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March 21, 2023

The Gist of Preparing for Home Renovation Projects

Image via Pexels

 

Whether you’re looking to add a new space or update an existing one, planning a home renovation can be both exciting and overwhelming. You must think through your project before diving in to ensure everything runs smoothly and you get your desired results. The good news is you can complete your renovation project without a hitch as long as you carefully prepare and plan. The real estate professionals at the Aaron Weber Group explore five critical areas to consider when prepping for your home renovation.

Determining Whether To Get a Home Warranty

Many people confuse a home warranty with a homeowners insurance policy. But home warranties typically cover unexpected repairs due to unforeseen problems in your plumbing, electrical, or appliance malfunctions. A home warranty comes in handy if something goes wrong during the renovations because you won’t have to worry about footing the bill for costly repairs yourself.

 

If you’re planning to undergo major renovations, your safest bet is to purchase a warranty. Consult online resources to learn more about investing in a home warranty and whether the value is there for your specific needs.

Deciding What Kind of Renovation To Do

The earlier you decide what renovation project to complete, the smoother the entire process will unfold. Are you looking for cosmetic updates such as painting or wallpapering? Are you thinking about undergoing a structural change, like expanding an existing room or adding an extra one? This step is crucial because it will help determine how much time and money you need to invest in your project.

Designing A Home Office With Natural Lighting

If part of your renovation involves creating a home office space (and it should if you work from home!), think about how natural light could enhance the area. Natural light not only looks beautiful but can also improve productivity and boost your mood during long workdays.

 

Get creative about how you can bring natural light into your workspace, such as installing larger windows or skylights. And if that’s not possible, leave room in your budget for high-quality overhead lighting.

Planning Your Finances and Time     

Taking on any renovation requires thoughtful consideration of your finances and time commitments upfront; otherwise, you open yourself up to countless surprises down the line. Create a detailed plan outlining how much money you’ll need to spend on materials and labor, as well as how long each step in the process will take. That way, you’ll have left nothing up in the air when it comes time to begin work on-site.

Communicating With Contractors

Perhaps the most challenging part of a home renovation is communicating your ideas and expectations to contractors. Ultimately, you want to leave as little room for misinterpretation as possible. Here are a few tips for articulating your vision:

 

      Confirm that you understand precisely what you want to be done.

      Think carefully about the details of each project and task, and develop a plan that includes timelines and materials needed.

      Explain this plan clearly to the contractors.

      Be polite and respectful when speaking with contractors.

      Ask clarifying questions when necessary (at any stage of the process).

      Don’t overwhelm your contractors with too many tasks all at once; break down each step and highlight which areas need specific attention.

 

Lastly, you’ll want to openly communicate any changes in your plan so that everyone stays on track throughout the process.

Which Projects Need Permits?

Depending on where you live, certain times of renovations may require permits before they can take place inside your home, explains Experts in Your Home. Be sure to research the home projects that require permits beforehand, so everyone involved knows their obligations before beginning work. This includes yourself, contractors, and designers alike!

 

As you start gathering these official documents, focus on converting everything into digital files so that you don’t lose track of them in the remodeling process. Plus, you can gather documents together that involve a particular contractor or project – or whatever other organization makes sense to you. Fortunately, in order for you to merge a PDF all you need is a free tool. Drop in your notes, invoices, permits, etc., then organize them and select Merge. For extra safety and accessibility, save everything to the cloud!

Research and Start Your Renovation

Whatever kind of home renovation project you plan to complete for your house, you’ll want to cover all the bases to position yourself for success. By researching home warranties, planning your home office design, determining other renovation projects worth taking on, and implementing the other tips here, you can set yourself up with all the necessary information before the contractors arrive. Then, you’ll be ready to enjoy the fruits of your preparation!

 

If you decide not to renovate and to move instead, or if you want to sell after your remodel, contact the real estate professionals at the Aaron Weber Group!

March 6, 2023

Staging a Home and Its Benefits

 

When planning to sell your home, staging it can help decrease the time on the market and result in a higher offer. Staging is the process of making your home appeal to as many buyers as possible by cleaning, organizing, and creating an aesthetically pleasing space using furniture, décor, and accessories. This is going to help potential buyers emotionally connect with and see the potential of your house becoming theirs. If you are wondering whether putting the time and/or money into staging is really worth it, check out some stats from the National Association of Realtors.

