Kim Duke - WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate

Posted by Kim Duke on 3/19/2018

A healthy lifestyle is a reflection of your personal values and the habits you cultivate on a daily basis. When you prioritize, in your own mind, the importance of taking care of your own health, as well as that of your family, you've laid the groundwork for a healthier home environment. One of the worst dietary habits that many families fall into is keeping the kitchen well stocked with ice cream, cookies, cheese, crackers, and potato chips. While the mantra "All things in moderation" is a good guideline to follow, many people -- especially children -- do not have the self discipline to put that idea into practice. As you may have discovered, motivating your kids to eat less junk food and more fruits and vegetables can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility -- and unfortunately, that's not the kind of exercise that burns calories! A Few Ideas For Healthier Eating Permanently purging your home of all signs of snack foods that contain "empty calories" is too extreme of a solution for most families! A more realistic alternative might be to buy snacks in limited amounts and opt for the "reduced fat" version, whenever possible. Then, by keeping a fresh supply of apples, bananas, and other fruit in the house, you're encouraging your family to make healthier eating choices. One way to present this alternative in a more appealing way is to make low-cal fruit smoothies for your kids, or teach them to do it themselves (if they're old enough). A proven method of helping to control portion size is to serve food on smaller plates. Not only does it create the illusion of a larger serving, but it helps to limit the size of second helpings. It doesn't work for everybody all the time, but it is worth a try! Offering ice water with meals, instead of sugary soda and fruit drinks, is another simple, but healthy habit for the family. A slice of lemon or lime can add to both the taste and visual appeal. There are literally dozens of other healthy food choices you can incorporate into your family's diet, but I'll leave those details to the nutritionists, dieticians, and medical professionals. There are also several authoritative websites online that can provide you with complete guidelines, recipes, healthy snacks, and meal plans. What About Exercise? As you've probably heard, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of health problems in people of all ages. Fortunately, there are at least as many choices for staying physically active as there are excuses for avoiding it. Even if the idea of heading to the gym four times a week sounds about as appealing as being trapped in an elevator with a door-to-door salesman, there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape. Low-impact sports, such as golf, tennis, and swimming, can provide an array of benefits for both the mind and body. When all else fails, there's always the option of taking a family walk in the park or neighborhood. Sometimes adding a dog into the mix can provide an additional incentive to go out and "hit the pavement." While all exercise and dietary programs should be approved by your physician before getting started, there are quite a few common-sense approaches to improving health, such as portion control, junk food reduction, and age-appropriate physical activity (taking in account medical restrictions and personal safety.)

Posted by Kim Duke on 3/12/2018

Looking to add your home to the real estate market sooner rather than later? Ultimately, you'll want to look beyond the potential price of your residence as you get your house ready for the real estate market.

For home sellers, price is one of several factors to consider before they list their houses. In fact, some of the top home selling factors to evaluate beyond price include:

1. A Home's Location

A home's location may dictate how quickly you're able to sell your residence. And if you understand the benefits associated with your house's location, you should have no trouble promoting your residence to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.

For example, a home that is located near a big city may prove to be an ideal choice for those who work in the city. On the other hand, a house that is located near top schools could prove to be an ideal option for families.

2. A Home's Condition

Although you've tried to maintain your house's interior and exterior over the years, you may still be uncertain about how your residence will stack up against other houses in a competitive real estate market.

Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you take an in-depth look at your house's condition and map out your home selling journey.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence. The appraisal may take several hours to complete, as a property inspector will investigate your house's interior and exterior.

When a home appraisal is finished, a property inspector will provide you with a detailed report that describes his or her findings. Then, you can use the home insights contained within this report to prioritize myriad home improvements.

With a home appraisal, you can gain deep insights into your house's condition. That way, you can better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses prior to adding your home to the housing market.

3. The Current State of the Housing Market

The current state of the housing market may impact your ability to sell your house, and for good reason.

For instance, if you're operating in a seller's market, there may be an abundance of homebuyers and a shortage of top-notch houses. This means there will be high demand for the best residences, and you may attract plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

Let's not forget about a buyer's market, either. In a buyer's market, there are many home sellers and few homebuyers. Therefore, a home seller may need to allocate significant time and resources to stir up interest in his or her property.

For those who are unsure about how to navigate a seller's or buyer's market, hiring a real estate agent usually is an excellent idea. A real estate agent can teach you about the current state of the housing market so that you can get the best results possible during the home selling journey.

Look beyond price before you list your residence, and by doing so, you can boost your chances of a fast home sale.

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Posted by Kim Duke on 3/5/2018

Looking to buy or sell a house in the near future? Hire a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving the best possible homebuying or home selling results.

Ultimately, there are many great reasons to trust a real estate agent throughout the homebuying or home selling journey, including:

1. A real estate agent boasts comprehensive industry experience.

When it comes to buying or selling a house, there is no reason to work alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who possess extensive industry experience and understand what it takes to buy or sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

An experienced real estate agent is easy to find – all you have to do is search.

With a simple online search, you can discover dozens of qualified real estate agents in your area. Then, you can reach out to local real estate agents and find one who can help you navigate the homebuying or home selling journey.

2. A real estate agent can help you accelerate the process of buying or selling a home.

The process of buying or selling a house can be time-consuming. Conversely, a real estate agent understands what it takes to streamline the homebuying or home selling cycle.

For a homebuyer, a real estate agent will help this individual discover a great home in no time at all. In fact, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses as they become available and ensure a homebuyer can narrow his or her home search. That way, a real estate agent will make it simple for a homebuyer to quickly and effortlessly complete the property buying process.

On the other hand, a real estate agent will help a home seller add a property to the real estate market and optimize the property's value. This housing market professional will even negotiate with homebuyers on a home seller's behalf to boost a seller's chances of generating a profit from a home sale.

3. A real estate agent knows how to handle tough situations.

Buying or selling a house should be a fast, seamless process. However, this rarely, if ever, is the case.

Luckily, a real estate agent knows how to handle difficult situations and ensure a homebuyer or home seller can overcome assorted hurdles. He or she can help an individual alleviate stress and proceed with confidence throughout the homebuying or home selling journey.

If you need a helping hand as you get ready to buy or sell a house, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is a real estate expert, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help you accomplish your homebuying or home selling goals.

Employ a real estate agent today – you'll be happy you did. With a real estate agent at your side, you can increase your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying or home selling journey.

Posted by Kim Duke on 2/26/2018

 The bad news about selling your home is that there are dozens of mistakes you might make that could result in a lost sale, unnecessary price reductions, and delays in finding a buyer.

The good news is that the vast majority of seller mistakes are completely avoidable -- especially when you have an experienced real estate agent guiding you through the process and providing you with ongoing advice and marketing assistance.

Pricing and Perception

Setting too high of a price for your home is a common mistake -- one that's often difficult to recover from. Since "the clock is ticking" from the moment your home officially goes on the market, it's important to make the most of those first few weeks.

House hunters are often strongly attracted to homes that are advertised as being "just on the market." Those words can be very compelling because they imply newness, a limited opportunity, and scarcity. As the advertising industry has known for generations, consumers are drawn to products and services that are new, fresh, and in demand. However, just like yesterday's news or day-old bread, the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it becomes.

According to a Zillow study, homes for sale priced around or slightly below market value are almost 50 percent more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12 percent or more above market value.

Working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can help make sure you don't lose that initial out-of-the-gate momentum by pricing yourself out of the market. They'll base their recommendations on a number of factors, including a comparative analysis of recently sold homes in your neighborhood .

Here's a house-selling mistake that most people probably don't know about: You might be losing potential buyers because you've chosen an "odd selling price." The National Association of Realtors points out that listings may sometimes be excluded from Internet search results if the asking price is just a few thousand dollars above a typical pricing range. "Buyers search real estate websites for price ranges, such as 'homes between $250,000- $300,000.' If you set an odd price to make your listing stand out, say $302,499, you may miss some of your best potential customers."

If you realize after a few weeks that you've incorrectly priced your house, it not only becomes necessary to lower the price, but you also have to contend with a lower perceived value among prospective buyers.

Buyer Psychology

A few other words and phrases that tend to whet the appetites of prospects searching for their next home include "move-in condition," "landscaped," and "updated." Many people also like the sound of granite countertops, maple hardwood floors, and gourmet kitchens.

While it pays to know a little about pricing, home staging, and buyer psychology, getting advice and guidance from a seasoned real estate agent is usually your best bet for producing the fastest and most satisfying results in selling your house.

Posted by Kim Duke on 2/19/2018

You’ve made it through the bidding process and you’ve finally unpacked the last of your boxes. It’s finally time to show off your new home to your friends, family, and new neighbors! Throwing a party can be intimidating, especially a housewarming party since it's not every day you move to a new house. If you don’t know where to start to host your housewarming party keep reading for some tricks and tips below. Send out the invites. In the age of technology sending out e-vites is as easy as a few clicks and saves on postage, however, physical invitations include the opportunity to add a handwritten note to your loved ones and new neighbors. This adds a personalized and thoughtful touch to let them know you look forward to having them attend your party. You may also want to consider allowing guests to bring a friend. Doing so will also help you expand your social circle in your new community and make new acquaintances more comfortable. Including a reply by date will give you the opportunity to know how many guests to expect and allow you to plan accordingly. Clean and stock your home. A tidy home will impress your guests. Ensure that every room is spick and span as your guests will be hoping to see each room in your new home. Make sure your bathroom is well stocked for your guests. Think items like toilet paper, soap, air freshener, and extra towels. Go the extra mile and make your home smell good with lightly scented candles or an oil diffuser. Plan your menu. Skip the sit-down dinner in favor of finger foods. You will also want to keep dietary restrictions in mind when creating your menu, include a few vegetarian, dairy free and/or gluten free options to play safe. Creating a few different table spreads will allow for guests to mix and mingle throughout the house and avoid an overcrowded room. Greet guests. Be sure to greet incoming guests at the door or assign someone to do so for you to create a welcoming atmosphere for your party. Offer to take any coats or bags and make introductions to other guests to encourage a sociable atmosphere. Entertain. Have some simple games on hand to occupy guests like horseshoes or tic-tac-toe. You’ll also want to have a playlist prepared ahead of time to encourage a party atmosphere. If putting together a playlist isn’t your thing look into a music service that will automate one for you so that all you need to do is pick the atmosphere you would like for your party. The idea of hosting a party might seem like the last thing you want to do after the stress of buying and moving house however you can throw a party that is just as much fun for you as it is for your guests. By planning a casual housewarming party you can put in minimal planning and focus more time on having fun with your friends, family, and new neighbors.

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