Friday, May 29, 2015

The Magical Power of 61

We have all hear the expression “Baby Boomer”. It refers to those babies born after World War II. But did you know that they are the most influential generation when it comes to real estate?

When most people think of retirees, they may still have the image of a frail elder who is less mobile than in their youth. Nothing can be further from the truth! Today’s senior is a far cry from the stereotypical image from the past. Modern health care practices and other advances keep seniors more healthy and active than ever before. A study has shown that seniors will be the driving force in real estate for at least the next decade!

Furthermore, today’s senior is more likely to enjoy greater freedom from housing-related expenses such as mortgage payments. Most people age 65+ are homeowners, and few need to worry about making mortgage payments. Over 70% have fully paid off their mortgages. They may also enjoy freedom from work and family related obligations giving them the opportunity to be where they really want to be.

Most people live where they live because of obligations. They tend to be within a reasonable distance from where they and/or their spouse work. They may be in an area to be close to a particular school for their children, or in the case of divorced couples, to be close to their children. Conversely some may live close to a parent – either for assistance with child care, or to help the aging parent. 

While most people live close to their jobs or families, retirees have discovered they have the choice of living when and where they want. Where, of course, refers to a geographic location. When refers to the ability to migrate with the seasons. Some chose to live in northern states in summer and southern ones in winter.

When does this Change Happen?

As people enter their 50s and 60s, many begin to consider their future more closely than before. As career and family obligations diminish they begin to cross what being called a “Freedom Threshold.” At age 61, the majority of people realize that they are now free to choose where they want to live.

While the chart below looks like some crazy insect, it shows the different decision making stages of one's life.

How does this relate to real estate?

Within the next five years, Americans aged 50 and over will be over 35% of the population. This population will more than double in the next 35 years! Ages 60 and over are indicated to be the largest sectors for household growth in the next 10 years as discovered in the Joint Center For Housing Studies Of Harvard University:

The Harvard study shows that most retirees tend to move at least once during retirement. Some of the most common reasons are the desire to lower home expenses or free up equity; having a change in health that may make the current home undesirable or unsuitable - such as a home with stairs; divorce or death of a spouse; and an empty nest after children have grown and moved out.

While most people would think that “downsizing” would account for the majority of senior household moves, research has show that this may be a myth! Interestingly it was discovered that only half of retirees choose to downsize into a smaller home. 

About 30% of retirees actually “upsize” into a larger home. The reason for this is that they want to have a home that is comfortable enough to accommodate family members who visit or stay with them – in particular for holidays and summer vacations. 

In other cases, other family members may stay on a permanent basis -such as adult children returning home, or there is extra space for a live-in domestic or health care worker.

No longer tied by employment or child care, the retiree can choose a new location and community. Surprisingly, most seniors choose to live in multi generational communities with only about 7% choosing age restricted communities.

Some other factors that influence retiree’s choice of location include proximity to healthcare facilities, centers for continued education, libraries, museums, attractions and recreational opportunities.

In 2014 over 80% of retirees chose to stay in the same state, while the remainder relocated to a different state or region. 

Most of these choices were weather related with the South Atlantic, Mountain, and Pacific regions being the most popular.

Of the retirees that do not move, most cite a strong emotional connection to their existing home. However this does not mean staying in the status quo. Retirees accounted for approximately 50% of home renovation projects done last year. Surprisingly renovations include many modern high tech features, such as smart technology for heating, cooling, air purification and health monitoring.

In later years, or in the case of declining health, most seniors will eventually consider retirement or assisted living communities or co-habitating. Depending on the choices, this may involve another move.

Decisions and Choices

When planning for the future, there are several considerations and priorities the retiree should review. Some of these are listed below, only you can determine what considerations affect you and your family.

Evaluate Where To Live:

  • Affordability
  • Climate
  • Health Services
  • Friends, family and community
  • Sport and fitness facilities
  • Recreational and cultural activities
  • Opportunities for continued work or volunteering 
Whenever possible, visit a potential area to live to determine its suitability. 

Evaluate Current and Possible Future Expenses:

  • Mortgage or rent and insurance
  • Potential income – from job or house sharing 
  • The cost of health care and transportation to facilities
  • Estate and property taxes
  • The cost of relocation 
  • Utilities, repairs and maintenance
  • The cost (inflation) of groceries, prescriptions, and other consumables (household supplies, toiletries and other)
  • Recreational dues or fees

Evaluate Staying In Your Home:

  • Evaluate the cost of home modifications and services that can facilitate your stay at home
  • Adding safety features to bathrooms, the kitchen or stairs (stair lift)
  • Home care services and health monitoring and alert technologies 
  • Whether family members will remain in the area
  • Health and community connections are in place
  • Ease of access to services and other amenities

If you come to the decision that it is time to move to have a better life, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, de-clutter and clean to put your house on the open market and wait until a buyer comes along. Or the house can also be sold “as is” within a week to resolve the situation quickly. Contact me for details.

