Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty - Deanne Daugherty

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How to Make Your Best Offer on a Home

4/5/2022

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Making the right offer is crucial when you have your eye on a home. 

Offer too little, and you may get passed over for the next buyer. Offer too much, and you may need to reevaluate your budget for furnishings or upgrades. This can be one of the most challenging parts of buying a new property. 

Want to make sure you have a strong offer at a price you can afford? Here’s when you might offer above, below and at the listing price.

  • At List Price: A home that's within your budget, move-in ready and comes with all the amenities you want could be worth an offer at the listing price. But you'll want to make sure there's not much competition for the property.

  • Below List Price: Does the home need serious work? If so, you may want to offer below the selling price. In this case, bidding less money could free up cash for future repairs and necessary upgrades. You can also try a lower offer if there are tons of homes listed in your area (but little demand for them). Get in touch to learn about the properties for sale in your desired neighborhood.

  • Above List Price: You may want to go beyond listing price if you're in a particularly active market or you know you're up against several buyers. Together, we can determine what other homes in the area are going for, and we'll make sure your best offer aligns with those bids.

Ready for a new home (and don't want to overspend)? Reach out today, and we can begin looking for a property that's perfect for you and your family.

5 Ways to Build More Equity in Your Home

4/5/2022
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Equity — or the share of your property you actually own — is a benefit to any homeowner. For one, it means more profits when it’s time to sell. On top of that, it can also give you cash when you need it — either through a refinance or home equity loan. 

Fortunately, building equity can be easy. Every month you increase your home equity by making your mortgage payment. 

If you want to build your equity even further, there are several ways to do it, including: 

  • Buying in an up-and-coming market. If home values in your neighborhood start to rise, so will your property value. That can mean more equity, too.

  • Increasing your down payment. The more you put down, the less your lender will need to loan you, and the larger your equity stake will be.

  • Paying more on your mortgage. Putting extra toward your mortgage loan — either each month or a few times a year — can help you pay down your balance and increase your share. Consider putting your annual tax refund toward your loan to really make a dent.

  • Renovating your home. Anything that improves your home’s value also increases your equity. Choose your projects wisely, and reach out if you need some help getting started.

  • Refinancing your loan. With a short-term loan, like a 15-year, you can pay down your balance faster (and sometimes get a lower rate as well). This can help you build equity more quickly.

Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

4 Projects to Finish Before You Sell

4/2/2022

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Are you ready to make the transition to a new home? Or at least take a few steps to get there?

If so, you’ll need to think about selling your current property, and you’re probably hoping to get the best price possible. 

Renovations can be a great value booster. The right changes appeal to buyers and help you make a great return on your investment.

Here are four ways you might want to renovate before selling.

  • Fresh Paint Job: A new coat of paint is one of the most affordable renovations — and you can even do it yourself. Uplifting colors, like taupe or soft teal, can make a room look brighter. Remember that the more neutral the area, the easier it is for buyers to picture themselves living there.

  • Countertops and Light Fixtures: If you want to make your home look new without undergoing a full remodel, updating the countertops and light fixtures can work wonders. Similar to paint colors, it’s best to stick with simple styles.

  • Break-Even Remodel: Did you know the kitchen and bathrooms are the most important parts of the house? To interest buyers, consider a break-even remodel in these lived-in spaces. If the cabinets and floors are outdated, try low-cost upgrades (like new hardware) so the rooms look more modern.

  • Market Trends: Before deciding which renovations to make, check out the latest trends in home design. Choosing improvements based on what’s popular can help your house stand out to buyers — both online and in person.

Preparing your home to sell is easier with an experienced professional in your corner. To learn more about value-adding renovations, or to start looking for a new property, get in touch today.







Must-Have Amenities for a Healthier Home

4/2/2022

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If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your health and wellness, your home can inspire you to do it. In fact, your living space plays a significant role in your overall well-being. 

A room dedicated to workouts can motivate you to reach your goals. And healthy, clean air and elements inspired by nature can make your home feel more open and calming.

Are you hoping to make some improvements in 2021? Check out these five home amenities. 

  • Air Filtration System: This can improve your air quality by reducing allergens and bacteria. Regular HVAC maintenance can also ensure cleaner air in your home.

  • Indoor Garden: Are you planning to focus on your mental health? Adding a calming indoor garden, a Zen garden or even just a few plants can help. Some plants can improve air quality, too, including English ivy and spider plants.

  • Home Gym: It could be as simple as adding a treadmill to an empty corner or as elaborate as converting an entire room into a workout area. If you’re tight on space, consider compact fitness equipment, like a yoga mat, resistance bands or free weights. 

  • Touchless Upgrades: Faucets, light switches, trash cans and door locks are high-contact surfaces. Replacing them with touchless alternatives can help you minimize contact with germs in your home.

  • Nonporous Countertops: Certain materials are more porous than others, allowing germs and mildew to be absorbed into the surface. Sealing them or replacing them with a nonporous option, such as quartz, may help you reduce the spread of bacteria in areas like your kitchen and bathrooms.

If your current property doesn’t inspire wellness, get in touch today. Together, we’ll find a home that better fits your goals.

Home Maintenance to Prep for Winter

4/2/2022

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Winter is fast approaching, and if you’re a homeowner, that usually means now’s the time to tackle key maintenance tasks — at least if you want to ensure a warm and comfortable season.

There are appliances to check, inspections to complete and exterior tasks to do. 

Are you ready for the incoming colder months? Want to make sure your home is too? Here are five steps to take ahead of the winter months. 

  • Weatherproof your doors and windows. Cracks and gaps can let in cold air. Reseal old caulking and fill in any holes, splits or openings you find.

  • Get a roof inspection. Replace any damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your roof is protected from leaks that could result in moisture- or mold-related problems.

  • Tend to your yard. Heavy storms can weigh down branches, causing them to fall on your roof or car. Check that all trees and foliage are cared for and well-trimmed.

  • Insulate your attic, pipes and walls. Better insulation can mean lower energy bills and a more comfortable home. Take some time to evaluate yours, and consider adding extra if needed. 

  • Check the water heater. Make sure your water heater is operating effectively and efficiently. You might also want to flush the system to remove any sediment that may be at the bottom of the tank.

Completing this essential winter maintenance can set your family up for a cozy, relaxing season at home. It’ll also help you identify any potential issues before they have a chance to turn into costly repairs. To learn more home upkeep tips, reach out today.

5 Countertops That Are Worth the Upgrade

4/2/2022

Updating your kitchen can be a smart way to increase your home's worth. In fact, Remodeling Magazine named a minor kitchen renovation one of the best projects to take on this year — and upgrading your countertops is a good place to start. 

The right countertop can add aesthetic and resale value to your home and improve your space's functionality. 

Which of these five materials do you like best?

Quartz: These countertops are low maintenance and nonporous, meaning they won't soak up moisture or hold bacteria. Quartz is also quite popular and may attract more buyers to your home when it comes time to sell.

Soapstone: This rare material is trending among home designers. Its unique aesthetic can add effortless style to your space, but it'll come with a hefty price tag.

Granite: A classic style, granite offers a great look, as well as a scratch- and heat-resistant surface. It's one of the more expensive countertops, and it needs regular resealing to stay in top condition.

Solid Surface: These countertops are a mixture of manmade materials and resins, making them easy to keep clean. Solid surface comes in all sorts of colors and tends to resemble granite — minus the high cost.

Eco-Friendly: Upcycled wood and recycled glass are two options in this category. The cost will depend on where you source your materials, but you'll be minimizing your environmental footprint and getting a one-of-a-kind countertop in the process.

Simple cosmetic changes to your kitchen can make a big difference. Get in touch today for more tips on upping the resale value of your home.

Essentials to Keep in Your Emergency Kit

4/2/2022

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Let’s face it: You can’t predict the future. That’s why having a fully stocked emergency kit is so important. No matter the time of year, it’s always better to play it safe.  

Would you and your family be prepared, just in case?  Putting essential supplies together doesn’t have to be a chore and can even be done fairly quickly. You just need a list and a plan.

Need ideas? See below for useful items in any situation. 

  • Communication: Stay connected even if you lose power. Try a hand-crank or battery-powered radio — preferably one with charging ability to keep your devices running. 

  • Lighting: A flashlight and batteries are a must. Get a few different types, like lanterns, floodlights and keychains. You never know how much light you’ll need or where you’ll need to take it. You can also stash a few candles and some matches.

  • Food and Water: Pack at least three days’ worth of water, nonperishable foods and canned goods — and don’t forget the can opener. Think beans, nuts and seeds, protein bars and dried fruit.  

  • First-Aid Supplies: You’ll want a first-aid kit, complete with bandages, gauze, burn cream, antiseptic, sterile gloves, safety pins and more. Pain relievers and an extra supply of prescription medications are important, too.

  • Clothing and Bedding: Every family member will need a few changes of clothes and portable bedding like sleeping bags, blankets and pillows.

  • Miscellaneous Items: Cash, personal documents and paper maps might not seem essential now, but they could come in handy. Other nice-to-have items include duct tape, cleaning products and a multitool.

There’s no telling what the future may bring, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Get in touch today for more home safety tips.

Tips for Choosing the Right Neighborhood

4/2/2022

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Finding a home that suits you is only part of the journey. Another big part? Choosing the right neighborhood.

The number of bedrooms and square footage are certainly important when buying a home — but the community might be even more vital. 

After all, it’s where you’ll likely exercise and socialize, where your kids will grow up and go to school and, ultimately, where you’ll put down roots and build a life.

Are you ready to look for a new home? Here’s how you can find the right neighborhood:

  • Know your needs. If walkability is high on your list, make sure the neighborhood offers plenty of paths to explore. Is your commute to work a big factor? How long will it be? What are your thoughts on homeowners associations?

  • Do some research. Take some time to look into the community. Check out school district ratings and look at nearby listings to see home values. Reach out to learn what else the community offers.

  • Check out online groups. Pull up any neighborhood groups you can find on social media. Does the online community seem friendly? You can also search for a neighborhood newsletter or local events.

  • Take a self-guided tour. Drive around the neighborhood at different times of day to get a feel for its character. Can you see yourself living there? If you’re buying from out of town, you can hop on Google Maps and take a virtual walk. 

And if you’re ready to take an online tour or see a home in person, get in touch today. Together we’ll find the right home and neighborhood for you.

An Easy Guide to Virtual Home Tours

4/2/2022

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Virtual home tours have quickly become the new norm. Sellers and agents now rely on digital tools, and many are skipping the traditional open house and opting for tours via video platforms.

But for buyers, there’s more uncertainty. Can you really judge a home from a screen?  

Surprisingly, you can — as long as you prepare. 

Are you gearing up for a home search? Want to make the most of your virtual tours?  

Download the app. Will the tour be livestreamed on social media? Or will you need to log in to a new platform? Install the right app and do a practice run with a friend.

Research the home. Go beyond the listing description. Look at every photo, drive by in your car, explore the neighborhood and pull up property records. Reach out if you're unsure how to find this info.

Get the floor plan. Print the home’s floor plan and keep it on hand during the tour. This will help you understand where you’re at in the house (and gauge the size of each room) as you move through the property.

Pay attention to details. Ask to see areas the agent hasn’t shown. How big are the closets? What’s the view outside the windows? You can even ask to walk around the yard or up the street virtually.  

Write down questions. If your tour is one-on-one and in real time, you can ask questions as you go. If it’s a group open house or a prerecorded video, you’ll want to write down your questions, then we can discuss them together.

Adapting to the changing market is easier when you have a partner in your corner. Ready to make your next move? Get in touch today.

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