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Want to list your home? Read this first! Top 6 renos with the biggest ROI!

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1. Update bathrooms
Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so it pays to make sure your bathroom is tastefully designed and fully up to date before putting your home up for sale. If you’re renovating on a budget, focus on making small changes like repainting the walls, retiling the tub or shower and installing new plumbing and lighting fixtures, especially if the existing ones are dated and inefficient. If you have more time and resources, consider adding an extra bathroom. Homebuyers are increasingly looking for homes that have master, full and half baths. Investing in another bathroom before you sell will increase your home’s market value.

2. Upgrade for energy efficiency
Improving the energy efficiency of your house is likely to pay off when you sell it. Studies show that contemporary homebuyers prefer energy-efficient homes due to their environmental concerns as well as the possibility of gaining long-term savings. Think about tackling tasks like amplifying or reinstalling the attic and basement insulation, upgrading the HVAC system, replacing the water heaters and installing new windows to lower the costs of heating and cooling your home. Adding solar panels can also add substantial value. Although they’re quite costly to install, more and more buyers are willing to pay more for “green” homes with solar energy systems.

3. Enhance curb appeal
When thinking about what renovations will pay off when you sell, don’t underestimate the power of the first impression: your home’s curb appeal plays a key role in determining its perceived value on the housing market. Consider updating the siding, repainting the exterior and improving the landscaping on your front lawn. Even small things like repainting the front door and adding new shrubs and potted plants can go a long way toward enhancing your home’s look and enticing potential buyers. And don’t forget about the garage — recent reports show that replacing your garage door is one of the most cost-effective home improvement projects.

4. Install hardwood floors
Real estate agents report that homes with hardwood floors tend to sell faster and for more money. Hardwood floors add timeless charm to any home and consistently show up on the wish lists of potential buyers. While they may cost more than carpet or laminate flooring, they last longer and are more likely to pay off in the long run. If your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, consider having the carpets taken out and the original hardwood floors restored before putting your home on the market. Keep in mind that engineered wood flooring can be a good alternative if you’re renovating on a budget.

5. Renovate the kitchen
According to many real estate experts, the kitchen is the room that matters the most when selling your home. When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, however, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great return on your investment. Even minor upgrades can increase your home’s overall value and improve the look and feel of your kitchen. Repainting walls, refurbishing cabinets, updating hardware, installing modern appliances and replacing countertops are all cost-effective changes you can make that will likely lure in potential buyers and pay off big during the sale of your house.

6. Paint the walls
Repainting the interior is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to transform your home, and it works wonders when it’s time to sell. The right shade of paint can bring together any room and make it appear brighter and more spacious. Real estate agents recommend sticking to light and neutral hues such as tan, beige and white. These shades can make spaces feel more open and aren’t likely to clash with buyers’ furniture and accessories. Save bolder tints to use as accents when painting fixtures like kitchen cabinets or to emphasize unique design features like a breakfast nook or built-in shelves.

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Real Estate

How to become a homeowner in 2021

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Is your new year’s resolution to buy a new home? If so, here’s how to make good on this promise.

Establish a budget and start saving
Determine how much money you require to buy a home. Research house prices in the area where you want to live and educate yourself about mortgages and what’s required to apply for one. Your bank or a reputable mortgage lender can assist you.

Once you’ve calculated how much money you need, establish a budget that allows you to reach this goal. To make ends meet, you may need to trim unnecessary spending. However, you can grow your finances further by keeping your money in a high-yield savings account or investing it wisely.

Boost your credit score and get pre-approved
A good credit score is a key to buying a home. It gives you more mortgage options and will lower your monthly interest rate. Here are a few ways to improve your score:

• Pay all your bills on time and don’t surpass your credit limit.

• Don’t transfer the balance of an older credit account to a new one; the longer an account is open and in use, the better your score.

• Use different types of credit (such as a credit card, car loan, and line of credit), since using only one type can result in a lower score.

Once your credit score is in good shape, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage through your bank. This will equip you with a letter indicating how much you can borrow. Mortgage pre-approval is a great asset when house shopping, as it shows sellers that you’re a qualified buyer.

Once your financial affairs are in order, you’re ready to become a homeowner. To find a house that meets your needs, make sure to hire a realtor.

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Real Estate

Travertine flooring: is it right for your home?

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Travertine is a type of limestone that naturally forms in deposits near mineral springs. It comes in earthy neutral colors like beige, tan, off-white, and gray and has a fibrous, marble-like appearance.

As a flooring material, it’s sold in tiles by the square foot. While very durable, it does require ongoing maintenance and care. This is because travertine is a porous material, which makes it prone to staining and etching. It should be coated with a protective sealant upon installation and then again every three to five years. Travertine floors should also be regularly swept and mopped to prevent scratches and discoloration.

