2 Easy Real Estate Tips


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Top Tips to Make Your Offer Stick
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House in HandIt’s that time again, when the real estate market is as hot as the summer sun. Low inventory, multiple-offers, and offers that soar over asking price are great for sellers, not so much for buyers. If you’re looking for an edge to ensure you get the home you want, here are a few tips.

Up your budget
If you’re a first-time buyer looking in a lower price range, you’re in the most competitive market. Getting pre-approved for a little more could move you into a higher price bracket and eliminate some competition. Adding even a few thousand dollars could make the difference, and the change to your monthly mortgage payment will be negligible.

Cut associated expenses
If you’re worried about upping your budget, think of ways to save on associated expenses, and put that money into your mortgage instead. Look for homes without a homeowner’s association. That could save you several hundred dollars per month. Look at areas where you don’t have to pay a toll for your daily commute (or, better yet, where you don’t have to drive at all). Those savings add up.

Watch the contingencies
“Sellers have the upper hand in a multiple-bid situation, and they want offers that are clean and concise,” says NerdWallet. Asking the seller to pay closing costs, purchase a home warranty, or requesting that they make small repairs like fixing a leaky faucet can get your offer thrown in the trash.

Be flexible
In a multiple-offer situation, the seller is looking for the easiest path to closing. The trick is finding out what they really want—beyond the right price, of course. It could be that a shorter closing would do the trick. Or maybe you can offer them the opportunity to rent back until they’re ready to make their move.

Write a letter
Yes, writing a sappy letter to the seller telling them all about you and why you love their home is shameless pandering, but sometimes shameless pandering works. Include a picture and don’t hesitate to include your cute kids or four-legged friends.

4 DIY Things You Can Do to Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer
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If you live in a place where summer heat is an issue, this time of year can mean substantially higher energy costs. Here are four low-cost, high-impact changes you can make on your own to save money and keep your home more comfortable this summer.

Clean your window sills
A few seasons worth of dirt and soot can prevent your windows from closing all the way. Even a little air getting in can make your AC less efficient and raise your electric bill. Drafty windows are the top energy leak in a typical home, accounting for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss.
Cost: $0-5 (cleaning spray and paper towels)
DIY level: Easy. You can even make this a chore for the kids!

Install a door sweep
“A common place where air leaks occur is under the door leading from the house to the garage because they are often not as well sealed as doors leading directly to the outside,” says Energy Star. Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent cold air from escaping your home.
Cost: $10-15 (per door)
DIY level: Easy. Use a drill to make holes in the door and screws to attach the sweep.

Caulking Window Frame

Caulk your windows
Window air leakage can be reduced by applying a continuous bead of caulk around the window trim where it meets the wall, at the mitered joints of the trim, and between the trim and the frame. Make sure the caulk is intended for indoor use and can be painted. Using Charlotte, NC as an example, the Department of Energy estimated that the average homeowner could save 14% on heating and cooling costs each year with proper air sealing and insulation.
Cost: $3-5 (caulk)
DIY level: Medium. Caulk can get messy, so go slow.

Check your ducts
Ducts are used to distribute AC and heat throughout houses with forced-air systems “In typical houses, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.” says Energy Star. “The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills, and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.” You can check all the ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, crawlspace, or garage. Look for holes and tears, and seal them using mastic or metal tape.
Cost: $5-10 (roll of tape)
DIY level: Medium. It’s just taping, but you’ll likely be dealing with tight spaces and a few creepy-crawlies.


Which down payment strategy is right for you?


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You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.


The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.


The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.


Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

Have any questions? Give us a call today!

Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com



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Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
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Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside. 904-515-2479




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When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls.

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping.

Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.

Have any questions or are you ready to sell your new home in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com



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An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, but far fewer have considered one for their pets. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.

Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.

Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.

Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!

Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019? Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS, Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com


Unusual Self-Staging Secrets that work, Whether You’re Selling or Not


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e1d05431-dc14-481e-980a-e0ff9da6c25eStaging means more than simply adding new fashions and furnishings to your home. Staging means understanding the psychology of living in a home, and using those underlying secrets to your own advantage, rather than to sell.
Staging is a word that has gained popularity in the real estate world in recent years. In case you haven’t heard the term, it means setting up the interior and exterior of your home with nice furnishings and decor so that home buyers can imagine themselves living in a clean, clutter-free, stylish home. You know…the kind of designer home no one actually lives in. In fact, there’s probably not a home seller in the world who hasn’t spun around in their newly staged living rooms just before selling and said, “Gee, I wish I had done this before selling it so I could have lived in it like this.”
But wait! Rather than staging to sell, how about staging for life—so you can live in it? By taking a fresh look at your home and making a few bold changes, you can impart much of the feeling that comes from a completely staged home, even if you have no interior design experience at all. This two-part report will show you how. First you’ll learn the secrets of minimizing distractions, which is the real reason that staging works—not the furnishings. And then you’ll learn a few style basics to help enhance the environment.

