Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach - Holly Garber

My Blog

FINDING PEACE and TRANQUILITY at HOME in the MIDST of a PANDEMIC

9/5/2021
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In these unprecedented times, many people are looking for ways to reduce stress and anxiety. They are making a conscious effort to put worries aside and practice mindful meditation. Many homeowners have chosen to update their bathrooms as the perfect place to practice self care. Here's a few suggestions on how you can transform your bathroom into a serene retreat.



COLOR PALETTE MATTERS

To create a feeling of peace and tranquility, incorporate green and blue tones into your space. For creative ideas, check out https://www.artistictile.com/ or https://www.walkerzanger.com inspiration pages.

UPDATE THE LIGHTING

Choose a mixture of different light sources to set the mood. Remember you will want to have the ability adjust the lighting based on whether you need bright lights for dressing and applying makeup, or soft subtle lights for relaxation and meditation. Consider ambient(natural) light first.  Ambient light provides natural light from the sun and outdoors. A combination of recessed lighting, sconces, LED under cabinet lighting and mirrors, and accent lighting from a chandelier will create a room that is tranquil and peaceful. Don't forget the dimmers.
Check out some beautiful bathrooms featuring Visual Comfort lighting here: https://www.visualcomfort.com

ADD A SOAKING TUB/ STEAM SHOWER/ UPDATE SHOWER HEAD(S)

Although not often, when I do take the time to light a few candles, sit in the tub and focus on my breath, it takes me away from the daily stresses of life. Sometimes it's where I'll go to read for 30 minutes. The warm water, soothing surround, my favorite slow jams, and dim lights bring me back to calm. For a true splurge, an over sized shower with a steam unit will not only relieve stress, but help improve circulation, moisturize your skin, recover from exercise, and open up your sinuses. If you splurge on steam, be sure to add a seat in the shower too.
If you can't completely gut the bathroom, investing in a good rain shower head can work wonders. Here's a few top rated brands:
https://www.deltafaucet.com/https://www.grohe.ushttps://www.pulseshowerspas.com
I suggest you google the ones I've posted in the links above to find the best price.

ADD AN ACCENT WALL

Do you have a favorite tile or pattern that when it comes to mind or you see it, you just breathe a little better? Adding an accent wall that is texturally and visually appealing is a great feature to look at when soaking in the tub or sitting in your shower.  Don't want tile? Add built in glass shelving with lights at the top accessible from the tub. Fill them with bath tea, bath salts, candles, bath oils, face mist, and pictures of your family or whatever helps calm you.

CHOOSE ACCESSORIES THAT ADD A SENSE OF PEACE

Simple lines, monochromatic colors, matte finishes, and a lack of clutter aid in the feeling of serenity. If images of the beach make you happy, add a beach print. If thoughts of being in a log cabin in the woods makes you happy, include such a picture in your space.  If you have a favorite piece of abstract art, use that. Try to keep metal finishes the same and keep lines symmetrical. Plush neutral tone bath towels/mats are a great way to add a little luxury without exceeding your budget. 
https://www.frontgate.com has a beautiful selection of towels on sale at the moment.




Why Painting Hardwood Floors Can be a Great Alternative to Refinishing

6/7/2021

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Photo: James Baigrie

I’ve told clients and friends for years the easiest and most cost effective way to truly transform a space is with a tiny investment in paint. A new color on a wall can completely revamp a dated space. Just as a new coat of paint can transform a room, a piece of furniture or dated cabinetry, the same holds true for dated or faded wood floors.


Painted wood floors became popular in old Victorian homes, farmhouses, and beach cottages as a way to retain character, add color, and hide imperfections before the development of modern wood sealants. Over the years, designers and homeowners have gotten creative and turned to painting floors over sanding and refinishing for several reasons including:  

  • Cost effectiveness -cheaper than refinishing
  • Create a Distinct Look- create a totally custom space
  • Define a Space- Use a stencil or paint a border in a foyer, hallway, bedroom, or dining room
  • Update dated stains/patterns- painting is a cost effective creative way to modernize a dated design

I suggest consulting with a paint store professional to decide what paint is best for durability and to achieve the look you desire. For a satin finish, choose a latex floor paint. For a semi gloss or high gloss finish, use a latex, polyurethane, or alkyd paint.

