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7 Home Decor Trends to Avoid If You Hope to Sell Your Home

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There’s a huge difference between decorating for your own pleasure and spiffying up your home to sell. If you’re staying put and pining for a purple bathroom, go for it! The resale value of your eclectic tastes don’t apply.

However, if you might put your place on the market in the next couple of years—and hope to fetch top dollar—then you’ll need to tone down what you want and ponder what the masses want instead. Because while pea-green appliances might appeal to you and be oh-so-trendy right now, will they make future home buyers swoon … or recoil in horror?

We know, it’s hard to tamp down and “blandify” your personal style, but it’s a must. So, lest your Pinterest whims get the best of you, here are some “hot” home decor trends to avoid if you hope to sell anytime soon.

1: Wallpaper

Bold, almost kitschy wallpaper has been a big trend lately, especially in small bathroom spaces. We’ve seen tropicals, animal prints, cacti, geometrics, and just about every other kind of pattern in bright colors and metallics. Whether or not this trend has peaked (and we’ll leave the debate about whether wallpaper in bathrooms makes sense for another day), it’s a no-no for someone getting ready to sell.

“It’s better to not overdo it with bold, bright patterns, even though these may be in style for now, particularly for wallpaper,” says Jamie Williams, founder of Studio JW in Brooklyn, NY. “When selling, you want to highlight your home’s positives, and inspire potential home buyers to use their imagination to envision themselves in your home.”

2: Intricate tile

Bold-patterned cement tiles are popping up everywhere from Instagrammable restaurants to hip backsplashes to bathroom floors. This is exactly why you should avoid them.

“The pattern may be on-trend, but will become outdated soon and turn buyers off,” says Williams.

Strong patterns will also catch a buyer’s eye in the online listing photos of your home, and not in a good way, explains Dawn D. Totty, an interior designer in Chattanooga, TN.

You want buyers to see potential in your space, not be distracted by divisive tile choices. Totty recommends keeping the patterns to a minimum in your listing photos even in nonpermanent items like duvets and furniture for just this reason.

“Bold prints and patterns on walls, bedding, and rugs will stand out in a big way in your online photos as well as during a home tour,” she says. You want people to remember your great house, not your bright bedspread.

3: Too much purple or yellow

Yes, purple is the color of the year and “Gen Z Yellow” is trendy, but use these colors with caution.

“Purple walls will only appeal to a small niche of people,” says Totty. Color is key for resale value, she explains, and that color should be a neutral paint in eggshell finish.

If you absolutely can’t live without bold bright colors, purple or otherwise, “a few colorful pillows are perfectly fine,” says Totty. And luckily, the pillows come with you, so you can take your colorful palette with you to your next home.

4: Too much cold white

Wait, you may be thinking we were supposed to go neutral, and now we’re supposed to avoid white? What gives?

“If your home’s architecture and interior is ultramodern, you want to make sure it doesn’t come off as too cold or uninviting,” explains Williams. “The sleek, European, monochromatic palette is fashionable, but can lack conveying a warmth and coziness that a home buyer wants to feel when looking for their next home.”

That doesn’t have to mean repainting, if you’re already all-in on the all-white trend. Williams recommends adding warm tones and texture with accessories, pillows, throws, and other accent pieces.

5: Overdoing it on the brass and copper

Copper, brass, rose gold, and other warm metals are having a moment. But like all moments, they will pass and these metals will cease to be appealing. Choosing premium bathroom or kitchen fixtures in these trendy, bright metals? Probably not a great idea. Brass especially can be a love-it-or-hate-it look, and hating it is the last reaction you want a buyer to have to anything in your home.

Instead, choose more neutral metals like stainless steel, chrome, or nickel for fixtures, and get your brass on in your accent pieces, lamps, or kitchen accessories.

6: Anything but stainless-steel appliances

Yes, stainless-steel appliances have been the go-to for years, and yes, someone is always trying to argue that stainless steel is on its way out, but 72% of people who remodeled their kitchens in 2017 went with stainless steel. Unless your kitchen has a design element that demands a different color (or you’re springing for a Smeg), stainless steel is the “neutral” of kitchen appliances.

7: A statement door that makes too much of a statement

A clean, fresh, colorful front door upgrades your home’s curb appeal and gives a welcoming and happy first impression. But make sure you pick the right color. For years, statement doors have been trending in fun colors: teals, yellows, bright blues, oranges, and greens. According to Totty, though, buyer favorites are black and red.

It’s hard to want to shell out your hard-earned cash for renovations that aren’t to your taste and you’re not going to enjoy, but comfort yourself with the fact that your restraint will pay off when it’s time to find a buyer. And once you move into your next home where you plan to stay put, feel free to paint over all those neutral walls with any color you want!



How to Buy a House This Year: 5 Tips to Get an Edge

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Figuring out how to buy a house is no small feat—particularly since the rules keep on changing. So even if you’ve bought a home in the past and feel like the process is old hat, watch out: What worked in 2017 might not fly in 2018. It’s a whole new real estate world out there!

In an effort to prepare you, here are some of the new rules on how to buy a house this year. You will face new tax codes, an onslaught of tough competition, and more that will require you to hone your home-buying skills more than ever. But knowing what awaits you is half the battle. Check out this refresher on how to buy a house in 2018.

1: Know how the new tax codes affect you

New year, new tax code! Although the recent tax reforms have stirred up concerns that they’re putting homeownership further out of reach for many Americans, the reality is more nuanced than that—and shouldn’t deter home buyers from making the leap.

For instance: In 2018, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on loans up to $750,0000. That’s down from $1 million, but keep in mind that, according to® data, the median list price for a home is only $270,000. As such, this change is expected to affect just 1.3% of new mortgages, mostly in pricey markets such as California, New Jersey, and New York.

Bottom line: Don’t give into vague fears about the new tax code without doing your homework and understanding how it affects you. Here’s more on how new tax codes affect home buying.

2: Prepare for some cutthroat competition

“Housing stock continues to be at record lows across the country,” points out Bobby Montagne, CEO of Walnut Street Finance. “The days of multiple offers are back in many [areas].”

As such, you should prepare to wage battle against the worthiest foe of all: all-cash buyers.

“One trend we’ve seen is all-cash buyers,” notes Anthony Grosso of Grosso Properties in Malverne, NY. “They’re coming from everywhere and, unlike the lowball cash offers from years ago, they’re offering full price or more, waiving appraisals and contingencies.”

In January of last year, 23% of all home purchases were made with all cash with no mortgage, according to the National Association of Realtor®’s Confidence Index Survey Report—and some experts say that number will rise this year. These buyers have the edge since they don’t have to secure financing, so they’re particularly appealing to home sellers. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless.

One way to get the edge over all-cash buyers is to write a letter to the seller about yourself and your family to make your situation more personal. This could steer sellers in your direction, especially if it means choosing you over a buyer who might tear down the home and turn it into a new development.

Another strategy: Ask sellers about their own goals in the sale. If you can help meet them, such as having a closing date in a few months, you could stand out by being flexible. Here’s more on how to compete with all-cash buyers.

3: Get street-wise about what you read online

We’re not knocking “For Sale” signs planted in front lawns; however, these days perusing real estate listings online on sites such as is par for the course. Yet while it’s a definite perk to be able to shop for homes on your laptop or phone, it would be naive to instantly believe everything you see.

In the same way you’d be skeptical of that online plea to raise funds for cute puppies, you should be suspicious of real estate “offers” that could be thinly veiled attempts to steal your identity or scam you out of money.

So how can you tell? Here are some classic red flags:

  • Offers that sound too urgent (e.g., “available at this price for only today!”)
  • Listings asking for personal information such as your Social Security number
  • Home sellers or listing agents who are “out of the country” or otherwise unavailable

Also be cautious of incoming emails: According to data from the FBI, criminals attempted to divert nearly $1 billion into their pockets in 2017, up from $19 million in 2016. This crime usually begins when hackers send you an email that appears to be from your real estate agent or a title company. So if you receive a message requesting information you hadn’t previously agreed on, or asking for a quick change in plans, pick up the phone and call the person or company involved to be sure.

4: Don’t get suckered by home staging

During the past several years, more and more sellers have opted to incorporate at least some level of staging into their homes: Think bringing in furniture (or taking it out), storing clutter, hanging new wall art, and removing personal items. Nearly a third of buyers are more willing to overlook property faults in a staged home, according to a survey by the NAR.