Part 1: Distractions and Tolerations
Part 2: Interior Design Basics

Part 1: Distractions and Tolerations
Wallowing in Distraction

In every era of mankind it can be said that somebody turned to somebody else and said, “Things are a lot more hectic today than they used to be.”

And in every case, they were right. Every era of mankind has grown more complex and hectic. That doesn’t mean life is harder from one era to the next. But it is hard in a different way. In our world today, for example, we’ve taken the expectation of personal productivity to new heights. It’s barely acceptable any more to not be available by phone, and people will complain about not being able to get hold of a person in minutes. Vast numbers of people are in charge of us, from our friends and family who demand our attention by phone and Facebook, to our kids and partners to want to be entertained, to a plethora of unskilled bosses in an increasingly stratified corporate world. It’s a recipe for stress.

Perhaps one of the most important survival skills in this current world view is our ability to manage distractions. Distractions are things that take our attention away from what we’re trying to focus on. Think “texting and driving,” or “walking and chewing gum.” These are things that aren’t supposed to go together, but we do them together, just as we eat and drive, program the gps and drive, do our makeup, read, and talk while we drive. And while doing one of those things, our coordination for doing the other slips.

Beyond technology, we’re also distracted by our own thoughts. With competing demands on our attention and time, we’re always thinking about several tasks at once—multitasking mentally as well as physically. And our world has become intensely mental. While our grandmother might have multitasked by getting all the parts of a good meal on the table at the same time, we have to be evaluating different ideas, planning multiple programs, writing several different reports, and thinking about how to keep everyone happy.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who tells us in his book called Happiness, that we should do things mindfully. His meaning is to be aware in the moment you are in of all that you are doing. When you are walking, think about walking. When you are sitting, think about sitting. When you are driving, think about driving. He says, “The present moment is the only moment that is real. Your most important task is to be here and now and enjoy the present.”

What’s the point in that, right? If you can multitask and you need to get a lot done, what is the point in slowing down and focusing on one task at a time? Well, for one, if we’re talking about driving, it’s safer. But more to the point, Thich Nhat Hanh is not talking about being able to do something better because you’re focused. He’s talking about calming the mind, something that has measurable benefits in relieving stress.

(Stay with me…this all goes back to staging in just a moment.)

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A calm, still mind is more able to detach from complexities and feel at peace. A peaceful mind is better able to connect to abundance and win-win thinking. It is said by the Buddhists that a person will have become enlightened when he does not have a single thought for one whole minute.
The person who can effectively manage distractions is likely to be more attractive to others. For instance, networking events are wonderful places to view distracted minds. You walk into the room and the first thing you do is walk up to someone and catch their eye to see if you can get into conversation with them. You can tell instantly if they’re “with you” or not. Sometimes it’s subtle, a frozen smile, a flick of the eyes. Other times it’s more overt with them turning and talking to other people in the middle of your conversation. And then other times you feel like you’re the only person in that other person’s world right then. Ah, that feels nice.
The practical application of this discussion is that the act of reducing distractions in our home space instantly puts our minds into a more receptive state, calming our stress, and improving our health and relationships. Wow, that’s a lot of goodies from just reducing distractions and simplifying where our attention goes.
By decluttering our space, arranging furniture to appeal to the eye, reducing messes, harmonizing colors, and simplifying your décor, we gain a huge amount of peace in our home space.

Reducing distractions is one of the biggest secrets to successful staging. Removing clutter and putting thing in order, as well as using a few well-placed large pieces of art or furniture in place of a bunch of scattered pieces make a room feel more peaceful—and that sense of peace is one of the reasons that staged homes sell faster than unstaged homes.


Then there’s the evil cousin of distractions—tolerations. Tolerations are a kind of distraction that we don’t acknowledge. Tolerations are usually tiny distractions we ignore, but that are in our peripheral vision and at the edge of our consciousness. I remember a neighbor coming to visit for the first time. I wanted to make her feel welcome, so I started to show her around the house. It was only then that I noticed the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, the hole in the door screen, and the streak of dirt by the front door where the dog jumped up. And when she asked to use the restroom, I suddenly remembered the moldy tile in the bath surround. I was distracted during her brief visit, and probably looked and acted apologetic.

I mentioned all this to a friend later, and we talked about how the cumulative effect of tolerations can become a drag on our spirit, awareness, and energy. I wanted to enjoy my neighbor, and all I could think about was little crap that I should have taken care of. I’m sure the neighbor felt some of my embarrassment, even if she didn’t know why.
The experience made me look around my house and realize how many of these little details I had been tolerating without really noticing.

