Real Estate News Articles

Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

10 Tips for Creating a Calmer, More Peaceful Home

Add some greenery

Studies have shown that plants can make your home feel calmer and ease anxiety. Plants like jasmine and English ivy can improve sleep, lavender and rosemary can lower stress, and several other plants have been shown to improve air quality so you breathe easier.

Hide the electronics

ldquo;Nobody wants to stare at a tangle of cords,rdquo; said Houzz. ldquo;Thankfully, we have more options than ever for keeping our tech devices hidden away. When possible, choose smaller, wi>

Get a dog

Or a cat, a bird, or a turtle, for that matter. Yes, having a pet can mean more noise and more mess. But, there are all kinds of studies that show that having a pet lowers stress. ldquo;Researchers found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets,rdquo; said ldquo;Another study showsnbsp;that pet owners may also have increased odds of surviving for at least a year after having a heart attack.rdquo;

Clear the clutter

Going all Marie Kondo on your home can have surprising effects on your mental state. ldquo;Clutternbsp;can playnbsp;a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves,rdquo; said psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter innbsp;Psychology Today. ldquo;Messy homes andnbsp;work spacesnbsp;leave us feelingnbsp;anxious,nbsp;helpless, and overwhelmed.rdquo;

Tone down the harsh colors

Therersquo;s something to be said for going bold, but soft colors can bring on a calming feeling. If you want a deeper color, consider shades of blues and greensmdash;two colors that are known to be more serene than, say bright yellow, orange, or red.

Clean up your entryway

Itrsquo;s the first place guests see, and while you probably donrsquo;t pass by or through your front entry all that often if you park in the garage, it may not feel as welcoming as yoursquo;d like when you do.

Soften the lighting

Harsh overhead lighting can make you feel like yoursquo;re being interrogated, and can also be hard on your eyes. If you need to keep it because the space will be too dark otherwise, a dimmer can at least give you some control over just how bright it is, and allow you to create a mood with lower lighting as needed.

Limit the patterns

ldquo;Opt for solids and subtle patterns,rdquo; said Houzz.nbsp;ldquo;Busy patterns have their place, but if yoursquo;re aiming for calm, then solid fabrics are your friends. Donrsquo;t be afraid to include subtle patterns, though: herringbone, tone-on-tone stripes, and tiny dots can add textural interest without competing for attention.rdquo;

Buy some fresh flowers

According to a study by Rutgers, ldquo;The presence of flowers trigger happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive way far beyond what was originally believed.rdquo;

Make your master bedroom a zen zone

Getting good rest is key, and there are several ways you can create a soothing space. Keeping the colors serene is key, and so is a good mattress. Loading the bed up with soft textures can also help. ldquo;The sensation of touch is often overlooked, but a powerful way to unwind,rdquo; said

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How Airbnb Has Changed Things for Apartment Complexes in Recent Years

Nowadays, Airbnb is a staple of avid travelers, nomads, foreign workers, and even locals. Itrsquo;s completely changed the face of the tourism, vacation rentals, hospitality industries, and as far as we can see, the popular brand will likely be around for many years to come.

Not only has Airbnb drastically changed how people travel and book their lodgings, but itrsquo;s also made some big waves in the world of real estate. Communities and property owners have recently stepped up to talk about how the company has impacted their world. Some of the effects have been profitable. Others, not so much.

Letrsquo;s talk about some of the major changes Airbnb has ushered in for apartment complexes.

1. People Are Renting Apartments to Post on Airbnb, Not to Live In

In places where tourists are common, an interesting trend has arisen since the boom of Airbnb. Many people are renting apartments not to live in, but to post on Airbnb and make a little extra money.

Take a quick search on Google and yoursquo;ll find articles like ldquo;Making Money With Airbnb Over 10,000 Per Month.rdquo; Surprisingly, many people make a viable income with this new form of tourist accommodations. As long as you have space to lease and the permission of the propertyrsquo;s owner, then you can turn a quick profit by conducting short-term leases with visitors or even locals.

Now, when you walk by an apartment complex in a place like New York City, itrsquo;s quite possible that one or many of the units are rented out to visitors - at least part-time on Airbnb. There are more than 17,000 listings in NYC alone, which has led to a great deal of discussion on the cityrsquo;s short-term rental laws and apartment complex contracts.

2. Landlords and Property Managers Have Changed Their Contract Stipulations

At first, there were very few restrictions as to what residents could and could not do when it came to renting their apartments on Airbnb. Now that the service is popular around the world, more and more landlords are making efforts to control what their tenants do with rentals.

Although legal restrictions on short-term home rentals vary from location to location, landlords can also impose their own restrictions on how their properties are used. Now, if you want to lease your apartment through Airbnb, yoursquo;ll need to carefully read through your rental agreement. Many contracts now prohibit short-term rentals and sublets, unless the landlordrsquo;s permission is obtained well in advance.

The punishment for leasing on Airbnb without permission from the landlord? In many cases, itrsquo;s an eviction.

3. Rent Prices Are Increasing in Big Cities and Popular Tourist Destinations

The simple math is that when there are more Airbnbs in a location, the increase typically coincides with a hike in rent prices. Why? A study conducted in Boston found that if Airbnb can make short-term rentals easier for people, including local residents, rent for long-term apartments would go up.

Airbnb may be targeted at out-of-towners, but locals have certainly taken advantage of the business opportunities. Cities only have so much available housing, so the more apartments that are dedicated to Airbnb rentals, the less there are available for long-term rentals. More demand and less availability lead to higher rent costs.

Because Airbnb, among other short-term rental services, is making such a direct impact on local rentals, policymakers around the world are trying to figure out how theyrsquo;ll deal with the problem. Many are looking to regulate short-term rentals to help stabilize rent costs and provide more housing for local residents. For instance, in Hawaii, legislators have recently approved a plan to tax Airbnb rentals more than regular apartment complexes.

This will certainly change how tourists stay on the Hawaiian Islands, and it will also make a difference in how much rent costs as well as how landlords decide to use their properties. If it costs more in taxes to rent short term, perhaps more long-term living options will become available to locals.

In Summary

Airbnb has made travel more affordable and comfortable than ever for millions of travelers around the world. However, itrsquo;s clear that this new trend of short-term rentals has made heavy impacts on big cities, apartment complexes, and property managers.

Over the next few years, we can expect more and more places to start analyzing their short-term rental regulations to keep rents from fluctuating with the ebb and flow of tourism and Airbnbs. We may also see more taxes and fines put in place to limit the number of short-term rentals.

No matter what happens, one thing is clear: Airbnb hasnrsquo;t just changed the way we vacation; itrsquo;s changed the way we rent our homes, too.

Author Bio:nbsp;Eric D. Davis is the Founder of Davis Property Management; we help property managers and potential tenants looking for Seattle Property Management and Maintenance services. We have been the front-runners in providing best-in->

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Three Needless Seller Worries

As if there isnrsquo;t enough for sellers to worry about when they decide tonbsp;sell their home, some of them needlessly worry about things that theirnbsp;real estate professional is responsible for. After making the decision to sell and selecting a listing broker, thenbsp;associated worriesndash;which sellers face alonendash;are behind them.

Once the home is listed, sellers often shift to a new set of worriesnbsp;when really they should turn to the real estate professional they hirednbsp;to help them stop stressing. Then sellers can redirect their attentionnbsp;and energy toward contributing to a successful sale.

