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!

March 17, 2023

"Live Happily Ever After in Montjoy: End of Group Executive Townhouse Backing to Woods with 2 Car Garage"

Introducing 4832 Lee Hollow Place


Welcome to Montjoy, the most prestigious neighborhood in town! If you're looking for a townhouse fit for royalty, look no further than this end-of-group executive townhouse with a large three-level bump out.

Just like the enchanted castle in Sleeping Beauty, this townhouse is filled with magic.   With three levels of luxurious living space, there's plenty of room for you to spread out and make memories with your loved ones.  The home is surrounded by a beautiful forest that you can enjoy from your own backyard. Imagine waking up to the sound of birds singing, sipping your morning coffee on your private deck, and feeling the fresh air on your face.

Inside, you'll find two master suites, each with its own private bathroom, perfect for providing guests or family members with their own space.  In addition to the rec room in the lower level, there is also a den (bedroom 3) and full bath.  This beauty also features not one, but two cozy fireplaces, adding a touch of warmth and charm to any occasion.  Plus, the two-car garage ensures that you'll always have plenty of space for your cars, bikes, and other toys.

Whether you're hosting a grand ball in your spacious living room or enjoying a cozy night in with your family in the first floor family room, this townhouse has everything you need to live happily ever after. So why wait? Come visit us in Montjoy and see for yourself why this end-of-group executive townhouse is the fairest of them all.


Get more details here

Jan. 23, 2023

What You Need To Know About A Smooth Home Renovation

Image via Pexels

What You Need To Know About A Smooth Home Renovation

If you've never undertaken a home renovation before, the prospect can be intimidating. There are a lot of things to consider, from the types of renovations you want to tackle to finding contractors you can trust, as well as making sure you communicate your ideas clearly. To help you enjoy a smoother renovation experience, this article shared by Realtor Debbi Rivero outlined everything you need to know about home renovations from start to finish.

Choose the Best Renovation Project for Your Needs

There are many different types of home renovations to choose from, depending on your needs and goals. Some common types of renovations include:


       Adding a home office: This can be a great way to create a dedicated space for working from home. If you're planning on adding an office, make sure to plan for things like adequate lighting and electrical outlets.

       Updating your kitchen: A new kitchen will add value to your home and make it more enjoyable overall. When planning a kitchen renovation, be sure to think about things like layout, storage, and appliances.

       Bathroom remodeling: A new bathroom is another great way to increase the value of your home. When planning a bathroom renovation, be sure to think about things like layout, fixtures, and storage.

Find a Contractor You Can Trust

One of the most important aspects of any home renovation is finding contractors who are reputable and open to sharing your vision. When vetting contractors:

       Get recommendations from friends or family members who have recently undertaken similar projects.

       Read online reviews carefully, paying attention to both positive and negative reviews.

       Ask potential contractors for references from previous clients.

       Make sure potential contractors are licensed and insured.

Establish Goals and Communicate Them Well

Before beginning any type of home renovation project, you must communicate your ideas clearly with your contractor (or contractors). This means being specific about what you want in a finished product, as well as what you can afford. Once you've communicated exactly what you’re hoping to achieve, it will be much easier for your contractor(s) to provide you with an accurate estimate of both time and cost.

Create a Timeline For Completion

It's also important to establish a timeline and schedule for your renovation project from the start. This will ensure your project stays on track and is completed promptly. Be sure to factor in any potential delays when setting your timeline so that you don't end up disappointed or stressed later on. This might include weather-related issues or shipping delays that will affect access to certain materials.

Work Out a Budget and Keep Costs in Line

One of the most important aspects of any home renovation is budgeting and estimating costs accurately. This means taking into account not only the cost of materials but also the cost of labor. Be sure to get estimates from multiple contractors before making a final decision so that you can compare prices accurately.

Get Familiar With Helpful Tech

In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of apps or software by contractors during the construction process. Common examples include construction takeoff software and cost estimation tools. These tools can be used for tasks like managing construction documents or staying on budget. If you're working with a contractor who uses one of these tools, be sure to ask about how they use them and how they will benefit you. This may help you better understand how costs are calculated and give you more confidence in how your money is being spent.

Look Into A Home Warranty

Once your home renovation is complete, it's a good idea to get a home warranty that will cover breakdowns where your appliances and major home systems are concerned. This is an easy way to prevent adding a large repair cost to the renovation bill, especially if your home is older.


Home renovations can be a great way to add value to your property. However, it's important to understand all aspects of the process before getting started. This includes everything from knowing what type of project is best for your needs to finding trustworthy contractors, so a little research will go a long way.



Are you thinking about putting your home on the market after your renovation? If so, let Realtor Debbi Rivero help you find the right buyer — as well as that perfect new home for you. Get in touch today by calling (443) 386-1306.


Blog provided by: Suzie Wilson

Jan. 13, 2023

Top Eco-Friendly Ideas to Decorate Your Home

Top Eco-Friendly Ideas to Decorate Your Home 


Many would like to live in an eco-friendly home but also know the challenges of sustainable living. Documentaries like "Garbage Warrior" streaming on Prime Video, effectively show the many challenges that homeowners have faced while adopting this lifestyle.

However, decorating your home is one way to make changes unlikely to result in significant opposition from your neighbors or city officials. Decorating your home with eco-friendly decor is one way to live a greener lifestyle and have fun. Read on to learn more about some of the easiest eco-friendly ways of decorating your home.


Idea #1: Use Organic or Natural Materials When Possible

Natural fibers, such as bamboo or hemp, are excellent choices for linens. Although these products are more expensive, especially if organic, they are less likely to wear out as quickly.

Bamboo and wood are also ideal materials for decorative items, mainly if they have not been chemically treated. Another option worth considering is foregoing leather in favor of vegan materials.


Idea #2: Upcycle Existing Items, Instead of Buying New

Upcycling current items instead of buying something new is one of the best ways of decorating your home in an eco-friendly way. You'll save money, as well as keep otherwise unused items out of landfills.

Unused suitcases or similar items make excellent planters. Old blankets can have more productive futures as pillow covers. Thinking outside the box will go a long way toward finding new uses for old items.

Idea #3: Take Advantage of Plants or Plant Art

Plants are ideal for increasing oxygen and purifying the air, as well as being beautiful. Using pots made from natural materials like clay is a great way to make an eco-friendly impact.

Moss wall art is an increasingly popular natural way of decorating a home. One of the benefits of moss as an art material is its natural preservation.


Idea #4: Use Handmade Decor Items When Possible

Handmade decor items often last longer than their factory-made counterparts. You'll save a lot of money because you don't need to replace these items as often.

If the crafter that you buy from is local, this is a great way to help support local artisans. Supporting a local artisan is an integral part of sustainable living.


Idea #5: Avoid Plastic Decor When Possible

Many consumers interested in a more eco-friendly lifestyle avoid plastic because of its long decomposition time. Plastic is more common than you may realize, being present in materials like epoxy, glitter, and polyester fiber.

Another advantage of natural materials like glass or bamboo is less wasteful disposal options.  Glass is easy to recycle in many locations, and bamboo is a biodegradable material.



Idea #6: Choose Secondhand Furniture or Repurpose Existing Furniture

Using secondhand furniture cuts down on demand for lumber and other materials that are not as sustainable. A bonus to consider is opting for secondhand furniture made from eco-friendly materials like rattan, wicker, or bamboo.

Many pieces of furniture, like kitchen or bathroom cabinets, can find new life as shoe racks or coffee tables. A fresh coat of paint or wood polish can give these pieces a whole new life.


Idea #7: Use Others' Castoffs As Your Treasures

Thrift shops and garage sales are often excellent sources of items you might repurpose. Examples include:

Using old blankets or comforters to make new pillows or quilts

Holding potted plants in position with a wine rack in a horizontal position

Creating terrariums from old aquariums

Your imagination is the only limit that you'll need to face when selecting these items. After repurposing a few used items, you might prefer to get more of your decor items this way in the future.


The Takeaway

There are multiple eco-friendly ways of decorating your home. You just need to have access to the right items and use your imagination.




"100% Eco friendly text on a price tag" by wuestenigel licensed under CC BY 2.0.

"3 little handmade Christmas tree decorations" by Salinafix licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

"Handmade gift wrap" by erika g. licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


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
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!

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.
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.

Get pre-approved by a credible mortgage lender to learn how much home you can afford. Then you can start house-hunting!
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
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.
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.

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.
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?

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
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