Brian Reetz
Brian Reetz Realtor®
  • (502) 533-7427 (c)
  • (502) 238-1894 (o)

February 2021

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Easy Home Security

Home security experts agree on one thing – intruders look for homes that appear easiest to break into and escape from quickly. The more obstacles you place in their way, the more likely they are to skip over your home and move on to someone else’s. Try these three tips to make your new home safer.

Lights! – Nothing says nobody’s home like a dark house. This is where landscape lighting is a useful deterrent. Don’t give intruders any places in your yard to hide, so be sure to install lights on trees. Make your lights come on at dusk and light up entries front and back. Motion detectors work well, too. If you’re away from the house, attach timed devices to one or two lamps that periodically turn on and off.

Cameras! – Cameras placed around the perimeter of your home should be visible from the street so that anyone cruising by can see them. You may have noticed on the Internet that cameras are also useful in crime-solving as well as prevention, so security cameras protect your neighbors, too.  

Actions! - A security system is expensive, but it’s a good idea, especially when you put the provider’s sign prominently in your front yard. A vigilant barking dog, regardless of its size can hear and smell intruders before they enter your home. Install prickly bushes under windows and keep them trimmed.

Remember, locks on doors and windows may not be enough. Multiple and highly visible obstacles are much more effective to deter intruders.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Ways to Show Love to Your Home

When you love something you want to protect it, improve it, and enjoy it. Your home responds to love, too. Here are a few ways to show your home love that will love you back.  

Refresh caulking – Discolored shriveled caulk has stopped doing the job of protecting your bathroom and kitchen from dirt, mildew and mold. According to TheGroutMedic.com, you should completely dig out old grout, apply an anti-mold treatment, then regrout with a %100 silicone-based grout that resists shrinking over time. Your tiled areas, including floors, will be watertight and look fresher, cleaner, and more attractive.

Update smoke-carbon monoxide detectors. ConsumerReports.org explains that newer smoke detectors can be interconnected so that when one detects smoke or carbon monoxide, all the detectors in the house will alert. Fires burn differently, so install a variety of detectors. Ionization detectors are best for identifying fast, flaming fires, while photoelectric detectors are preferable to alert to smoky, smoldering fires. Carbon monoxide detectors may need to be purchased separately.

Polish floors. To get a long-lasting shine on your hard-surface floors, you can rent or buy a floor polisher. The advantage, says Unclutterer.com, is that polishers are more efficient and less labor-intensive than manual cleaning methods, and don’t require in-depth knowledge of apply wax or polish to the floor. Afterward, you’ll find cleaning much easier and it will add to the lifespan of your floors.

These easy do-it-yourself projects will help you finish out the cold winter months and welcome spring to your home.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Stone Countertop Confidential

There are pros and cons to all types of stone countertops. How do you choose which ones are best for your home?  Knowing the properties of each type of stone will help you make the right decision.

Granite – According to TheSpruce.com, there are over 3,000 types of granite. Despite its strength, granite is porous, which means it can absorb stains unless it’s sealed. It can crack if not properly fabricated and installed. Yet, granite’s beauty and variety make it the most popular choice for countertops.

Soapstone Soapstone is a “magnesium-rich metamorphic rock” containing up to 80% talc, making it ideal for carving. However, there is a stronger strain called architectural soapstone that is impervious to staining and scorching. Damage can be sanded out. It requires no sealant, but mineral oil helps develop its patina, which darkens with age. 

Marble – Marble is one of the most beautiful stones and is frequently used as in small amounts such as a bathroom countertop. It stains and scratches easily and requires sealant, making it less popular for kitchens. Like granite, it adds value to the home.

Quartz – Engineered stone is man-made of approximately 93% quartz and the remainder in resins. Developed as an alternative to granite, it’s nearly as expensive, but performs much better. While granite, soapstone and marble feature artistic veining and natural “flaws,” quartz is manufactured to have uniform patterns and colors. The advantage is a surface that requires no sealant that’s more durable and scratch resistant than natural stone.   

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Pantone’s “Illuminating” May Bring Back Yellow

Decorating colors come and go, but few have retreated from the mainstream for as long as yellow. The Pantone Color Institute's selection of “Illuminating,” a cheerful light yellow, paired with the calming “Ultimate Gray” for its 2021 Color(s) of the Year, may make yellow popular again.  

Pantone describes Illuminating and Ultimate Gray as “two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another.” The pairing conjures strength and positivity that things will get better. Grays have been popular in home décor for some time, supplanting beige as the go-to neutral, but the exuberance and optimism of yellow is a welcome breath of fresh air.

ColorPsychologymeaning.com explains that yellow is the brightest color the human eye can see. Yellow is believed to enhance creativity and to stimulate the brain to think and learn. It’s stimulating and energizing, with happy connotations like daffodils, lemonade, bananas, and children’s colorful drawings of big yellow smiling suns. ColorCode.com says that people with yellow personalities are fun-loving, enthusiastic, optimistic, charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable.

Whether you believe color psychology is a real science or pseudo-science, it’s certainly true that yellow can add a lively, attention-getting touch to decorating. But, like red, orange, neon, or acidic colors, a little yellow goes a long way and is best utilized for smaller accessories and furniture, or to complement a focal point like a piece of art that may include a little yellow. Consider yellow for throw pillows, flowers, or occasional chairs to brighten your home.

January, 2021

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

How Much Home Do You Really Need?

In a fast-moving housing market, you may find yourself compromising what you want to what’s affordable and available to buy. Some wish list items you’ll be able to find, but others you can happily do without if you concentrate instead on choosing a home that functions for your household and budget.

Size: Most homebuyers want more space, but square footage can be misleading. A bigger house isn’t better if you’re paying big bucks to heat, cool and maintain space you don’t use.

Layout: As you preview homes, think about your daily activities and whether the layout functions to serve those needs. Does the interior design allow you to pivot as needs change? For example, a little-used formal dining room or living room could become a home office or playroom.

Materials: As suggested by the children’s story The Three Little Pigs, houses made of brick or stone are the safest, longest-lasting materials, but houses made of siding can be comfortable and affordable. The quality of materials and the workmanship are what matter most.

Comfort: You want your household members to be comfortable and enjoy the spaces that they have. Think about places for family and friends to gather. Privacy is important, so there should be shared spaces to do homework, play games, and converse.

Costs: When estimating your monthly payment, include taxes and hazard insurance, but don’t forget to set aside money in your overall budget for decorating, maintenance and repairs, such as installing curtains and repainting.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

The Meanings Behind Red Front Doors

Why are so many front doors painted red across the world? For fun, we’ve gathered some of the most interesting reasons why this is an important choice for many homeowners.

Many cultures use red front doors to communicate something about their beliefs or status. Since the first Passover the red door has symbolized God’s protection, that plague and the Angel of Death would pass the household by. Red doors can also symbolize the blood of Christ, which is why so many churches and cathedrals feature red doors.

In the Americas, settlers used red front doors to offer friendly shelter for weary travelers and their horses. By the Civil War, red front doors in the free Northern states were used by the Underground Railroad to signal safe houses for runaway slaves and other refugees.

Across the world, red doors in China say welcome, as is practiced by Feng Shui enthusiasts. The color red is believed to bring health, harmony, happiness, positive energy and prosperity.

The Irish and Scottish had uses for red doors, too. When Queen Victoria died, the Irish were asked to paint their front doors black in commemoration and mourning, but many rebelled and painted their doors bright colors, including red. Many Scots today paint their doors red to signal that their mortgages have been paid off.

There are as many shades of red doors as there are traditions. Red doors don’t hold much significance today, except as a statement color to still convey a cheerful welcome to visitors.

HOMESELLERS’ ADVICE

Are Listings Growing in Your Area?

Home sellers may be wondering whether to put their homes on the market now during the winter months or wait for spring 2021. There are arguments for both sides, but the National Association of REALTORS® predicts that this “will be one of the best winter sales years ever.”

NAR economists say we have a perfect storm of low mortgage interest rates, low housing inventory, plus a pandemic that’s causing many homebuyers to work from home and virtually school their children. They’re rethinking how and where they want to live. While most homebuyers purchase homes to secure more living space, that’s true now more than ever.

Buyers are looking for advantages because low inventories and rising prices favor sellers.  Many will look at homes in the winter because the interest rates on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate are below three percent for those with good credit. There’s less competition from other buyers, which means fewer above-list-price offers and bidding wars.

According to CNBC real estate expert Diane Olick, buyers could be reaching their limits in terms of housing prices after months of double-digit increases. This fall, for the first time in months the NAR reported a decline in pending home sales. While the number of listings available for sale is still lower than year-ago levels, the percentage is shrinking. Price reductions are becoming more frequent, but continue to remain low. 

To find out what’s happening in your area, contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional for an in-depth market analysis.

HOMEBUYERS’ ADVICE

Get Ready for Competitive Spring Homebuying

Pent-up housing demand is likely to increase exponentially now that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon. Homebuyers should prepare for what could possibly be the most competitive spring homebuying season in years. Here are a few suggestions that will put you ahead of other homebuyers.

  1. Have a family meeting. When your household is together, tell them about your reasons for buying a home – more space, better schools, etc. Ask each member, even the littlest child, to give their number one feature they’d like in a new home, such as a yard to play in or a room of their own.
  2. Get prequalified. Your lender will tell you what you need to provide in terms of financial history, proof of income and source of down payment. The amount of your down payment and credit history will impact what kind of loan you can get, the rate of interest, as well as how much home you can comfortably afford. Clear up any negatives on your credit quickly so you can qualify for a better loan.
  3. Start previewing online. Homes you view online may sell quickly but you can at least get an idea of prices, neighborhoods, amenities, public transportation, schools, and more. Drive and research the areas that interest you so you can narrow your search.
  4. Last but not least, please get in touch with me, I'd be honored to help!

December, 2020

Down Payment Assistance and Resources

It’s a great time to buy a home, so now is the time to start lining up resources to help you make a down payment. There’s plenty of assistance available if both you and the home you want to buy meet eligibility requirements.

While most programs are designed for first-time and/or low-income homebuyers, some are reserved for workforce personnel such as teachers, firefighters and police or for those who meet other criteria for the community.

According to TheMortgageReports.com, there are four types of down payment assistance:

  • Grants which don’t have to be repaid
  • Loans (second mortgages) that have to be repaid
  • Loans (second mortgages) that can be deferred until the property is sold
  • Loans (second mortgages) that are forgiven over a period of time

The gold standard in down payments is a minimum of 20 percent, but you can put as little as three percent down through Freddie Mac's Home Possible® or HomeOne federally guaranteed mortgages. You’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance until your home reaches 20 percent equity, either through making mortgage payments to reduce the principle, or through the increased market value of your home over time.

The Veterans Administration provides certificates of eligibility for veterans to present to their mortgage lender that may entitle them to a mortgage with little or no down payment required.

Check for assistance programs and grants in your state beginning with Hud.gov and FHA.com. These programs will typically require minimum credit scores of 580 and a 3.5 percent down payment.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Using Drones for Real Estate

Whether you intend to fly a drone for fun or for professional use (such as real estate photography to help market your home), there’s a lot to know about using this technology. All drone users need to know the laws, courtesies and safety practices of drone flying.

The FAA requires a drone operator to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. The only exception to this rule is for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft, which is only available to drone operators flying for hobby or recreational purposes. Drone operators should register their drones with the FAA.

The FAA also provides a helpful list of safety and privacy rules:

  • Fly your drone at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your drone within your line of sight
  • Respect FAA airspace restrictions. Never fly near other aircraft or airports.
  • Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people
  • Never fly near emergencies or disaster relief efforts
  • Respect the privacy, safety and property of others
  • Never fly a drone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In addition, there may be local laws for you to follow. Dartdrones.com explains that local restrictions can “prohibit flights anywhere from state parks to state infrastructure.” Local ordinances can even restrict the areas where you can and can’t launch your drone in certain cities.

Despite precautions, drone accidents happen. Check your liability insurance carrier, or you may prefer a drone-specific insurance policy. Dronetrader.com offers lists of insurance carriers for both recreational and professional drone use.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

What is Fair Market Value?

If you’re buying or selling a home, the concept of fair market value is important. Each home, even if it were built identically to its neighbors, is unique. Variables such as physical condition, improvements or damages, location and overall desirability can each affect the perceived value of any property.

According to Smartasset.com, fair market value is the price a property would sell for in an open and competitive market where the buyer and seller each have adequate information of relevant facts. Buyers and sellers must act in their own interests and not be compelled by outside forces. They must agree to the price without coercion as well as give each other a reasonable time period to complete the transaction.

So how do buyers and sellers agree to fair market values? Since there’s no exact figure to begin with, most people rely on a lender’s appraisal of a given property. The appraisal utilizes information from tax records, recently recorded sales of properties, and comparable homes for sale as provided by the local real estate multiple listing service. Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can also provide you with a comparable market analysis of homes similar to yours based on recent closed sales, pending sales and current listing prices.

Keep in mind that these professionals are providing you with an educated starting point. You won’t know the true fair market value of your home until it’s offered on the open market and you reach an agreement with a willing buyer or seller.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Sous Vide Cooking

How do professional chefs consistently recreate great food with such confidence? They use an industry art perfected in the finest restaurants called sous vide, and you can easily try it in your kitchen. 

Sous vide simply means “cooking under vacuum” in French. How it works is that the food to be prepared is vacuum-sealed in a reusable container, then immersed into a “water bath” until done to the correct temperature. Cooking sous vide is a slower preparation method, making it ideal for fish, vegetables and tougher cuts of meat. You’ll use less oil, fat, and salt and the food will retain more nutrients for a healthier lifestyle.

You don’t need much in the way of equipment and can start with immersible ziplock freezer bags, mason jars or silicone cooking pouches and a pot to hold the water. But you’ll get more uniform results with a standalone immersion circulator designed for home chefs, such as the Anova Precision Cooker. It clamps onto the side of any pot to circulate the water and regulate the temperature. There are countertop appliances approximately the size of a microwave also include the water bath or water oven. Some home chefs get their own vacuum sealing system, such as the Miele vacuum drawer, to get the air out of each seal for longer-lasting freshness.

While there’s nothing new about submerging a sealed packet of food into water, sous vide techniques allow you to cook, freeze and reheat food with the ease of a master chef.

FEBRUARY 2021

Planning to move or know someone who is? Please contact me! Be it pricing (www.Reetzimate.com), pricing strategies or negotiation, my expertise will put you on the path to a successful sale.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weisberg, Realtors
Brian Reetz
Real Estate Professional
502.533.7427
brian@bhhspw.com
www.brianreetz.com

Visit me on FacebookVisit me on LinkedInVisit me on YouTubeVisit me on Instagram

 

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Easy Home Security

Home security experts agree on one thing – intruders look for homes that appear easiest to break into and escape from quickly. The more obstacles you place in their way, the more likely they are to skip over your home and move on to someone else’s. Try these three tips to make your new home safer.

Lights! – Nothing says nobody’s home like a dark house. This is where landscape lighting is a useful deterrent. Don’t give intruders any places in your yard to hide, so be sure to install lights on trees. Make your lights come on at dusk and light up entries front and back. Motion detectors work well, too. If you’re away from the house, attach timed devices to one or two lamps that periodically turn on and off.

Cameras! – Cameras placed around the perimeter of your home should be visible from the street so that anyone cruising by can see them. You may have noticed on the Internet that cameras are also useful in crime-solving as well as prevention, so security cameras protect your neighbors, too.  

Actions! - A security system is expensive, but it’s a good idea, especially when you put the provider’s sign prominently in your front yard. A vigilant barking dog, regardless of its size can hear and smell intruders before they enter your home. Install prickly bushes under windows and keep them trimmed.