Seller Worry 1. ldquo;My Listing Is Not Receiving Enough Exposure tonbsp;Buyersrdquo;

bull; Are you insisting your listing professional advertise and postnbsp;everywhere, online and off?
bull; Do you want open houses every weekend and multiple mailings tonbsp;the neighborhood?
bull; Are you concerned that if your listing is not front and centernbsp;on every marketing and advertising site, in every brokerage campaign,nbsp;and in every real estate publication, yoursquo;re not getting enough exposurenbsp;to buyers?

Unless you are a marketing professional yourself, step back. Let yournbsp;listing real estate professional do their job. What really matters isnbsp;exposure to specific buyersndash;target buyersndash;whonbsp;qualify-financially to purchase your home and whose needs match whatnbsp;your property has to offer. Marketing to people States away from yournbsp;home or to those without sufficient financial resources or those whonbsp;would not value your home is a waste of time, effort, and money. Thenbsp;Internet is a wonderful marketing tool because it enables targeting ofnbsp;specific subsets of people, not because the entire world could view yournbsp;listing.

YOU WIN: If you were smart in your choice of listing broker, yoursquo;venbsp;selected a real estate professional and brokerage well acquainted withnbsp;the target buyer niches markets that will appreciate your listing. Theirnbsp;experience and success of matching buyers with properties is why you hirednbsp;this professional listing team. Real estate knowledge about where targetnbsp;buyers search for listings, online and off, and what benefits attractnbsp;them is what you need and what you are paying for. On-pointnbsp;communication in the right media will catch the eye of target buyers. Ifnbsp;your professional hasnrsquo;t told you already, ask about target buyers andnbsp;the strategies for reaching them.

Seller Worry 2. ldquo;The Professional Is Too Busy To Work on My Listingrdquo;

If you are concerned that your real estate professionalshy;ndash;thenbsp;listing salespersonndash;is not putting the time into your listing thatnbsp;they said they would during their listing presentation, call them onnbsp;this. You need to be sure your listing receives the attention you signednbsp;on for, but more may be going on than you realize, so approach thenbsp;subject with respect:

bull; The multiple listing system or MLS is doing a lot of thenbsp;professionalrsquo;s work, as are online public versions and the internet innbsp;general. Allowing simultaneous access to your listing by multiple buyersnbsp;and real estate brokerages maximizes exposure and speeds up the sellingnbsp;process.
bull; The other salespeople at the listing brokerage are also workingnbsp;to sell your listing, as are professionals on the local real estatenbsp;board. The listing salesperson will be searching out target buyers;nbsp;however, the professionalrsquo;s key value lies in promoting the propertynbsp;across the real estate board to salespeople who also work with the samenbsp;target buyer niche markets.

Seller Worry 3. ldquo;My Home Is Not Being Described Properlyrdquo;

Do you feel the advertising and online copy promoting your listing doesnbsp;not rave enough about your property or extol the virtues of yournbsp;favorite features?

bull; Understanding what will catch the eye of target buyers is whatnbsp;really matters, not how you feel when you read the marketingnbsp;copy. Yoursquo;re not the target buyer. In fact, you may have little innbsp;common with them, except, hopefully, your house. They do not have thenbsp;knowledge associated with living in your home the way you do.
bull; Buyers are buying a house or condominium unit based on hopesnbsp;and dreams that it will be their ldquo;dream home.rdquo; Before they live in it,nbsp;they need to love it and value itndash;perhaps for very differentnbsp;reasons than youmdash;so they will make a great offer.
bull; The real estate professional understands how to stimulate thenbsp;interest of prospective target buyers by helping them make thenbsp;transition from thinking about ldquo;the propertyrdquo; to wanting it to be ldquo;mynbsp;home.rdquo; Creating this emotional attachment in home buyers who have spentnbsp;only a short time viewing a property requires communication skill andnbsp;real estate expertise.
bull; Wording matters. Terms like ldquo;as is,rdquo; ldquo;total remodel,rdquo; or ldquo;fixernbsp;upperrdquo; leave different impressionsndash;good or badndash;withnbsp;different types of buyers who are looking for different types ofnbsp;properties. For instance, the word ldquo;modernrdquo; is very popular withnbsp;Millennial buyers and with buyers intent on a certain >

Donrsquo;t stress in silence. Inquiring is not complaining. Express yournbsp;concerns to your listing professional, so they can reduce your stressnbsp;and help you understand real estate from your new ldquo;insiderrdquo; perspective.

As you begin to fully grasp the significance of your transition fromnbsp;thinking about ldquo;my homerdquo; to celebrating the buyersrsquo; ldquo;new homerdquo; andnbsp;potential real estate purchase, yoursquo;ll feel more confident regardingnbsp;your decision to move and about the selling process.

Yoursquo;ll also understand the value in helping your real estatenbsp;professional do their job for you.

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Skip the Pool and Turn Your Backyard Into an Oasis With a Beach-Style Pond

But have you ever thought about turning your backyard into a beach instead? You might now.

There are a number of companies that will design and build backyard ponds for homeowners all over the country, but Zydeco Constructionrsquo;s ponds go a step beyond the norm. The company, based out of southeast Louisiana, approximates the look and feel of a tropical getaway with sand all around the pond, which creates a beach->

ldquo;Why travelnbsp;to a beach when you can have one in your own backyard? Thatrsquo;s the idea behind one Louisiana companys latest projects,rdquo; said USA Today.nbsp;ldquo;Zydeco Constructionnbsp;builds lsquo;swimming pondsrsquo; that are crystal blue and have 360 degrees of sand surrounding them, resembling a beach. Each swimming pond is completely customizable, with accessories such as outdoor kitchens, gazebos, umb>

If you need another reason to work with the company in creating the backyard of your dreams, consider this: Owner Eric White fought his way out of teen homelessness to found the thriving company.

ldquo;I have a story to share that is pretty inspirational,rdquo; White said to USA Today. ldquo;Growing up, things werenrsquo;t easy for me. I was homeless at 15nbsp;for about eight months of my life mdash;nbsp;I had dropped out of school in the ninth grade and only had a second-grade reading skill. I could hardly even spell my name.rdquo;

While pricing for these backyard ponds will vary depending on the size and the number of personalizations included, White has said that itnbsp;costs around 20,000 and up to constructmdash;ldquo;which is not far off from thenbsp;national average cost to build a standard-size in-ground pool, which clocks in at 22,000,rdquo; said simplemost.


Image source: Zydeco Construction

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7 Packing Mistakes Youre Making

Here are ten moving mistakes you may be makingmdash;and how to avoid them.nbsp;

  • 1. You figure you can pack everything in a few days

  • Begin with a planmdash;and start packing weeks in advance, especially if you have a lot of stuff. But before you just start piling things into boxes, spend the time up front to make an inventory of everything that needs to be either packed or tossed and break it down room by room. It will save you time down the line and spare you a few grey hairs too.nbsp;

    2. You wing the whole labeling thingnbsp;

    Think yoursquo;ll be able to remember which boxes go with each room based on memory? Think again.nbsp;

    Label boxes by contents and room location to make delivering them to the right spots easiermdash;and so you donrsquo;t have to rack your brain trying to remember Donrsquo;t >

    3. You go cheap on moving supplies and boxes

    Between friends, donation centers, and neighborhood-sidewalk giveaways, there are lots of ways to get free moving boxesmdash;but donrsquo;t get skimpy about purchasing new ones. Itrsquo;s worth the extra 40ndash;50, especially if it spares you from breaking something worth much more.

