Friday, July 26, 2019

Don't Be Surprised by the Supplemental Tax Bill

After buying a home, the last thing a buyer wants is a surprise bill.  So when the supplemental tax bill arrives in the mail in 6-12 months after closing, hopefully it is not a surprise. 

While reviewing the disclosures about the home, an experienced agent understands the important of disclosing the Supplemental Tax Bill.  When I mention the supplemental tax, new buyers already in disclosure input overload give me a puzzled look. "What the Heck is that?"  When I begin to explain the complicated tax, some people get a glazed look in their eyes and even tune out until they hear it may be a few hundred or few thousand dollars.   That always seems to catch their attention. Then I begin to repeat what the tax is all about, with their full attention.

The San Diego County Treasurer-Tax collector's office has an excellent video explaining the Supplemental Tax.

When you buy a house, you normally buy it at higher price than the seller did.  The price that the seller bought the house at is the base price that property taxes are calculated for in escrow.  So part of the closing costs, are the buyer's prorated portion of the property taxes, again based on what the seller paid for the property. 

Once the home closes, then the tax assessor reevaluates the taxes based at the higher value.  So the supplemental taxes can vary depending on what the difference in the price is.  If the seller owned the home for 30 years, then there can be a big difference in the original versus the new value, creating a large supplemental tax.  Where if the seller bought it only a few years ago, there may not be much difference at all.  The San Diego Tax Assessor's office has an online supplemental tax calculator that a buyer can access online to calculate what the difference due should be. 

Since Loan impound accounts do not include money to cover Supplemental Tax Bills, it is important to be prepared, and save some money to cover it.   Don't be surprised by your Supplemental Tax Bill. 

For other Buyers information, go to the Buyers tab at

Written By Virginia Hall
DRE License #01409760
San Diego East FootHills
Keller Williams Realty

Monday, June 17, 2019

 Image courtesy of Pixabay
Moving to a new area is exciting, but it can take some doing to make your new surroundings feel like home.  Not only do you have a house to unpack, but also you have a community to explore.  Here is how to feel less like a stranger and more settled in, both in your new home and in your new hometown.  

Clean, unpack and organize.  Making your new house feel like home can be a daunting task, but sometimes the most difficult things can be simple underneath it all.  You Move Me recommends cleaning your new home before you do anything else, lifting any residual grime previous homeowners left behind.  You can use a house-cleaning checklist to help ensure you don’t miss any major points, but you’re better off hiring a cleaning service for the job. In Santee, maid services charge an average of $108 - $215, depending your home’s size. Next, you’ll need to unpack some belongings so you have familiar items surrounding you can be a great step toward feeling settled.  Unload your essentials and set up your key furniture and appliances so your home is functional and do some organizing as you go. 

Get your bathrooms and kitchen up and running since you need those areas for daily basics, and add your creature comforts later.  Pet owners can benefit from hiring a dog walker (an hour-long walk can cost you $22 - $27) to help ensure Fido doesn’t get into anything while unpacking, or if you venture out to take in the town or pick up essentials. 

Learn and explore.  Getting to know the area is another key to feeling at home.  While you obviously can’t take it all in at once, exploring local culture can help you feel oriented.  For dog owners, this can be challenging.  If you can’t bring your pup along, consider hiring a pet sitter (the average cost of pet-sitting services is around $17 per hour) while you are out and about, so he isn’t left alone right away.  Once you decide on arrangements, where should you venture first? 

One idea is to visit some of the elements in your own neighborhood you plan to use frequently, such as the local library, a coffee shop, and the visitor’s center.  These basic features offer a taste of what your new community offers and can help you feel welcome.  Another idea is to familiarize yourself with the area online so you can locate all the major assets of the new community.  Simply exploring via the web can help you get a sense of direction, helping you better navigate future comings and goings.  

Saying “hello.”  Becoming acquainted with your new surroundings is more than maps, attractions and architecture.  Make it a point to greet your neighbors, and if you belong to a homeowners association get familiar with the rules.  Take your kids and pooch along for a stroll through the neighborhood, so everyone has a chance to get comfortable and say “hello.”  Another engaging suggestion for getting to know your new neighbors is to throw a party.  Think of it as an open house after you’re moved in.  Keep things casual!  Think pitch-in, backyard barbecue, or game day celebration. It’s a great get-to-know-you opportunity. 

Doggy dilemmas.  Dog owners have unique concerns when it’s time to settle into a new place.  Transitioning into a new home can be hard on your pup, so allow him some time for adjustment.  Make sure you set up his necessities right away and try to put them in areas where he would expect to find them.  If possible, spend the first few days at home with your dog.  It can help him to see this change is permanent and feel reassured you aren’t going to leave him somewhere strange.  The Spruce suggests keeping your dog’s routine as normal as possible throughout your move and while settling in so he feels secure. 

It’s exciting when you’re making the transition into a new place, but it also presents challenges.  Do some unpacking, organizing and exploring to feel at home in your new surroundings.  Before you know it, you’ll feel settled and comfortable. 

By Natalie Jones

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SHHH! When and Why Homebuyers Should Stay Quiet

Buying a home is a big deal! You may be overflowing with excitement and nervous anticipation—and brimming with questions. Of course, you want to talk about it! Who wouldn’t?
Take a moment to hit the pause button. 
Remember: buying a home is a negotiation process. Everything you say and do could broadcast information that benefits other people—like sellers and their agents.
For example, imagine how a seller will respond to your deeply-discounted offer if they know:
“We have to close before school starts.”
“Our landlord already has a new tenant.”
“It’s the only place that ticks off all the boxes.”
Even though your purchase contract doesn’t mention any of these points and your buyer’s agent isn’t going to share details like that, there are other ways damaging information can inadvertently get back to the current homeowner.
Buyers should be particularly cautious in these situations:
Interviewing buyer’s agents
Every homebuyer should have a qualified real estate professional by their side. Buyer’s representatives can help you find the best property and navigate the complexities of purchasing it.
When picking your buyer’s rep, ask the right questions. You want to select someone who will do an excellent job representing your interests and helping you make the best decisions. 
If you limit your search to agents who’ve earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation, you’ll know they already have specialized training and experience in representing buyers.
Before making a decision, refrain from divulging sensitive details that could hurt your negotiating position. After all, a second-place agent could show up on the opposite side of the table, representing the sellers of the property you’d like to purchase.
Attending open houses
Open houses are a fun and easy way to view homes, as long as you remember that the agent who greets you at the door represents the sellers. They’re happy to meet prospective buyers and will probably ask questions about your current situation, what you’re looking for, etc.
Be sure to let them know if you’re already working with a buyer’s rep. Also, be careful about sharing any details that could come back to haunt you, in terms of hurting your negotiating position.
Touring homes
You and your buyer’s agent may be the only people in a house, but the owners could still be listening to your conversations. Today’s technology makes it easy to place cameras or other surveillance devices throughout a home.
It’s not just a question of the sellers hearing things that make them more confident about driving a hard bargain. If they know you’re ridiculing certain aspects of their home, they may also be unwilling to compromise. 
Stick with straightforward, non-judgmental comments until you’ve completely vacated the property. Some sellers will go so far as to spy on prospective buyers from a neighbor’s home or ask neighbors to report back on what they heard and saw.
Posting social media updates 
Don’t take pictures while touring someone else’s home unless you’ve received permission from the owner. In some states, you could be breaking the law. If you’re not sure, ask your buyer’s rep.
Even if you’re allowed to take photos, it’s a bad idea to post them on social media. That’s another way you could hurt your negotiating position by divulging information or angering the sellers. Be patient and post as many photos as you want when YOU’RE the owner! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Say Farewell to Winter with a Whole-House Cleaning

Spring is here! Each day is bringing extra sunlight and the promise of more time spent outdoors. It’s the perfect time to clean out months of dirt and grime, air out stale rooms, put away winter things, and unpack warm weather items.
What’s the most difficult part of spring cleaning? According to a recent survey, it’s getting started!
However, there are many excellent reasons to push through that psychological barrier, including the experience of “lightness” that comes from accomplishing cleaning tasks, as well as numerous health benefits!
If you’re ready to let your rooms sparkle, eliminate the dust and allergens lurking around, kill the germs, and prepare for the glory that is spring, here are some tips to get you started.
Step 1: Clear the clutter.
Get rid of anything you don’t need. The less you have lying around, the less there is to clean. So start by tossing! Donate what you don’t need or want. For example: 
  • Winter clothes – Eliminate anything you or family members didn’t wear. Unless younger children are waiting to grow into these items, there’s no reason to store them for next year.
  • Spring clothes – Determine if these packed-away items don’t fit or aren’t your current style. Why stuff your closet with things you don’t need, don’t want, and won’t use? Ditto for the spouse and the kids.
  • Kids’ toys, games, books, furniture – Your little ones did some growing over the winter months, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Do you really want to store, display, clean, and organize things that are no longer important to them?
Step 2: Assemble your cleaning equipment.
Whole-house cleaning will be easier if all your products and tools are pulled together before you begin. It’s difficult to maintain your momentum if you have to run out and buy stuff while cleaning.
Evaluate your supplies. Do you need a new broom or mop, a squeegee, or a fresh pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves? What about cleaning products? Do you need to restock bottles or purchase supplies to make your own?
Be sure everything is ready before you organize the rest of your house and begin cleaning!
Step 3: Put things away.
Cleaning is more difficult and takes longer if you have to move things to get under or around them.
Ask everyone in your home to grab a laundry basket, gather all their personal belongings, and put those items where they belong. If an object doesn’t have a designated place, create one. It’s hard to keep things orderly if items don’t have a “home base.”
Step 4: Let there be light and air!
Your house has been closed up all winter. Before you begin cleaning, open as many windows and doors and vents as you can. Encourage natural airflow, pull back the curtains, and invite the sunshine!
As you clean each room, you can close it off again, knowing that the inside air is now as fresh and clean as your ceiling, walls, furniture, and floors!
Step 5: Clean from top to bottom and back to front.
Start at the top floor of your home and work your way down.
Gravity is a glorious thing unless you dust all your furniture before cleaning the overhead HVAC vents and the ceiling fan. Then, gravity will double your work.
Begin at the ceiling, clearing cobwebs, dusting any molding, cleaning air vents, ceiling fans, and light fixtures.
Next, clean the walls, window treatments (curtains, blinds, etc.), windows (inside and out), and woodwork on the walls.
Then, and only then, strip and remake the beds and clean and polish the furniture.
Next, wipe down the baseboards and vacuum the floors. If you have hardwood or tile floors and use a broom, be careful not to kick up dust with over-zealous sweeping before mopping!
Work from the back of the house to the front, so you are cleaning “as you go” and not tracking dirt back into clean areas. Likewise, clean steps from top to bottom before beginning work on the lower level.
Pay particular attention to deep cleaning in the kitchen and bathrooms, but don’t reserve disinfecting for these areas.
Clean and disinfect every room and every surface in your house. For example, it’s surprisingly easy to disinfect upholstered furniture with a fabric-safe disinfectant spray.
Step 6: Enjoy!
After you have cleaned every room and swept off the last step of your entryway, enjoy your newly clean house. Revel in your fresh, spring-ready environment!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Be Ready for the Home Inspection

A home inspection is highly recommended when buying a home.  It is important for the buyer to know what problems they are buying.  Discovered issues can be disappointing to both the buyer and seller.  It might become an obstacle in negotiations process.  By taking these 10 steps, sellers can take care of some basic maintenance issues that often appear on home inspection reports.

1.  Fix any leaky faucets and fixtures. Regrout discolored areas around the tubs and sinks.  Make sure all sinks are draining well.
2.  Have your furnace and air conditioning serviced.
3.  Install a battery operated carbon monoxide detector on each floor of a home as well as smoke detectors inside each bedroom, above the door, and one in hallways.
4.  Replace any cracked or broken windows.
5.  Professionally clean the fireplace and chimney.
6.  Have an electrician inspect receptacles and switches and make any needed repairs.
7.  Make sure all doors, including the garage door and closet doors, and windows open and shut easily.
8.  Remove or repair any trip hazards.
9.  Roofs older than 15 years should be professionally serviced, repairing any missing or damaged shingles or flashing.
10.  Make sure that hot water heaters are strapped properly with two metal straps.

Taking care of these issues ahead of the home inspection should make the process much easier.

Virginia Hall, CRS® 
San Diego Foothills
Keller Williams Realty

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Why Won't My Home Sell?

With fewer buyers able to afford a house in San Diego County, a shift in the housing market is starting to occur. While home prices are still rising, the number of sales is slowing. The best of homes are selling at top market prices. At the same time we are seeing longer market times and a growing number of homes on the market. Homes are a commodity and markets go up and down. As the number of homes for sale grows, the value decreases. Here are some tips on how you can help get your house sold in the quickest time and at the best price as the number of homes for sale increases:

 1. Price Your Home Right. When interviewing Realtors® , make sure they bring comparable home sales in your immediate area to review. Comparable homes are ones within plus or minus 15% estimated square footage, similar number of rooms, and improvements. While you want top dollar, pricing your home at or just below the most recent comparable sales, will keep you from lingering on the market and may even get you multiple offers. The longer a home sits on the market, the more bargaining power a buyer has and more likely the price will drop. Be leary of agents who promise to get you more than the market will bring. They start with a high price and end up lowering it in a few weeks when there is no activity.

 2. Clutter is Your Downfall. If you have lived in your house for years, this is likely to be a problem. Before you deep clean or have your home professionally cleaned, get rid of the clutter. Look at each room and reduce furniture and personal belongings. Too much furniture and belongings can make a room look much smaller. If you are down sizing, have a huge garage sale, rent a pod or a storage unit.

 3. In Need of Repairs. As you prepare to sell your home, make a list of all the things in your home that you know need to be fixed. If you are not good at repairing things, hire a handyman to repair all those annoying loose fixtures, cabinets and doors, replace broken tiles and replace light bulbs that aren't working. Make sure that all of your appliances are working properly. Some sellers even hire a home inspection prior to putting it on the market, so repairs can be completed prior to putting it on the market. Buyers will steer away from a home in need of a lot of work.

 4. Stage Your Home. An experienced Realtor® can often give you ideas or some sellers hire professional stagers. Staging includes all All Five Senses. After decluttering rooms, stage furniture and decor to help buyers see the potential of the room size and bring attention to special features. A vase of flowers on a table, a dinner table eloquently set, new color cordinated bathroom towels, and cleared counter spaces, all make a difference. If the house is empty, a stager can help furnish a few rooms to help the buyer envision how to furnish a space.

 5. Hire the Right Realtor® . The Realtor® you hire needs to be able write up a description of your home that highlights the features that you love and will sell your home. Look for Realtors that have taken the extra education and steps to gain designations that sets them apart. The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS®) is the gold standard for Realtors®. Only 4% of the nation's Realtors have it. Once you know your Realtor® has gone the extra mile in their education, then review their marketing plan for your home. Make sure they will have Professional photos of your property for the multiple listings and other marketing materials. No dogs or reflections of people in your photos. Virtual Tours and videos help bring you home to life and pushes it up in internet searches. You need an agent to reinforce the positive things about your home, that knows the area, and can negotiate to get you the best price. Make sure to review all marketing for accuracy.

 6. Personalized Home Improvements. Remove those family photos and any unusual items, like voodoo dolls, skulls and crossbones. If you are planning to do home improvements before selling, make sure that they are of neutral color and flows with the rest of the house. Don't add a lot of special, costly touches. Buyers have to be able to visualize their belongings in the house. 7. When Buyers Come, Best to Leave! When buyers come to visit, a Seller's first instinct is to stay, to protect their belongings, or to try to sell the house. However, buyers need to be able to explore the home freely without the hovering eyes of an over protective seller or a nonstop hard sales pitch. Often, while you are pitching the house, inadvertently the seller tells the buyer something that is a problem to the buyer. When sellers insist on staying, they cannot help but tell you something that can be used in negotiating the price down or turns the buyer off all together. Step out. The house will sell itself and the buyer's agent will supervise their client. 

Choosing an experienced Realtor® can help guide you through the process on how best to sell your home. Follow these tips, so you won't have to chase the market as your home declines in value.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

8 Tips to Downsize and Upsize Successfully

Your children are grown and gone.   They call you an empty nester.  You are ready to downsize, move to smaller home.   Or perhaps, you're expecting your third child and living in a two bedroom condo.  Time to upsize, move to a bigger home. 

However, you have to sell your present home first in order to afford a new home.  Many people fear not being able to find the perfect new home after selling their present home.  So many people want to find a new home before trying to sell their present home.  Unfortunately, most sellers won't sell to a contingent buyer who needs to sell their home before they can afford to buy a new home when they are multiple  ready-to-go buyers.  The dilemma is who knows how long it could take you to sell your present home, delaying the purchase of your new home. 

When you are downsizing or upsizing, here are tips to insure you don't end up in a compromised position: 

  1. For those downsizing, one of the most difficult things is to downsize your belongings to fit in a smaller home.  This could take months, but needs to be done prior to putting your home on the market.  Once you are in escrow, you need to be prepared to move. 
  2. Next, you must get a loan preapproval to buy a new home. 
  3. Then you must sell your home and get into escrow with a strong, motivated buyer with the means to buy your home.  
  4. In the listing and purchase agreement counter offers, you must include that you have a Seller's Contingency for Buying a Replacement Property until you have released all of your contingencies, including inspections, loan, and appraisal on the replacement home.  
  5. Plan a 60 day escrow versus the standard 30 day escrow for your present home sale.   You will also need to remain in possession of your present house for 3 days after close of escrow, so that the proceeds can transfer from one sale to the next.
  6. You will also want to request that the buyers of your home have an appraisal ordered within 48 hrs, release their physical inspections contingency within 10 days, and release their loan & appraisal contingencies within 17 days.     
  7.  If your buyer is on track to remove all contingencies by day 17, then you can begin looking for a new home on day 14.   Once all of your buyer's contingencies are removed by day 17, if your buyer backs out, then they would lose their good faith deposit.  The purchase home seller will know that your buyer is solid at this point.   
    If by some chance it takes longer than expected to find a home, you can request for an extension from your buyer. If the buyer doesn't want to wait then they can back out.  But more likely, they won't want to because they have invested money at this point.  
  8. Plan to close consecutively.  Your present home would close.  The proceeds from your sale would be wired to the purchase property the next day. Escrows will work out the details for you.   You could start moving in the day the new home closes. So it is very important to be organized.  Clean as you box up your belongings. 

While it is challenging, it can be done.   Using an experienced agent and organization are key.  For more buying and selling tips see

Written by Virginia Hall
                   Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Four Reasons Why Selling a Condo is Different Than Selling a House

Listing a property requires experience, skill and finesse. From the initial marketing to the final price negotiations, everything needs to be tailored to the type of home being sold. However, because of their main differences, selling a condo versus selling a house is very different. 

Reason #1: The Homeowners Association or HOA
All condos come with some type of HOA, or homeowners association that handles the common areas like swimming pools, the exterior of the building, some insurance, and landscaping.  

However, all of this comes at a cost. The first is money; a HOA cannot operate or pay necessary expenses without charging residents a monthly fee. The second is freedom; most HOAs have rules called CC& R's that need to be followed.

When selling a condo, potential buyers will balance the costs of each HOA with the benefits.  When comparing the benefits to the cost, the value is very close.  If water is included in your HOA fee, the cost will be higher.  While the average San Diego County condo HOA fee without a pool or water included runs $275 to $350; with water and a pool, the fees run about $350 to $450.  However, downtown San Diego high rise condos have much higher HOA fees to cover the maintenance of the elevators, insurance, security, and the building itself in the $750 to $950 range. 

Reason #2: Real Estate Investors

When selling a condo, it's reasonable to expect a larger number of investors considering the property than when selling a house. After all, renting out condos is a big business.

As a result, selling a condo could mean a faster closing, a cash offer, or even competing bids if the condo is on prime property.  

Reason #3: The Type of Buyer

Different types of buyers look at a condo versus a house. For starters, condos are generally smaller, have a patio or small yard if any yard at all.  All exterior landscaping is handled professionally, and frequently come with amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center.

While a good majority of potential buyers with children would love a swimming pool with zero maintenance, they aren't willing to make the trade for a smaller space. This means that when selling a condo, potential buyers will generally be single adults, newly married couples, or retired professionals looking to downgrade to an easier property.

Reason #4: Location, Location, Location

Every real estate agent knows that one factor, above all others, is most important when selling a property: location. Being close to town versus far away from traffic, near downtown excitement versus in a quiet neighborhood, or near shopping centers versus on the edge of nowhere all come into play for a property's value and desirability.

Generally speaking, condos tend to be closer to urban areas, shopping, and entertainment. This also means that their price per square foot is frequently higher. As a result, owners looking to sell their condo should carefully consult with their real estate agent about the best way to market their property and a fair listing price.

Monday, May 14, 2018

15 Free Spring/Summer Events in San Diego County

Along with miles of natural coastline and sunshine for days, there are a number of street fairs, including the Santee Street Fair on May 26th, Santee Summer Concerts starting June 14th, Santee Fidofest June 9th  and
other cultural events taking place throughout the summer months. Here’s a glimpse of some other freebies:
1. Head to Lake Murray in La Mesa for free fly fishing lessons Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. They also have free equipment for your use, but arrive early.
2. Seaport Village offers hours of free entertainment, leisurely strolling, window shopping and picturesque waterfront views.  Fly a kite in the nearby park, and watch passersby or catch the ships and yachts sailing on San Diego Bay.
3. Soak up international flavor at the House of Pacific Relations in Balboa Park with the International Cottages’ Lawn Programs. Held each Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. throughout the summer, these free performances feature ethnic song and dance. 2191 Pan American Road W., San Diego.

4. Enjoy free organ concerts June 26 to Aug. 28 during the International Summer Organ Festival on Monday evenings at Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, featuring the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. Also enjoy the Organ Pavilion’s Twilight in the Park Summer Concerts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 19 through Aug. 30.
5. Visit the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego on the third Thursday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m., when admission is free. 1100 Kettner Blvd., between Broadway and B St., downtown.
6. Hike to Potato Chip Rock at Mt. Woodson Summit near Poway for some Instagram-worthy photos and views of the Pacific Ocean. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Dogs are welcome on the trail but must be on a leash.
7. Cool down during those dog days of summer at Waterfront Park near the County Administration Center along the Embarcadero. This giant park features more then 830 feet of interactive fountains and a large grassy area perfect for picnicking or just relaxing.
8.  Stroll along downtown El Cajon to see the Cajon Classic Cruise Car Shows and enjoy the entertainment every Wednesday night weekly until October 28th.
9. Visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs and experience the natural beauty of San Diego’s desert region. The 600,000-acre park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States.
10. Hike along the bluffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the breathtaking views and indigenous plant life along the trails.
11. Catch a movie under the stars at Summer Movies in the Park held throughout San Diego County. You’re bound to catch one of your favorite flicks somewhere in the neighborhood.
12. San Diego County is home to more than 500 species of Watch them in their natural habitats at one of the many wetland reserves, including the Santee Lakes, Tijuana Estuary, Sweetwater National Wildlife Refuge or the Famosa Slough in Point Loma.
13. Visit Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, California’s first Mission Church, founded in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra.
14. Ride along the Historic Highway 101 from Oceanside to La Jolla through a string of charming beach communities, with funky little shops housed in everything from Victorian homes to old 1950s gas stations.
15.  On May 19th, join the 5th annual celebration of the American Spirit  with various cultures and historical groups along with the celebration of the Armed Forces Day at the America on Main Street in El Cajon in downtown El Cajon.
Some of these written activities by Carolina Gusman in the Union Tribune May 13,2018. 
Written by 
Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty;

Monday, May 7, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 6


One of the hardest things to decide on was the flooring.  Wood flooring is definitely in and I love the look.  However, there are so many types of wood-like floorings.  So much to choose from...Hardwood.... Bamboo...Laminate Wood...Engineered...Tile...Linoleum...Vinyl.
While many of these look like wood, some are darker or lighter than others.  As well as some are more durable. I had ruled out laminate wood flooring because this wood flooring separates if liquids sit for any length of time on it.  I seen flooring buckling in front of a refrigerator and sinks.  Since we have an older dog, I was also concerned about her scratching the floor as well as accidents. 

Then there was hardwood flooring.  Hardwood flooring is more costly but can be refinished and doesn't delaminate.  And then there is engineered hardwood flooring, a better quality composite wood flooring that is supposed to hold up better to everyday living, pets and children, when compared to pergo or other less expensive laminates. 

Keeping the trends in mind, I finally narrowed it down to a ceramic tile that looked like wood. With a pet, I finally decided that this would be most practical.  Tile is easier to clean and maintain.  When we went to choose the tile, I was pleasantly surprised by the selection of tiles available that looked like wood.  They even came in 6"X36" planks.  So I had the best of both worlds.

However, even with tile, you must clean up the spills.  With prolonged leaks, water can seep into small cracks and breakdown the bond.  I have seen older tiles lift as a result of water leaks.

Flooring decisions can be challenging, so do your homework.  Visit the HGTV website to get an idea of the different kinds of flooring.  Consider all the options before making a decision. 

Written by
Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 5

Counter Top Choices

After choosing the color scheme, next comes the counter tops.  You will want to keep your color scheme in mind when picking cabinets and counter tops.  If you choose light color cabinets, you may want to contrast with a darker counter top.  And vice versa, with dark cabinets a lighter counter top for the contrast.  

While we used the same color quartz on all of our counter tops and island, some people are changing it up with a different accent color on the island. 

While granite is in, we chose quartz because of less maintence and it is more durable.  Granite needs regular sealing to avoid scratches and damage, while quartz countertops are already sealed making them more user friendly.  Quartz is actually harder, nearly indestructable, compared to granite.  Quartz is not porous like granite making it a healthy choice since it is relatively bacteria-free.  However, you still need to use hot pads to protect both Granite and Quartz, because both can be damaged by excessive heat.  Price is about the same.  For more information about quartz vsgranite countertops, see this Forbes article from a geologist's perspective or the HGTV's website.

Your cabinet hardware is another choice of style and taste.  We chose a brushed nickle cup handle for the drawers and knobs for the cupboards to flow with the stainless steel appliances and faucet.  

Written by Virginia Hall
                 Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Strategies for Remodeling Your Kitchen: Part 4

Color Scheme--Shades of Gray

Now that we had decided on a contractor, the next decision was the color scheme.

When a seller tells me he has been watching HGTV, I can't help but cringe.  I vividly remember walking into my client's home, not long after he had purchased it.  He had invited me over to see what he had done.  He had been "watching HGTV".  I was shocked by a bright yellow entry wall and an orange accent wall in the dining room.   All I could think of, is one day I would have to sell this home, and how was I going to break it to him, without insulting him, that he would need to repaint it the walls a more neutral color.   Thank goodness, his sister broke the news to him.   Leave it to family to be brutually honest.

While HGTV and other designers have some great ideas about vibrant colors in the kitchen, if you are preparing to sell your home you want to consider a more neutral palette that appeals to the majority of buyers.  Even though contrast is important when decorating, colors come and go each year, so choose a neutral color for most of your walls and then decorate with accent colors that can easily be changed or removed. 

When shades of gray (nothing to do with the book) came in a few years ago, I was thankful to finally see something I liked other than "realtor beige" that covered our walls.  With smaller rooms, you are best to use lighter colors.  Just like clothes, dark colors make rooms look smaller.  So that narrowed down the search to a light neutral gray color.

While a white vanilla tones could have been an option,  I had already done that before and wanted something different.  However, I was not crazy about all of the now popular tones of gray either.  So I searched for a shade that would be light and more neutral.  Some people recommend choosing a couple of color shades and then paint splotches on a wall and make the final selection from there.    However, I found that Pinterest had some paint colors already painted on walls that I loved. So I opted for a neutral light gray, Sherwin Williams' "Agreeable Grey" to contrast with the white kitchen cabinets we had chosen.   My husband's comment was "how could you say no to Agreeable Gray."

To help the house flow better, we used the Agreeable Gray not only in the kitchen and dining room but throughout the livingroom and hallways.  The stainless steel appliances, brushed nickle faucets and cabinet handles and light accents along with the white doors, windows, and crown molding contrasted nicely with the color.
Written by Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty