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Top Home Décor Trends for 2014

Should you put in a black and white kitchen, paint your dining room radiant orchid and add a large, extravagant bath?

Staying abreast of the latest trends in home décor helps you extend the life span of your next remodeling project. Here are some of the top trends for 2014 in home remodeling and redecorating:

Kitchen Trends

Kitchens featuring black countertops, open shelves or glass-front cabinets and darker paint tones are popular with homeowners, according to Zillow Digs’ Home Design Trend Report for 2014.

But Elle Décor  predicts jewel tones and rich colors will dominate kitchen design in the year ahead.

If you can afford to update again in a few years, you can take the risk of putting in trendy countertops that look like malachite, agate or other stones.

But, if you’re going to have to live with your kitchen for many years or you plan to sell in a few years and don’t want to have to remodel again, stick with neutrals for countertops, walls, flooring and cabinetry. Save the bolder patterns for less expensive accents like curtains, rugs and pillows.

Industrial Accents

Sophisticated industrial revolution accents will remain strong next year, according to the Delta Faucet design team. This trend includes unique materials that look like they came from an architectural salvage yard.

To build this look on a budget, keep the accents in their simplest form. Light fixtures stripped down to nothing more than sockets and wires, open metal shelving stacked with cast iron cookware and reclaimed wood elements can easily reinforce this look with minimal cost.

Navy Blue Or Radiant Orchid?

House Beautiful says  the most popular color for home décor in 2014 is blue. “From rich, saturated colors like navy and indigo to bright, vibrant shades like peacock blue and cobalt, blue will continue to reign supreme in the coming year,” design blogger Paloma Contreras told the magazine.

The color experts at Pantone disagree and choose Radiant Orchid as the official color of the year. Can’t make up your mind which you like? Get them both with York Wallpaper’s Martini print.

USB Sockets

With so many devices to charge, homeowners are replacing a few of their home’s traditional electric outlets with outlets that pair one regular outlet and two USB ports to power cell phones, gaming devices and computers, say the design experts at Neil Kelly Remodeling in Portland.

Swapping a regular electric outlet for a USB outlet (get them at any hardware store) is simple for a do-it-yourselfer who understands home electric wiring. Neil Kelly recommends looking for a socket that has a smart sensor to shut off the power when your device is fully charged.

Small, Efficient Bathrooms

The downsizing trend isn’t just influencing homes, it’s also showing up in the bathrooms inside those homes, says Remodeling blogger Lauren Hunter.

Manufacturers have responded to the desire to right-size homes by coming out with smaller-scale bathroom fixtures.

Green living has inspired water-saving fixtures that don’t sacrifice performance. And an increasing number of multigenerational families are fueling a trend toward ageless bathroom design to ensure everyone can use a bathroom for years to come.


All I Want For Christmas is a Higher Interest Rate

December2013-23-175x131 (Taper)So, it would appear that the honeymoon is over.

The government program that was stimulating our economy by keeping interest rates at or slightly above historic lows for the past 18 months or so could not last forever.  We knew this day would be coming.  Many believed that it would not come until Early 2014, but it seems that there was no time like the present.

“Tapering” has begun.December2013-27-175x131 (Rate Projections)

Over the next few days, weeks and months, we can expect interest rates to rise now that the U.S. government will be cutting back on their bond-purchasing program.  To the right are predictions on where interest rates can be expected to go by this time next year.  The consensus is, that by the end of 2014, interest rates will have risen by just about 1 point, which is an increase of nearly 20% from where we are now and almost 2 points higher than this past Spring.

There is no reason to panic over this.  It wasn’t so long ago that interest rates were well above 7%.  If you are thinking of selling your home, there is good news.  There is no evidence that the rise in interest rates will have a downward effect on the price gains we have enjoyed over the past 18 months throughout most of the Delaware Valley.  In fact, this information may be a boon for those considering putting their home on the market in the coming months.