    When it comes to buying boxes, make sure you have the right sizes for the different items youre packing. Heavier items like books, canned goods, and candles may need to be packed in smaller, more compact boxes, where lighter objects can go in bigger ones.nbsp;

    Bear in mind that youll need to pack all these boxes into a moving vehicle, so be strategic about getting boxes that can stack together and not just a few of each size.nbsp;

    Knownbsp; which packing materials should be used, and if yoursquo;re on the fence about how much you should buy, buy liberally. Itrsquo;s way better to have extra than to make a frantic last-minute trip to the store come moving day.nbsp;

    Also, know that moving with plastic totes is a no-no. Plastic totes seem cost efficient, but they have a tendency to crack when placed under a ton of weight.

    Lastly, steer clear of being that person who tosses a mishmash of random things into a trash bag. That person is likely to open those bags to a few broken items I may or may not be speaking from experience.

    4. You pack boxes thinking you have superhuman strength

    Your Stephen King collection isnrsquo;t going to move itself, so unless you want a good workout, donrsquo;t fill your boxes to the brim with books. The heavier and denser you pack a box, the greater the chance it could break through again, may or may not be guilty of this.

    As a rule of thumb, try to avoid making boxes heavier than 50 pounds. Not sure how to gauge whatrsquo;s 50 pounds? Slide that sucker onto a scale. And if you have a hard time lifting it onto a scale, well, itrsquo;s probably too heavy anyway.nbsp;

    5. You leave empty space in your boxesnbsp;

    Empty space equals shifting, which can equal your favorite mug breaking or your ceramic spoon rest cracking. Leave enough room for bubble wrap and packing paper, and fill any empty space in boxes with packing material e.g., packing paper, newspaper, good olersquo; peanuts.

    Maximize your space by wrapping things in towels and tee shirts to fill empty space. Plus, then yoursquo;re not filling one box with towels and tee shirts and another with only candles or booksmdash;this will make it easier to transport.nbsp;

    6. You donrsquo;t get rid of stuff before the move

    Take a cue from Marie Kondo and go through your belongings before you move so you can get rid of the stuff that doesnrsquo;t bring you joy. Yoursquo;ll have less to pack and load and unload and itrsquo;ll make the whole thing a lot easier.nbsp;

    As you pack, sift through your things room by room and categorize your joyless items into piles to toss, donate, or sell.nbsp;nbsp;

    7. You donrsquo;t pack an overnight bagnbsp;

    The last thing yoursquo;ll want to do once you arrive at your new home is fish for a towel so you can take a shower or shuffle through boxes to find some PJs.nbsp;

    Plan ahead by assembling an overnight bag with toiletries, clothing, and any other essentials yoursquo;ll need at your new pad until you start unpacking and settling in. Yoursquo;ll thank yourself later.nbsp;nbsp;

    Authorrsquo;s bio: A Washington, DC, native turned West Coast transplant, Julia is a full-time writer and amateur hiker. Experienced in >

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    VA Closing Costs: Seller Paid or Buyer Paid?

    Those who are eligible for a VA loan include not only veterans but also active duty personnel with at least 181 days of service, National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve members as well as unremarried, surviving spouses of those who died while serving or as a result of a service->

    With VA loans, there is a form of mortgage insurance called the Funding Fee but itrsquo;s an initial, upfront fee that isnrsquo;t paid for out of pocket but instead rolled into the final loan amount. This fee varies but for first time buyers using a 30 year fixed rate loan, the current funding fee amount is 2.15 percent of the loan amount. This ldquo;loan guaranteerdquo; is a guarantee to the lender.

    Should a VA loan go into default, the lender is compensated at 25 percent of the loss. VA loans going into default is actually rather rare compared to other loan programs and is one of the highest performing loans in the industry. This despite no initial ldquo;skin in the gamerdquo; from the home buyer.

    There is no down payment but there are closing costs. There are closing costs with all home loans. Even so-called ldquo;no closing costrdquo; loans. When borrowers see the term no-closing cost, itrsquo;s important to understand whatrsquo;s being offered. For example, say someone is offered a 30 year fixed rate at 3.50 percent with no discount points. But the borrower is also offered a rate of 3.25 percent with one discount point. A discount point is expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. Conversely, the borrower can lock in a rate of 3.75 percent, or 0.25 percent more than the no-point loan, lenders can then extend a one point credit toward the borrowerrsquo;s closing costs. There are closing costs, theyrsquo;re just reflected in the higher rate.

    VA guidelines however restrict the borrowers from paying certain kinds of closing costs, another benefit with the VA program. Borrowers are only allowed to pay for an appraisal, credit report, title charges, origination fees, recording and survey fees where required. The other buyer fees must be paid for by someone else. Often times itrsquo;s the sellers of the property. When an offer is made, and the sellers see the buyers are obtaining VA financing- it will state so on the offer- they know theyrsquo;ll be asked to pony up some additional funds at closing to pay for the additional fees.

    But the sellers are under no obligation to do so. As an incentive to the sellers, a potential buyer might increase the offer to compensate for the additional costs. Note, these additional costs really donrsquo;t add up to much compared to the entire set of closing costs, but additional costs they are.

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    Can I Put Cameras in My Vacation Rental? Keeping Your Property Safe Without Violating Guest Privacy

    There are plenty of ways vacation rental homeowners can leverage advances in security technology to both protect their property and the safety of their guests without infringing on their privacy. Understanding what monitoring devices are acceptable for vacation properties will help homeowners navigate the best devices for each particular property.

    nbsp;Here are some monitoring devices you can use to make sure your home is safe, your neighbors are happy and your guests have the best experience.nbsp;

    Surveillance Systems and Cameras

    Letrsquo;s start with the most highly controversial ndash; video monitoring. As mentioned earlier, itrsquo;s important to obey the law and maintain the privacy of renters. What does the law say? In general, there canrsquo;t be any video monitoring where a guest would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You can read Airbnbrsquo;s policy here.

    What are some examples of locations where a guest would have this reasonable expectation? Airbnb states ldquo;bedrooms and bathrooms.rdquo; However, while TurnKey does not allow for any interior video monitoring of any kind, owners can use surveillance cameras outside the property to catch break-ins, stop a potential party or identify suspicious activity, so long as they are disclosed to guests in the listing description. The most common and simple setup we see is a doorbell camera. TurnKey integrates directly with Ring doorbell cameras, an effective solution that is also friendly on the wallet.

    If you list your property with VRBO and Airbnb, make sure you are familiar with their policies. Both listing companies require owners to notify their guests when they have cameras or other surveillance systems throughout the property, including baby monitors, web cameras in computer monitors and other video and audio recording devices. If homeowners fail to comply, the guest may receive a full refund or free cancellation for the reservation, and the owner could have their listing removed from the platform enti>

    Noise Monitors

    As vacation rentals become more popular among travers, neighbors and local communities often have concerns about noise levels. As an industry, our goal is to provide a great guest experience while also being a good neighbor. In this light, noise is not our friend. To address these concerns, some property owners and managers are turning to noise monitoring devices. These devices monitor the noise level in and around their rental properties for added guest safety, and to make sure guests arenrsquo;t throwing large parties or becoming a nuisance to neighbors. At TurnKey, for instance, we make sure every home we manage has a noise decibel monitor to help protect homes and increase guest safety.

    Just to be clear, noise monitors donrsquo;t record conversations or any audio at all. They simply detect high levels of noise activity, typically registering the decibel level inside or outside the home. This ensures guest privacy while also providing an added layer of security, as noise monitors can also help detect the presence of unwanted visitors, such and thieves or other intruders.

