Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

Rural Property Prices Are On The Rise

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Urban areas have long been the most popular realty markets within the country. But the pandemic and stay-at-home orders left many of us looking for extra space, both indoors and out—and now that some restrictions are being lifted in some areas, many buyers are leaving the cities and heading to more rural destinations to search out the space they’re craving to have. Twenty-one percent of buyers recently surveyed said they wanted a place to designate for their work from home and that same percentage of people surveyed also are seeking more outdoor space.

And as interest in this “hot” housing market is rising, so are the prices of these rural properties.

According to the data outlined in a very recent article on REALTOR Magazine, rural homes experienced an 11.3 percent increase in sales price year over year during the four weeks ending August 2—which is a much higher growth than the suburbs (9.2 percent) and still a higher growth than the urban areas (6.7 percent).

So, what does this mean for you? If you live in a rural area and are considering selling your home, now’s a good time to take advantage of increased demand.  We keep saying this is a seller’s market and that is even more true with these rural properties. Don’t wait, call a NextHome agent today for a no-obligation consultation. 712-224-NEXT

Tips To Help Ease The Stress Of A Home Renovation.

Tips To Help Ease The Stress Of A Home Renovation

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A home renovation can be a giant job—and for several homeowners, it can also be very stressful.

But it doesn’t need to be! A recent article from Point2Homes outlined key tips you’ll be able to use to own a stress-free home renovation experience, including:

  • Get your things out of the way. A renovation can be really messy——and the last thing you want is for any of your furniture or other belongings to become ruined or damaged. If you can, move any furniture or other personal belongings that are typically stored within the renovation zone and get them out of the way (either by storing them in another room or by putting them in a storage unit) before you take on any major renovations.
  • Carve out space for yourself. Large-scale renovations can feel like they’re taking over your entire house. Designate a spot in your home where you’ll be able to get away from the renovation noise and mess and relax, maybe a spare bedroom (or even a closet!).
  • Order takeout. Renovations take up lots of your time, space, and energy—and trying to cook meals, eat, and clean up the mess, on top of managing a renovation project can feel overwhelming. If you can, order takeout to get rid of the stress of cooking, shopping, and preparing meals while you are in the process of a renovation. (Plus, not only will ordering takeout help make your renovation less stressful, but it’s also an excellent way to support your local restaurants that might be struggling due to COVID.)

So what is the bottom line? There’s enough stress in our world—so, if you’re planning on renovating your home, make sure you are taking the steps to make it as stress-free as you probably can.

Selling Your Home? Be Careful About These Stressors!

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There are lots of moving pieces when it involves selling your home—and for several sellers, those moving pieces can cause an honest amount of stress.

But what are the foremost stressful parts of selling your home? According to a recent survey from LendingTree, a number of the highest stressors include:

  • Buying and selling a home at the same time 
    • 29% of home sellers surveyed said trying to sell their home while trying to buy a new home was the biggest stressor within the process.
  • Making costly repairs or upgrades
    • Depending on the condition of your home, you may need to come up with some cash on repairs or upgrades before you list.  This is a process that 16% said was the most stressful part of the process.
  • Fearing the home won’t sell
    • Even though a very low home inventory is making this a sellers market. 15% said that they fear their home won’t sell was the most stressful part of the process.
  • Balancing advice from lots of different sources
    • Your friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers might mean well when they give advice on what you should and shouldn’t do. But 13% said sifting through advice from such a big amount of different sources was the most stressful part of selling their home.

So, what does this mean for you? 

If you’re stressed out about selling your house, you are definitely not alone. In fact, it’s very normal. But, the more you know about the potential stressors that may come during the home selling process, the better prepared you can be to deal with them. This will lead to a less stressful home selling process.  Be careful about these stressors and Make sure to contact your NextHome agent so we can help ease your mind. 712-224-NEXT

Why Should You Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

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Why Should You Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

When you first start looking at houses to buy, it is usually because you saw a house online or you drove by one that was for sale…

So, you reach out to the agent online or on the For Sale sign. Maybe you call to ask a few questions, or see if they can show you the house. Next thing you know, you’re receiving listings by e-mail and looking at homes with that agent.

