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10 Easiest Home Upgrades to Increase House Value

By David Glenn


Whether planning to sell the house, have it rented out, or simply for personal satisfaction, a little renovation and upgrade is always necessary to help increase its market value. In order to boost a house’s value in the market, it is first important to learn what prospective buyers or tenants are searching for in a house. For most homeowners, the biggest concern is usually the budget required for upgrade, renovation and home maintenance.

The great news is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars for home improvements. Just follow these 10 tips for the best home upgrades to add home value.

1. Knock down a wall and go for open concept. Not only will it create an illusion of a bigger space, but it is a home design trend that is very much in demand today. Just make sure to have the wall assessed for possible electrical wires housed behind it before hitting it with a sledge hammer.

2. Make the kitchen area workable. This means making the kitchen area a functional place where you can actually cook a decent meal. Update faucets, fix leaking pipes, buff the counters and repaint cupboards and cabinets. It is not necessary to replace everything with a new kitchen system. Simply repaint worn out furniture and replace outdated knobs with modern handles to make it look more expensive.

3. Brighten up the bath. Bathrooms are among the most important considerations for many tenants and prospective home buyers so it is pertinent to get this area of the house right. Buff up the tiles and replace the faucets, shower heads and toilet seats. There’s no need to replace all the tiles, just those that are cracked and chipped. The trick is to find the right cleaning agent that can help whiten the tiles to make it look good as new.

4. Add more storage.
If there’s an extra wall or area of the house that does not seem to have any function, add in a laminate closet system or have a carpenter install small built-in cabinets, racks or pantries. Making every extra space of the house functional will help make it look more livable.

5. Turn that extra space into an extra room. A house with a lot of rooms will always look impressive when advertised in the market. If the house has a huge attic, a den, or extra space that can be turned into another room then by all means, fix it up to look like an additional room. Simply add in a built-in closet and a window and it should be good to accommodate.

6. Update the lighting system.
Still using an old chandelier or unflattering fluorescent lamps? Hire an electrician to place some decorative lighting fixtures or dimmers that will give the house a more modern feel and mask any unflattering curves on the walls and ceilings.

7. Buff the floors.
The moment a buyer or tenant steps inside the front door the first thing they will notice are the floors. Tiled or hardwood floors need to be buffed till it sparkles. Carpeted floors need a touch of professional carpet cleaning to make it look, smell and feel brand new. Hiring professional cleaners is a small investment compared to the big impact it will make.

8. Apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls or replace an uncharacteristic door with a rustic barn door. Choose modern color palettes to give the house a fresh new look.

9. Add outdoor dining furniture in the front lawn or backyard. These areas can become extended living and dining areas.

10. Hire an electrical and plumbing service to look at the overall state of the house. It is much better to catch the problems early on than find out much later when the problem has already worsened such as replacing the entire plumbing system or rewiring the entire house.

This post was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and tricks for you and your clients.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First" 

0c5f3335-c585-46f8-bce5-567bdbf0125d

• 1,989 sq. ft., 2 bath, 3 bdrm single story - MLS $165,500

 -  Contemporary style great design, open floor plan, curved corner fireplace & 2 living rooms plus a dining room. Updated; stainless steel appliances, granite counters throughout kitchen and all bathrooms, updated baths and tiled shower, hardwood flooring, new paint, dry bar has plumbing in place for wet bar. Lovely private yard.

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55ec0108-2e49-4c26-97ef-a4dffcd7b1a9
Greenbelt Lot

• 3,390 sq. ft., 4 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story - MLS $350,000

 -  Amazing stylish custom stucco has everything, huge yard, extended patio, dog run, pergola, access to greenbelt. 2 or 3 beds down. 2 beds & 2 baths up plus g/room. Inside in ground storm shelter. Connecting mastrr bed, closet & laundry. Office or 5th bed also available. Must view!


