Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone - WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate

Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/22/2018

If you’re looking to increase the value of your home before you sell, there are certain things that you can do to attract buyers and get a high return on your investment in your home. There’s only so much time and money that you have to invest in your home. You will be purchasing a new place most likely and will need some capital for that. Read on for some tips on how to cheaply and efficiently make some quick improvements to your home. 

Stage Your Home 

You don’t have to create a significant expense to make changes to your home. If there’s one thing you should know about selling your home, you should make an appearance. Clear out the clutter in your home. Then, take some time to stage it. No one who is touring your home should see your personal papers, children’s toys, and celebrity shrines. Think minimalistic when it comes to the things that need to be in your home when it’s put on the market. Having a clean house can make all the difference in selling your home.

First Impressions Are Everything

A mess never makes a good first impression. If things appear in disarray around the property, it’s going to deter interest in the home. Make sure the yard looks presentable. Add some plants to the outside of the house. A simple clean up can make a big difference in the property. 

The Kitchen And The Bathroom Are Points Of Interest

People pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms of a home. One reason for this is that these rooms are particularly expensive to renovate. At the very least make sure that these rooms are clean. If you have the time and funds to replace tiles, or replace the sink, definitely complete these projects. 

Don’t Try To Take On Projects Yourself

It’s important to recognize what you can and can’t do. Hiring a professional to complete your projects can make a big difference. If you don’t have a grasp on home renovation procedures, an improvement can turn into a nightmare. It could end up costing you more money and time in the long run. 

Hire A Real Estate Agent

Hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home. Real estate agents understand how to price and market a home for an optimal sale. Fees for seller’s agents are very reasonable and worth it if you want a good price for your home.  

As you can see, there are many simple ways you can get more value out of your home when you head to sell it.            

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/15/2018

Choosing the right lighting for your home not only enhances it visually, but can also make it a safer and more secure place to live.

While an interior decorator or electrician can offer you additional suggestions about upgrading your home's lighting efficiency and appearance, here are a few helpful lighting tips and ideas to consider.

  • Dimmer switches can be a highly desirable feature to include in most rooms in your house. You only use them on an as-needed basis, and they're great for reducing eye strain, creating a more relaxing environment, and conserving electricity. Although dimmer switches are relatively easy to install, hiring a reasonably priced electrician is good insurance against getting an electrical shock or doing it incorrectly.
  • Flood lights strategically placed in different areas of your property can help keep away trespassers, burglars, and vandals. Motion-activated security lights are especially effective at deterring crime and sending intruders on their way. While lighting alone does not comprise a fail-proof home security system, it is one of several methods that, when used together, can keep your home, property, and family safe.
  • Adequate outside lighting helps prevent family members and visitors from falling, tripping, and getting injured on your property when approaching your home at night. This is especially important for those who are elderly or vision impaired.
  • Outdoor lighting can also be effectively used for decorative purposes on porches, patios, backyard decks, and walkways.
Light Bulb Facts

If you're wondering why old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are becoming harder to find on store shelves, it's because of two things:

  1. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007: It was enacted to for several reasons, including eliminating wasteful energy products from the market, helping the United States become more energy independent, and reducing harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although some consumers prefer the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb, it's interesting to know that they're only 10% efficient. What that means, says the EPA, is that 90% of the electricity it uses is lost to heat.
  2. Consumers want to save money on energy consumption. Here's what the EPA says on the subject: "Because lighting accounts for approximately 12% of the average household’s energy bill, more efficient options will help consumers save money on their utility bills."
Those more efficient options include compact fluorescent lights (CFL), light emitting diode bulbs (LED), and halogen bulbs. Although energy efficient lights can be somewhat more expensive initially, they last longer and typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. That's the word from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Based on figures from the EPA, consumers can also save money by using Energy Star-qualified LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

With its economical features and versatile uses in and around the house, there are a lot of benefits to be had from choosing the right lighting.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/8/2018

Purchasing a house should be an unforgettable journey for all the right reasons. However, problems sometimes may arise that can make it tough to enjoy a positive homebuying experience.

Whether it's struggling to know where to search for your dream home or getting the financing you need to purchase a house, myriad problems may prevent you from enjoying a positive homebuying experience. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and eliminate such problems before they escalate.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a positive homebuying experience.

1. Enter the Housing Market with Clear Expectations

If you know you want to purchase a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with clear expectations. That way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline your house search.

Consider what you want to find in your dream house. For example, if you want to own a house near the beach, you should conduct your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to buy a home with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool, you can hone your home search as needed.

Think about areas where you want to reside too. By doing so, you can focus on available homes in specific cities and towns.

2. Know Your Homebuying Budget

Get pre-approved for a mortgage – you'll be glad you did. Because if you have a mortgage at your disposal, you can pursue houses in a specific price range and speed up your home search.

