Our Blog:  Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 15, 2022

Now is the Time to Buy, See Why

Want a Better Deal on a House? You Might Want to Buy in the Next Month or Two

With mortgage rates having gone up, and home prices not seeming to come down much, some buyers are choosing to wait it out and see how much prices come down.

But there’s not a lot of consensus on whether or not prices will come down, or how much they will if they do. According to this Market Watch article, some predictions are that they’ll be coming down quite a bit in the near future, while others say that they’ll remain stable, if not go even higher. So, waiting may or may not pay off.

Besides, not everyone can wait it out. People buy and sell houses when they need to; it isn’t always driven by mere want. Which is kind of a key point to this whole article…

While prospective buyers can casually be looking and may or may not need to buy right now, if someone has their house on the market in November or December it’s a pretty good sign that they need to sell. It’s more of a commitment for someone to have their house on the market during two months filled with holidays, traveling, and a seasonal drop in real estate activity.

But what makes this November and December a bit more of an opportune time is that you also have buyers who are choosing to put their home search on hold due to market uncertainty, or have been edged out of the market by rising rates. In addition, some sellers may be getting concerned or influenced by news that houses aren’t selling as readily and prices are dropping, whether that’s even true or not in their area.

To put it simply: The time is ripe for you to find yourself a deal.

That said, inventory is still low, and prices aren’t necessarily dropping in every area, so a lot depends upon what’s happening in your local area and the price range of the houses you’re looking at. You also need to keep in mind that, while it’s a good sign when they’re on the market at this time of year, not every seller is motivated or desperate. So don’t bank on everyone who’s trying to sell taking a deeply discounted price for their home.

But if you’re focused on finding a deal, you can more easily find one in the next couple of months, as long as you look for and focus on the deals and opportunities.

The Takeaway:

November and December are historically great times to get a better deal when buying a house. While rates have gone up and prices haven’t come crashing down, the market is shifting in favor of buyers in many areas. If you’re focused on negotiating a better deal on a house, the next two months are a great time to capitalize on the seasonal and overall shifts in the market.

Nov. 6, 2022

Selling Your Home? These Home Selling Rules Are No Longer Relevant

The market is changing. While bidding wars, sky-high prices, and homes flying off the market were a reality just a few months ago, rising mortgage rates, changing economic conditions, and increasing inventory have caused a serious shift in some areas.

And if you’re selling your home, it’s important to operate under the conditions of the market the way it is now, not the way it was last year or a few months ago.

So what, exactly, does that look like?

recent article from realtor.com outlined some of the widely believed rules about selling a home in today’s market that are no longer true (and that you’ll definitely want to consider breaking!), including:

  • Pricing your home as high as you’d like. There was a time when sellers could virtually put any price tag on their home and it would sell, often for even higher than their asking price. But those days are over, and if you want to successfully sell your home in today’s market, you need to price your home conservatively and in line with its current market value.
  • Don’t worry about offering concessions. At the height of the buying frenzy, buyers were bending over backwards for sellers, and that meant sellers could forgo any concessions. But now that the market has cooled, if you want to sell your home—and sell it quickly—offering concessions to buyers (like helping them “buy down” their mortgage rate or cover closing costs) isn’t out of the question.
  • Home staging isn’t necessary. There was a time when just about any home would sell, regardless of how it looked. But now that buyers are more selective, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your home marketable and appealing—and that includes investing in professional staging.

We have been through this market a few times before and know what is necessary to get your house sold.  If you want a private consultation, contact us, we will let you know exactly what you need to do and don't need to do to get your top dollar when you sell!

 

Sept. 8, 2022

September Newsletter

 

 

Happy September! In anticipation of fall, I wanted to share some tips for making your home smell amazing, whether you're gaga for "pumpkin spice" or more of a "freshly fallen leaves" fan. In this newsletter, you'll also find 6 picture-hanging hacks, a quick update on the national housing market, and a debunking of the "20% down" myth.

Thanks for reading!
- Debbi

 
It’s almost here—the season of cozy aromas like pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and maple leaves. So it feels like the perfect time to pay attention to how your home smells. What fragrance do you want to surround you the moment you (or guests) walk through the door? A warm autumnal blend? A fresh, clean scent? Whatever your preference, here are 6 tips from The Kitchn for a better-smelling home!

1) Absorb bad smells.

The first step to a better-smelling home is getting rid of the less-preferable and
downright stinky smells. Here are some of the top-performing odor absorbers:

  • Baking soda: Place a few bowls of baking soda around your house and change them out weekly.
  • Activated charcoal: Not to be confused with charcoal briquettes used for grilling, activated charcoal is an extremely porous, powdered substance that is produced when charcoal is treated with oxygen at a high temperature. In addition to absorbing odors, it also purifies the air in your home and controls humidity. You can buy activated charcoal pellets (often designed for purifying aquarium water) and hang the mesh bag in your kitchen or place bowls of pellets anywhere you need to absorb unpleasant odors.
  • Distilled white vinegar: Vinegar binds with bad odor molecules, so you can leave a glass of vinegar out overnight to absorb the day’s cooking smells.
  • Tea leaves: Dry tea leaves work just like baking soda to absorb odors—try it in your refrigerator!
2) Simmer aromatic fruits and herbs on the stovetop.
Stovetop potpourri is easy to make and the perfect way to fill your home with warm, cozy vibes on a crisp autumn day. Shop your pantry and fruit bowl for any of these aromatic ingredients: apple slices, orange peels, lemon rinds, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise, nutmeg, rosemary, vanilla beans. Place your chosen ingredients in a large pot full of water, then simmer on low for as long as you’d like.
3) Roast coffee beans in your oven.
Want your home to smell like a coffee shop? Place a couple of coffee beans on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, then leave the oven door cracked open afterwards.
4) Diffuse Essential Oils
There are many different ways to diffuse essential oils to scent your home. The simplest method is to place a few drops of essential oil into a bowl of warm (not hot) water and set it out in a room (out of reach of pets and children). Other options include terracotta or sandstone diffusers, electric fan diffusers, nebulizers and atomizers, and reed diffusers. My favorite tip is to put a few drops on a cotton ball and suck it up with my vacuum cleaner. Every time I vacuum the house, the lovely scent of lavender fills the air.
5) Light a Healthy Candle
Candles add incredible scent and create a nice ambiance. But it might be worth doing a little research before your next candle purchase to avoid toxic ingredients. Look for candles that are scented with 100% essential oils, advises Lisa Fennessy, founder of This Organic Girl. And opt for a candle made out of something other than paraffin wax—soy wax, coconut wax, and beeswax are good options.
6) Open a window.
Because there’s no better fragrance than the scent of fresh autumn air.
 
How long have you lived in your current home? And how many wall decor items are still stacked up in your basement, waiting to be hung?

Hanging wall decor—whether it be framed photos, art prints, canvases, wooden signs, old window panels, or sculptural pieces—can feel intimidating. What if it’s crooked? What if I put a huge hole in the wall? And how the heck do I create a gallery wall?
These tips and hacks from Renovated Faith will help you with your biggest picture-hanging challenges:
1) Use a yardstick, torpedo level, pencil, and painter’s tape to ensure your pictures are level.
Karin of Renovated Faith says this is the easiest way to hang a picture so that it’s level: Hold a yardstick—with a level sitting on top of it—against the wall where you want to hang your picture. “Once you get it level, mark at least two dashes on either side of the top of the straight edge with your pencil. Now, add a long piece of painter’s tape, with the top edge lined up with those two marks you just made.”
2) Don’t have a level? There’s an app for that.
Download a level app like Bubble Level, then use your phone just as you would use the torpedo level. Balance it on your yardstick to create a level horizontal line.
3) Mock up a gallery wall using paper cut-outs.
Lay each frame on top of kraft paper (or wrapping paper, or any other paper large enough), trace the frame precisely, and make paper cut-outs of each frame. Use painter’s tape to arrange the cutouts on the wall. This is a great way to experiment with different gallery wall arrangements to find the one you like.
4) Use toothpaste to determine nail placement.
This tip is pure brilliance: Put a dab of toothpaste on the hanging hardware on the back of your frame, right in the center and above the spot where your nail needs to go. Press the frame against the wall where you want it (either eyeballing it or pressing it against the kraft paper cutout you arranged). The toothpaste will leave a mark exactly where the nail needs to go.
5) Use Command picture hangers.
If you want to avoid the use of nails, you can use wall-friendly, adhesive picture-hanging strips and hooks. Be sure to check the weight of your wall decor before deciding which type of adhesive mounting to buy.
6) If you have heavy wall decor to hang, get a stud finder.
Lightweight pictures (between 5 and 20 pounds) can be hung using a simple plastic drywall anchor with a screw, but if you have something heavier, you’ll want to make sure you attach it to a stud. Studs are the vertical boards that are placed every 16 inches or so along the structure of a wall. To figure out where a stud is located inside your wall, you’ll need a handy gadget called a stud finder.
 
 

The first step in buying a home is working with a mortgage lender to determine what you can afford. And one of the first questions your lender will ask is, “How much are you planning to put down?”

Some buyers will have sizable down payments—perhaps from years of saving or from the sale of a previous home. But other buyers—especially first-time homebuyers—don’t always have that extra cash in the bank.

Fortunately, the “20% down” rule is a myth.

You do not need a 20% down payment to buy a home.

In fact, the median down payment for all home buyers is 13%, and it’s often much lower for first-time buyers. There are many loan programs that allow for 3% or even 0% down.

When you’re deciding how much to put down, here are some things to consider:

1) If you have a hefty savings account, but your monthly income is relatively low, it’s smart to make a large down payment. “A large down payment shrinks your loan amount and reduces your monthly mortgage payment,” writes The Mortgage Reports contributor Dan Green.

2) On the flip-side, if you have a high income, but little in the way of savings, a low- or no-down-payment loan might be your best option.

3) If you opt for a loan that allows for a low or 0% down payment, you’ll typically be required to pay mortgage insurance. Under a 30-year fixed rate FHA mortgage, with a down payment of 3.5%, you’ll pay an annual mortgage insurance premium of .85%.

4) A large down payment can actually lower your rate of return. Let’s say your home sees a 5% appreciation in value in a single year, from $400K to $420K. If you put down 20% ($80K), your rate of return is 25%. But if you only put down 3% ($12K), then your rate of return is 167%—or 105%, if you have to factor in mortgage insurance.