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5 Things to Avoid When Selling Your Home in Today's Competitive Market

By Keith Loria


While it’s widely known that being present during a home showing can do more harm than good when it comes to getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar, many sellers are often unaware that there may be other ways they’re hurting their chances of unloading their home.

Here are five things sellers should avoid if they want to attract prospective buyers, rather than scare them away.

1. Letting your pet roam free. You may have the most gentle pet in the world, but that doesn’t mean prospective buyers want your pet jumping on them or following them around when they come to view your home. Some people simply don’t like animals and just seeing a dog, cat or rabbit may drive them away before they’ve had the chance to give your home a proper once over. If you have a showing scheduled, do yourself a favor and take your pet to a friend’s house and be sure to remove any of its toys and food before visitors arrive.

2. Hanging wallpaper. You might want to jazz up a room with a cool design or color by incorporating wallpaper, but industry analysis shows that an increasing amount of people see wallpaper as a turnoff. If you already have wallpaper in your home, you may want to consider taking it down and replacing it with paint.

3. Transforming your garage. In today’s day and age, it’s important to let your garage function as an actual garage. While turning your garage into an office or yoga studio may have been great for you, many prospective buyers are looking for a garage where they can park their car(s) and maybe even set up a workspace with their tools and lawn equipment. In addition, the garage is typically seen as a great space to store extraneous items, and if your home doesn’t offer the luxury of additional storage space, it could be seen as a negative.

4. Bold paint colors. While your friends may love your deep gold accent wall in the dining room or your aqua blue bedroom, color is one of those things that everyone has an opinion about. And having something too bright or too different may turn a prospective buyer off. Paint the home in neutral colors—especially the bedroom and living room—and let the rooms speak for themselves.

5. Personal items and wall-to-wall pictures. When prospective buyers come to see your home, you want them to be able to imagine themselves living in the space, and more often than not, an overabundance of personal items will keep them from being able to do this. If your home is on the market, pack these items away and try to make the home as depersonalized as possible.

Contact our office today to learn more about preparing your home to appeal to the masses.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First"

 

1436755 Plat
5.327 Acres

•  lot / land - MLS $27,000

 -  Nice property for new build or new manufactured home. Quiet location, nice views. Land to be sold together with 4805 248th Ave (MLS# 1539032 - $32,000), the adjoining property with a mobile home and all utilities - the mobile home is in poor condition and needs work, sold "as is", there is also a shop with electricity.

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1436754 Plat
2.394 Acres

• 784 sq. ft., 1 bath, 3 bdrm single story - MLS $32,000

 -  Parcel of land to be sold with adjoining 5 acre parcel. See MLS# 1539014. Value in the land.Nice property for new build or new manufactured home. Current mobile home is in poor condition and needs work, sold As-Is. Value in land with all utilities available. There is an outbuilding with electricity which would make a great workshop.

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Splurge vs. Save: Designing a High-End Kitchen


(BPT) – It’s no secret good design can enhance your daily life, especially in the heart of the home: your kitchen. In fact, 98 percent of respondents to a recent Dwell survey were willing to pay more for premium items that bring a high-end, functional kitchen design vision to life. But choosing between splurging on those items and saving money on the backend can be challenging. Where do you draw the line?

In conceptualizing and creating a high-end kitchen, renowned designer Nate Berkus recommends dishing on a well-made marble countertop.

“It’s such a classic piece but also very durable, meaning it will still look great for years to come, which is what a forever kitchen is all about,” Berkus explains.

Lighting, on the other hand, is an opportunity to save.

“The trick is to take the time to shop for vintage sconces and light fixtures,” says Berkus. “They will add loads of character to your home but don’t have to cost a lot."

Another way to add character to your kitchen is flooring. Think vintage wood flooring – it’s a splurge, but so worth it. You can then save on new cabinetry by painting the existing ones in a black lacquer or gray.

