Lynn D'Avolio
J. Barrett & Company | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/19/2019

Looking to buy a house in the near future? If your answer is "Yes," you may want to start reviewing housing market data. That way, you can gain the insights that you need to make data-driven decisions throughout the homebuying journey.

Ultimately, there are many housing market data that you'll want to assess as you prepare to buy a house, such as:

1. Mortgage Interest Rates

Mortgage interest rates fluctuate constantly. As such, if mortgage interest rates are low, you may want to move quickly to capitalize on them.

Meeting with banks and credit unions generally is a great idea if you plan to buy a house. These financial institutions can keep you up to date about mortgage interest rates and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Then, once you have a mortgage in hand, you'll be ready to pursue your dream house.

2. Average Amount of Time That a House Stays on the Real Estate Market

Differentiating between a buyer's market and a seller's market often can be difficult. Fortunately, if you examine the average amount of time that houses are listed in your city or town, you may be able to determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market.

In a buyer's market, houses may be listed for many weeks or months before they sell. Also, these houses may be sold below their initial asking prices.

Comparatively, in a seller's market, homes may be available for only days before they sell. Homes that are available in a seller's market may be sold at or above their initial asking prices as well.

3. Prices of Houses in Various Cities and Towns

If you're open to living in a variety of cities or towns, you'll want to evaluate the prices of houses in many areas. That way, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Oftentimes, homes in big cities are more expensive than those in small towns. On the other hand, big cities may provide quick, easy access to a broad range of attractions and landmarks that you simply won't find in small towns.

If you are ready to check out housing market data and begin a home search, it pays to hire a real estate agent too. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble enjoying a quick, seamless homebuying experience.

A real estate agent is happy to provide you with a wealth of housing market data. Plus, a real estate agent will teach you the ins and outs of buying a house. He or she also will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to ensure you can acquire a terrific house at a fair price.

When it comes to buying a house, it helps to be informed. If you assess the aforementioned data, you can obtain comprehensive real estate market insights to help you throughout the homebuying journey.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/12/2019

During warmer weather, you probably don’t think much about your heating bill. But when you don’t need it is the best time to make changes and upgrades to your home so that throughout winter, you can live in blissful warmth. Some changes, such as exchanging your old single-pane windows for those double or triple panes with low U-factors, or mitigating drafts, leaks, and gaps should be top of the list. But, if you really want to make a difference in your energy bill, read up on passive building principles.

Passive building concept

Using building science, the five main principles of passive building techniques give measurable, efficient use of energy. Builders joined with scientists from the US and Canada way back in the 1970s to develop the original principles using funding from the US Department of Energy and the Canadian government. In the next decade, German and other northern European scientists and builders added more information. Distilled for current use, they are:

  • Continuous insulation throughout the building’s “envelope” (the weather, air and thermal barriers).
  • Creates an airtight envelope to keep outside air from entering and conditioned air (heated or cooled) from escaping.
  • High-performance windows allow in light but mitigate temperature transference.
  • Heating and cooling systems utilize heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and “minimal-space” air conditioning.
  • Exploits the sun’s energy for light and heat but minimizes solar impact during cooling.

How it works

The exceptionally snug insulation and design strategies use the heat from appliances and the home’s occupants to keep the indoor temperatures steady through all four seasons and in each weather condition. It does this by constant mechanical filtration to keep the air quality high. This mixture of insulation and continuous low-level filtration prevents mildew and mold spores from establishing and growing inside the home.

This type of construction especially benefits allergy prone-family members or those with respiratory illnesses.

To receive passive house certification, the design must have high R-value insulation and demonstrably less (90% less) energy required for heat. Overall energy use must be 60 to 70 percent lower compared to similar-sized standard code-built homes.

Other features contributing to the passive energy savings include flat-paneled rooftop solar water heating systems that typically heat water to between 99 and 140 degrees, even in cloudy weather. Other passive homes include the use of wood heat for the coldest of winter days.

Metal roofing, especially in snow-prone areas, allows snow to slide off the roof, and utilizing covered porches and patios protects the home’s entrances from rain and snow buildup.

If you’re interested in a certified energy efficient home. Let your real estate professional know so that the houses you see fit your requirements.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/5/2019

If you’ve ever lived in the country, or even inside city limits but beyond the reach of the city’s sewer system, you may not know much about a septic system and how to take care of it. Just the idea that a home has a septic tank might scare you away and send you looking for a house with a sewer connection. The truth is, when properly cared for, a septic system can last for decades. And care for your system isn’t all that hard. Just remember a few basic rules.

How it works

A septic system uses bacteria and enzymes to breakdown solid waste that enters a large, typically watertight concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene tank. As the solid and liquid waste flows into the tank, the solids settle on the bottom to for “sludge” while the oils and grease float to the top to form “scum.” The wastewater (called “effluent”) flows out from between the sludge and the scum into a drain field (long, perforated pipes buried in gravel trenches spread across a large area) to be evaporated or percolate into the ground.

Inside the tank, bacteria break down the solid waste. To handle the scum, regularly adding enzymes designed for septic systems can break down the scum so that it becomes solid (to settle to the bottom) and liquid (to flow out to the drain field).

