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Basic repairs for home maintenance

for sale sign outside houseI often preach about regular home maintenance. However, home owners should also have basic repair skills too. 

Basic repairs are those items that you can do safely, and usually don’t require a professional. Basic repair skills are sometimes useful as an emergency stopgap before the licensed contractor can make it to your home.

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Your home is a silent but important witness

for sale sign outside houseJune is National Homeownership Month. In recognition, National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall stated in a June 1st press release that “National Homeownership Month is a time to celebrate and promote the modern American Dream of owning a home. Homeownership changes lives and enhances futures, and many Americans see it as one of their greatest hopes. These individuals are counting on the nation’s 1.3 million Realtors to champion and protect homeownership and help make it more affordable, attainable and sustainable (nar.realtor).”

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Specialty rooms are popular once again

for sale sign outside housePrior to the Great Recession, home owner spending for remodeling and renovations was very strong. Besides remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, many home owners also created specialty rooms (also known as special function rooms) in their homes. Specialty rooms such as home theatres and media rooms were not just trendy because they were cool to have in the house, but they were also added for resale value. According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Study’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), post-recession home remodeling spending dropped off by as much as 28 percent between 2007 and 2011. That spending decrease meant that while home owners focused on saving and paying their mortgages, specialty rooms were no longer a necessity.

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The psychology of pricing out your home

for sale sign outside housePricing your home correctly is the foundation of a successful sale. I have often talked about the science and art of pricing a home in various market conditions, but did you know that psychology also plays a role? 

With vast amounts of public data available on the internet, you may be tempted to price your home on your own.

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It could be a long, hot and very cool summer

for sale sign outside houseDid you know that the first commercial application of air conditioning was in 1902? And yet, residential central A/C didn’t come into its own until the 1960’s. According to the US Department of Energy, air conditioning use skyrocketed in the 1970’s. Since then, A/C units have become more efficient, such that new air conditioners use fifty percent less energy than units from the 1990’s. Additionally, new technologies are making A/C units increasingly environmentally friendly. New developments in air conditioning include non-vapor compression technology, which will be fifty percent more efficient and doesn’t use Hydrofluorocarbons (energy.gov).

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Getting a permit for a Do-it-yourself project

for sale sign outside houseHome owners are spending more on home improvements. “Do-it-Yourself” (DIY) projects are becoming popular again. Besides being inspired by the increasing number of DIY home improvement shows on TV, there are numerous books, online sources and YouTube videos to show a DIYer how to take on almost any project in the home. Being a DIY is ambitious and exciting, but for many becomes overwhelming and costly. 

The notion of DIY is more than just being proud of getting your hands dirty.

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Building components can be hazardous

for sale sign outside houseIt’s not unusual that new materials are produced to make construction and system installations easier, less expensive, and/or safer. However, once in a while, it’s found that the component may fail or can become dangerous as it ages or if it’s installed improperly. Examples of such materials include FRT plywood, polybutylene pipe, Chinese drywall, and most recently CSST.

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Maintenance-free living is a real possibility

for sale sign outside houseI talk about home maintenance quite a bit. And there is a reason. Maintaining your home is important, not just to keep you comfortable but to also preserve your investment. But many people loath the idea of spending their weekend checking their home’s systems, replacing air filters, mowing the yard, washing the siding, cleaning appliances, ad nauseum. 

They are called chores for a reason. But maybe sometime in the near future we will eliminate the need of regular home maintenance.

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Are home inspections becoming irrelevant?

for sale sign outside houseI have heard an increasing voice of discontent over home inspections. Not just from home sellers and their agents, but from home buyers too! Home sellers often complain about the incorrect flagging of working components as being defective. Listing agents usually gripe that home inspectors scare buyers and interfere with their sale. But many home buyers are also growing dissatisfied with inspections and the property reports they are given. 

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Incentives for Maryland first-time home buyers

for sale sign outside houseMaryland first-time home buyers may soon have another program to help them buy a home. 

Two related bills are making their way through the Maryland General Assembly to create a first-time home buyer savings account. If enacted, Maryland would join a handful of other states that have already enacted such programs to incentivize home buying.

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