Saturday, October 23, 2021

5 Tips for Designing an Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

 Our Guest Poster Today: Matthew Schwimmer



















There are numerous options to consider when constructing a new kitchen or remodeling an old one. While aesthetics and practicality are vital, it is also beneficial to make design decisions that will help reduce the time it takes to clean. In this article, you will find tips for designing an easy-to-clean kitchen that is also enjoyable to use.

Designing A New Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

Are you thinking of buying a new house or getting a custom-built home? It's a great time to start thinking about what you want your kitchen to look like. If you don't spend much time in your kitchen, you can choose a house with a small kitchen that doesn't require much maintenance by itself. On the other hand, if you prefer to cook your own meals, you need to consider much more, unless you want to spend a lot of your time scrubbing after having dinner.

If you're thinking of designing an easy-to-clean kitchen, follow these tips:

Choose The Right Countertop Material

The first step to designing an easy-to-clean kitchen is to choose the countertop material wisely. Opt for nonporous, stain-resistant, and easy-to-clean materials such as Corian, quartz, steel, and sintered stone. When choosing these materials, you don't have to worry about your kitchen looking outdated. Instead, your kitchen will seem very modern and bright. Moreover, countertops made of these solid-surface materials, such as Corian, are the most sanitary. They don't have grooves to trap dirt like some other materials. This is also the reason why they're also frequently used at hospitals and fast-food restaurants.

Buy Easy-to-Clean Appliances

It's normal to be wowed by the performance or appearance of smart new kitchen equipment. However, when purchasing appliances for your new kitchen, you should also think about how you'll keep it clean. That's why you should take extra time to choose an appliance that is simple to clean and doesn't require any special lotions or solutions. Moreover, examine small elements, such as the knobs of your oven, to ensure there are no difficult-to-reach places. Knobs that are too close together, for example, make it impossible to get a cloth between them.

Furthermore, choose appliances with built-in cleaning systems. That way, you won't have to do the messy work yourself! Instead, allow your appliances to clean themselves! Choose ovens with pyrolytic cleaning functions, steam ovens with automatic steam cleaning and drying routines, and automatic coffee machines.

When designing an easy-to-clean kitchen, choose an induction cooktop. It's flat, easy, and safe to clean. Induction cooktops also eliminate the need to clean the grates and other components present in gas cooktops.

Avoid Open Shelves

When attractively arranged, open shelves can be appealing. However, they can be difficult to clean if you have to move dishes, books, and decorative objects only to dust the top. So, instead of open shelves that gather dust and grime, opt for wall cabinets. By choosing cabinets that can close and hide your stuff, you'd be getting a lot more storage space in your kitchen. Moreover, by favoring flat-front cabinets - you can take your cleaning time way down. This is because smooth furniture fronts don't have ridges and grooves where cooking residues can form. Simple flat-door cabinets with a baked-on finish are the simplest to clean. On the other hand, high-gloss painted cabinets show dirt easily, yet they're still easy to clean.

Design A Tight Triangle

A good kitchen triangle - made up of a cooktop, refrigerator, and sink - will help you minimize the distance you have to carry things. Spills are frequently caused by carrying food or liquid through the kitchen. However, an excellent way to compensate for a triangle is by opting for a practical kitchen island.

Furthermore, to limit the spills, place bins in strategic locations. The garbage and recycling bins in your kitchen should be placed beneath the sink to ensure that cleaning is as efficient as possible. The idea is to have as little distance between the sink and the bins as possible, which means fewer spills and messes.

Flowing Floors

Like we said before, the kitchen sees a lot of foot activity as well as spills from cooking and dishwashing. That's why it's a good idea to search for stain- and water-resistant flooring with no grout lines, such as engineered wood or vinyl. If you can't avoid using tiles in the kitchen, choose patterns with large formats. Moreover, the fewer seams and gaps in your floor - the less dirt can collect there. That's why you should pick tiles with narrow grout lines to make them easier to clean. 

Moving Your Kitchen Appliances

Like we said before, it's very important not to damage your kitchen appliances when relocating to a new home. When moving to your new San Antonio home, you can minimize these risks by hiring reputable and experienced movers. Instead of worrying about transferring your furniture yourself or asking friends and family for help, you can relax and enjoy yourself. Professionals can help you make San Antonio your home, so that you can start adapting to your new surroundings as soon as possible.

Common Mistake To Avoid When Designing An Easy-to-Clean Kitchen

The most common mistake people make when designing an easy-to-clean kitchen is storing cleaning supplies too far away from the kitchen. If your supplies aren't nearby, you might be reluctant to go get them so you can use them. For example, you're hardly going to be excited to sweep up after dinner if your broom is in the basement. So, if you're remodeling your kitchen, make sure there's enough storage for cleaning products. The optimum solution is a storage closet or pantry with enough room for a broom and cleaning supplies. In a tiny kitchen, though, a drawer will suffice. Keep a few things on hand if your space is limited. For example, a multi-surface spray, a sponge, and a hand broom with a dustpan are excellent starting points. Soon you'll see that maintenance cleaning becomes much more tempting when supplies are within easy reach.






Matthew Schwimmer, Blogger and Writer

https://evolutionmoving.com


Photo used: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-kitchen-3637739 


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home.

Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home. | Simplifying The Market

While today’s supply of homes for sale is still low, the number of newly built homes is increasing. If you’re ready to sell but have held off because you weren’t sure you’d be able to find a home to move into, newly built homes and those under construction can provide the options you’ve been waiting for.

The latest Census data shows the inventory of new homes is increasing this year (see graph below):Looking To Move? It Could Be Time To Build Your Dream Home. | Simplifying The MarketWith more new homes coming to the market, this means you’ll have more options to choose from if you’re ready to buy. Of course, if you do consider a newly built home, you’ll want to keep timing in mind. The supply shown in the graph above includes homes at various stages of the construction process – some are near completion while others may be months away.

According to Robert Dietz, Chief Economist and Senior VP for Economics and Housing Policy for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB):

28% of new home inventory consists of homes that have not started construction, compared to 21% a year ago.”

Buying a home near completion is great if you’re ready to move. Alternatively, a home that has yet to break ground might benefit you if you’re ready to sell and you aren’t on a strict timeline. You’ll have an even greater opportunity to design your future home to suit your needs. No matter what, your trusted real estate advisor can help you find a home that works for you.

Bottom Line

If you want to take advantage of today’s sellers’ market, but you’re not sure if you’ll be able to find a home to move into, consider a newly built home. Let’s connect today so you have a trusted real estate advisor to guide you through the sale of your house and discuss your homebuying options.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, October 18, 2021

Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options

Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options | Simplifying The Market

Sellers have a great opportunity this season as buyer demand still heavily outweighs the current supply of homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), today’s housing inventory sits at only a 2.6-month supply. To put that into perspective, a neutral market typically features a 6-month supply. That places today’s market firmly in the sellers’ market category.

That same NAR data also shows today’s inventory of single-family homes is trailing behind the level we saw last year (see graph below):Sellers: Your House Could Be an Oasis for Buyers Seeking More Options | Simplifying The MarketBecause of the ongoing supply challenges, buyers can feel like they’re wandering across a vast, empty desert when searching for their next home. That means your house could provide an oasis for buyers thirsty for options – and it could increase the chances of buyers entering a bidding war for your home.

The latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from NAR shows houses are receiving an average of 3.8 offers. A multiple-offer scenario lets you select the best offer and gives you incredible leverage when you sell this fall.

Bottom Line

Buyers today are looking for relief as they wander today’s inventory desert. Listing your house this fall – before more options appear – gives your house the best chance to be noticed by multiple buyers. Let’s connect today so your house can stand out as the oasis it truly is.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, October 14, 2021

What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market?

What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The Market

As you follow the news, you’re likely seeing headlines discussing what’s going on in today’s housing market. Chances are high that some of the more recent storylines you’ve come across mention terms like cooling or slowing when talking about where the market is headed.

But what do these terms mean? The housing market today is anything but normal, and it’s still an incredibly strong sellers’ market, especially when compared to the few years leading up to the pandemic. With that in mind, what can previous years tell us about today’s real estate market and if it’s truly slowing?

We’re Still Seeing an Above Average Number of Sales

You may see headlines about a drop in home sales. But are those headlines telling the full story? The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) does show a drop of about 2% from July to August. But the month-over-month decline doesn’t provide the full picture (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAs the graph shows, historical context is key. Today’s home sales are well ahead of some of the more normal years that led up to the health crisis. That means buyers are still in the market, which is great news if you’re planning to list your home.

Houses Are Selling Faster Than Usual

When headlines mention the market is slowing, sellers may naturally wonder if their house will sell as quickly as they’d like. According to the most recent Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, homes are still selling at record speed (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAgain, if we look back at data from previous years, we can see the average time on market17 days –  means homes are selling faster than a normal pace.

Bidding Wars Are Still the Norm

The Realtors Confidence Index from NAR also shows a drop in the average number of offers homes are receiving in August, and many headlines may simply focus there without providing the important context (see graph below):What Do Past Years Tell Us About Today’s Real Estate Market? | Simplifying The MarketAgain, it’s important to compare today’s market to trends from recent years. Currently, the average number of offers per listing is higher than 39 of the previous 45 months. That means the likelihood of a bidding war on your home is still high. And the number of offers your house receives can have a major influence on the final sale price.

So, Is the Market Slowing Down?

