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Home Buyer Advice

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!

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?

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

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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

What is a Pre-Foreclosure?

Welcome Back!

A question I get asked quite a bit is “what are those houses listed on zillow as a pre-foreclosure?

Here is a quick video with the answer to that question, click thru to check it out!

 

9 Ways Home Flipping Shows Lie to You

We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, quickly transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid investor turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right?

Sure.  Also, Bigfoot is real.

Ok, maybe lie is too strong a word.  Here’s the thing though, the shows are definitely misleading.  What makes for entertaining television doesn’t always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you’re considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.

1. Tight turnarounds aren’t always realistic

In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it’s important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn’t happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.

2. Finding a dedicated team isn’t easy

As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal. For the most part, the artisans who make their way onto home-flipping shows are trustworthy, knowledgeable and willing to work nearly round-the-clock to get the job done. In reality, contractors may be working on multiple projects simultaneously and may disappear for days at a time. And as we all know, time is money.

3. DIY doesn’t work for everyone

Part of the appeal of these home-flipping programs is the ease with which the whole property comes together. But it’s more than just the time-lapse photography that makes it seem like anyone with a tool belt can renovate like a pro. While you might be tempted to take a DIY approach to keep expenses low, remember, these people know what they’re doing, whereas most homeowners are not expert contractors. Many times tackling a task yourself will end up costing you more than if you’d hired the right person for the job.

4. When trouble strikes, it’s not so easy to resolve

Even with a careful home inspection, surprises (not the good kind!) pop up when you least expect them. Yet, if a sink hole opens and threatens to swallow a sunporch, home-flipping show teams are ready to fix that issue like it’s no big deal. When it happens to non-TV-star homeowners, it’s not always easy to find the right subcontractor — especially when you’re under time constraints. And, once you do, can you even afford to deal with whatever unpleasant shocker has come your way? If you have to go back to the bank for more money, that will impact your timeframe and ultimately your profit. (See number 1.) Home-flippers on TV seem to have bottomless bank accounts. Must be nice, right?

5. Materials don’t arrive simultaneously

When home-flippers begin a project, all the requisite materials are on-site and ready to go. If only this were the norm! Anyone who’s ever fallen in love with a special order item knows that it’s almost impossible to find everything you like in stock and ready for delivery. Some contractors are reluctant to start a renovation until all the supplies are in, which, again, can hurt your timeline and your profit.

6. The back-and-forth is all done behind-the-scenes

Never mind the fact that homes showcased on these programs never seem to lack for buyers, in many instances there doesn’t seem to be any haggling to speak of when it comes to the asking price. Leaving out the art of negotiation does viewers a disservice as it makes it appear that buyers can’t wait to pay full price — or above it.

7. The math is fuzzy

In order to reap the biggest profit, you need to buy below market value, sell above it, and not put more money into the renovation than you’ll get back. As if that equation weren’t complicated enough, on television, you don’t always hear about the costs of buying or selling, inspection and appraisals fees, and other expenses that go into both sides of the transactions. Leaving out some numbers conveniently inflates the profit.

8. Costs vary by area

Renovating a bathroom in rural Tennessee is going to cost much less than it would in, say, Manhattan. Not only will the labor be less expensive, but the materials and delivery charges will also skew lower in non-metropolitan areas. Of course, none of that is addressed in the show and most often estimates on TV are far lower than those you’d gather in real life.

9. You can over-renovate

This is common.  Be careful.  Once you’re in the home improvement groove, you may be tempted to splurge and really go all out, but you have to resist the temptation to overdo it and put in more money than you’ll ever get back. In the quest to make your flip as fabulous as possible, you never want to lose sight of the the reason you started this project: to make money. Consider the return on investment for each improvement you make.

Bottomline.  Flipping homes is something you can make money doing.  It’s not for the faint of heart, it’s not without risk and it’s not something to tackle if you don’t have a bank account that will support it.

Thinking of buying an investment property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you find the right property, make a plan and write the right offer to make it yours!

If you want to search Lancaster County homes for sale, visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access our Easy MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Lancaster County 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-Engle & Hambright
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

4 Tips For Buying A Home In A Hot Market

When a market is hot, finding and buying a home can feel like an uphill battle. In a seller’s market, homes go quickly. They can be on the market one day and gone the next. And on top of the challenge of finding a home, most homes (especially the desirable ones) have multiple offers, making it harder to get into the home of your dreams.

But buying a home in a hot market isn’t impossible! You just have to approach it strategically and stack the deck in your favor to find – and successfully buy – the right home for you and your family.

Here are four tips for buying a home in a hot market that will put you a step ahead of the home-buying competition:

1