You probably want to be a little more deliberate about finding yourself an agent. Too many people just randomly start working with the agent listing the home.

That’s really not the best way to “hire” a real estate agent when you are looking to purchase a home, but that is normally what happens.

What I am trying to say is most people don’t really find the right agent for them.  So what is the solution and what should you do?

First…

Make an effort to find an agent to work with before you actually start looking at any home. While it is normal to be excited to look for that perfect home to buy, you are skipping a very important step. You should start by asking friends, family, coworkers, or anybody else you know for referrals or recommendations.

Then, meet with those agents. See how they will work for you.  Do they seem like they know what they are talking about and doing?  Are they asking you questions to determine what your needs are?

Once you find one for you, HIRE them…

Let me repeat that.  Once you find the one for you, hire them!  Commit to that agent and solely with them.

Too many people feel like they need to have lots of different agents helping them find a house.  But ALL agents have access to every home on the market.  They can ALL get you in and show you the home.

But not every agent can represent “your” needs and work for “your” best interest. It’s not all about having an agent who is willing to jump into the car to show you a home the very minute you call them about one.  It is about having an agent who will truly help you and have the insight into you and your needs.

So what is the best thing to do when you find the right agent?  The best thing to do is to sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement with them.  Show them you are just as committed to them as they are to helping you through this home buying process.

Lastly…

The reason some people complain about their home buying experience is because they did not have a committed relationship with their agent.  Sometimes this can cause trust issues and not so positive experiences.

So, don’t go down that road.  Instead go out and find and “hire” the best agent you can find.  One that you trust and know is working for your best interest.  It can mean all the difference in the end.

Things to Clean After You’ve Been Sick

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When you or someone in your home gets sick, you want them to get healthy as soon as possible.  Once this happens you want to make sure you do a thorough job cleaning the home.  Even if the sick person successfully isolates in one area the germs could still be living on things they have touched.

 

Bathroom – This is often where the most germs are located in your home. Once the illness hits and throughout the illness, be sure to deep clean the bathroom, thoroughly disinfecting the toilet, all the faucet handles, and other hard surfaces.

 

Kitchen – Make sure all dishes are washed in very hot water or in the hottest setting on your dishwasher, and use the heated dry cycle. Wipe down refrigerator handles and all the electronic keypads on your appliances, and sanitize the counter tops and sinks.

 

All Door Knobs – Frequent washing of hands makes all the difference in helping to curb the spread of germs, but we all know that’s easier said than done. To be on the safe side, grab some disinfecting wipes and hit every door knob and handle in the house.

 

Bedding – When you’re sick, you spend a lot of time in bed. Those sheets, blankets, and comforters you’ve been lying on need to be disinfected as well.  So throw them in the washing machine and set it on a hot cycle. And if your mattress has been soiled, give it a good cleaning. Start by vacuuming, then 

 

Hard Surfaces – Hard surfaces in the home that are frequently touched need to be cleaned.  This includes light switches, stair railings, cabinet knobs and handles, and anything else you touch on a regular basis.

 

Remote Controls – Sometimes when you are sick all you want to do is lie down and watch the television.  Make sure you are wiping down those remote controls.

 

Phones – Almost everybody’s phone is the new media center.  Between video’s, Facebook, and surfing the internet (looking for that perfect home) They are also germ magnets. Make sure to wipe down.

 

Toys – This is HUGE! Make sure you are wiping down and sanitizing any hard or plastic toys. Disinfectant wipes work for larger items, but many little things like Lego bricks and other small plastic and rubber toys can be put in a mesh bag and run through the dishwasher in the top rack.

 

Toothbrushes – I believe this is another HUGE one!  Get rid of your toothbrush and get a new one!  Don’t forget to clean your toothbrush holder as well.