QUICK TIP: As always, when I consult with HOME SELLERS, when their home needs upgrades to make it more inviting to potential buyers, I advise them that investing in paint can go a long way.

MY TOP FIVE SUGGESTIONS ON PREPARING A HOME FOR SALE

  • NEUTRAL CLEAN WALLS AND FLOORS
  • REMOVE DATED WINDOW TREATMENTS
  • LIGHTING MATTERS-ADD DIMMERS WHEREVER POSSIBLE
  • STAGING DEFINES A SPACE
  • REMOVE PERSONAL PICTURES 

As always, if you have any questions regarding design or preparing your home for sale, feel free to contact me. 856.912.4995

The Value of Home Staging

5/10/2021

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  • I save you valuable TIME
  • I tour each and every room of your home and strategically advise on necessary changes: Staging/Design/Paint/Accessories to make your home appealing to multiple buyers and will yield you TOP DOLLAR
  • I am Available Seven Days A Week via cell phone/email
  • Problem Solver-My Vast Experience Provides a Seamless Transaction to my Buyers and Sellers
  • Advanced Marketer-MY large network coupled with the use of the latest cutting edge technology allows me to target thousands of buyers when marketing your home for sale 
  • Communicate-And keep you informed throughout the entire process
  • Experienced and Strong Negotiator-YOU come FIRST. I protect your interests and negotiate the best possible outcome for YOU!


If you have questions on how staging your home(simple to elaborate) can yield a higher sale price, CONTACT ME TODAY.  856.912.4995



THE DEMAND FOR IN-GROUND POOLS IS SURGING

4/10/2021
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Do you remember there was a time when it was difficult to sell a home if there was a pool in the backyard? Well times have certainly changed in the world of Covid-19.


In-ground pools are now a major selling point with home buyers today.  From personal experience, many of our buyers have placed pools and/or hot tubs at the top of their want list. If there is a pool in the backyard, buyers are willing to pay a premium, especially due to the fact if a homeowner wants a pool installed today, on average they are looking at a 2 plus year wait time. According to REALTOR magazine, pools have become one of the most popular keyword searches on listing sites. 


As the growing popularity of renting vacation homes on Airbnb and VRBO continues to soar, tenants are also willing to pay a premium if the home features an in-ground pool.  


SELLERS, If your home has an in-ground pool, you can expect a greater demand in today’s market.  But REMEMBER, price your home at market value to bring the greatest number of buyers through the door.

Why is This Spring the Optimal Time to Sell Your Home?

4/1/2021
Click Here For My Video Clip


Why is it an ideal time to SELL your home?

This SPRING is even more advantageous for sellers, because it affords them the ability to take advantage of the abundant colors, bright blue skies, and happy days that springtime brings.  Here's a simple list of things sellers can do to the exterior of their homes to add value and give buyers that first impression that excites them to step inside. 

  • Fresh Cut Lawn-Be sure there are no weeds in Lawn or Pathways
  • Colorful Flowers in the ground and a few in beautiful pots surrounding the entry door
  • Clean Windows-INSIDE and OUTSIDE
  • Any Trim at the entryway and surrounding it should be clean and freshly painted
  • Entry door-freshly stained or painted
  • Power wash Paths, Patios, and/or Decks
  • If you don't have already, add a few chairs for a cozy seating space where buyers can imagine themselves having coffee, tea, a glass of wine

These simple enhancements add tremendous curb appeal, and combined with EXCESSIVE buyer demand and extremely LOW mortgage rates, can yield an even bigger return and create greater buyer interest.

