Janet Cramb & Company Real Estate



Posted by Janet Cramb on 7/18/2018

Have you ever visited someone's home and thought to yourself, "Their living room seems really cluttered" or "Those counter tops look like they haven't been updated since the 1960s!"

Many people quickly notice decorating flaws or home maintenance issues in other people's houses, but when it comes to their own homes -- well, that's another story!

Why is that the case? Two reasons: You're emotionally attached to your own home environment and you're also "too close to the trees to see the forest." It's hard to step back and see your home through a fresh set of eyes -- which is exactly the way prospective buyers are going to look it.

Curb appeal -- or a lack, thereof-- will be the first thing they notice, followed by positive or negative first impressions of your home's interior -- if they get that far! So if you're preparing to put your home on the market, you don't want to be like the person who tries to represent themselves in court. As Abraham Lincoln once said, they have "a fool for a client!"

Since first impressions are so vital when selling your house, it makes sense to confer with someone who really knows the ropes when it comes to home staging. Typically, that would be one of the following professionals:

  • An experienced real estate agent: Real estate agents are in the business of helping people sell their homes as quickly and profitably as possible -- it's a win/win situation. In all likelihood, they've conducted hundreds of house tours and listened to a massive amount of feedback from prospective buyers. One thing they've invariably noticed is that a lot of people react the same way to the same issues. Based on experience and a trained eye, most real estate agents can quickly spot and point out cost-effective ways to make your home more marketable and visually appealing.
  • A professional home stager: Although not all communities have access to professional home stagers, there are talented and knowledgeable experts in that field who can offer valuable advice. If you're working with an experienced real estate agent, however, it probably would not be necessary to pay extra to hire a professional staging consultant.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median amount of money spent on staging a home is $675, so it doesn't necessarily have to be ultra-expensive. In a survey of its membership, Realtors ranked living rooms and kitchens as the most important rooms to stage. Also considered important are the master bedroom, dining room, and bathrooms.

Thirty seven percent of Realtorsģ representing sellers believe that buyers most often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home. A smaller percentage say the potential increase is in the neighborhood of 6% to 10%. However you look at it, you're tipping the scales in your direction when you make your home look its best prior to putting it up for sale.





Posted by Janet Cramb on 7/11/2018

While there are plenty of weekend projects to take on that would be more satisfying to complete than ďage-proofingĒ your home taking the time to make these upgrades will make your home more accessible. Both to older family members visiting and even for your future self. These small changes will make a big difference and you might just find them helpful for your life now!   

Replace doorknobs with handles. Itís easy to take what, to us, feels like the simplest of actions for granted. The twisting action of a doorknob can be difficult and even painful for arthritic hands. This is a quick project and one that can add a fresh new look to the doors in your home. IF youíre looking to switch things up or modernize your home opt for a different, more modern finish for your hardware. Bronze and satin finishes are very popular choices.   

Turn a first-floor office into a guest bedroom. And move the office upstairs. Stairs can be an issue for those with limited mobility. Be proactive now by establishing a first-floor bedroom that can be easily accessed by older guests staying the night and by you down the line. Having a bedroom on the first floor can save you the cost of installing a chair lift down the line if stairs become a serious obstacle.

Install a hand held shower head. This is a shower feature that really is useful for the whole household, even the dog. But choosing a model with a sliding tube and optional side mount for the handle makes for an easier experience for those with limited mobility. It allows the ability for the shower head to be reached when sitting and also to be placed within arm's reach without having to stretch overhead.

Railings along stairs, ideally on both sides. When mobility and balance are an issue stairs can become dangerous. If your staircases donít already have railings installed this is an ideal feature to add. Make note of the dimensions of each of your sets of stairs and research what sort of style would best fit that area of your home. This is a project that adds an element that is seamless to a home and doesnít stand out. In fact, you may find guests of all ages will appreciate this addition.    

Less furniture in each room. Keeping less furniture in a room makes it easier to navigate a room and ideally fit mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. It also can bring new life to a room as well as make it feel more open and spacious. Keep only the most necessary elements to a room and take out shelves or bulky furniture designed to hold and/or hide knick-knacks. Make each element in the room really count. Youíll have a much more chic, magazine-esque room on your hands when you're finished.?





Posted by Janet Cramb on 7/4/2018

If this is your first time buying a home, you might feel a bit intimidated by the purchase contract. Contracts are often filled with industry and legal jargon, making them difficult to understand for the average buyer and seller.

Contingencies in particular give some buyers cause for concern because their contract depends on the contingencies being fulfilled. However, in most cases contingencies are pretty standard and only serve to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller during a real estate transaction.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you an introduction to contingency clauses and break down some of the most common contingencies youíll find in todayís real estate purchase contract.

Contingency clause definition

Simply stated, a contingency clause is a statement within a contract that requires a certain event takes place before the contract is considered legally valid. As a result, contingency clauses are used to cancel or invalidate a contract if certain conditions arenít met before the sale is made final. So, if one party fails to meet the obligation of the contingency, the other party is no longer bound by the contract (or required to buy or sell the house).

Contingencies can get confusing when they are vaguely worded in the contract, making them difficult to interpret. In these cases, a court may decide the specific meaning of the clause or determine that it is too vague to be legally upheld.

The other instance in which contingency clauses can be confusing is when a party includes a contingency that is atypical for a real estate purchase contract. Buyers and sellers alike should be wary of unusual contingencies.

The main contingencies

  • Appraisal contingency. Designed to protect the buyer, appraisal contingencies require that a home is appraised at a minimum amount, which is stated in the contract.

  • Financing contingency. Another contingency geared toward protecting buyers is the financing contingency. It states the number of days that a buyer has to secure financing for the home. This allows the buyer to cancel the contract (and offer) if theyíre unable to secure suitable financing for the home.

  • Inspection contingency. One of the most important and most common contingencies is the inspection contingency. It allows the buyer to have the house inspected by a licensed professional within a certain number of days. This protects the buyer against unforeseen expenses and repairs that will need to be made in the near future.

  • House sale and kick-out contingencies. A house sale contingency gives the buyer a certain number of days to sell their home before financing a new one. However, since this can be a risky clause for sellers, a kick-out clause is often included. This contingency allows the seller to keep the home on the market and entertain other offers while the buyer secures financing and sells their other home or homes.





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Janet Cramb on 6/27/2018

Aside from locking our doors at night and parking cars in a safe place, most of us donít think about security for more than a couple of minutes a day.

In many ways, the United States is a safer country than ever. Property crimes, such as burglary, robbery, and theft, have all plummeted in recent years. However, billions of dollars are still lost each year due to property crimes.

A type of theft that is on the rise in the United States in identity theft. We are all taught the dangers of identity theft, but are rarely given specifics on how to keep our data more secure.

In this article, weíll cover basic security tips that will keep you, your family, your property, and your data more secure at home.

Securing your home

First, letís start with the simple things. Check the exterior of your home. Do you have accessible windows, and are they kept locked? Similarly, are any of your doors glass? If so, thieves may easily break the glass and unlock the door from the outside. At night, keep your home safer by installing motion sensor lights around dimly lit areas.

Speaking of locks, make sure yours are high quality deadbolts. Also, keep track of all keys and donít leave keys in careless places such as under doormats or flower pots.

Use the latest tech to your advantage

Smart home technology isnít just good for clapping lights on and off. You can use smart home security systems to lock and unlock your doors from work, check security cameras, and protect you and your family from fire and carbon monoxide all from an app on your phone.

Buy a safe

Safes arenít just for millionaires and they donít just prevent burglaries. A good safe will keep things secure from fire and water hazards, as well. Items youíll want to keep secure include important paperwork, passports, social security cards, copies of financial documents, jewelry, emergency cash, and hard drives or flash drives with photos and documents on them.

Keep your home safe while youíre away

One of the most important times to keep your house secure is when youíre not in it. An empty home is an easier target for those seeking to gain entry into your home. While youíre away, be sure to let a trusted neighbor know youíll be gone. Have them take in your mail for you so it doesnít look like the home is unoccupied. Before you leave, check that the windows are locked and that nothing has been left on in the house except for a light.

Protect your identity

To keep your information safe from prying hands hoping to turn a profit, here are some best practices to follow.

  • Shred documents with your personal information, donít throw them out with your garbage

  • Donít fall for phone or email scams; unless you entered something you probably didnít win anything

  • Donít let anyone enter your home unless you called them first

  • Be selective of the information you share on social media. Never post photos of your forms of identification, or tell others when your family will be away (a.k.a. Your home empty)

  • Always keep your smartphone locked with a passcode

  • Change your passwords to various websites frequently. Donít use the same password for multiple sites, and make your passwords complex. Instead of words, use pass ďphrasesĒ or series of words.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Janet Cramb on 6/20/2018

There was a time when moving across the country was a trip into the unknown. For some, that prospect may be an exciting one. For a homeowner with bills to pay or children to raise, the more you know about a place the better.

Fortunately, todayís technology equips us with tools to learn everything (or almost everything) we need to know about a place without ever visiting. With the use of statistics, maps, and first-hand accounts, would-be homeowners can put in their researcher hats and get a feel for a place without ever even visiting.

In todayís post, Iím going to introduce you to some of those tools. So, if youíre thinking of making a long distance move sometime in the near future, read on for a list of the most useful resources that will help you along your search.

Cost of living

Most of us would love to move to Hawaii or San Francisco, but letís face it--cost of living differences can make a huge impact on our ability to move wherever we want. Fortunately, there is reliable data on the specific cost of living for different parts of the United States.

Nerdwalletís cost of living calculator lets you enter your current city and income and then compare what you would need to earn (on average) to move to a city of your choice. Moving to Boston, MA from Denver, CO, for example, would mean a 34% increase in costs like housing, groceries, transportation, etc.

Do you freelance or work from home and have the ability to travel wherever you want? If so, check out the Nomad List. It lets you compare housing costs, safety, weather, and--perhaps most important for freelancers--internet speeds in cities around the country and around the world.

Howís the weather?

Another important consideration for long distance moves is the climate. Not only will it determine your wardrobe and comfort level, but it also could mean more expensive heating in the winter or air conditioning in the winter.

To check out the average monthly temperatures and precipitation levels, check out U.S. Climate Data.

School scores

Itís hard to judge schools based on a few numbers, and itís best to see what kind of programs and classes theyíll offer for your children as well. However, to get a glimpse of the nearby schools, you can check out City Data or NeighborhoodScout.

Safety

Safety is always a concern when visiting or moving to a new place. Fortunately, there are several good sources of information for neighborhood safety.

When we think of safety, most of us think of things like crime rates. NeighborhoodScout provides all the data youíll need on crime. However, there are other safety concerns that should be addressed.

The CDC provides health data for 500 U.S. Cities. And, if youíre worried about lead exposure, this interactive map from Reuters has you covered.




Categories: Uncategorized