While there are slight declines in various month-to-month data, it’s important to keep historical context in mind when determining what’s happening in today’s market. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, put it best recently, saying:

“It’s not the white-hot market from earlier in the year & it’s not the 2020 market benefiting from a wave of pent-up demand but make no mistake this is still a hot housing market.”

Bottom Line

Don’t let headlines make you rethink listing your home this fall. Selling today means you can still take advantage of high buyer demand, multiple offers, and a quick sale. If you’re thinking of selling your house, let’s connect and discuss why this fall is the perfect time to do so.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You

Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The Market

Today’s housing market is truly one for the record books. Over the past year, we’ve seen the lowest mortgage rates in history. And while those rates seemed to bottom out in January of this year, the golden window of opportunity for buyers isn’t over just yet. If you’re one of the buyers who worry they’ve missed out, rest assured today’s mortgage rates are still worth taking advantage of.

Even today, our mortgage rates are below what they’ve been in recent decades. So, while you may not be able to lock in the rate your friend got recently, you’re still in a great position to secure a rate well below what your parents and even grandparents got in years past. The key will be acting sooner rather than later.

In late September, mortgage rates ticked above 3% for the first time in months. And according to experts throughout the industry, mortgage rates are projected to continue rising in the months ahead. Here’s where experts say rates are headed:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The MarketWhile a projected half percentage point increase may not seem substantial, it does have an impact when you’re buying a home. When rates rise even slightly, it affects how much you’ll pay month-to-month on your home loan. The chart below shows how it works:Don’t Wait for a Lower Mortgage Rate – It Could Cost You | Simplifying The MarketIn this example, if rates rise to 3.55%, you’ll pay an extra $100 each month on your monthly mortgage payment if you purchase a home around this time next year. That extra money can really add up over the life of a 15 or 30-year loan.

Clearly, today’s mortgage rates are worth taking advantage of before they climb further. The rates we’re seeing right now give you a unique opportunity to afford more home for your money while keeping your monthly payment down.

Bottom Line

Waiting for a lower mortgage rate could cost you. Experts project rates will continue to rise in the months ahead. Let’s connect so you can seize this opportunity before they increase further.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Thursday, October 7, 2021

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market?

What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

There’s a well-known economic theory – the law of supply and demand – that explains what’s happening with prices in the current real estate market. Put simply, when demand for an item is high, prices rise. When the supply of the item increases, prices fall. Of course, when demand is very high and supply is very low, prices can rise significantly.

Understanding the impact both supply and demand have can provide the answers to a few popular questions about today’s housing market:

  • Why are prices rising?
  • Where are prices headed?
  • What does this mean for homebuyers?

Why Are Prices Rising?

According to the latest Home Price Insights report from CoreLogic, home prices have risen 18.1% since this time last year. But what’s driving the increase?

Recent buyer and seller activity data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) helps answer that question. When we take NAR’s buyer activity data and compare it to the seller traffic during the same timeframe, we can see buyer demand continues to outpace seller activity by a wide margin. In other words, the demand for homes is significantly greater than the current supply that’s available to buy (see maps below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The MarketThis combination of low supply and high demand is what’s driving home prices up. Bill McBride, author of the Calculated Risk blog, puts it best, saying:

“By some measures, house prices seem high, but the recent price increases make sense from a supply and demand perspective.

Where Are Prices Headed?

The supply of homes for sale will greatly affect where prices head over the coming months. Many experts forecast prices will continue to increase, but they’ll likely appreciate at a slower rate.

Buyers hoping to purchase the home of their dreams may see this as welcome news. In this case, perspective is important: a slight moderation of home prices does not mean prices will depreciate or fall. Price increases may occur at a slower pace, but experts still expect them to rise.

Five major entities that closely follow the real estate market forecast home prices will continue appreciating through 2022 (see graph below):What Do Supply and Demand Tell Us About Today’s Housing Market? | Simplifying The Market

What Does This Mean for Homebuyers?

If you’re waiting to enter the market because you’re expecting prices to drop, you may end up paying more in the long run. Even if price increases occur at a slower rate next year, prices are still projected to rise. That means the home of your dreams will likely cost even more in 2022.

Bottom Line

The truth is, high demand and low supply are what’s driving up home prices in today’s housing market. And while prices may increase at a slower pace in the coming months, experts still expect them to rise. If you’re a potential homebuyer, let’s connect today to discuss what that could mean for you if you wait even longer to buy.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Buying or Selling is Not a Game
















































PRICE MATTERS - on both sides! Sell at the right price - Buy at the right price.

We can help with that. Really!!

The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates

The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The Market

Every Thursday, Freddie Mac releases the results of their Primary Mortgage Market Survey which reveals the most recent movement in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate. Last week, the rate was announced as 3.01%. It was the first time in three months that the mortgage rate surpassed 3%. In a press release accompanying the survey, Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, explains:

“Mortgage rates rose across all loan types this week as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield reached its highest point since June.”

