the towels? Which box holds the can opener? Who packed the cat food? When you’re surrounded by boxes, what you need is a strategy.

Once all the moving preparations have been made, all the arduous moving tasks have been taken care of, and everything has gone more or less according to plan on moving day, you finally find yourself in your new home, surrounded by piles of boxes, tired and glad that your relocation is about to end.

To fully complete your moving adventure, however, you need to unpack your belongings and make your new place feel like home. But how to even begin unpacking?

First things first

No matter how much you want to get it over with as soon as possible, there are several important things to do before you can actually start unpacking.

  1. Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows, and mop floors before your belongings have been put in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
  2. Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting out your items will be a piece of cake.
  3. Open your box of essentials. There should be tools, toiletries, clothes, medicines, packed food, basic kitchenware, and other “lifesavers” in it that will allow you to refresh yourself, open the sealed boxes, reassemble your furniture, and so on.
  4. Set major furniture and appliances. Position your large furniture pieces and bulky household appliances first. Then you can put any smaller items you unpack later directly in their rightful places. Plan your interior design well in advance so you don’t end up moving heavy pieces around several times.

Tackle the necessities

What matters most when unpacking your items after a move is ensuring that your essentials are immediately accessible. So prioritize your belongings, and unpack only the necessities first.

Bedding

You may not be able to unpack the entire bedroom right away, but you will definitely have to set up the bed the day you move into your new home. Reassemble it (if necessary), lay down the sheets, unpack the pillows, and spread the blankets so you can get a good night’s rest — you’re going to need it!

Provided that you have a change of clothes and some comfortable indoor shoes (as well as curtains on the windows to ensure your privacy), the rest of your bedroom items can wait until you find the time and the energy to deal with them.

Bathroom items

Without a doubt, your personal care items, toiletries, and medicines should top the list of the most important items to unpack after your move. Put out toilet paper and soap, find your toothbrush and toothpaste, hang the towels and the shower curtains, and unpack any other bathroom essentials you’re going to need in order to refresh yourself and wash away the weariness and stress of moving.

Also, fill in the medicine cabinet with the medications you have brought, and don’t forget to take your prescription drugs on time.

Kitchen necessities

You may have brought some food with you, or you may rely on delivery for the first day or two after the relocation, but you’re going to need a fully operational kitchen as soon as possible in order to prepare healthy, homemade meals for yourself and your family.

Kitchens tend to take a very long time to unpack and organize properly due to the large number of items that need to be sorted out and carefully arranged.

As soon as you’ve hooked up the large appliances, such as the fridge and the stove, move on to your smaller kitchenware. Plates, silverware and glasses should be the first to find their places in cupboards and kitchen cabinets, closely followed by cooking utensils, pots and pans, and pantry items.

Kids’ and pets’ items

If you have young children, you should unpack some of their favorite toys, books, games, blankets and such during the very first hours in your new home. Keeping your young ones happy and occupied will let you concentrate on your work and finish it faster.

Of course, you should also take care of your pets’ needs immediately upon arrival. It’s a good idea to pack adequate pet food, water and food dishes, and some of your animal friends’ favorite toys in your open-first box.

Finishing up

When you’ve unpacked the three most essential rooms in your home (bedroom, bathroom and kitchen), everything else can wait a bit. There are no deadlines to meet, so you can set your own pace when unpacking and decorating your new place — just unpack in order of priority and without procrastination.

If you stay organized, set reasonable mini goals and complete them promptly, clean after every unpacking phase, and dispose of the packing materials in a safe and eco-friendly manner, your new surroundings will soon stop looking like a warehouse full of boxes and start feeling like home.

If you have some fun in the process — listen to your favorite music, play “unpacking games” with your kids, and invite friends over to give you a helping hand — the exhausting unpacking endeavor may turn out to be much easier and faster than you expected.

Posted by Moving.Tips on Zillow

Homes Selling Quickly Across The Country

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According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report, homes were on market for an average of 58 days in December. This was slightly longer than the 54 days in November, but still better than the 66 days experienced in December 2014.

32% of homes across the country were on the market for less than a month!

Colorado, Utah and Delaware led all states as homes are selling in 30 days or less on average. The map below was created using results from NAR’s Monthly Realtor Confidence Survey.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand remains strong. The inventory of homes available for sale remains low. If you are thinking about listing your home for sale this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you take advantage of current market conditions!

Posted by The KCM Crew

Why You Need a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home

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This day in age, we have all the information at our fingertips, thanks to the Internet. Millennials are becoming a big part of the market of prospective buyers, and many think that they can navigate through the steps of buying a home without help from a real estate agent. Many people may be hesitant to look for a real estate agent because they are not sure who is the best choice. While some might find the search for a real estate agent overwhelming, the process of buying a home will overwhelm you a whole lot more if you try to go it alone. Here are some things to consider:

Take a look at this link to learn more about all of our wonderful agents! Maybe one of them can help you!

House of Brokers-Columbia Office

House of Brokers-Ashland Office

House of Brokers-Commercial Division

 

 

Decorating with the 2016 Pantone Color of the Year

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In 2016, Pantone decided to change it up by offering two stand out colors of the year. According to Pantone, the two colors of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity “demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness, as well as, a soothing sense of order and peace.” Pantone explains that a direct correlation between consumers seeking mindfulness, reassurance and security were the reasons for selecting two colors to represent 2016. Specifically, these two colors together are being used interchangeably by the genders represented in fashion trends. Using a soft rose and sky blue to denote gender equality is yet another reason for supporting the blend of these two colors. 

Because of the subtle nature of the colors Rose Quartz and Serenity, decorating can easily be paired with a myriad of colors like grays, taupes, greens, teals and more to create a soothing effect on the feeling within your home. Maybe these colors are too pale and feel like they belong in a baby’s room, but if you let your mind open to the potential of these colors you can extend these colors throughout your home.  Their easy nature and classic feel can also include a sense of calm in a house that may have a lot of activity. Their classic nature can enhance a room by adding an elegance to a living room or sitting area. Or using the whimsy aspect of these colors can add some lightness or fun to a room that might be too stark.  For more inspiration, we curated these photos to help you get inspired to use the 2016 Pantone colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity, in your home.

Posted by HomeZada