In terms of cost, travertine is a mid-range stone that tends to be more affordable than marble but more expensive than granite. It’s not the cheapest type of flooring for your home, but it isn’t the most lavish either.

Travertine has a timeless quality that complements both traditional and contemporary design styles. It typically comes in one of four finishes — polished, honed, tumbled, or brushed — and the type you choose will impact whether your floors look glossy and refined or rustic and weathered.

So, is travertine flooring right for your home?

If you have an ample budget and want a floor that gives your home a sense of reserved dignity and prestige, travertine may be the right pick.

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Real Estate

Home theater essentials

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Enjoy a big-screen experience at home with your very own home theater. This renovation project is easier to pull off than you might think. Here are the five things you’ll need.

1. TV or projector
Before you choose your viewing system, compare the pros and cons of a big-screen TV with those of an overhead projector. Opt for the biggest screen you can afford with the highest resolution.

2. Sound system

The best home theater systems don’t skimp when it comes to sound. Consider adding built-in speakers to the walls or ceiling. Also, make sure your system includes a subwoofer, as rich bass notes will make the cinematic experience more exciting.

3. Seating
Opt for luxurious single seating in plush leather or soft fabric. Black recliners are a classic choice, but upholstered chaise lounges may offer greater comfort.

4. Snack station
Save space for the movie snacks you love most. Your snack station can include a popcorn maker, a mini-fridge, a bar, jars of candy, a soda-making station, or a water cooler.

5. Lighting
Blackout curtains are a must, and overhead lighting on a dimmer will allow you to quickly get the show started. Consider adding LED light strips to create a theater-like atmosphere. They can be placed behind movie posters, underneath seats, or along pathways to the restroom, snack station, and exit.

Once you’ve picked out the essentials, you can choose one or more add-ons. Consider including an electric fireplace, a video game console, or simply some soft blankets to curl up under.

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Real Estate

Warren County Market Report – December 2020 with Jen Avery

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A few interesting numbers to notice:

  • The median sold price for Warren County has remained steady at approximately 300K this month and last.
  • This month for Frederick County, the median sold price is 293K.
  • Another number to notice is the new listings — Listings are down again this month by -23.7%.

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for December 2020. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are DOWN -23.7%
  2. New Pending UP 10.2%.
  3. Closed sales are UP 3.3%
  4. Average Median Sold $299,995
  5. Average Days on Market  34

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com.

Resource: December 2020 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated January 2021

Jennifer Avery, REALTOR® “Your Happy Home Expert!”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC| 318 S Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601 | 540-662-0400

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How to make room for a home office

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Have you recently started working from home? If you need a good-size office space but don’t have a spare room, here are a few options to explore.

• Basement. As long as it has adequate headroom, your finished basement (or a portion of it) can be a great place for an office. However, this isn’t the best solution if your basement has moisture issues.

• Attic. Some attics can be converted into usable living space. This isn’t a small renovation, however, and you may need to install electrical outlets, solid flooring, and much more to support your setup.

• Garage. If you rarely use your garage to park your car, it can be made into an office. You’ll undoubtedly need to invest in a number of updates to make it a comfortable space to work.

• Addition. This isn’t a budget-friendly option, but it could add permanent value to your home. Additions can be built above, behind or to the side of a house.

• Outbuilding. An office space that’s completely separate from the main house may offer the ultimate distraction-free work zone. However, this can be a costly project. The funds may be better allocated if spent on renovations to the main house.

When deciding how best to make room for your home office, be sure to assess all of your needs. Furthermore, find out if the renovations will affect the resale value of your home.

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Throw out the rule book! The best time to sell is now

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Everyone knows that the spring home sales market heats up in early March and that’s when all the buyers are out, right? That may not be true in 2021.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Schools.
With many schools still going back and forth between virtual and classroom learning, buyers have less allegiance to school as a reason to wait until spring for a move. In most schools, sports and activities have been cancelled or curtailed, further softening parental concern about changing school districts.

2. Work.
More people are getting clarity on whether they will return to work in offices or continue working from home. Telecommuting remains popular, and telecommuters want homes with space for offices. This makes a cohort of buyers that are ready when you are. Suburbs and rural areas are hot right now as urban dwellers flee cities for more security, more space and a lower cost of living.

3. Not many homes on the market.
For sellers, that means don’t put off listing to wait for the market in spring. The market may well be ready now. Supply is low in most locales, and your property will shine with less competition in listings.

4. Home values are up.
There is no better time to get a great price for your home. Lots of buyers in the market means high demand. Fewer homes on the market means low supply. That is a recipe for a high selling price!

5. Sweet buying environment, too.
Buyers are now in a great position. Mortgage interest rates are historically low. Lenders want to lend. Demand for housing is high. In addition, some buyers have delayed during 2020 to wait out economic and social uncertainty. But much of that uncertainty is now resolved.

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