Monday, October 28, 2013

What will the appraiser look at?

  You may have heard, when putting your house up for sale you house is not sold to just one person but two, three maybe more! The buyer is the obvious one but most buyers have agents and lenders that need to be "sold" too.

Planning or preparing to place your house up for sale requires you make sure everything is in the best condition possible, as your house will need to be appraised. The appraisal is a mandatory step required by financial institutions to help determine the actual value of the property in the current market. Both sellers and buyers need to have an interest in ensuring that the best possible sales price is agreed upon and backed by the final home appraisal report.

So what will the appraiser look at? Though it is always subject to opinion, here are some basics.

Location, Facts and Features
The geographical location of a house impacts the appraisal amount, as homes located in good communities, close to good transportation routes and near basic services such as hospitals, schools, churches and shopping centers fare better in appraisals. The specific location within a neighborhood is also important. For example, a cul-de-sac home will pull a slightly higher appraisal amount compared to one on a thru street or busy in the neighborhood. Having neighbors with well maintained homes and yards will also prove positive in the appraisal of a property.

Age plus the lot size and square footage are the basis of how "comps" (comparable properties) are chosen in the area. Adjustments are made for some key features of the home such as fireplaces and decks.

How can I be "better" than my comps?
"Functional obsolescence" or "End of life" are terms you do NOT want to see in and appraisal report.  Ask yourself about the following areas of your home with these phrases in mind? 

Exterior Condition and Appearance
The outside of a house is one of the first things the home appraiser takes note of when determining the value of the property. Repairing siding/stucco issues and the roof are huge.  Making sure the grass is cut, shrubs are trimmed, weeds are pulled and the yard is landscaped also helps to increase the value. Making sure all trash and debris have been removed from the front of the house also makes the home look better. Remove cobwebs, clean windows, clear gutters and wash the house if it has vinyl siding. This shows good maintenance of the home.

Heating, Plumbing and Wiring
The main systems within a home include the heating, cooling, water and electrical systems. The appraiser will review and assess these items as they are some of the most costly items to repair and remaining "life" of these items is considered. Make sure the appraiser can easily access the main areas of the home so he can arrive at accurate figures. Before a home appraisal, you may wish to have certified technicians inspect major systems to alert you to any problems that might be developing and if you receive a good inspection report of these items, leave it out for the appraiser!

Kitchens and Bathrooms
Repairing or replacing broken, damaged or obsolete fixtures, cabinets and appliances are very important  BUT (there is always a but) be careful not to over-improve. If your neighborhood is "middle range" putting in a gourmet kitchen will not get you the return on your investment you were hoping for so stay consistent with the level of finishes commonly found in your area.

Cleanliness and Overall Appearance
The house itself needs to be clean and organized. Though an appraiser is not overtly concerned about "stuff" like piles of paperwork or dishes in he sink, he does need to be able to take pictures of all rooms and see all areas of the house. Clutter and/or empty can both pose problems. Damaged walls and heavily worn carpet could hurt you more than the cost to patch, paint, clean and arrange. A house that's well-maintained and in move-in condition is more likely to get a higher appraisal.


Overwhelmed? Need help? Call me and we can talk about your best options. :)

MSN Real Estate: 10 Tips to Boost Your Home's Appraisal
CNN Money: Buying? Selling? Don't Undervalue the Home
The Appraisal Institute: How to Get the Most out of a Home Appraisal
Resources Myths and Facts About Appraisals

Sunday, October 20, 2013

BTA Pasta Salad (Bacon Tomato Avocado)

With spring in the air I always get an itch to find new pasta salads and recipes for summer barbecues. My criteria usually includes recipes that are easy, have commonly found ingredients and are generally healthy. Here's my twist on a BLT salad recipe I found that is sure to be a hit!

BTA  Pasta Salad (Bacon Tomato Avocado) Ingredients:

8 slices turkey bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped into pieces
1/2 pound bow tie pasta, cooked according to package instructions and rinsed under cold water
1/2 cup lowfat mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado peeled, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
Salt to taste

-While your bacon and pasta are cooking, whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, pepper and dill together in a bowl.
-Gently stir cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and bacon into the dressing.  
-Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to serving.

October 2013 Real Estate Update

Here is the link to watch the full update (just over 1 minute long): 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Whether it's a time of year that you are craving comfort foods or you just want to add variety to your traditional red sauce/white sauce pasta choices, this recipe fits the bill!
Important note: If you haven't cooked squash before, it's NOT all the same!  Different varieties have distinctive flavors.  This recipe calls for BUTTERNUT squash.

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
coarse salt and pepper
5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup milk
1-2 cups broth
Pasta, for serving (such as ravioli or any short pasta - NOT Spaghetti noodles)
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Using a large, sharp knife, trim the squash ends, then halve the squash crosswise to separate the bulb from the neck. Peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut both pieces in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds; discard. Cut squash into 2-inch chunks.

Transfer chunks of squash to a small rimmed baking sheet. Toss with oil and sage. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter garlic around squash. Roast until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove and discard skin from garlic.

Transfer squash and garlic to a food processor. Puree. With motor running, add milk through the feed tube; process until smooth. Add 1 to 2 cups broth. Continue to process until smooth, adding water to thin if necessary. Season again with salt. (To freeze, see below).

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Add some pasta water to thin sauce if necessary.

Once you've tossed the pasta with the sauce, serve it topped with any or all of the following: Toasted Walnuts, additional parmesan cheese, Torn fresh sage leaves.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What to do with that mess of chargers?

A mess of chargers

Let's face it. That pile of chargers on your [desk, night stand, counter, etc] is ugly. 

So how are you going to fix it?

Here are some ideas! 
Decorative grass hidden power stationBinder clip cord keepers

Phone holder and charger cord keeper Power strip and chargers hidden in decorative box Power strip hidden in bread box

Power strip, charges and devices hidden in drawer

 If you scrolled down this far, here's your chance for a FREE solution!

Here is a video of thingCHARGER:

P.S. I have ZERO affiliation with any of these companies. I take credit for none of these photos or ideas.

P.P.S. Always take your electronics and other valuables with you when you have showings scheduled at you home! (Or put them in a safe...)