  • Staging can help increase the sale price by up to 20% on average. 
  • 40% people were more willing to get in the car and visit a staged online find.
  • 82% of buyer’s agents said staging helped their clients visualize the property as their home.
  • More than a quarter of buyers are more than willing to overlook property faults if a home is staged.
  • Staging helps sell homes 3-30 times faster than nonstaged competition.

Here are some tips on how you can stage your own home.

Declutter and Depersonalize

Make your home look organized and cleaner by clearing out the clutter in your home. Try adding storage bins and shelf baskets to hide the clutter. This may also include having too much furniture in one space. Your house will look bigger without as much furniture and clutter and potential buyers will be able to move around each room easily. Remove any extraneous décor items and depersonalize your space to help people picture themselves living there.

Furniture Placement

Float furniture away from walls and reposition couches and chairs into cozy conversational groups that face each other. A good guideline for furniture placement is at least 18 inches between furniture. Placing pieces so that traffic flow in a room is obvious, will make the space feel user-friendly, open, and larger.

Clean

Clean your entire home!! Scrub bathrooms, remove hard water stains from faucets, and clean dirty grout. Another important factor is the way your house smells. Smells can have an immediate effect on the way we feel and think. We often become nose blind to the subtle odors of our own home. Fill your home with pleasant aromas such as candles, air fresheners, plants, and flowers (which will also give a sense of freshness).

Lighting

Great lighting will make a huge difference in pictures as well as in person and will make your home look warm and inviting. Open up your blinds and enhance any natural light your house lets in. You can also add accent lamps, under cabinet lights, reading lights, and pendant lights to your rooms.

Curtains

An easy way to give the illusion of a bigger room is to hang your curtains above the window, starting near your ceiling, and have them long enough to just barely touch the floor. Have the curtains go wider than the width of the window so that when they’re open, they aren’t hindering any natural light.

Accessorize

Group accessories by color, shape, or texture. An easy tip for decorating is to group décor that is varying in height and width in threes and rather than lining them up, create a triangle and place an object at each point. This could be used for accessories on top of a coffee table or a fireplace mantle. Adding decorative pillows and blankets to furniture can also amp up a space.

 

These are just a few inexpensive and easy ways to get your home ready to sell. If you are feeling stuck and looking for extra help, you may want to consider hiring a professional stager or talking with your real estate agent.

 

Posted in Home Selling, Home Tips
Feb. 22, 2023

Wisconsin Real Estate Report – January 2023

 

Here is a quick overview of the statewide real estate statistics for the month of January, courtesy of the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. Wisconsin homes saw a drop of 33.8% in January 2023 compared to January 2022. This was due mostly in part to low inventory across the state and higher mortgage rates compared to 2022. The median home price increased to $250,000 which is an 8.5% increase from $231,000 at the same time last year. The increase in median home prices had an effect on affordability with the average buyer being able to finance 150% of the median home price, which is $375,000, compared to $443,520 in January of 2022. Inventory levels still remain low, with the number remaining unchanged from January 2022 at 1.9 months of available supply. These low numbers indicate that Wisconsin is still in a very strong sellers’ market, as a 6-month supply would indicate a balanced market.

Joe Horning, 2023 Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association had this to say about inventory and mortgage rates “In late October, 30-year fixed mortgage rates hit a weekly average of just over 7%, so it’s good to see them start coming down. However, we will need to see both lower mortgage rates and lower price pressure before there is appreciable improvement in housing affordability in the state.”  While inventory has remained low, it’s good to see that mortgage rates started to come down compared to the peak of 7%. These changes won’t occur quickly, but anything can happen throughout the rest of 2023.

Source data provided by the WRA

Posted in Market Reports
Jan. 20, 2023

Pros and Cons of Buying a House Versus a Condo

 

We’ll be covering some of the pros and cons of owning your own home instead of a condo in case you may be on the fence between picking one or the other.

