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Author Archive Jason Burkholder

Popcorn Is Better In A Bowl Than On A Ceiling

Do you know what a popcorn ceiling is?  Love it?  Hate it?  Most people hate it.  After all, ceiling popcorn is about the most useless (not to mention ugliest) decoration ever.   Want to get rid of it?  Well.  Normally that involves scraping it off, or demolition.  Tear it down.  As effective as that tutorial is, some of you might not want to get that messy.  Or if your house was built in the 1950’s, scraping off popcorn means dealing with potential health hazards like asbestos. Not fun or safe.

Well, I have some great news! Imgur user, makesomething, chose a different way to handle the ceiling popcorn in a room in his 1950 home. Here’s the thing, they didn’t even bother removing the popcorn at all!


Their ceiling popcorn had been painted over three times beforehand, so they decided to handle things differently.

Removing all those layers would be too much of a hassle.

The original ceiling. We wanted to do something with it, but didn’t want to spend too much money. The reason we chose not to scrap off the ceiling is because the popcorn ceiling in this room has been painted over at least 3 times. To avoid the hassle, we decided to just install the planks.

They bought some wooden planks from Lowes, spending about 9 dollars per six pack.

They also bought 2 inch brand nails, which they used to nail some planks to the joists in the ceiling.

The planks we used cost about $9 per pack of six at Lowes in California. These are extremely thin. They are nailed in with 2 inch brad nails onto the joists in the ceiling.

They used a stud detector to find the joists and chalk to mark the spots.

The planks fit together as they have v shaped grooves.

The planks they chose had V-shaped grooves in the ends, making them blend seamlessly.

Almost done.

Altogether, the wood planks cost about $250, which they had some left over.

Complete! It took about 2 days and $250 dollars.

Next came the moulding, which cost about $120. It’s a beautiful method for covering the edges of the outer planks.

Moulding around the vent. We built around the vent because we didn’t want to cut into the moulding. We are also thinking about changing the vent later on.

Two days and $370 dollars later, a brand spankin’ new and far more stylish ceiling!

However, if you want to save money, you could always use wooden pallets!

Moulding done. The moulding cost about $120. So the entire project was about $370.

They even had extra planks to decorate one of the walls. All that’s left for them to do is stain the wood.

We had extra planks left over, so we decided to cover the wall next to the fireplace. It’s an empty wall that we always felt like needed something.

As with most good DIYs, this one has been puppy approved.

Obligatory dog photo. She would walk in every once in a while to check on the progress.

This method would be awesome for old, cracked plaster ceilings too!  Not exactly a DIY kind of person and need a professional to help you pull this off?  Call me, I can connect you with a contractor!

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me or text at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!  You can always email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041 as well!

Your Friend in Real Estate,  
Jason Burkholder
Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

PS – As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

Buying Vs Renting – The Same Old Debate

Why would someone write another article on buying versus renting a home? What’s in it for the author of the article? Why would you read one? What is it you want to hear?

Do you just want confirmation and justification for what you already believe and want to do? Or, are you looking to be convinced otherwise? or simply just trying to “figure it out”? These are all good questions to ask if you find yourself reading an article on whether it makes more sense to buy a home, or to rent.

There are “reasons” to buy, and “reasons” to rent. Which is good, people want to make choices based upon reason. So, if you start reading about whether to buy versus rent a home, you’ll certainly be given “reasons” like:

  • When renting you’re just paying someone else’s mortgage.
  • You’re throwing your money away when you rent.
  • You have nothing to show for it. If you buy, you’re at least building equity.
  • Many of the richest people built their wealth through real estate. Real estate is a great long-term investment. Values always go up in the long-term.

Those are all real and valid reasons to some degree. But if you start reading articles bent on renting a home, versus buying, you’ll be given opposing “reasons”, like:

  • When you rent, you aren’t tied down to an area. You have freedom.
  • You aren’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance when things break.
  • Real estate values are not guaranteed to always go up.
  • Your house could be less than you bought it for if the economy changes.