Obtaining a mortgage can be simple. In fact, if you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you may be able to get a mortgage in no time at all.

Remember, banks and credit unions employ knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. If you have any mortgage questions, these specialists can respond to your queries. And as a result, you can gain the insights you need to get a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can achieve the best-possible results, regardless of where and when you're searching for a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your homebuying expectations and help you map out a property buying strategy. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into the local real estate market and ensure you can pursue houses that match your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, help you submit an offer to purchase your dream house and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will address them immediately.

Ready to enjoy a positive homebuying experience? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/1/2018

When looking at new homes, home buyers with high expectations can sometimes feel disappointed with their options. In a world where wood paneling, blue bathtubs, and wallpaper in every room have been popular trends it can feel like a lot of houses on the market are eyesores.

An important factor to keep in mind, however, is what parts of the home are merely cosmetic and which are structurally important. If a home is in a neighborhood you love with all the structurally important systems in excellent shape you can still add it to the top of your list. Poor design choices, or lack thereof, can always be changed down the line. 

If you were hoping for a home with lots of character and detail but the neighborhoods you love are filled with ranches and builder grade homes don’t despair. There are plenty of style upgrades you can DIY yourself to give your home the luxe look you’re looking for. 

Ready to make a dramatic first impression? Wow guests with just a few of these simple upgrades. 

If your entrance opens up to a staircase you can create a drastic difference with just a small change. The newel post, that is the first main post of the stair railing, can be swapped out for something more ornate and classic. With plenty of options ranging from boxy posts with molding to something sleek topped with an ornate finial ball. Add more drama by choosing a contrasting color for the finial, newel cap, and railing from the main post and spindles.  

A large mirror placed in an entrance or along the length of a hallway never fails to make a statement. Place a pier mirror between windows to create more light and dimension to the room. Create a built-in look by adding molding and wainscotting painted to match the trim of the room. 

Add elegance by installing a ceiling medallion. Not just for the foyer they are also a great detail to add to your dining room, guest bedroom or home office. With a wide selection at your fingertips, you can pair one with a chandelier for a chic look or for a more modern flair coupled with a contemporary style pendant light.

For a truly classic look wall trim instantly makes any room look more luxe. Keep it simple with box shapes or opt for an art deco touch with more geometric shapes. Paired with other vintage elements wall trim brings a sense of refinement. If you’re aiming for a more effortless yet modern theme pair with a mix of mid-century modern and minimalist pieces.

When house shopping keeping an open mind as to what can be changed and what is imperative for a safe home makes all the difference in your shopping experience. Print out pictures for inspiration or create a board on Pinterest to keep the ideas flowing. As you look at each new house keep in mind how you can easily add these elements to create a more luxurious home with a quick weekend project.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 2/22/2018

Although family vacations frequently require a lot of planning, budgeting, and highway navigating, the benefits usually outweigh the challenges.

Granted, some road trips may bear a striking resemblance to the Griswold family's misadventures in the 1983 movie National Lampoon's Vacation, but, in real life, the majority of vacations do not devolve into a comedy of errors! A lot has changed in the past few decades, too. Thanks to GPS technology, cell phones, the Internet, and online reviews of tourist destinations, travelers are much less likely to get lost, stuck on the side of the road, or discover at the last minute that they've reserved a room at the Bates Motel.

Vacations mean different things to different people. While some families are content pitching a tent at a public campsite for a few days, other people opt for a week in the Bahamas or a lavish winter vacation at a ski resort in Colorado. The good news is that vacationing can be as economical (or luxurious) as you want it to be, and there are plenty of ways to reduce expenses and save money. One example would be to take advantage of off-season rates. Another would be to share the cost of a vacation house rental with friends or extended family.

Regardless of the duration or nature of your vacation, a change of routine and a new environment can be great for every member of the family. Here are a few of the benefits and advantages:

  • A fun vacation not only creates fond memories and opportunities for family bonding, but it also gives you and your kids something special to look forward to and talk about for years.
  • Whether you're a business owner, a working professional, or a student, it's relaxing and restorative to get away from the pressures and responsibilities of daily life. Everyone needs to "recharge their battery" now and then to avoid feeling burned out and overwhelmed.
  • Freedom and flexibility: Vacations are an opportunity to be as active or lazy as you want. In the winter, you can either go downhill skiing or just relax in the ski lodge with a good book, a crackling fire, and a hot drink. If your vacation is in the summer, you can work on your tan or your golf swing -- you decide! The ability to relax, kick back, and have a change of scenery provides people with a welcome relief from their usual busy schedules.
If the idea of a full-fledged vacation seems too time consuming or expensive, there's always the option of going away for a long weekend or planning a few mini-vacations at different times of the year. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that reservations should be made as much in advance as possible -- especially if you're planning to book your accommodations at a popular resort or during peak times of the season.