Pros of Owning a House

More Space

Houses typically offer more square footage than condos, which can be a big advantage if you have a growing family or simply need more room to spread out. Having more space also allows you to create functional spaces you may not have had room to do in a condo, such as a coffee bar or even a home office. You can also get more square footage for your money, and if you’re able to snag a home with a large backyard you’ll have all that outdoor space to work with as well.

More Privacy

Houses also tend to offer more privacy than condos, as they are typically detached from other homes and offer more outdoor space. This sense of privacy can be great, especially if you’re in a condo that does not have great sound suppression in it’s walls, leading to you hearing every conversation your neighbors are having. Not being able to hear your neighbors also allows you to relax and enjoy time to yourself without having to worry about being interrupted by other people.

Customization Options

When you own a house, you can customize and renovate it to your liking as there is no condo association to regulate renovations. This is a very big advantage, especially if your home is outdated and is in need of updates or improvements. You’re also able to freely decorate the exterior of your home, something that isn’t really an option in some condominium complexes.

Potential for Appreciation

One thing we’ve seen in the recent market is that property values have greatly appreciated over the past couple years. Yet, condo values have not appreciated as much or as rapidly as the values on a single-family home. If this trend continues it could give single-family homes a strong advantage over condos in the long run, specifically for resale value when your family decides to move out.

Cons of Owning a House

Higher Costs

Depending on the market and location, it should be no surprise that buying a house is most likely going to be more expensive than buying a condo. These expenses are more than just the sticker price of the property, as with a home you are responsible for all repairs and updates. Most condos take care of the repair costs for their residents, which depending on the repair, could be a huge money-saver.

More Maintenance

Owning a house also means you’ll have to take care of the standard maintenance and upkeep tasks that condo complex staff typically take care of. These can be simple things like taking the trash out to the curb or shoveling your walkway to more time consuming tasks like landscaping and, if you have a larger yard, mowing the lawn. Most of these are more time consuming than costly, but it’s important to keep them in mind.

Less Security

Houses don’t typically come with the increased security measures you get in a condo, such as exterior gates and security cameras. You can increase the security of your home by adding things such as exterior cameras, video doorbells, and other home security systems, but these are all extra costs and more time spent installing these features.

Posted in Home Buying
Nov. 10, 2022

How to Create a Picture-Perfect Space

 

If you’ve been on social media for a while, chances are you’ve seen pictures or videos of a recently remodeled room being showcased that looked absolutely picture-perfect. You’ve probably wondered how you could create a space that gives off the same feeling, but maybe it seemed a bit out of reach with the busy schedule that most of us have. Here are some tips and ideas to help you slowly transform any room in your house from a regular room to your very own showcase for social media.

Pick Your Theme

One of the first and most crucial steps to redesigning any space is picking a theme that you want to try and replicate. For most people, this may be the blacks & whites of a Farmhouse theme, or even the woods and neutrals of a Mid Century Modern design. If you can’t decide on which interior design trend you like the most, it may be best to pick a few colors and textures that you like the best and then build from there. Picking an overall theme provides a great guide for you to work off as you’ll know exactly what to look for instead of throwing random design pieces together and hoping they work in your space.

Research Main Pieces & Accents

Once you have an overall theme you can begin to look online for pieces & accents that fit your theme. For example, if you’re going with black & white as an overall theme for your kitchen, you may want to look at shades of white for your kitchen cabinets and black hardware pieces to replace the current ones on your cabinets. Online websites like Amazon and Target are good places to start looking, but for more specific pieces you may be better off looking at your local hardware or home goods store. Remember, not everything has to match in your room so don’t feel like you need to toss anything that doesn’t fit the overall theme!

Work at Your Own Pace

Once you have your overall theme and a couple pieces/accents picked out you’re ready to get to work! The great thing about doing this sort of project in your own home is that you don’t have a set timeline that you have to meet. You can work at your own pace and tackle projects whenever you get the time. In our imaginary kitchen, this could be something as small and as simple as swapping out hardware pieces on the cabinets and drawers after work, or something as big as repainting your cabinets over the weekend. The most important thing to remember is to take your time and avoid any unnecessary stress by working whenever you’re able and want to.

Keep it Clean

 

This is most likely going to be the most difficult and enduring challenge when it comes to keeping your area picture-perfect. It’s very easy for a space to become messy quickly, especially if you have kids and pets constantly coming in and out. One of the best ways to tackle this is to create a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Having a set schedule allows you to get in a rhythm and ensure you stay on top of keeping your space clean. During this time, it’s a good idea to also look around and organize/remove any clutter that might be sitting out. Clutter can stack up very quickly and removing it before it becomes a real problem can go a long way to keeping your area consistently clean.

 

 

Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 30, 2022

Downsizing: What to Do With All Your Stuff?

 

There comes a point in peoples’ lives where they decide that they don’t need the big home they are living in anymore. Of course, there are many different reasons for that. Kids moved away to college, you want to pay less for a home, you’re overwhelmed with the maintenance, etc. Despite the reason, there is one big question people need to answer when they decide they are going to make that move into a small property: What am I going to do with all of my stuff? The bigger the home, the more things we generally want to get to fill it with. However, when you downsize, you likely are going to need to get rid of some things to fit in your new home. Here are some tips on what to do with your stuff when you downsize.

Decide What Matters Most

Just because we own certain items, doesn’t necessarily mean they are important to us. As we said before, it’s human nature to collect things over time especially if we have a larger home because we feel the need to fill it with things. When you downsize you are forced to only keep the important things because let’s face it, not everything you own will comfortably fit in your new home. Take a look at the things you have and decide if they are worth keeping, then follow these next steps.

Keep, Sell, Donate

When you have decided what you are keeping and what you are getting rid of, you will need to separate them into different piles. The things you want to keep, pack them up and label them for your move so you can easily locate them at your new home. For the stuff you no longer want you will need to decide if they are worth selling or if you should donate them. Making money on items you’ve purchased in the past but want to sell now is a nice way to go into your new home with a little extra cash on hand. However, you may not have time to sell everything before you move so you may have to donate a lot of items. Of course, there may be items you can’t sell and may not be able to donate, so you may have to toss some of your things you want to get rid of.

Give Yourself Time

When you get closer, say a month, to your move it may be too late to properly declutter. It will certainly make it hard to sell items you decide to part with. If you know you are planning to start your home search, it may already be a good time to start decluttering, so you aren’t scrambling to get rid of stuff right before your move. Giving yourself a 90-day time before you move to get your items sorted is a good rule of thumb to follow to give yourself plenty of time.

Last Resort

If your home buying process moves quicker than expected and you weren’t able to find the time to sort through all of your things properly, you could rent a storage unit to hold items you aren’t sure what to do with quite yet. There’s certainly nothing wrong with renting a storage unit to hold excess items, but if your goal was to downsize to save money, renting a storage unit could counteract that. Also, when things are out of sight, they are often out of mind so it’s common for storage units to just hold stuff that we may not even miss in the first place.

 

When you downsize, it doesn’t mean you need to get rid of all of the things you love. It’s just a great time to reevaluate the items that matter most to us. It also pushes us to be more minimalistic. You may find that you can live with a lot less than you currently have.

 

Posted in Home Selling, Home Tips
Aug. 5, 2022

5 Easy Ways to Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

 

First impressions matter and your home’s curb appeal is one of the most important impressions you can make on both your neighbors and potential buyers. Here are five tips on how to easily add curb appeal to your home without breaking your budget.

Paint the Front Door

One of the first things people notice about a home is the front door, and if yours has paint chipping off, it can send the wrong message. Consider picking up a can of paint to breathe some new life into that old door. If you want to stand out, you can use a bright color like red or yellow to grab people’s attention right away.

Update Old Hardware

Changing out the old hardware on the front of your home can go a long way to increase the overall look. Take some time to replace the old doorknob and lock on your current door for some more modern-looking ones that match the overall theme of your home. If you like smart devices, you can opt to spend some more money and get a smart lock that can be opened with a code or your smartphone. Smart doorbells are also popular, and they allow you to see who’s at your door even if you’re away from home.

Install Landscape Lighting

One of the simplest ways to add curb appeal to your home is by installing landscape lights. You can choose to put these in your yard’s garden, or you can line them along the walkway leading up to your front door. Depending on what lights you buy, this can be one of the most cost-effective ways to add some curb appeal to your home.

Replace Your Old Mailbox

Mailboxes serve a vital purpose, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep the same outdated one forever! If you have a mailbox that’s attached to the side of your home, consider getting a new one that fits the theme of your home. If your mailbox is out by the curb, you can replace the existing box with one that’s more modern. If the mailbox post is on your property, you can also do some minor landscaping and create a small garden around the base of the mailbox, which will help your house stand out from the crowd.

Refresh The Flower Beds

If you have a flower bed in your front yard that you’ve been neglecting, now might be the time to renew it into something beautiful. Start by removing any existing weeds and trimming down overgrown plants. You can transplant some plants from your local garden store if you want new flowers in there right away, otherwise, you can wait until spring to plant some seeds. Adding mulch to your flower bed is also a great way to transform the whole look of the bed, as well as add some great color too.

Posted in Home Tips
July 22, 2022

How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient

 

If you want to save money on your energy bill, it may be time to consider home improvements to make your home more energy-efficient. From small to big improvements, there are many ways to do this. There will be upfront costs, but they will save you money in the long run! Here are a few tips on how you can lower your energy bill and create a more energy-efficient home.

Check Your Windows

Depending on how old the windows are in your home, they may be making a big impact on your energy bill. You can upgrade your windows that both keep hot air in during the winter months as well as cool air throughout the summer. If you don’t want to replace your windows, check for drafts or leaks and seal them so your thermostat doesn’t have to work so hard.

Choose Energy Efficient Appliances

We don’t expect you to go ahead and replace all of your appliances after reading this, but when it’s time to swap out old appliances with new ones, make sure they are energy efficient. You can check appliances’ Energy Star rating by visiting their website and searching for products.

Improve Your Insulation

Insulation can drastically help reduce your heating and cooling costs. If your insulation hasn’t been updated in over 10 years, it may be time to replace it. According to EPA estimates, homeowners on average can save 15% on cooling and heating costs by effectively air sealing and insulating their homes.

Integrate Smart Home Products

Smart home products give you the best of both worlds. They not only make your home more energy-efficient, but they also provide convenience by automating your home. Your smart home system will adapt to your habits by adjusting your lighting, thermostat, etc. to help reduce your home’s energy output.

Check Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system affects the air quality in your home. They also impact your home’s energy output. As a matter of fact, HVAC systems account for 46 percent of energy consumption on average in U.S. homes. By regularly cleaning, replacing air filters or even replacing an old HVAC system you will save a significant amount on your energy bill.

 

Posted in Home Tips
April 5, 2022

How to Spring Clean Like a Pro

 

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to get our homes in order and give them the deep cleaning they desperately need. Sure, it may take a while but there’s no better feeling than getting your home in tip-top shape! To make sure you clean like a pro this year, follow these tips.

Create a Schedule

Spring cleaning can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Before you start cleaning, make a schedule that will work for you. If you think you can get it all done in one day, make a list of which room you will start in and work your way around the house room by room. If you don’t have a whole day to spare deep cleaning your whole house, schedule out which rooms you want to tackle over the course of a few days. Starting off with a schedule is a great way to start the spring cleaning process!

The Big Purge

You should always take the time to declutter each year. It can both give you more space in your home and it feels good to let some things go! There is a lot of stuff you can simply toss in the trash but make sure you put things in a separate pile that can be donated. A good rule of thumb to follow, especially for clothes, is if you haven’t worn or used an item in the last year then you probably can part with it.

Top-Down Cleaning

Once your schedule is created and you’ve removed clutter from your home, it’s time to start the cleaning! You should start cleaning higher surfaces such as the top of cabinets and ceiling fans, so you don’t have to clean things twice. Dust or debris can fall to the ground as you’re cleaning higher-up surfaces so save the vacuuming for last to clean up anything that falls to the floor.

Things You Might Have Missed

Even if you make a schedule to breakout what you need to clean, it can be pretty easy to forget about cleaning tasks you should take care of. Here are a few things you may have missed that you should take care of during your spring cleaning:

  • Appliances
  • Under and behind furniture
  • Light Fixtures
  • Walls and floors
  • Drawers
  • Windows and windowsills
  • Disinfect doorknobs, light switches and other surfaces that are touched often
  • Test batteries on your smoke detectors

Create A Routine

You are going to be a happy camper once you get through your spring-cleaning checklist. To make things easier on yourself going forward, create a cleaning routine to stick to so you can save yourself a little time and energy during your next spring cleaning.

 

 

 

Posted in Home Tips
March 4, 2022

Relocating for a Job Doesn’t Have to Be Terrible: Here’s How to Make It a Smooth Process

               Image via Pexels

 

Relocating for a Job Doesn’t Have to Be Terrible: Here’s How to Make It a Smooth Process

 

Whether you are excited or lamenting the thought of moving to a different area for your new job, you can set your family up for a smooth process. Chances are your new job is better than your last one.

 

Maybe you’re getting paid more, the work will be more fulfilling, or your new city will offer a better quality of life for your family. Perhaps it’s any combination of these.

 

Your relocation is a major step for everyone in your household, and you shouldn’t let the worries of moving, finding housing, adjusting to a new position, and meeting new people stress you out. Below, Aaron Weber shares some practical advice for navigating the process with minimal hiccups!

 

Maintain Your Self-Care Routines       

 

As you navigate this major life change, you will be dealing with your fair share of stress. While preparing beforehand will reduce your stress and anxiety, it’s also essential to practice self-care and keep your overall health and well-being a priority.

 

Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night, even on moving day! Your body and mind cannot function at total capacity without adequate rest. Also, remember to exercise every day; 20 minutes of walking or jogging is better than nothing. If possible, try to shoot for 30 minutes of vigorous activity each day.

 

Furthermore, don’t lose sight of your diet as you transition to the next chapter. Stick to whole foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. Limit the processed foods and sugars you consume, and drink plenty of water along the way.

 

Look at Several Areas

 

Your entire family must be able to settle in smoothly during the relocation, and that will require you to conduct ample research. Rather than look at a single neighborhood that a friend told you about, research several areas within close proximity to your new workplace so that you can have multiple options to compare. And consider each person in your household as you research.

 

For example, what are the schools like in each neighborhood, and are there family-friendly activities nearby? What kind of restaurants are there, and can you easily access a gym? One way to learn about local businesses and resources is to research the area through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

 

Explore Your Housing Opportunities       

 

Once you have a neighborhood in mind for your relocation, start researching the housing market. If you are moving to Middleton, WI, know that the city offers an exceptional quality of life, and the median home cost is $450,800. If you plan to buy a home, find an experienced realtor like Aaron Weber to help guide you through the process.

 

Perhaps you want to hold off on purchasing a house until your family has more time to settle in and get your bearings. In that case, you might benefit from renting a home.

 

If you move to Denver, CO, you can use websites to research potential homes and apartments within your price range. You can even filter your search by amenities and layouts and take 3D virtual tours for in-depth looks at properties. Take time to research the best apartments in Denver until you find a home that will suit the needs of your whole household.

 

Negotiate Relocation Benefits        

 

Most companies provide some form of relocation assistance. If your new employer does not offer to pay for your moving costs, don’t hesitate to request it. Some employees even ask for temporary housing for the first weeks of their relocation, along with living costs.

 

Stay Disciplined

 

Finally, you have a lot on your plate as you transition into your new home and job. As you handle your many moving responsibilities, don’t lose sight of your commitment to your new job.

 

Maintain your essential work skills, and be sure to meet any deadlines along the way (for your old and new jobs). Also, stay in regular communication with your new employer to ensure you remain on the same page and have everything you need to get off to a strong start.

 

Conclusion

 

Even if you are relocating because your new job provides you with a higher salary, it is a significant life change that requires you to prepare well beforehand.

 

Keep in mind that you want the process to go smoothly for your entire family, which means that you need to diligently plan and take any necessary steps to transition as painlessly as possible. Keep the tips above in mind as you and your family make a strategy, and try to enjoy the little moments along the way.

 

 

Are you looking for a top-tier real estate agent in the Madison area? Contact Aaron Weber today! (608) 556-4179