Thursday, April 26, 2018

Small Yard? Vertical Gardens I Tell Ya!

I've been wanting to do a vertical succulent garden wall thingy for a while now. I've done a little bit of research. Talked with a friend of my hubby's the other day about building one.

A wall one for me that will last a long time cannot be made of wood. It's got to be super heavy guage plastic or, and this is what I want, a metal material.

Our lot size is about a 1/4 acre, but the way the house itself is positioned our rear living space isn't much bigger than both side yards. When I look out my kitchen window I see trees and plants. But, when I look out my bedroom and master bath windows....I see slump stone wall.

So, when I read the most recent National Association of Realtors blog post about vertical gardens....needless to say I thought if I'm thinking about it and N.A.R. peeps are thinking about it....well, you just may be as well.

Different ideas for vertical gardens were shared:

The one above I'd seen's really more to separate spaces.

This one is pretty spectacular but more for a walkway, right?

Meh, I'm thinking entryway only.

This is sweet, I see this almost like a rooftop garden, you?

But this, now this is the succulent wall garden I want!!!

So, my guy is working some figures, some measurements, some ideas. We're talking 10 feet wide by 4 feet high....I can hardly wait!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Oh Mark.....Facebook Ads For Real Estate....Under Fire

In marketing a home for sale, price & presentation are the most important things. I tell all my Sellers this, right from the start.

Spreading the information about their home for sale is vital as well. Social media is a great way to get listing information out to people that may not see it for some reason. Maybe they don't think that neighborhood should be looked at. Maybe they are looking for, or think they are looking for, something bigger, smaller, more room count, less room count, higher priced, lower priced,....etc.

Sometimes they are counting just on their agent to send them listings to consider and they happen to see one of mine on social media.

A big one being Facebook. I do, however, utilize several platforms of social media to reach as many prospective buyers as possible.

Sponsored posts on Zuckberbergs site are under attack. And, quite honestly, it shouldn't be Facebook, it should be the Realtor that sets the criteria that is getting in the hot seat.

Facebook allows the ad maker to choose target audiences. I've never seen an opportunity to "Exclude" any audience. Why the heck would I want to do that? Why would anyone? But, it appears that you can. At any rate, when I pick my target, I focus on all ages (unless it's a senior community), gender....don't all sexes buy homes?, location is a no-brainer, and a list of other things depending on if there is a pool, tennis, HOA, granite kitchen, whatever the property amenities are I'm going to be sure I target those interests.

So, poor Mark, under attack yet again....and, this time, for the ethics of any crappy Realtors out there....well, their lack of ethics. Guess what? It's no wonder the Association of Realtors is making everyone take an ethics course to renew their licenses again. 

I've just done mine....good to help people in and out of homes til June of 2022! My ethics were always good though.....always.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Yikes ~ FHA Funded Almost 2 Billion In Loans They Shouldn't Have

I'm catching up on reading so you may have heard about this already. And, quite honestly the amount they shouldn't have funded is negligible compared to what was correctly funded.

BUT, I bring this to your attention so you are aware of this caveat. Surely the FHA will be watching much more closely.

If you have a delinquent federal non-tax debt, like  Department of Education, the Department of Justice, the Small Business Administration, or the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.....or you are subject to Federal administrative offset for delinquent Child Support.....FHA is not supposed to provide any federally insured loans to you.

But, they did. Well, now, how about that? Well, they did fund over 200 Billion in 2016, so yes, it is a teeny-weenie amount. But, still, they did it.

At any rate, since it's been discovered, the FHA is going to fix some things, or try to fix some things. And, this means, you best beware.

Seems like the lender should know this, or the underwriter at the very least. Right?

The article didn't state the loans would be called back. If I had one of those delinquent debts and I got an FHA loan last year? I'd investigate it though!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

E-Mail VS. Texting When Selling or Buying Your Home

I know we are all in this text-message speed era. Yes indeed. And, for short messages. Hello's. Hey ya wanna go look at this house? Or, hey we got our first offer in!!

Those are great.....most freaking definitely....those are awesome!

But, for important stuff, things that need to be documented......e-mail is absolutely the only way to go.

So, forgive me in advance if I text you and say "Hey, please respond to my e-mail so I know you received, understand, approve" or whatever it needs. SMS, Short Message Service, does not get saved.....e-mails do. Well, in the Real Estate world at least.

And, quite honestly it's truly a CYA, yours and mine!

Got questions about Real Estate documentation? Just holler. Lauren@KeepYourWitz....see? Notice I gave you my e-mail address? LOLOL

Friday, April 6, 2018

Never Knew! Quartzite or Quartz? What's the Difference?

We bought our home because of the floor plan and knew we'd have to change out the kitchen tile...even though it's still in good a different counter eventually. Seven years later, we still haven't done it!

But, I keep an eye on all counter tops while showing homes. New and Re-sale homes of course.

Houzz article caught my attention this morning about two different types of materials that many people interchange the names without even realizing there is a difference.

I'm still not sure which one we would use! I'm leaning towards the man-made Quartz though....

Quartzite is a natural stone that is extracted from the earth, 
just as marble, limestone or soapstone are quarried.

Quartz, or engineered quartz, is man-made. It’s composed of roughly 90 percent ground quartz (the actual mineral), with the remaining 10 percent being a mixed cocktail of resins, polymers and pigments that varies by manufacturer.

Variation vs. Uniformity

Because quartzite comes directly from Mother Nature, it displays infinite variation in color and pattern, meaning no two slabs are exactly the same.Meanwhile, quartz attempts to replicate those distinct characteristics, such as veining. Technology is always advancing, and engineered materials are getting harder to distinguish from the real deal. But because quartz is produced in a controlled manner on a large scale, at some point patterns emerge and repetition happens.

Heat Resistance vs. Stain Resistance

In addition to hardness, most people are concerned with whether a stone will resist heat and staining over time, especially if you’re talking about an enthusiastic entertainer or a bustling family with young children.

Quartzite wins in terms of heat resistance, making it a prime candidate for kitchens. (No worries if you happen to set that hot pan down for a moment on the counter next to your stove. 

On the other hand, the density of quartz makes it more able to combat stains than its fully organic counterpart. Which means you can opt for solid white quartz in the kitchen and won’t need to fret over any of those inevitable messes and spills.

Differences Between Quartz and Quartzite

  • Pros: Durable; can come in solid colors for a more uniform look; very stain resistant; not prone to etching
  • Cons: Because it’s an engineered product, sometimes pattern repetition occurs; not as heat resistant or scratch resistant as quartzite
  • Pros: Durable; because it’s a natural stone, there is infinite variation in color and pattern (no two slabs are the same); very heat resistant; not prone to etching; more scratch resistant than quartz
  • Cons: Not as stain resistant as quartz

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Little Bit More Than One Month's Inventory

Always looking at activity in the MLS. Listings, price changes, fallen out of escrow, under contract, pending, and final sales. Minimum of 3 times a day!

Right now, in Santa Clarita, and surrounding neighborhoods, we only have 431 active listings. Yes, only 431. That includes homes, townhouses, and condos.

The matter to be aware of is that it means we have just over a months worth of inventory. Because, we are usually selling about 325-335 homes every month. Last month we closed escrow on 285 homes.

Currently we have 492 in contract. Which means a lot of people want to buy houses, right?

Yes, a lot sure do!!!

With rising rates, and low inventory, it's getting more challenging. But, interest rates are still remarkably low! And, with the right Realtor in the trenches working to find your next will happen!

But, you've got to get approved, find a great Realtor, and get working on it....before rates and home prices go up further!