What Does It Mean to Be All In?

What does it mean to be “All in”?

At Windermere, it means our agents love what they do, acting beyond themselves, and being there when it counts. During these uncertain times, we want you to know that our agents are more focused than ever on taking care of their clients and helping them move their dreams forward.

 

 

 

5 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Home Office

Image Source: Canva

 

Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us now find ourselves working from home. While it’s hard to complain about the commute, working from home can be an adjustment. For example, you may find yourself doing tasks around the house and suddenly you’ve missed several important emails. If you feel like you need some help being more productive while working from home, here are five tips to improve your workflow. 

 

Add Light

The best kind of light is natural light. Try setting up your workspace by a window. If that’s not possible, add a desk lamp or floor lamp to brighten your space. Not only will it help with visibility; it brightens your mood, which helps you to be more productive. 

 

Declutter

Remove distracting clutter. Take everything off your desk that you don’t need. Store it elsewhere or use shelves on your wall to display it. 

If you find yourself cleaning throughout the day, set aside time specifically for these tasks. If you’re still waking up at the same time you did when working at the office—which studies show is a great strategy when working from home—using your would-be commute time to tidy up helps avoid those periodic distractions.

 

Bring the Outdoors In

Bringing plants into your home is beneficial for productivity and health alike. Greenery is a natural mood booster and gives life to a room. Plants naturally purify the air, helping you breathe easy as you make your way through the workday. Try arranging both hanging and potted plants to improve the mood around your workspace. 

 

Change Your Chair 

A chair that’s too tall, too short, or not comfortable is a fast track to back and shoulder problems that inhibit your workday and linger afterwards. Being in a stationary position for hours at a time requires the right kind of support to stay productive. Features to look for in a quality office chair include proper lumbar support, sturdy wheels, and an adjustable base that allows your shoulders to relax and your feet to rest flat on the floor. 

 

Add Decor

It’s important to keep your home office professional and dedicated to your work. However, adding personal touches to the space will help you feel at ease. Position your work computer and phone front and center with any related work tools close by and handy. Adding pictures of loved ones, artwork, and inspirational quotes will help inspire you to generate ideas while working productively.

Protecting Your Home’s Air Quality

 

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Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in home products have increased drastically, while homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. 

 

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well. 

 

How pollutants get into our homes 

 

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. Mold is a VOC that can build up in the dampest parts of your home like the laundry room or crawl spaces. Another example is the “new car smell” that seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone. 

 

Many materials used to build a home contain chemicals like formaldehydetoluene, xylene, ethanol, and acetone, and even lead. VOCs can also be in the form of pet dander or dust. Fortunately, VOCs from building materials dissipate over time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested. 

 

How to reduce VOCs in your home 

 

Choose your building materials wisely  

 

  • – Use tile or solid wood for flooring—hardwood, bamboo, or cork
  • – Choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.  
  • – Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes 

 

Purify the air  

 

  • – Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, air out newly renovated areas for at least a week 

  • – Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly 

  • – Install air cleaners if needed 

  • – Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals 

  • – Plants are a natural solution to help clean the air 

  • – Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner 

  •  

Pick the right carpet 

 

  • – Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal

  • – Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet 

  • – Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects or wall coverings

  • – Air out newly carpeted areas before using  

  • – Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors

  •  

Prevent mold  

 

  • – Clean up water leaks fast 

  • – Keep humidity below 60 percent, using dehumidifiers if necessary 

  • – Refrain from carpeting rooms that stay damp 

  • – Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation 

  • – Use one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water to kill mold in its early stages 

  •  

If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ 

Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers

 

Before you decide to sell, be sure to seriously consider the risks of putting your home on the market right now. Talk with your Windermere agent to discuss your options.

 

❱ While open houses generate interest and traffic, groups are hard to control, and we want to practice “social distancing” when we can. We recommend only allowing showings by appointment; this ensures that only serious buyers enter your home, reducing possible spreading of the virus.

 

❱ Consider vacating the property from list date to offer review date by staying with family or friends or at a short-term rental.

 

❱ Wipe down surfaces following every showing of your home.

 

❱ If you start to feel sick or have knowledge that you have been in contact with someone suspected to have COVID-19, take your home off the market immediately.

 

❱ Ask your agent to pre-screen buyers before they enter your home to ensure they aren’t ill and have not potentially been exposed to the virus.

 

❱ Place a placard in the entry of your home requesting that any person who has recently been ill or may have been in the company of someone who is suspected to have COVID-19 to not enter your home.