    Lighting Control

    nbsp;A dark house can be an invitation for burglars and a safety hazard for guests unfamiliar with the layout. Remote control and automation of your lighting can not only save you money on your electric bills, but can deter unwanted intruders while making guests feel safe and welcome. One security expert told me: ldquo;Want to learn when your home is being broken into? Get an alarm. Want to prevent the break-in? Get landscape lighting.rdquo; Lighting is one of the most effective ways to prevent issues.

    There are several options for automating your lighting systems. Google Smart lighting and TCP wi>

    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    It is important to have a plan and the tools to detect a fire or carbon monoxide, not to mention keeping your guests safe while they are staying in your vacation rental. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are table stakes for keeping your home and guests safe from potential disasters like fires and gas leaks. But you may not know that many listing sites require hosts to agree to comply with local regulations, and may even display if a home has smoke and CO detectors right on the listing.

    Private Security Patrols

    Many neighborhoods have private security patrols in place, but for those that donrsquo;t, hiring a patrol to drive-by on a regular basis is extremely effective. Patrols can check for noise, parking issues, parties, damage and intervene when necessary. TurnKey has security vendors in every single market we operate in, some on regular nightly patrols of homes, others on call. In some markets we drive by homes 3-4 times a night on weekends and peak dates. Patrols can be expensive depending on your location and the density of homes nearby, but in many markets they can be worth it.

    Security Systems

    Thankfully the number of break-ins at vacation homes is incredibly low. It makes sense ndash; ra>

    When using a security system on your vacation rental, itrsquo;s important to also consider guest privacy and overall experience. For instance, guests should not feel trapped within the home theyrsquo;re renting if your alarm system automatically activates after 10 p.m. Plus, you should not want to share the code to your security system with every guest who rents your home. Typically security systems are shut off before and during the entire guest stay, and re-activated upon check-out.

    Home security systems can be costly depending upon the equipment used, installation, activation fees and upfront charges. Some also require a recurring monthly payment. However, home security systems have come a long way in the last 20 years and there are a variety of high-quality wi>

    Door and window sensors: Leaving your windows unprotected can provide easy access for intruders and for potential damages from windows broken by tree branches, hail and high winds.

    Motion sensors: In case an intruder makes it through the doors or windows undetected, motion sensors can detect their presence and serve as a back-up in case of failure of other features.

    Mobile remote controls: Mobile controls give you the ability to arm and disarm your security system while yoursquo;re away. With housekeepers, repair people and guests coming and going, you can make sure your property is protected without any additional hassle.

    Sirens: If an intruder were to enter your home, a siren can scare them off and warn them that the authorities are on their way.

    As you can see, there are many monitoring, security and safety devices allowed in your vacation property to protect your investment and your guests. Make sure you evaluate your property needs to balance the solutions you require with what you can afford. In addition, donrsquo;t forget to account for the savings you could accrue from electricity bills and insurance discounts, as well as how these items can enhance your guestsrsquo; experiences when they feel safe and secure knowing you took the extra steps to ensure their well-being.


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    Top 5 Reasons to Use White Glove Moving Services

    A team of white glove movers can make any >

    Top 5 Reasons to Use White Glove Moving Services

    1. Professional packing and unpacking.

    White glove movers will arrive at the indicated location with all the needed wrapping and packaging materials to properly pack your possessions the way they deserve. They will also take care of the unpacking and disposal of the unnecessary materials once your property is delivered to your new home.

    2. Custom art crating.

    Some items, such as valuable paintings and delicate sculptures, need to be crated in durable wooden crates for their safe >

    3. Moving large and bulky items.

    Most regular movers do not have experience and capacity to move such large and bulky items as grand pianos, antique furniture, and fitness equipment. White glove movers, on the other hand, can handle any objects, no matter their size and weight. So if you are planning to move oversized items of any kind, using white glove moving services is your best chance to complete the task without injuries and damage.

    4. Storage and installation options.

    Whether you need a secure place to store your possessions for some time before or after the move, or you need a >

    5. Exceptional customer service.

    White glove movers are all trained specialists with extensive experience in moving luxury homes and large estates. They are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service with an emphasis on transparency and efficiency, offering the best moving experiencenbsp;to each and every one of their clients.

    Moving is always stressful, but you can make this process as easy and smooth as possible if you use specialist white glove moving services. Professional movers can take the worry out of any move, turning it into an enjoyable experience that you will remember for years to come.nbsp;

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    Time for an Open House: How to Stage Your Home for a Lucrative Sale

    Declutter Now

    Potential buyers dont want to walk into a tiny house. This scenario is an immediate turnoff. Make the home look like its double the size by removing clutter. Take out small appliances, stacked magazines and other items. Aside from a centerpiece, there should only be decorative items on a table or counter.

    Removing these items tells the buyers that you care about the home. This fact translates to rapid bids by multiple buyers. Leaving the clutter out can force the visitors to seek other properties as alternatives. nbsp;

    Rent Furniture

    When it comes to staging, its a good idea to go all out with rental furniture. Your couch and chairs may be in the space right now, but they arent new or overly attractive. Give the home a new look with renta furniture.

    Turn the bedrooms into huge spaces by comparing a twin vs full mattress. Pull the full bed from the room and let the twin do the visual talking. Your open-house visitors will be thrilled to see these large spaces although its more of a visual trick at the time.

    Remove Personal Items nbsp;

    Your visitors dont want to see family photos of the current residents. It takes away from the visual fantasy that you want to convey. Remove personal items before the open house. Replace them with artwork or other focal points. The fantasy of living in the home must work for every person in the space. For this reason, its always a good idea to let the real-estate agent do the presentation instead of the homeowners.

    Explain a Room With Staging nbsp;

    Your home may have a strange corner or room thats not obvious with its purpose. Staging is a perfect time to explain that room by decorating it, reports U.S. News amp; World Report.

    If the room works well as a breakfast nook, add a small table with matching chairs. You might add in details like coffee mugs in the middle of the table too. Allow the visitors to picture themselves in this space. It can be a selling point instead of a source of confusion. nbsp;

    Simplify the Decor nbsp;

    Remember that youre trying to create a fantasy during the open house. You want people to see themselves living in and enjoying the property for years to come. Keep the decor simple, suggests Realtor. Putting too much pizzazz or design into a home can turn off some buyers.

    They cant see themselves living in a home with artwork or paint jobs that are too unusual. Stick to neutral colors and basic designs. Leave your artistic talents to the next house you purchase. nbsp;

    Try the Mirror Trick nbsp;

    No property is ever perfect. Someone will always find something negative to say about it. If youre concerned with the light in a room or its size, add mirrors to the walls, reports Forbes Magazine. The mirrors create a reflective environment so that the light bounces off all four walls.

    The mirrors also give the appearance of a larger room. Its strictly a visual trick, but it does a lot for visitors moving through an open house. Try this suggestion in one room, however. Adding too many mirrors to the property can make it unsightly. nbsp;

    Dont forget that proper pricing of your property goes along with staging. Price yourself out of the neighborhood, and no one will want to see your staging in the first place. Compare pricing with other properties in the area. Be fair with the amount so that your open house is busy and productive.

    Full Story >

    The Must-Have College Dorm Items You May Not Have Thought of and Cant Live Without

    Ultra-slim hangers

    Dorm closets arenrsquo;t what wersquo;d call spacious, and yoursquo;ve got to do what you can to maximize the space. These skinny hangers take up less space than those chunky plastic guys, which means you can cram more clothes in there. The texture also keeps stuff from falling off so all those college t-shirts dont end up in a pile on the floor.

