Spring Home Maintenance 101

Home Maintenance Blog

Spring has sprung! Longer days are here, warmer weather and sunshine. Even after a mild winter, by Northeast standards, it’s time to start those spring home upkeep projects.

After any winter, no matter how mild or harsh, you should check over your home’s exterior and address any damages that may have occurred over the cold winter months. Spring is also a great time to update curb appeal and give your home a face lift.

Suggested maintenance to-do’s:

  • Inspect your roof – make sure all shingles are in place and in good condition. Check for damage left from ice dams and correct those issues as they can cause major leaking. Also address mold or bacteria growth in shady spots.
  • Clean out your gutters – remove debris from gutters and downspouts to encourage proper drainage. Also address where the water exits the downspout and guide it away from the home.
  • Check caulk on windows and reseal any imperfections. This will help with heating and cooling efficiency; especially during the hot summer months when air conditioning is running.
  • Trim trees, bushes and shrubs – not only will your lawn look fresh and cleaned up, removing branches and stems near your home’s exterior will decrease the risk of damage.
  • Up your curb appeal – add new landscaping or refresh existing gardens with new flowering plants. Adding color to green space can really make a yard pop!
  • Take care of your deck and porches – reseal or paint wooden decks and porches to help protect them from the elements.
  • Paint it pretty – maintain the home’s exterior woodwork with a new coat of paint. If you have a wooden clapboard or shingled home consider giving it a real face lift with a whole new color scheme! Spring is a great time to change up the exterior of your home, so if you have been considering vinyl siding now is a great time to look into it.

Spring home maintenance is a great way to get out of the gloom of winter. By working on these projects you are maintaining the integrity of your home, giving your body the exercise it has missed all winter, and take in some wonderful fresh air. Plus by paying regular attention to these items you can save yourself a lot of money by preventing big problems. Being proactive can really pay off when you are a home owner!

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients in the Capital Region. Visit her website http://www.homeswitherinmiller.com

 

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Meet My Latest Listing

OK, it has been a long few months since I last updated this blog. My apologies, but I promise it has been for good reason and I have been very busy. Plus the holidays, I am sure you can all understand how easy it is to get sidetracked during that season. Speaking of which, I hope you all enjoyed yours and have been having a most excellent New Year!

I’ve been working with many buyers but was fortunate enough to be brought in on a listing in the wonderful city of Glens Falls. I did my college internship in this beautiful, historic upstate NY city and I was elated to be brought in on a listing in that area.

I would like to introduce all of you the Condos at 93 Maple Street! These luxury condo units are move in ready and are perfect for the first time homebuyer, empty nesters looking to downsize, or as vacation property. After all they are just a short drive away to Lake George, Saratoga Springs and the Adirondack Park.

Building 93 Maple

The Condos at 93 Maple Street – Glens Falls, NY

One of my favorite things about the units is that each one is different. Layouts may be similar but each unit has been professionally designed by Paula McCormick Interiors and all have their very own personalities. The high-end finishes really bring life to each space and the unique individual feel allow buyers to pick from tastefully done units rather than accepting a standard cookie cutter build.

But don’t just take my work for it. Here are a few photos:

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I encourage you to check out the condos for yourself. If you are fortunate enough to be in the Glens Falls area, around the Capital Region or traveling to Upstate New York stop by on Sundays between 11 and 1. We hold a weekly open house. Of course you can always make an appointment, just submit an inquiry on the contact page of our website. You can visit The Condos at 93 Maple Street here.

I can’t wait to find these units the perfect homeowners they have been waiting for, maybe it will be you….

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her websitehttp://www.homeswitherinmiller.com

 

 

TLC Properties: Renovation or Rehab – Smart Investment For A Must-Have Home

Renovations and Rehab Blog

Wow! It’s been a while since I was able to sit down and write. It has definitely been a busy few weeks. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

My weekend before Thanksgiving was filled with home showings and my very first open house. Ok, so it wasn’t really MY open house, but I got some very valuable real estate experience by helping one of my contemporaries.

For today’s post though I really want to speak about my experience working with some great buyers who have entered my world. Like I did a few years ago, my buyers are looking to make a long-distance move and get back to their family, who are located here in the Capital District. This particular couple really knows what they are looking for, which to my surprise were serious fixer-upper properties.

I love fixer-upper properties. You have a chance to make something your own, you can help preserve the original nature of a historic home, you can save lots of money. My buyer has built & redesigned homes before and enjoys the process. Because of this we looked at some really fabulous homes, though many of them weren’t in what one might call fabulous shape. Actually there were some that no one would call fabulous shape. However, with my buyer’s ability to see what could be, I quickly found myself ready to get a hammer and nails and start the work myself.

All too often many beautiful homes go overlooked because they require work. Not every home is salvageable but, when you find a gem that has weathered decades or even centuries and still maintains it’s structural integrity, in lies an opportunity.

An opportunity to make a home your own. Seriously, you don’t need a brand new build to get what you want in a home. In fact, sometimes people invest in new builds and the homes still don’t necessarily meet all of your wants and/or needs. Not saying buying new is a bad thing, for some people it makes all of the sense in the world, but with a little ambition and creativity you can bring a relic into the current time. The best part, you can increase your equity rather quickly by choosing a distressed property and making the proper, cost effective, renovations to it. Always think about resale and market value when doing renovations. Spending money you don’t need to or you will never see a return on is silly, unless you have a generous budget and feel like spending.