 

❱ Provide hand sanitizer throughout your home.

 

❱ It’s common for sellers to provide protective booties for buyers who tour the home; consider also providing disposable gloves.

 

❱ Leave interior doors open so that buyers who tour the home don’t have to touch the handles when entering rooms.

 

❱ Disinfect your home with proper cleaning supplies after every open house.

 

Find our Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers here:

Coronavirus Protections for Home Buyers

 

As the situation develops with the COVID-19 pandemic, Windermere Real Estate is dedicated to taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus while continuing to work with home buyers. To help with this process, here are some ways you as a home buyer can keep yourself and others safe during the buying process.

 

WHEN TOURING HOMES

❱ Only tour the property if you feel healthy.

❱ Ask your Windermere agent to show you the property instead of attending an open house.

❱ Drive separately from your agent to the property.

❱ Be considerate of the seller’s home and wash or sanitize your hands before entry, touching as little as necessary. While many sellers will likely provide it, bring your own hand sanitizer and use before and after you tour the home. You might also consider wearing disposable gloves for further safety.

❱ Ask your agent to confirm with the seller’s agent that they have not recently been sick or in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19.

❱ Sellers often ask you to take off your shoes when you tour their home or wear protective booties that have been provided. Consider bringing your own booties and throwing them away when you’ve finished touring.

❱ Be mindful of how much you touch things in the home and minimize contact with doors and hand railings.

❱ Reduce the amount of time spent with other people in the same room. This “social distancing” practice can curb person-to-person spread.

DO NOT TOUR HOMES IF

❱ If you are currently self-quarantined because of illness or other reasons, you should not tour homes in person. Ask your Windermere agent to video chat with you while they tour the home so you can see it virtually.

❱ Do not view homes when you’re sick, feeling like you’re about to be sick, or getting over an illness.

❱ We do not recommend touring homes after returning from international travel or travel that exposed you to a large group of people in close quarters, like large events.

 

Find our Coronavirus Protections for Home Sellers here:

The Life Expectancy of Your Home

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Every component of your home has a lifespan. Common questions asked by homeowners include when to replace the flooring or how long to expect their siding to last. This information can help when budgeting for improvements or deciding between repairing and replacing when the time comes. We’re all familiar with the cliché: They just don’t build things like they used to. And while this may be true when it comes to brick siding or slate roofing, lifespans of other household components have increased in recent years. Here are the life expectancies of the most common household items (courtesy of NAHB):

 

Appliances: Among major appliances, gas ranges have a longer life expectancy than things like dishwashers and microwaves.  

Appliance 

Life Expectancy 

 Oil-burning Furnace 

 20 years 

 Heat Pump 

 16 years 

 Gas Range 

 15 years 

 Electric range / Refrigerator / Dryer 

 13 years 

 Electric / Gas Water Heater 

 10 years 

 Garbage disposal 

 10 years 

 Dishwasher / Microwave / Mini Fridge 

  9 years

 

Kitchen & Bath: When choosing your countertops, factor in the life expectancies of different materials.  

Kitchen / Bath Item  

Life Expectancy 

 Wood / Tile / Natural Stone Countertops 

 Lifetime 

 Toilets (parts will require maintenance) 

 50+ years 

 Stainless steel sink 

 30+ years 

 Bathroom faucet 

 20+ years 

 Cultured marble countertops 

 20 years 

 Kitchen faucet 

 15 years 

 

Flooring: If you’re looking for longevity, wood floors are the way to go. Certain rooms in your home will be better suited for carpeting, but you can expect they’ll need replacing within a decade.  

Flooring Material 

Life Expectancy 

 Wood / Bamboo 

 Lifetime 

 Brick Pavers / Granite / Marble / Slate 

 100+ years 

 Linoleum 

 25 years 

 Carpet 

 8 – 10 years 

 

Siding & Roofing: When choosing roofing and siding for your home, climate and maintenance level factor into the life expectancy of the material. However, brick siding and slate roofing are known to be dependable for decades.  

Siding / Roofing Material  

Life Expectancy 

 Brick Siding 

 100+ years 

 Aluminum Siding 

 80 years 

 Slate / Tile Roofing 

 50+ years 

 Wood Shingles 

 30 years 

 Wood Siding

 10 – 100 years (depending on climate)

 

Are extended warranties warranted? 

Extended warranties, also known as service contracts or service agreements, are sold for all types of household items from appliances to electronics. They cover service calls and repairs for a specified time beyond the manufacturer’s standard warranty. 

