Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 65

Real Estate Resources

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF COPPER

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

THE SURPRISING BENEFITS OF COPPER

Have you noticed the gorgeous sheen of copper popping up in Home and Garden magazines, design blogs, and interior decorating shows over the past year?  Yes, copper has become a popular and trendy decorating feature, but there’s more to using copper in your home than meets the eye.

Although we have a plethora of materials and textures available to us when it comes to decorating and designing our homes, copper is the only one with the ability to ward off bacteria.  According to Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world, copper surfaces kill bacterial microbes on contact.  Today, scientists and researchers are studying the impact that this quality could have on hospitals and medical facilities, but homeowners need not wait to embrace the benefits of this stylish material in their own homes.

Copper can be integrated into a home in several ways, including backsplashes, accent walls, and fireplace features.  This eye catching element brings warm tones to any space, but if you’re looking for the best way to take advantage of its antimicrobial benefits, focus on the kitchen and bathroom.  Install copper hardware on door and cabinet handles, faucets, sinks, countertops and railings to prevent the spread of germs throughout your home.  

Not only will the anesthetically pleasing sheen of copper throughout your home lift your spirits, but it could also make your home and your family healthier!

3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING THAT SECOND HOME

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

3 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING THAT SECOND HOME

In recent years experts have seen a rise in second home sales, and a large percentage of Americans will admit to either owning a second home, or planning to own a second home in the future.  While buying a cottage by the sea, or a bungalow on the lake can be incredibly exciting and ultimately rewarding, the decision to purchase a second home comes with many financial and logistical considerations.  Before you take the plunge into the sea of vacation homes, ask yourself these 3 questions.

  1. How much will the home cost, and can you really afford it?

In addition to the sale price, there are many extra expenses to take into account when deciding whether or not you can afford to purchase a second home.  Even a small house comes with expenses like a mortgage, property taxes, utilities, insurance and maintenance fees.  If you’re new to the vacation home game, it’s a good idea to think these things through.  When you’re not living in a house on a daily basis, small problems can become big issues before you even notice them, leading to higher maintenance and insurance costs.  Estimate your annual maintenance costs by budgeting about 1% - 1.25% of the purchase price, depending on the age of the home.  If you decide to rent your home, you may also want to hire a property manager.  Renting a vacation home comes with many tasks and duties, like advertising, screening possible tenants, cleaning, handling deposits and contracts, as well as the regular maintenance of the home.  If you decide to hire a property manager, expect to pay between 20% and 30% of your rental income for the services.

  1. How do you plan to use it?

People buy second homes for many different reasons and purposes.  Will you be reserving the home exclusively for yourself and your family?  Will you be renting it out to bring in some income to cover costs?  If you are buying a home with rental income in mind, remember to bring those plans to the table when choosing your home.  You may love the idea of a small cabin in an isolated spot, but that isolation may turn off potential renters.  Rental houses also come with unique tax considerations, so plan on consulting with a tax professional before you buy.

  1. Are you rushing your decision?

Buying a second home is a dream for many of us, and once the wheels start rolling, it is easy to be swept up in the current of emotion.  As with any big decision, whether it be buying your family home or considering a big move or career change, you must not make it based on your emotions or impulses.  Do your research on the area, consider the costs and stress involved, and sleep on any big steps before you take them.  Buying a second home is a luxury, so you have time on your side.

REMODELING YOUR BATHROOM: HOW TO GET STARTED

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

REMODELING YOUR BATHROOM: HOW TO GET STARTED

Remodeling your bathroom may seem like a huge project, and that’s a fairly accurate assumption to make!  It is a big project, but with a step-by-step plan in place, you will be able to navigate the process and come out with the bathroom of your dreams.  As in most things, starting out on the right foot is essential, so before you start demolishing your current room...

  1. Figure Out What You Want and Why

Most people choose to remodel their bathrooms to update the look, increase the value of the home, or for better functionality.  Determine why you’re wanting to remodel and what you hope to achieve.

  1. Research and Decide on a Budget

It’s imperative that you determine how much you can spend on this project, and decide what you want based on the numbers.  A basic remodel usually falls within the $3,000 to $12,000 bracket, while the deluxe remodel can be as much as $35,000 to $100,000.  If possible, see if you can make your updates without changing the plumbing or wiring, this will significantly lower the cost.  Research materials, fixtures and finishes, as well as design elements that you’d like to add to see if they work with the budget.

