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Sep 26

5 upgrades that could boost resale value

5 upgrades that could boost resale value

Renovating your home can be a great way to boost its value. But you should be aware that not all projects are created equal — at least when it comes to the return on your investment.

Some updates can deliver on resale value, while others hold very little monetary worth (or may even negatively impact your resale price).

Are you looking to update your home and increase its value in the process? Here are some projects you should focus on.

  1. Upgrade your entryway. Replacing your grand entrance is one of the highest-ROI projects you can take on, according to Remodeling Magazine. Adding a steel door may result in 64% of costs recouped, while expanding to a more spacious grand entrance could bring you a 60% return.

  2. Give the kitchen a facelift. A minor kitchen remodel might offer a return of 71% (possibly equaling $20,000 in resale value). For this, focus on updating big-picture items like the counters, appliances and cabinets.

  3. Add an outdoor entertaining area. Wooden decks could net you a 65% return on investment, but don’t stop there. Consider designing a full outdoor kitchen and entertainment space with a grill, fridge, bar area and seating.

  4. Invest in landscaping. Curb appeal is almost always a worthwhile investment. For the most value, focus on adding greenery that will stand the test of time, including trees and shrubs. Living walls are on-trend, too.

  5. Remodel the bathroom. Doing an upscale bathroom update could lead to a 54% ROI. To refresh the space, you can replace the tub, install chic new tiling and upgrade the sink and vanity area.

Would you like to sell your updated property and buy a new home? Please get in touch today.

Sep 12

What to consider before listing your vacation home

What to consider before listing your vacation home

Selling a vacation home isn’t quite the same as selling your primary home — at least if you want to try to maximize your profits.

Timing, locale and the area’s housing market should play a big role when selling a vacation home, especially since many vacation home markets are seasonal.

Are you considering selling your second home or vacation property? There are some questions you should think over first.

What time of year is the locale most popular?
You’ll probably get the most interest in the property as we approach its most popular time of year. A beachfront property, for example, might be worth listing in spring — when summer vacations are top of mind and you could likely attract the most buyers.

What condition is the home in?
Don’t forget to consider any renovations the home may need, especially ones that impact its usability during the area’s prime season. Is there a dock or pool in need of maintenance? Does the fireplace need a deep clean? If repairs are needed for any features you’d like to market, you’ll want to get those done before putting the property on the market.

What are area market conditions like?
Every housing market is a little different, so we can talk about the specifics of your property’s location before you decide what you want to do. We’ll discuss whether there’s high demand, whether home prices are falling or rising, and more.

Are you ready to say goodbye?
This may be the most important consideration: Are you emotionally prepared to sell the home? Have you lined up another getaway (if that’s something you want)? You should be prepared to sell in every way possible, not just financially.

Are you thinking of selling your vacation property? Get in touch today for expert guidance.

Aug 22

3 things to know about using cryptocurrency for real estate

3 things to know about using cryptocurrency for real estate

Cryptocurrency is now a popular investment, but did you know that it may become a valuable form of commerce sooner than we think?

According to one expert forecast, purchases made with crypto are expected to jump 70% from 2021. By the end of 2022, an estimated 33 million U.S. adults will own at least one form of cryptocurrency.

It seems likely that crypto-backed home purchases will increase, too. If that’s something you’d consider, here’s what to know:

How can you buy a home with cryptocurrency?
The most effective way to purchase property with crypto is to sell your crypto holdings for U.S. currency. Whether you’d prefer to finance the home or buy it in cash, this strategy will give you a lot more options than trying to find a private seller willing to trade in crypto.

What are the potential benefits?
Some sellers may be willing to accept a lower “price” with crypto if there’s a good chance its value will increase over time, and if you convert it to cash, a crypto purchase may allow for a faster transaction. Plus, you’ll be adding real estate to your portfolio, which is a historically stable investment (unlike cryptocurrency).

Are there any drawbacks?
Suppose you’re trying to buy directly with cryptocurrency (and without a mortgage). In that case, you may have trouble finding a seller willing to accept it, and your holdings could vary widely from one day to the next, making it difficult to finalize your transaction. There may be tax complications, too, if you sell the crypto in exchange for U.S. currency.

If you’re interested in buying a house with crypto, get in touch so we can consult with your financial advisor and help you make the best decision for your investment goals.

Aug 8

Are you looking for a health-focused home?

Are you looking for a health-focused home?

Your home isn’t just where you live; it should be a place that improves your quality of life in every way possible.

Fortunately, technology and modern design have made creating a health-focused home easier than ever, with a number of home features that can help you stay happy and healthy.

Here are just a few of the home amenities you might want to look out for or add to your home for your health:

  • Advanced Air Purification System: You can lessen the allergens, pathogens, toxins and bacteria in your environment with a whole-house air purification system. They improve your home’s air quality and could help prevent you from getting sick.

  • Health-Inspired Kitchen: Consider getting a steam oven that can help your food retain more valuable minerals and vitamins or a smart fridge that allows you to keep the kitchen stocked with healthy goods and produce more easily.

  • Outdoor Space: More time outside has the ability to improve your mood and reduce your stress levels. Get more exposure to the great outdoors (and vitamin D) with wide green spaces, complete with a garden, lap pool and plenty of foliage.

  • Next-Level Shower: Take your daily showers to the next level with vitamin-infused showerheads or steam capabilities that offer a sauna-like experience. Features like these could make every day feel like a spa day.

  • Sports Court: Forget standard treadmills and stationary bikes. You can make workouts more dynamic by adding a pickleball or tennis court to your home, then inviting your neighbors or friends over for a game and some socializing.

Reach out if you’re interested in buying a new, more health-focused property.

Jul 25

Do you have an estate plan in place?

Do you have an estate plan in place?

Having a solid estate plan is important for anyone. But if you own property or have any other high-value investments, it’s even more critical.

An estate plan ensures your assets will be handled properly when you’re gone. It can also help your loved ones avoid probate court, inheritance taxes and other struggles.

Have you contacted a professional to create your estate plan yet? Here are some tips for property owners:

  1. Work with professionals. While there are ways to do a will or estate plan yourself, working with a professional estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure everything is done correctly. You will probably also want to consult your financial advisor or planner, particularly regarding the future of your investments.

  2. Inventory your assets. Organize a list of all of your assets: Include real estate, bank accounts, brokerage or retirement accounts, stocks, bonds and any other investments you might have. You’ll want to have a specific plan for each thing on the list.

  3. Determine your beneficiaries. Decide who you want your assets to go to when the time comes; you can name children, siblings, parents, business partners or anyone else close to you. You can also leave some assets in the name of a school or charitable organization if you’d prefer.

  4. Reassess every few years. Estate planning isn’t a one-time occurrence. You’ll want to review it every couple of years to ensure it still meets your needs and includes all of your current assets. It’s also good practice to update your plan after big life changes, like having a child or getting remarried.

Are you interested in adding a new real estate asset to your portfolio? We can work together to find the perfect fit.

Jul 11

4 design tips to show off your love of travel

4 design tips to show off your love of travel

Traveling allows you to have new experiences and discover other cultures. And with each trip you take, you'll want to bring a piece of it back with you.

One way to celebrate your favorite destinations is through your home’s design and decor. Incorporating them into your home can keep those cherished trips front and center — and show off your sophisticated taste.

Are you dreaming of working your travels into your home’s design and ambience? Try these tips:

Evoke a scent. Is there a certain smell that brings you back to your favorite spots? The saltwater from a beach, the crackling logs in a fireplace or the fresh croissants you enjoyed at a cafe each morning? Find a candle, diffuser or air freshener with a similar scent, and use that to bring back fond memories of the experience.

Invest in local goods. The next time you travel, make it a point to visit local artisans and stock up on art and decor specific to the region. Lamps, rugs, sculptures, dishes and paintings are all stylish options for adorning your home.

Create your own art. You can also turn the photos you take into large prints or canvases and hang them in your favorite space. If you snapped lots of pictures, you could create a gallery wall, mixing your photos with some local artwork.

Start a collection. Collections are great ways to encapsulate your journeys. You can save postcards, decorative plates or teacups, and even local currency. Make sure you pick something up for your collection on every trip and plan an artistic way to display them.

Maybe one home isn’t enough to hold all of your travel treasures, so get in touch if you want help finding a new property that fits your design dreams.

Jun 27

How to focus on the big picture when building a custom home

How to focus on the big picture when building a custom home

Building and customizing a home from the ground up is exciting — but it also comes with many decisions.

You’ll have to ask yourself: What will the layout look like? What materials, fixtures and hardware do you want? The details can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Are you planning to build a custom home? Cut through the clutter to focus on these four big-picture items.

  1. Layout and Transitions
    Put thought into which rooms you want to flow into each other, then think about the transitions. Have you considered what your doorways and staircases should look like? Figure out where you might want French doors, an open archway or a spiral staircase; these are details that can make your home’s aesthetic.

  2. Bathroom Amenities
    Especially with the main bathroom, you’ll likely want to focus on making it a resort-like space. Do you want amenities reminiscent of a spa, such as a rain shower or sauna? Are you interested in having both a shower and a bathtub, or just one of the two? You can also consider luxuries like heated flooring and a built-in speaker system.

  3. Entertainment Spaces
    You want your home to be somewhere you and any guests enjoy being. Think about how you’ll use the home recreationally: Do you need a movie theater or a game room? Maybe you want a swimming pool or an outdoor kitchen. Don’t forget to consider things like wine cellars, dual ovens and other amenities that can make entertaining easier.

  4. Overall Aesthetic
    It can be daunting to choose the materials for your flooring, countertops, cabinets and more throughout the home, but having a good grasp of your overarching aesthetic can help. Consider your favorite architecture and interior design; art deco and midcentury modern are two popular examples. Keeping your style preferences in mind can make choosing design elements much easier.

If you want help finding a luxury home or an architect who can meet your needs, please reach out today.

Jun 13

Use these 3 tips for renting out your high-end property

Use these 3 tips for renting out your high-end property

If you’re not using a property year-round, you’ve probably considered leveraging it as a rental for short-term or longer-term tenants.

Either way, you’ll be able to earn passive income from the house and, ideally, cover its costs while you’re not actively staying in it.

Are you considering putting your investment to financial use while you’re away? Then heed these three tips.

Know your audience.
If you have a high-end property, you’re targeting wealthier travelers — potentially those who vacation throughout the year. They’ll be looking for luxe amenities like pools and wine cellars, plus proximity to golf courses, beaches and clubs. Make sure you market these perks and your flexible availability in your listings and other marketing materials.

Lean on your network.
You want to be strategic about where you list your property and on what platforms you allow bookings when targeting a higher-end clientele. Reach out for expertise and guidance on putting your property up online. We can also discuss best practices for marketing your home toward renters and travelers in your area.

Stay on top of maintenance.
All guests expect a well-maintained, clean and manicured property, but these details are even more critical with wealthy clients. Make sure you have the property on a regular schedule for repairs, cleaning and landscaping — and carefully vet the professionals you use. You may also want a property manager who lives nearby and can check on the property regularly and stock it with all the necessities.

Are you thinking of renting out your property? Or do you need help finding a new investment? Get in touch for help today.

May 23

Is your outdoor space ready for summer?

Is your outdoor space ready for summer?

As summer approaches and the days get longer, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors.

But is your backyard space ready for it? Is your outdoor area a comfortable, welcoming and enjoyable place to be?

If it’s not up to your standards just yet, there’s still time to make some changes before summer rolls around.

Are you looking for ways to upgrade your outdoor space? Here are five ways to do it.

  • Build an Outdoor Kitchen: An outdoor kitchen is key if you plan to entertain. Include cooking areas (a grill or pizza oven), a fridge, a beverage bar and plenty of seating.

  • Install Technology: You and your guests can enjoy a smart TV and a high-quality sound system. You can also install smart lights around your pool, fences and patio to ensure that your space is fun and safe at all hours.

  • Add a Deck: A wooden deck can be a great way to improve your yard’s usable space, especially if you have a patio set. And according to Remodeling Magazine, they’ve recently been found to recoup more than 65% of their cost upon resale.

  • Include a Fire Pit: Are you looking to add a cozy gathering place to your yard — for any time of day or night? A fire pit (or fireplace) fits the bill.

  • Incorporate Shade: Shade is vital if you plan to be outside in the heat of the day. A pergola can be a great choice, as is an awning or roof over your patio. Having mature trees on your property is a perfect way to create natural shade, too.

Are you ready to upgrade to a home with more luxurious outdoor space? Reach out today.

May 9

4 tips for your next property search

4 tips for your next property search

In a highly active real estate market like today’s, it’s easy to feel rushed into making a decision and buying a property without proper contemplation.

But while acting quickly, bidding big and pulling out all the stops might win you a home, that doesn’t mean you’ll end up happy with your decision — nor will it make for the best use of your money.

Are you preparing to buy a new property? Here are four ways to avoid homebuyer’s remorse when deciding.

Know your wants, needs and deal breakers.
Have a clear vision of what a property must have, the things you desire but could live without, and your deal breakers. With these, you can make instant decisions about whether a property is worth your time and money.

Get help from the experts.
You don’t have to go it alone — and you shouldn’t. Lean on your financial planner to align your wealth-building goals. If you’re using a loan, talk to your mortgage broker about the best financing for long-term benefits. And we can work together to create a perfect homebuying plan.

Understand what can change and what is set in stone.
Always consider the property’s location and layout, which are largely permanent. Changing wall colors or installing a farmhouse sink is one thing, but bigger updates require lots of time, effort and capital. Be aware of which repairs or replacements would be easy fixes and which ones would be more work than they’re worth.

Have a handle on your limits.
Know your budget, and have a good idea of how much time and money you’re willing to put into a property to get it to your ideal condition. Don’t forget to consider your timeframe; for example, if you want to vacation in the home by midsummer, you probably don’t have the room to do a full overhaul.

If you need help finding a home that hits all the right notes, get in touch today.

Apr 25

Do you have the right coverage for your luxury property?

Do you have the right coverage for your luxury property?

Luxury properties have a higher price and a higher replacement value than your typical property. That means that your average homeowners insurance usually won’t cut it.

For these higher-end homes, you’ll typically want a high-value insurance policy — one that comes with greater limits and more comprehensive coverage.

Many of these policies will insure valuables like artwork, jewelry, landscaping, identity theft and more.

Are you in need of high-value insurance for your home? Here’s what to think about:

  • Your Home’s Replacement Cost: You’ll want a good estimate of what it would cost to rebuild the home; this is not the market value, because it only takes into account the dwelling itself, not the neighborhood and comparable sales. It does include taking into account current lumber and material prices, as well as renovations or added features that changed the home’s value.

  • The Value of High-Dollar Items: Do you have artwork, collectibles or a wine cellar? How about expensive clothes, jewelry, shoes or purses? Tally up the total worth of those valuables and talk to your insurance agent about it. You may want extra coverage in case of theft, natural disaster or other events.

  • How the Property Is Used: Do you host a lot of events at your home? If so, you may want to add liability insurance to protect yourself in case of an incident. Do you operate a business out of the house? It’s probably important for you to have business property insurance, too.

Reach out today if you need more guidance on buying or owning a luxury property.

Apr 11

How to grow your art collection this year

How to grow your art collection this year

Art is having quite a resurgence these days, according to interior designers. Surveys have shown that abstract art is highest on the list, followed by sculptures, drawings and photographs.

But art is highly subjective: What one person loves, another might not find attractive.

Are you considering adding to your art collection this year? Consider these strategies when selecting (and displaying) your investments.

  1. Treat your home like a gallery. You don’t have to place a piece, then leave it in perpetuity. Instead, consider cycling art, changing it out monthly or bimonthly as a gallery would. You can also move art from room to room.

  2. Purchase with thought and intention. Have a purpose for each piece you invest in. Does it fill a gap in your collection? Does it elicit a different feeling than your other works? Have a vision for your collection, and let that guide your investments.

  3. Commission art from artists who evoke something in you. Find artists that align with your style and aesthetic, and consider commissioning original works from them. These pieces can add new depth and meaning to your collection.

  4. Consider alternative art categories. Paintings are a common investment, but designers say that photography and portraiture are right now as well. Sculptures, outdoor art installations and other 3D works are popular too.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing or displaying the art you acquire. Art is a very personal medium — for both the artist and the collector.

Do you need local art referrals? Are you interested in finding a new property to house your collection? Get in touch today.

Mar 14

5 ways to make your house more sustainable

5 ways to make your house more sustainable

Sustainable homes are desirable for many reasons.

They can reduce your impact on the environment, lower your energy bills, make your house more marketable, and often even qualify you for various tax cuts and credits.

And today, there are lots of ways to make your home more sustainable — either during the building process or long after.

Are you looking to make your property more sustainable? Here are five steps to consider taking.

Landscape With Native Plants 

Plants native to the region need minimal water, don’t require fertilizer or pesticides, and can help prevent erosion. They typically offer the best curb appeal for properties, as well.

Use Repurposed, Ethical and Sustainable Materials

Reclaimed wood is a particularly trendy way to incorporate earth-friendly materials into your home’s design and decor. Repurposing also reduces the need for landfills and results in fewer emissions.

Explore Green Roofs and Solar Panels

Getting your home’s energy from renewable sources is a smart, sustainable move. An upgraded roof may also qualify you for various state and federal tax credits, and in some areas, utility companies might even pay you for extra energy your home creates.

Achieve LEED Certification 

If you want your home to be the ultimate energy-saver, seeking LEED certification is one of the most thorough ways to do it. This will need to be done in the initial building stages, but if you’re able to get certified, it should make your home more efficient (and marketable) in the long run.

Use Tech to Your Advantage

Intuitive thermostats can reduce your energy output, smart irrigation systems can prevent wasted resources, and a high-tech air filtration system can help create a healthier home overall. Smart homes are also incredibly popular, so when it’s time to sell, you can expect these technologies to help your property stand out.

Looking for the perfect sustainable property? Get in touch today.

Feb 28

Is this a good time to sell?

Is this a good time to sell?

The housing market has stayed competitive for months, and if you’re like most property owners, you’ve probably considered selling one of your homes. But is this the right time?

Selling is a big decision, and pinpointing the perfect time to make your move can be challenging.

Here are a few questions to consider if you want to explore what it would look like to put a home on the market soon.

Has your property increased in value? Homeowners have gained record-setting equity over the last few years. Determining your property value can give you an idea of your potential profits. Then, you can consider if you could put these funds to better use elsewhere.

Has your lifestyle changed? Most homeowners outgrow a property at some point, no matter how nice it may be. It might be too small, you may want to downsize, or you might want different features or a change in scenery. 

Do you have another property or a plan for where you’ll go next? If you have a second home, then selling one could be an easy decision. If you’d need to purchase a new home, be sure to keep the logistics and busy market conditions in mind.

Have you discussed the details with everyone involved? Selling your house isn’t something you should do on the spur of the moment. This sale will mean big changes, both financially and in your day-to-day life, so be sure everyone in your household is on the same page.

Have you established your goals (and communicated them clearly)? When you’re ready, let’s discuss your needs and wants and create a plan that makes sense for you. Once clear goals are established, we can work together to find what you’re looking for. 

Still not sure if it’s the right time to sell? Get in touch to discuss your options today. 

Feb 14

What to know about doing your taxes this year

What to know about doing your taxes this year

It may be hard to believe, but tax season has arrived. 

We all know things can get complicated, especially if you bought or sold property last year or made any charitable donations. There are also a few tax law changes for the 2021 year that may affect you. 

Have you started preparing your taxes yet? It’s important to check in with your trusted financial advisor as well, but if you’re just getting started, keep these five key steps in mind.

  • Know your deadlines. If you’re self-employed or own a business, you likely have quarterly tax payments coming up. You’ll also want April 18 — the deadline for filing most individual tax returns — on your radar.

  • Double-check your tax bracket and capital gains rate. Understanding your tax bracket and capital gains rate can help you better estimate your annual tax bill. Then, you can begin setting aside funds accordingly. 

  • Be aware of all the deductions you can claim. Make sure you know all your potential write-offs, including for your home office if you worked from home this year. And don’t forget about any deductions that go along with owning or investing in real estate. 

  • Gather all necessary paperwork. Pull together your W-2s, 1099s, property tax statements, mortgage tax statements and applicable receipts.

  • Make an appointment with your accountant or financial advisor. Of course, your financial team will be able to guide you through this process successfully. Don’t wait too long to set up an appointment during what is probably a busy time for them. 

Considering investing in more real estate this year? Get in touch today. 

Jan 24

Luxury trends: What's in (and what's out)?

Luxury trends: What's in (and what's out)?

Home trends are always changing, especially in high-end real estate. What’s “in” one year may be “out” the next, and the last couple of years have held more change than usual.

Fortunately, the majority of luxury home real estate trends are leaning in a more flexible direction — and finding a home in line with your needs is probably easier than you think.

Wondering how homes are continuing to evolve? Here are a few trends to know:

Out: Hyper-Specific Workout Rooms

Peloton rooms or other activity-specific spaces may remind us of quarantine and isolation, and they won’t be as sought-after as we move forward.

In: Flexible Wellness Areas 

It’s all about multipurpose spaces these days — indoor or outdoor areas to accommodate your personal training sessions, your Mirror workouts or your meditation practice. 

Out: Modern Design and Harsh Aesthetics

A minimalistic approach with stark whites and angular furniture isn’t necessarily the default anymore.

In: Cool and Calm

Now, designers are leaning toward more soothing, calm decor. Nature-inspired biophilic design is in demand, and living walls, trickling fountains and tons of natural light are all more popular than ever.

Out: Form Over Function

Not too long ago, luxury homes were more aesthetic-focused than anything. Furniture was more for photographing than relaxing. Game rooms were more for entertaining than playing.

In: Using a Space to Its Full Potential

Forget wasting space for the sake of how it looks. These past two years have taught us that our homes need to serve multiple purposes. Your outdoor space can double as an entertaining area, a guest room can become a homeschool or virtual learning zone, and your dining room might also serve as a spacious home office.

Are you looking for a new property this year? Get in touch today.

Jan 10

Are you looking for your next property?

Are you looking for your next property?

It’s the new year, and with that comes new possibilities — especially in the world of real estate. 

You could buy another home, purchase that vacation house you’ve been eyeing, or invest in rental properties, commercial real estate or even international assets. 

Not sure which route is best for your long-term goals and wealth? Here’s how to choose your next property — and do it right:

Do a financial assessment. The first step is to evaluate how much you’d like to spend. Remember to keep in mind both the upfront and long-term costs, as well as the upkeep and maintenance of the property — especially if you’re not on-site often. 

Keep your travel and work plans in mind. Are you planning to go abroad this year? Will work keep you busier than ever, or are you planning to slow things down and take more time for yourself? These details can help point you toward the right buying location and property type. 

Make a detailed list of your preferences. Have a clear-cut picture of what you want. In today’s competitive market, you may find yourself compromising just to find a property, and having a solid list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves can make the process easier to navigate.

Be patient. Competition might be strong, but it shouldn’t push you into the wrong decision or force you to compromise on what’s important. It’s not always easy, but try to be patient until we find a property that’s truly right for you.

Are you on the market for a new property this year? Get in touch to discuss what you’re looking for.

Dec 27

Are you sharing time between two properties?

Are you sharing time between two properties?

Winter is fully upon us, and for many families, that means heading off to a second home. 

Whether you’re going to warmer climates for a few weeks or taking a trip to your cozy winter cabin, there’s work to be done before you leave.

Are you planning a winter’s stay at your other property? Here’s how you can make sure your home base is well taken care of.

Prioritize Security

Before you leave your current home, check that all your cameras, lights, gates and other security features are in good working order. You can even pay for a professional security audit for better peace of mind.

Tend to Maintenance and Landscaping

Get the trees trimmed, have the HVAC system checked, and schedule regular lawn and garden maintenance for when you’re gone. 

Designate a Point Person

Either hire someone or ask a neighbor or family member to be your go-to person while you’re out of town. You’ll need someone to regularly check on the house and be on call in case there’s an emergency.

Prep Your Appliances and Systems 

Unplug nonessential appliances like washers, dryers and dishwashers. You can also turn down the water heater and program your thermostat to reduce energy bills while you’re gone. 

Talk to Your Tax Professional

Depending on how long you’re planning to be gone, we could be well into tax season by the time you return. Speak to your tax adviser about how you’ll handle taxes on both your primary and second homes. 

Are you considering a new property purchase? Get in touch to discuss what you’re looking for. 

Dec 13

Happy Holidays

Wishing you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays.  

 

If there's anything you need in the coming weeks, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

 

Nov 22

Are you looking for more privacy and security?

Are you looking for more privacy and security?

You deserve to feel safe and secure in your home. And with the help of a few innovations, you can easily achieve more privacy and peace of mind. 

From installing the latest smart home technology to being strategic with your landscaping, lighting and other exterior features, the options are endless.

Do you want to improve the safety and security of your property? Here are five changes you can make soon.

Choose your landscaping and fencing carefully. High fences, a gated entrance and tall, thick hedges and trees can all be smart ways to insulate your property and improve privacy. You can also mount security cameras along the fence for added safety.

Opt for integrated smart technology. It probably goes without saying, but check out your options and secure your home with the latest smart locks, doorbells, cameras, sensors and more. You can monitor many of these straight from your phone.

Install extensive outdoor lighting. Well-lit properties are much less of a temptation to burglars and other potential trespassers. Consider installing lights in the garden, along walkways and at all entrances. Motion-activated lights near the garage and other more remote parts of the property are a good idea, too.

Do a security audit. If you hire a security professional to perform an audit of your property, they can pinpoint any areas of weakness. There’s also the option to bring in professional, on-site monitoring if you’re particularly worried about safety.

Go the extra mile. If you have the resources, purchasing the adjacent land or property is the ultimate way to create a security and privacy buffer around your home. 

Are you looking for a more private home? Looking to buy a neighboring property? Get in touch today.

Nov 8

Here's an update on jumbo mortgages

Here's an update on jumbo mortgages

Many higher-end homes cost more than the conforming loan limit — especially in today’s hot housing market. Because of this, luxury homebuyers typically need what’s called a jumbo loan (or jumbo mortgage).

Jumbo loans are high-balance loans you can use to either buy or refinance a home. In most markets, you’ll need one for any house priced higher than $548,250. In particularly high-cost areas, the threshold may be higher.

Will you be using a jumbo loan for your next purchase or refinance? Here’s what you need to know:

Potential Advantages of Jumbo Loans

Jumbo loans let you buy homes priced beyond what government-backed and conventional mortgages will allow. They also don’t require mortgage insurance, which can save you significantly in the long haul.

Potential Drawbacks of Jumbo Loans

The biggest downside is that jumbo loans come with higher rates and stricter lending requirements than smaller loans. You may need less debt, a higher credit score, more in cash reserves, or a bigger down payment in order to qualify. 

Note: Lending standards have loosened a bit on these loans in recent months, so qualifying is not as difficult as it once was. 

Where to Get a Jumbo Loan

Not all lenders offer jumbo loans, but most major lenders and banks do. Make sure you shop around, as rates and qualifying standards can vary widely from one lender to the next.

It’s a good idea to analyze your cash flow when considering a jumbo loan. Tying up a large chunk of money in real estate has risks, and it could make it hard to cover bills if you don’t budget carefully. 

Need help evaluating if a jumbo loan is right for you? Searching for your next property? Get in touch today.

Oct 25

What are the best family-friendly luxury features?

What are the best family-friendly luxury features?

A family-friendly home doesn’t have to be boring or basic — in fact, it can be elegant and appealing.

You do want features that accommodate everyone’s needs, however. As your family grows, this may mean adding space, reimagining a few rooms, and updating your property with the latest technology.

Or it may mean choosing a new property altogether. Are you in the market for a family-friendly luxury home? Here are the top features to be on the lookout for.

The Smartest Technology

Smart home tech can improve your home’s safety and make communicating throughout the house easier and more convenient. Today’s best features also help monitor temperature, control lights and appliances, and more.

Flexible Entertaining Areas 

These rooms can grow and change as your children do. In the beginning, one space may be a nursery. Later on, it can become a separate place for reading and playtime. As your kids get older, a gaming or media room may make more sense.

A Fully Appointed Kitchen

The kitchen becomes the heart of the house for many families, acting as a cozy place to spend time together, even when it’s not mealtime. Make sure you have plenty of space as well as all the latest appliances and gadgets.

The All-Important ADU

If you have the backyard space, adding in an accessory dwelling unit can be a great option. This allows visitors or caregivers to have their own space. You could also convert a pool house, shed or barn into a living area if those structures are already on-site.

Beautiful (and Useful) Backyard Enhancements 

Make your backyard more fun with a built-in pool and waterslide, or add a treehouse, playset or trampoline. You could also install a fire pit or outdoor dining area for future alfresco family dinners and parties.

Need help finding the perfect home for your growing family? Reach out today.

Oct 11

How to make a large space feel cozy

How to make a large space feel cozy

With their soaring ceilings, expansive square footage and panoramic views, large homes can often feel empty — no matter how much furniture you put in them.

With a few clever touches, however, you can make even the biggest spaces feel warm, cozy and inviting.

Are you thinking about upgrading to a bigger house? Want to make your current property feel more like home? Try these tips:

1. Create smaller units within each room. Break up large rooms by creating smaller, offset areas within them. That could mean adding a small reading corner in your study or office, a conversation set in the den, or a movie-viewing area in the playroom. The options are endless.

2. Make tall ceilings feel lower. Creating the illusion of shorter ceilings can help a space feel more intimate. Try painting your ceiling a darker color, adding crown molding about a third of the way up the wall, or hang your window treatments lower to shrink things down a bit.

3. Add personal touches. Sometimes, all a space needs is proof that real people live there. Add warmth and personality by bringing in items that are important and meaningful to you — things like souvenirs from your travels, valued heirlooms, family photos and custom artwork. 

4. Bring nature indoors. Nothing makes a place feel more alive than greenery. Add fresh flowers to your tablescapes, use potted plants and ferns on shelves and in corners, and think about adding a living wall if you have the room. These additions will improve your air quality, too.

At the end of the day, any house can feel like home — as long as you decorate it properly. Need help finding your dream house? Get in touch today.

Sep 27

How to prep your luxury property to sell

How to prep your luxury property to sell

Every home seller wants to fetch the highest price for their property while avoiding as much stress as possible. 

Accomplishing this will require careful preparation and a little investment — both in your team and in your marketing tactics.

Are you considering selling your home or vacation property this year? Want to get the most from your sale? Then remember these four essential pre-listing steps.

Invest in high-quality photos and videos. Your listing photos and videos can make or break your sale. You can have the most beautiful property on the market, but if the images don’t do it justice, buyers will never walk in that door. 

Hire a professional stager. Even if you have a great eye for design, hiring a staging professional is the way to go — especially if you want to inspire more (and higher) bids. 

Highlight your home’s unique qualities. What makes this property different from the rest? Whether it’s the stunning views, the proximity to fun and intriguing points of interest or the particularly luxe amenities, be sure to call out anything that sets your home apart and makes it more desirable.

Consider a few updates. Improving your curb appeal, swapping out appliances or doing a quick remodel of high-traffic areas like bathrooms or kitchens can be a smart way to make a home more marketable. We can discuss which upgrades might make the most sense for your property.

If you’re considering selling your home, get in touch today. Let’s create a plan to make your sale as profitable and successful as possible.