Remember, locks on doors and windows may not be enough. Multiple and highly visible obstacles are much more effective to deter intruders.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Ways to Show Love to Your Home

When you love something you want to protect it, improve it, and enjoy it. Your home responds to love, too. Here are a few ways to show your home love that will love you back.  

Refresh caulking – Discolored shriveled caulk has stopped doing the job of protecting your bathroom and kitchen from dirt, mildew and mold. According to TheGroutMedic.com, you should completely dig out old grout, apply an anti-mold treatment, then regrout with a %100 silicone-based grout that resists shrinking over time. Your tiled areas, including floors, will be watertight and look fresher, cleaner, and more attractive.

Update smoke-carbon monoxide detectors. ConsumerReports.org explains that newer smoke detectors can be interconnected so that when one detects smoke or carbon monoxide, all the detectors in the house will alert. Fires burn differently, so install a variety of detectors. Ionization detectors are best for identifying fast, flaming fires, while photoelectric detectors are preferable to alert to smoky, smoldering fires. Carbon monoxide detectors may need to be purchased separately.

Polish floors. To get a long-lasting shine on your hard-surface floors, you can rent or buy a floor polisher. The advantage, says Unclutterer.com, is that polishers are more efficient and less labor-intensive than manual cleaning methods, and don’t require in-depth knowledge of apply wax or polish to the floor. Afterward, you’ll find cleaning much easier and it will add to the lifespan of your floors.

These easy do-it-yourself projects will help you finish out the cold winter months and welcome spring to your home.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Stone Countertop Confidential

There are pros and cons to all types of stone countertops. How do you choose which ones are best for your home?  Knowing the properties of each type of stone will help you make the right decision.

Granite – According to TheSpruce.com, there are over 3,000 types of granite. Despite its strength, granite is porous, which means it can absorb stains unless it’s sealed. It can crack if not properly fabricated and installed. Yet, granite’s beauty and variety make it the most popular choice for countertops.

Soapstone Soapstone is a “magnesium-rich metamorphic rock” containing up to 80% talc, making it ideal for carving. However, there is a stronger strain called architectural soapstone that is impervious to staining and scorching. Damage can be sanded out. It requires no sealant, but mineral oil helps develop its patina, which darkens with age. 

Marble – Marble is one of the most beautiful stones and is frequently used as in small amounts such as a bathroom countertop. It stains and scratches easily and requires sealant, making it less popular for kitchens. Like granite, it adds value to the home.

Quartz – Engineered stone is man-made of approximately 93% quartz and the remainder in resins. Developed as an alternative to granite, it’s nearly as expensive, but performs much better. While granite, soapstone and marble feature artistic veining and natural “flaws,” quartz is manufactured to have uniform patterns and colors. The advantage is a surface that requires no sealant that’s more durable and scratch resistant than natural stone.   

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Pantone’s “Illuminating” May Bring Back Yellow

Decorating colors come and go, but few have retreated from the mainstream for as long as yellow. The Pantone Color Institute's selection of “Illuminating,” a cheerful light yellow, paired with the calming “Ultimate Gray” for its 2021 Color(s) of the Year, may make yellow popular again.  

Pantone describes Illuminating and Ultimate Gray as “two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another.” The pairing conjures strength and positivity that things will get better. Grays have been popular in home décor for some time, supplanting beige as the go-to neutral, but the exuberance and optimism of yellow is a welcome breath of fresh air.

ColorPsychologymeaning.com explains that yellow is the brightest color the human eye can see. Yellow is believed to enhance creativity and to stimulate the brain to think and learn. It’s stimulating and energizing, with happy connotations like daffodils, lemonade, bananas, and children’s colorful drawings of big yellow smiling suns. ColorCode.com says that people with yellow personalities are fun-loving, enthusiastic, optimistic, charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable.

Whether you believe color psychology is a real science or pseudo-science, it’s certainly true that yellow can add a lively, attention-getting touch to decorating. But, like red, orange, neon, or acidic colors, a little yellow goes a long way and is best utilized for smaller accessories and furniture, or to complement a focal point like a piece of art that may include a little yellow. Consider yellow for throw pillows, flowers, or occasional chairs to brighten your home.