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around the house

Home Improvement Projects are booming

By | Around the house, Buyers, Sellers | No Comments

The Return on Home Improvement Projects

When it comes to interior projects:  kitchen upgrades, complete kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations and new wood flooring are among the best investments. These projects also appear to have the highest expected value at resale. Exterior projects that bring the best return on investment and attract potential buyers are: new roofing; new vinyl windows; new garage doors. The majority of these exterior projects are projected to nearly cover their cost at resale.

Remodeling projects can greatly improve both the value of and satisfaction with your home. This makes a remodel project worth your while, no matter the reason for a project,

This report highlights the best projects to consider in either situation and showcases just how much of a difference a good and professional remodel can make in real numbers.

Mirjam

Time to garden… landscaping in the spring.

By | Around the house | No Comments

While in the Netherlands it takes till April until the nice spring weather start, Springtimein Sonoma County, it’s usually February that gives me that ‘it’s spring again’ feeling.  Such is life in the Bay Area.

While January is the perfect time to plant bare rooted trees, spring is just around the corner. Besides, it’s never too early to start thinking about spring plantings and home landscaping plans for the coming year, especially if you plan to put your property on the market.

The Professional Landcare Network, the national trade association for landscape professionals, offers smart advice for homeowners looking to get a jump on spring. Here’s a quick summary of the organization’s recommendations:

  • First, inspect the trees and shrubs in your yard, looking for limbs or branches that might be broken or damaged. Prune them or have them removePruning treesd by a professional.
  • Rake away leaves and other debris from plant beds, prune any dead branches, and create tidy borders around the beds using an edging tool.
  • Test the soil every few years to make sure it has the proper pH balance and nutrient mix. Most garden centers sell soil-testing kits if you’re in do-it-yourself mode, or you can consult a lawn-care or landscape professional.
  • Depending on the plants in your yard and the soil conditions, you may want to fertilize it, along with trees and shrubs. Check with an expert for the timing and type of fertilizer. When possible, choose slow-release or controlled-release nutrients to prevent runoff and increase absorption
  • Add an inch-thick layer of mulch in plant beds and around trees, but don’t let the mulch touch the tree trunk and never let it accumulate to more than a three-inch depth. Mulch makes planting areas look neat and also helps to retain moisture in the soil. It keeps the roots cool in the summer and insulates them in the winter.
  • Check your outdoor lights for broken fixtures. Reset timers when daylight saving time begins on March 8.

If you have questions about pest management at home or in your yard or garden, a local  nursery is a great resource. Personally I find the people at Harmony nursery in Sebastopol very helpful and very knowledgeable.

Happy gardening and share some pictures when you have a chance

Mirjam

Location – disclosures : Mold…

By | Buyers, Sellers, Sonoma County info | No Comments

GiethoornGrowing up in the Netherlands and living in older homes, mold was something we didn’t think to much about, clean the area thoroughly every so often and that was it… Now I am involved in selling property, I do look a little different at the subject.

Disclosures: when buying or renting in California, it feels like the amount of disclosures are never ending. One of them is the Residential Environmental Hazards booklet. It informs about hazards in and around the home. One of them is mold.

Blue cheeseRealize that mold is a hazard but also a friend… How so? Think about that delicious blue cheese… the blue stuff is… mold. And penicillin is made from mold. It is a fungus, in the same family as mushrooms.

But mold can also be an environmental hazard. There are several different types of mold. Black mold is toxic and an environmental hazard. Realize that mold can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. This means if the cause is remedied – lack of ventilation, moisture – and affected area is cleaned, mold will not come back.  

When selling property, sellers are recommended to have a “Pest Inspection” done prior to putting the home on the market. At that time items that need correction can be addressed prior to putting the property on the market. Buyers are recommended to also have an inspection done as part of their due diligence. The inspector will always have solutions when problems arise, or will recommend preventive maintenance as needed.

Mirjam

 

Refinancing your home – beware of scams

By | Mortgage, Sonoma County info | No Comments

How many letters with offers to refinance your homeMailboxes did you receive in the mail last week? Was one of them from the bank your current mortgage is with? The last one seems like a good option to refinance your loan. There is the promise of an easy process and you would think there would be less paperwork involved… NOT.

Recently I am hearing more and more homeowners frustrated by their bank: the promise of less paperwork, less hassle is an empty one. You will end up working with a junior loan officer who quite frankly doesn’t have the wherewithal to help you with the process.

BETTER option: contact your favorite mortgage person, or if you don’t have one, ask your realtor. First of all, working with a lender who knows what he/she is doing is not more expensive – I have done the math- but more important, you are sure you have the best mortgage product that suits your situation. Besides this, the whole process less frustrating, as a matter of fact it will be a pleasant experience.

Locally, yours truly can highly recommend a few local lenders who are really good at what they are doing, one of them is Darren Seliga, he is a Mortgage Broker. Just give him a call and tell him I told you to do so. His phone no: 707-577-8737.

Mirjam

Carbonmonoxide Detectors… It’s the law.

By | Around the house, Buyers, Sellers | No Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPer July 1 2011 all homeowners in California, must comply with the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010. This means that every home must have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. The reason for this law is because carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas produced whenever any fuel is burnedCO-detector. It can enter the home from sources as seemingly innocent as a gas stove, furnace, or wood stove, usually due to leakage, back drafting, or poor venting.

Do you have one installed in your home? Unless you are renting a home chances are that were not even aware of this legal obligation. It’s not unusual that home owners buy and install one when they are selling. Reason: it is part of the required seller disclosures and when a property is appraised (when a buyer needs a mortgage) this is one of the items an appraiser looks for.

But as a general rule, it is good to have one installed. According to California Safe Homes website, only 54% of the CA residents have a CO alarm. I am planning to do this the coming week;)

Mirjam