  1. Consider Hiring a Professional

While you may know exactly what you want, and be certain that your ideas will work out, it could be a good idea to hire a professional designer.  A professional will have more experience and may think of creative solutions you hadn’t considered.  There are many ways to work with a designer, from scheduling a consultation, to hiring a designer to fully engage in your project.  Hiring a contractor may also be the way to go depending on the project, and if you lack experience, your remodel could end up taking you much longer and be more expensive if you go it alone.

It can be easy to get carried away with the possibilities of creating your dream bathroom, but taking care to plan and prepare can help you focus on the goal and come out with the best remodel possible.

---------------------------------------------------

Number One Properties Has Proven This !

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

TIPS FOR YOUR WINTER MOVE

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

TIPS FOR YOUR WINTER MOVE

The winter season may seem to be the worst time for most projects, but it’s actually a great time to move.  It’s cheaper, and you will find that renting a moving truck and hiring movers is much easier than in the busier spring, summer, and fall seasons.  However, there are a few issues that it’s best to be prepared for.

Prepare Your New Home

  • Make sure you have heat and electricity.
  • Clear snow from the drive and sidewalks - if you’re moving to another area, have your agent or property manager check the area for you.
  • Check that the parking area for your moving truck is cleared of ice and snow.

Prepare Your Old Home

  • Clear the snow and ice on your sidewalks, driveway and parking area for the movers.
  • Protect your interiors with cardboard or plastic sheeting before the movers arrive.
  • Keep salt and shovels on hand in case your car or truck gets stuck.
  • Prep hot drinks for yourself and the movers.  A little consideration can go a long way in making your move a good one.

Be Ready for a Storm

  • Check the weather frequently.  If there’s a chance of inclement weather, have a radio on during the move to keep abreast of the situation.
  • If a winter storm blows in, it’s a good idea to have a back-up plan in case you need to reschedule your move.  Be certain to talk with your moving company to see what the policy is when it comes to winter conditions, and talk with your agent to find out the leeway period is for moving out/in.
  • Find out how to secure short-term accommodation if the move falls through.
  • Plan your travel route in advance, and check with local authorities, or the online highways website for your state to determine if conditions are safe.
  • Make sure your car is winterized before moving day.

Having a plan of action for unforeseen conditions is key to a successful moving day, and taking the time to prepare will pay off if/when something comes up.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN A HOME INSPECTION

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

WHAT TO EXPECT IN A HOME INSPECTION

Once you find a buyer for your home, the home inspection process is an important part of the home-selling process, and it’s helpful to know what to expect on your inspection day.  The home inspector will mainly concentrate on the condition and structure or your home, and will be restricted to a visual inspection of the house.

Expect your inspector to check-out the following items:

  • Exterior home site, foundation, and walls
  • Roof coverings, gutters, and support structure
  • Attic, basement, and garage, if you have one
  • Insulation quality and electrical
  • Visible plumbing
  • Interior condition

It’s helpful to remember that your inspector will not be implementing any destructive testing, so don’t worry about them destroying your house.  They will also not be bringing x-ray vision goggles to inspect every wire and pipe in your home.  They stick to general systems and conditions, and will most likely leave out small cosmetic items that are easily visible to the buyers.  They will also likely not venture into any inaccessible areas of your home, as this is not a code compliance inspection.

If you’d like to read more about the home inspections process, see the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics on the NAHI.org website.

WHICH HOME STYLE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

WHICH HOME STYLE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

When you are in the market for a new home, one of the first decisions you often make is whether to opt for a single family home, or for a townhome or condo.  All three options offer buyers unique advantages, and each can be the perfect choice depending on your situation.  Factors such as your life stage, location preferences, and overall costs often determine which home style is best for you and your family.

What are your family’s needs?

When it comes to choosing the best home style for you, your life stage will most often be the most important factor in your decision making process.  Are you a single, young professional, or a married, young professional with plans to have a large family as soon as possible?  Large families will often need more square footage than a condo can provide, and desire the outdoor space that a single-family home can offer.

Location, Location, Location

Location weighs as a close second deciding factor in this race, and can even come first in some situations.  If you have decided on a particular neighborhood, or area that would be ideal, you will be limited to the home sizes and styles offered in that area.  For instance, if you want to be within walking distance of work, or choose to opt for public transportation to save on vehicle expenses, condominium complexes or townhomes may be the best choice.  

What can you afford?