The reason Khater mentions the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield is because there has been a very strong relationship between the yield and the 30-year mortgage rate over the last five decades. Here’s a graph showing that relationship:The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe relationship has also been consistent throughout 2021 as evidenced by this graph:The Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe Main Key To Understanding the Rise in Mortgage Rates | Simplifying The MarketThe graph also reveals the most recent jump in mortgage rates was preceded by a jump in the 10-year Treasury rate (called out by the red circles).

So, What Impacts the Yield Rate?

According to Investopedia:

“There are a number of economic factors that impact Treasury yields, such as interest rates, inflation, and economic growth.”

Since there are currently concerns about inflation and economic growth due to the pandemic, the Treasury yield spiked last week. That spike impacted mortgage rates.

What Does This Mean for You?

Khater, in the Freddie Mac release mentioned above, says:

“We expect mortgage rates to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices, causing them to moderate slightly after increasing over the last year.”

Nadia Evangelou, Senior Economist and Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), also addresses the issue:

“Consumers shouldn’t panic. Keep in mind that even though rates will increase in the following months, these rates will still be historically low. The National Association of REALTORS forecasts the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to reach 3.5% by mid-2022.”

Bottom Line

Forecasting mortgage rates is very difficult. As Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, once quipped:

“You know, the fallacy of economic forecasting is don’t ever try and forecast interest rates and or, more specifically, if you’re a real estate economist mortgage rates, because you will always invariably be wrong.”

That being said, if you’re either a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner thinking of moving into a home that better fits your current needs, keep abreast of what’s happening with mortgage rates. It may very well impact your decision.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Why Homeownership Is Still The American Dream


How often do we hear the term "American Dream"? Don't know about you but I remember hearing that from the time I was a little child. The dream never came true for half my family. The other half was more fortunate. There is a lot more to that story, but this is about you! Don't let the dream pass you by. Set a goal and go for the AMERICAN DREAM!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

If You’re a Buyer, Is Offering Asking Price Enough?

If You’re a Buyer, Is Offering Asking Price Enough? | Simplifying The Market

In today’s real estate market, buyers shouldn’t shop for a home with the expectation they’ll be able to negotiate a lower sales price. In a typical housing market, buyers try to determine how much less than the asking price they can offer and still get the home. From there, the buyer and seller typically negotiate and agree on a revised price somewhere in the middle.

Things Are Different Today

Today’s housing market is anything but normal. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes today are:

  • Receiving an average of  3.8 offers
  • Selling in just 17 days

Homes selling quickly and receiving multiple offers highlights how competitive the housing market is right now. This is due, in large part, to the low supply of homes for sale. Low supply and high demand mean homes often sell for more than the asking price. In some cases, they sell for a lot more. Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains how these stats can impact buyers:

“The imbalance between robust demand and dismal availability of for-sale homes has led to a continual bidding over asking prices, which reached record levels in recent months. Now, almost 6 in 10 homes listed are selling over the asking price.”

You May Need To Rethink How You Look at a Home’s Asking Price

What does that mean for you? If you’ve found your dream home, you need to be realistic about today’s housing market and how that impacts the offer you’ll make. Offering below or even at a home’s asking price may not cut it. In today’s market, the highest bidder often wins the home, much like at an auction.

Currently, the asking price is often the floor of the negotiation rather than the ceiling. If you really love a home, it may ultimately sell for more than the sellers are asking. That’s important to keep in mind as you work with your agent to craft an offer.

Understand An Appraisal Gap Can Happen

Because of today’s home price appreciation and the auction-like atmosphere in the selling process, appraisal gaps – the gap between the price of your contract and the appraisal for the house – are more frequent.

According to data from CoreLogic:

“Beginning in January 2020, nationally, 7% of purchase transactions had a contract price above the appraisal, but by May 2021, the frequency had increased to 19% of purchase transactions.”

When this happens, your lender won’t loan you more than the home’s appraised value, and the seller may ask you to make up the difference out of pocket. Buyers in today’s market need to be prepared for this possibility. Know your budget, know what you can afford, and work with a trusted advisor who can offer expert advice along the way.

Bottom Line

Bidding wars and today’s auction-like atmosphere mean buyers need to rethink how they look at the asking price of a home. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional who can advise you on the current market and help determine what the market value is on your dream home.

Content previously posted on Keeping Current Matters

* This article was originally published here

Monday, September 27, 2021

The New Homeowners


There is nothing like the feeling of moving into your new home - a home that you own. Well, OK, the bank may be holding a mortgage, but it is yours! It is an investment. That monthly payment is going toward your investment - not your landlords! Ready now?