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Holiday Traditions room by room.

There’s no place like home for the holidays. Whether you are a new homeowner, or are celebrating another holiday season in your well-loved home, your living spaces can be integral in making memories with family and friends. Time to put some holiday music on, gather up the kids and start creating these holiday traditions now, one room at a time.

Kitchen
With so much delicious food to make and bake during the holiday season, your kitchen is an easy place to begin creating holiday traditions. Baking cookies, frying latkes or building gingerbread houses (complete with a RE/MAX sign!) are activities in which the whole family can participate. You can go one step further and take your cooking skills to a local soup kitchen to support your community during this season of giving.

Living Room
Often the center of the home, your living room-is where the hustle and bustle of the holidays melts away. Kick back with a holiday movie, start a fire and decorate the Christmas tree as a family in matching holiday sweaters, no less! Light the menorah or host a New Year’s Eve party. The holidays can be stressful-use your home as a sanctuary to focus and reflect on what this time of year means to you.

Outdoors
When you think of holiday traditions outside, colorful lights and an inflatable Santa come to mind. But don’t dismiss other low-stress outdoor activities like sparklers in the snow, sky lanterns or caroling. If you can handle the cold, or live in a temperate climate, plan a get-together around an outdoor fire (complete with a yule log) on the Winter Solstice.

At RE/MAX, our agents find homes that match your life and style. Are you ready to start making traditions in a home of your own? Find an agent here

The Power of ‘Kidfluence’ When It’s Time to Buy a Home

While parents may have a handle on the household budgets, it’s the kids who influence one of the biggest purchase decisions you make as a family-a new home. In the U.S., there are 50 million children 11 years old and under who have a hefty $1.2 trillion in annual purchasing power and they mean business. We’re not just talking about their mini-opinions on everyday purchased like food, clothing and toys; their influence extends to larger life purchases including cars, vacations and yes, even homes.

According to a recent Harris Poll, 55 percent of homeowners with a child under 18 said the opinion of their child played a factor in their home buying decision. For millennial parents, the influence grows to nearly 75 percent-now that’s some ‘kidfluence.’

While parents study and search for the best school zones, other home features like having their own room, a large backyard and a swimming pool were more popular to the Mini-Me in the family. This might explain why many couples move out of the city to suburbs when they start a family-even as some urbanists continue to stay put in city life raising their city kids.

Finding the right home that’s just right for your family starts with finding the right agent. RE/MAX agents are more recommended because they recommend what’s right for you-and your kids. When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, RemaxAllPro.com will be ready to help.

Virtual Reality in Real Estate

The day many tech lovers have been waiting for is here: Google Daydream View is now available in stores. The new virtual reality headset connects with a smartphone (specifically, Google Pixel) to immerse users in their favorite games, movies or even the latest news story. And at just $79, Daydream is making VR technology more accessible to consumers than ever before.

But the uses of virtual reality technology go beyond entertainment. Here are a few ways VR is making its way into real estate.

1. Open houses

Virtual reality headsets, about the size of a scuba mask, can provide 360-degree virtual reality property tours of homes. The headsets completely fill the user’s field of vision with a view of the home, allowing them to look up, down and from side to side. Developers are working on adding more tactile features to the experience, so users can do things like see their own hand opening a door, reports the New York Times. They’re even developing smells. One day Realtors might be able to add the smell of virtually baking cookies to their virtual open house.

2. Long-distance shopping

Virtual reality home tours give out-of-town buyers (and local buyers, too) another tool to help narrow down their choices of homes they’d like to physically visit in a limited amount of time.

3. Staging

More affordable than hiring a pro to stage your home, several virtual options allow you to add furniture and decorations to vacant rooms using computer technology. It can help buyers envision a property with different furniture and paint.

There’s a lot more to a real estate transaction than VR goggles can replace. When you’re ready to buy or sell your home, work with an experienced RE/MAX agent. Find a local RE/MAX agent here who can help you find the right place for you.

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of everyone at RE/MAX All-Pro, we want to wish our community a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year!  We are eternally grateful for the bountiful blessings bestowed upon us in 2017, and we hope you are all able to take the time to reflect on the things you are thankful for, as well as your dreams and goals for 2018. The holiday season reminds us that our relationships—whether it be with family, friends, coworkers, or even people we interact with for only a short time—are what truly make life meaningful. Wishing you all a happy, peaceful, and successful New Year.

– Keny and Cheyanne Terracciano

9 Ways to Cool Down Your Home This Summer

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Cranking up the AC can also crank up your electric bill. Here are a few alternative ways to keep your home cool this summer.

1. Swap bulbs
If you still haven’t switched to CFLs for environmental or economic reasons, do it to be cool. Incandescent bulbs waste about 90 percent of their energy through the heat they emit.

2. Keep a cool head
Try out a buckwheat pillow for bedtime. They don’t absorb and retain heat like cotton and down pillows.

3. DIY AC
Place a big bowl of ice water in front of a fan for a cheap alternative to central air.

4. Mind the blinds
Close your window blinds or curtains when you leave to prevent your home from heating up like a greenhouse while you’re gone.

5. Grill and chill
Cooking outside on the barbecue keeps you from heating up your home with a stove or oven. It also minimizes the time you have to sweat over the dishes.

6. Don’t block your breeze
Open internal doors at night to maximize any fresh, cool air that makes its way inside.

7. Change direction
For the summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate in a counterclockwise direction to create a cooling, downward airflow. In winter, turn the setting back to clockwise to recirculate warm air.