Next week we will take a look at what to do if you if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you have to sell your house.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moving Forward

Everyone knows that moving is an incredibly stressful time. Even when moving takes a person to a better job, bigger house or closer to loved ones, moving can be a challenge. When circumstances are bad, such as a job loss, divorce, eviction or family tragedy, moving can be an added nightmare.

Whatever the circumstance, it is a process that must be acknowledged and completed. The best way to get through it with minimum grief is to be prepared.

Many people think that you throw your stuff in boxes, stick it in a truck and unpack on the other side. Often when the move is not given proper thought, unpleasant situations could arise.

But did you know that with a little planning, the moving process can be a positive experience?

Moving Is An Opportunity To Start A New And Better Life

A move can be a chance for a fresh start. It is a way to explore a new destination, or return to a familiar location that may have changed over time.

It gives a good reason to purge items that are no longer needed. No one wants to pay more for a move than they have to. It is a great incentive to pare down ones possessions. We often hear that we should declutter our houses at least once a year. And by now everyone knows that decluttering is crucial to a successful home sale. But a lot of people procrastinate when it come to doing this type of chore. Well nothing is as motivating as learning just how much it will cost you to move it!

A New Space

A move is also a chance to re-evaluate your space requirements. When architectural features such as stairs have become an inconvenient part of your day, a move into a single level house will solve that problem. If you have a whirlpool tub that has become difficult to use, a new place is a great way to get that walk-in shower without spending thousands on renovations. If your child has moved out, but you are too sentimental to re-purpose the space, moving is a great way to grow into your new life.

Change In Income

If your finances have changed either through job loss, divorce, retirement or loss of spouse, moving might be the right solution to decrease your financial load. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, a smaller home might give you the chance to enjoy more of what life has to offer.

Change In Health

Sometimes your health can become the focus of your life. A change in health can be an important reason to move. Whether it is to move to a better climate or closer to health services, a move can often relieve the worry of getting prompt health care. For some people, moving into a community that offers an on-site medical team may be a blessing. Sometimes the financial obligations of healthcare and owning a house can be too much for a person. Even if it is just to have less obligations in and around the house, such as too much square footage to clean or too large a yard to maintain, moving might resolve challenges.

Planning A Move

It is important to properly research the rules and requirements of your new location.
You are leaving one community and going to another, and with that may come some important changes. Part of a successful move is to be informed about your destination. Will there be different requirements for your children’s school? Are there any regulations regarding your vehicle? Will your health coverage transfer or will you have to modify it or get a new plan?

Arrange For Services

It is important to arrange all utility cancellations or transfers. Some providers expect a certain period of notice. No matter whether you are selling your house yourself or through an agent, you will need to make sure that your services at your existing property will end when you leave. You do not want to pay for someone else’s electricity or water bill! 

Be sure you will have utilities in place when you arrive at your new home (or shortly after).

Transfer bank accounts, medical records, school records and anything else that affects your family. If you are moving a longer distance, attempt to get referrals for doctors dentists and veterinarians from your existing providers. Remember, sometimes professionals have a wait list for new clients, so contact them as soon as possible.

Moving Is A Lot More Than Boxing Stuff Up And Putting It In A Truck

It is important to know in advance what the moving company expects and offers. Ask them for any pamphlets or other information they may have. Find out what prohibited items your mover will not take. 

These items can be as innocuous as laundry detergent – some movers will not take any liquids. Or it can be as obvious as fire arms. Will they move your lawn mower if it has gas in the reservoir? Better ask! If you are a smoker and have disposable lighters, don’t assume your movers are willing to transport them –just because they are “small items”. Planning to pack spray paints or hair spray? Find out is aerosols are a prohibited item FIRST. Should dresser drawers be empty or packed with light clothes? 

Knowing may save you some unnecessary packing...or unpacking.