Lastly, when deciding between home styles, you need to determine which best fits in with your financial budget, as well as time constraints.  Each option comes with its own pros and cons, and it is important to weigh both in light of your circumstances.  Condos provide homeowners with the peace of mind that comes with knowing maintenance is taken care of, while single-family homes and townhomes ensure that you are in control of your own maintenance.  Busy professionals without need of outdoor space (and the work that comes with it), may find that a low maintenance (and often less costly) condo fits perfectly into their lifestyle, and a young family more interested in proximity to schools rather than the workplace may find that a single-family home is just the ticket.  Townhomes on the other hand, can provide the ownership and outdoor space of a single-family home, while also allowing the homeowner to choose an ideal location.

At the end of the day, each case is unique, and each home buyer must choose their priorities accordingly.  Luckily the variety that these 3 home styles provide make it possible to find just the right place, regardless of your life stage, or financial position.

RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES: TOP 3 QUESTIONS TO ASK

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES: TOP 3 QUESTIONS TO ASK

While many of us make a command decision at the ripe age of 19 never to live in anything close to what could be considered a “retirement community,” the truth is that these communities exist for good reason.  Your 19 year-old self may see this type of move as a sign of giving in to old age, but the draw of retirement communities is that they often are the best place in which to avoid letting your golden years waste away.  With the wide variety of offerings, and locations available these days, here are 3 key questions to ask before making your decision.

1.    Will you find friends here with similar interests?

Finding friends in your community is important both in and out of the retirement circle, so do not overlook this major part of moving.  Try to choose a community that offers programs you are interested in, or even affinity retirement communities that cater to specific interests or occupations.  A good example being the Nalcrest community near Tampa, FL which is exclusively for retired mail carriers (no dogs allowed!).  Also make a point to determine the average age of the residents.  Living in a community comprised mainly of 85 year olds may make your dreams of competitive tennis matches unlikely.

2.    Does the community provide opportunities to help you stay young?

The top reason on most lists for moving to a retirement community is to stay healthy and active.  Although finding a community with good fitness programs is very important, you should also think about providing yourself with intellectual stimulation.  Consider moving to a community near a college.  Most colleges and universities allow seniors to audit classes completely free, and host low-cost concerts, and art shows.

3.    Will your family feel welcome?

Possibly the most important factor to weigh in your retirement community decision is whether or not your family will feel welcome to visit.  Some communities have playground equipment for visiting children, while others limit the number of days they can spend the night.  While limiting rules can often protect grandparents from a situation where job-less adult children are returning to the nest, they can also make family feel unwelcome.  Check the community’s policy on younger visitors before making your decision to make sure it is aligned to your needs.

RENTING VS. BUYING

by Vicki Graham, #1 Properties, Vicki@GrahamHouse.com

RENTING VS. BUYING

While buying that first home is a milestone that is commonly accepted as the hallmark of adulthood, there are some situations where renting may be the better option.  Both renting and buying a home have their advantages and disadvantages, so read on for some things to think about as you begin your home search.

The Advantages of Renting

  1. A low initial investment - The funds freed up by avoiding a down-payment on a home can be invested into a savings account with a high return.  A good option for a situation in which the renter lives in the property less than 4 years.
  2. Limited responsibility - The landlord is responsible for repairs and home maintenance.
  3. More flexibility - For those interested in being able to move locations in the short-term, renting provides this mobility.

Before Renting a Home

  • A renter should make certain to protect their security deposit.  A walk-through prior to signing the lease, where pre-existing damage is documented, is a must.
  • A renter should know about their renter’s insurance policy.  This insurance protects against floods, fires, robbery, and other events.

The Advantages of Buying

  1. Tax advantages - Property taxes and interest can be used for tax deductions.
  2. Personal freedom with the property - Your home can be your castle, and any remodeling or redecorating your decision.
  3. Fewer restrictions - Restrictions such as pets, children, and noise are much fewer for homeowners.

Before Buying a Home

  • A homeowner is responsible for taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.
  • Market and home prices fluctuate and are hard to predict.  Depending on the economic period, a home may or may not be profitable when it’s time to sell.

For more help on deciding between renting or buying, check out this rent vs. buy calculator!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 65

Share This Page

Contact Information

Photo of Vicki Graham, Broker Associate Real Estate
Vicki Graham, Broker Associate
#1 Properties
6106 Yellowstone Rd.
Cheyenne WY 82009
(307) 631-6884
307-773-8454