BOTTOM LINE: It's a great time to SELL!
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Market Recap and Forecast

2/23/2021
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2020 Recap

While 2020 brought many challenges and changes to all of our lives, the residential real estate market proved to be one extraordinary example of the inherent desire we have as human beings to adapt, overcome, and work together to find comfort in family and friends.  


As with many industries, the residential real estate market had its own set of challenges in the initial months of lockdown. In April/May of 2020, nationwide home sales dropped to their lowest levels since the housing crisis of 2007.  Home showings across the country were down 40%.  As real estate agents, we adjusted.  We learned how to get creative with video tours and we learned quickly that there was an incredible demand from buyers who wanted more space to work, home school their children, and entertain.


In Southern New Jersey, the average home sale price was up 13% from 2019.  On the flip side, housing inventory decreased by almost 40% from the previous year, the lowest in history.  Sellers were extremely happy as they received multiple offers on their homes, many times, thousands above the asking price.  Buyers flocked to the market wanting to take advantage of record low mortgage rates, but many times became frustrated as they lost out on the home of their dreams.  In 2020, the home ownership rate was up by 68%, the highest in 12 years.


2021 Forecast

You can expect the shortage of inventory to continue through the remainder of the year.

Ongoing high buyer demand will continue to fuel home sales and sellers will benefit as prices continue to rise.  Yes, it’s an opportune time to list.


Although mortgage rates have slightly risen from their all time lows, they are still incredibly low.  Buyers should take advantage while they can.  As interest rates and inflation continue to rise this year the market will slowly begin to shift.  I encourage both buyers and sellers not to sit on the sidelines and take advantage of these remarkable and unique market conditions that will most likely begin to change by the end of this year.


If you have questions on the current market value of your home,  if you would like tips on how to beat out the competition in a bidding war, or if you would like to receive market updates for a particular neighborhood, contact me today.



Remember, 
Don’t wait for things to get better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now, otherwise you will run out of time.



In honor of Valentine's Day, I invite you to Join me in Supporting our Troops through: No Dog Gets Left Behind

2/14/2021
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Anyone who knows me, knows I have an absolute deep affection for dogs. Couple that with the utmost respect I have for the men and women who serve our country, I couldn’t help but be drawn to NO DOG GETS LEFT BEHIND, a Philadelphia-based, all-volunteer charitable organization that provides financial support to reunite our soldiers with the stray dogs they rescue and bond with while deployed overseas.  The cost of reuniting a soldier with his/her dog is $5,000 per pet, which covers the cost of vaccines, medical treatment, transportation, and other various expenses. Obviously, the return on the investment is immeasurable which includes providing relief, comfort and joy to service members that have sacrificed so much for us, as well as saving the life of a dog who would otherwise die. Reuniting the service member with his/her dog helps to ease the readjustment to civilian life and can minimize the impact of PTSD.  To date, No Dog Gets Left Behind has funded more than 90 reunions of dogs with their service members from all over the country.   

 

With the director of fundraising, Steve Berman, I am currently planning the Annual Fall Ball fundraiser held at the Fuge in Warminster, PA (Lower Bucks County) on October 22, 2021.  The event features a very well-known veteran keynote speaker, Justin Constantine, (https://www.justinconstantine.com/) as our guest speaker (prior year speakers included Kris "Tanto" Paronto and his buddy in arms Dave "Boon" Benton, both from the Battle of Benghazi, otherwise known as 13 Hours, and Matt Eversmann (Black Hawk Down).  We expect the event to be attended by about 300 people.  In addition to food being served by Mission BBQ, the rest of the food and drinks will be provided by veteran-owned businesses:  wine by Eagle's Rest Cellars (husband/wife Air Force veteran owned), beer by Backward Flag Brewing (woman-Army-veteran owned), liquor for our signature cocktails by Eight Oaks Distillery (Army veteran owned) and dessert by local Navy veteran-owned Nonno's Gelato & Water Ice.   The night will also feature live music, live auctions, lots of raffles, and of course, our 4-legged ambassadors!   music, live auctions,  lots of raffles, and of course, a few 4-legged ambassadors!  

 

Coming off the very difficult fundraising environment of 2020, I am inviting you to support me in helping our brave service men and women, by joining me as a sponsor for our 2021 Fall Ball.  Although the U.S. is unfortunately largely shut down, these brave men and women continue to sacrifice for our country.  The least we can do is to help them bring home their "battle buddies".  Sponsorships are available for every budget, ranging from $500 to $5,000 (the $5,000 Big Dog sponsor allows your organization to actually sponsor the reunion of a specific dog with his/her soldier).   We are proud and honored to be able to report that Evoqua Water Technologies has agreed to be the $10,000 event sponsor for the second year in a row!  

If you are interested in learning more, and would like to support this great organization, please contact me via cell phone or email.

 

In addition to its primary mission of reuniting dogs with their soldiers, in partnership with area Pennsylvania SPCA, NO DOG GETS LEFT BEHIND helps to subsidize the adoption fees for qualified active-duty military members and veterans who give a “forever home” to a shelter pet.  Since its inception just a few years ago, the Strays for Soldiers program has helped nearly 300 rescue animals (dogs and cats) find their forever home with these brave men and women.

 

No Dog Gets Left Behind is a win-win for our service men/women AND dogs!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT WWW.NDGLB.COM

AND the Facebook Page

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/NoDogGetsLeftBehind

CLICK HERE TO VIEW YOU TUBE VIDEO OF SPC JEREMY BLEVINS AND THE BOND HE FORMED WITH THE DOG HE RESCUED WHILE IN SYRIA.


I
F YOU'D LIKE TO MAKE A DONATION, CLICK LINK BELOW:
DONATE NOW

Please reach out to me via cell phone or email if you’d like to support this admirable organization.   

Remember to count your blessings and spread love through simple acts of kindness.   

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MY YOU TUBE VIDEO

Holly's Maintenance Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

10/31/2020
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Top 10 Things to do to Prepare Your Home For the Cold Months Ahead 

1. CHECK DOORS and WINDOWS for LEAKS
Hold a lit incense stick close to the edges of your windows and doors. If the smoke moves, you can assume there is a leak.  You can also find a thermal leak detector on Amazon for Under $40.00.  Once you locate the leaks, add weather stripping or caulk to the gaps.

2. CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS
Clogged gutters can overflow and break.  Once all the leaves have fallen, it's the perfect time to clear all out all debris.  Please be careful if you are getting on a ladder.  Be sure the ladder is secure up against the home and if possible, have someone hold the ladder at the bottom to keep it secure.  Gutter guards do not necessarily prevent debris from accumulating.  In fact in my home, they just make it more difficult to do a thorough cleaning.  For good measure, you can hose down the gutters once all debris is removed.  

3. TURN OFF and DRAIN OUTDOOR WATER LINES and FAUCETS
Before the first freeze, turn off the outdoor water shut off valve.  Disconnect the hoses to all you outdoor faucets and turn the faucets on to allow any remaining water to flow through the pipes.  When the water completely stops, turn the faucet off.  Go back to the main shut off valve, place a bucket underneath it, and open the drain plug to allow any remaining water to drain from the valve.  Once all the water is drained, replace the plug.

4. ADD EXTRA INSULATION to the ATTIC and/or CRAWL SPACE 
Insulation keeps warm air inside in the winter and cold air inside during the warm summer months. Also, check the attic for exposed openings. Caulk any exposed cracks in the drywall to help keep your home warm.

5. CLEAN YOUR DRYER VENT
A heavy accumulation of lint in the airflow system is one of the major causes of dryer fires.  Not only is it imperative to clean the lint filter after each use, it is equally important to inspect and clean the exhaust vent at least once a year.  If your clothes take too long to dry, it may be because the vent is clogged.  
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6. REPLACE the FURNACE FILTER 
To keep air quality high and energy bills low, replace the filter once a month throughout the winter. Be sure to turn the furnace off before replacing the filter.  

7. CHECK YOUR ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Now is the perfect time to call your electrician and schedule a check of your breaker box.  He/she should inspect all wires and test power flow through electrical circuits.  Be sure to check your GFCI outlets too.  If you don't have a reliable electrician, contact me and I can provide a few recommendations for you.

8. UPGRADE to a SMART THERMOSTAT
The biggest reason to upgrade is the energy cost savings.  The thermostats are easily programmable and you can manually raise/lower the temperature in your home from your phone.  If you are going to be away from home longer than expected, it is easy to keep the heat at a lower temperature in the winter while you are away.  If you have a beach home, your thermostat will send alerts to let you know if the interior temperature in the home has fallen below, or risen above your set limits, so you can monitor whether or not your HVAC is working properly from afar.  A smart thermostat can actually monitor the weather, and heat your home more when a cold snap is on the horizon.

9. INSULATE YOUR PIPES
Insulated pipes have less risk of freezing, and they also keep your hot water hot as it travels from the water heater to the outlet. This can mean savings in water and electricity usage during the winter season.  Pipes that run through any unheated area of your home should be insulated.  Pipes can be insulated by snapping foam sleeves on them. You can find pre-slit, hollow-core, flexible foam pipe insulation at hardware stores. Measure the diameter of your pipes and bring those measurements with you to the store.

10. CHECK YOUR SUMP PUMP and MAKE SURE IT'S WORKING
Locate the exit pipe and check it for any dirt and debris. If there are any clogs, remove them. Make sure the water is being directed well away from your home’s foundation.  If you have a dual cord pump, both cords should be unplugged.  If you hear a humming sound when you plug in the cord, it means it's working properly.  If you have a single pump cord, pour 20 liters of water into the pump pit until the float rises.  You should hear the pump turn on. While on, be sure to see that the water is pumping out as it should, and that the pump turns off when the water is removed.

If you have any questions regarding my suggestions above, please feel free to contact me at 856-912-4995.

Beach Home Sales Soared this Summer

10/10/2020

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Market Trends at the Beach in August 2020 


Beach home sales at the Jersey Shore soared this summer with sales up an average of 25% compared to the same period in 2019.  As many people continued to work from home due to the restrictions of Covid, they decided to flee the city and invest in shore/vacation homes.  Extremely low inventory, with exceedingly high demand, as well as record low mortgage rates, led to fierce competition and often left buyers bidding above ask to "win" the home of their dreams.  Cash, non-contingent, and quick close  offers were often crucial components to a winning bid. Buyers made offers on homes sight unseen and some were even willing to forego the inspection process.  


Brigantine, had a major boom.  The number of closed units in August was 62 compared to its 5 year average of 39. People from not only New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but New York as well, took advantage of Brigantine's laid back charm,  its large lots available in the A-zone, its drive on beaches, its incredible views of the Atlantic City skyline, and its five minute distance to the restaurants, nightlife, and casinos in Atlantic City.  Compared to some of the other local islands, luxury buyers took advantage of the large well built homes available with ocean or bay views at more reasonable prices compared to other towns.  Additionally, luxury buyers from more densely populated towns, such as Ocean City, decided it was time for a change.  On one of my morning beach sunrise walks, I met a couple from New York City.  They have owned a home in Brigantine for the last ten years, but due to their intense work schedules, never had time to enjoy it. In March, they left the city to work from their home on the island. Since both of them will work from home through the foreseeable future, they have no intention of leaving Brigantine any time soon and said they are remarkably happy.  It changed their lives.  They told me if New Yorkers realized Brigantine's proximity to Atlantic City, its peaceful and quiet charm, and its overall value, they would flock to buy up the island.  

Though Covid has certainly created many challenges over the last seven months, investment in the luxury real estate residential market at the Jersey Shore is not one.
If you have any questions regarding home availability at the beach or would like to learn more about the unique qualities of each town, please feel free to contact me at
856-912-4995 for a personal tour.



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