A staged home can help you visualize yourself living there, but don’t let it deter you from checking on the basics. For example, that farmhouse sink might be lovely to look at, but a leaky faucet or slow drain could portend plumbing problems you should not ignore. Perfect rugs or a fresh coat of paint might be covering stains or water damage. Don’t be shy about lifting, moving, and testing whatever you need to in order to know a house is in good shape—and if something big isn’t up to snuff, ask the seller for repair credits or to lower the home’s price.

5: Consider a fixer-upper

“There is definitely more competition and demand for houses that are already renovated and move-in ready,” notes Montagne. Yet there is a way to turn this to your advantage: Keep your eyes peeled for the ugly ducklings, aka fixer-uppers.

“Don’t rule out houses that need work, even if you are not up for doing it yourself,” says Montagne. “The lower price plus the cost of renovations usually adds up to less than the price of a completely renovated home.”

But not all fixer-uppers are good deals: The best of the bunch require renovations that are merely cosmetic, meaning they don’t involve major components of the house such as the foundation or structure. Cosmetic work might consist of a kitchen or bathroom remodel, new floors, or siding repair.

To find out how much fixing up a fixer-upper may cost, have a contractor come through and give an estimate on the cost of the work so you can crunch the numbers. Here’s more on how to buy a fixer-upper.


Buying a Foreclosure: House to Home Chronicles

First time home-buyers may come in to the process with many preconceived notions about real estate. This couple learned a lot and shares their advice on working with a real estate agent and what others can expect. In the video they explain what it was like buying a foreclosed property and how they were able to maximize their budget.

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View the full video here:

South Carolina Relocation: House to Home Chronicles

Charlotte is a unique spot in North Carolina because of its proximity to South Carolina and many surrounding neighborhoods. Moving from another region or just down the road can seem overwhelming. In this chronicle, the Nugents explain why Rock Hill, SC worked for them when looking to purchase their first home.

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View the full video here:

Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

Winter is here, and with it comes beautiful snow and comforting fireplaces. However, this time of year also brings the very real chance of severe winter storms. Blizzards, ice storms and dangerously low temperatures can pose serious threats to you and your home.

Having your home ready to combat the worst of winter weather is something no homeowner should take lightly. The mercury is dropping — are you prepared?

Inside the Home

Make sure these indoor winterizing tasks are squared away before it’s too late.

Add weather stripping to windows and doors. Once the wind starts whipping through the neighborhood, you’ll be able to feel the cold air slipping through cracks and gaps in windows and doors. The first step to sealing out drafts is to measure the gap around the window or door. Then buy weather stripping that’s wider than the widest point of the gap. That way, when you close the window or door, it’ll compress the weather stripping, plug up the gap and seal out any drafts. And don’t forget to block gaps beneath exterior doors. Specially designed door sweeps and tubular rubber weather stripping are highly effective at blocking out wind, rain and snow.

Flush the water heater. Sediment and gunk can accumulate in the bottom of a water heater, causing its efficiency to dip considerably. It’s fairly easy to flush the water heater yourself, but always consult a professional if you have any questions. Water heaters all have a drain valve at the bottom of the unit. If your water heater is electric, make sure you turn off the electricity to the heater before it’s flushed. Hook up a hose to the drain valve, attaching it carefully to prevent flooding, and run it outside to a safe place to drain the water. Then open the valve and let it drain before cleaning out any gunk and rust.

Prepare the fireplace. Whether you have a traditional wood fireplace or a gas fireplace, you’ll need to make sure it’s burning safely and efficiently.

Clean the chimney. Wood-burning fireplaces can produce a great deal of creosote buildup inside the walls of your chimney from casual use, which could cause problems with smoke and carbon monoxide escaping into the living area. If you use the fireplace frequently — say, three to four days per week all winter long — it’s smart to hire a chimney sweep to clean the flue once a year.

Prep gas fireplaces. Have the gas burner inspected by a professional to ensure there are no leaks or buildup in the lines.


ISlu5f24e0kmw41000000000Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Find alternative heat sources. When the power goes out during a winter storm, it won’t be long before you start to feel the temperature in your home dropping. That’s why it’s crucial to have alternative sources of power and heat — ones that don’t require the electricity of your home to operate. Consider investing in a temporary wood-burning stove, or a kerosene or gas heater.

Prepare for ice dams. Ice dams are potentially the most damaging of problems that can arise from a severe winter storm, and although they occur on the outside of your home, preventing them actually begins inside. When snow and ice accumulate on your roof, they melt in locations where heat has built up and warmed the underside of the roof. That melted snow and ice will travel down to the cooler edges of the roof and freeze, causing a large buildup, or dam, of ice.

Water traveling from the top of the roof backs up against the newly-formed ice dam. That water then begins penetrating the roof, leaking down into the walls and ceilings, and damaging drywall. On top of that, the water can get inside insulation, creating excess moisture leading to further damage, and even dangerous mold.

To prevent ice dams from occurring, check insulation in your attic and top floor, including around electrical boxes and recessed light fixtures, and make sure the roof is adequately ventilated.

Outside the Home

Now that your house is ready for winter weather inside, it’s time to prepare the outside of your home. Snowstorms can bring their own problems, but ice is a bigger winter storm worry, and power outages can cause serious issues if you’re not prepared.

Caulk windows. When you install weather stripping inside, check the exterior of your window for gaps as well. On occasion, the frame can separate from the exterior, allowing cold air to sneak inside. Grab some exterior window/door caulk in a color similar to your window frame, and run a bead around the gap to make sure you have the drafts covered from both sides.


Wrap pipes and faucets. Outside, your home likely has at least one exposed faucet used for watering and outdoor activities. But in the winter, these faucets can pose a hazard, allowing winter air to infiltrate the water running through your underground pipes. When it gets cold enough, the water could freeze and expand in the pipes, causing them to burst. Then you have major problems. Covering the exposed faucet heads with hard foam covers is a must when you get a “hard freeze,” meaning the temperature drops below 28 degrees.

Also, if you have any underground sprinkler systems, they may have an exposed supply line near the home. Wrap and tape these with pipe insulation and duct tape to make sure they don’t freeze as well.

Clean gutters and add gutter guards. Leaves can muck up the gutter works, so it’s important to make sure you get all the blockage out of the way before melting snow and ice backs up on your roof and causes damage.

Trim your trees. Take a minute to identify branches that may cause a problem in the event of heavy ice, and hire a professional to trim them away from your home.

Combat power outages with a generator. Power loss from iced-over power lines is an outdoor problem with big indoor consequences. A generator is the perfect way to avoid the hassle of finding an alternative heat source or overusing your fireplace. But be careful: Every winter brings news reports of deaths due to carbon monoxide from improperly used generators. Consumer protection agencies recommend that you never use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements, or sheds. They should always be used outside, well away from windows, doors, vents, or any other opening. Keeping a working CO alarm in your house is also a good idea.

Don’t let winter take you by surprise! Make sure your home is protected against snow, ice and freezing wind. Install your alternative heat sources and generators before a storm warning even arrives, and keep plenty of water and easy-to-store food on hand. When severe weather hits, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.

From: Zillow


What is TRID?

TRID translates to TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure and it went into effect on Oct. 3 of 2015. Simply put, TRID combines the Good Faith Estimate and Early Truth-in-Lending disclosure into the loan estimate and the HUD-1 and Final TIL into the closing disclosure.

Why does TRID matter?

TRID is one of the largest obstacles to purchasing, thanks to its mandatory waiting periods and lenders lacking experience with the process. Buyers who pick inexperienced lenders risk additional delays in rate-lock extensions and/or missed deadlines on purchase contracts.

Further complicating matters is that each lender interprets TRID in their own different way. Finding a lender who has the most favorable interpretations is crucial.

How do I find the right lender?

Find a lender that will pre-approve and not just pre-qualify. A pre-approval is actually having your loan submitted, underwritten and approved with conditions as a property to be named later. Pre-approval saves about two days.

Also, select a lender who issues the CD before being clear to close. A lot of lenders will only issue CDs after your loan is clear to close.

The CD requires a three-day wait period before closing. So if you receive it after you are clear, then you are sitting around for three days doing nothing.

On the other hand, if the lender issues it before the clear to close, you can begin your wait period working on other conditions with the lender. This saves buyers three days.

From: SF Gate