    Foldable chair

    Floor space is limited in most dorms, but that doesnt mean your college student wonrsquo;t have friends over. A chair that folds is key because they can stash it under or behind the bed when not in use.

    Chair covers

    Dorm chairs are gross. Period. And, a chair cover is a great way to add a little design flair into the space.

    Bottom sheets only

    Have you heard that millennials are doing away with top sheets? College students are running with this trend, so dont waste your money. And remember to buy size twin XL for the bottom sheetsmdash;this is the most common size of dorm mattresses.

    A good mattress cover

    This may be the only time you want to allow yourself to think about how many other people have slept on that mattress, and what they might have done on it. Eww, we know. Now go out and buy something with the word ldquo;antibacterialrdquo; in it.

    A good mattress topper

    Yes, one more thing yoursquo;ll want to buy for your childrsquo;s bed. This one isnrsquo;t a necessitymdash;unless the quality of your college studentrsquo;s sleep is important. These mattresses arenrsquo;t exactly what yoursquo;d call cushy, and a memory foam topper can make a huge difference.

    IKEA bags

    We were late to the IKEA bag party, and now we donrsquo;t know how we lived without them. Whether your child needs a place to stash snacks, sweatshirts, towels, or shoes in the dorm, or just wants a sturdy bag for transporting dirty laundry home, these bags are invaluable. And theyrsquo;re only 5 apiece.

    A decent quality fan

    Donrsquo;t count on a consistent temperature in the dorm. Depending on the collegersquo;s geographic location and the particular dorm roomrsquo;s orientation, your child may get toasty. A fan that clips to the bed is your best bet since there will likely be limited floor space.

    A humidifier

    Depending on the age and maintenance of the dorm, you may have a moisture issue. In our experience, it was hit or miss Our daughter didnrsquo;t have an issue in her room, but many of her friends did. Since shersquo;ll be staying in a different dorm this year, wersquo;re going the ldquo;better safe than sorryrdquo; route and purchasing one in case she needs it. Wersquo;d rather have a fan on hand if needed than have her dealing with musty surroundings while we search for one.

    A book light

    The overhead light might be the only light in the dorm room, although many also have desk lights. Still, this may disturb your childrsquo;s roommate. A light they can use to illuminate a small area over their book or laptop while theyrsquo;re in bed can be quite useful.

    Noise-cancelling headphones

    If he or she cant get their roommate to stop yapping or turn down the music, these headphones will do it for them.


    Full Story >

    Are Luxury Apartments Worth the Cost? An Honest Answer

    You may have checked out luxury apartments too, out of curiosity. They look good and all, but the price is seriously high compared to a standard apartment. You probably ended up always choosing the average apartment, because it just sounds more reasonable to pay 1,500 a month instead of 3,500. And you do not have luxurious needs; you just want comfort and convenience at a decent price.

    End of discussion, right? Well, what if we tell you that living in a luxury apartment actually has the potential to save you money, instead of being a budget hole?

    Here is what to take into consideration when browsing for luxury apartments in your area: most luxury apartment complexes offer extra amenities for their residents. That is where your budget can be more efficiently spent, but it all depends on your life>

    Here are some examples of amenities that could be included in the price of a luxury apartment:

    bull; Gym membership: present in most luxury apartment complexes, a gym that is so close to your home can be extremely convenient and practical. Considering that gym memberships can get to over 400 a month in some places, having it included in your rent is very good for your wallet. The downside would be that they are usually quite basic and someone who trains passionately may not be satisfied with them.

    bull; Pool club membership: a common pool is also something you can often see in apartment complexes. While it wonrsquo;t save you a lot of money, you would be eliminating transportation, time spent and the hassle that comes with going to a pool that is not right in the back of your building.

    bull; Movies: some buildings have a movie theater. Yes, you heard that correctly. Check what your rent includes and enjoy the viewing If you are a cinema goer, this perk can save quite a lot of money. Plus you can easily suggest what to watch next time.

    bull; Tennis club membership: grabbing your tennis gear and just taking the elevator to the tennis club is priceless for some people.

    bull; Sauna and spa: how >

    bull;nbsp; Coffee: when you drink a lot of coffee daily, or you are the type who works on their laptops in a nice, quiet coffee shop, you will appreciate that some apartment complexes have lounge rooms with open coffee bar for their residents.

    bull; Secure parking: when you are the victim of reckless parking or clumsily opened doors that hit your car, you sure learn how to appreciate secure parking. The costs of repairing your vehicle can get high if you are unlucky enough and have your vehicle exposed on the street.

    bull; Washer and dryer: you may think that laundry is not an important expense for someone who is considering living in a luxury apartment, but it actually all adds up to the costs of living.

    bull;nbsp;Computer room: it might be a niche amenity, but it really makes a difference when you are a student, for example, and have to print out a lot of materials.

    These are a few examples of what kind of amenities you can find included in the rent for a luxury apartment. Now, you need to do the math. Do you usually pay for these services anyway? What price do you put on your time and the convenience of having it all in the same building you live in? The results may surprise you, and you might look differently at luxury apartments the next time you browse for a place to live in. It might not be worth it in many cases, but there are gems to be found anywhere if you look long enough. Good luck

    Full Story >

    To Pool or Not To Pool

    A pool can be an expensive, luxury item rather than a necessity. The cost of a pool, between the routine upkeep/maintenance, repair costs, and the direct effect it will have on your homersquo;s energy bills, are all reasons that deter buyers from exploring pool ownership, so donrsquo;t be surprised if you get some negative reactions.

    Safety risks are another factor that prevent buyers from signing on a home with a pool. Injuring yourself on a diving board and other safety concerns are things that consumers are hyper-conscious of, particularly those with young children. Pool owners have to increase their insurance coverage to offset these risks, which can be a turnoff for many would-be buyers.

    As prepared as you can be for those buyers who will have doubts and see the pool as a problem, be equally prepared for clients who already love pools or who can easily be convinced.

    Many who purchase a vacation or second home think to themselves: ldquo;I need to get a house with a pool in the backyard.rdquo; Having a backyard pool immediately improves the value of a home as a rental property. If you come across a prospective buyer of a second home who is hesitant about the pool, explain that a swimming pool immediately increases its appeal to vacationers, and thus increases rental income. With a strong stream of rental income coming in, the cost of owning a pool becomes more than justifiable.

    Outdoor living space is a huge draw for renters right now ndash; anything thatrsquo;s seen as a luxury, customizable item water features, hot tubs, outdoor seating spaces with TVrsquo;s/chimineas etc. is attractive to buyers/renters.

    Pools can also be extremely attractive to buyers who value fitness. Many see having a backyard pool as something that can be good for your health, an immediate >

    Any buyer who wants their home to be an escape and who values privacy, exclusivity, and unique access can be sold a home with a pool. Understanding the pain points and the upside will enable any agent or broker to be better prepared to educate their buyer to make a decision that delivers real return on investment.

    Seth Tilton is an NAR certified Realtor with ERA Evergreen Real Estate in Hilton Head, SC, a part of the national ERA Real Estate network. He has been in the real estate business for almost four years, and was recognized by ERA globally as one of the top 3 ldquo;Rookie Rock Starsrdquo; at their 2018 International Business Conference. He has extensive experience working with the South Carolina market, specifically with vacation home buyers and sellers, as well as with 3D real estate and event space photography technology. Previously, he worked as a sales and design consultant for a company that custom designs and refurbishes both indoor and outdoor pools

    Full Story >

    Where Are the Best Places to Own an Airbnb? It Depends on the Revenue, and the Rules

    Itrsquo;s not the first city to move to regulate short-term rentals, nor is it the most restrictive.

