Deb Evans ABR,CSG - ERA Key Realty Services



Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 2/18/2020

Photo by Christian Heitz via Pexels

Sometimes, small town life is just what you crave. If you’re considering a move and want a community with that feel, there are several in the East Coast that deliver it beautifully. From New York to Pennsylvania, here are some of the top small towns that you need to see for yourself.

1. Thomas, West Virginia

The beautiful Main Street of Thomas, West Virginia, is the highlight of life here. With a population of just around 600, this is the essence of a small town. Its location in the Allegheny Mountains means beautiful views from nearly every corner. You’ll love the vintage record store, coffeehouse, brewery, and many antique shops, as well as the quiet that comes from living in a historic mountain community.

2. High Falls, New York

If life is taking you a bit farther north, consider this town of 627 people. High Falls has the vintage stores you expect in a small town, and also has a growing list of attractions for foodies. Get your fill of comfort food at Kitchenette, a popular local restaurant, and enjoy life in a town where you can truly know all of your neighbors, and know them well.

3. North Adams, Massachusetts

If you’re looking for small-town living but want something a little larger than 600 people, consider North Adams, Massachusetts. With a population of over 13,000, it offers quite a bit more in terms of amenities, but it still maintains a small-town feel. This community is home to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and since the museum’s opening it has grown into a cultural center in the state. Artists feel right at home, and art lovers will appreciate the many galleries that showcase the work of local talent.

4. Lititz, Pennsylvania

Home to just over 9,000 people, Lititz, Pennsylvania, calls itself the coolest small town in the country. Residents appreciate the mature trees that line its streets, and visitors come to shop at antique shops and boutiques while dining at exceptional restaurants. Only in Lititz can you cozy up to an old soda counter and order your latte in old-fashioned style.

5. Stowe, Vermont

If you’re going to visit Stowe to check it out, visit in the fall. Brilliant colors make this small community in the Green Mountains transform into an artist’s paradise. You’ll also appreciate the boutiques for shopping and the locally-owned restaurants. Stowe has a population of around 4,400 people, so it’s not a tiny town, but not overly large either.

Whether you’re looking for a tiny, tranquil community or one that’s on the smaller side, but still large enough to offer some amenities, you’ll find something to fit your needs along the East Coast. Check out these five, and figure out where you feel at home.




Tags: Travel   small town   relocation  
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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 2/11/2020

A buyer's market typically is a dream come true for those who want to find a high-quality and affordable house. In fact, there are many things you can do to capitalize on a buyer's market to ensure you can purchase a house that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the most out of a buyer's market.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

Consider where you want to live and what you want to find in your dream home you'll be glad you did. If you hone your house search, you can avoid wasting time and resources on homes that fail to meet your expectations.

As you evaluate potential home destinations, think about your day-to-day activities. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to search for houses that are in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have kids, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

In addition, it often helps to make a list of home must-haves. Once you know what features you want in your dream home, you can conduct an in-depth search to discover a house that will suit you perfectly.

2. Get a Mortgage

A mortgage is crucial, particularly for individuals who want to take advantage of a buyer's market. Because if you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you can map out your home search based on your budget.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage generally won't take long. Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you everything you need to know about home financing and help you select the right mortgage. Furthermore, these financial institutions employ mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing concerns and queries.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to streamline your search for a home in a buyer's market, you should work with an expert real estate agent. That way, you can receive homebuying tips and recommendations you may struggle to receive elsewhere.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to complete a successful house search in a buyer's market. As such, he or she will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true.

For instance, if you want to purchase a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Or, if you want to buy a house at a low price, a real estate agent can help you discover a terrific residence that matches your pricing expectations.

As you get set to enter a buyer's market, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can simplify your home pursuit in a buyer's market. As a result, you can find a wonderful residence that is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 2/4/2020

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

For those who embrace a sense of nostalgic charm, older homes have an undeniable allure. The yesteryear designs and attention to detail are often absent in new construction. As attractive as the idea of living in a glorious Victorian or period home may be, it’s also imperative that you take an extra-long look at older homes. While it’s true that many homes age like fine wine, some can turn to vinegar as well. Consider answering these three things before putting down 20 percent, securing a mortgage, and signing off at the closing.  

1: Older Homes Enjoy Better Quality Construction, But . . .

There’s a funny thing about the word “but,” that should prompt potential homeowners to sharpen their focus. It’s generally true that many older homes were routinely constructed with sturdier materials that are now considered “high-end.” In fact, structures built from the 1860s to 1920 employed lumber that is both thicker, and stronger by the square inch. The reason is that older homes utilized “slow-growth” timbers. Today’s wood generally comes from “fast-growth” trees. The wood density is vastly stronger in slow-growth, which is one reason many have stood the test of time. Now here’s the “but.”

Your ability to find slow-growth lumber would take a Herculean effort. That’s why it’s essential to understand that you may not be able to restore an older home to its original glory, only emulate it.

2: Homeowners Insurance Can Be Tricky With Older Homes

Take a moment and think about how you plan to approach your homeowners insurance to satisfy the lending requirements. Most people want to secure the least expensive policy, as long as it covers total replacement costs in the event of a natural disaster or fire. Therein lies the rub, “total replacement costs.”

