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Home Seller 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!

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…

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

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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

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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

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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

Know This Before You Do Any Home Improvements

When you do any home improvement, you probably figure it’s also going to improve the value of your home. And it probably will improve the value… but, probably not as much as it cost you.

In other words, if you spend $1,000 (for example), it probably won’t improve the value by $1,000 or more. Statistically speaking, it will probably only improve the value by a fraction of that amount.

So, the question becomes…

Is it even worth doing any home improvements!?

Not to sound wishy-washy, but the answer is…

Yes and no. It depends on a lot of factors. We’ll touch on that more at the end of the article.

But for now, let’s just take a look at the top 7 home improvements, according to the 2017 cost versus value report to start making some sense of it all.

1. Insulation

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According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding fiberglass insulation to the attic costs on average $1,343, but you’ll recoup $1,446.

Doesn’t sound all that exciting. When you think home improvements, you probably think of remodeled kitchens and baths being the biggest and best improvements to make (and they might be for you). But nope, according to the report, your best bet is to add insulation.

Pretty interesting, considering no buyer has ever walked into a house, gasped, and said, “Honey, look at this! They added insulation!” Yet, according to the report, it’s what’ll be the best money you could spend to add actual value to your home, and your bank account.

2. New entry door

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Replacing your entryway door with one made of steel may set you back an average of $1,413, but you’ll get back $1,282, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

So, at face value, it looks like you actually lose a few bucks…

So, why would you do it?

If your new door is more energy efficient, it’ll probably also save you some money on heating and cooling. It’s just tough to say how much exactly.

But the big X factor is how much your improved “curb appeal” will add to the sales price, when you sell your home. Again, that depends on a lot of other factors.

3. Manufactured stone veneer

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On average, adding manufactured stone veneer will cost $7,851, but you can expect to recoup $7,019, or 89.4 percent, of that.

Obviously, this is another one that loses you money, at face value.

So, why would you do this home improvement?

How about, because you simply like the way it looks. Obviously, if you don’t like the way it looks, don’t do it. But, if you do, you’ll enjoy the home improvement. It isn’t all about making money on the money you spent. Sometimes it is about getting back a nice chunk of what you spent, on something that you wanted and enjoyed during the years before you sell your house.

4. Minor kitchen remodel

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If you have a functional but outdated kitchen, you may harbor fantasies about beginning a total renovation. However, you don’t need to break the bank to make some valuable upgrades that’ll pay off in the long run. Consider swapping out old appliances for energy efficient ones. You can leave cabinet boxes in tact but replace doors or hardware.

The average minor remodel costs $20,830. As much as you’ll love the look and convenience of modern amenities, you’ll also enjoy knowing you can regain an average of $16,699.

This surprises a lot of people outside the real estate industry (and even some in the industry!).

Almost everyone thinks kitchens are the best thing to renovate, and will increase the value of a home. Again, it will add value, but just not as much as it costs.

So, this is another one where there’s plenty of reason to do it, simply because you will enjoy the benefits of the improvement during your ownership.

Just don’t tack on every penny you spent on the remodel onto your asking price when you sell. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

5. New garage door

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On average, a new garage door costs $1,749, but homeowners recoup $1,345, representing an almost 77 percent return on investment.

Chalk this one up to the X factor of added curb appeal as well, when it comes to justifying spending the money.

But it also just boils down to your sanity. When you have a garage door that doesn’t open or close right, or when you want it to, it can drive you nuts. That’s gotta be worth the 33% you don’t get back when you sell.

6. Siding installation

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The elements wreak havoc on your home’s exterior. If your place is looking a little worse for wear, it could be time to consider siding, which provides a fabulous facelift.

But, more than simply a cosmetic upgrade, siding can protect your home from heavy rains and damaging snowstorms, making it an investment with a multi-pronged pay-off.

The average cost of installing siding is $14,518 of which you should get back $11,093 at resale, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

Starting to see the trend? There are benefits to doing any home improvement, but you just can’t expect to get every dime you spend back.

7. Adding a wooden deck

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Decks are ideal for outdoor entertaining. Depending on the size, you may feel as if you’ve just added significantly to your living space — especially if you live in a climate where you can use it for much of the year.

The average wooden deck will set you back $10,707, but you’ll get back $7,652, or 71.5%, when you sell.

OK, with all of that said…

These reports are based upon National and regional statistics. The thing is, real estate is extremely local. Like, down to the very street you live on local… And there are so many factors that will affect how much return you’ll get on any given project, in any given area, on any given house.

It may make sense for you to do a particular home improvement. It may not. It depends on your local market. It depends on the local supply and demand of homes. And it depends a lot upon what your personal situation is, and what your short and long term plans are.

So, the best thing to do when you’re considering any home improvement, is to reach out to your local real estate agent, and ask him or her for input. Considering they probably won’t charge you a dime for their time and insight, that’s going to be the best cost versus value you will find when it comes to home improvements.

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 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

 

18 Tips For Living In Your Home While It’s For Sale

It’s one of the largest and most expensive assets most of us will ever own. It’s where we lay our head down at night, the place we make memories and call home. Selling it can be one of the most overwhelming and stressful experiences you may ever go through. So here are 18 tips for living in your home while it’s for sale to help you through the process:

1