    If yoursquo;re looking to buy an investment property to turn into an Airbnbmdash;especially if itrsquo;s out of statemdash;yoursquo;ll want to pay attention not just to the potential revenue, but also the stringent laws that have been enacted in many popular cities. Wersquo;re checking out a few of the most interesting cities in terms of their bottom line and the red tape you have to navigate as an owner.

    Palm Springs, CA

    This city in the California desert topped Investopediarsquo;s list of 5 Best and Worst Cities for Airbnb Rentingmdash;this despite being ldquo;one of the most strictly regulated vacation rental markets in the country,rdquo; said VRM intel. ldquo;Vacation rental owners must apply for and renew a vacation rental registration certificate annually for 923, as well as submit a transient occupancy tax permit application, pool compliance statement, and HOA letter if applicable to the cityrsquo;s Vacation Rental Compliance Department before the home can be advertised or rented. Registrations are limited to one home per owner.rdquo;

    Still, home prices are >

    Lahaina, HI

    The draw of Maui is obvious, and, according to Scott Shatford,nbsp;co-founder andnbsp;CEO of Airdna, the Airbnb analytics firm that crunched the numbers for the Investopedia piece, short-term rentals give visitors a more affordable option than the high-end resorts in the area. The average home value in Lahaina is almost double that of Palm Springs, but the potential upside is huge thanks to the higher rental rate. Buy an investment property to turn into an Airbnb here and you could make a profit of almost 56,000 per year.nbsp;

    However, ldquo;The Hawaii Senate hasnbsp;passed a billnbsp;that would require hosting platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway to collect lodging taxes from guests of short-term rentals,rdquo; said Avalara. If signed by Governor David Ige, the bill will require ldquo;vacation rental operators to register with the state Department of Taxation and to include state registration numbers in all advertisements. It changes the penalty for violation of state short-term rental law from a criminal misdemeanor to a citation process, with fines starting at 500 per day for a first offense.rdquo;

    Additionally, ldquo;Onnbsp;Maui, votersnbsp;approved a ballot initiativenbsp;last year thatnbsp;dramatically increases penalties for short-term rentals operating illegally.rdquo;

    Las Vegas, NV

    Vegas is one of the most visited cities in the country, with an average of 42.9 million annual visitors. And, despite the vast number of hotel rooms, the city has a robust short-term rental market. However, new regulations around short-term rentals may just kill its burgeoning business.

    ldquo;Las Vegas real estate investorsnbsp;will no longer be permitted to rent out for less than 31 days in the city,rdquo; said Mashvisor. ldquo;The new Airbnb laws will only allow for property owners who personally reside in the rental to operate legally. Even then, these Airbnb rentals are required to renew a permit with the city every 6 months to avoid any fines or issues with the law. These new Las Vegas Airbnb laws will likely put 98 of the short-term rentals operating under legal permits in the city out of practice as only 2 of those are primary residences.rdquo;

    Scottsdale, AZ

    Scottsdale can act as a case study for an investor looking to make money in a location that is popular year-round, but that also has a couple of special annual events that draw an inordinate number of visitors, which could allow said investor to charge a premium Think: New Orleans for Mardi Gras and cities hosting upcoming sports events like the Super Bowl or Final Four.

    In Scottsdalersquo;s case, not only is it ldquo;a hotbed for American corporate elites looking for a weekend getaway full of mountain biking, golf, and hiking,rdquo; said, but the city also hots ldquo;15nbsp;Major League Baseball teams, including thenbsp;Chicago Cubsnbsp;andnbsp;Los Angeles Dodgersrdquo; for spring trainingmdash;many of them, and the fans who travel to see the team, preferring to rent a home over a hotel room. The ldquo;average daily raterdquo; for a short-term rental in the city is 301, but, in a luxury home with resort->

    Scottsdale also has some of the most lenient regulations in the nation when it comes to short-term rentals. ldquo;An effort to curb cramming too many people innbsp;vacation rentalsnbsp;didnt make it through the state Legislature, but such a rulenbsp;might not have done much good anyway if Scottsdales experiencenbsp;is any indicator,rdquo; said the Arizona Republic.nbsp;ldquo;Scottsdalenbsp;city code already limits short-term rentalsnbsp;to no more than six adults and their children.nbsp;But the local law is not easily enforced, a city official said.rdquo;nbsp;nbsp;

    Orlando, FL

    Orlando would seem like an easy target given the theme parks, and, according to Airdnarsquo;s data, the average daily rate on a short-term rental is 193 on a home with a median list price of just over 300,000mdash;numbers that tip in favor of the investor. But, there are a slew of rules owners have to follow.

    A new ordinance ldquo;allows homeowners to rent out part of their home mdash; as long as the homeowner stays on site while guests are present,rdquo; said Avalara. ldquo;The new law limits short-term rental hosts to one booking at a time, a maximum of two people per room, and no more than four non-family members in a short-term rental at one time.rdquo;

    Operators also have to register with the city, pay a 275 fee for the first year and 125 every year thereafter, and collectnbsp;lodging taxesnbsp;from guests. ldquo;These taxes include a 6 percent state transient rental tax and 0.5 percent county discretionary sales surtax that are collected by the state, as well as a 6 percentnbsp;Tourist Development Taxnbsp;that is collected by Orange County.rdquo;

    New Orleans, LA

    The good news for investors who want to buy in New Orleans: Airdnarsquo;s data as reported on shows a median list price of 350,100, an average daily rate of 230 for short-term rentals, and an occupancy rate of 78.

    The bad news: Airbnb rentals are now banned in both the Garden District and the French Quarter. Short-term rentals are still allowed in thenbsp;Central Business District and other commercial areas of the city.

    Miami, FL

    This tourist haven has upwards of 10,000 active short-term rentals, but, new laws are making it harder for investors to collect. Operators can typically make an average of about 200 a nightmdash;but vacation rentals are now outlawed ldquo;in residential neighborhoods outside the core Miami Beach downtown communities,rdquo; said

    The New York Times reported that code compliance officers were going door to door in search of illegal short-term rentals; rule-breakers can be fined up to 20,000.nbsp;

    Full Story >

    Mistakes Buyers Make When Searching for Their First Home, and How to Avoid Them

    When looking for your first home, itrsquo;s critical to keep the most important considerations in mind so you donrsquo;t find yourself going down a real estate rabbit hole. Remember these common buyer mistakes to keep you on track.

    Buyer mistake No. 1: Being seduced by the pretty stuff

    Fresh paint, pretty throw pillows, nice bedding. Theyrsquo;re all decoration, and decoration can be dangerous for homebuyers. Donrsquo;t let it distract you from the house itself. Howrsquo;s the floorplan? Does it work for your family? Is there enough square footage? Does the location make sense? These are among the factors that should be driving your purchase.

    Buyer mistake No. 2: Searching for a home that fits your furniture

    How many times have you heard a buyer on House Hunters say, "Our furniture wont fit in here." When youre buying a property that costs a couple hundred thousand dollars, itrsquo;s silly to hold back over a five-year-old, 1,000 couch.nbsp;

    Buyer mistake No. 3: Getting too hung up on price

    Itrsquo;s easy to get anbsp;number stuck in your head and refuse to give up, but that figure might not be doable depending on your local real estate market. Raising your price range by 10,000 may vastly increase the available homes and may only mean another 50 per month. Thatrsquo;s one lunch out you can forgo to get what you really want.

