Monthly Archives: April 2015

Real Estate in Dallas: Now’s the Time to Invest

When springtime rolls around in North Texas, it’s more than the bluebonnets that are in bloom — real estate in Dallas is just heating up for the season. If you’re looking to invest in a new property this spring, now’s a smart time to do it. Read on for some of the best reasons why springtime is the best time to buy a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

It’s a Buyer’s Market

In a buyer’s market, it means that homes are plentiful and home shoppers can take their time browsing all the inventory. For those who want to secure a piece of real estate in Dallas, the term “buyer’s market” is like music to the ears. The Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market is booming this spring – and this is great news for buyers. Check out this article to learn about what real estate experts are calling “the hottest cycle in 30 years.”

Spring is Ideal for House Hunting

The months of April, May, and June are idyllic in the Metroplex. Winter is in the past, and the steamy summer months haven’t hit yet. Temperatures in Dallas are pleasant this time of year, with daily temperatures in the 70s or 80s. As a result, you can expect to see those “For Sale” signs to start popping up on lawns across North Texas.

Get Settled Before Summer

Spring is a time of transition — and not just in terms of weather. Springtime months are when families are wrapping up the school year and preparing for their summer vacations. These are two big reasons that make spring an ideal time to purchase real estate in Dallas. By finding a home and moving in the spring, families can still take a summer vacation, and they’ll be settled within the school district when it’s time to crack open the books again.

Springtime is hands-down the busiest time of the year when it comes to real estate. One estimate reports that about 40 percent of home sales happen from April through July. It only makes sense that the real estate market heats up in the spring — there’s a dramatic increase in the number of homes going up for sale, it’s generally mild and pleasant weather, and spring is a time of transition for families. If you’re among those who are house hunting this spring, get out there and explore the homes that are available in the DFW area.


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How to Successfully Woo a Co-Op Housing Board

If you’re planning on buying co-op housing in New York City, you’re probably obsessed with figuring out how to go about impressing the heck out of the building’s co-op board, and … wait, what? You didn’t know you really, really had to impress them? Next to winning the heart of the love your life, winning your co-op board’s affection will be the most important wooing you’ve ever done in your life. Think about it: You want to move into a space owned by a large group of people — who are also living there! In order for them to allow you to live in their midst, you’ll have to prove that you’re financially worthy and that you’ll be a good neighbor.

Prove You Can Afford It

Money talks, walks and sings in New York. Even though it may seem like there’s a lot of media coverage about the unaffordability of NYC real estate, the fact remains that loads of people with ample resources are able to buy here and buy here every day. Co-op boards can afford to be picky as they choose the applicants that they believe will be the best financial fit for the building. Older buildings need s a lot of repairs so assessments will be higher, so the board will want to make sure that you can handle the costs. (The amount you pay toward your mortgage, if you have to carry one, should be no more than 30 percent of your yearly income.)

This means that if you’re intent on purchasing a co-op, you’re going to have make sure that the financial package you put together is the most brilliant package you’ve ever put together in your entire life. You’ll need to make sure that every single bit of your digital footprint paints you in the best possible light. Make sure that your package is filled with every piece of paperwork that’s needed — and is as clearly and neatly labeled as possible — to make things as easy as possible for the board.

Gather All the Documents

What does this list include?

  • Your salary, bonuses, and any other earnings
  • Your bank statements
  • Your tax information for the past two years

Prove That You Really, Really, Really Want to Live There

Many people buy property in NYC purely as an investment. They purchase it to hold it so that they can reap substantial financial rewards as it increases in value, or they rent it out to tenants to offset the cost of owning. For many co-op buildings, the ideal tenant is the one who actually lives in the building.

If you’re planning on living in the building, prove it. Make it clear that you’re looking for a home for your family and that you’re looking forward to being a part of the co-op community. Make sure that your personality shines through. Include personal references from former landlords and professional organizations that show who you really are. Do you consider yourself a friendly person who’s good with others? Get people who will say so in writing.

Leave Them Wanting More

You want to leave them wanting more (and we don’t mean wanting more paperwork!). You want the board to leave its meeting with you feeling warm and fuzzy — well, as warm and fuzzy as a board can feel. You’ll have to approach it with the same care and dedication you’d devote to the most important job interview of your life.

Follow these tips, and you should be on the way to landing the co-op housing of your dreams.

Image Source: Flickr/Richard Rutter

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Home Improvements to Consider Before Listing Your Home

Preparing to list your home? What home improvements should you do and what ones have the greatest return on investment? When you are putting your home up for sale, you have two main goals; a timely sale, and receiving the best possible price. In order to achieve these goals, your home needs to present itself in the best possible light. While every home buyer has different ideas about what the “perfect home” is, you as the seller need to ensure that your home appeals to the widest variety of home buyers possible.

So What Does This Mean:

  1. De-cluttering: This is always the first thing because it makes your home look much more organized — even down to how many items you have on your fireplace — and it make your rooms look much larger. Organizing goes hand in hand with de-cluttering as buyers want to see how they can organize their stuff.
  2. Paint and Clean: First, you must make certain that your color palate throughout your home equals or is superior to your competition. No, buyers cannot see beyond that. If you seek professional advice, you will paint the correct colors. Touch up, freshen up and clean everywhere! Wallpaper is a huge negative, so consider taking it down prior to listing.
  3. Updating: If you need granite or new appliances, and you are trying to maximize your profit and your competition has it, you better have it as well! Perhaps you need updated light fixtures or door knobs? If so, then do it! Buyers typically consist of two working spouses or partners and have busy lives. You must be proactive and make sure your home equals or exceeds your competition!
  4. Exterior: The same holds true for the outside. Fresh mulch, flowers, and power washing (if required) are essential! Remember, this is the first thing that a buyer sees.
  5. Staging: Professional staging or, at a minimum, a stager’s advice is essential! It is a proven fact that a staged home sells for more money and in a much quicker amount of time. I utilize the service of Julie Pelly, owner of Creative Staging. I strongly recommend to sellers that she and her team evaluate every home prior to going on the market. Some homes need redecorating, accents, or perhaps updated or missing furniture at every price point. Typically, a stager will use items in a seller’s home and redistribute them.

Preparing your home for sale can seem overwhelming at first. Home Improvements may or may not be necessary, but be receptive to doing them — keeping in mind your return on investment. Utilize a real estate professional and home staging expert to help you develop a customized plan of action. The results will be amazing and the return on investment will be worth it! You must do everything possible to make your home stand out from your competition! Lighting rooms before showings and having your home show in the best possible way will pay back dividends. The real estate market in the Philadelphia suburbs including Bucks , Montgomery, and Chester counties changes almost on a daily basis! Put your best foot forward to stay ahead of the curve. Remember, a home buyer may only visit your home once. Are you totally prepared?

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Step Inside the LA Home of Dodgers All Star Yasiel Puig

He needed room for his dog to roam, more space for entertaining and shorter commute to the office. Sounds like the typical reason any person would be looking to buy a home. But it’s also what made Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, Yasiel Puig, buy his new home in LA.

In the first video of the new season of the Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage video series, Puig takes us inside his LA home and shares what is it about home that makes it so special to him. He talks about being a normal guy and he’ still amazed at how people react to him when he sees them on the street. But that to him is still part of what makes living in LA so special.

Puig also talks about calling Cuba home and how the food and playing dominoes are some of the fondest memories he has of his birthplace. But now that he’s in LA, there’s no other place he’d rather call home.

Watch Yasiel Puig give us a tour of his home in the video above and then check out the lineup of baseball players, legends and celebrities that will be part of the Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage series with MLB.com every Monday for the next few months at blog.coldwellbanker.com/homefield..

Header image courtesy of Flickr user Ron Reiring

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Can You Guess the Top 10 Cities Americans Are Moving To and From?

40,000,000 Americans were on the move last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For some, the decision came on the heels of a life change like a new job, relationship or baby. For others, warmer temperatures or a cheaper cost of living was the reason for change. Whether these 40 million were upsizing, downsizing or just “rightsizing” for their lifestyle one thing is for sure, there were quite a few cities with revolving doors of people coming and going. For the second year in a row our nation’s capital took the top spot on both lists. Similar to last year, Washington D.C. wasn’t the only city to show up twice. Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle were also cities that certainly kept moving trucks busy.

Planning a move in the next few months? We think you will find these three resources especially helpful:

11 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Moving Company

10 Things You Need To Know Before Moving With Pets

How To Plan For a Successful Move with Children

Infographics courtesy of NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

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Expert Open House Tips for Buyers & Sellers

Spring is the busiest time in real estate. A quick drive around the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon will attest to the fact that that also means it’s open house season. So, whether you’re a buyer reserving 1-4pm every Sunday for visiting open houses, or a seller spending your Saturday preparing for your own open house, we have a few tips to make sure you get the most out of this popular real estate tool.

For sellers, it’s all about the prep work. A few extra steps like having professional photos taken and cleaning up storage areas can go a long way in making your home appeal to potential buyers.

For buyers, a little homework is required as well. Come prepared to the open house with a “buyer toolkit,” complete with measuring tape, smart phone and plenty of questions.

In the below video, Coldwell Banker agents Frank Isoldi and Paula Clark share their expert tips for both buyers and sellers at a real estate open house.

Whether you’re looking to sell your home, or buy your first, visit coldwellbanker.com for more resources on the real estate process.

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How to Give Stainless Steel Appliances a Shine

Stainless steel appliances give any home an upscale and modern feel, unless they’re dirty and scuffed up with stains and fingerprints. Keep them looking like new by using this widely used cooking ingredient to give them a sparkle.

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

Header image courtesy of: 7410 Se 32nd St, Mercer Island, WA

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How to Get a Kitchen Remodel on a Budget

What’s the first thing that comes to mind with a kitchen remodel? The cost? Renovating a kitchen is notorious for being expensive — but that’s not always the case. There are many quick, budget-friendly, do-it-yourself projects that can instantly transform the kitchen in your DFW home. Keep reading for some money-saving ideas to make over your kitchen in style.

Give Cabinets a Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s amazing what some paint can do to your kitchen cabinets. Instead of tearing down and replacing what’s already there, grab some sandpaper and a paintbrush, and give your current cabinets a makeover. Paint can transform even builder-grade cabinets into something impressive. Here’s a good read on how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Make Use of What You Already Have

Doing a kitchen remodel doesn’t always mean ushering in what’s new. Preserve what you have — whether it’s a vintage tile backsplash or the original stainless-steel sink. You can maintain your kitchen’s retro charm while making small updates, such as painting the walls or swapping out the curtains or rug.

Dress Up the Details

One of the simplest kitchen remodel ideas is updating the details — hardware, fixtures, and trim — with dressier options. Are the knobs on your cabinets outdated? Refresh them with something colorful and modern. The same thing goes with the fixtures and trim in your kitchen.

Install a Plate Rail

Here’s an attention-getting idea that will transform your kitchen without busting your budget: a plate rail. If you have any unused space above your cabinets, this is a smart kitchen remodel idea that is functional and stylish. Use the deep shelving to display colorful pitchers, plates, and other kitchen items. When you walk into your kitchen, your eye will immediately be drawn to the plate rail, making the room seem much larger than it actually is.

Do Your Research

If you really want to make over your kitchen on a budget, it pays to do your research. Shop sales online and at big-box stores. Take a look on Craigslist to see what people are selling around the Metroplex. You could even cut out the cost of a contractor by taking a carpentry course and learning how to install cabinetry yourself.

Completing a kitchen remodel doesn’t have to be a huge investment. You can have a big impact for a small cost. Try out some of these simple, affordable updates to refresh the look of your kitchen — without spending a fortune.

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Buying an Investment Property in NYC

NYC residence at night

Buying an investment property in NYC, having its value climb exponentially (and with envy-inducing speed) while paying for itself? Everyone from native New Yorkers to Tibetan sheep farmers have shared this dream. Whether you’ve got a huge inheritance to burn through or you’ve finally amassed enough income to put together a deposit, there are certain things that you should keep in mind before you begin building your NYC empire.

Figure Out Your Budget

Determine exactly how much money you have to spend. Make sure that if you have want to buy an investment apartment worth $500k, you have the ability to pay for it. Even if you’re going to have tenants on the premises to help pay the expenses related to the apartment, you need to make sure that the monthly expenses — mortgage, maintenance, taxes — are costs you can carry on your own if you have to.

Figure Out Which Type of Buyer You Are

In order to be a successful real estate investor, you need to know which type of investor you are. There are generally two types of people who buy apartments in New York: those who buy to rent, and those who buy to hold and flip. The “renters” are the ones who buy to rent their apartments out in order to cover the costs of owning those apartments. If renters aren’t in the apartment, you’ll still have to pay the monthly costs until you find new tenants.

Image Source: Flickr

Check Out Prospective Neighborhoods

Currently, it seems like most of the city is on a winning streak. It’s as if you can drop your money anywhere and you’ll bear fruit. Great market aside, you’ll still want to do your research to make sure you’re making an investment in a neighborhood that makes sense for you.

  • Speak with a broker about neighborhoods that might appeal to you and fit your budget. Go out and personally visit those neighborhoods, and find the specific areas within them that have the amenities that could appeal to your renters. High on the list will be things like accessibility to transportation and proximity to stores.
  • As you walk around the neighborhood, try to get a sense of who’s already living there. If it’s filled with families, a one-bedroom for a single person may not be the best use of your money. Conversely, neighborhoods filled with young people may not be the best place to invest in a three-bedroom family-style apartment. Exceptions are the rule, so working with a real estate professional can help lessen any confusion.

Condo or Co-Op … or House?

Unless you’re buying a full brownstone to rent out, you’ll be buying a co-op or condo. There are infinitely more co-ops in NYC than there are condos, and co-ops are less expensive as well, sometimes significantly so. Easy choice? Not necessarily.

  • It may be easier for you to buy a condo than a co-op. Co-op boards have a history of having much stricter financial requirements than condo boards, although the differences appear to be narrowing.
  • Co-op boards often have strict rules against owners renting out their apartments. You may not be allowed to rent during your first few years of ownership, and you may face limits on how long you can have tenants. Condos don’t usually have those restrictions, making it easy for owners to rent out. If having tenants in your co-op is a must, thoroughly check out the house rental rules before making a bid.

Keep this advice in mind while you search for your investment property in NYC.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Ed Yourdon

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Homeward Bound: Puppy Comes Home

Pup2

Whether you finally gave in to your childrens’ seemingly endless requests for a puppy or came to the conclusion on your own, the time has come to finally bring a new member of the family home. And at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, we believe that a pet truly makes a house a home.

First thing’s first…home prep is key. That goes for not only inside, but also your yard. Here are some ways to pup-proof your home before Beethoven rolls over!

Training can begin right from get-go as the new member of your family becomes acquainted to her new home. Before bringing puppy inside the house for the first time, it could be a great exercise (literally) to take your new pup around the neighborhood for a few blocks to get her familiar with the sights and smells of her new environment. A little walk can relieve some your new little furball’s pent up energy that has been building up from the stresses of the move.

Once inside, you may lead your newest family member on a tour of every room in the house to slowly get her acquainted with a new environment. This is the time to set boundaries to which furniture or areas are on or off limits. Let her know which furniture is okay by designating one spot as your pet’s area in the rooms she will be allowed. Make sure your puppy doesn’t get into bad habits of chewing your stuff by removing loose articles such as floor plants, decorations, shoes and clothing from the floor and out of reach of your new pup. Be aware of objects on tables and low furniture that are at tail level as well! If your little buddy does have a teething problem, try this trick out.

In the rooms of your home themselves, be wary of tablecloths, draping window treatments or long chords which could be a strangulation hazard if puppy panics. You may also take preventative measures on your floors to make the inevitable first accident easier to manage. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, stock up on products specifically designated for accidents from pets. Tile, linoleum or sealed hardwood floors with polyurethane are the most pet friendly floors for clean-up. Teach your kids to tidy up their toys and play areas by letting them know that it could be dangerous for puppy if they don’t clean up after themselves.

Before bringing your new best friend into the yard, clean up any garden hoses, tools or toys hanging around outside that could be a hazard to an untrained puppy. Make sure doors to sheds or the garage where harmful chemicals or heavy machinery are normally stored are sealed off. Designate separate areas outside where your dog will be potty trained and where they will be eating their meals (weather permitting). Setting a consistent routine early on will set your puppy up on the path to success. The fence to your yard should be checked to make sure puppy can’t escape by checking for gaps around gates and fence sections aren’t large enough that she can poke her head through.

When your little bundle of (furry) joy comes home, it is imperative that you are prepared from day one. Set roles for your family for who will be in charge of feedings, walkings and everything else your puppy needs. But the most important thing to prepare for is the endless amount of love that will be entering your house when puppy strides through that front door for the first time!

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Haven’t found that perfect puppy yet? Coldwell Banker has teamed up with Adopt-A-Pet to help 20,000 dogs find a home this year. There is nothing like coming back at the end of the day to the excitement and love of “Homes Best Friend”.

Header and body images via Flickr.

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