Again, all valid “reasons” to some degree. Regardless of whether the article is pro-buying or pro-renting, the “reasons” cited tend to ALWAYS be the same, decade after decade, regardless of the market. They are overused, and honestly, pretty useless to anyone in particular. There is no absolute answer that is right for everyone.

In the end, it shouldn’t be a DIY diagnosis.

You can find plenty of “sources” to formulate your opinion on what makes sense for you. There are online calculators to help you figure out if renting or buying makes more sense for you. But that’s kind of like looking up health information online. It’s good to get some thoughts and perspective. Educate yourself. But it’s not necessarily proper for you to diagnose and treat yourself.

Same when it comes to financial and real estate decisions. Certainly educate yourself. Become informed. But truly assessing whether or not it makes more sense for you to buy a home or rent a house warrants getting some professional help. Professional help can cost less than self-help (At least in real estate…). While you can certainly sift through all the information you want online for free, and come to your own conclusion, you can also get the advice of someone who is a real estate expert for free, one thats actually applicable to your situation.

All you have to do is reach out to a real estate agent. A good real estate agent will give you advice. A great one will help you figure out if buying or renting makes better sense for you. They’ll help you assess your situation lend you their thoughts and insight based upon their knowledge and experience. And most of them will do this for free. They get paid if and when you end up buying or renting a place.

Now, certainly, you might question their motives… Will they push you to buy versus rent to make more money? Will they push you to rent because it’s quicker, easier money? Why would they help me for free? There’s got to be a catch. Sure, there are some agents who are in it just to make money. But most real estate agents are more caring and concerned about their clients’ best interests, than their own self-interest.

That doesn’t mean every real estate agent will necessarily be able to give you the best advice, even if they are caring, concerned, and not pushy. Finding an agent who knows the local area and has experience makes a huge difference in the quality of the advice. So, make sure you find not just an agent, but a great agent when you ask for advice. (If they’re all offering their advice for free, you might as well choose the best, right?)

Who’s the best agent to talk to? Where should I go?

Considering this is my article, of course I feel like I’m the best agent for you to talk to. Maybe I’m the best agent for you to talk to… maybe not. The best way to find out for sure if, or how, I can help is for us to have a quick chat.

I work all throughout Central PA, primarily in Lancaster County, Lebanon County, York County and Berks County. But in all honesty, I am not an expert on buying a home everywhere in the State of Pennsylvania. There are some parts I am not as familiar with. So if I’m not the best agent for you, I’ll tell you and I almost always know another agent who may suit your situation better.

So why not give me a call at 717-371-0557, or send me an email, and let’s schedule a time to talk. No obligation. I never push people to do one thing over another. If buying makes more sense for you, we’ll figure that out. If renting does, we’ll figure that out. I just want to make sure you’re able to make the best and most objective decision possible.

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me or text at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!  You can always email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041 as well!

Your Friend in Real Estate, 
Jason Burkholder
Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

PS – As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

1 in 4 Homes In America Are “Equity Rich”

When the housing bubble burst in 2007/2008, many Americans found themselves underwater or, in other words, with a home worth significantly less than what they owed on their mortgages.

But that’s all changed now.  According to recent studies, more and more Americans are finding themselves in the opposite situation—with a home worth far more than what they owe on their mortgage.

According to the a recent Equity Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, which curates a well-known nationwide property database, as of Q2 2018, nearly 14 million properties in the US are now what’s known as “equity rich”—meaning the balance of loans on the property is worth 50% or less than the current estimated market value. That’s approximately one in four homes in the US that currently holds a mortgage!

But what, exactly, is the advantage of being “equity rich”? Homeowners that are equity rich can sell their homes and walk away with a significant chunk of cash in their pockets—cash they can then use to make a down payment on a new property.  The market is beginning to shift.  Now might be the perfect time for you to use that to your advantage!

The Takeaway

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home and upgrading to a larger and/or pricier property, let’s check the balance on your mortgage against the current market value. If you’re one of the equity rich, you can use that equity to get into the home of your dreams.

Have questions?  Do you want to buy or sell a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,  Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

The One Thing that Always Helps Sell a Home

True or false…

When you’re selling a house, you should bake cookies before a showing or an open house.

I guess you could say the answer is a hard and fast “true” because, after all, it can’t hurt. Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked cookies?