    Buyer mistake No. 4: Not trusting your gut

    The price is right, the location is right, and the home has the right number of bedrooms and baths. But it just doesnrsquo;t feel right. You may not be able to put your finger on what it is thatrsquo;s bothering you about a house, but if somethingrsquo;s nagging at you now, imagine what it will be like to live there. It could be your gut is trying to tell you something.

    Buyer mistake No. 5: Ignoring the neighborhood

    The hope is that any major problems with the home yoursquo;re looking at will show up on an inspection report, but other issues could pop up to derail your purchase or kill your enjoyment of the home once it belongs to you. A lot of the time, that has to do with the neighborhood.

    That could mean a commercial area too close to home, a rundown house across the street, or some zoning changes that are bringing a ton of new multi-family units to the area and increasing traffic. Whatever it is thatrsquo;s bothering you, think it through. You can always fix your home, but you canrsquo;t change the neighborhood.

    Buyer mistake No. 6: Not thinking long termnbsp;

    Maybe you think yoursquo;ll only be in this ldquo;starter homerdquo; for two years, and, therefore, the neighborhood isnrsquo;t all that important. As long as the house meets your approval, yoursquo;re good, right? According to a study by ValuePenguin, ldquo;the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. isnbsp;13.3 years.rdquo; That varies depending on the location, however, of the 20 largest U.S. cities studied, the lowest median was 9.7 years in Denver.

    Does that mean yoursquo;ll stay in this home for 10 years or more? Who knows. But if yoursquo;re a young couple planning to have kids in the next three-to-five years, letrsquo;s say, it wouldnrsquo;t hurt to make sure the home you buy now can accommodate that life>

    Buyer mistake No. 7: Thinking too long termnbsp;

    By the same token, looking for a forever home when yoursquo;re newly married and/or just starting your careers and donrsquo;t know where your life may take you may not be the answer either.

    Buyer mistake No. 8: Not considering the commute

    No one moves two hours each way away from work because they enjoy the time in the car. A move away from the city center into the suburbs is typically driven by affordability, or, rather, a lack thereof. But, absorbing an exceptionally long commute may not be worth it in the long run. Buyers have to ask themselves, ldquo;How long is too long?rdquo;

    But, asking yourself the question is only the beginning. If you think a one-hour commute each way will be fine, try it for a few days. Do a test run. It wonrsquo;t be the same as having to do it day in and day out for years of your life, but it will give you a taste.

    Yoursquo;ll also need to consider things like:

    bull; What happens if there is an accident on your ride home, which extends your one-hour commute even longer?
    bull; Will you need daycare for your kids, and who is going to pick them up if you canrsquo;t get there in time?
    bull; What will it do to your mental state?
    bull; What about the financial hitmdash;wear and tear on your car, extra gas, and tolls, daycare?

    When you crunch the numbers and think about the logistics, you might see that it makes better sense to buy closer to work.nbsp;

    Full Story >

    Google Affiliate Sidewalk Labs and Its Dreamy Vision for Toronto

    When Sidewalk Labs, an affiliate of Google, introduced its draft master plannbsp;for the Toronto community called Quayside, there was a long line of critics to shoot holes in the 1.3-billion proposal.

    The company produced a plan that went far beyond the 12-acre Quayside site to include another 20 acres of city-owned land, where it would like to build the Google Canada headquarters. It also pitched plans for a total of 190 acres of Torontorsquo;s waterfront.

    Local politicians werenrsquo;t pleased, calling the proposal an over-reach and a ldquo;land grabrdquo;. It has a number of controversial elements, including an unfunded LRT line, a proposal that Sidewalk Labs become the lead developer of the site and the suggestion that many regulatory issues ntilde; ranging from local planning procedures to the national building code ntilde; would require changes.

    Sidewalk Labs acknowledges that its motives ldquo;have been subject to speculation, even a fair amount of cynicismrdquo; but stresses that it is not seeking to sell personal information it collects about residents or people who would work on the site; that it is not ldquo;motivated by a desire to export Canadian talent or intellectual output to the United Statesrdquo; and that it isnrsquo;t trying to develop all of the Port Lands. Its mission, it says, is to ldquo;demonstrate the impact of urban innovation on the quality of liferdquo; and ldquo;earn a reasonable return.rdquo; The company says it has already invested more than US 50 million on the proposal.

    So, therersquo;s a lot of be done before any of this proposal becomes reality, but we can dream a little, canrsquo;t we? Letrsquo;s take a look at some of the innovations that are being proposed.

    The live-work community would become the largest climate-positive district in North America, featuring low-energy buildings, active energy management tools, an advanced power grid, a garbage disposal chain with ldquo;pay as you throwrdquo; chutes to sort and cut down on waste, electric vehicles and tall timber buildings.

    The company says Torontorsquo;s waterfront is only comfortable about 30 per cent of the year. The rest of the time itrsquo;s either too hot, too cold or too wet. Sidewalk Labs is proposing to increase comfortable outdoor hours by 35 per cent, using a variety of techniques.

    The Raincoat would be a large adjustable awning that could extend out from a buildingrsquo;s edge over the sidewalk. It would be made of a building material composite called ETFE, which ldquo;provides transparency without the heavy and expensive structure required to support glass and is uniquely customizable through printed patterns that can control light and opacity.rdquo;

    The Fanshell would be a collection of large, temporary shelters capable of holding up to 100 people. They have an origami->

    The Lantern Forest is envisioned as a collection of tall, lightweight structures that would be grouped together like a stand of trees or hung from buildings like paper lanterns. They would protect against wind tunnels that form between tall buildings and could provide a range of uses, including as warming stations or as kiosks for vendors. They also could be collapsed and stored during off-hours.

    The proposal includes a number of street design innovations. Modular paving stones would be heated to melt snow. The design would include permeable pavement to direct storm water and melted snow to underground stormwater management systems. The paving stones could also include lighting and could be easily removed to provide access to infrastructure below.

    Street designs would move away from wide lanes for cars and have narrow lanes that transit and self-driving cars would use, along with wider bike and pedestrian lanes. Sensors in the pavement could determine how many pedestrians need to cross the road and automatically change the timing for the traffic signals or could determine the pace a pedestrian is walking at and adjust the timing accordingly.

    The proposal includes a parking garage, but it would be designed so that in future, if there was no demand for parking due to the proliferation of self-driving vehicles, it could easily be turned into an office or residential building.

    The buildings would be made of mass timber ntilde; cross-laminated timber structures and glulam beams, made at a nearby factory that Sidewalk Labs proposes would be in operation by 2021.

    Residential units would be built with flexible floor plans and wall panels, designed in such a way that an apartment could be expanded into the next unit or downsized as the need exists. Sidewalk Labs would design a low-voltage power system that would travel over ethernet cables hidden under the baseboard or crown moulding of these flexible walls. This would eliminate the need for a traditional ldquo;breaker boxrdquo; and save power, but the company would also initially provide converter boxes for appliances designed for AC systems.

    The company would also eliminate traditional sprinkler systems in favour of a mist-based fire protection system ldquo;that can be hidden along a wall surface or ceilings in one-centimetre tubing, reducing renovation time to less than an hour while improving fire protection.rdquo;

    Co-living spaces would be offered and the proposal says more than 6,800 units of affordable housing could be created.

    These are all innovations that are currently being developed and or that wersquo;ll see in the near future. But whether wersquo;ll see them on Torontorsquo;s waterfront remains to be seen.

    Full Story >

    Top 5 Features a 2019 Kitchen Needs to Have According to 30 Expert Interior Designers

    The following five trends have been deemed as the most likely to succeed in 2019 by a group of experts in interior design. In this report, they took to showcase what the hottest trends are for 2019 kitchen remodeling, and which ones are most likely to add function and value to a home.

    Smart Lighting

    Smart technology is one of the fastest growing fields. Actually, according to Vivint, approximately half of renovators are introducing smart devices as they make upgrades to their homes. With so many smart devices available, homeowners have a lot to choose from.

    According to experts, when it comes to the kitchen, smart lighting is the top trend within this category. Lighting within the kitchen is crucial to the design and the function of the space. Using smart lights, which can vary in color and brightness, and can be controlled via a tablet, can enhance the use of the room whether yoursquo;re cooking or entertaining. This makes smart lighting a good choice for homeowners looking for a first step into the smart home market.

    Shaker or Slab Cabinets

    Photo bynbsp;Jose Soriano on Unsplash

    Cabinetry is an integral part of any kitchen design. It provides the necessary storage the kitchen needs, but it also sets the tone for the >

    Experts felt that both the Shaker and the Slab cabinet door >

    Anyone looking to update their cabinets should also be aware that solid wood is the preferred material - outstripping all other options by a wide margin. Fresh, updated designs with real wood are sure to hold their value better long term, making this an investment that can pay off now or in the future.

    Pendant Lights

    All kitchens ideally need three types of lighting - ambient, accent, and task - to look and function at their best. Pendant lights were chosen as the most popular fixture to include in the kitchen, and with good reason; they can technically fit all three roles depending on how they are used and where they are placed.

    Groups of pendants can provide ambient light for large areas, while single pendants centered over a peninsula or table can be an accent. Hang a pendant directly over a workstation, and now you have task lighting as well. With this versatility, itrsquo;s no wonder that pendant lights make the most sense for inclusion in the design.

    Kitchen Island Layout

    Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash

    There are many ways to plan and layout a kitchen. When asked what was the most popular layout, a staggering 91 of experts agreed itrsquo;s the island kitchen. Islands aid in the function of the room, with most reporting that its main function is to bring additional counter space.

    Islands also improve the working triangle of the kitchen, and add additional storage as well, making this one of the best additions that can be made to a space.

    Natural Stone or Quartz Countertops

    Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

    Homeowners have more choices for countertop materials today than ever before. When it comes to the >

    Pay Attention to Whatrsquo;s Popular

    Itrsquo;s important to track trends as they emerge and change, because these will show the direction of the industry and what most homebuyers are looking for in a home. If a homeowner needs to choose strategically when it comes to picking which features to include in their kitchens this year, these 5 top the list. Be sure to read the full report to know more about whatrsquo;s popular in kitchen remodeling this 2019.

    Full Story >

    How Construct-to-Perm Mortgages Work

    With a standard construction loan, the applicants consult with a local architect and builder. After the blue prints and timeline is prepared, the plans and specifications are handed over to a local lender. The lender will evaluate the documents and make an estimate of the future value of the property once completed. This estimate is provided by an appraiser. For existing homes, the value is referred to ldquo;as isrdquo; and with construction itrsquo;s ldquo;as completed.rdquo;

    If the completed value is appraised at 300,000, the construction loan amount will typically be 80 percent of that amount, or in this example, 240,000. It will be up to the borrowers to provide the down payment of 60,000. If the applicants already own the land, many times the land itself provides enough equity to cover the 20 percent down payment.

    The lender prepares a ldquo;draw schedulerdquo; which lays out how much money will be given to the contractor and when. The contractor does not receive a lump sum payment but paid out in predetermined draws. The initial draw might be for 10 percent of the loan amount to clear the lot. Once the contractor has finished this initial phase, the lender sends out an inspector to verify the lot has been cleared. Once that verification has been made, the lender >

    When the home is declared complete, the lender sends one final inspector to verify the home is ready for occupancy. The construction is completed and the construction loan is due in full. Most construction loans ask for periodic payments from the borrowers during construction while others wait until the very end. To pay off the construction loan, the new homeowners need permanent financing. This can be any type of residential home loan such as VA, FHA, USDA or conventional mortgages.

    When first applying for a construction loan, the construction lender wants to see a preapproval letter from a mortgage company if a third party lender is being used. First itrsquo;s a construction loan, then itrsquo;s a permanent loan. As there are two different loans, there are two different closings to attend, one for the construction and one for the long term financing. Lenders can also ask for an updated approval letter if the initial approval is more than 30-60 days old.

    A construct-to-perm loan, often referred to as a ldquo;one time closerdquo; loan, is both a construction loan and long term financing wrapped into one. That means there is only one loan closing to attend.

    This type of loan works just like a standard construction loan while the home is being built as funds are handed out in phases and inspections regularly performed. Yet because the permanent mortgage is already in place, once the final inspection is performed and a certificate of occupancy issued, the permanent mortgage is immediately put in place.

    Full Story >

    The Risks and Benefits of Buying Beachfront Property

    The Benefits of Buying Beachfront Property

    There are many benefits to purchasing beachfront property, and these benefits often cause investors to overlook the potential risks of this type of property.

    High Market Value

    One of the main ndash; and most obvious benefits ndash; to purchasing oceanfront property is the high market value it provides. Beachfront homes and condos are least affected by changing property market trends.

    And you gain peace of mind in knowing that even if your property does lose some of its value, it will likely be the first type of property to start appreciating again.

    Great Rental Area

    Beachfront homes and condos have high market values, but theyrsquo;re also easy to rent out. Renting out your beach home can provide you with a significant profit.

    Tourists are happy to pay a higher price to stay in a beachfront home or condo. Many people use that as a trial to buying overseas property.

    Low-Cost Getaways

    Purchasing a beachfront home will provide you with your own getaway. Trips are less expensive, as you already have a place to stay ndash; the most expensive part of a vacation.

    If you enjoy traveling during high season and holiday weekends, yoursquo;ll save a bundle on your vacations if you own a beachfront home.

    The Risks of Buying Beachfront Property

    While there are many benefits to purchasing a beachfront home, there are also some risks.

    Storms and Weather Damage

    One of the biggest concerns with purchasing oceanfront property is storm and weather damage. Hurricane Harvey had 125 billion in damages, and Hurricane Katrina had 161 billion in damages.

    With that said, if you invest in a condo, you may not have to worry about roofing, landscaping and siding. And if your unit is on a higher level, flooding may also not be an issue.

    Partying Guests

    If you plan to rent out your property, there is a concern that partying guests may cause damage to your property. Parties may also disturb neighbors, which can present legal issues.

    Beachfront condos are prime targets for college students and groups of young people who may want to have a party during their stay. Noise issues and disturbances can lead to fines, and property damage will cost you more money.

    Property Damage

    In addition to damage from guests, yoursquo;ll also need to consider property damage due to the local environment.

    Mold and mildew are major concerns among beachfront property owners. Humidity and moisture can cause mold and mildew to form in just a few days. Leaking pipes and roof leaks can lead to significant mold damage. The very nature of people coming and going from the beach and into the home can lead to mold or mildew growth.

    Flooring damage is another concern, as sand can get worked into the carpet or scratch hardwood flooring. Tile and area rugs are the ideal solution, as tile can stand up to the damage of sand.

    When considering beachfront property, itrsquo;s important to weigh these pros and cons carefully to determine whether itrsquo;s a sound investment.


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    Selling Your Home, Weichert Seller Services Buying Miami Real Estate, Weichert Realtors Buyer Services Weichert Realtors Careers, NuStar Associates Careers, Weichert Sales Team Resource Center Your Home Value
    Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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