Consider The New Space

Are you down-sizing? Going from a five bedroom to two? Or upgrading from three bedrooms to four? Will you have more or less closets and cupboards? Now is the time to review your possessions and make choices. If you used a room in your current place as storage, you may need to get rid of some items or plan to rent a storage locker. Whenever possible, get floor plans of your new space and see how you will arrange your furniture. Will you no longer have a living room, den AND family room? Decide which furniture you will take and sell or donate the rest. It makes no sense to pay to move it all and find out you do not have the room to place all these things. Be realistic. If you have room for 5 boxes of contents for an area, don’t pack 10. Be selective. Decide to purge or put some things into storage and pack accordingly.


It is helpful to pack with the final destination in mind. If it was in your living room but will be in your family room, label it according to the destination. Sometimes packing and unpacking take longer than expected. Don’t assume you will remember!  It is important to label all contents, number boxes and to keep a list – or even photos of contents. In that way, should you need something in particular in a hurry, you will be able to locate it quickly. This is especially true for seasonal items. You may be tempted to not unpack your Christmas things in June – perhaps rightly so! Label the boxes clearly so that your holidays will be hassle free when the time arrives.

To help you with this adventure, I have put together a list of suggestions to help you have a smooth move.

If you have any additional suggestions, or moving experiences you would like to share,  I would love to hear from you so that I can make this list the best Moving Checklist resource on the internet.

Download this handy reference and keep it on your desktop, or print it out onto two 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheets.

If you come to the decision that it is time to move to have a better life, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, de-clutter and clean to put your house on the open market and wait until a buyer comes along. Or the house can also be sold “as is” within a week to resolve the situation quickly.

Next week we will take a look at one of the most influential numbers in real estate: the number 61.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Don't Curb Your House's Appeal!

When selling your house the exterior very important – or even more so than the interior. 

Homes with great curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell Some people make the mistake of doing lavish renovations to the inside of the property thinking the buyer will fix the outside to their own taste. However, if the buyer is discouraged from entering, the sale is already lost!

Which projects will boost curb appeal the most?

Sellers are faced with so many decisions as to how to improve their properties. Let’s take a look at some of these and why they are important. While this article is an overall guide, I have tended to list in order of priority. Only you can know what your house needs most.

The Roof

The best place to start is with the roof.


In terms of structure, it also makes sense to start at the top. Any materials going up or down, ladders, work crews and possibly dumpsters will damage your yard no matter how careful your contractor tries to be. When you start with the roof first, you will avoid having to redo any other (lower) part of your planned renovations. Once the roof is taken care of, you can concentrate on work closer to the ground.

Informed buyers know to look at a roof first. It is also what an appraiser will probably start with. Make sure it isn’t leaking or sagging, that there are no missing or damaged shingles or tiles. If you have any issues, fix them right away. Remember: You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal and offer.

If your roof is covered with debris from branches, leaves, dirt, or moss, find a qualified professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself!

The Gutters

While you are having you roof checked, make sure to include the gutters. Are they properly attached or do they have gaps or leaking joints? Are there any blockages or debris such as leaves? It is important to have this checked regularly both for the benefit of your house, and to show buyers that your property is well maintained.

The Fa├žade


No matter if you have brick, stone, siding, or stucco, have your house power washed to remove pollution, dirt, mildew, or organic waste from the outside of your house.

If you are concerned that power washing will damage your paint, then it is probably time to refresh it any way! A good washing will help you find the areas that need painting.

Cleaning is always the first step of paint preparation. If your house does need painting, stick with the same color. Now is not the time to get creative. In addition, painting the same color will make any missed spots less obvious.

If your house has brick, make sure that it is in good condition. Any re-pointing should be done before the house goes up for sale and before any landscaping is done.

If you have siding, check that there is no damage or rot. Fix whatever is needed.

Stucco crumbling? Get it fixed.


Wash your windows inside and out, remove cobwebs, leaves and bugs.
A great way to get them streak free is to wipe up and down in the interior and side to side on the exterior (or the reverse – just stay consistent!). In this way, by the direction of any streak, you will be able to tell which side needs to be retouched.

Make sure that your screens or shades are in top shape. Replace any damaged netting (no patches or clear tape, please!) If you have missing or damaged frames, replace those too. Do not show your house with the odd window missing a screen or shade, it will make your house look poorly maintained.


Clean doors and the jambs to remove any dirt and dust. This is a good time to make sure that they shut properly and that the locks function easily and well. Clean and polish the hardware, or replace it. Check weather stripping for a proper seal.

If you have screen doors or security gates, make sure any netting is intact and tight. Nothing looks as sad as damaged and sagging netting. Don’t patch or cover any hole with tape! That is as unattractive as a run in a stocking! Go and get the frame recovered.

Don’t forget to check any back yard or RV gates and make sure they are clean and function well.