WDecember2013-281-175x131 (Cost of Waiting)e can expect an influx in potential buyers in the first few months of 2014.  You see, by the end of next year, that home you were looking at may become more expensive, even if the price has not changed.  On a $250,000 home (about average for around Montgomery County) a one point change in interest rates can mean a difference of over $150/month.  Over the life of a 30-year loan, that is a difference of over $50,000 out of pocket.  I can think of a few things that I could do with that money, personally.

The Bottom Line

We all knew that there would come a day when interest rates would once again rise above where they were.  Everything, including real estate, is cyclical by nature.  If you were thinking of buying a home in the coming year, earlier will be better than later.  Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines, waiting for rates to dip back down.  While that may happen in the short-term, playing chicken with interest rates can end up costing you in the long run.

If you have been contemplating selling your home, now is the perfect time.  As of today, we are experiencing a primarily balanced market.  Home inventories are down (there are still not enough quality homes for sale to satisfy the demand) but the number of buyers has dwindled as well.  This is a seasonal shift, nothing more.  There will be an influx of buyers who don’t want to be left behind by interest rate hikes that may price them out of the perfect home for them.  Your home.  Because, the buyers will be out there.  If your home is not there for them to choose from, they will buy your neighbor’s house instead.

If you fall into either category, give me a call today to review your options and what the governmental taper will mean for you.


Operator? Can You Help Me Set This Appointment?

For good or ill, we live in a world of instant gratification.

Don’t want to wait for that online auction to end?  Buy It Now!

Your favorite TV show doesn’t come on until later?  Check to see if it’s On Demand!

Technology has allowed us to fulfill almost any wish we could possible have with the click of a button.  I can order a pizza and have it delivered to my home in thirty minutes or less on this laptop just as easily as I can write this blog post.

Since I’m not the most talented of writers, the pizza’s probably easier.

We’ve even to the point in real estate where scheduling appointments can be that simple.  Click a button in the MLS and BOOM!, you can instantly schedule appointments to see your buyer’s potential dream home.  And the best part of it all?  This technology is available for every single agent out there to take advantage of.

So why are there so many agents that don’t use it?

We live in the 21st Century, yet there are many agents out there (especially inside the city limits of Philadelphia) that hold onto 20th Century methods of conducting their real estate business.  Instead of using a centralized showing service – who will schedule and confirm all appointments on behalf of the agent and you, the seller – the take a more analog approach.

For one, I clicked that magic link not to find a confirmation of my appointment, but a message to call the agent.  Why even bother with the service if you aren’t going to use it?  To know exactly when appointments are set?  My scheduling department’s e-mails tell me that, and I can be doing other things.

Another told me I could pick up the key to the home in their office.  Before they close at 5:00.  For a 6:30 appointment.  Oh, by the way, someone else was showing the property at 7:30.  How did they expect me to get the key to them?  I use professional lock boxes on all of my listings.  You always know the key is in a safe, secure place, and no one has to drive to Conshohocken to pick anything up.

And please, don’t even get me started on the subject of photographs.  It may just be me, but if you are going to ask someone to part with 200,000 of their hard-earned dollars, they should at least have a chance to see what they’re getting without having to hop in the car and cruise by the place.

You can’t change a leopard’s spots or teach an old dog new tricks.  If you have any other clichés that would fit, by all means suggest them in the comments section below.  I can always use new material.

However, the old tricks don’t necessarily get homes sold.  We are living in a new age.  Anyone who has vivid memories of the actual 20th Century will be the first to tell you that.  While walking uphill.  Both ways.

That is why you need a agent who can roll with the times and reach 21st Century buyers where they are.  I constantly update my listings with fresh information.  You’ll find quality digital photos to entice buyers to want to see more, up close and live in person.  You don’t need to jump through hoops to visit the property.  Sure, some appointment times need to be confirmed with the homeowners, but I have a centralized appointment center to handle all of that.

Wouldn’t you rather I be on the phone – on Twitter, Facebook and the hundreds of other places on- and off-line – actively marketing your home and trying to get your home sold?

I embrace the technologies that allow me to streamline my business to better serve you and allow me to get your home in front of the most people and achieve the end result we are all looking for: the quick, smooth and efficient sale of you home.

Just ask me how.  Let’s get started today!

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