“I’ve done this in my own home renovations and for clients. The effect is so great, no one will know you didn’t spend a fortune on new cabinets,” Berkus adds.

When it comes to appliances, look for premium stainless models at the best you can afford. Hardworking appliances that can go the distance are worth every cent.

When dressing up your kitchen, shop your home and use things you already own. Objects from your travels, framed photographs, ceramic bowls or hand-woven baskets are all things that personalize a space and make it feel layered.

“I love the idea of doing something unexpected in the kitchen, like creating a seating area in your kitchen space,” says Berkus. Shop your weekend flea market or online for a vintage sofa and coffee table and set up an area for your family to relax in.

“It’s all about creating moments like these that help you live more beautifully,” Berkus says.

It’s important to remember the goal is always to design a kitchen that won’t feel dated in one year, or even five years. Every elements of your kitchen needs to go the distance, whether you splurge or save on those desired elements that bring your personal style to life.

“When designing a high-end space, it’s important to remember that you’re shaping more than just a living environment; you’re laying the foundation for a future community of friends and family,” says Dwell President and CEO Michela O’Connor Abrams. “Design elements that marry beautiful aesthetics, intuitive technology and functionality – and are reflective of your authentic taste and personal style – should always rise to the top when deciding which products to introduce into your home.”

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

 

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First" 

The appraisal volume slipped in the week of July 19, tracking along with a late July slowdown in other housing metrics.

HousingWire is partnering with a la mode, inc.,an appraisal forms software company which has since 2006 tracked the appraisal volume throughout the country, to provide a weekly read on appraisal volume.

Appraisal volume is an indicator of the market strength and has a few advantages over mortgage applications, especially since fallout is less for appraisals since they are ordered later in the mortgage process after credit worthiness has been approved.

a la mode captures 50% of the appraiser market – more than 6 million appraisals per year since 2007, making it the most comprehensive record of national appraisal.

Appraiser home value opinions fell further below homeowner estimates in June, marking the fifth consecutive month of this trend at the national level, according to Quicken Loans.
Appraiser opinions of home values were 1.4% lower than homeowner estimates, according to Quicken Loans’ monthly national Home Price Perception Index.
Quicken Loans’ national Home Value Index (HVI) reported a slight increase of 0.74% in June, with home values increasing in all regions of the country except for the South, which posted a decline of 0.09%. National home values are up 4.38% from the year prior.
June marks the fifth consecutive month appraisers have estimated home values below homeowner estimates. During this five-month period, the gap between homeowner and appraiser estimates has increased each month, with an average 1.4% difference in June.
Not everyone is seeing the “home prices reach all-time high” euphoria that some in the industry are clamoring about.
Here’s the take at AppraisersBlogs.


Do you buy into the hype, or do you actually do local comparable property market research to verify trends? I just completed an appraisal on a property I appraised 2 years ago. I did a 5 year market study on comparables then, and found the market for that type of property had been DECLINING at that time. I did another 5 year market study on this same property this time around. And guess what? The property values for this type of property are STILL DECLINING. For this particular property, the land held the highest component of overall value. In fact, the land value was 90% of the overall value. The lender actually called me today and understands, from reading the report, why my OMV is significantly lower than the contract sale price. It’s paramount that we appraisers take the time to actually do proper market studies, based around characteristics of the appraised property, and not just accept what others say about “all” properties in an area. It means you cannot assume what transpires for “all” actually relates to the appraised property. The two may not correlate, and in fact, may be quite different. This is one jaundiced issue I have with some ‘regression’ programs being touted as the be-all, end-all answer to appraisal adjustments.
 
The LOGS Network hired Richards Smith as chief financial officer. LOGS is a centrally-managed network of professionals that includes attorneys, trustees, title personnel, and collection staff who represent the mortgage servicing and consumer credit industries.
So who is Llano Financing Group, who is Carrington Capital Management, and why are they suing so many appraisers? That’s the question over at Appraiser Law Blog.