You will have to consider whether the cost is worth it to you. For some, it brings a much-needed peace of mind when making such a large purchase. Also consider if the cost outweighs the value of the item. In some cases it may be less expensive to replace a broken appliance than to pay for insurance or a warranty. 

What Makes A Home “Modern”?

 

 

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Sleek, sustainable design, open concept floor plans, minimalism, and eco-conscious thinking are defining characteristics of modern architecture. Recently, modern design concepts in home building have become more popular, and the resurgence of interest in modern real estate has followed suit.  

 

These characteristics are what define Contemporary Architecture: 

 

Clean geometric linesAt the heart of modernist values lies the simplification of form. Modernist homes have a very ‘linear’ feel with straight lines and exposed building materials. Furnishings and adornment reflect this value, incorporating vibrant, geometric and abstract designs. 

 

Smaller, multifunctional spaces: With the Tiny House subculture consistently on the rise, and the new generation of homeowners expressing a desire to move away from the sprawling dwellings of the past, multifunctional living spaces are a must for modern homes. Built-in storage is commonly used to reflect this multi-purpose; space-saving feel. 

 

Eco-conscious: Modern homes are wellsuited for technological and green upgrades, as well as eco-friendly building materials and energy efficient practices, and flat roofs to accommodate solar power. A new trend is to bring nature into each room for a calming, soothing effect. Large windows are abundant in modern architecture, allowing light to fill and expand the interior space, bringing the natural world indoors. 

 

Post-and-beam structure: Exposed wood posts and ceiling beams are classic elements in modern architecture. This style of building has been around for thousands of years; however, modern homes significantly emphasize the structure, rather than hiding the bones behind drywall. In new modern homes the post-and-beam structure can be made of concrete, iron or other materials. The visible horizontal and vertical beams reinforce the clean geometric lines of the space. 

 

Open concept:  Modern design strives to “open” the space by eliminating enclosed rooms. A common tactic is to open the kitchen and dining room into an open living space, allowing the spaces to flow into one another. 

 

Minimalism: With open and connected modernist spaces, careful curation of furniture, adornments, and household objects is paramount to incorporating the modernist aesthetic. Generally, modernist homes have art and furniture that reflects the clean geometric lines and the natural materials of the architecture, leaving less space for clutter. Minimalist philosophies encourage few household items that serve both form and function, which work well within this design and architectural style. 

What ‘s My Home Worth? The Downside to Home Valuation Tools

What’s your home worth?

 

It is a seemingly simple question. However, discovering the worth of your home is more complicated than it might seem. Sites like Zillow, Redfin, Eppraisal, and others have built-in home valuation tools that make it seem easy, but how accurate are they? And if you get three different answers, which one do you believe? Online valuation tools have become a pivotal part of the home buying and selling process, but they’ve proven to be highly unreliable in certain instances. What these valuation tools have made clear is that real estate agents are as vital to the process of pricing a home as they ever were—and maybe even more so now.

 

Every online valuation tool has its limitations. Most are readily acknowledged by their providers, such as “Zestimate” from Zillow, which clearly states that it offers a median error rate of 4.5%. That may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that 4.5% amounts to a difference of about $31,500 for a $700,000 home. For Redfin and Trulia, there are similar variances. When you dig deeper into these valuation tools, it’s no wonder that there are discrepancies. They rely on a range of different sources for information, some more reliable than others. 

 

Redfin’s tool pulls information directly from multiple listing services (MLSs) across the country. Others negotiate limited data sharing deals with those same services, relying on public and homeowners’ records alike. This can lead to gaps in coverage. These tools can serve as helpful pieces of the puzzle when buying or selling a home, but the acknowledged error rate is a reminder of how dangerous a heavy reliance on them can be.

 

Nothing compares to the level of detail and knowledge a professional real estate agent offers when pricing a home. An algorithm can’t possibly know about the unique characteristics of neither a home nor its neighborhood. Curious about what improvements you can make to get top dollar or how buyer behaviors are shaping the market? They cannot provide an answer there, either. That can only be delivered by a trusted professional whose number one priority is getting you the best price in a time frame that meets your needs.  

 

If you’re curious about your home’s value, Windermere offers a tool that provides a series of evaluations on your property and the surrounding market. And once you’re ready, we’re happy to connect you with a Windermere agent who can clarify this information and perform a Comparative Market Analysis to get an even more accurate estimate of what your home could fetch in today’s market.