Installation

If your septic tank is not yet installed—that is, if you’re building on site in an area without a city sewer connection—make sure you apply for the proper permit. Officials from your county or city building department or health department most likely will need to perform a soil or percolation test (sometimes referred to as a perc test). They need to determine if the ground can support a septic system. In addition to the septic tank, septic systems need either a drainage field or a scum pond, so you need plenty of space for the system to work.

Septic system size varies depending on the size of the home and the number of bathrooms it has, so if you intend adding on to your home, or putting an apartment over the garage later, factor in a larger septic system.

Use common sense

Systems can be overloaded when too much water or waste enters the system without time for it to properly deal with the load. Excessive large loads of laundry and the same time as showers, toilets, and the dishwasher are in use, for example, might temporarily overload the system.

To reduce the load, use flow restrictors and aerators on faucets and showerheads, and use low-water, energy efficient equipment for clothes and dishes. Install efficient toilets as well to minimize the water flow, but don’t reduce the water too much, because solid waste needs water to properly function.

Do not park vehicles on the drain field and be careful not to build over the top of the pipes. Even a small storage shed can crush the pipes and damage your septic system.

Beware the disposal

In the kitchen, don’t use the disposal excessively for food waste since that taxes the septic system’s ability to break down the solids. Undigested food requires much more effort for the bacteria to break it down.

In the same way, do not pour grease and oils down the drain since these end up as scum. When either the scum layer or the sludge layer becomes too thick and cannot be broken down by the bacteria or the enzymes, your tank will need pumping. 

In that case, it’s time to call in a professional to pump out the tank and restore function to your system.




Tags: septic system   how to   plumbing  
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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/12/2019

Every homeowner seems to come to a point where they wonder if it’s time to sell their home or renovate the one that they currently have. Whether or not you decide to sell immediately, you can start with some renovations to your home that will offer you a big return on your investments and more comfort. Certain renovation projects are more beneficial than others. We’ll go over some of the best projects that you can take on in your home to add value and comfort to your home.



Curb Appeal Pays 


While you may turn to the inside of your home to make improvements first, it’s actually more beneficial to update the outside of your home before you even begin to tackle the inside. Curb appeal can boost the value of your home significantly. 


Check Your Insulation


You can improve the overall energy efficiency of your home by sealing unattended places in the home. Add insulation and sealing right in your attic. This helps to save on energy costs the whole year through. New insulation brings quite a return on value in your home. 


Make Your Spaces Peaceful And Open


If you have plenty of space available in the house, you’ll get a big return on your investment. Add a bedroom to the home if you are able. Expand on the master bedroom to include large closets along with a master bathroom. Some of these renovations can become a bit of an expense, but you’ll be happy you did them when you get a large return on your investment.     


Add A Deck


Adding an outdoor space to enjoy will not only give you financial returns, it will give you an increased sense of happiness as well. You’ll have a new outdoor space that you’ll be able to enjoy for a good portion of the year.


Think Small


Sometimes even small improvements can add returns and more appeal to your home. Does your kitchen need new tile? Could your dishwasher use an upgrade? Maybe the bathroom counter can be replaced. Anything small around your home that’s upgraded can add up. The kitchen and the bathroom are the two rooms of the home that people most desire to have updated. Doing any and all projects in these rooms can have a really big impact on the value of your property. 


After The Renovations


After you complete the desired renovations in your home, live in it for awhile. If you’re still itching to move on from your property, make an appointment with your realtor. There is nothing wasted in doing renovations to your home whether you decide to stay on the property or move on.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 2/5/2019

There are few things for a home seller that are more stressful than the home inspection. You hope and pray that everything will come out a-OK in your house so that your buyers will want to continue with the sale without asking for too many contingencies. There’s a few simple things that you can do to make sure your home inspection goes smoothly. The good news is that these tasks won’t cost you a lot of time or money. A few simple actions can save you a lot of grief in unnecessary service calls. Check out these tips to help you get through the home inspection with flying colors:


Check Your Light Bulbs


If you have a light bulb that’s simply burnt out, that could prompt the need for a check of the entire electrical system in your home. Avoid a costly visit from an electrician just by checking your light bulbs and replacing them where necessary. 


Check Your Air Filters 


The air filters in your home can be easily neglected and be a big problem in the home inspection process. Even if a filter looks a little gray, take the time to replace it. You should check your air filters and furnace filters for any potential problems like tears or excess dirt. For bonus points, you may want to just replace the filters before the inspection no matter how little dirt they have on them. Otherwise, a clogged filter can be a sign that your furnace or heating and cooling system isn’t working properly. 


Check Your Sinks


A few dollars spent on some drain unclogging chemicals is a few hundred dollars potentially saved on a plumber. Fill up your sinks with water and see how they drain. If they’re a bit slow, get the chemicals that you need to work on unclogging the drains (such as Drain-o). If there’s a funny smell coming from the drain, be sure to address it. Lemons also work wonders on everything from drains to garbage disposals. Even some baking soda and vinegar can help to clean a drain wonderfully. 


Fix Major Repairs Before Your Home Goes On The Market


If you know something pressing needs to be fixed or replaced in your home, be sure to fix it before the home even goes on the market. It’s much easier to take care of things before a buyer’s contingency and a time limit is involved. Although you may be hesitant to spend the money, you should replace certain appliances, fix the roof, or address that creaky floor before the “For Sale” sign even goes out front.




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