Expanding Small Spaces

Whether you are planning to list your home for sale or stay in it for years to come, there are ways to expand the smaller spaces in your home to maximize your space or visually “add” square footage for an upcoming sale, or for your own enjoyment. And the great news is, these changes are affordable and don’t require major renovations.

Expand your space for a few bucks and minimal time & effort: 

Window Treatment

This designer does window treatments right!

Hang window treatments properly. And take the time to fix those that are hung incorrectly. The point of windows is to let in light and views; blinds should cover the entire window, but fabric window treatments are meant to dress your windows – not cover them up 100% of the time. Drapes should hang at or close to ceiling height and should reach all the way to the floor, either breaking at the floor or puddling a bit, depending on your preference. The inner edge of your drapery should overlap the window by no more than a few inches, so they are framing, but not covering the window when open. If you plan to live in your home long term, custom drapes are a wise investment you’ll enjoy for years, and lined drapes or blinds can help you save on heating and cooling costs, too.

Vertical Shelves

Vertical displays like this help draw the eye toward the ceiling.

Draw the eye up with vertical storage or display. This can be a tall bookcase with interesting sculpture or decor on top to really bring your eye up, an art installation that reaches high, shelves hung high and wide or even an especially tall headboard for your bed. Artwork, mirrors, etc. should not be hung too high, though. The center of a piece of art should be about 56 inches from the floor – higher will make viewers crick their neck and just looks silly. If you want your artwork to elevate the room, consider a gallery wall with a plethora of smaller pieces of art or sculpture that draw the eye higher than a single piece might.

Mirror

This narrow space looks twice as big thanks to a chic wall of mirror.

Reflect light and views with space expanding mirrors. This is a common trick of interior decorators, and for good reason. Mirrors can double the visual size of a room – especially if they reflect windows across the room, or some other source of light. Consider an oversize mirror (buy the biggest you can afford) or a series of smaller mirrors gathered on a single wall. Unique frames can add interest, but you can achieve the same affect with unframed, plain mirror panels as well. Be thoughtful in terms of placement; you don’t want your mirrors to reflect dark spaces or anything unattractive.

Uncluttered

Can you imagine this dainty space full of stuff? Clutter Free = Happy Homeowners

Declutter. Repeat. Nothing can make a room feel more cramped than too much stuff! Even a large room will feel smaller if it is stuffed to the gills with furniture, knick-knacks and unnecessary clutter. Studies have shown that cluttered rooms can actually raise our anxiety level, affecting mood and blood pressure. To calm your space and help it expand, grab a box or basket and remove anything you don’t use, love or need in a particular space. Be ruthless – you can put an item back later if necessary. Take a before and after picture if you want to help you envision how much freer and more open the space feels when it isn’t weighed down by clutter. This is especially important when your home is on the market. An additional trick used by home stagers, decorators and Realtors is multipurpose furniture, such as an ottoman with storage or a dresser as a hall table with handy drawers to store shoes, mail or anything else that tends to pile up.

Use paint to your advantage. One of the fastest, most affordable ways to update or expand a space is with paint. Dark or saturated colors can make a room feel cozy – sometimes too cozy. Lighter colors help a room feel larger and expand space. Consider pale gray, khaki, white or ivory, soft shades of blue, lavender or green. Almost any color can be found in pale versions that provide interest, but don’t constrict the visual feel of the room. In truly tiny spaces, you may want to stick with solid, neutral tones and opt for texture over pattern. Too much pattern in fabric, paint, art, etc. in a small room can be overwhelming. Save bold pattern for a more spacious room and if you’re selling, replace bold pillows, artwork and accessories in small spaces with softer neutrals to help the buyer envision the space as calm and larger than it actually is.

Are you looking to expand your horizons (or change your location) in a Denver-area home? Call me or drop a line – I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

Denver’s at the Bottom of this List

yippee

How long have you been around to watch what happens in the Metro Denver real estate market? As a 21 year veteran of the biz here in Denver, I’ve seen highs, lows and somewhere-in-the-middle, and I watched my industry, and homeowners, struggle hard during the recession as both incomes and home values dropped right along with the stock market.

I invite you to join me in celebrating a wonderful new statistic about our fair city: according to a Denver Post article published this week, “Metro Denver reported the lowest share of distressed home sales out of 25 major metro areas in March, according to a report from CoreLogic.”

A “distressed sale” may be either a foreclosure (wherein the bank resumes possession of the property) or a short sale (wherein the bank allows the homeowner to sell the property for less than what is owed.)

In March of this year, about 1 in 43 home sales across the city was a distressed sale. Compare that figure to this staggering statistic from January 2009: at the peak of the housing recession, a whopping 32.4 percent of homes across Metro Denver (nearly 1 in 3) was a distressed property.

Buyers in this marketplace face challenges in the form of intense competition, low inventory and high prices compared to years past. They are feeling the squeeze as they try to find homes with the features, specifications and location they consider ideal. Consider, though, the alternative. For my part, I’ll take a bustling local economy and a thriving real estate market any day – and not just because I’m an active participant in the housing industry. Competition can be a healthy thing, and when you look at the numbers, 1 in 43 homes falling in the “distressed” category is a far happier place for our community to be than 1 in 3.

I’m grateful every day for the robust economy we’re enjoying here and the thriving Colorado individuals, couples and families represented by those numbers.

Happy Father’s Day fellow dads, papas and granddads! And if you, your buddy, your cousin or your own dear old dad need an expert guide in the competitive Denver real estate market, I’m here to help.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

New to Real Estate? Know these Terms.

knowledge

Metro Denver is experiencing one of the hottest Real Estate markets in the country right now, and entering the marketplace for the first time as a buyer can be intimidating under any market conditions. Sellers have the edge in this market, which means it is especially important to be an informed, educated buyer as you approach the home search process.

When you stumble upon a word or phrase you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. Even the savviest Realtor started off as a newbie with lots of questions. Your agent and your mortgage rep both want you to be comfortable and confident with the process, and asking questions (and doing a bit of research when necessary) is the way to get there.

Here is a list of common Home Lending terms you should familiarize yourself with:

Mortgage… the home loan – it’s as simple as that. There are a variety of mortgage types.

Prequalification… the process of qualifying for an approximate loan amount. Serious buyers should prequalify for a mortgage before the search begins.

FICO score… FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the largest and best known software provider for calculating credit scores. Your lender will check your credit score – probably from multiple sources, in order to qualify you for a loan and set your interest rate. Some lenders take an average of 3 scores, some take your mid score (the middle out of 3).

Debt to Income Ratio… in order to qualify for a home loan, your monthly debt payments cannot exceed 43% of your monthly income. For lending purposes, the debt-to-income calculation is always based on gross income. To determine your Debt to Income Ratio (DIR), take your gross income (all incoming paychecks in a month, before taxes come out) and take them times .43. If your outgoing debt payments are at or under this amount, you’re in the clear. If not, you’ll need to increase income or eliminate debt before you can secure a mortgage. Household expenses like food, gas, entertainment don’t count in this ratio, but all recurring debt payments (credit cards, child support, car loans) do.

Loan to Value Ratio… the Loan to Value ratio, sometimes referred to as LTV, is the amount of loan you are requesting compared to the appraised value of the home. This figure helps a lender determine the loan’s risk. For example, if you are buying a $300,000 house and requesting a $295,000 loan and your credit score is low, the perceived risk is high for the lender. If you are buying the same home with a $30k down payment and a mid to high credit score, the perceived risk to the lender is lower.

Good Faith Estimate… sometimes referred to as the GFE, the Good Faith Estimate is a document provided to you by the lender outlining all fees associated with your home loan transaction.

PITI… this term is the abbreviation for Principle, Interest, Taxes, Insurance – or the various payments that role into your monthly mortgage payment. It is important to understand each factor that will affect your monthly payment, and also how much money each month is chipping away at the principle amount of your loan and building your home equity.

PMI… on a conventional home loan with less than 20% down, the buyer will generally pay Private Mortgage Insurance as a premium to offset the risk the lender takes in providing the loan. The purpose is to protect the lender in the case of a buyer defaulting on the loan.

Escrow… the Escrow account or fund is where the lender will hold closing costs until the transaction closes. This ensures the security of the funds while the lender processes your deal.

Appraisal… A property Appraisal is an estimate of a property’s value based on factors including location, amenities, structural condition and recent sales of similar local properties. A licensed home appraiser conducts the process upon the request of the lender, and the buyer pays for the Appraisal in most cases. The cost is typically a few hundred dollars and can be paid up front or rolled into closing costs.

Are you seeking an expert guide to help you navigate the Metro Denver Real Estate market? Give me a call or drop a line for experienced, reliable service.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate

 

 

Go Plant a Tree

The benefits of planting trees are many, including utility-bill decreasing shade, potential fruit as the tree matures, added curb appeal and even added value when it’s time to sell your home.

Plant a Tree

Before you head to your local nursery, here are a few tips on proper tree planting: 

Dig it right! Most people mistakenly dig a deep/narrow hole to plop a new tree into; planted too deep, the roots will not get enough oxygen for the tree to grow and thrive. If the hole is too narrow, the roots can’t expand well, which will affect the growth of the plant and also prevent it from anchoring properly – and nobody likes a wonky, cockeyed tree. A tree is a long term investment in your yard and deserves careful consideration.

Don’t be shallow – or narrow minded! Plant your tree at a depth equal to the soil it’s been growing in. You can eyeball the size of the pot or burlap sack the tree is planted in, or pull out a tape measure for accuracy. Don’t worry if the hole seems too shallow; if your hole is the same depth as the pot, you’re good to go. The width of the hole should be 3 times the diameter of the root ball or container at minimum, and 4 or 5x is great, too. If your tree is bare-root, aim for 3 times the spread of the existing roots. Once you fill the hole back in, the tree will then have enough worked earth to establish a healthy root structure.

Consider the soil content of your yard. If you’ll be planting your tree in clay soil, you’ll want to avoid glazing, which occurs when the sides and bottom of the hole are so smooth and slick they create a barrier to water. Use a small rake or fork to work up the soil in the bottom of the hole and drag it along the sides of the hole to break down the smooth surface so water can pass. You can also create a slightly raised center at the bottom of the hole, which will direct water and keep it from pooling in one spot after the tree is planted.

For ideas on which trees grow best in your Colorado neighborhood, check out this insightful article from the Denver Post.

I’d love to help you and yours bloom where you are planted in a just-right Denver area home. Give me a ring to begin your home search today.

Jack Meyers

The Meyers Group
jackestate@aol.com 
303.263.3050
Twitter: @jackestate