Welcome to the Synergy Properties Blog!

Whether you're a happy homeowner, looking to sell your current home, or searching for the home of your dreams, the Synergy Properties team has curated some helpful blog posts to help provide inspiration for your next DIY project, catch up on your real estate knowledge, or answer your hard-hitting questions about the home selling/buying process. Sift through our blog categories and feel free to let us know if you'd like us to cover something in particular. Happy reading!

  

  

 

Aug. 1, 2020

August 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Synergy Newsletter
July 5, 2020

Do You Need to Replace the Roof to Sell Your House?

 

 

Do you need to replace your roof to sell your house?

New roofs are often advertised in house flyers and online, but what should you do if you have an old roof? Is it worth the investment to replace it before you sell?

First, consider the cost. That varies widely depending on size and condition of the roof, where the house is, what materials you're using, and who would do the work. Angie's List pegs the price at $4,900 to $14,100 for a typical replacement. Fancy jobs, like a slate roof on a large home with a lot of pitch, can easily hit $100,000 or more.

Then, consider your market. If you're in a hot spot, buyers are going to be more likely to look the other way to get their hands on your property. Buyers in cooler markets might have more of an upper hand in that deal, as long as the property passes muster -- that is, the roof doesn't leak.

And the answer may well vary depending on whether you're selling the home as an investment or a primary residence.

To get some expert opinions, Millionacres asked three veteran real estate agents and investors -- from New York, St. Louis, and Los Angeles -- what they recommend to their clients. Here, from east to west, is what they had to say.

Gerard Splendore is a broker with Warburg Realty Partnership in New York City with about 20 years of experience in Brooklyn and the Bronx as an agent, landlord, co-op shareholder, and townhouse owner. He says:

"While a roof is one of the most important aspects of a house -- along with mechanical systems, flooding and floodplain issues, vermin, asbestos, and radon gas -- replacing your roof prior to selling only removes one obstacle to a signed contract. It's not a requirement to replace a roof prior to listing or selling any more than it is a requirement to replace windows or appliances.

"When we purchased our limestone bow-front house in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the seller tactfully told us the roof needed replacing. Please note, he did not mention the antiquated wiring, the flooding basement, nor the backyard drainage issues, but at least we felt he was honest about the roof.

"We had the local roofer supply us an estimate, which the seller was only too happy to deduct from the price of the sale. After we moved in, we had the roof replaced by the roofer who it turns out had put on the original roof and we felt we had been treated fairly in that aspect of the purchase.

“In our first winter in the house, the heating system went kaput, despite our inspector assuring us it would last at least five more years. Moral of the story: always expect that there will be a hidden cost of some kind when purchasing."

Chris Gold of Chris Buys Homes in St. Louis is a real estate investor and homebuyer. He says:

"No, you don't need to replace your roof to sell your house -- but it will be a negative for potential buyers and could decrease the overall value of your home by more than the price it would cost to replace the roof.

"On the other hand, promoting a 'brand-new roof' in the listing of your house can be a major positive for potential buyers. Realtors love leaning on something important like that when talking about a property they're selling and, when they need to explain the higher listing price, having something like this can be huge.

"My advice to someone selling their home that needs a new roof: Replace it (unless you absolutely cannot) and you will see the benefits all throughout the selling process."

Yawar Charlie is a regular on CNBC's "Listing Impossible" and director of the Estates Division at Aaron Kirman Group, Compass in Los Angeles. He says:

"My opinion for most sellers is that instead of a roof replacement, they should hire an inspector and check to see if there are areas of the roof that they can simply repair to ensure there are no active leaks or missing shingles, and then fix minor areas of deterioration.

“When the buyer comes through with their home inspector and the roof inspector, they will see that the roof has been maintained but potentially may need to be replaced soon. That gives you a little better leverage when negotiating any request for repair that comes your way.

"I would never recommend that a seller fully replace the roof simply to put it up for sale, because I don't think there is a significant return in doing that. More often than not to replace a roof costs about $20,000, give or take, depending on the area you live in.

"Better to offer that as a credit during the request for repair and be able to negotiate that amount rather than spend that money up front and not see a return on it."

Every situation is different, for both the seller and the buyer, and the advice they get may vary from agent to agent. Opinions from inspectors could well vary, too. So as a seller, the best advice about whether to replace the roof probably is to weigh how much it will cost against how much you'll make in the sale with or without it. The choice, ultimately, is up to you.

Posted in Seller Blog
July 3, 2020

How to Get a Stronger WiFi Signal

 

Before you run out to buy a new router, try these tips for improving the signal throughout your home

Few gadgets in your home can make you quite as frustrated or bewildered as a router with a crummy WiFi signal. Without a fast and reliable internet connection, you find yourself huffing as you wait for websites to load on your laptop, fidgeting as YouTube videos freeze on your tablet, and staring in despair at email inboxes and social media feeds as they struggle to refresh on your smartphone. As for streaming the latest edition of “WrestleMania” on your smart TV? Forget about it. To add to your angst, you may not know how to troubleshoot those problems—beyond calling a tech-savvy relative and pleading for help.

“Think of a router as an electronic traffic cop,” says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing for Consumer Reports. Once it’s hooked up to the modem provided by your internet service provider (ISP), a router directs the internet connection throughout your home, making it wirelessly available to devices like your laptop, smart speaker, and smart TV.

Your router serves as a link between the outside world and all of your personal and financial data. The tax return you filed electronically? It travels through your router. Those credit card numbers you share online with Amazon? They exit through the router, too.

That’s why a router has to be a security guard in addition to being efficient and convenient. A good one receives routine firmware updates from the manufacturer to combat potential threats from hackers and other ne’er-do-wells.

Is Your Router a Slowpoke?

If your WiFi connection is noticeably sluggish, you may be tempted to write off your current router as a dud. But don’t be too hasty—there may be other factors at play.

First, take a look at a bill from your ISP to see what level of broadband you’re paying for. You’ll need a connection of at least 25 megabits per second to stream Netflix video for 4K TV, for example. If you’re not paying for that, or if you don’t have access to that kind of speed where you live, a brand-new router won’t help you.

You can easily run a speed test using a service like fast.com to see what you’re really getting. You may want to run this test a few times. First, run it with your laptop plugged into your router to check your speed in the best-case scenario. You can then move around with your laptop to different areas of your home to see how fast WiFi is at different locations.

Next, you’ll want to assess the placement of your router. They tend to do best when set up in the center of a home, allowing the signal to reach out in every direction. A router tucked away in a corner may not have the range to travel to the other side of the house, or from the second floor to the basement, because the signal degrades the farther it gets from the source.

If your router is in a suboptimal spot (the basement, for example), try moving it. One way is to buy a long Ethernet cable (keep it under 300 feet), plug it into the modem and the router, and move the router yourself. Or you can ask your ISP to help you relocate the modem, though the company may charge you depending on the labor involved. If you’re planning to change providers, Fisco says, you may be able to get the job done free, so ask while you’re negotiating the switch.

If your router is already in a central location, the slow connection might be due to obstacles in the house that can impede a WiFi signal. (See “5 Common WiFi Roadblocks & How to Fix Them,” below.) You can try moving the router around a room to address such problems.

If those tweaks don’t help, it may be time to find a model better suited to your needs, especially if you’ve been using a single-unit router in a multi-story home.

Which Router Is Best for You?

These days, you’ll find two types of wireless routers: traditional models and mesh network models. You’re probably familiar with the former. They’re single-unit devices that plug into a modem. They can be plenty fast, supporting even the data-hungry activities of families with dozens of internet-connected devices. But they don’t always have the range to effectively blanket a whole home in WiFi, especially if you have a large or obstacle-laden layout.

Mesh routers are typically packaged in a set with multiple units—a hub and one or more satellites—that work together to spread WiFi into the far-flung corners of a home. If you place the hub, which plugs into your modem, near the center of your dwelling, you can shift around the satellites, which help relay the WiFi signal, until you find a configuration that helps you eliminate any dead spots.

So why doesn’t everyone simply choose a mesh router? They’re pricey, for one thing. The top-rated models in our ratings cost $400 to $500. By contrast, our top-rated single-unit model sells for $200, followed by one that goes for about $160. There’s also an argument to be made for simplicity. With a mesh system, you have several devices strewn about your home vs. just one with a traditional router. If you don’t actually need mesh routers, there’s no reason to invest in them.

What Does 'WiFi 6' Mean?

Once you start shopping for a router, you’re likely to hear a lot of buzz about WiFi 6, a new technology standard that promises faster speeds, a longer range, and better support for the ever-expanding fleet of connected devices in modern homes.

Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 replaces the WiFi 5 standard formerly known as 802.11ac, which debuted in 2013, and WiFi 4 (802.11n), which dates back to 2009. The consortium that sets these standards announced a WiFi 6 certification program in September 2019, and a number of routers that support the standard are now available, including three models in our ratings.

But only a few internet-connected devices are currently WiFi 6- compatible. (The latest Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones are examples.) WiFi 4 and 5 devices can connect to a WiFi 6-compatible router, but they get none of the technology’s speed benefits. So our experts say it’s fine to hold off on making the leap if you can save money on a slightly older model. “If you still have a WiFi 4 router but your smartphone, TV, and laptop all support WiFi 5, get a WiFi 5 router instead,” Fisco says. That will set you up for a good five years.

Why Buy When You Can Rent?

Many consumers simply accept the model provided by their ISP. But internet companies usually charge a $10 to $12 monthly rental fee for the privilege, which can eclipse the price of a new router within two years.

In addition to providing potential savings, buying your own router gives you far more say in the operation and security of your home WiFi network. Using a simple mobile app, you can set up your router to receive automatic firmware updates. If you have a large family or frequent houseguests, our experts suggest a model that offers robust settings that let you establish parental controls and a guest network to wall folks off from certain websites and private information. 

If your router doesn't come with a companion app, however, instructions on how to update routers vary by brand. For most models, you need to log in through a browser on your computer, using the router’s IP address. Here are links on how to update widely used routers: Apple, Asus, D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear.

You may also be able to get security notices via email from your router’s manufacturer. To learn how, go to the company website—you’ll probably have to register the device.

5 Common WiFi Roadblocks & How to Fix Them

“WiFi is electromagnetic radiation, just like light,” says Bhaskar Krishnamachari, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at the University of Southern California. “There are objects that block it and others that let it through.” Here are some common obstacles to think about as you place routers and use connected devices. In this diagram, we’ve arranged a three-piece mesh router network to help eliminate potential dead spots in a multilevel home.

For the best results, place the hub in the center of your home (1) and between the satellites (2 and 3), says CR's Fisco. Note that satellite 3 sits on the kitchen counter away from the refrigerator (4). The WiFi signal from both the hub and satellites can also reach up and down to other floor levels, eliminating potential dead zones.

The Walls

Thicker walls tend to absorb more of a WiFi signal than thinner walls, Krishnamachari says. While you can’t easily change how thick your walls are, simply repositioning a mesh satellite closer to a room’s entrance may help boost the signal.

The Fridge

A refrigerator and other appliances that contain a lot of metal can cause trouble, too. WiFi signals may bounce off them instead of passing through to the other side. Metal plumbing and rebar in your walls create similar problems.

The Neighbors

If you live in an apartment building or a heavily populated neighborhood, you might be susceptible to wireless congestion created by nearby devices running on the 2.4GHz frequency band. Try changing your router and devices to the 5GHz frequency band, which has many more channels. If your router doesn’t support 5GHz, select another channel in the device’s settings.

The Microwave

Microwave ovens also operate in the 2.4GHz frequency band, Krishnamachari points out. That can cause interference, he says, if, for example, you decide to make a second bag of popcorn while streaming a Netflix movie. To avoid the interruption on movie night, try switching your laptop or smart TV to the 5GHz band.

The Fish Tank

Water absorbs radiation, Krishnamachari says. So your WiFi signal is likely to get hung up near pools, tubs, and, yes, that 100-gallon fish tank you installed.

 

Client Resources:

   

Posted in General Blog
July 2, 2020

Seven Things You Won't Notice Doing a Virtual Home Tour

 

 

In spite of the pandemic, with its lockdown restrictions and sheltering in place measures, many of us are still planning on prospecting the market and buying a home. Luckily, virtual tours are becoming more common, and they can help you view a property before buying. But can they replace actual home viewings? Here are the 7 things a virtual tour won’t show you.

Actual Property Size

The only way to get a real feel for how big a house or an apartment is to physically visit it. Even with floor plans and a 360° video tour of the house, you might fall short of determining the actual size of the property. Wide angle lenses, for instance, can easily create the illusion of space, making it look bigger than it really is. Also, you won’t be able to determine the height of the ceiling, the way the furniture impacts the size of the room, or the scale of some amenities.

Neighborhood

Even if you come across virtual tours that include a glimpse into the driveway, that’s not enough to tell you what the neighborhood you’re moving into will be like. Are the neighboring houses in good condition? Does the neighborhood have a friendly vibe? Will you be paired with some noisy next door neighbors? A bad neighborhood can ruin your experience of living in your new home, and can be a real deal breaker. And while a virtual tour will show you what the inside of your future home is like, visiting it in person is a must.

Building Condition

Whether you’re buying a house or an apartment, it’s important to assess the building condition from the outside. You might be put off by a dark hallway, a dodgy elevator, or a backyard and driveway that are in serious need of repairs. You might also be missing out on potential structural damage to the house, such as broken support beams or roof, water damage, and even pest infestations. Even if you find a home that ticks all the boxes, it’s important to arrange an inspection before signing the contract, or you might have unpleasant surprises further down the line.

Small Defects

Although not necessarily a make-or-break detail, small flaws in your future home could mount up to become unwanted expenses in the future. Virtual tours won’t pick up on cracks in the wall, chipped tiles and mirrors, scratched surfaces, discolored walls and flooring, or even old appliances that look good on the screen. Home inspectors will often discard them as well, so it’s up to the homebuyer to make sure that the house is up to scratch — or rather, scratch-free. Don’t forget that you can also use such defects to your advantage when negotiating the price. If you can’t see the house in person, you’re being stripped of this essential leverage when dealing with the seller.

Unpleasant Smells

A virtual tour might aim to give you a sanitized and stylized view of your future home. And while the layout, design and amenities might be appealing, the way a house smells also determines the closing of a sale. After all, a real estate trick is to bake something before a viewing, to create a homely feel that will entice buyers. A video, however, will fail to convey whether the building has plumbing issues that result in bad odors, whether pet damage has resulted in lasting smells, whether the walls smell of cooking, cigarette smoke, or even just that ‘old house smell’.

Poor Lighting

Just like smells, the way a house is lit can be the kind of small detail that will come back to haunt you after you’ve moved in. Artificial lighting can easily set the mood and make a house look brighter than in reality, but let’s face it, you’re not going to keep it on all the time. It’s also important to visit the property in person to see if there is anything nearby that could obstruct natural light, such as a tall building, or even a tree. The way a house is positioned also counts. North-facing houses are naturally darker and cooler, while those facing south or west are brighter, but also hotter in summer.

A Feel for the Seller

Often overlooked, one key detail virtual tours fail to convey is a proper feel for the person selling the property. It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to decide against buying an otherwise stunning home, simply because they get a bad feeling about the seller, or even their agent. Being able to interact in person with the seller not only helps build a relationship of trust, but can help negotiate the price. So even if you’re sold on your future dream home after a virtual tour, make sure that you and the owner close the deal face to face.

Buyer Resources:

 

Posted in Buyer Blog
July 1, 2020

July 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Synergy Newsletter
June 26, 2020

Seven Tips For Buying A Home In Today's Market

 


The U.S. economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, but one sector that has held up well is residential real estate. According to the National Association of Realtors, 56% of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month.

The strength has been fueled by pent-up buyer demand, low mortgage rates and tight housing inventories. With large numbers of prospective homebuyers coming off the sidelines, it is an extremely competitive environment. As a result, buyers have to be prepared to move quickly once they find the right home. Otherwise, they can be left out in the cold.

Here are seven ways that you can increase your chances for success:

1. Speed matters. Well-maintained homes that have been priced appropriately can sell in the first week on the market. If you really like a property, make sure you have an offer ready. The listing agent/homeowner likely won’t wait long, especially if there are other interested buyers.

2. Pick an experienced agent. Hire someone you trust who has a proven track record. When buying a home, you want an agent who is proactive and available 24/7. Find someone who will actively search for off-market listings. A top-flight agent usually has an extensive network of broker contacts who will share information about homes that are “coming soon” to the market. This enables you to get a jump on other prospective buyers.

3. Be prepared. Decide how much you are willing to spend. Find a good home inspector before you start looking at homes — someone who will be available to conduct an inspection on short notice. This can help facilitate a fast closing. Consider conducting a pre-offer inspection so that you can write a cleaner offer without an inspection contingency.

4. Get preapproved. Make sure you have a lender go over your finances so that you know whether you are eligible for the appropriate loan. It’s an easy process — you can usually submit an application online or over the phone. Once you are preapproved, you can move quickly when you want to make an offer on a home that you really like.

5. Expect competition. The market is very competitive, and the supply of homes for sale is limited. A Realtor.com report released in March showed that new listings were down 29% year over year. Multiple offers are becoming more common as the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 starts to ease. More and more buyers have decided that it is safe to leave their homes to begin or resume their searches. Ask your agent how an escalation clause works, and be prepared to employ it in competition.

6. Prepare your down payment. The more money you can put down, the better. This signifies to a seller that you are a serious buyer, and not just kicking the tires. It puts you in a stronger bargaining position. That being said, you don’t want to overextend yourself by liquidating all of your savings to make an attractive offer. You want to have money set aside to furnish the home and pay for needed improvements or unanticipated repair costs after you move in.

7. Patience can pay off. Homes that have been languishing on the market can present excellent buying opportunities. Sellers are more likely to negotiate on price, especially if they’ve already bought another house and are paying two mortgages. Additionally, you will potentially have more options if you don’t rush into a purchase. Many sellers pulled their homes off the market in March and April when the pandemic precipitated strict stay-at-home orders. Over the next few months, a number of sellers will likely relist their properties.

While concerns about the economy are likely to last for the foreseeable future, real estate remains a great investment. Historically, home values have increased significantly every decade and usually aren’t subject to the same short-term volatility as the stock market. Homeownership provides tax benefits and is a fantastic way to grow your personal wealth. Most importantly, it’s nice to have a place that you can call home.

 

Buyer Resources:

 

Posted in Buyer Blog
June 26, 2020

Trending lighting styles that sell

Shining a light on the latest ambiance must-haves

A luxury home’s ambiance, aesthetic, and visual distinctness depends on the quality of its light. But with such a wide variety of lighting fixtures to choose from, what are today’s luxury homebuyers looking for?

“Overall, buyers respond to high-quality, tasteful finishes — and lighting is no exception,” says Tyler Mearce, a Real Estate Agent at Sotheby’s International Realty’s Montecito Office. “Properly placed recessed ceiling lights and pendants over a kitchen island, well-placed table lighting, or directional lighting for art — a thoughtful plan considering all levels of lighting in a room can change the way a home looks and feels, and buyers respond to that.”

We spoke with three top agents on the lighting advice they’re giving their buyers and sellers now. Here are their tips.

Pendant lighting

Today, pendant lighting is the contemporary interior designer’s creative outlet. There are many types of hanging fixtures intended to make a memorable impression, yet Mearce stresses the importance of subtlety and simplicity.

“We have seen a trend in Montecito away from traditional styles like ornate crystal and iron chandeliers to more clean-lined lighting. People are opting for modern, mid-century vintage, or fixtures that are simpler and, in some cases, more casual and fun,” he says. “The fixture should not be so overwhelming to the room that it takes away from the architecture presented. Instead, when a fixture complements a space in both design and scale, it is much more effective at selling the home as a whole.”

Jacqueline Daniels, a Broker Associate at Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, agrees. “I would recommend matte black, less ornate light fixtures,” she says. “Clean lines and more refined industrial styles are attractive to many different types of buyers.”

While old-fashioned lighting fixtures should stay in the past, you don’t necessarily need to shy away from adding personality in the proper setting. “Over-scaled statement fixtures placed over kitchen islands, dining tables, and entry foyers are on-trend,” notes Lucy Nichols, a Broker at Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty.

Cove lighting

It doesn’t get more subtle than cove lighting, which is generally concealed behind ledges or moldings to cast an elegant and even glow around the perimeter of a room. Bear in mind, however, that this type of lighting may require the cove to be built so that bulbs can remain hidden.

While tube lighting is a conventional choice for cove lighting, today there is a range of styles suited to unique uses. “Wall-grazing LED tape lighting can highlight art,” said Nichols. “Electric mirrors can serve as cove lighting in bathrooms, in place of dated over-the-mirror vanity fixtures.”

Recessed lighting

For ambient lighting in an open concept kitchen, living, and dining room, recessed lighting is a favorite; it can also be installed to focus on illuminating a specific area, such as an art wall.

But just as Mearce notes that overall lighting trends are moving away from the ornate, the same holds true for recessed lighting: “That is, ideally smaller and with fewer lights on the ceiling, depending on the architectural considerations.”

Architectural sconces

No matter the age of your listing, sconces are a lighting fixture choice that can play to a home’s strengths, whether classic or unique, stylish or understated. They can also act as a primary lighting source or a secondary glow in lieu of lamps or tabletop fixtures.

“Architectural sconces can serve as accents in halls, creating a focal point and playful light patterns that highlight wood, tile, or stone cladding,” says Nichols. “Sconces can be relatively contemporary even in a traditional home.”

The material that your sconces are made of can bring them into the present. “Soft golds and matte black are on trend right now,” observes Daniels.

When to make a lighting change

“If there is a fixture that is particular to a client’s taste but doesn’t translate well to the average buyer for that type of home, then we may recommend replacing it,” says Mearce of the advice he gives his sellers. “Although this conversation can sometimes be awkward with a seller, it is statistically imperative to update lighting within reason. A simple coat of paint on the walls and updated light fixtures can result in an exponential return on their investment.”

He recalls a recent instance when instead of advising his client to replace a lighting fixture, he asked them to remove it from the staging since they intended to keep it when they moved. “This helped present a home that the buyer could purchase furnished without additional negotiation — saving all parties involved time and stress.”

Focus on the quality and color of the light, not just the fixture

It might be obvious to interior designers, but it’s often overlooked by agents: light bulbs may need to be changed. “Most of the time, the fixtures have bulbs that are incorrect wattage, color, or type,” advises Nichols. “Keep the visual temperature of the lights consistent in each space — there’s nothing worse than going from yellow and dingy to white and bright. When the light is right, the mood changes and the buyer will linger longer. Having the correct light color is the same as experiencing clean windows.”

It’s all part of the staging process. “Clean the fixtures, make sure dimmers work, and angle your can lights to aim at walls and show the possibilities for art,” she adds.

Augment light with technology

Technology is an excellent way to make lighting feel modern, no matter what type of fixtures you have. “Bluetooth-controlled lighting is in-demand, and fewer switches on the wall will make an older remodeled property feel more current,” says Nichols.

If you want to change the lighting in a home, but installing new fixtures in situ isn’t feasible, don’t be afraid to go digital. “Buyers in today’s market are more often than not drawn to a home that is cosmetically updated, but when that isn’t possible, virtual staging is a big value-add,” says Mearce.

Lighting fixtures are moving towards a modern, casual feel, and simplification is helping top agents sell luxury homes. Mearce summarizes this shift succinctly: “From chandeliers to sconces, pendants to recessed lighting, simple and approachable lighting seems to be the trend.”

Seller Resources:

  

Posted in Seller Blog
June 26, 2020

Your Ultimate Guide to Growing Herbs Indoors

 

Indoor herb gardens not only provide fresh herbs at your fingertips, but also fill your home with fragrance and greenery. Learn how to grow herbs indoors, including what herbs to grow indoors, and tips on care and lighting.

Growing herbs indoors allows you to enjoy homegrown produce whether you're short on garden space or just want to add a dash of green to your interior. For newbies, it can also serve as a low-stakes entry into more substantial edible gardening–all you need is a sunny window.

It also makes cooking at home easy–whenever you need some herbs, just clip a few sprigs to use in a recipe or as a pretty garnish.

But before you pot up your first plant, ensure your success by following these surefire strategies, even if you don't have a green thumb.

1. Pick the Right Plants

Most herbs can be grown indoors, but those that tend to really thrive inside include no-fuss picks like basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme.

You can start herbs from seed or cuttings, which is a branch of an existing plant cut at the node and soaked in water until new roots sprout. However, you may find it much easier and faster to start your indoor garden with seedlings from a garden shop.

2. Select a Container with Drainage

While there are dozens of herb pots you can buy, you can plant herbs in just about any container so long as it has some type of drainage. The pots also need something to protect the surface underneath them like a saucer or round plastic protector which you can find at garden centers.

You can use any size container you like provided the plant fits, but realize that the smaller the vessel, the sooner you'll have to repot. If you are using nontraditional planters such as mason jars, just make sure to place a layer of pebbles in the bottom to catch excess moisture so your potting soil doesn't get saturated.

3. Choose the Sunniest Spot

Most herbs prefer a lot of sunlight. That means you'll want to give your indoor herb garden at least six hours of sun per day to thrive.

To maximize their exposure, place plants as close as possible to your brightest window–the bright light of a south-facing window is best. Avoid setting them in the center of a room or near a window with northern exposure–neither will offer enough light.

Growth may be slow in the winter when there isn't much natural light. During those months, consider investing in a grow light or led light while you wait for spring to arrive.

4. Water-but Not Too Much

You'll be surprised by how little water it takes to sustain a small herb. To make sure your plant grows, keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. A small watering can or a drizzle under the sink will suffice. If the leaves begin to wilt or turn yellow, scale back the water.

5. Harvest a Little at a Time

Harvest a few sprigs with kitchen shears or by pinching leaves off with your fingers. Bonus: Regular cutbacks encourage new growth. Avoid removing more than a quarter of the plant at a time, which will cause distress and could even kill the plant.

6. Transplant When Ready

Indoor herb plants are not forever. The good news/bad news is that if you do it right, your herbs will eventually outgrow their containers and need more space. If you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, growth seems to have stalled or the plant starts to flop over, it's time to transplant.

In most climates, perennial herbs such as lavender and mint can be started inside and moved into the ground after the threat of frost has passed. Annual herbs can be moved outdoors through the end of the growing season. When cold weather approaches, you can either bring the pots back indoors or leave them outside, but be sure to take cuttings before the first frost so you can start the whole indoor herb garden process over again.

Both annuals and perennials can be moved into larger pots within your home at any time; just keep them close to a light source.

Client Resources:

   

Posted in General Blog
June 17, 2020

Summer is the New Spring for Real Estate

 

 

Some Highlights:

  • The health crisis slowed the market this spring, so buyers are jumping back into the market to make their moves this summer.
  • Check these 10 items off your to-do list so your house is ready to sell while buying is hot!
  • Reach out to a local real estate agent today to prepare your house for the sizzling summer market.

Seller Resources:

  

Posted in Seller Blog
June 16, 2020

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase this Year

 

 

A recent survey by Lending Tree tapped into behaviors of over 1,000 prospective buyers. The results indicated 53% of all homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year, even amid the current health crisis. The survey further revealed why, naming several reasons buyers are more likely to move this year (see graph below):

Let’s break down why these are a few of the key factors motivating buyers to actively engage in the home search process, and the corresponding wins for sellers as well.

Low Mortgage Rates

The biggest reason potential homebuyers indicated they’re eager to purchase this year is due to current mortgage rates, which are hovering near all-time lows. Today’s low rates are making it more affordable than ever to buy a home, which is a huge incentive for purchasers. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Lending Tree survey want to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This is no surprise when comparing historic mortgage rates by decade (see below):

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac recently said:

“As the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery.”

Reduced Spending

Some people have also been able to save a little extra money over the past few months while sheltering in place. One of the upsides of staying home recently is that many have been able to work remotely and minimize extra spending on things like commuting expenses, social events, and more. For those who fall into this category, they may have a bit more saved up for down payments and closing costs, making purchasing a home more feasible today.

Re-Evaluating Their Space

Spending time at home has also given buyers a chance to really evaluate their living space, whether renting or as a current homeowner. With time available to craft a wish list of what they really need in their next home, from more square footage to a more spacious neighborhood, they’re ready to make it happen.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

With these three factors in play, the demand for housing will keep growing this year, especially over the summer as more communities continue their phased approach to reopening. Buyers can take advantage of additional savings and low mortgage rates. And if you’re thinking of selling, know that your home may be in high demand as buyer interest grows and the number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. This may be your moment to list your house and make a move into a new space as well.

Bottom Line

If you’re ready to buy or sell – or maybe both – reach out to a local real estate professional to put your plans in motion. With low mortgage rates leading the way, it’s a great time to take advantage of your position in today’s market.

Buyer Resources:

 

Posted in Buyer Blog