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Spring Staging Basics You Can't Afford to Overlook

April 4, 2012 3:56 pm

No matter the season, staging your home before listing it on the market is an important part of the process that shouldn’t be overlooked. While the basics of staging—keeping things clean, clutter free and colorful—typically remain the same throughout the year, with the arrival of spring, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside the home to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

“In the spring, it’s a great idea to incorporate color around the entryway,” said Barb Schwartz, Creator of The Staged Homes Concept and Home Staging Industry. “An easy way to do this is to place a large pot on each side of the door, fill it with greenery and then add color by integrating daisies or tulips.”

Moving past the entryway, it’s crucial to bring spring colors into the home as well. This can be easily achieved with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“You can change accessories and the whole house changes. For example, changing pillow cases on decorative pillows that are on a sofa can give a whole new color look to the room,” Schwartz said. “This year, nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers also recommend bringing spring indoors by incorporating the colors of pears, eggs, sea shells and nature in general into your interior decorating scheme. In addition, fabrics with leaf patterns, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast can also be utilized.

Schwartz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office to achieve a fresh look for the spring. In fact, she recently overhauled a den by swapping out a blue daisy pattern and integrating plain cream panels that went from floor to ceiling. “The whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, every room in the house is important and there are ways to liven up each one. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two staged rooms, so it’s important to create a somewhat cohesive design.

“All homes have to be staged to sell all year long, and spring is a good time to sell because people are out looking again now that winter has passed,” Schwartz said. “It’s important to keep in mind that two things sell a house: one is price and the other is staging.”

In addition to creating a fresh look within the home, homeowners should take the time to clean up the outside of the home as well. Be sure to clean up the yard, remove all leaves and dead plants and even trim bushes and hedges. “More often than not, with the arrival of spring, our homes are still cluttered with gifts from the holidays,” Schwartz said. “I recommend that when one new thing comes in, one other thing is packed up, given away, or donated. Otherwise, the house just gets filled with more and more clutter.”

While the spring season typically brings out more prospective buyers, make sure to take advantage of all the season has to offer.

For more tips to stage your home for spring, contact our office today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Restoring the American Dream: HAMP Extension Offers Homeowners Hope

April 4, 2012 3:56 pm

During President Barack Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, he spoke about the American Dream of owning a home and how that dream has been shattered for many due to the collapse of the housing and mortgage markets over the last few years. However, Obama offered hope to homeowners recently by extending the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which can help many homeowners refinance and take advantage of historically low interest rates.

HAMP also offers incentives to mortgage lenders to encourage them to refinance and modify existing mortgages by lowering interest rates and reducing mortgage balances to the current value of the property.

Launched by the federal government in 2009, HAMP was slated to expire on December 31, 2012, but was extended for one year until December 31, 2013. The extension of the program included an expansion of the eligibility rules to make it available to even more homeowners.

It is believed that millions of additional homeowners will now be eligible to take advantage of the federal program to bring down the costs of owning a home and even help many avoid foreclosure altogether.

In February, new eligibility criteria were released to mortgage lenders and servicers and homeowners may begin submitting applications under the new rules in May. Until then, homeowners can submit applications for modifications under HAMP to their lenders under the existing eligibility guidelines.

There are several changes to the HAMP guidelines that homeowners should be aware of:

-Homeowners found to be ineligible under the current debt-to-income ratio of 31 percent may now be eligible under the new criteria.

-Previously, non-owner occupied homes and owner-occupied homes with tenants were not eligible. However, the new guidelines would allow tenants in part of the home as long as the home is owner-occupied, or the owner intends to take occupancy. It is believed that approximately 700,000 landlords will be eligible under the revisions to HAMP.

-People who were approved for a HAMP trial period, but did not make the payments as scheduled, would be eligible for consideration for a modification under the new eligibility criteria.

-Homeowners who missed payments under an approved HAMP modification, as opposed to a trial period, would be eligible to reapply under the new rules.

In addition to the HAMP extension, the Obama administration announced that it would triple incentives to owners of mortgages that reduce home loan debt and expand eligibility to borrowers struggling under the weight of other liabilities such as medical bills. The extension will apply to all loans, including those held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage financiers.

For more information about the new HAMP guidelines, contact our office today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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In this Edition: HARP 2.0, Spring Cleaning

April 4, 2012 3:56 pm

Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters, brought to you through our company's membership in RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN), examines how the recent extensions to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will help homeowners refinance and take advantage of historically low interest rates. Other topics covered this month include simple plumbing fixes that will keep your home sale from going down the drain and staging basics you can't afford to overlook this spring. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Home Matters and as always, we welcome your feedback. Email us anytime!

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Case-Shiller House Prices: A Tale of 20 Cities

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

Eye On Housing—The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes were released recently with data through January for the 10 and 20 city composites (and component cities). The national index, which is calculated quarterly, and the Charlotte, NC metropolitan area, due to delays in data reporting, were not included in the release. The composites were both down [...]

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Reology Announces Results for iThrive Wellness Program

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

Realogy Corporation, a leading provider of real estate and relocation services, has announced the annual results of its iThrive employee wellness program, which also garnered recognition by a renowned organization and its own employees. Realogy’s iThrive program focuses on promoting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention, and access [...]

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Facing Foreclosure? Know Your Deductions and Credits

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

According to NPR, more than half the nation saw a spike in foreclosures last month. With more and more homeowners facing foreclosures, experts at The Tax Institute at H&R Block offer the following information on credits and deductions, which can provide assistance to individuals prior to and after this unfortunate circumstance. • Mortgage Debt Forgiveness: [...]

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Stewart Honored as One of America’s Most Trustworthy Companies

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

Stewart Information Services Corp. (NYSE-STC) was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. Stewart was selected based on an independent audit of 8,000 companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges. “Stewart is extremely proud that the integrity with which we’ve operated for well over a century has [...]

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Spotlight on Mobile: Leading to Tablets

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

Last week I had the opportunity to attend one of my favorite real estate events of the year; the Leading Real Estate (LeadingRE) Companies of the World Annual Conference. What makes this event different from others in my opinion is the level of engagement by the broker/owner or main decision maker themselves throughout the entire [...]

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Rand on Real Estate: Caller Seeks Guidance on Selling Investment

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

Greg Rand (@GSRand), CEO of OwnAmerica.com and host of Rand on Real Estate on 770 WABC, takes a call from an investor in Springfield, N.J. The caller is seeking guidance on selling her current investment property. She is having a difficult time getting her mortgaged refinanced. Rand gives his advice on selling, and using the [...]

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Foreclosure Proceedings Can Make or Break Local Market Recovery

April 3, 2012 3:56 pm

The housing market seems to be on the upswing, and some experts say that by 2014, the market will be back on track. Last week NAR noted that investment properties are on the rise, and the National Institute of Home Builders reports that contractors have high expectations for remodeling this year. According to data from [...]

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