There is now a second round of cases being filed by different investors.  This round is being led by Llano Financing Group LLC, which also acquired the rights to sue appraisers from the same sources.  Like the other entities filing lawsuits, this is an investment entity, not a real lender, though its name might have been chosen to sound like a lender. It acquires the purported rights to sue appraisers from lenders or mortgage investors in connection with loans that long ago went into default and were foreclosed.  Llano did file nine cases in the failed first round -- mistakenly using the wrong name "Llano Funding" -- and seven of those cases have been dismissed against it to this date.
In most or all the cases filed by Llano in the second round, the original loans were funded or purchased by Impac Funding which then purportedly assigned the rights to sue appraisers to Savant LG, who then purported to assign the rights to Llano.  An example assignment is included here -- in the assignment Impac states that it "does hereby assign . . . any and all of its rights to pursue any and all claims . . . against the real estate appraiser(s) and/or the appraisal company."


Another entity recently filing such lawsuits against appraisers is Carrington Capital Management -- which is apparently under the same umbrella of ownership as Carrington Mortgage.  While the lawsuits being filed now relate to old appraisals, I do think appraisers and appraisal firms/AMCs need to consider the liability risk these particular clients pose to them with regard to current and future appraisal work, if appraisers are working for them now; these clients have a far greater propensity to sue appraisers and firms than others when a loan goes bad.

http://www.okrealtors.myindustrytracker.com/en/article/65003?utm_source=Mandrill-okrealtors&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=Okrealtors-340-s-en-050815

 

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First"

3dea3e44-3e97-418c-9999-64a422bb9016

• 2,633 sq. ft., 2 bath, 4 bdrm 1 1/2 story - MLS $270,000

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August 2015
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Brighton Village, Broken Arrow  -  We invite everyone to visit our open house at 6006 S 13th Place Broken Arrow on August 9 from 14:00 to 16:00.

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Department of Defense Issues Final Military Lending Act Rule


After nearly three years of study, the Department of Defense issued the final Military Lending Act (MLA) rule.

The MLA better protects our service men and women from predatory credit practices by expanding financial protections provided to service members, and helping ensure military families receive the consumer protections they deserve. These actions build on the president’s announcement during a speech at the Pittsburgh chapter of the VFW of a voluntary partnership with financial lenders across the country to help deliver important financial and home loan-related protections to our military community.

"With this action, the department takes an important stand against companies that can prey on our men and women in uniform. This new rule addresses a range of credit products that previously escaped the scope of the regulation, compromising the financial readiness of our troops. Today, with our regulatory and enforcement partners, we stand united in support of our service members and their families," says Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work.

This rule applies the protections of the Military Lending Act to all forms of payday loans, vehicle title loans, refund anticipation loans, deposit advance loans, installment loans, unsecured open-end lines of credit, and credit cards. The implementing regulation provides several significant protections extended to active duty service members and their families, including:
  • A 36 percent Annual Percentage Rate limit. This cap, which is referred to as the Military Annual Percentage Rate or MAPR, covers all interest and fees associated with the loan. This limit now includes charges for most ancillary “add-on” products such as credit default insurance and debt suspension plans.
  • The MLA prohibits creditors from requiring service members to: submit to mandatory arbitration and onerous legal notice requirements; waive their rights under the service members’ Civil Relief Act; provide a payroll allotment as a condition of obtaining credit (other than from relief societies); be able to refinance a payday loan; or be able to secure credit using a post-dated check, access to a bank account (other than at an interest rate of less than 36 percent MAPR), or a car title (other than with a bank, savings association or credit union).
  • The changes to definitions of credit in the final rule bring any closed or open-end loan within the scope of the regulation, except for loans secured by real estate or a purchase-money loan, including a loan to finance the purchase of a vehicle.
The process and the rule considered carefully input from many sources, and takes a balanced approach that preserves access to credit and allows for effective industry compliance. To assist industry in complying with the MLA, the new rule will go into effect Oct. 1, 2015, and have a staggered compliance dates.

