Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

 

 

    

Oct. 18, 2019

Pumpkin Fun This Halloween

Here are a few tips for fun and easy pumpkin carving with templates to help you carve the perfect pumpkin this year!

  • Choose Pumpkin Carving Designs

What's your pumpkin's personality?  Here are some simple pumpkin carving templates, including classic jack-o-lanterns, witches and cats, scary creatures, and more.

Jack O Lantern

 

Photo by Getty

  • Choose a Pumpkin Shape

Pick a pumpkin that’s the right shape for your pattern. Check the surface for soft spots. You'll want a smooth, unblemished surface for carving. A strong, well-attached stem is also a sign of pumpkin healthiness. Balance is important; a solid bottom that supports the pumpkin means less chance of rolling or being knocked over.

Three pumpkins

Photo by Meredith

Size Wise. A medium-sized pumpkin is easier to work with than a huge or tiny one. Choose pumpkins that are at least 9-10 inches high so there is enough room for a candle to burn safely.

Did you know??? A clean pumpkin will last longer. Wash it and let it dry before you start carving!

  • Trace Your Design

For a freehand design, draw an outline on the pumpkin surface with a washable marker.
 

Trace your design on the pumpkin

 

Photo by Getty

If you’re using a stencil, enlarge or reduce the design to fit your pumpkin’s size. Print the stencil and tape it to the surface to be carved. Follow the design lines with a rotary tracing wheel or use an awl or thin screwdriver to make holes along the design lines about 1/8-inch apart. 

  • Cut Out the Top

Using a sharp knife, cut a circular hole in the top of the pumpkin at an angle toward the center. This will create a support ledge for your lid.
 

Cut out the top of the pumpkin

 

Photo by Getty

Or, if you prefer to keep your top in one piece, cut a hole straight up through the base.

Tip: Before you remove the lid or bottom, make a mark or notch on the pumpkin and the cut piece so it's easy to match them up afterwards.

  • Scoop the Seeds

Using a metal spoon, scoop out the pulp and seeds. Scrape the walls of your pumpkin until it is clean and the areas to be carved are about 1-inch thick.

Scoop out the pumpkin seeds

 

Photo by Getty

Tip: Save your pumpkin seeds for roast pumpkin seeds. But if you're tossing the pumpkin innards, put them in the compost or trash, not the disposal; they'll really gum up the works.

  • Get Carving

Use a  knife, fine-toothed saw, or pumpkin-carving tools to cut out the design. Work from the center of your design outward to avoid putting pressure on areas already carved. Apply gentle pressure, and remove and reinsert the knife to make corners; don’t twist the blade. Use your finger to carefully push out cut pieces from the inside.

Pumpkin carving tools

 

Photo by Getty

  • Interesting Extras

After you have cut out all the openings, create interesting effects with color and light by removing the skin of the pumpkin with wood-carving gouges or a citrus zester. The depth of removal will cause the variation in color when the pumpkin is lit.

 

Carving a Halloween Pumpkin

Photo by Meredith

  • Light It Up

Illuminate your jack o'lantern with a battery-powered light or candle. When the candle smoke has blackened a spot on the lid or the top, use a saw to cut a 1-inch-diameter hole at that spot for a chimney.

Pumpkin Lantern

Photo by Meredith

Did you know??? Use a paper towel to rub petroleum jelly over all the cut surfaces, inside and outside the pumpkin. This will help preserve your pumpkin for several days and reduce shrivelling.


Advanced Pumpkin Design Tricks

  • Part of the art of great pumpkin carving is thinking about shadows. Small designs in the back of the pumpkin can cast a wonderful shadow on a wall or door behind the pumpkin. Remember to keep the design small, because the light that emerges gets magnified.
  • If you are going to do this, be sure to scrape the inside of the back of your pumpkin to slightly under one inch in thickness.
  • You can make more realistic teeth by peeling off only the outer skin of the pumpkin within the mouth and leaving the pale flesh beneath. You can then carve lines between individual teeth. The candlelight will shine through the fleshy teeth. Also, make an opening between upper and lower teeth for more light to come through.
  • You can use the pieces of pumpkin that you have carved out to fashion ears and fit them into slits. Or you can use corks for ears (make holes and wedge them in). You can carve hair at the top of the pumpkin by scraping straight or curling lines all around the cap. Use a chisel or a linoleum cutter for this. Try a carrot for a nose or maybe a radish.
  • Not of a mind to carve? Grab some painting supplies: permanent markets, water-based markers, tempera paints, small paintbrushes, and stickers. Then go all Pollock on your pumpkin.

 

Painting your Halloween pumpkin

Photo by Meredith

Why Not Have a Pumpkin Carving Party???

  • Create a mini patch where guests can pick their own.
  • Set up a carving table. Cover it with several layers of newspaper taped into place with masking tape. If you're indoors, protect the floor, too.
  • Lay out markers, stickers, paints, cutting tools and any large spoons, ladles or ice cream scoops you can find on table.
  • Fill a few glasses or empty yogurt cups with water and set out for painters. Set out sponges so kids can wipe off mistakes.
  • Heat cider in slow cooker.
Posted in Holiday Fun
Oct. 3, 2019

WHY CREDIT CHECKS DURING CLOSING ARE IMPORTANT

WHY CREDIT CHECKS DURING CLOSING ARE IMPORTANT

 

You've found your dream home. After months of searching, you're finally closing on the house that you've wanted for so long. The last thing you want to do is take any action that would interfere with the closing of your home. Since the start of your home search, your agent has probably told you time and time again not to do anything that would impact your credit score, like opening a new line of credit or making a large purchase. While this makes sense during the approval process, you may wonder why it is key to keep your credit in check until after closing. Here is an explanation of the 2 credit checks performed during the home-buying process and why it is important to maintain your credit from start to finish.

 

Pre-Approval Credit Check

To get a loan to purchase a home, you'll go through a pre-qualification process. You'll let your potential lender know a variety of financial information, from your credit score and employment to your marital status, as well as any number of factors that can impact your qualification. With this self-reported information, you can then be pre-approved. After that, lenders will verify the information you've provided and this is when they will pull your credit history. It is important that what you've reported matches the credit information pulled by the lender - which is why you shouldn't miss any payments or open new cards during this time. Lenders offer approval based on a risk assessment, and you do not want them to think that you are a risk.

Credit Check at Closing

 

The main concern of the lender is the risk you pose to them. Because it can take time for an offer to be accepted, your lender may pull a second credit check while waiting for your loan to pass underwriting. This is to ensure your credit hasn't changed since the initial credit check. If you took out a loan or created massive credit debt, you could change your debt to income ratio and your lender could decide you are too risky to loan to. This is why it is so very important to keep your credit in check before, during, and after the home-buying process!

 

If you are thinking about purchasing a home but are unsure of your credit situation, give us a call today! We can help!

Oct. 3, 2019

HOW TO FIX 5 COMMON BATHROOM ISSUES

Homeownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.

 

1. Shifting Toilet Seat

Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn't fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you're out.

2. Slippery Shower

There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren't for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.

3. Clogged Shower Head

Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.

4. Slow Drain

Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you'll save yourself the price of a plumber.

5. Leaking Water Valve

Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you've saved time and money!

 

While these are easy fixes to do yourself, selling your home isn't nearly as easy to DIY. Call me today if you are ready to put your home on the market!

 

Oct. 3, 2019

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We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates