San Antonio Area Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 20, 2019

Storage - Too Much Stuff - San Antonio's Best

Storage - Too Much Stuff - San Antonio's Best Storage Units

Graphic Courtesy of storageunits.com

Let’s face it, we all have too much stuff. Sometimes it is temporary like when college kids come home with all their “stuff” when the semester ends or maybe you are getting ready to move and your REALTOR® says the dreaded word, DECLUTTER.  No matter what is causing the surplus finding the right place to store your “stuff” can be daunting.

I was recently contacted by someone from StorageUnits.com, they provide the results of their extensive research into the best places in large cities to procure storage for your things. These aren’t sponsored (paid) reviews, just the results of objective data analysis of the available storage companies in San Antonio. I wanted to provide you a link so you can do some research of your own. 

Best Self Storage Units in San Antonio, TX

Whether you’re preparing for a big move, trying to free up some space for guests or looking for a place to store your 6 Christmas Trees…this site might help.

I would love feedback on this post I would like to hear what you think about their website.  

As always if there is anything I can do to help you with your Real Estate needs, please give me a call or shoot me an email. Your Home is My Business. 

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
Nov. 20, 2019

Aging Parents - Senior Resources

 

Photo y Pixabay from Pexels

Recent experiences in my personal life had made the topic of aging parents very real.

Thought I am a Senior Real Estate Specialist®, until you experience this process of helping move a family member into Assisted Living, beginning to deal with the contents of their home and working through all the emotions for both the kids and the parents…you just don’t get how hard all this is.

There is help out there and finding it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack so I wanted to share some of those resources and give you a link that may help you through this process like it has my family.

Paying for Senior Care is a resource that just may help, their mission is  help the elderly and their families fully understand the cost of long term care and the programs that can provide financial support.  They have an online database of tools, references, and articles that cover topics like available care options, and free resources that are available in right here in San Antonio. You can review our guides here: 

Paying for Senior Care - Financial Assistance - San Antonio, TX

Paying for Senior Care - Long Term Care - Resources

Going through this process can be tough on everyone involved, reaching out and getting the help you need may be just what it takes to help you to navigate these new challenges.

If there is ever any way I can help, please reach out to me whether it is selling a parents home, looking to downsize or searching for 55+ communities in our area, please let me know. If I don’t know the answer, I will do my best to help you find it. 

 

Posted in Monthly Newsletter
Sept. 19, 2019

Best Moving Companies Based on In-Depth Reviews

Inspired by consumeradvoate.org

Moving can easily be one of the most stressful times of our adult lives.  There are dozens of things to consider and weigh, decisions on a daily basis that can have a major impact on how the move goes and how it is remembered.

I recently got an email from ConsumerAdvocate.ORG and they shared with me what I am about to share with you. When it comes to picking a moving company or someone to fix our car, face it, many of us do a Google search, maybe look at a few Yelp reviews or Angie’s List ads/comments and throw a dart at the internet dart board and pick someone. What if somebody, no kidding, did a lot of research for you and provided you with an objective view of national/cross country movers that they had used REAL DATA assess and that they had vetted.  Me for one I would be excited. As a Real Estate Agent, face it, when I recommend someone it is a reflection on ME! I have to do my best to check out those that I refer my valued clients to.

I have said all that to say this, if you are about to do a cross country move, take a few minutes and click the link below to review the objective research done by Consumer Advocates.Org. It may save you time, money, frustration and a lot of damaged household goods. While you are there you may want to take a look at some of their other content as well.

https://www.consumersadvocate.org/moving-companies

In closing, I would be remiss in not mentioning a local favorite here in San Antonio based on my own personal experience with my last local move and having had several clients move locally with them. Two Men and a Truck took great care with everything in my home from the piano to the dog beds. If you are moving in town they have my vote!

Cheers and as always, if there is any way I can help you with your Real Estate needs, Your Home is My Business! 

 





Posted in Guest Blogs
Sept. 5, 2019

How to Make the Right Home Modifications for Aging in Place

Thanks to Michael Longsdon for providing this Guest BLOG POST

According to the AARP, only 1 percent of homes in the country are conducive to aging in place. If you or a loved one have chosen to stay in one home throughout your golden years, it’s important that the house is designed or renovated to ensure the comfort and safety of all its occupants. When renovating a home to accommodate older adults, there are contractors available who are specifically trained to do this type of home remodeling. These contractors are known as Certified Aging in Place Specialists, or CAPS. Whether using CAPS or not, you can follow these modification tips to implement all the proper renovations needed.

  One-Level Living

If possible, choose a one-level home rather than a multi-story abode. The fewer steps and stairs for seniors, the better. If your home has more than one level, move all the essential rooms to the main floor — kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. When needing to go up or down stairs, a stair-lift chair can be a useful accommodation.

  Doors and Doorways

Widening halls and doorways is essential for accessibility. However, you should also consider switching out traditional doors for pocket doors. Swinging doors often get in the way, and the hinges can catch on wheelchairs. Pocket doors allow for maximum free space going in and out of rooms. Round doorknobs should be replaced with levers, which are easier to use as they don’t require a twisting motion. Traditional light switches can also be changed out to the slider variety and lowered so they can be reached from a wheelchair.

  Flooring

Balance can be tricky for older adults. About one-third of seniors over age 65 fall each year, and 60 percent of these falls occur within the home. The ideal flooring material should be soft and slip-resistant. Consider non-slip vinyl or rubber floors, as rubber is naturally slip resistant, fire resistant, and soft enough that bones won’t break easily in the case of falls. Another advantage of rubber flooring is that it's very easy to clean and maintain. Whatever type of flooring you choose, eliminate area rugs and damaged carpets, which, according to the Journal of Injury and Violence Research, are a common cause of slips and trips.

  Lighting

Effective lighting is one of the most important features in a senior's home. Due to deteriorating eyesight with age, there must be strong illumination throughout the home, especially in stairwells, places where flooring changes, and other areas with increased risk of slips and falls. Also, switch traditional light bulbs to LEDs, which last 50 times longer than a typical incandescent bulb and eight to 10 times longer than CFLs. The longer the bulbs last, the less often seniors will have to change them, which can be difficult and sometimes dangerous.

   Bathrooms

The bathroom may be the room that needs the most modifications to make it safe for aging adults. In addition to the aforementioned doorways and flooring, it’s also imperative to add handrails or safety bars in and right outside the shower, as well as near the toilet. Lowering the vanity is also a good idea for wheelchair accessibility. Finally, consider a walk-in shower or walk-in tub, as well as a bathtub transfer bench and other bathroom modifications.

   Kitchens

Stoves with flat burners are often easier and safer for seniors to use. Older adults also may consider raising stoves and dishwashers to require less bending. However, if someone in the home is wheelchair-bound, lower the appliance instead. Flooring that is more forgiving is easier on the joints when standing for long periods in the kitchen; as mentioned, vinyl is a great option instead of tile or hardwood. Cork is also easier on the back, hips, and knees.

Many older adults across the country are choosing to age in place, rather than move to assisted living or other such facilities. Even if you are in superlative health currently, consider potential limitations that can come about as you age. Simple remodeling choices made now can have a significant impact on how long you can comfortably live in your home in the future.

Photo via Pexels

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 30, 2019

How To Pay For Home Improvements

How To Pay For Home Improvements | Bankrate.com

Money to make home improvements - whether massive overhauls or little fixes - isn't always readily available in your bank account. Luckily, you have a few different options to pay for home renovations if your cash flow is running low.

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 29, 2019

What Millennials Want In A Home

What Millennials Want created by Asset Based Lending

Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 29, 2019

Property Payoff Tips to Increase Resale

Tips To Increase Resale Value created by Synergy Builders

Posted in Guest Blogs
Nov. 1, 2018

Relocating After Bereavement - Tips for Downsizing and Packing

Blog post Courtesy of Michael Longdon


Photo By Jarosław Ceborski on Unsplash

Relocating After Bereavement:
Tips for Downsizing and Packing

When you’ve lost someone very important to you, the place you used to call home can suddenly not feel like it anymore. While it’s generally good advice to wait about six months to a year after the death to make a major decision, many people find that moving to a new home provides a much-needed fresh start when the time is right. In the end, a house is just another material possession -- it can weigh you down with its emotional burden. Relocating is a good excuse for downsizing and creating a home atmosphere that is minimalist and unburdening.

If you feel like relocating is an emotionally mature decision for you, use the following advice to make the process clean and efficient.

Take Advantage of Storage

Just because you’re ready to live in a home where you’re not constantly surrounded by visual reminders of your loved one doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them quite yet. Take advantage of an offsite storage solution where those items you can’t quite give away will be safe from environmental damage. Storage facilities can be surprisingly affordable -- in San Antonio, for example, the average price for self-storage in the past 180 days was as little as $78.83. Make room in your house-hunting budget to pack these things safely and revisit getting rid of them after the chaos of moving settles down.

Donate to a Good Cause

All of us have boxes and boxes of items that we don’t need. You especially don’t want these things on hand when moving into a smaller place. Instead of dumping gently used goods in the trash and contributing to the world’s landfill problem, look into what local charities could really use the items on hand and donate. Clothes in good condition can be especially helpful for organizations like the Vietnam Veterans of America and Dress for Success. Furniture in good condition, appliances, housewares, and building materials can help volunteers build homes when you donate them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. And old towels, cleaning supplies, shredded papers, and pet toys can make a world of difference when you drop them off at your local Humane Society Shelter. Finally, your standard neighborhood Goodwill and Salvation Army will take just about anything for their community betterment endeavors.

Make Packing a Breeze

Packing and moving are rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. But with some simple tips, the process doesn’t have to be so bad. Go ahead and order more boxes than you may need. Unused ones can always be returned and it’s better than coming up short the day you need to be out of the old property. Having a variety of sizes of boxes is also helpful. There’s no one-sized box that’s perfect for everything. In fact, boxes may not even be the best option for everything you have to pack. Consider using simple garbage bags when packing up things like blankets and linens. Once you’re in your new place and unpacking, you’ll already have a trash receptacle handy for throwing away errant packing supplies.

Everything you pack should be properly labeled to the point of being overboard. Not only will knowing what’s in the box help when unloading your moving truck but having a good idea of the contents will help you when trying to decipher where you should start with the unpacking. Instead of wasting your valuable time sorting through a box of winter shoes you won’t need for months, you can find your work wardrobe right off the bat and unload those essential first.

However, sometimes it might make sense to hire someone to help you move, though you’ll need to leave some room in your budget. For example, according to Unpakt, moving the contents of a small one-bedroom home in Atlanta starts at around $432 on average. If you add packing and unpacking to the equation, expect to pay an additional $25 to $35 per hour.

While big decisions should be put off for a while, many people find that relocating can be therapeutic after the loss of a close loved one. If you’re deciding to move to a new home, consider downsizing -- store those items you want to keep and donate what you don’t need. Finally, making the unpleasant packing experience easier by over-investing in a variety of packing materials and planning ahead to make unpacking the essentials easier.

Finally, making the unpleasant packing experience easier by over-investing in a variety of packing materials and planning ahead to make unpacking the essentials easier. 

Posted in Guest Blogs
June 26, 2018

Downsizing During Crisis: A Guide for Seniors and Their Loved Ones

Blog post Courtesy of Michael Longsdon

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by IsaacFryxelius

As we age, many people feel the need to downsize and relocate into new homes. People do this for many reasons, whether it’s because we want to be surrounded by like-minded neighbors or whether we need a home that is smaller and more accessible.

Of course, sometimes seniors are also forced to relocate due to unexpected situations, such as a health or financial crisis. A parent might suffer a stroke or an aneurysm. Or an aging couple may realize their retirement savings can no longer cover the rising cost of rent. These are just a few difficult examples of the real-life situations that seniors and their loved ones are facing every day.

Luckily, modern seniors have access to a wide variety of resources that are literally at their fingertips thanks to the invention of the internet. This makes it easier than ever before to move during a crisis. The internet also helps those in need find assistance with downsizing, planning the move, relocating belongings, and other daunting tasks.


Finding Help

Before moving into a smaller home, you’ll need to do some research on homes in your area. For instance, in San Antonio, TX, the median listing price for a home is $265,000.

Although an unexpected crisis move can be overwhelming for seniors and their families, there are options out there for assistance. There is a growing industry of service providers specializing in “senior move management.” These services offer support, assistance and other resources to seniors and their families during a big move.

For instance, seniors might consider looking into a professional moving company for assistance with the heavy lifting. Moving crews can help take the stress out of a move, in addition to preventing injuries or damages. Remember: the goal of moving day is to avoid injury while safely transporting all belongings and valuables to the new home.

Need to downsize your belongings before moving? If so, you’re not alone. Many people of all ages need to downsize before a big move. To keep from losing your mind during this stressful process, experts recommend making three lists: must-have items; items you could probably live without; and items that you could replace if needed. This will provide clarity on what you should keep and what you should sell or donate.

 Alternative options

 There are some additional considerations for any senior who will be relocating to a retirement community. Where you live matters. When choosing a retirement home, it’s important to consider activity level, health, ability or disability, budget, and more. Is the senior fairly independent, or would assisted living be better? What can the senior afford? Take the future into consideration, not just where things are in the current moment.

When you or a loved one are in crisis, that is all you can think about. Although a crisis move is undeniably stressful, there are some experts out there who can assist so that you can focus on what’s most important. From professional managers who coordinate the details for you, to professional moving crews who handle all the heavy lifting, we hope that the options listed above will prove helpful to yourself and your family during this difficult time.

 

Posted in Guest Blogs
May 4, 2018

10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Home Sale at Top Dollar

According to the National Association of Realtors, staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale.1 In fact, the Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.2

 
Source: National Association of Realtors

Following are 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.

To get a plan customized for your particular property, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to share our insider knowledge of the buyer preferences in your neighborhood … so you’ll know where to focus your time, money and energy to maximize your results.

1. REMOVE CLUTTER

Decluttering is typically the first thing we tell clients to do to prepare their home for sale. And according to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 93 percent of agents agree.1 Decluttering is the act of removing excess “stuff” from your home to make it appear clean and spacious.  

Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. In contrast, sparsely-filled closets and clear countertops will make your home appear larger and assure buyers that there will be plenty of room to store their belongings. 

Don’t neglect drawers, cupboards and even your refrigerator in your decluttering efforts. Serious buyers will check out every nook and cranny of your home, so pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off site. The same goes for jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medication, firearms and other items of value. Store them in a locked safe or storage unit before opening your property to buyers. 

Make sure any items that remain are clean, tidy and well organized. The good news is, when it comes time to move, a large portion of your packing will be done!

 

2. DEEP CLEAN AND DEODORIZE

From carpets to bathrooms to appliances, having a clean home is a MUST. If you’ve ever checked into a dirty hotel room, you can imagine how buyers can be turned off by a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned.

If you have a large home, or are short on time, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service. And if you have carpet, we generally recommend you rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets for you.

In addition to cleaning, it’s equally important to neutralize odors in your home that can be off-putting to buyers, especially pet smells and cigarette smoke. If the weather allows, open your windows and let in fresh air. Empty the trash frequently, and especially before a showing. Avoid cooking any strong-smelling food such as fish or heavy spices. You may need to clean (or remove) drapes and upholstery if odors are particularly strong.

Try to keep your home in clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.

3. DEPERSONALIZE

Your family photos and personal mementos are often your most treasured possessions. For many of us, they are what make a house a home. However, buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a place if it feels like YOUR home.

 Pack up any items that are personal to you and your family, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs and religious items. Collectibles and excessive knickknacks can be distracting to buyers. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.

4. NEUTRALIZE YOUR COLOR PALETTE

Along those same lines, bold color choices may not appeal to all buyers. By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme.

But don’t limit yourself to white and beige. Incorporating earth tones and midtone neutrals—like mocha and “greige” (grey-beige)—can add a touch of modern sophistication to your decor.3

 One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to neutralize your home’s decor is with paint. Walls painted in dark, bold or bright colors can turn off buyers. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color like greige (try Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter) or warm white (such as Kelly-Moore’s Rotunda White) offers a clean palette upon which buyers can visualize adding their own personal touches.4

If your sofa is worn, stained or has a bold pattern, consider purchasing a neutral-colored slipcover. Dated or overly busy window coverings should be taken down or replaced. Instead, bring in tasteful pops of color with throw pillows and accessories.

 5. INCREASE YOUR CURB APPEAL

You only get one chance to make a first impression. According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walkthrough.5 That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door.

Walk around your home and look for any neglected areas that might seem like “red flags” to buyers, such as missing roof shingles or rotted siding. Trim trees and shrubs if needed, and make sure your lawn and flower beds are well maintained. Add some colorful flowers to your front beds and/or flower boxes to brighten up your landscaping.

Make sure the exterior of your home is as clean as the interior. This can often be accomplished with a simple garden hose. But if your siding, walkway, or driveway are stained or dingy, you may want to rent a pressure washer.

Thoroughly wash windows and screens, and remove and store dark solar screens if you have them. Open shutters, curtains and blinds, which will not only make your house look more inviting from the outside, it will brighten the inside.

Consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door, trim and shutters. And small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers, a colorful wreath and a clean front doormat can have a big impact.6

6. FRESHEN KITCHENS AND BATHS

Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces.7 You should have already packed up non-essentials during your decluttering process, and the remaining items should be neatly stored in pantries and cupboards.

If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Consider purchasing new shower curtains, bath mats and towels for the bathrooms and new dish towels for the kitchen.

Before each showing, make sure kitchens and baths are spotless and trash cans are empty and out of sight. To add a comforting aroma, try baking cookies, or in the fall, simmer some cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of water before you leave the house. In the spring, try a vase of fresh cut lilacs.7

7. SET THE TABLE

Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. If your dining room chairs are stained or outdated, you may want to recover them or use slipcovers. In most cases, an imperfect table can be camouflaged with a neutral and stylish tablecloth.

Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs.8

Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece. For a long table, try lining up a series of small vessels down the middle.

8. REARRANGE FURNITURE

Start in your living room and think about what you want to emphasize (and de-emphasize) about the space. For example, do you have a beautiful fireplace or a stunning view? If so, arrange the furniture with that focal point in mind. Use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area adjacent to the focal point.

If the room is small, consider removing some of the furniture to make it feel larger, especially oversized pieces. That includes oversized television sets, unless it’s a designated media room. Pulling furniture away from the wall can make the room feel more spacious, and placing your largest furniture piece in the far-left corner (as opposed to near the entry) can create the illusion of a larger space.9

For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables and a dresser. If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area. Place lamps on the bedside tables and seating area if you have one.10

Make sure each space in your home has a clearly defined purpose. For example, if you’ve been using an extra bedroom as a catch-all storage space, stage it as a guest room or office instead. Turn an awkward alcove into a workstation or a reading corner. Help buyers imagine how they could use the space themselves. 

9. LIGHTEN UP

Lighting can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a home. Few buyers seek out a dark house; most prefer one that’s light and bright. Make sure windows are clean, and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight.

Each room should have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (such as a reading lamp or under-cabinet light), and accent (such as a floor or table lamp). Aim for a goal of 100 total watts per 50 square feet.11 If your mounted light fixtures are dated, replacing them with something more modern is an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can have a big impact.

Strategically placed landscape lighting can add a dramatic effect to your home’s exterior. Welcome evening visitors with a lighted walkway, or use a spotlight to accentuate trees or other landscaping features. Solar lights require no wiring; simply place them in a sunny spot and they will turn on automatically at dusk.

10. HIGHLIGHT YOUR BACKYARD’S BEST FEATURES

While your home’s interior often takes center stage, don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space.

Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch. Place chairs and wine glasses around an outdoor firepit or hang a hammock with a book in your favorite shady spot.3 These small, simple additions can help buyers visualize the possibilities your backyard has to offer.


BEFORE YOU GET STARTED

If you’re in the market to sell your home, this list provides a great starting point for your preparations. But nothing beats the trained eye and expertise of a real estate agent. Before you do any work, we recommend consulting a professional for advice about your particular property.

We offer free, no-commitment seller consultations and will walk through your home with you to help you assess which projects and upgrades are worth your time and money, and which ones you can skip.

As local market experts, we are intimately familiar with buyer preferences in your area. We’ll run a comparative market analysis to find out how your home compares to others currently on the market, as well as those that have recently sold. Then we’ll tailor a custom plan to suit your particular property, budget and needs.

                    Please call or email us today with questions or to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

1.     National Association of Realtors –
https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/migration_files/reports/2017/2017-profile-of-home-staging-07-06-2017.pdf

2.     Real Estate Staging Association –
http://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548

3.     Houzz –
https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2661221/list/sell-your-home-fast-21-staging-tips

4.     HGTV –
https://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/10-curb-appeal-tips-from-the-pros-pictures

5.     National Association of Realtors –
https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/reports/2017/2017-home-buyer-and-seller-generational-trends-03-07-2017.pdf

6.     The Spruce –
https://www.thespruce.com/must-try-neutral-paint-colors-797983

7.     HouseLogic –
https://www.houselogic.com/sell/preparing-your-home-to-sell/home-staging-checklist/

8.     StageMyOwnHome.com –
http://www.stagemyownhome.com/staging-the-dining-room.html

9.     Realtor.com –
https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/small-living-room-staging-tricks/

10.   SFGATE –
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/stage-master-bedroom-34573.html

11.     HGTV – 
https://www.hgtv.com/shows/designed-to-sell/15-secrets-of-home-staging-pictures

Posted in Monthly Newsletter