Landscaping Your Home

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and Curb Appeal is fast becoming one of the most important details buyers look for when shopping for homes. Landscaping can bring out the best in your home while allowing you to put your own personal touch on it. Ugh, just the WORD “landscaping” seems so….HOT! All the digging and the hauling and the rocks and the dirt and which trees should I plant? Do I want flowers? Which flowers bloom every year? How long does it even TAKE for flowers to, um, flower? What kind of grass is best? It’s Kentucky Bluegrass, isn’t it? Let’s dive in to the basics and not-so-basics about what you can do with the landscaping around your home.

Testing your soil. This sounds easy, right? Plus, this super-cheap soil tester will measure the moisture, light and pH of your soil! With this knowledge, you can tackle the next hard part: deciding what and where to plant.

What do I want to plant? Deciding between trees or shrubs or bushes or flowers is going to be a matter of personal taste. I would LOVE to walk out of my house and see a literal SEA of pink peonies, but will they even grow in my soil? That’s why the soil testing is so important. It will tell you which plants you can expect to grow and which ones to avoid. Trees will obviously take a while to sprout and even longer to shade, but don’t plant anything that needs full sun in an area that will eventually be shaded by your trees. Try to balance your yard, if not with symmetry then with size. Emphasize a front porch by planting bright flowers under or use tall plants to bring focus to a detailed doorway.

Do I really want to dig in myself? Hey, if you’ve got the money to dish out to have your landscaping done by professionals, by all means let them show you what they’ve got. It can be really exciting to plan on some sweat equity, until you’re three weeks (and possible hundreds of dollars) in and you haven’t even planted a seed yet. Sioux City has a few great options if you don’t want to get your own hands dirty! They will have some ideas you’ve never even thought of while also helping you add your own unique ideas.

Why should I even do this? Landscaping, on average, can raise the value of your home anywhere from 5% to 12%, depending on the extent of it. It is the mark of a pristine interior as well as a sign of good taste. Plants are really in style these days, and by the looks of it that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

 

Keeping the Bugs at Bay

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I have hated bugs since I knew what they were. Mosquito bites are hands down the worst part of summer. And the SPIDERS?? Don’t get me started. But alas, the more we learn about these pests, the more we learn what they don’t like! Here are a few tips for keeping summer’s most common outlaws OUT of your house!

  1. Spiders: The #1 thing to keep spiders away is Peppermint Oil. This can be bought at any local grocery store and here at target.com. Simply fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of the peppermint oil and a few drops of dish soap. Spray it around doorways and windows and anywhere else you may have seen spiders before, and make sure to leave doors and windows open for a little while after spraying. Inhaling peppermint oil can sometimes cause dizziness. If you haven’t got any Peppermint Oil on hand, I bet you’ve got white vinegar! Make a mixture of half white vinegar, half water, and spray away. That is, if you can handle the smell of that! Another trick is to plant Eucalyptus plants. Spiders don’t like those, either and who doesn’t want another excuse to get another plant??! Vacuuming up webs is also a favorite pastime of mine as it doesn’t require me to touch anything gross. Finally, the cleaner you keep your home, the less chance you’ll have ANY nasty little creepy crawlers around so use that as incentive for the kids! “You don’t want spiders in your bedroom, do you?”
  2. Snakes: Personally, I have a pet snake, I love snakes I think they’re incredible creatures and they’re smart and beautiful, and I could go on and on but since I’m probably the minority with that opinion, here are a few things you can do to keep them away from your home. Going back to the oils theme, snakes don’t like close or cinnamon oil, and you can get the clove oil here and the cinnamon oil here. Same basic concept as the peppermint oil, mix a few drops in a spray bottle of water and spray in cracks and crevices outside and around the perimeters. Mothballs also have an active ingredient snakes hate, so putting a few of those out can help too! Or you can just call me! I will gladly come and take any snakes you may have off your grounds! (Just Kidding!)
  3. MOSQUITOES: My least favorite bug on the PLANET, really. Ugh, just the absolute worst! But since my hatred for them isn’t going to lead them to extinction (a girl can dream, can’t she?), hopefully these tips will help you avoid bites altogether. Placing a fan outside pointed toward where you’re sitting can actually keep mosquitoes away. I can’t believe I never thought of this. How could their puny little wings withstand a fan? They probably can’t. Citronella candles can also thwart off these buzzers. And again following with the Oils theme, this lemon eucalyptus bug deterrent spray is a natural way to keep mosquitoes out of your garden party. Peppermint oil (see SPIDERS above) can also be used for these little buggers! Another trick is to definitely get rid of ANY standing water!!!!!!!! Plus, standing water is just gross!
  4. Bees: This is a tough one because bees literally pollinate ALL of our crops. If it weren’t for bees, we would have no agriculture. So, for the sake of future generations, I am only listing all-natural repellents, none of which should be harmful to these awesome little bugs. The peppermint oil/water mixture mentioned for spiders above will also work for bees, just spray around perimeters, doors, windows, etc. Or you can also use tea tree oil or cinnamon oil (or all three if you like!). You can also place cinnamon sticks outside where you’ve seen bees and plant mint as that is a natural deterrent, too! I know our first reaction is to kill bees, but please try to minimize this as many species have become endangered and like I mentioned, if we lose bees, we lose a lot more with them.

I truly hope these tips will help you live your best bug-free summer ever!

 

What’s the Deal with Lead-Based Paint?

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If you’ve recently put your house on the market or made an offer on one, you’ve probably been asked to sign a Lead Based Paint Disclosure.. Hopefully your Real Estate Agent gave you an explanation before you signed. If they didn’t, drop them and call one of us! There are normally 2 mandatory disclosures that need your John Hancock when buying or selling a home; A Seller’s Disclosure and a Lead Based Paint Disclosure. I’ll explain the latter now.

Lead-Based Paint is exactly what it sounds like: Paint with Lead in it. Lead was added to paint to speed up drying, increase durability, maintain a fresh appearance and block out moisture that leads to corrosion. That’s fine and dandy, except Lead paint is hazardous! It can cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney damage and delayed development, and the risks are higher for children. Unfortunately, lead makes paint taste sweet, which makes every kid want to eat it. The good news about lead-based paint is that it is usually not a hazard IF IT’S IN GOOD CONDITION and if it’s not on an impact or friction surface, like a window. The United State didn’t ban lead-based paint until 1977, so if your home was built before that chances are you’ve got lead-based paint in your home. An estimated 37 million homes in American have lead-based paint.

If you’re buying or selling a home and it was built before 1978, you’ll need to sign a Lead-Based Paint Disclosure. This form states that you’re either aware or unaware that your home has lead-based paint. If you do have knowledge of it, you’ll need to give an explanation as to where it is. If you’re not aware of any in your home, simply check that box and sign. There is an EPA Issued Pamphlet you can view to better understand what to do if you do have lead-based paint in your home and you want to get rid of it. Furthermore, if the home you’re buying or selling was built AFTER 1978, then there’s no need for the Disclosure and all the paint should be lead-free!

There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact your state or local agency for more information, visit EPA.gov/lead, or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) for a list of contacts in your area.

HOA’s: Yay or Nay?

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HOAs, or Homeowners Associations, are organizations that create and enforce rules and guidelines for a ceratin area, condominium complex or community. People who reside within that community are members, with some memberships being mandatory. A Board of Directors is responsible for collecting HOA fees, whether it be monthly or yearly. These fees are used for community maintenance and enhancement like landscaping, pools and tennis courts, sometimes even including garbage takeway and snow removal. This Board can also force the rules and regulations with fines, liens and even litigation for non-compliance. Most HOAs are incorporated, so they are subject to state laws. HOAs are not the same as POAs, which stands for Property Owners Association. HOAs are usually more strict and specific with their guidelines and often include a more exclusive area of homes. POAs not only include homeowners, but anyone in the community with an interest in enhancing the real estate in their respective zone.

