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When the housing market is hot, it seems like just about any remodeling project is a good investment and adds value to your home. But when the market's tight, you want to be more selective about which projects you undertake...and what you expect to gain in return.

If you've been thinking about boosting your home's value or just making your living space more comfortable, the ideas below can help your prioritize your list. So before you start knocking out walls and renovating your roofline, consider these ways to make a difference...cost-effectively!

First Things First. buyers often decide whether to look at your house before they even get out of the car. Before you spend a lot of time and money remodeling the inside, you may want to look at the outside. Washing windows, repainting trim, planting flowers, and fixing screen doors can make a big difference. For even more impact, you may want to consider replacing your siding or even adding a patio or deck. The added value for these bigger projects won't yield as high of a return on investment, but may help your house stand out. So, weigh your options and ask your Realtor® for advice before starting a big project.

Come On In...Make Yourself at Home. Making a cozy first impression is critical. To make sure your entryway invites people to come in--not turn away--try adding a fresh coat of paint to your foyer or a wicker chair and table outside the door. For even more impact, replace those old light fixtures and update the floor in your entryway.

Sparkle Up That Old Bathroom. Remodeling an old bathroom can make a big impact. For very little money, you can add a new faucet to your sink, a new medicine cabinet on the wall, and even new paint or wallpaper. For a little more, you can update the bathtub, add a double sink, or re-tile the floor.

Even Better: Add a Second Bathroom. Perhaps no improvement makes a bigger impact on your family's comfort and your house's appeal than adding a second bathroom. The number of bathrooms is always a big sticking point for potential buyers, especially families with two or three children. Although adding a bathroom costs more than simply fixing up your old one, it also increases the value of your house more. Plus, having that second bathroom may help you sell your house faster than if it only has one bathroom...an important point to consider in today's market.

Make it Hot in the Kitchen. Renovating an outdated kitchen is practically a sure thing...as long as you don't splurge on extravagant items like hand-painted Italian tile or built-in espresso machines. Instead, focus on the basics: installing new flooring, adding a backsplash and a new coat of paint, re-facing existing cabinets, installing new countertops, and possibly installing new appliances. These go a long way to making a new buyer feel at home.

Remember, start small, work your way up, and always plan ahead. You don't want to get halfway into a renovation only to find that you have to update your entire electrical system or that you forgot to apply for a permit. So, check your local zoning codes before starting any remodeling project. But with a little planning and prioritizing, you can make your house more comfortable and valuable with very little time...and money.

Local Market update for the Month of October 2007

by The Zwemmer Group

Here is the local market update for the month of October 2007. According to the most recent released numbers, home sales across the desert  area  fell 16.8% in September compared to the same month last year. That's encouraging compared to many areas of the country where they have seen sales decline in much higher numbers. Also, the valley's median home price rose   6.4% to $377,920 in that same period.

"Even though this market favors buys due to sellers being very motivated and willing to negotiate on price and terms, if you are trying to time the bottom of the market before buying, you may miss it by waiting longer.                                                                                                                                       We are a unique area that is difficult to compare to other areas. Our numbers are showing signs of improvement and interest rates are still historic low It would seem that waiting may prove to be a big mistake - this is the time to buy."

Rob Zwemmer

What is a short sale?

by The Zwemmer Group
When owners need to move or can no longer afford the mortgage but the value of the mortgage is greater than the value of the property. The owner is said to be financially "upside down."
If the property is sold at a loss, the owner is still responsible for repaying the entire mortgage. But, sometimes owners do not have enough cash to re-pay the loan and so they try to work out a deal with the lender to pay less than is owed -- a short sale.
The lender, of course, wants back every dime loaned to the borrower. That was the deal. And lenders point out,  that if the value of the property rose the borrower would not turn around and be required to offer some of that profit to the mortgage company.
Lenders will sometimes allow a short sale if it is a better alternative than a foreclosure sale in a down market. However, before making such a decision, a lender will want to see how such a deal can be structured. Perhaps the borrower has other assets, or perhaps the short-fall can be made up with a note to the lender.
If the lender takes a loss, that loss may be reported to the IRS as income to the borrower -- money not actually received by the borrower, but money that is taxable.
In the event that a borrower faces a short-sale situation, the best approach is to have an attorney contact the lender on your behalf. It may be possible to work out a different monthly payment, an interest rate lowered to current levels, a long extension, etc.  
See a tax professional and realty attorney for details before making any decisions.

Air Purifiers: It's Time to Clear the Air

by The Zwemmer Group
So... let's clear the air when thinking about air purifiers and their effectiveness in the home.

Unwanted, and sometimes harmful dust particles and materials invisibly invade and meander through our environments in a free form network of allergens and irritants. The marketplace is inundated with various air purification systems that claim to rid us of all these antagonistic pollutants from the air we breathe. But the question is – how effective are air purifiers? And which ones are the best to introduce into your household? Three types of air cleaners are currently offered on the market:

- Electronic-style cleaners
- Mechanical filters
- Natural ion generators

Air cleaners may be in-duct units that are typically installed in central air conditioning/heating systems. All-inclusive portable systems are used as personal units for bedrooms and where pets may congregate in the home. The effectiveness of various cleaners, of course, depends on size, handling capacity and overall quality. The amount of air a system can handle, and its pollutant-removing capabilities are expressed as the unit’s clean air delivery rate (CADR).


Three strategies may be used to reduce indoor air pollutants:

1. Source Control to eliminate individual sources of pollutants and reduces emissions.

2. Ventilation to bring fresh air inside the room environment by way of open windows, doors and exhaust fans.

3. Utilize air cleaners to control ventilation and eliminate allergens and unwanted particulates, odors and gases. 

So, what do you want to look for in an air purification system?

Before selecting, you will want to consider the potential effectiveness of the device under the conditions in which it will be used.

 

  • The need and frequency of routine maintenance, including cleaning and replacement of filters, and installation requirements.
  • The estimated overall maintenance cost.
  • The ease of use when following the manufacturer's recommended operating procedures.
  • The possible production or re-dispersal of pollutants; such as ozone, particles, formaldehyde and trapped gaseous pollutants.
  • The ability to control gases, food odors and tobacco smoke.
  • Possible health effects from charged particles produced by ion generators.
  • Possible soiling of surrounding surfaces and walls by charged particles produced by ion generators.
  • The noise generated at the typical operating level the product will be used.

    The right air purifier can make a difference in providing optimum comfort and health benefits when carefully selected and used wisely. Something to always remember: change central air system filters monthly to maximize the efficiency of your air purifier(s). You'll soon be saying… now that’s a breath of fresh air!

bonds 200-Day Moving average

by The Zwemmer Group

The 200-day Moving Average has historically acted as a very strong "floor of support" or "ceiling of resistance" for Bonds, meaning that Bonds generally decidedly trade above or below this line. And the current tap-dance that Bonds are doing all over this level shows that there is a bit of uncertainty in the markets - and it will take a series of economic reports that are either very strong or very weak to propel Bonds to move away from the 200-day Moving Average.

And last week's news just didn't provide enough impetus for Bonds to make a decisive move one way or the other. Retail Sales were much better than expected yet Consumer Sentiment was lower than expected, while reads on Producer Price Inflation were a bit mixed. All in all, home loan rates stayed generally flat for most of the week.

Chart: Fannie Mae 6.0% Mortgage Bond (Friday Oct 12, 2007)

California Association Realtors Annual Expo

by The Zwemmer Group

Just returned from a 3 day convention in Anaheim, California. We visit the 3 day annual convention of C.A.R.   Wow ! what an experience, we attended so many classes and got so much information and feedback regarding the current Real Estate Market and the future of it.

Here are some of the ahas of my 3-day stay in Anaheim,

  • The Baby Boomer's are making a move with buying second homes or relocating.
  • Blogging and Vlogging(Video) are the future tools of communication in Real Estate.
  • Cell phones will be the main tools for receiving messages, video's, property flyer's etc.

We have learned to use new marketing tools, shared ideas with other Realtors and made new contacts and friends.

Looking forward to next year !

Rob Zwemmer

Green Builder Program

by The Zwemmer Group
The California Green Builder Program focuses on five major areas:
Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Wood Conservation, Advanced Ventilation and Construction Waste Diversion. A “Green Builder” produces a home that uses less energy, less water and consumes fewer trees in the building process than a similar-sized product.

Green Building benefits homeowners by supplying the comfort of well-insulated, climate-controlled environments with superior air filtration. Minimal heating and cooling is required thanks to stringent construction techniques, the use of advanced building materials and state-of-the-art utilities. Owners of an “environmentally friendly” home experience dramatic utility cost savings and a sense of pride in knowing they are making a difference by contributing to the conservation and future preservation of our environment.

Please join us in saluting the builders who are choosing to embrace the innovative practices of Green Building ? it impacts all of our lives.

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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