But it’s also kind of false…

Do you “make enough money” to buy a home? Probably yes!

Have you thought about owning but didn’t think you “made enough money” to buy a home?

Simple Steps to Begin Staging a Home

When you’re selling your home, one of the keys to successfully finding a buyer – and getting the best price for your home – is effectively staging. Staging refers to setting up your home in a way that maximizes its sale-ability to potential buyers and can involve everything from minor repairs to a complete overhaul on your home decor.

Staging is an incredibly important part of the selling process, and effective staging is a key to fetching top dollar for your home. If possible, you should consider hiring a professional stager. But, in case you want to DIY and stage your home on your own, here are 4 staging secrets to make sure you get the most out of the staging process:

1. A little paint goes a long way.

One of the quickest, easiest, and most cost effective ways to update your space and make it more appealing to potential buyers is with a coat of paint. Painting a room can completely change the feel and make the space feel more open and inviting.

If you haven’t painted your home in a while, you’ll definitely want to repaint before you start showing your home to potential buyers. You’ll also want to repaint if you have a number of colors on the walls of your home; the purpose of staging is to showcase your home in a way that allows potential buyers to picture themselves purchasing the home and living there. If they don’t agree with your color choices, it can create a roadblock to them being able to see themselves in the home.

When you paint, choose neutral colors, like an off-white or beige. These colors are universally appealing and will also make your rooms appear more open and spacious.

2. You only get to make a first impression once.

One of the biggest secrets of effectively staging your home is that you only get to make a first impression once. Your potential buyer is only going to see your home for the first time once, and during that initial viewing, they’re going to make snap judgements on whether or not your home is right for them. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot and lose them before they’ve even had a chance to see the entire house.

When it comes to making a first impression, curb appeal is critical. If your potential buyer drives up to your home and is immediately turned off by an unkempt lawn, a cracked driveway, or peeling paint, it’s going to be hard for them to overcome that initial impression, even if they love the rest of the home.

Before you start showing your home, make sure you do some work on the exterior so that the first impression is a good one. Have your lawn manicured, fix any issues with the driveway, refresh the exterior paint, and add plants and flowers on the path leading up to your front door in order to make your property seem more inviting.

3. The less stuff, the better.

The last thing that potential buyers want to see when they’re viewing a home is a ton of clutter and personal items. Again, the point of staging is to create an environment in your home where potential buyers can picture themselves living there. But if you have your children’s sporting gear spilling out of the closets, your family portraits lining every available surface, and an entire room you’re using for storage, it’s going to be hard for your potential buyers to separate your stuff from the space.

When you’re showing your home, remove as many personal effects as possible. It’s ok to have a photo or two, but try to make the space feel as neutral as possible. You’ll also want to declutter; clean out closets, cabinets, and the garage to make everything feel more spacious.

You’ll also want to get rid of any unnecessary furniture or decor that makes your space feel cluttered. When you’re staging, taking a minimalist approach to furniture and decor will have the most positive impact on potential buyers.

4. Clean until it sparkles.

This should go without saying, but before you stage your home, you need to make sure every inch of your home is thoroughly and properly cleaned. This is not a time to cut corners; if a potential buyer comes into your home and sees dust bunnies under the bed or a ring of grime around your bathtub, it’s going to be a major turnoff and could potentially cost you the sale.

Spend an entire day cleaning your house from top to bottom. Or, if cleaning isn’t your expertise, hire an expert from your local cleaning business or a site like Handy.

With these 4 staging secrets, your house will be staged and ready to sell in no time.

Still have more questions?  Do you want to sell a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

If you want to search Sell a Property in Central Pa or find homes for sale Lancaster County or Central PA , visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access an MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Central PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

Photo courtesy of 

Yoann Siloine

Ground Hogs and Real Estate, Neither One Have Anything To Do With Spring

Do you believe whether a groundhog sees its shadow or not is a true indication of when Spring will come?  A lot of people aren’t sure, and no matter what the groundhog sees, it means we’re going to have more winter.

Fewer FSBO’s Than Before

According to the 2017 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, FSBOs remain at an all-time low of 8%… and for good reason. 