I know, I know – renovations? Nobody has time for that. It’s true, renovations can seriously cramp your everyday style. But! Getting exactly what you want in a home, building equity, and having that feeling of pride with every project completion can be very rewarding for home buyers and owners.

My buyer’s and I stumbled upon a Craftsman, out of the original area we were looking but very close to their family. It had fallen into foreclosure and was in sad shape for how pretty you could see it had once been. It was dirty, had a top to bottom red kitchen, and the furnace was totally broken but the bones were in good shape. The “ah-ha!” feature was that none of the traditional Craftsman touches had been messed with. The original woodworking and structural elements were intact. The only exception was the peculiar red kitchen. The icing on the cake? The home was priced way below budget. When adding the estimated total cost of renovations to the listing price the figure was still way under budget – granted most of the labor cost would be offset by my buyer’s hard work. I will have to wait and see as no decisions have been made yet, but it left a lasting impression on me about distressed properties. Not only can they be a place you really feel is your home, with your personal must haves, they can also be a really solid investment for both you and the property.

Renovations and rehabs are certainly not for everyone. They are time consuming, they can end up costing a fortune, and they can make you regret ever thinking one was a good idea. But when that work is done and your home is exactly how you want it, with extra money in your pocket, that run down, dirty, red kitchen property will be a home again. There are countless tv shows out now with famous faces that feature these types of projects –  Nicole Curtis on Rehab Addict, Jonathan and Drew on Property Brothers, Flipping Virgins with Egypt Sherrod…the list can go on and on. There is tons of inspiration and education out there. Just look at Pinterest! Make sure you have a few hours if you go on Pinterest for DIY ideas, you may be on there for hours – I know from experience.

If you are ambitious enough and not scared away by homes in desperate need of a family to love them then you may find great pride in the challenge. It can really be a great investment and you just might learn a thing or two about yourself. 🙂

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the past Erin has worked in the field of marketing, focusing in social media and internet marketing. She also holds excellent customer service skills and enjoys working in the community. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her websitehttp://www.homeswitherinmiller.com

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Home Sweet Home Blog Graphic

Buying your first home is exciting! You have probably spent a lot of time saving and working on cleaning up credit. Perhaps you have been looking at available properties in the areas you are most interested in. You might even be looking forward to this huge transition in your life.

Even with the most positive of attitudes being a first-time homebuyer can get overwhelming, and it can become overwhelming very quickly. The house hunting part is the easy part, it is everything that comes after. The paperwork, the dozens of people you will communicate with at any given time, inspections, extended deadlines – the list of components to buying a home can go on and on.

This list of tips is designed to help you ease through the process of buying your first home. While it won’t solve every roadblock you may run into, it will give you an idea of what to expect next and what to work on preparing with your team.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers:

  • In advance of applying for financing, review your credit report and clean up any blemishes. Work on putting money away and building your savings.
  • Apply for a pre-qualification or a pre-approval with a trusted home loan lender. There are a variety of choices that you can go through to obtain financing, take your time looking at all of your options and choose the right one for you.
  • Understand your budget. Your pre-qualification or pre-approval will give  you the maximum you could be financed for. But that doesn’t mean that it should be your spending budget. Remember to factor in things like property taxes, homeowners insurance, fees associated with homeowners associations, condos or co-ops. Then there is also monthly utilities and maintenance to consider. While none of these are factored into your possible financing amount, they are all part of the cost of owning a home. Working with these numbers can help you determine what you can actually afford regardless of what you are financed for. This will also help you to narrow down your home search.
  • Select a real estate professional to work with during your home search. I know this tip seems somewhat self-serving, but hear me out. A licensed real estate salesperson holds the knowledge and resources to help you navigate a market of endless possibilities. This can help cut the time of your home search and allow you to make better, educated offers on the property of your choosing.
  • Create a list of needs and wants. This will help identify properties that in theory will work for you. Now of course, we know not every property you look at will be the one, even if it has all of your wants and needs. You also may need to make concessions. If you are dead set on a location and that particular location sells at a premium, you may need to make concessions to get into that neighborhood. This could mean losing a bedroom or bathroom off your your list. However, if the property speaks to you, you may not actually care about that one element coming off your list.
  • Always have an inspection done! You should never purchase a property without having a home inspection done not only to make sure the home is a sound investment but also for safety reasons. Any major problems that arise can be identified ahead of purchase and possibly negotiated for in the sales price. In New York State if certain issues total above a certain amount the buyer can actually terminate the purchase contract. Either way, an inspection puts everyone on the same page about the condition of the home. Your real estate professional should have some suggestions of who to hire or seek out your own inspector by interviewing some options.
  • It is highly recommended that you use a real estate attorney to ensure all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Also, there is a lot of paperwork, it is possibly the most overwhelming of everything you will deal with during the buying process. Your attorney will keep track of deadlines, expiration of clauses, and they will be able to be in contact with the seller’s attorney to make sure the process is moving along from their end. While each buying situation is different, some can be really tricky. When you are a novice at something you are bound to make a mistake, but having someone on your side to make sure that the process is legal is reassuring. It also takes a lot off of your plate so you can continue with your daily life as opposed to living and breathing buying a home.

Those are just a few things you can do to make sure you are successful in the purchase of your first home Of course there are many other components to buying a home and things that you could never prepare for. The best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with a group of trusted professionals who will help you with the right steps to success but also educate you as you go.

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. Previously she has worked in social media and marketing, with a strong background in customer service. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her website at www.homeswitherinmiller.com.