A substantial difference exists between current building costs, and the revenue required to build a new version of your period home. The lumber already mentioned may not exist, and its modern-equivalent is generally considered a high-end material. Now add in unique architectural attributes, and you likely have a structure with a replacement value that far exceeds the average new construction costs.

In terms of your homeowners policy, it’s up to you to secure a quote from a construction outfit that specializes in older homes. Using that measure, your premium is likely to uptick. But unless you get full coverage, the coverage is likely to fall far short.

3: Older Homes Are Less Usually Expensive

Whether you have a passion for older houses or just want to purchase the maximum affordable living space, there’s plenty of good news. It may seem almost counterintuitive to old-home lovers, but the market tends to devalue them, much like automobiles. That depreciation can be a substantial perk as long as the house remains structurally sound and relatively unblemished.

Most people come to the real estate market with a set spending budget. The older home can deliver increased living space as well as a robust ambiance for less than its new-home counterpart. For those who simply adore older homes, it’s a lot like buying a fine wine or rare painting at a discount. What’s of primary importance when purchasing an older home is to follow through with a determined inspection that identifies any potential issues and conduct thorough due diligence before closing.




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 1/28/2020

Preparing to list a house can be a stressful time for any home seller. Fortunately, we're here to help you alleviate stress as you get ready to add your home to the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you minimize stress as you prepare to list your residence.

1. Reach Out to Family Members and Friends for Help

Family members and friends generally are ready to lend a helping hand whenever they can. As such, you should reach out to loved ones to help you reduce stress as you get ready to sell your house.

Remember, family members and friends have your best interests in mind. These loved ones will do whatever they can to assist you, even tough jobs like helping you clean your residence or remove clutter. Thus, you can work with family members and friends to ensure you can prepare your residence for the real estate market in no time at all.

2. Don't Hesitate to Contact Professionals

Perhaps one of the best ways for a home seller to minimize stress is to hire professional assistance. Because if you have professionals at your disposal, you can get the help you need to instantly enhance your house.

Whether it's home cleaners, landscapers or other professionals, you can quickly and effortlessly find plenty of top-notch professionals in your area to help you complete various home upgrades. If you hire any of these professionals today, you can accelerate the process of prepping your house for the real estate market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you intend to sell your house and want to get the best-possible results, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert support to help you manage stress at each stage of the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to learn about you and your home selling goals. He or she then will craft a personalized home selling strategy designed to help you accomplish your desired results as quickly as possible. Plus, a real estate agent can offer plenty of tips to help you upgrade your residence prior to adding it to the housing market.

A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty throughout the home selling cycle too. He or she will set up open houses and home showings, promote your residence to the right groups of buyers and help you review offers to purchase your residence. Furthermore, if you ever have concerns or questions during the home selling journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Stress can be problematic, particularly for a home seller who is unsure about how to prep his or her residence for the real estate market. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble improving your residence and ensuring it stands out to potential buyers.




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Posted by Deb Evans ABR,CSG on 1/21/2020

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Outdoor living areas give you opportunities to spend more time outside during the year. Instead of a traditional patio or deck, consider adding an elaborate outdoor living room, kitchen and dining area. These are a just a few ideas to think about including in your high-end outdoor living area, so you’ll have a spacious and comfortable place to entertain guests outside or relax with your family. 

Outdoor Gourmet Kitchen

Your outdoor kitchen can go far beyond a simple gas grill. With the right setup and equipment, you can prepare full meals outside. Outdoor kitchens can have ovens, cooktops and side burners that allow you to make side dishes or desserts while you’re grilling your main entree. You can also invest in a double-sided grill that lets you grill meat and vegetables separately or use charcoal on one side and gas on the other side. Other outdoor kitchen features to consider include a wood-fired pizza oven, warming drawers to keep food heated, full refrigerator and freezer, sink and even a dishwasher for easy cleanup.

Outdoor Dining Room

An outdoor dining room for your luxury home offers an inviting place to savor meals with family and friends. Set up a rustic dining area with a reclaimed wood table and chairs, or arrange an elegant, classic outdoor dining area with a wrought-iron table and chairs. Your outdoor dining room can be uncovered and open, so you can enjoy plenty of sunshine or views of the night sky at evening meals. For a more secluded feel, you can add a roof to your outdoor dining area, and use drapes or curtains around it to create a cozy atmosphere. 

Outdoor Living Room

Having an outdoor living room provides you with a place to read, watch a movie or show or sit with others while enjoying fresh air. You can fill your outdoor living room with an upscale furniture set that’s designed for use outside. Your living room can also have a large stone or brick fireplace or hearth for a rustic look that keeps this area warm when it’s cooler out. Place a fireplace or hearth at one end of your outdoor living room with your TV over it, or have a fireplace or hearth installed in the middle of this area with built-in seating all around it.

If you’re using your outdoor living room for watching movies or TV, consider installing a state-of-the-art entertainment center that can be used outdoors. Depending on space and your personal preferences, you can even set up an outdoor movie theater area with plush seating, a popcorn machine and a high-end sound system.




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