The Perfect Storm of Opportunity for Sellers

According to Realtor.com’s recent Housing Shortage Report, the US is experiencing the worst housing inventory shortage in two decades.  This is true in Lancaster County and most of Central PA, where it is a solid Seller’s Market. And while this presents a definite challenge for people looking to buy a home, it creates the perfect storm of opportunity for those wanting to sell.

You don’t know what you don’t know

If it’s your first time buying or selling real estate, you don’t know what you don’t know.

There are tons of potential pitfalls and challenges along the way that it’s hard to anticipate when you don’t know what to expect.  The last thing you want to do is lose because you tripped over one of these.

But luckily for you, most of the missteps taken by first time buyers and sellers are pretty universal, which means you can learn from their mistakes and avoid falling into the same traps.

Here are four common real estate mistakes to avoid the first time you buy or sell a home:

1. Thinking you know the right price

via GIPHY

The price of a home – whether you’re buying or selling – is one of the most important components of a real estate transaction. But there’s a lot more that goes into pricing than what meets the eye.

Pricing a home is a kind of a blend of art and science. There are so many factors that come into play – time of year, current market conditions, how quickly homes are selling the neighborhood, the current value of the home. I take all of those factors into consideration when helping you come up with the right price for a home.

Without a real estate background, it’s impossible for most to understand all of those conditions and how they affect the price of a home. If you’re selling, you’re likely to think your home should sell for a higher price because of the value it holds for you. If you’re buying, you’re likely to think a property should sell for less because that means a better deal on your end.

But ignoring pricing advice because you think you “know” what the price of a property should be is a mistake. As a seller, you’ll end up overpricing your house (which will leave it sitting on the market). As a buyer, you’ll end up lowballing your offer (and losing the house in the process).

The first time you’re buying or selling a home, it’s your best bet to leave the pricing to the experts. Your real estate agent will always work to get you the best deal – and keep you from pricing yourself out of the deal you want.

2. Not budging on negotiations

via GIPHY

Another mistake first time buyers and sellers make is being too rigid when it comes to negotiations.

Most real estate transactions require a bit of compromise. As a seller, you might need to give in on some of your buyer’s demands and as a buyer, you might need to work with the sellers a bit in order to close the deal. It’s just the way real estate works. And if you’re not willing to give an inch, the deal can very quickly go south.

Now, just to be clear: you should never compromise TOO much. Don’t compromise on the things that are important to you. But if a minor repair is all that’s standing between you and closing your real estate deal, giving in can be much easier than walking away.

3. Not thinking outside of the box

via GIPHY

If there’s a mistake that nearly all first time home buyers make during their home search, it’s not thinking outside of the box.

Most first time buyers have a very specific idea of what they’re looking for in a home. And while it’s fine to know what you want, refusing to look at properties that don’t check off every single item on your wish list is a major mistake – a mistake that can keep you from finding a home you’re in love with.

If you want to find a home you love, it pays to get creative and see as many properties as possible. Have certain non-negotiables (like a specific number of bedrooms or a designated outdoor space) but allow for some wiggle room on everything else. You’ll end up seeing more properties, and who knows? You might fall in love with a house that’s totally different from what you thought you wanted – a house you would never have seen if you didn’t think outside of the box.

4. Trying to do everything on your own

via GIPHY

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make the first time you buy or sell a home is trying to do everything on your own.

Buying or selling a home is not only hard work, but it requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. You need to know where to look for hot properties, how to market to buyers, how to negotiate, how to file all the paperwork… if you’ve never bought or sold a home, it can be completely overwhelming.

Which is why you need a real estate agent to walk you through the process. When you work with a great real estate agent, they make the experience of buying or selling a home easier, faster, and more profitable.

Trying to do everything on your own is a mistake. But hiring a real estate agent can quickly rectify that.

Buying or selling your first home can be overwhelming. But now that you know the most common mistakes to avoid, you’re well on your way to a stress-free first time buyer or seller experience!

Still have more questions?  Do you want to sell or buy a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

If you want to search Lancaster County or Central PA homes for sale, visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access an MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Central PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors – Welcome Home
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text