lake county real estate. and then some…

selling homes…a family tradition

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Is this the beginning of the end of short sales?

Distressed sales were a rarity in most real estate markets, prior to the bubble burst in the mid 2000’s.  Since then, some areas have peaked with distressed sales accounting for almost half of an area’s real estate transaction.   Once uncommon, the “short sale” has been an exercised option for a large number of homeowners.

What is a short sale?  A short sale is a bank-approved transaction, where the homeowner is still the seller of the home, however the property is selling for less than the mortgage on the property.  Because of the loss, the lender is involved in the approval, and possible negotiations, of the final sale.  The benefit to a short sale – the seller typically lives in the home, keeping utilities on and maintaining the property, therefore making it easier to sell and keeping it off the bank’s inventory list.  The easiest way to remember a short sale – it is a pre-foreclosure.  The home is on it’s way to being acquired by the bank due to mortgage default, however the bank and seller are working together to find a qualified buyer and prevent the foreclosure process.

Short sales can, and often times do, take longer than a standard real estate transaction. In the past, buyers were willing to wait it out – because they felt that they were “getting a good deal.”  And sellers were more apt to pursue the short sale route, due to the “Debt Forgiveness Act”, that expired on 12/31/2013.  Now, without that benefit, speculation is that sellers are not going to participate in short sale programs, and simply foreclose.  And, as interest rates increase, buyers are being to stray away from waiting for short sale approval.  A delayed approval can result in a higher mortgage payment.

Which leads us to wonder…..Is this the beginning of the end of short sales?

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Exactly why are new homes bigger?

Remember the “McMansions” of the 1990’s?  Well they are back!  Large homes become increasingly popular in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Smaller homes become more popular in the mid 2000’s, as the economy suffered and the national real estate market tanked in many areas.  Larger homes equal greater living expenses – furnishing, landscaping, maintenance, utilities, insurance…you get the idea.  As home values decreased, and jobs suffered, home buyers turned to a more conservative approach, and focused on smaller houses.  That trend appears to be changing, as the average square footage of a home is on the rise – as well as the amenities found in larger homes:  more bedroom, baths, multiple car garages.  And the buyer composition is changing as well.  Buyers with higher credit scores typically manage their money well, and can handle the expenses that are associated with larger homes.

So, it looks like the Jones’ aren’t off the hook yet.

Exactly why are new homes bigger?

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How to bust your remodeling budget unexpectedly

When my daughter graduated from middle school, our gift to her was to update her room.  To replace the sky blue ceiling with the cloud cut-outs and the bright green walls.  The room was decorated that way when we purchased our home, and she so excitedly allowed the room to stay as it was.  Until heading into high school, when we all realized she needed something a bit more mature.  Sounds easy, right?  Not really.  It took two years to chose the perfect shade of gray to compliment the perfect shade of pink.  And then it took time to coordinate the replacing of all of the switches and outlets (that had been painted bright green!).  The new painted covers finally were installed this January, and the poor windows are still waiting for curtains.  Overall, we were fortunate, the biggest obstacle we have run into is a teenagers inability to make up her mind on window treatments and lamp shades.

At least in the bedroom.  I made the decision to strip the wallpaper in my daughter’s bathroom, because the custom made coordinating print shower curtain was falling apart, and paint it the same gray as the bedroom.  Seemed like a great idea, until the painter dropped the towel bar on the tile floor, cracking 3 tiles.  No replacements anywhere.  I am now looking at new flooring, which has exposed me to hundreds of bathroom pictures that I just ohhh and ahhh over.  I have an undeniable urge to replace the vanity top, frame the mirror, update the lighting and plumbing fixtures, and paint the vanity.  Thanks to Pinterest, I think I can pull it off with a reasonable budget.  And I have plenty of time to look for decor ideas.  My daughter has kindly asked me to wait until she leaves for college to redo the bathroom.

How to bust your remodeling budget unexpectedly…

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An easy way to upgrade not only your kitchen, but your…

Backsplashes.  Once a staple for a kitchen, used to protect the wall behind the stove top from grease and food, backsplashes have now become a key design feature, fulfilling more of an aesthetic role in home decor.  No longer reserved for the cooking area, a backsplash often runs the full perimeter of the kitchen – filling the space between the counter top and the bottom of the upper cabinets.  The styles and products available for backsplashes are almost endless – tumbled marble has been a very popular option over the past decade, however glass, metal and granite are commonly used.  Ceramic tile can be easily painted – allowing for more customization than some of the other materials.

While still used prevalently in kitchens, backsplashes have ventured into other areas of the home.  Bathrooms are easily spiced up by adding a tile finish along the sink vanity in the bath.  Dress up your laundry room by adding tile to the wall above the counter or behind a utility in laundry room.  Be sure to scale the size of the backsplash foundation to the size of the room you are installing it in – use mosaic tiles, or smaller cuts of marble, stone or glass in the bath and laundry area.  One of the benefits to using mosaic tiles is that the design are usually pre-assembled and attached – minimizing the time required for installation.

An easy way to upgrade not only your kitchen…



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Home sellers – the top 5 issues that turn buyers off are…

Buyers are picky.  Although, sometimes sellers make it easy to not be so picky.  If you are preparing your home to sell, you need to make it as appealing as possible to EVERY buyer who enters your front door.  That means clean, neat, and odor-free.

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where should I put that couch?

I grew up in a house where my mother was always rearranging the furniture.  It saved on traffic pattern wear on the carpet, gave the room a fresh look, and kept us on our toes.

How about you?  Mental block on where to put that couch?  Or how to arrange your table and chairs?  What about the best way to set up your family room TV?  Better Homes & Gardens offers some quick solutions to common decorating problems, including sketches to follow the ideas.

Me?  I haven’t changed any room since I moved into my house almost 8 years ago.  After reading the article, I am thinking maybe I ought to give it a try.

Quick tips & tricks for arranging furniture…

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Mortgage rates drop to…

Mortgage rates drop to…

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are expectations too high?

Having been born in Denver, I am a Broncos fan.  Been one my whole life.  To say I was disappointed with the outcome of yesterday’s game goes without saying.  During the post-game interview a reporter asked Payton Manning if he was embarrassed.  I loved his response – he told the reporter he was insulted by the use of the word “embarrassed.”  Good for him.  Why, as a society, must someone who fails be embarrassed by their effort?  Seattle’s defense outplayed Manning and his offense.  Manning’s team got beaten.  And as severely as that beating was, it wasn’t because Denver played poorly.  It was because Seattle played better.  Way better.

The Super Bowl is about being a better team.  There is always a winner, and a loser.  Denver made it to the championship game.  They lost.  But at least they made it to the “big game.”  How many other teams did not even advance to the first round of the play-offs?  I agree with Peyton Manning.  He should not be embarrassed.  And he has every right to be insulted by asking if he was.

And for those of you who really aren’t into the football aspect of the game – the Wall Street Journal has put together a page with all of the Super Bowl commercials.  In case you missed them…Wall Street Journal – best-super-bowl-commercials-2014