Home Improvements that Add Value

It's easy to break the budget when you think about upgrading your home with huge undertakings of remodeling the kitchen with the trendiest appliances and gadgets or making your master bathroom a wonderful spa retreat. However, small changes can make a difference in how you feel about your home and how it will show to potential buyers. Here's some great starters to consider.

Handle the hardware. If a complete kitchen or bathroom overhaul is out of the budget, give it a fresh look by simply replacing the hardware (drawer pulls, knobs) and faucets, you can create an entirely different look. There are lots of options online or at your local home improvement stores. Another option is updating the backsplash in the kitchen to tie the look together.

Splash on some paint. Paint an accent wall to give a room ‘pop’ with appeal. If it's bright and vibrant to suit your tastes, it will be a lot easier to neutralize one wall when you're ready to move than a whole room.

Entryway update. The entryway is the first impression for guests or prospective buyers. If the door is faded, freshen it up. Once inside show your style with welcoming wall art.

Flooring Counts. Replace old carpets with tile, laminate or hardwood floors that will last longer, look better are easier to care for than carpets that trap allergens and dirt.

Add more space with a porch or patio. An inviting front patio with paces to sit or display your potted plants adds to curb appeal and may even give you a new opportunity to get to know your neighbors as they stroll by. In Texas we love our barbecue, so adding or enlarging your back patio is always a plus.

No matter what type of DIY project you choose to undertake, remember that it’s okay to call in the experts when needed to get the job done right.

5 Mistakes Sellers Make When Selling

Even though it's just the beginning of May, we are already in full swing of the home buying season. Buyers are looking and making decisions for their next home. As a seller, you may be anxious about putting your home on the market.  Here are five too-common errors that sellers make that you should avoid.  
1. Expecting the High-Dollar Sale Overnight
Current news stories point to increasing sales and low-inventory. This can give you the confidence to get in the game, however don't get overconfident. National numbers show that homes are selling slightly faster than normal, but homes still require competitive pricing. When your home is priced right you have a greater pool of buyers who could be bidding on your home.

2. Forgetting the Importance of Staging
Even if there is “low inventory” that doesn't mean buyers will buy any home. They still have standards for what they want to buy. Seeing a home is like going on a date. You want to make the best first impression to capture the interest of the buyer.

3. Failing to Make Needed Repairs
Contrary to many sellers beliefs, most buyers don’t want to make critical repairs and updates when making a purchase. If a buyer sees issues with a  home, they will probably pass on it and look for another.

4. Scent Ignorance
As a part of your staging plan, don’t forget that “scents” leave a lingering memories some good some bad. Neutralize strong odors with solutions that deodorize. Here's a couple of natural options to try.
Place a bowl of vinegar in a smelly room overnight and it will help soak up the unwelcomed odor.
Add coffee grounds and orange peels to a bowl in the room, inside the trash can, or down the garbage disposal to ensure showing-friendly smells.

5. Neglecting Your Personal Security
Strangers will be roaming through your homes. Don't leave temptation to little children's hands or curious adults. Secure important documents, jewelry and electronics.

National Real Estate Market Recap

Here’s what happened this week in the real estate market:

The number of seriously underwater homeowners inched up slightly during the first quarter due to slow home price appreciation, according to housing data provider RealtyTrac.

Home prices continued to rise in February, posting higher annual gains than in January, according to the latest Case-Shiller 20-city Composite.

The rate of distressed home sales fell to 2008 levels in February and should return to a historically normal level in mid-2017 if the annual decrease seen that month holds steady, according to data aggregator CoreLogic.

The number of homes that went under contract rose for the third straight month in March, the National Association of Realtors reported.

Although most analysts have shown optimism for a strong spring homebuying season, online mortgage marketplace provider Zillow reported that its 30-year fixed mortgage rates have been flat for the past month.

Better inventories and softer prices in the mid and upper tiers, improved levels of equity, strengthening income levels, and forecasts of rising rates coupled with pent-up demand and faster rising prices for entry-level homes could make this the perfect year for move-up sellers and buyers to move on up.

Purchase mortgage loan activity is gaining momentum as the housing market enters the peak spring buying season, according to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report.

The big news of the week: The U.S. economy stalled in the first quarter, GDP rising 0.2 percent. And long-term rates, which go down on weak economic news, instead went up.
Soiurce:Inman News

Why Do You Need Homeowners Iinsurance?

People take out homeowners insurance for the same reason they take out car and health insurance: If a home is damaged or someone else injured on the property, insurance helps owners cope with the financial consequences. Homeowners insurance is actually a combination of two different types of protection, hazard insurance and liability insurance.

Hazard insurance:
Hazard insurance protects you against unintentional damage or destruction to your house or its contents, including fire, storm, theft, vandalism and similar threats, the Nolo legal website states. It can cover the cash value of the damages or the replacement value; replacement value pays enough to replace what you lost, but cash value only pays what a property is worth. The cash value for a five-year-old $1,000 television won't be $1,000, for instance, because it depreciates with age, making it worth less in the insurer's eyes.

Liability insurance:
Liability insurance covers personal liability for accidents on your property. If your neighbor trips on a hose in your yard and breaks his ankle, for example, liability insurance will pay for his medical expenses, up to the policy limit.

Mortgage Requirement:
One reason homeowners need insurance is that mortgage companies require it. If you take out a mortgage, your house is the lender's collateral, so your lender will require you to buy a minimum level of hazard insurance. That doesn't prevent you from buying a greater amount than the minimum, Nolo states, if you think it necessary.

Special Property:
Homeowners insurance covers most of the property in your home, but there are limits to what the insurer will pay for certain items, such as cash or jewelry, the "This Old House" website states. If you have a home office, hazard insurance doesn't cover business equipment either. If you have personal or business property that isn't covered, consider paying more money for a supplemental policy that will protect you if they're damaged.

Homeowners insurance doesn't protect you against everything: Insurers routinely exclude things such as flood damage and earthquake damage from coverage, though separate flood and earthquake policies may be available where you live. "This Old House" states that a "law exclusion" in your policy can be very expensive. If an older building is damaged more than 50 percent, it will have to be rebuilt to the current building-code standards; the law exclusion means the insurer won't pay the cost of upgrading wiring or roofs to meet the code.

Source: www.homeguides.sfgate.com/need-homeowners-insurance-1664.html