Now, you may be thinking “What’s not to like about something that makes my community so much better?” Well, sometimes HOAs have inept and detrimental Directors, since the only requirement to be on the board is to live in the designated area.  Fees can be high and regulations are often restrictive to creativity and expression. The Association can also require additional fees for things like parking lot or sidewalk repair if the reserve fund doesn’t have enough. Fees can range anywhere from $100 – $10,000 a month, but the average is anywhere from $200-$400.

Although the main idea of community development is a good one, it really depends on the board members. Do your research before you move into a community with an HOA. See if they’ve actually completed any projects, ask for a copy of the budget. Knock on doors and ask the people who live there if they’re happy with their HOA. Ultimately, if it’s being run effectively, it can be a great thing for a community. Otherwise, there goes the neighborhood.

5 Awesome DIY Home Improvement Projects

5 Easy DIY Projects

 

Home Improvement is never-ending, honestly. There is always something you can make better. Sweat Equity is the most rewarding way to add value to your home, and everything is getting easier to do yourself. I’ve listed 5 of the easiest things you can do today to increase the value and aesthetics of your home.

 

  1. Paint your kitchen cabinets. I KNOW this sounds like it’s out of your wheelhouse, but painting your kitchen cabinets is one of the easiest things you can do to increase the value of your home. The kitchen is the most important room in almost everyone’s house and it’s definitely the first thing potential buyers look for when browsing. White is the most traditional color and I would recommend it because it looks clean and immediately makes your kitchen look bigger. The first step is removing all the doors and hardware from the cabinets themselves. Next, you’ll want to sand the old finish or paint off of all of it. This is the most tedious step, but this sander will make it easier. Vacuum up all the dust inside, then tape off everything you don’t want painted. Using a paint sprayer (like this one), paint the insides and outsides of the cabinets. For the doors, I recommend laying them all out on some newspaper outside and painting them that way. Depending on the original color, two coats may be necessary. Wait for them to dry, then re attach and admire your new white cabinets. This can also easily be done in the bathrooms to match the kitchen.
  2.  Ship lap Accent Wall. Yes, the same ship lap Chip and Joanna Gaines are always raving about. You can get authentic and imitation ship lap, both of which are going to automatically spruce up the wall you choose to put them on. I recommend putting this behind the TV, and all you have to do is measure the square feet of that wall, buy as much ship lap as the wall requires, and stick! If you didn’t opt for the stick-and-peel ones, I would recommend using a 3″ drywall screw, but you’ll want to drill the holes first to avoid bursting in the wood or cracking in the drywall.
  3. TRIM. Trim is such a weird thing. Some people love white, some people love wood. But we can all agree that whatever color you choose, nice trim is a must have for buyers everywhere. If you have wood trim and want to paint it, that’s easy! Just remove the trim with a small molding bar, but make sure you put a putty knife between the bar and the wall to avoid chipping the paint. Start at the edges and work your way in. Pull the nails out the back of the trim with a pair of nippers to avoid splitting the trim front. Be sure to label your trim once it’s removed so you don’t try to put the wrong piece back where it doesn’t fit. Reattaching trim after you’ve painted it works best with a brad nailer and finishing nails. Use putty to cover any nails.
  4. Paint your Tile. Did you even know you could do that? I didn’t until this article! Before painting your tile, clean it. Then clean it again. Painting your tile requires special tile paint that adheres to the tile, and using a smart roller is the best way to apply it.  You can paint your tub to match, if you wish!
  5. Frame your mirrors. I am specifically talking about your bathroom mirror, but I think you could do it to all your mirrors to make a more cohesive look throughout your home. I did this recently, and it was remarkably easy. I measure my mirror, then bought enough 1×4 to frame it. I did a miter for the corners (45 degree angle cuts), and used mirror glue to stick the wood to the mirror. I also added some fake flowers, but you could use anything you want! Jewels, flowers, paint brushes, I don’t know! I also stained the wood dark walnut, in a light pink bathroom it really pops!

If you try any of these, comment below with before and after pics!!