8. Suck it up
Use your bathroom fan when you shower and your exhaust fan when you use your stovetop. They’ll help draw the hot air up and out of the room.

9. Unplug
Electronics emit heat when they’re plugged in, even if they’re turned off. Unplug them, or use a smart power strip, when you’re not using them.

Want a cool new place to call home? Learn what your cold cash (or approved mortgage amount) can buy in today’s market. Start by finding an experienced agent here.

4 Steps to Launch the Home Buying Process

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You’ve decided you’re ready to buy your own home­ – now what? Start with these initial steps:

1. Get your financial ducks in a row.
Calculate how much money you have in savings and assets, your total annual income and your expenses. Know how much of it you can allocate toward a downpayment and other expenses. Check your credit report and fix any errors. This will help you determine what type of loan you qualify for, and the price range of homes you want to look at.

2. Determine how much house you can afford.
A common rule is that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 28 percent of your pre-tax income. You can plug your information into an online mortgage calculator to get a starting idea of exactly how much you’ll pay each month with different interest rates and terms.

3. Find a real estate agent.
Interview several agents to find one that specializes in the communities you’re interested in and has experience representing buyers with the type of home you’re looking for. Search for a local agent now.

4. Shop!
It’s important that you keep an open mind and look at a wide range of properties. Go to open houses. Cruise the Internet. Peruse different neighborhoods. Your agent will also help by finding properties that match as many of your “wants” and “needs” as possible. When you fall in love with a house and are ready to make it official, your agent can help you navigate the process from putting in an offer to the closing table.

Whether you’re buying, selling or looking to make your house a home, you can find more advice on the RE/MAX blog.

4 Things That Only A Realtor Knows

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According to the National Association of Realtors, 42 percent of homebuyers start their home search online, and 92 percent use the Web during the home search process. While the Internet can be a good place to start looking, there are things real estate agents know about the process of buying and selling a home that can’t be found in any Web browser.

Here are a few.

1. How to price a home

When setting a listing price, agents consider scores of factors, from local and national market trends and neighborhood development activity to the latest buyer preferences for kitchen appliances and landscaping. Every home is unique, and an agent with a track record of success knows how to price it attractively in the market.

The Internet isn’t always much help when it comes to comparison shopping, either. Many of the same factors that help an agent set an appropriate listing price aren’t available in an algorithm, so online estimators aren’t always accurate – and could be costly if you purchase without consulting a real, live professional.

2. Marketing offline

While online marketing can certainly be valuable, agents have networks of contacts and years of experience to round out their marketing plans.

And, for buyers, agents often can tap into their network to learn about great properties before they hit the real estate websites or even the MLS.

3. Key points in the process

If you find a home you love online, the website won’t be there to guide you through a mortgage application, find a home inspector or advise you what to do if an inspection reveals issues.

4. How to negotiate

Having an experienced, professional negotiator drive your transaction can be vital to reaching a fair price for the property you’re buying or selling. A website can give you an estimate of how much a property should cost, but it can’t evaluate whether that’s a great price or not.

One way the Web is helpful in real estate? Finding a great agent to work with. Start your search here.

May Housing Report

With the 2016 home-buying season just starting, April sales saw a 7.5% increase over March and a 3.2% rise over April last year, which nearly matches the average year-over-year sales increase of 4.3% so far in 2016. The Median Sales Price in April was $215,000, which was 5.4% higher than one year ago and 7.5% above the median price in March. The inventory of homes for sale remains very tight in many markets across the country, with the April inventory 15.2% lower than April 2015. At the rate of home sales in April, the national Months Supply of Inventory was 3.2, down from 3.7 in March.

The May 2016 Housing Report infograph can be found here.

RE/MAX All-Pro Open House Showcase

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Don’t forget to come out to our Open House Showcase this Sunday! 17 homes will be shown, with more than a dozen of our agents hosting!

View Listings >

 

4 Things Agents Consider When Setting Listing Prices

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There’s no online calculator for setting the perfect listing price for your home. It takes experience, market savvy, and even a bit of psychology. A strong listing agent can help you set the right, most competitive price for your home. Here are a few things they might look at:

1. The competition
Your agent will look at the prices of similar homes in your area that either are currently listed or sold during the past few months. They’ll take into account how many days the properties were on the market, and how the listing prices for those homes differed from the final sale prices.

2. Market trends
What’s affecting the market in your neighborhood, and your region? Your agent will consider national factors that shape the real estate market, such as possible rising interest rates, as well as local factors, like whether the average home price in your neighborhood has been rising or falling. They’ll also think about things such as new companies moving to the area in the near future, or plans for improving local amenities, like parks and shopping districts. All can increase the value of your home to a buyer.

3. Your neighbors
Although a home the same size and age recently sold for a high price, your own place might not fetch the exact same fortune if, say, junky cars continue to proliferate in your neighbor’s driveway. On the flipside, if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, your home’s value may be higher due to your neighbors’ curb appeal.

4. The Goldilocks price
Listing your home at a price that’s “just right” from the start is critical to selling it quickly, for the best price. Overpricing your home, and then dropping the price a few times while it sits on the market, could lead to a lower final sales price than if the home was priced appropriately from the beginning. And, of course, setting a price that’s too low leaves money on the table.

Wondering how much your home might be worth in today’s market? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can explain how these and other considerations could factor into a pricing strategy for your home.