It is exciting to go to open houses and dream of the possibilities a new home brings. Going to open houses is crucial to finding the right home. The next time you take a tour of a home, keep these tips in mind to ensure it is a positive and useful experience.

Respect When the House is Available for Viewing Most sellers have discussed available times interested buyers can view the property outside of the scheduled open house. If the open house does not line up with your schedule, nor do the additional available times to view the property, ask your buyer agent to reach out to the listing agent to set up a special showing that’s convenient for you.

Be on Time (Early is Better) Show up shortly before an open house is scheduled to start and beat the rush. You will get one-on-one time with the selling agent to ask questions. When you are done viewing the house, you can check out the neighborhood.

Ask Questions with Caution
The selling agent is there to answer questions. However, it’s best to not overshare information or say anything that will give the agent negotiating power over you. Don’t forget, the agent works for the seller. Good questions to ask the selling agent include: – Have you gotten a lot of offers on the property? – When does the seller plan on moving? – How long has the property been on the market? – Have there been any price changes? – Does the house have any negative issues that need to be addressed?

While the information is still fresh, take some notes and final impressions of the home to help you make your final decision.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

When buying a new house, it’s easy to get distracted by size and think that bigger is better. However, depending on your situation, the opposite may be true.

So how can you determine if your new home is too small, too big, or “just right?” You’ll want to consider these elements.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal? How many years do you see yourself in this house? Is this the place where you want to raise your kids and retire? If not, then size shouldn’t be as crucial as you think. Consider the fact that you will likely move again, which means that you can upgrade in the future if necessary.

What’s Your Financial Limit? For the most part, you don’t want more home than you can truly afford. While you may be getting that promotion in a couple of months, you can’t buy now expecting to have more money in the bank later. Overextending your financial reach is always a bad move, so it’s best to avoid putting yourself (or your family) in that position.

How Many People are Living Here? In a perfect world, everyone would be able to have their own bedrooms, but when you have kids, that’s not always possible. When thinking about this situation, consider how imperative it is to have sufficient space for everyone, and what it will do to your budget.

Overall, buying a home should be about your current needs and how you plan to grow into space in the future. Don’t buy big for the sake of showing off – in the end, you’ll probably regret it.

About Windermere Real Estate

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,500 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Of course, one of the dirtiest objects in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty places and suggestions for cleaning them.

 

  1. Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
  2. Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  3. Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
  4. Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
  5. Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.

 

One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.

 

Compartmentalize Your Activities Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.

 

Make it Chic Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.

 

Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.

 

Light it Properly Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.

 

Choose Your Accents Wisely We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.

 

Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

If you’re looking to refinance your home or possibly sell, you’ll need a killer appraisal. A bank will not refinance a home for more than it is worth, and a potential buyer will not pay more than the recognized value of the home. Here are 5 simple steps for a better home appraisal.

 

Tidy your space Make sure your yard looks well-groomed and the interior of your home is clean clutter-free. It is well worth the investment to have the home professionally cleaned and have your yard serviced. Invest in the right types of renovations.

 

Kitchens and bathrooms are the best types of renovations. They will typically provide 80% ROI. High-efficiency appliances and upgrades that improve the overall efficiency of the home are well worth the investment.

 

Document your upgrades Provide the appraiser with a list and documentation of all upgrades, renovations, and improvements to the home.

 

Do your homework Research and provide your own comparable valuations for similar properties in the area. Note your tone. You don’t want to come off as defensive but rather helpful.

 

Be available but not in the way Be present to assist with the process but don’t be the appraiser’s shadow. You want to appear helpful, not nervous that he’ll find something wrong!

 

Appraisals can be helpful in increasing the sale of your home or assisting in refinancing your mortgage. Use these tips and you’ll get a better value for your home.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

In just over 5 years, Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 500 agents join their team. Winners of the Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR), Windermere Homes & Estates was also honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Revamping your landscaping can be a huge undertaking. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money. So how can you give the exterior of your home a face lift without breaking the bank or taking out a second mortgage? There a many ways to cut costs on landscaping, including some of our favorite tips below!

 

Select perennial plants. Choosing perennial plants over annuals can help reduce both cost and time. These plants continue to bloom year after year with less upkeep so you won’t have to set aside more money for new plants and spend time replanting in the coming years.

 

Shop at the end of the season. Shop for plants, accessories, mulch, containers, and more towards the end of fall for the best savings. Most garden centers and nurseries are looking to clear out plants and tools before winter so you may be able to save up to 50 percent.

 

Creatively source materials. Often extra materials can be found at construction sites or other landscapers may be giving them away for discounted prices or even free on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Make sure you look around before paying full price for rocks, wood, gravel, and more.

 

Use a mix of materials. Building surfaces like pathways or patios can often carry a large price tag for both materials and installation. To reduce costs, consider mixing materials, such as gravel with pavers or concrete with cut stone, to create a unique surface for less.

 

Keep up maintenance. Taking care of your yard throughout the year can save you from high-cost repairs in the future. Make sure to weed regularly, reduce standing water, keep patios and pathways clean, and paint peeling fences.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

With the constant shift in car shapes and sizes as your family grows on top of storage requirements, ensuring you build the perfect, secure garage to hold everything as your needs change is crucial. But not to worry, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of options to help set you on the right path!

Garage Width: The most common garage layout found on homes is a standard two-car garage. Equipped with a single door, generally 12 to 18 feet wide, that allows for two vehicles of the same or different sizes. An alternative garage layout is a two-car garage split down the middle with a vertical beam and two smaller doors on either side. This is a sleek aesthetic that is visually pleasing but may bump up cost with the required dual door setup and door openers. Another option is a single-car garage that starts at 8-feet wide.

Short vs. Tall: The standard height for garage doors is 7 feet tall, which works perfectly for most vehicles. However, if you have a lifted truck or jeep or have an installed roof rack or cargo carrier, you will need to opt for something taller. Raise the height to 8 or 9 feet to ensure proper clearance.

Door Material: Although it’s not the first thing you think of when building a garage, the door material used can make a big impact. Steel garage doors panels are most popular and start at 1/8-inch thick with no insulation and be as think as 1 1/2-inches thick with a piece a foam in between the layers. Additionally, homeowners can choose wood, glass, vinyl, or fiberglass doors.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

With the change in seasons may come the urge for change, whether it be in your habits, activities, clothing, or in your home. If you are looking for a home refresh, look no further than the top hot home trends for 2019. Below are five of our favorites!

Biophilia. One of the largest décor trends this year center around connecting with nature by bringing the outside indoors. Natural materials such as wood and stone paired with ocean blues and various shades of greens or grays are a common theme.

Jewel Tones. Colors such as indigo, emerald green, ruby reds, and sapphire blue are making a statement this year. Whether they are used on walls or for accent pieces and furniture, these colors create a rich, luxurious atmosphere in any room.

Bold Backsplashes. Homeowners are looking to spice up their kitchens by opting for bold colors or graphic tiling for their backsplash. Additionally, there has been a lot of interest in taking the tile from countertop to ceiling, making for a nice feature wall.

Light Wood Flooring. This trend had taken a seat on the back burner for a while but is now back with a vengeance. Homeowners are leaning towards more open, spacious concepts, and light-colored floors help reflect light and create an airy, bright feel.

Painted Ceilings. People are no longer ignoring the ceiling in their home. Instead they are using it to round out the décor in each room with accent paint colors or eye-catching graphic wallpaper.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Purchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, don’t forget there will be other costs associated with your purchase then the price of the home. Here are 5 fees to keep in mind as you begin to budget.

Home inspection. This is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $500 depending on the home and the location.

Title services. Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.

Appraisal fee. Before getting a loan, you will likely be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the size of the home.

HOA fees. Many communities have a homeowners’ association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. Typical HOA fees are around $200 per month.

Taxes. The taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is not uncommon for it to be up to two months’ worth of county and city property taxes. Additionally, there may be taxes for the transfer of the home title.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.

Repaint walls. Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.

Repair floors. Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Refresh the landscaping. Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.

Fix your fixtures. Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds.

Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

 

You’ve narrowed down your wish list, viewed many homes, and finally found your perfect fit. Time to take the leap and make an offer! This can be both incredibly intimidating and exponentially exciting. So how can you throw your hat into the ring with confidence? Here’s what you need to know to make an offer like a boss!

Determine your price limit. Work with your agent to determine if the seller’s listing price is fair based on similar home sales in the area, interest in the home, time on the market, and more. Then, figure out the max offer price you are willing to reach that isn’t too financially taxing and settle on what your starting offer price will be.

Add contingencies. Any home sale generally comes with a set of contingencies that must be met before it can be completed. These can include inspections, repairs, appraisals, and more. These need to be selected carefully, as an offer with too many may be less appealing to the seller.

Set your settlement date. When you submit an offer, you must present a date to settle, generally about 60 days after the purchase agreement is signed. You want to give yourself enough time to meet your end of the contingencies, secure mortgage approval, finalize loan details, and more. If you are the responsible party for a delay, you may have to compensate the seller.

Prepare for a counteroffer. You may be going up against other offers or the seller may negotiate, so it’s best to prepare ahead of time for a counteroffer. But this isn’t anything to stress about. Talk through the best strategies with your real estate agent.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

Living Room

  • Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décor, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
  • Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.
  • Deep clean the small spaces. It’s obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
  • Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
  • Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy soundtrack to play in the background.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

One of the huge benefits of owning property is the home equity you can build. But with equity comes the temptation to dip into it if a large expense or possible investment arises. There are many strategic ways to use your equity without ruining any personal financial advances you have made. The most crucial step you need to take is to fully understand your options for tapping into that money and the associated risks.

Piggy bankSimply put, your home equity is the market value of your home relative to any loan balances remaining. There are two main ways to utilize this value. Getting a home equity loan provides you with a lump sum of money that you pay off in monthly installments, generally over five to 15 years. As with any loan, you will be required to pay interest on the amount, but it is usually a fixed rate. Choosing to use a line of credit instead offers similar benefits, but instead of receiving the money up front, you are given a pool you can draw from as needed. With this option, the lender provides a maximum borrowing limit and you can choose to use it or not until it is reached.

Before dipping into your home equity in, either way, it is important to understand the possible consequences. In both instances, your home is used as loan collateral. This means if you are unable to make payments on the loan for any reason, the lender can sell your property or take your home in foreclosure. Additionally, there will likely be closing costs and fees you have to pay in association with the loan.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 38 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

It’s easy to get sucked into looking at home listing after home listing online. Stunningly filtered photos of manicured lawns, sharp-looking kitchens,giant bedrooms. Although this is a great place to begin, it’s important to keep in mind that all may not be as it seems.

 

Here are our top tips to avoid getting duped by listings online.

 

Photos don’t always capture the full picture. Real estate photographers are very good at highlighting the best features of the home. Wide angle lenses to make spaces appear larger than they really are. But, be aware that there may be less photo-worthy features they aren’t displaying. Don’t forget to look at the property features listed below to gather a better idea of what the home has to offer.

 

Ensure you are looking at current listings. Nothing is worse than falling in love with the perfect home, only to check out the listing date to find it was posted two years ago. Make sure you use websites that are pulling information daily from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and have your real estate agent verify it is available.

 

Use your real estate agent as a resource. If you find a seemingly great listing online, always run it by your agent to confirm you aren’t missing something important. They can also provide neighborhood details, price comparisons for similar properties just sold in the area, additional listings that match your criteria, and more. Once you a find a home you’re ready to view, make sure you bring them with you to answer questions and be an extra set of eyes.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 550 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. Windermere Real Estate was voted the most trusted brand west of the Mississippi by Lifestory Research®. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

The home buying process can be exciting and fun, but also complicated, stressful, and overwhelming. Maximize your chance of success and minimize the amount of time spent trying to keep track of all the details by working with a buyer’s agent. There is a plethora of benefits to using a buyer’s agent, and here are our top four!

 

They can find the right properties for you. When starting your search, generally you will already have a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves for your new home. Your buyer’s agent will have access to extensive search resources and all the new listings hitting the market, so they can ensure you are looking at homes that meet most, if not all, of your criteria.

 

They know the background. Experienced buyer’s agents have a breadth of knowledge on different neighborhoods in the area. They can let you know what similar homes in the area have recently sold for, if there are any new commercial projects on the horizon, what the nearby schools have to offer, and more.

 

They are in your corner during negotiations. A buyer’s agent is your advocate when it comes time to put in an offer and negotiate. They have your best interest in mind, understand what you are looking for, and can help you get the best price and terms for the home.

 

They provide trusted recommendations. Buyer’s agents that have been in the business for several years have likely built strong relationships with professionals in other parts of the industry. Turn to your agent when you are ready to find a home inspector, moving company, lender, and more.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 550 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. Windermere Real Estate was voted the most trusted brand west of the Mississippi by Lifestory Research®. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Bluetooth offers great wireless convenience for your smartphone, allowing you to connect to your headphones, car stereo, wireless speaker, and other devices without dealing with a tangleof cords and wires. However, most of us aren’t careful enough when it comes to Bluetooth security.

 

As a general rule, you should turn Bluetooth off on your phone whenever you’re not connected to a device. Forgetting to turn it off will reduce your battery life because it continues to drain power even when there’s no device connected. But, there are even more serious concerns than that.

 

New hacker technologies, called “Blueborne” can scan for open Bluetooth connections and gain access to your device. Once a device has been hacked, it can then be used to gain access to additional devices. It’s not limited to one manufacturer either. Samsung, Google, Apple, and several car audio systems have all shown vulnerabilities.

 

So as a best practice, follow these two tips:

 

  1. Keep your phone updated. When Apple or Android releases an update, it’s not just for new operating system features—it also patches security issues.
  2. Make it a habit to turn off Bluetooth. As soon as you step out of your car or power down your headphones, you should turn off the Bluetooth on your phone. If nothing else, your battery will last a little longer.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 550 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. Windermere Real Estate was voted the most trusted brand west of the Mississippi by Lifestory Research®. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?

 

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
  3. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  4. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  5. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 5 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 550 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. Windermere Real Estate was voted the most trusted brand west of the Mississippi by Lifestory Research®. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

 

  • Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
  • Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.
  • Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
  • Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
  • Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 4 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Windermere Homes & Estates is proud to announce Nancy Canfield’s recognition as a Five Star Professional for the 10th year in a row! Nancy has been chosen as a 2018 Five Star Real Estate Agent award winner, allowing her special publications on pages like SanDiegoMag.com and FiveStarProfessional.com. These high traffic sites feature some of the best that San Diego has to offer, from restaurants, to events and local gatherings. This research driven recognition for te Five Star Award is based strictly on service professionals who provide quality service to their clients.

According to FiveStarProfessional.com, award winners are listed at no cost in a special advertising section within the city/regional magazine and on FiveStarProfessional.com. This award can then be shared with clients, colleagues, family and friends. The Five Star Award is presented to wealth managers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, home/auto insurance professionals, and dentists in more than 45 markets in the U.S. and Canada.

“Nancy has been selected from only 5% of 20,000 Realtors in San Diego” says Carson Canedy, Account Manager at Five Star Professional.

In gaining this special recognition, Nancy Canfield proudly announces her 10th straight year receiving this unique and rare recognition. With the support of Windermere Homes & Estates, Nancy’s reputation for service pairs perfectly with the well-known, long standing credibility of the company who represents her throughout all her transactions.

Rich Johnson exclaimed, “I am proud to have Nancy Canfield on our team! Her recognition as a Five Star Agent year after year proves her dedication for her craft and her unwavering work ethic, which is synonymous with Windermere’s core values.” As a local realtor in the Rancho Bernardo & Poway areas of North County San Diego, Nancy always goes above and beyond for her clients, going “well beyond the traditional role of a realtor” as client have stated.

Read more about Nancy’s progress in the industry by visiting  Five Star Professional, or visiting her site: NancyCanfield.com.

About Windermere Real Estate

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 4 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

A recent survey from the National Association of Realtors® revealed that 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home makes it easier for potential buyers to visual it as their own. That’s why here at Breakthrough Broker, we believe staging is not to be overlooked! Here are our top tips.

 

  1. Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up any unsightly weeds.
  2. Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more.
  3. Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.
  4. Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential homebuyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake some fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.
  5. Consider turning to an expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what homebuyers want and expect in a home. Investing in hiring a pro may pay off in dividends.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

 

Southern California-based Windermere Homes & Estates is the fastest growing real estate brokerage in California in 2015, according to industry magazine First Tuesday Journal. In just over 4 years, co-owners Rich Johnson and Brian Gooding have opened 17 offices and have had over 600 agents join their team. Their newest achievement, 2016 Brokerage Achievement of Excellence, was awarded to them by the San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR). Windermere Homes & Estates was honored to be the first recipient of the new annual SDAR Award given for standard of ethics, commitment to compliance and high regards for running their business.

 

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 6,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. Last year, Windermere closed over 86,000 sides for more than $31.7 billion in dollar volume. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 35 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.