Blog :: 04-2017

Welcome to Our Real Estate Blog!

Read our latest insights into the Greater Washington real estate market, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our team of expert real estate professionals at RE/MAX Realty Group/100 have a finger on the pulse of the local market. Stay tuned for news and analysis on all the most important topics pertaining to real estate and home ownership in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

 

 

 

8 Ways to Enjoy a Mosquito-Free Yard This Summer

(RE/MAX Blog)- Summer is around the corner and the sunshine will be calling. Don't let mosquitos ruin your outdoor fun. Here are a few tips for keeping the bugs out of your backyard.

1. Look out for standing water
Standing water of any depth – whether it's the half-inch at the bottom of a planter or the six inches stagnating in your wheelbarrow – is an invitation for mosquitos (they need water to breed). Be careful not to overwater your lawn and to refresh water containers, like dog bowls, often.

2. That includes your gutters
Make sure your gutters are clean and water drains freely. Otherwise, you're the proprietor of a very long singles bar for mosquitos.

3. Switch your bulbs
In some areas of the country, depending on the breed of mosquitos, swapping out the bulbs you use in your outdoor lights for yellow bug bulbs can mean fewer insects swarming the lights.

4. Trim away
Mosquitos like to hang out in the shade and feast on plant nectar. Keep your lawn short and hack down heavy vegetation near your patio and house to make your property less appealing.

5. Blast the buggers
Mosquitos aren't powerful fliers. Strategically placed fans around your deck can blow them away, and a ceiling fan above your covered porch can help too.

6. Hang a net
When done correctly, mosquito netting can drape your patio or outdoor eating area in elegance while keeping the bugs at bay.

7. Light candles
Citronella candles, lamps and coils can help repel mosquitos.

8. Bring in the big guns
Work with a professional pest control company who can install misters to work all season, or spray your yard once for a special occasion.

Are mosquitos just the beginning of your yard's problems? A move to greener grass may be in your future. Start your search for a new home.

RE/MAX 100 Office Managers Graduate MAR Leadership Academy

Two RE/MAX 100 office managers have graduated the Maryland Association of REALTORS Leadership Academy. After seven months of hard work and dedication to the program, Lisa Wissel and Kendra McCourt completed the academy. Wissel and McCourt received their certificates of achievement on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Broker/Owner, Ken Crowley, credits the company’s success to a great leadership team, and dedicated staff and agents.

“Our managers, staff and agents are always looking for opportunities to expand their knowledge. It is one of the reasons we have such a strong team,” said Crowley. Their motivation to grow in their careers has greatly and positively impacted our company. We have an incredible group of professionals with the brokerage.”

Wissel and McCourt have both been in the real estate industry for over twelve years. Wissel has been the office manager of the RE/MAX 100 location in Columbia for nearly four and a half years. McCourt, who is the office manager of the RE/MAX 100 location in Dunkirk, joined RE/MAX 100 in 2004 as a real estate agent after making the decision to leave a career in education.

The Maryland Association of REALTORS Leadership Academy is a personal development program that focuses on building strong leaders in the real estate industry. The program runs from October to April. It consists of seven educational sessions that are held monthly at the Maryland Association of REALTORS building in Annapolis.

5 Tips for Budgeting a Remodel

(RE/MAX Blog)- Planning to remodel? While the total cost of your project will depend on its scope, materials and the fees of any professionals you hire, here are some suggestions for beginning to craft a renovation budget.

1. Determine where the money will come from

Will you use savings? Or will you take out a home equity loan? Once you determine your source of funding, determine how much you want to spend on the project – and stick to that limit.

2. Set your priorities

Before you pull out a calculator, clarify your reasons for renovating. Divide those reasons into "wants" and "needs." For example, reconfiguring your bathroom so that your currently questionable electrical and plumbing will pass an inspection is a "need." His-and-her water closets, a whirlpool tub and built-in towel heaters are "wants." Setting priorities will help you make decisions as you move through the renovation process.

3. Step away from the computer

Visit show rooms, model homes and design stores in addition to checking out pictures online. Before investing in materials and appliances, be sure to see and feel them, or samples of them, in person.

4. DIY or contractor?

The biggest question to answer when creating your budget is deciding whether to do the work yourself, or to hire a contractor. Doing the work yourself is usually less expensive – unless, of course, something (costly) goes wrong. Using a contractor, however, can mean your project is completed to professional standards and usually in a shorter time frame. Be sure to calculate the value of your time (and your back and knees) and the inconvenience of having a bathroom or kitchen out of use during the project when deciding whether to opt for DIY or a pro.

5. Expect the unexpected

Whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, add on an extra 15 to 20 percent of your total budget for unforeseen expenses. Added costs inevitably arise, especially if you're dealing with an older home.

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    Top 4 Financial Tips for Buyers

    (RE/MAX Blog)- Getting ready to buy a house? Before you head out on your first home tour with your agent, arm yourself with the following advice.

    1. Double check your credit

    If you're thinking about buying, you should already be "keeping score." Know your credit score, and make sure to rectify any credit reporting errors before lenders take a look. Read more in 4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success.

    2. Understand the added cost of certain features

    As you make your list of "must-have" home features, be sure you consider the added expenses that may come with them. Your math should include things like the cost of landscaping maintenance for extra acreage and energy costs that come with added square footage. Read more in 3 Home Features That May Not Be Worth the Work (or Expense).

    3. Discover where your dollars go

    Get up close and personal with your monthly budget and track every single thing you purchase over 30 days. Review your credit card and bank statements to categorize where you spent each dollar (e.g., entertainment, food, clothing). Several online sites and software programs can help you track and categorize spending. This will help you identify where you can cut back to put more money toward a monthly mortgage payment. Read more in 6 Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for a Down Payment.

    4. Research mortgage options

    You don't always need to invest a 20 percent down payment. Explore your options, like a Conventional 97 from Fannie Mae. Just 3 percent down is enough to help you qualify for this program, as long as it's for a fixed-rate mortgage on a single-family home for under $417,000. Read more in First-time homebuyers: You're closer to a down payment than you think.

    If you're ready to buy a home, an experienced agent can help you calculate how much house you can afford, then find a home you'll love within your budget. Start the search for your new home today.

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      3 Things to Consider Before Registering Your Home on a Short-Term Rental Site

      (RE/MAX Blog)- Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.

      Enter changing consumer attitudes, the "sharing economy" and online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey (owned by TripAdvisor) and VRBO (owned by HomeAway, which is now owned by Expedia).

      Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn't an outlandish concept. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?

      If you think you're up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

      1. Legality

      The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn't been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn't have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels. Finally, many investors are buying properties with the intent of renting them out, which takes housing off the market in areas with already limited inventory.

      Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

      2. Taxes

      You don't need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:

      1. You rent it out for fewer than 15 days a year AND

      2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).

      Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? Forbes and TurboTax provide some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

      3. Additional Costs

      Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.

      In addition to insurance, you'll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.

      Looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Search for properties.

      4 Landscaping Trends for 2017

      (RE/MAX Blog)- With warmer weather and longer days on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get your yard in shape for summer. Keep this year's top five landscaping trends (according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals) in mind as you get started.

      1. Going green (the color)

      Combine different textures and shades of green for a more dramatic lawn. Think of mixing leaves of different size and shape as well as plants with a variety of verdant hues.

      2. Going green (the earth-friendly strategy)

      More sustainable landscape designs have been becoming more popular over the past few years. Why? They're better for the planet and can reduce maintenance costs. For example, more homeowners are planting "smart" lawns – varieties of grass bred to stay green with less water.

      3. Giving bees a chance

      With bee populations in trouble, people are actually starting to welcome the stingers in their yard by planting native plants that provide the nectar they feast on. The efforts to save vital pollinators is another sign of consumers seeking more green, sustainable practices for their yards.

      4. Going Danish

      The Danish concept of hygge is about creating an atmosphere of coziness by embracing life's simple pleasures. How do you implement hygge in your yard? Add features that promote mindfulness, such as water fountains or aromatic flowers, and arrange seating in a way that encourages conversation. And don't forget to include spaces that inspire play – for kids and adults. The experts at Gardendesign.com note an uptick in requests for things like bocce courts, fireplaces and hammocks, features to help home owners relax and play outdoors.

      Looking for a new home with space for a bocce court? Start your search today.