To learn more about the different loan programs available to you—and the pros and cons of large vs. small down payments—reach out to your mortgage lender or real estate agent!

 
“The housing market is resetting in a buyer-friendly direction,” writes Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. However, as Hale also points out, buyers are still facing affordability challenges due to record-high listing prices, increasing mortgage rates, and inflation.

In early August, the median asking price was at $449,000—“well above what’s typical,” writes Hale—but price growth has steadily slowed since June.

On August 11, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.2%Joel Kan, an economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), expects “rates to moderate to around 5.2% by the end of the year.”

Looking back at the second quarter of this year, data shows that homeownership rates increased from a year ago, both overall and across nearly all demographic groups. This success is likely due to increased wages and an employee's ability to work remotely—even in a different (and more affordable) state.
 
6035 Majors Lane, #5 Columbia
1 Bedroom, 1 Bath, penthouse, hardwood floors $175,000

6550 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge

2 Bedroom, 2.5 bath end unit, nicely updated $310,000

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Debbi Rivero
RE/MAX Advantage
www.RiveroRealtors.com
debsellsmd@gmail.com
443-386-1306
 
Aug. 22, 2022

Renovating Your Home? Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

 

A home renovation is a complex process, and there are a lot of mistakes you can make along the way.

So what, exactly, are those mistakes and, more importantly, how can you avoid them?

recent article from realtor.com outlined common mistakes homeowners make when renovating their properties—and how to avoid them—including:

  • Relying too heavily on trends. You want your home renovation to feel fresh and timely. But if you rely too heavily on design trends, your renovation might not reflect your own personal style—and can also look dated in a year or two. When renovating your home, don’t blindly follow trends; instead, take cues from what’s trending in home design—and then use those cues to guide your design in a way that works for you and your style.
  • Over-renovating for your neighborhood. A home renovation can add value to your home. But if you renovate your home to the point where it’s more updated, stylish, or high-end than other properties in your neighborhood, you probably won’t get a return on your investment—and it could even make your home harder to sell. Before moving forward with a renovation, research nearby properties to make sure your renovation is in line with other homes in your neighborhood. (For example, do any nearby listings have a wine cellar or chef’s kitchen? If not, those amenities might not be the right fit for your renovation.)
  • Underestimating the cost. Home renovations can be expensive, so you should do some research and have an idea of just how expensive before you start to move forward. Estimate the price of all the materials and fixtures you plan to use and get an estimate on labor. Then, add 10 to 20 percent to the total cost to cover any unforeseen expenses. While this won’t give you an exact price for your renovation, it will give you an idea of how much the renovation will cost—which can help you avoid “sticker shock” as the project progresses.
Aug. 12, 2022

August Newsletter


Happy August! Whew it's hot out—and yes, I'm talking about the weather AND the real estate market. To help you navigate both, in this month's newsletter I've included 5 cold dinner recipes (that involve little-to-no stovetop cooking) and 4 common mistakes to avoid when house hunting in today's competitive market. You'll also find 7 tips for freshening up your patio furniture, plus a quick update on the national housing market.

Thanks for reading, and stay cool!

Debbi
 
Need dinner ideas? Don’t feel like standing over a hot stove and heating up your entire house? Here are some perfect summer meals, courtesy of Southern Living.
1) Herbed Chicken-and-Rice Salad:

Skip the stove completely with this recipe that uses store-bought rotisserie chicken and microwave-cooked rice. It’s topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, almonds, feta, celery, parsley, and a lemony dressing, and served cold.
2) Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos:
After a quick sear on the stovetop, you’ll pop the chicken into your slow cooker with some canned enchilada sauce and a few other ingredients. And because the slow cooker won’t heat up your kitchen, you can spend an enjoyable hour preparing toppings, chopping veggies, and maybe even making some fresh guac!
3) Watermelon Gazpacho:
Enjoy this summer spin on a traditional Spanish classic. Traditionally, Gazpacho is a chilled soup consisting of vegetables and spices/herbs. In this recipe they created a sweeter version by swapping the tomatoes with watermelon. This 6 ingredient recipe can be made and chilled in less than an hour!

4) The SL BLT:

Southern Living’s take on the summer classic adds one simple, flavorful step—grating some garlic and stirring into your mayonnaise before you spread it across the toast.
5) Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

Summertime calls for bright flavors, and this chicken salad is full of them! The chicken salad recipe includes jalapeño, lime zest, and lime juice. Once you’ve spooned the mixture into your lettuce cups, you’ll top things off with mango cubes, cashews, and cilantro. Yum!
For more cool meals to prepare on hot days, check out Southern Living’s list of 33 Easy Cold Dinners.
 
Is your patio furniture looking a little funky? Has a summer's worth of sunscreen, melting popsicles, and muddy feet left your cushions stained and dirty? Check out these outdoor furniture cleaning tips, and get your patio looking as fresh as the day you bought it!
1) Start by brushing off loose dust and dirt.
Whatever the material, "always start with a light cleaning," advises Gardenista, "sweeping surfaces as needed with a soft brush or cloth. Then assess if more care and cleaning is needed."

2) When in doubt, use dish soap mixed with warm water.
This is the cleaning solution that is least likely to cause damage to furniture and upholstery.

3) Read the manual!
And if you lost the manual, you can probably find it online. The manufacturer will have instructions on how to properly clean the product.

4) Vacuum natural or resin wicker furniture.
Use a soft brush attachment to get deep into those grooves and crevices. If it's still gunky, follow up with a gentle scrub with a soft cloth and/or toothbrush and a water-dish soap mix. Then rinse and let dry overnight—don't sit on wet wicker because it will stretch! Be sure to do this cleaning on a stretch of hot, sunny days to avoid causing mildew.

5) Remove rust from metal furniture by sanding with fine-grit sandpaper and touching up with rust-proof paint.
Prevent rust by always cleaning metal with a soft cloth to avoid scratches. Avoid abrasive cleaning solutions. (And if you do see places where the paint or finish has chipped away, be sure to apply touch-up paint.)

6) Apply oil to wood furniture (teak, shorea, ipe) after every cleaning.
Aim for every three months. If your furniture is starting to look a little too weathered, use a power washer on "light" mode (or a powerful hose) to blast out embedded dirt. Let it dry, sand, rinse, let dry again, and then finish with oil.

7) Remove mildew from outdoor cushions with dish soap, Borax, and water.
Spread out your cushions on a clean, paved surface. Spray with a hose to get them damp, then use a brush to scrub with a solution of 2 tablespoons of dish soap + half a cup of Borax + a gallon of water. Let the solution sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with the hose. Squeeze the excess moisture from the cushions, then lean them vertically against something so they can dry in the sun.
So there you have it—some pretty simple tips to freshen up your patio furniture.
Perfect timing for your end-of-summer cookout!
 
Choosing a home to buy is one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions you'll ever make. To ensure all goes well, take care to avoid these common home-buying mistakes.
MISTAKE #1: LOOKING AT HOMES BEFORE YOU KNOW YOUR BUDGET.
Don’t let yourself fall in love with a home you can’t afford. You could end up feeling tempted to stretch your budget beyond your means. Or you might simply feel bitter about the homes you can afford.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
Get pre-approved by a credible mortgage lender to learn how much home you can afford. Then you can start house-hunting!
MISTAKE #2: COMPROMISING ON A REQUIREMENT.
You'll probably have to make some kind of compromise. Maybe the laundry room is in the basement (not your ideal scenario) but the rest of the home is perfect and in your price range.
However, there are some compromises you should never make. Here are a few examples:
  • the number of bedrooms, if you plan on growing your family
  • the size and quality of the yard, if your greatest passion is gardening
  • the location, if it means the difference between a 15-minute and a 2-hour commute
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
Keep looking until you find a home that meets all of your needs.
It’s out there, and your realtor will help you find it.
MISTAKE #3: NOT USING A REAL ESTATE AGENT.
It’s a tough market for buyers right now—we've got rising mortgage rates, record-high prices, and homes going under contract just days after listing. Buying a home on your own, without an agent to help you find unlisted homes and negotiate offers, could end up costing you a lot of time, money, and emotional wellbeing.

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
Hire a real estate agent! Meet with several agents, ask them lots of questions, and get feedback from their other clients. Then, choose the agent that has an in-depth understanding of the local market and a track record for successfully finding homes for buyers.
MISTAKE #4: MAKING AN OFFER TOO QUICKLY... OR TOO SLOWLY.
If you don’t move fast enough on a home, competing buyers will swoop in and beat you to it. But if you move too quickly, you don’t give yourself time to get a feel for the neighborhood. Do you like the surrounding area? Can you hear a lot of traffic noise from the backyard? Is the home under a flight path?

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Visit the home in person, or ask your agent or another trusted person to visit it for you. Then take the night to sleep on it before making your decision in the morning.
 
For more info, check out these Top 12 House-Hunting Mistakes from Investopedia
 

Mortgage rates continue to rise

On July 12, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 5.3%. While that was down from the previous week’s 5.7%, it’s a significant increase from the 3.5% rate we were seeing in January of this year.

Home supply is still low—but growing

According to Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “the actual number of homes for sale is still roughly half of what we saw in June 2019 and more than a third lower than June 2020”—but the number of homes for sale has increased rapidly since the beginning of May 2022.

Home price growth is slowing

Thanks to an increase in inventory, home price growth has been slowing since June 2022. “Still, home price growth continues,” reports Hale, “and we saw a new recent high of $450,000 in June.” But seeing as this is the time of the year when pricing is typically at its peak, price growth is expected to continue to slow in the second half of 2022.

 
1940 Perryman Road
Sold $12,100 over asking in 2 days!
8907 Lee Manor Dr.
Sold for $570,000

 

 
 

Debbi Rivero
RE/MAX Advantage
www.RiveroRealtors.com
debsellsmd@gmail.com
443-386-1306
 
Aug. 11, 2022

5 Practical Ways to Get More Done Working at Home with Kids

5 Practical Ways to Get More Done Working at Home with Kids

 

Most parents are familiar with juggling family and professional responsibilities. And for parents who work from home, those challenges are compounded. Fortunately, there’s hope. While there’s currently no “hack” to pack extra hours into each day, there are ways working parents can accomplish more, even with kids underfoot. Avoiding chaos isn’t always possible, but these tips from Rivero Realtors offer practical advice on checking everything off your daily to-do list.

Implement a Routine

No matter your children’s ages or your line of work, setting up a routine can help the whole family stay on track. A bit of spontaneity is fun, of course. However, outlining your family’s daily schedule in order can help everyone understand what’s coming next and what needs to happen when. Younger kids may find a visual schedule helpful, too.

In fact, Zero to Thrive’s experts confirm that routines support social-emotional development starting in early childhood. Outlining a bedtime routine is healthy for children as well, studies suggest, especially if early wake times are part of your family’s work-life balance.

With purposeful transitions from one activity to the next, you may even prevent meltdowns – on both your kids’ end and your own. For parents working outside the home, sticking to an ordered routine minimizes late mornings and missed appointments, too.

Coordinate with Your Team

If you’re running your own business from home, you may find it difficult to oversee a team of remote workers. When managing a remote team, you’ll need to effectively define goals and tasks, manage proactively, and make sure you're using the same platforms to communicate.

Cleanse Your Space

An organized home is far easier to live in than a cluttered one, and when everything has its place, you’ll be less stressed, too, says Thrive. Spending a few minutes each evening picking up discarded toys, soiled clothing, and bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen can help the following morning feel less overwhelming.

Save deep cleaning for days when you have less work or fewer family tasks to handle. Eliminating dust and germs means your workweek will be that much easier to handle, even if you’re only heading into your home office.

Enlist Expert Help

Whether your children are school-age or still need lots of hands-on care, there are myriad challenges when working from home with kids underfoot. If you’re telecommuting and need care for your kids, explore local educational programs.

Not only can a high-quality childcare environment help open up your packed schedule, but studies suggest it may also be beneficial for your child’s development, confirms Motherly.

You can also enlist the help of freelancers and services. For example, instead of attempting to create your own website, hire a freelance web designer. Or if you’d like to register your business as a limited liability company (benefits include more flexibility and reduced liability), you can save yourself a lot of hassle and simply hire a formation service to file for you.

Dedicate Time to De-Stressing

Even with a solid daily routine and a relatively clean house, taking time away from work and household responsibilities is essential for minimizing chaos. Especially when the workday ends, it’s crucial to decompress and do things you enjoy with the people you love.

With kids, reconnecting at the end of the day means meaningful time with mom and dad that’s not bound by schedules, rules, or quiet time for parents’ remote meetings. Addressing mental health through gentle and honest discussion is just one way to express support for one another and air any underlying anxieties your kids may have.

For some people, de-stressing involves pursuing personal goals, like going back to school. Pursuing a different job, like medical coding, could allow you better work/life balance with more flexible hours or even a higher income. Plus it provides a tremendously satisfying sense of accomplishment. Apply online for a medical coding course that you can complete in only 30 hours of coursework. Then, you can decide if you want to move forward with other related skills or pursue a new career in medical coding.

As both a professional and a parent, you’re already adept at juggling multiple responsibilities and, more than likely, likely multiple children. But these practical tips can help make your days more manageable, no matter how many Zoom meetings or toddler tantrums you need to address.

If you decide that you need a bigger space to accommodate your family and your business needs, Rivero Realtors are here to help. We will find you the right home in the right area to help you meet your personal and professional goals. Contact us today to begin your house hunting process.

Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels

 Blog written by: Katie Conroy

July 1, 2022

July Newsletter

 

   

I hope you're having a great summer so far! In this month's newsletter, I've included 7 tips for hosting the best backyard cookout ever, as well as 5 outdoor upgrades that will add value to your home. And if you're thinking about selling your home, be sure to read through some of the most common mistakes sellers make.

Thanks for reading!
- Debbi‍

 
1) Make sure you have enough seating.
If you have a big group coming, don't be shy about asking your guests to bring a few extra folding chairs or even another table. Short on chairs but not on lawn space? Lay down some blankets and call it a picnic!
2) Create shade.
If you don't have a lot of natural shade, add some patio umbrellas or pop-up canopies as needed to keep guests cool.

 

3) Keep bugs away.
Nothing ruins a cookout like an incessant swarm of mosquitoes. Provide bug repellant (Repel Lemon Eucalyptus and Cutter Skinsations are good options that smell nice), light citronella candles and tiki torches, and set up a fan or two to blow the bugs away.
4) Add lighting.
If your cookout is going to last into the evening hours, make sure you have enough outdoor lighting to keep things safe. String lights are fun and festive, and in-ground lights are great for illuminating paths.
5) Set up some backyard games.
There's nothing wrong with just kicking back and talking, but a game or two can really amp up the fun! Giant Jenga and Cornhole are fun for all ages. You can keep kids entertained by providing bubbles, sidewalk chalk, or even a splash pad!
6) Don't forget music!
Spotify has some great ready-made playlists. Backyard BBQ is a mix of classic rock favorites, and Motown Family is an upbeat playlist that all ages will love!
 
7) Make the cooking part as simple as possible.
Prepare side dishes ahead of time so you're not stuck in the kitchen while everyone else parties outside. Or, to make it even easier, ask your guests to contribute sides and desserts. You can minimize dishwashing by lining your platters with plastic wrap before loading them up with the raw meat you're going to grill. After the meat goes on the grill, you just toss the plastic wrap and—voila!—a clean platter ready to be a serving dish.
 