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Tolerations can consist of a multitude of small, petty details—like a dirty car, the torn curtain, a spot on the floor, the annoying piece of tape stuck to our computer, the door in the bathroom that sticks. Or they can be large projects—like the house needs painting, the filing system is in disarray, the car is too small for a growing family, etc.

One reason staged homes appeal to us is that they have eliminated the tolerations. Buyers feel good without even knowing why, because there’s nothing to take care of…no tolerations have built up to dampen their energy. They don’t see any cobwebs or curled linoleum, because those things have been taken care of in a well-staged home.

Exercise: Eliminating Tolerations
Step 1: Petty tolerations
Look around in your immediate environment from where you’re sitting right now. Make a list of everything you see that is out of place, broken or torn, too small or large, crooked, cluttered, a dissatisfying color, etc. Do this for every room in your house. Do the same in your office workspace and car.

Place these lists where you can see them prominently. They are your visual existence system to help you remember what needs to be done.

Make a commitment to fixing just one item from this list each day. Cross off each item as it is done. Fix it mindfully.

Step 2: Major tolerations
Look around your house, yard, car, and work environment. Make a list of projects that need to be done, including painting, cleaning, organizing, repairing, replacing, etc.
Prioritize the list. Then put the first project onto a schedule. Identify the intermediate steps that need to be done to make that project a reality, such as getting bids, tracking down service providers, saving money, etc.

Part 2: Interior Design Basics
In addition to looking at tolerations in your physical space, consider the following more traditional suggestions for staging your home, while eliminating tolerations:

Start with a Blank Slate
Consider emptying an entire room before you start any DIY staging efforts. By creating a blank slate, you’ll be more creative. Then consider these three things elements: paint and flooring colors, window coverings, and finally art pieces. Identify a color scheme for all of these elements. If you already have flooring and don’t plan to replace it, that may be the start of your color scheme.

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Choose new paint colors to complement the flooring. If you can’t afford new furnishings to match the color scheme, consider new pillows or a slip cover. Consider installing crown molding and new baseboards at this time, or building a new fireplace surround or mantle. Finally, choose window coverings that tie the paint, flooring, and furniture together. When moving furniture back into the space, look for ways to leave some things out of the room altogether. The most valuable feature of staged homes is the absence of clutter.
When replacing furniture in the room, position it in different ways. Try configurations you think can’t possibly work, such as setting the couch at an angle and adding a sofa table behind it. Also consider adding plants to your space. As you replace furnishings, also remember the ideas of absence of distractions and elimination of tolerations.

Find a Way to Match Pieces
If you have mis-matched shelving or other furniture for the room, consider replacing some of it, or refinishing it all to have a similar finish. For instance, if you have one rattan chair, a wooden IKEA shelf unit, and a 1960’s coffee table, you may be creating dissonance in your space. Consider ridding yourself of one of these elements, then replacing it with something that matches one of the other elements. Perhaps removing the 1960’s table and replacing it with an IKEA table will draw the room together. Perhaps replacing the rattan chair with a 1960’s era arm chair might draw the room together in a retro way. The more your furniture looks as though it is from the same style or era, the more together your room will look.

Another idea for matching pieces is to choose one finish and alter other pieces to have similar finishes. For instance, if you have a blonde wood coffee table, a golden oak shelving unit, and a black lacquered TV cabinet, you have mismatched finishes. If you want to keep the black TV cabinet, consider sanding and using black lacquer paint to refinish the coffee table and shelf unit. If you don’t want to keep the black TV cabinet, but like your blonde wood coffee table, consider replacing the TV cabinet and sanding and lightening the stain of your shelf unit. For some wood furniture, you might consider distressing it and using a white-wash finish.

Remove Clutter with Storage
It’s been said many times. A well-staged home is a clutter-free space. If you struggle to manage clutter, the best thing you can do for yourself is to first throw everything away that you almost never use. If it has sentimental value, or you use it rarely but need it when you do, then you will find a home for it in the garage, attic, or storage area. You can also take photos of some older cherished items that you don’t really need to hang onto any longer.
Speaking of storage areas, if clutter controls you, one of the first things you need to do is purchase cabinets with closing doors. Many people get clutter around the phone area in or near the kitchen. If that’s you, purchase a cabinet that can rest in this area and hold a lot of that clutter. One friend of mine bought an extra upper kitchen cabinet to match the rest of her kitchen, then placed it on the floor under the bar countertop next to the bar stools. That is the place where the kids shove all of their art supplies that they use while sitting at the counter.
Clutter goes beyond counter tops. Clutter can include too many pieces of furniture and too much art on the walls, but that may be a matter of taste. I know people who love knick-knacks and every square inch of their homes is covered with these treasures. They are clean, well-organized homes for the most part, thought one is just junky, with stuff crammed into shelves so tightly that it can’t even be seen.
If clutter is a problem for you, focus intensively on creating cabinets and spaces for your stuff. As my mother always said—a place for everything and everything in its place.

Final Word
Staging is not just about renting expensive furniture and creating a designer interior to sell your home. Staging is also about staging for life—creating a space you enjoy living in, one that contributes to your sense of well-being. By eliminating distractions and removing tolerations, you open up your mind to focus on other, more important things in life. And by matching colors, matching furniture styles, and creating significant extra storage for all your “must-keep” small items, you create a relaxing environment that soothes you, much like a great piece of art or a perfect place in nature. Your home will make you feel good, not just be a place to get out of the rain.

Easy Landscaping DIY Projects


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Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features.

Whether it’s as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

Create a pathway.

To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

Add a wall or border.

Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

Install a water feature.

Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

Light your way.

An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

Plant upwards.

Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting.

Source: Easy Landscaping DIY Projects

An Increasing Surge of Wire Scams & Frauds Across the Real Estate Industry: How can you Protect yourself?


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The lucrative nature of real estate investments and transactions makes them vulnerable to the risk of fraud, robbery, phishing and cybercrimes. As opposed to bank robberies and burglaries, wire net frauds and cyber robberies don’t have a limit to the amount of money that can be looted. 

Wire fraud in the real estate industry appears to be the fastest growing amongst all cybercrimes prevalent across the US. In 2017, the authorities reported losses more than $1.4 billion while complaints were registered by 301,580 individuals and firms. Moreover, statistics reveal that more than 9,600 investors and renters were looted of $56 million in the real estate industry last year. 

So, how does a real estate fraud actually occur? 

Basically, the fraudsters and crooks conduct fake real estate transactions by adopting the identity of a real estate agent from a reputable firm or someone related to the agent handling the purchase. The fraudsters forge the identity, email and other important details to create a highly authentic and credible image that can be easily trusted by the buyer or organization. After posing as a credible agent, they scam the buyers with fallacious emails and instructions of wire to a bank account, which belongs to the fraudster. 

Earlier in June, the federal authorities have launched a coordinated law enforcement initiative, WireWire, to take down all BEC schemes that attempt to intercept and hijack wire transfers. In a short period of 6 months, this effort has managed to make 74 arrests, and recovered $14 million from fraudulent wire transfers. However, the risk of being a victim is still looming high above the buyer’s head. 

How can you protect yourself? 

Reports from the FBI reveal that business email scams and compromises have accumulated loss of over $12 billion and the numbers keep growing with every passing day. It is a common practice for fraudsters to hack the buyer’s email account and monitor all the correspondence taking between the buyers and real estate agents. 

The scammers wait until the two parties head towards the transaction, and at the very last moment, they contact the buyer with fake emails to make it appear like the agent is using a different account to ask for a money to be wired to another account. Fraudsters can also hack the email accounts of real estate agents and professionals. So basically, not only your money and your investment are at stake, but more importantly, your personal identity and your personal/financial information linked with your email account are also at risk. 

These wire transfers amount up to a great deal of money, and personal identities and information are also valuable for such scammers. It is important for buyers and real estate agents to adopt a more secure way to communicate and conduct business transactions. Most important, email accounts should be password protected. It is also important to make sure you verify all emails that ask you to wire funds or pay any kind of amount. Be sure to verify all the details and sudden changes by contact your real estate firm or agent on a verified number. 

Have any questions or are you ready to start your new home search in 2019?  Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

Why You Need to Make Home Buying Your New Year’s Resolution


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Losing weight, starting an exercise plan, or giving up on smoking are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions for a vast majority of individuals. But have you ever thought that buying a home should be in your New Year’s plan? Let’s face it, you have been dreaming about moving into your own home for such a long time. You even have plans for the kitchen cabinets and a backyard where your kids can play with your dog. But somehow you have not been able to convert your dreams into reality. It is finally the time to stop postponing your decision and start the home buying process….welcome to 2019!


Buying a home is a great New Year’s resolution

If you have been living in a rented place for a long time, isn’t it the right time to stop making the bank account of your landlord happy? It’s time to treat your family to a place that it can truly call its own!


Benefits of home ownership should spur you into action

There are so many benefits of buying a home that it would take a full article to describe each one of them. But just the fact that you can have your own home with the same (or less) monthly payment that you are now paying as rent should be reason enough to spur you into action. You would need money to put forward in the form of down payment but this money helps in building equity into your home.


Mortgage rates are going up and so are the prices of properties. Waiting any longer will only make it that much more difficult for you to buy a home. If you make home buying as a New Year’s resolution, the first step is to contact The Hanley Home Team to help you create an achievable action plan. Give us a call and let’s make it a GREAT 2019 together – www.HanleyHomeTeam.com 904-515-2479 Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value


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The best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.


Source: Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

By Brooke Nally

If you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.

To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.

Remodels to Avoid

Luxury Rooms
An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool
The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards
If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of REALTORS® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.