This rule will help protect all active duty service members and their families from committing to loans with excessive fees and charges. Additionally, service members will still have access to no-interest loans, grants, and scholarships from the four military relief societies, and not all credit products will be affected by the regulation; notably residential mortgages and purchase-money loans (to buy items like cars) are excluded from the MLA’s definition of “consumer credit.”

Congress passed the Military Lending Act (MLA) in 2006 with bipartisan support to provide specific protections for active duty service members and their dependents in consumer credit transactions. The MLA caps the interest rate on covered loans to active duty service members at 36 percent; requires disclosures to alert service members to their rights; and, it prohibits creditors from requiring a service member to submit to arbitration in the event of a dispute, among many other protections. Congress took these steps to protect service members and their families from predatory lending which negatively impacts military readiness and can make transitioning from the military service significantly more challenging.

The department asked the public for their perspective on changing the existing rule in June 2013, and published the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public comment Sept. 29, 2014.

In developing this rule, the department consulted with the Federal Trade Commission, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Treasury Department to develop the responsible protections found in the revised rule that preserve access to credit for service members and their families and protect their financial future.

For more information, visit http://www.defense.gov/.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First"

 

Brandywine Estates, Muskogee  -  Announcing a price reduction on 7220 W 32nd Street North, Muskogee, a 4,799 sq. ft., 3 bath, 4 bdrm 1 1/2 story. Now MLS $350,000 - New Price. Was $383.9k and now at $72 per sq.ft with 2.5 acres and walk down to the Arkansas river, or use horses at the Brandywine Stables.

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Mortgage Rates Inch Lower Due to Global Uncertainty


Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing an investor flight to safety for U.S. Treasuries is pushing average fixed mortgage rates lower and helping to keep buyer activity strong toward the close of the spring homebuying season.

"Yields on Treasury securities declined this week in response to investor concerns about events in Greece and China,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac. “Mortgage rates fell as well, although not by as much as government bond yields. The rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell 4 basis points to 4.04 percent.

"Overseas volatility is likely to persist for some time, providing some restraint on potential U.S. rate increases. In addition, the minutes of the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee suggest the Federal Reserve will proceed cautiously -- monitoring events both overseas and in the U.S. to ascertain the appropriate moment to begin raising short-term interest rates. As a result, mortgage rates may remain in the neighborhood of 4 percent for a while."

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 9, 2015, down from the last week when it averaged 4.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent.

Additionally, they 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from the week prior when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.24 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.93 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from the week earlier when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.99 percent.

Results show that the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.50 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from the last week when it averaged 2.52 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.40 percent.

For more information, visit http://www.freddiemac.com/.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

 

 

Janet & Graham Ford SRES MSA CSP e-Pro Broker & Associate
http://www.janetford.com
email: info@janetford.com
Janet Cell: (918) 798 4428
Graham Cell: (918) 798 6628
Fax: 918 398 5330 & 800 829 9408
Real Estate Consultant & Marketer of Fine Homes "Putting People First"

IMG_003

• 3,137 sq. ft., 3 bath, 4 bdrm 1 1/2 story - MLS $265,000

 -  Wonderful corner lot split plan home with an additional 2nd level mother-in-law or teenager suite of bed, bath, living or gameroom. Lovely rear yard with decorative wrought iron fence, deck, fountain and new shed on concrete. New hardwoods in master suite. New sun room added 2014. A truly must see beautiful home.

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1421040_1
Better Than New

• 2,954 sq. ft., 3 bath, 4 bdrm 1 1/2 story - MLS $269,999 - New Price

 -  Gorgeous, well upgraded, with a great more contemporary feel,. Cooks kitchen with granite, center isle and bar. Super floor plan, with a large open master suite. Light and with great views over open countryside behind the house. Close to neighborhood pool and play area.

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