Once you have taken care of the basics, enhance your front door.  Paint it a great color, update door hardware or adding a new knocker. Place a fresh welcome mat. Make sure your mailbox looks new. It should not have any rust or dents. Check inside your mailbox to ensure it’s free of bulk mail. If your architecture permits it, place pots of flowering plants leading to your door.

Check that house numbers are in place and easily visible. Make sure they are not blocked by trees or porch railings. Ideally, make sure they will be illuminated in the evening.


The garage and driveway are often a big visual portion of the front of a house. Check the condition of the garage and driveway. Have any driveway cracks repaired or resurfaced, or replace any missing or damaged pavers. 

Remove any weeds from cracks. Wash the garage doors and make sure that they operate properly. If you have a dented or damaged panel, you can have it replaced without changing the whole door provided that the design is in stock.

Freshen up the garage door with a coat of paint, add some attractive lighting and flower boxes, if space permits.

Clear out as much of the inside of the garage as possible. You will have to do this when you sell, anyway, so make it inviting now. Sweep, mop and if there are any stains from automotive leaks, do your best to eliminate or minimize them.


Trees, Shrubs Plants and Lawns

Prune shrubs and trees to easily boost the curb appeal of any home. Replace damaged, sick or overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals.

Care for grass and mulch flower beds. If you have a lawn, spring is a good time to reseed or add sod if it looks patchy. Weed and mulch flower beds with a natural mulch to help the soil retain moisture and give the beds a finished look. If you have a rock in your front yard, make sure it is weed free and that there are no bare patches.

Add plantings on the street side of your front yard. A fence or stone wall can be accented by planting perennials just outside it as well. The extra layer of foliage and color will soften the wall or fence and create a sense of depth, making your front yard appear larger.

Plant flowers with fragrance which can have a big impact on a buyer’s experience of walking up to your home. Consider fragrant roses, lilacs, honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender or even fresh herbs, like rosemary or mint. If that isn’t an option, place fresh cedar chips on flower beds.

Outdoor Living

Carve out space for front-yard living. 

Even a simple garden bench can make your front yard more appealing. If the style of your house permits, hang a porch swing or get a glider chair. 

Place some decorative cushions, accent tables and potted plants to complete the look. 

A large front yard might be a great place for adding outdoor seating area with sofas and chairs, and if permitted, a fire pit, or fireplace for chilly nights.

Consider adding a water feature so that buyers are welcomed by the sound of running water. This is especially helpful if your street tends to be noisy.


Make the most of night lighting. Make sure porch lights are clean inside and out, working well and have matching bubs. Check your exterior lighting from the street and see if it is inviting.  A single sconce porch light is sad and lonely - add at least one more to balance the door. An overhead fixture should give off enough light to welcome visitors. If not, find ways to add more light.

If you have a large yard or a very long path leading to your door, consider adding landscape or architectural lighting as well. It will make your house stand out at night in addition to improving the safety of your entry.

Whatever work you decide to do, remember that you are doing it to interest a buyer. Choices should reflect popular trends rather than personal taste. If you are not certain what to do, hire an architect, designer or home stager with experience on exteriors.

Perhaps after your review of your house you come to the decision that it would be best to sell FAST, then this can do this in one of two ways. It is possible to renovate, landscape, de-clutter and clean to put your refurbished house on the open market and hope the right buyer comes along quickly. The house can also be sold privately “as is” to resolve your situation immediately.

Next week I will share my moving checklist.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can 
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory

Friday, May 1, 2015

10 Hot Design Trends for 2015

Housing is subject to and influenced by fashionlike any other industry. Many people flock to those giant expos each year to discover the latest trends and products for the home. But is what you are seeing a fad or is it really the direction home owners are taking?

It’s true that renovations can be incredibly expensive. So which trends will bring you the most value if you are thinking about selling your house? Choosing to incorporate the popular trends will surely make your house stand apart from others for sale in your neighborhood. Here are some of the top trends for 2015.

Open Spaces

Everyone knows the kitchen is the home’s hub and the place where people tend to gather – as a family meal time, at parties or just for daily activities like homework or reviewing bills. Open spaces are highly desired as Millennials look for homes in 2015 – both in traditional condo buildings and single family homes. 

This year’s wrinkle for the open plan is to remove all walls for greater sense of togetherness. Open-plan kitchens are now being designed with fewer upper cabinets, though this depends on the size of the kitchen and available storage alternatives. Design experts recommend going a step further with the idea of openness by adding large windows to better meld interior and exterior space.

This concept of openness also extends to the bathroom. Gone are the days of the small functioning room crammed with fixtures. Home buyers expect a room that is on par with other areas of the house in terms of size and features.

The Return of the White Kitchen

In recent years we have seen tremendous variation in colors and textures for kitchen counters, back-splashes, cabinets, and flooring. This year, the all white kitchen makes its triumphant return. 

Whether the style is contemporary, eclectic, classic or country, the white kitchen plays with a range of finished from matte to a mirror-like shine. 

Appliances can be either white or stainless. Countertops are also white - preferably stone.

As part of this year’s trend, white does not mean all the same white, since variations add depth and visual appeal. White can be stark white to creamy to pale grey, or even a soft blue grey.  

When cabinets are white, bigger, bolder hardware can add visual interest. 

This year’s emphasis is on copper and brass for hardware and fixtures, although the finish is more muted and brushed. From sinks to faucets and light fixtures, these richly colored metals add warmth and interest.

On the right, the domed brass lighting coordinates with the cabinet hardware, faucet, accessories and even the brass detail on the ventilation hood to give this kitchen a completely unified look.

Large sinks, either double or single basin, are a must for any kitchen renovation for 2015.

On the left is an under-mounted country style sink made of copper.

Multiple Master Suites

Multiple master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, offers more privacy and makes a house work better for multiple generations. Having a second suite allows aging parents to stay without impacting the rest of the family’s morning routine. Grown children and out of town guests would also appreciate the convenience. In areas that are popular vacation destinations, this suite may also bring in some additional income as a rental.

Thirst for technology

Home buyers have an increased interest in state of the art web controlled home technology, such as security cameras, temperature monitoring, smart appliances and motion sensors for pets. Newer battery powered models are also easier to install and operate, and don’t require the rewiring of an entire house.

While the demand for separate home office is waning due to more portable technology and WiFi, home owners still need a dedicated space for charging devices, and the most popular locations include an area in the kitchen, entrance, or in some two story plans, a niche near the landing.

This demand will soon extend to electric vehicle charging stations, as EV technology becomes more accessible and popular. Already certain cities require charging stations for new homes, such as Palo Alto, California, which is home to Tesla Motors.

Water conservation

As drought in the southwest continues, concerns are spreading nationwide. Sustainable landscaping is not only economically smart by employing water saving practices, it is should be the goal of every citizen. The availability of modern passive collect ion systems such as rainwater harvesting tanks and cisterns, gray water systems, grasses make this challenge easier.

If you are planning a new landscape design, including drought tolerant plants, and low maintenance ground cover and grass will appeal to buyers – especially former apartment dwellers who are cultivating their own green thumbs.

Indoors, water saving features like low –flow fixtures continue to be in demand.


Quartzite is quickly becoming the hottest kitchen material. 

As a natural stone it has the reputation of being virtually indestructible. It also more closely resembles the more expensive classic—marble—without the drawbacks of staining easily. 

It should not to be confused with quartz, which is a tough, manmade product that is less heat resistant.

Freestanding tubs

Soaking tubs are once again gaining in popularity over showers. This year they will give even walk in showers a run for their money.

A far cry from the utilitarian fiberglass surround standard tub most people think of, today’s free standing tub is large, sculptural and makes a statement.

Ceramic Floors

One of the latest design trends that is still going strong is wood look ceramic tile. It’s less expensive and wears as well as or better than the real thing. 

This material is an excellent choice for high traffic areas such as hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.

Statement making tile is a trend that has been popular since 2014. It is a great way to introduce other hot design trends for 2015, such as geometrics or the color grey. 

Organic geometrics will be popular with hexagons rumored to be the favorite. It is a pattern that lends itself well to technological themes while still echoing the softer image of the honey comb.

Libraries as Decor

In recent years, writing became an integral part of some popular design motifs for clothing as well as home fashion. Now books and libraries have a new place in the home as functional decor. 

Libraries serve multiple purposes, both as an interesting background and to enrich our lives with their content.

The Eyes Have It!

Evoking the look of an eye accented with liner, black window frames replace tired window treatments for a crisp, bold, outlined look. 

Some designers recommend placing a black object in every room to anchor the space. 

Black window frames can do double duty and also really accentuate the view and turn it into something dramatic.

Next week we will take a look at making the most of your curb appeal.

So thanks for reading my post. I'm so glad you're here! 

And I really look forward to getting into more great stuff in future posts -- so that you can
Turn Your House To $OLD!

Feel free to ask me any questions through the contact info below. I would be very happy to help.

Linda  623-335-2662

Article Sources:

Lynda Bathory