6 Genius New Uses for an Old Swimming Pool

Before you rule out a home with an out-of-date pool, read these clever ideas for repurposing that old swimming pool.

Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of bringing an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

Swimming pools have many virtues, especially during scorching summers. But they can easily become eyesores — not to mention money pits — especially if they leak or have other functional issues.

Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of bringing an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

From a detached, lower-level studio space to a fully realized aquaponic farm, here are six smart ideas (some DIY projects and some that require a little professional help) to convert your old swimming pool into something useful, beautiful, or both!


1. The sunken patio

Though part of a rooftop lounge in Midtown Manhattan, this patio retrofitted within a rooftop pool by Future Green Studio holds a lesson for homeowners — work with the site rather than against it. The final dining area maintains the pool steps, depth indicators, handrails, and even a retooled version of the pool lights, telling the story of the space’s origins beautifully.

2. The practical deck

A simple but elegant solution for an unwanted pool? Drain it and build a deck over the top. Work with a landscape pro to design a deck that blends perfectly with the original pool’s shape and structure. Not only will it add valuable entertaining square footage to the backyard, but it’ll also boost your home’s value over time.

3. The detached studio

This gorgeous studio by Walk Interior Architecture & Design in its own right becomes even more awe-inspiring when you realize it’s housed in an old, neglected in-ground pool. The finished space feels at once industrial, modern, and airy, and the solar panel–topped A-frame roof is both functional (preventing water from seeping in) and beautiful. Such an inspired idea!

4. The peaceful pond

If you’re imagining spending lazy afternoons surrounded by nature instead of cleaning the pool, think about transforming your pool into a pond. It’s the perfect way to invite more wildlife into your yard, and it just makes sense. In the spirit of repurposing, you may even be able to get away with converting the original sand filter into a koi pond filter.

5. The water-wise garden

A Southern California couple converted their little-used pool into a rainwater harvesting system. Now in the pool’s place they have a stream, small waterfall, and some 100 plants, all fed with rain collected from the roof and stored in underground, recycled-plastic tanks. The resulting garden is luscious and inviting while making the most of the region’s scant rainfall.

6. The food-producing farm

And then there’s the family who built a food-producing greenhouse, known as the Garden Pool, in the pit of their former swimming pool. The finished ecosystem includes solar panels and a greenhouse, and produces everything from tilapia (through an aquaponics system) to fresh fruits and veggies to poultry.

While you might not be ready to go full-scale eco-farm, the project proves that an old pool site might be just the spot to pull off the herb-and-veggie garden of your dreams.

Posted by Jill Russell on Trulia

 

Things Are Looking Up for Real Estate!

 

 
As you can see , there has been a significant rise in real estate listings and home sales since last year, with a noticeable increase this year from May to June. In 2014 foot traffic didn’t appear to change much over the months, but for 2015, it looks like it is continuing to climb!

 

How to increase listing viewership and connect with sincere buyers

Tap into your listing’s potential!

Companies such as Matterport, Toursler and iGuide offer a much richer experience with listings and allow buyers to get an accurate sense of space of the property.

For a time, I owned a Matterport camera and scanned listings myself. Then I found a more complete solution with Toursler through a local service provider, Architech 3D Imaging.

With Toursler, we found a solution that meets all of our needs for our new listings. Beautiful, professional photographs, a clean floor plan and a showing that allows buyers to walk in and around our listings digitally.

Digital showings are a great way to stand out from the competition and provide a true value to sellers. This technology contains proven marketing materials in addition to the most innovative and advanced way to experience a real estate listing.

By leading with the latest digital showing technology, we are immediately able to distance ourselves from the majority of our competition.

Unmatched engagement and results

Although the digital showings are extremely effective at winning listings, they don’t stop there. Online viewing of video content is usually measured in seconds.

Facebook counts three seconds of playing video as a view, which includes its auto-play feature.

Research tells us the shorter a video the better; video completion rates fall significantly with videos longer than 60 seconds.

Only about 50 percent of your audience is paying attention after 30 seconds.

In contrast, Toursler claims that users are actively engaged with their digital showing for an average of six minutes.

Unfortunately, Matterport has not released any analytics. However, I imagine the data would be similar. Digital showings appear to be exponentially more engaging than most videos and your basic slideshow set to music.

I can’t stress this point enough — if 1,000 buyers view your listing video, it would be a little over eight hours of passive eyeballs engaged with your video 30 seconds at a time.

With a high-quality digital showing, you are looking at about 100 hours of buyers actively exploring and interacting with your listing. The results are simply astounding.

The increased engagement results in significantly more inquiries and offers — all with fewer days on market. But benefits of the digital showing technology doesn’t stop there because they make you more efficient.

We see fewer physical showings on listings with digital technology because they weed out the tire kickers. Most showings are fruitless because they don’t result in an offer and are thus a needless disturbance to the seller. However, 3-D technology filters out those that aren’t sincerely interested in purchasing.

In several instances, this offer has been made after a single physical showing. Buyers often use the tours to review the property after that first showing and download the floor plan to explore design and furnishing options.

All of this helps get buyers to envision themselves in the home with the added benefit of fewer disturbances to the sellers.

A new generation is now entering homeownership, and their demand for richer, better and more engaging experiences in real estate is apparent.

This technology has been an enormous win for our team, and it can be so for you as well. Nothing would make me happier than to see more of the listings I show buyers have the same tools and quality content available to aid their decision-making process.

Posted by Brandon Doyle on Inman

 

Check out these links to sample 3-D tours!

http://realestate.matterport.com/listing/luxury-home/

http://www.inman.com/2015/07/23/3-d-home-of-the-day-seinfelds-pad/

 

Before & After: Cottage Curb Appeal Makeover

When a South Carolina couple moved into their new little cottage, it was in desperate need of some TLC.

With very little budget, the couple put their DIY skills to the test and focused on a few key updates that would go a long way.

First, they updated the home’s awkward window placement. They removed the window to the right of the front entry, and added a window in the large expanse on the left. This was the biggest part of the renovation, and it greatly boosted the home’s curb appeal.

The next step was making simple barn shutters from three planks side-by-side and a trim piece connecting them at the top and bottom. Painted bright blue, the shutters liven up the white siding.

Next, the couple set out to update the entry. They removed gutters and replaced iron posts with thicker wooden posts.

Replacing the old screen door with a paned wooden door created a more welcoming approach, and adding trim to the portico completed the entry’s transformation. Painting the posts white was a risky move with the white siding, but it allows the new wooden door to pop and serve as a focal point.

Finally, decorative touches like painting the beaded board ceiling blue and bringing in a copper lantern added some much needed personality without breaking the bank.

Posted by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow

 

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional Today!

Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

Posted by The KCM Crew on Keeping Current Matters

Buyer Demand Continues To Outpace Housing Supply

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their latest Existing Home Sales Report.

Inventory Levels & Demand

Sales of existing homes rose 3.2% from May, outpacing year-over-year figures for the ninth consecutive month. Total unsold housing inventory is at a 5.0-month supply.

This is down from May’s 5.1-month supply and remains below the 6 months that is needed for a historically normal market.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still around 4%, new programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

Buyer demand for housing surged to it’s highest level since June 2013.

Prices Rising

June marked the 40th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $236,400 (up 6.5% from 2014).

So What Does This Mean?

The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

“Limited inventory amidst strong demand continues to push home prices higher, leading to declining affordability for prospective buyers.”

NAR’s President, Chris Polychron added:

“The demand for buying has really heated up this summer, leading to multiple bidders and homes selling at or above asking price.”

Bottom Line

If you are debating putting your home on the market in 2015, now may be the time. The number of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact a local professional in your area to get the process started.

Posted by The KCM Crew in Keeping Current Matters

 

Median-Priced Homes: What You Can Buy Right Now for $232,000

Given the hype over skyrocketing home prices these days, here’s a fact that might come as a bit of a surprise: the national median home price is a reasonably affordable $232,000 in June, according to realtor.com® data.

“The median price is still affordable for the median-income household in the U.S., but just barely,” according to Jonathan Smoke, our chief economist. Why just barely? “List prices—and affordability—vary greatly around the country” explains Smoke. “That price won’t get you in the front door in San Francisco, but it will provide a greater-than-typical home in more inexpensive places likePittsburgh or Cleveland.”

Bottom lime: if you’re willing to expand your horizons and make your way to an emerging locale, you can end up with an affordable prize.

So how does that translate in the real world? Here’s a selection of what $232,000 will get you from around the country:

Address: 11317 Lady Slipper Ln, Richmond, VA

What you get: This “classic colonial” from 1984 comes with classy updates that include an eat-in kitchen with tile flooring, quartz countertops, and maple cabinetry.

Address: 2352 Conners Creek Cir Knoxville, TN

What you get: “A great buy,” boasts the listing. We agree. The charming, red-brick, three-bedroom Colonial built in 1994 is “move-in ready” and comes with three bedrooms and a bonus room.

 

Address: 16199 N 182nd Ln Surprise, AZ

What you get: Solar panels and low-upkeep landscaping mean it’s easy to be green. The four-bedroom home includes 10-foot-high ceilings, tile flooring, and sweet outdoor space.

Address: 412 Toura Dr, Pleasant Hills, PA

What you get: This grand-looking, two-level Tudor features four bedrooms, an updated kitchen, plus a fenced yard for Fido.

Address: 67 Fairfield St, Springfield, MA

What you get: This adorable abode built in 1905 has been updated while maintaining its Victorian charm. Standout details include an eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a renovated bath with a claw-foot tub.

Address: 1322 Glen Ave Colorado Springs, CO

What you get: Character in Colorado. Built in 1903, this home has been renovated and features a freestanding fireplace, wood floors, a back deck, and a pond.

Address: 350 N 24th Ave Yakima, WA

What you get: Colonial-style buildings even made it out West. This 1925 beaut is so welcoming you’ll want to move in at first sight. Who can resist a white picket fence? Inside there’s hardwood flooring, a sunroom, a family room with fireplace, and an upstairs landing with built-in bookshelves.

Address: 520 Ivy St Grass Valley, CA

What you get: You’ll feel like you struck it rich with this home, which is located in a historic gold-mining town. Period details include a gas parlor stove, hardwood floors, and a covered porch.

Posted by Claudine Zap on realtor.com