A good real estate agent will make sure you don't fall victim to these common seller mistakes. But just in case, make sure you understand them, too.
Mistake #1: Letting Emotions Take Over
Saying goodbye to your home can bring up a lot of feelings, but it’s important to keep your emotions in check when selling. Investopedia contributor Amy Fontinelle suggests you “forget altogether that you’re the homeowner.” Instead, think of yourself as a salesperson and come at it from a purely financial perspective.

Mistake #2: Pricing Too High
Even in today’s extreme seller’s market, it’s important to price your home based on comparable homes that have sold in your area. Overpricing your home could prevent it from coming up in your perfect buyer’s filtered search results. If your home sits on the market for too long, or if you reduce the listing price, it will make buyers wonder what’s wrong with the property. It’s in your best interest to price fairly!

Mistake #3: Not Having Amazing Listing Photos
Almost every buyer is going to look at listing photos before they decide whether or not to do an in-person home tour. If you fail to provide stunning photos, you could miss out on potential buyers. Be sure that a professional photographer comes out to take photos of your home. Photos should be taken during the day when there is plenty of natural light. Be sure to clean and stage your home before the photographer arrives.

Mistake #4: Not Being Insured
Most sellers don’t think about what would happen if a viewer tripped and twisted their ankle while walking through your home. Without the proper insurance, they could sue you for damages! So make sure you’re insured. “You may also want to make sure there are no obvious hazards on the property or that you take steps to mitigate them,” writes Fontinelle. So maybe get your rambunctious Saint Bernard out of the house before a walkthrough.
Check out Fontinelle's article on Investopedia for more seller mistakes to avoid
 

Ready to make some updates to your home's exterior and yard? Consider making one of these upgrades that BobVila.com says will add value to your home.
Gas burner fire pit and surrounding patio area
With a cost to build around $6000 and an estimated return of $4000 when you sell your home, a nice fire pit area will get you a 67% ROI.
New garage door
Boost curb appeal, conserve energy, and enjoy enhanced safety features with a new garage door. You'll recoup 98% of the cost!
New front door
Replace your old wood door with a super-durable and secure steel door. Choose something that will make a stunning first impression—browse different types of decorative glass, window panels, and hardware. Estimated ROI for a new front door is 75%.
Implement a lawn care regimen
Turning your patchy, weed-riddled yard into a pristine lawn could yield a whopping 265% return. To accomplish this, you'll need about six applications of lawn fertilizer and weed-control each year. Other high-return law updates include installing a sprinkler system, adding a flagstone walkway, mulching, and planting trees and flowering shrubs.

Add a deck or patio
A dedicated space for grilling, lounging, and entertaining can add a lot of value to your home. You could expect around a 69%-76% ROI.
 
 
Get more ideas for outdoor upgrades on the BobVila blog.
 
National Housing Market Update:
May was a busy month for sellers!
In May, we saw a year-over-year increase in the number of homes for sale (active listings) for the first time since June 2019. Inventory was up 8% over last year. But when we compare it to May of 2020, there are still only half as many listed homes available today.
"Sellers still listed at rates 6.4% lower than typical 2017 to 2019 levels prior to the pandemic," wrote Sabrina Speianu, economic data manager at Realtor.com
This increase in active listings is due to the slight cooling in buyer demand -- with rising interest rates and record-high prices, some buyers are getting priced out of the market.
Prices reached new heights
"The May national medial listing price for active listings was $447,000, up to 17.6% compared to last year and up 35.4% compared to May 2020," reported Speianu.
One reason for the acceleration in listing prices could be the increase in the number of larger homes (1750+ square feet) going up for sale.
It's interesting to note, however, that the median price of pending listings (homes under contract) actually decelerated. "This indicates that the homes which buyers are choosing to buy tend to be less expensive," said Speianu, "and also suggests that sellers have not fully adjusted their expectations to market conditions."
Read the May 2022 Housing Market Trends Report on Realtor.com
 
 
6870 Ducketts Lane
4 Level,2 Bedroom, 1.5 Bath, updated home. Awesome Loft Area! Rental $2390.00/month
 

2217 Coralthorn Rd
Investor Sale!

645 Plymouth Rd Another Investor Sale!

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbi Rivero
RE/MAX Advantage
www.RiveroRealtors.com
debsellsmd@gmail.com
443-386-1306
 
June 28, 2022

Are You a Senior Who Wants to Flip Houses? Here Are 6 Dos to Follow

Image via Pexels

Are You a Senior Who Wants to Flip Houses? Here Are 6 Dos to Follow

 

Many seniors want to remain active and maintain a source of income. If you’re in that group, flipping houses in Maryland could give you the best of both worlds. If you’re ready to get started, Rivero Realtors of RE/MAX Advantage offers six dos to help you succeed.

 

Do Formalize Your Business

 

Starting as a sole proprietor is an option, but it’s not ideal. If you want to protect yourself and your assets, it’s better to form an LLC. You’ll reduce liability, maintain flexibility, and gain access to tax benefits while limiting your paperwork.

 

Plus, you can get your LLC off the ground quickly. Formation services simplify the process and are more affordable than a lawyer, making them a great choice if you don’t want to go it alone.

 

Once your business is established, you’ll want to invest in tools that make operations and management easier. A good place to start is with software that helps you get payroll done fast. No one wants to be stuck at a computer for hours trying to accomplish one thing, but the right software can provide all the functionality you need, from time tracking to direct deposit, so you can run payroll in minutes. This will save you time and money, enabling you to get on with your day.

 

Do Get Your Funding in Order

 

Generally speaking, you want to get your funding straightened out before you start looking for homes to flip. In some cases, traditional financing works. However, if the house isn’t habitable in its current state, you may not qualify for certain mortgages. For instance, FHA mortgages have minimum property standards, so they may not work for flips.

 

Fortunately, there are alternative ways to fund a flip. You could go with a renovation mortgage or hard money loan. Partnering with a private investor may also be an option.

 

Do Use the Right Strategy When Picking Properties

 

You need to use the right approach if you want to flip houses. Usually, you want to focus on highly desirable parts of town and find properties that are well below neighborhood norms.

 

If you see a property in disrepair, research comps to determine what updates you’ll need to make and how much the value could increase after the work is done. Along the way, follow the 70 percent rule to narrow down your options. That way, there’s enough profit potential to make your efforts worthwhile.

 

Do Watch Out for Repair Costs

 

While buying a fixer-upper to flip helps you save on the purchase price, the required repairs can come with massive price tags. Additionally, while some projects have a solid ROI, others don’t.

 

For example, foundation repairs often cost between $2,000–$7,000, though the price can be higher for severe problems. However, regardless of what you spend, you’re almost guaranteed not to get anything close to all of that money back.

 

Before you buy, get a home inspection. After that, see if you can find a contractor who will provide an estimate before you make the purchase or use estimation tools to get figures yourself.

 

Once you’ve got an estimate, add 20%, particularly if you’re doing electrical work, HVAC upgrades, foundation problems, or addressing issues with asbestos or mold. That way, you have a buffer against the unexpected.

 

Do Choose the Correct Updates

 

Usually, updates fall into one of two categories. First, there are necessities. You need to fix issues that could prevent the house from passing inspection, such as problems with the overall structure or core systems.

 

Second, there are buyer-targeted updates. These typically include aesthetic and feature changes that make the house desirable. Fresh paint, new flooring, kitchen remodels, bathroom updates, smart upgrades, and even outdoor kitchens with a grill and range hood fall in this category.

 

Again, use comps as a guide. See what houses in the area typically offer and aim for a point in that zone. That way, you don’t under- or over-improve for the neighborhood.

 

Do Use a Real Estate Agent

 

Whether it’s time to buy or sell, using a real estate agent makes a difference. You’ll get the inside scoop on properties with flipping potential. Plus, they’ll help you find comps, pick competitive sale prices, sort through offers, and more when it’s time to sell.

 

By working with a real estate agent, you also get more time to focus on your company. That way, you can keep moving forward while your agent keeps the properties flowing. Reach out to Rivero Realtors to get started!

 

June 21, 2022

Is Downsizing Right for You?

Downsizing for retirement takes planning, hard work and time. It involves organizing your current home, donating unwanted items, putting your house up for sale and moving to a new location.

Moving is a stressful experience at any age. Downsizing is a major decision, influenced by unique financial and emotional factors. We recommend you understand your own motivation for moving and weigh the pros and cons so that you feel comfortable with the decision.

If you have made the decision to downsize, here is a complete guide to downsizing for seniors or those working towards retirement. It contains everything from finances and moving logistics to cope with the emotions that come from parting with a family home.

Find the "right size" home for you at Rivero Realtors, and use this helpful information about aging in place in this guide.  When it is time to sell, start with the Riveros and our 30 year experience!

 

Blog by Alexandra Torres

 

June 8, 2022

June 2022 Newsletter

 



Happy June! Summer vacation is so close, I can almost smell the sunscreen, bug spray, and backyard BBQs. If you're traveling this summer, use the Pre-Vacation Home Checklist below to make sure you don't forget an important task. Mix up a pitcher of homemade strawberry lemonade to keep cool while you kick back in the sun. And don't miss the 5 decluttering tips that will have your home looking magazine-ready!

Debbi

 

Stop Your Mail
  Visit the USPS Hold Mail website to pause your mail delivery until you get back
 
Put One or Two Indoor Lights on a Timer
  Set the lights to turn on in the evening so your home looks occupied while you're away. You can use a simple mechanical timer or a smart plug to accomplish this.
 
Install Motion- Activated Outdoor Lights
  Or, if you already have them, make sure they're still working.
 
Unplug whatever small appliances and electronics you can
  You might need to keep your WiFi router and smart home devices running, but unplug things like your laptop, TV, coffee maker, etc. These devices will still use electricity if they're plugged in, even if they're turned off.
 
Set the thermostat to be closer to the temperature outside
  But not so hot or cold that your plants, pets, or belongings will be harmed.
 
Clean out your refrigerator
  Toss out or give away any food that will spoil while you're away.
 
Take out the trash and ask a neighbor to roll it to the curb on trash day
  Because no one wants to come home to the smell of week-old garbage.
 
Keep your blinds/drapes how they always are
  While it might be tempting to keep your windows covered while you're away, if they're normally open, it's best to keep them that way. Anything out of the ordinary could tip off an ill-willed person that your home is vacant.
 
Call your bank and credit card companies (especially if you're traveling out of the country)
  Otherwise, they might see an out-of-state charge, assume it's fraud, and freeze your account. It's best to save yourself the hassle.
 
Prepare for inclement weather
  Put away or secure patio furniture and other outdoor items that could be damaged by a storm. And if your basement has a tendency to flood, ask a neighbor if they'd be willing to check on it after a storm.
 
Empty the Dishwasher
  And be sure to leave the door open, so it can dry out and not get smelly from lack of use.
 
Vacuum the floors and wipe surfaces
  Remove crumbs that could attract pests.
 
And, Finally, Wait until you get home to post about your vacation on social media
  I know you're dying to share your family beach photos on Instagram, but you'll also be letting all of your followers know that you're not home to watch over your belongings.

Once you've prepared your house for your absence, you'll be ready to hit the road and enjoy your vacation!

 
Love strawberries?
Love lemonade?

It's time to put them both together for the perfect summer beverage!
This delightfully refreshing
 strawberry lemonade is so easy you'll never buy the powdered mix again.
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 or 5 cups water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 6-8 lemons)
Steps:

1. Puree strawberries using a blender or food processor. (Strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve if you don't want seeds in your lemonade.)

2. Make the simple syrup: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together sugar and 2 cups water.

3. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

4. Strain the lemon juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-quart pitcher. Add simple syrup and strawberry puree and stir to combine. Refrigerate until cold.

5. Add 2 1/2 cups of cold water and stir. Taste, and add more water if it's too sweet.

6. Serve over ice and enjoy!

 
Recipe by Lauren Allen of Tastes Better from Scratch
 
If you feel exhausted just thinking about decluttering your entire home, no need to despair—just follow these 5 tips from professional organizers Miriam Ortiz y Pino and Elizabeth Larkin.

 

Focus on one room at a time. 
Clutter can feel overwhelming, so don’t make things any harder on yourself. Choose one room—the one that’s bugging you the most—and dedicate a day or two to focusing on just that room. Don’t move onto the next room until that one is completely decluttered.
Declutter one drawer or shelf at a time. 
Whether you’re organizing your bathroom closet or your kitchen cabinets, focus on just one compartment at a time. Even if you only manage to clean out one “junk drawer” in a day, you’ll be able to see your progress and it will inspire you to keep up the momentum.

 

 

Start with a garbage bag. 
Begin your decluttering mission by tossing the obvious trash, says Miriam. Hunt down all of the expired coupons, empty Amazon boxes and envelopes, and pens that no longer write. “The physical space that trash takes up hinders your ability to make good decisions about the rest of it,” says Miriam.
Move non-kitchen items out of the kitchen. 
Have you ever noticed how much random “stuff” tends to end up on your kitchen counters? Mail, handbags, the dog’s leash, books, sunglasses, kids’ toys, you name it. Use a laundry basket to gather up anything that doesn’t belong in your kitchen, then drop those items off to the appropriate rooms.

 

 

Use 5 baskets or bins to sort clutter into 5 different categories: 
Put Away (things that need to be put back in their proper storage place), Recycle, Fix/Mend (things you love but need to repair so you can keep using them), Trash, and Donate.

To learn more great decluttering tips, check out this article by The Spruceas well as Miriam’s blog at More Than Organized.

 
 

 As home prices continue to rise, buyers adopt new strategies.

Early May saw a continuation of home price growth—the median listing price grew by 15.8% over last year, marking the 21st week of double-digit gains. Combine that with higher mortgage rates, and affordability remains a huge challenge for many buyers.

One strategy buyers are implementing is making a larger down payment. This works well for buyers who have gained a lot of equity in their existing homes. First-time homebuyers, however, are struggling to find a home they can afford—and steep hikes in rent are making it difficult to save up.


The number of new and active listings are trending upward.

“After nearly three years of mortgage rates under 4%, a new reality has emerged for homebuyers," writes Joel Berner, senior economic research analyst for Realtor.com.

From mid-March to early May, mortgage rates increased rapidly. The national average for a 30-year fixed hit 4.16% the week of March 17, jumped to 4.42% the following week, and continued an upward trend throughout April to reach 5.27% the week of May 5.


Mortgage rates have jumped above 5%.

Housing inventory is still very low compared to pre-pandemic times, but things are looking up. In the first week of May, new listings were up 4% from a year ago, and active listings grew year-over-year for the first time since 2019.

 
  

One level living has never been so easy at 1940 Perryman Rd in Aberdeen.  Many updates and only $199,900.

https://www.riverorealtors.com/property/MDHR2012744/

Prestigious Montjoy Community's newest listing.  Remodeled in 2022!  Don't miss all the new features! $585,000  8907 Lee Manor in Ellicott City.   

  https://www.riverorealtors.com/property/MDHW2015968/

 
 
 

Another incredible sale!  Sold for $30,000 more than asking with minimum upgrades!  Located in Waverly Woods

This totally remodeled gem obtained Top Price by selling for $575,000 in College Park.

 
 
 
 

 

Debbi‍ Rivero‍ 
RE/MAX Advantage‍
www.RiveroRealtors.com‍ 
debsellsmd@gmail.com‍ 
443-386-1306‍