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April 18, 2017
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As your loved ones age, remaining in their home may be their desire, but there are certain modifications that will need to be made to ensure their home is safe, accessible, and meets their changing needs.
Evaluate the Home and Surroundings
An environment that doesn’t meet the changing needs of your aging loved one can prevent successful aging in place, but modifications can make it easier for your loved one to navigate through and live in their home. Modifications can range in size and cost, from a few dollars for a brighter light bulb to thousands for installing a stair lift or walk-in shower. To start the process of adapting a home to age in place, evaluate the home for potential necessary modifications. Cover all the bases by looking at stairs, light, doors and doorways, hallways, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens, and the home exterior.
After evaluating the home, take a look at the surrounding area to make sure your loved one is in an area with access to essentials such as healthcare, hospitals, transportation, shopping, entertainment, and senior agencies. Don’t forget about the safety of the area, too. Local police and neighbors will be able to provide insight into the crime rate and degree of safety in the area, as well as what measures, if any, are being taken to increase safety.
Target Specific Needs
One of the biggest challenges in modifying a home is identifying safety issues or concerns that are unique to your loved one based on their age or condition. To simplify the process, look for modifications that will solve a particular need or issue and then identify a solution, such as:
- Balance/Coordination Problems – rounded counter edges; grab bars in the bathroom; stairway handrails on both sides; handrails that extend beyond the top and bottom of the stairs; elimination of stairs to bathroom and bedroom, if possible
- Poor/Limited Vision – increase wattage of light bulbs; lights in all closets; well-lit stairs; stove controls (clearly marked, easy to see, big numbers, uses different colors to tell which parts are hot); outside walkways and entrances well-lit
- Hearing Impairment – increased volume on phones; smoke detectors and alarm systems with strobe lights; quiet dishwasher to reduce background noise
- Wheelchair/Motorized Scooter – floors are slip-resistant; knee space under sinks and stove; no rugs; ramp to front door with hand rails on both sides; wide doorways and hallways; roll-in shower; threshold on door is ¼ inch or less
Keep in mind that some modifications can be made yourself, while others will require the help of a contractor or professional. Consider leaving work that requires plumbing or electrical work to a pro, and handle small DIY projects yourself such as installing grab bars or placing non-slip tape in showers and bathtubs. Additionally, if your loved one ever relocates to a new home, consider calling in professional movers; they’ll ensure that any modification items you’re moving (like portable ramps or removable light fixtures) will arrive in one piece. Be sure to research movers before you decide on any particular company.
Remember the Exterior
The exterior of your loved one’s home can pose a safety hazard and make aging in place difficult, so don’t forget to asses the outside too. Steps and sidewalks can cause a falling hazard, so reduce the risk by removing steps or adding a low-step entry to make the transition easier going from outside to inside. Depending on the ground elevation, alternative doors may have to be considered to avoid steps. If steps are necessary, make sure they are textured and have hand railings. As for the sidewalk, make sure it is wide and free of tripping hazards such as overgrown shrubs or bushes.
Just like adequate lighting is important inside the home, it is important outside, too. Install lighting to illuminate walkways. Make sure there is a light by the entrance door, with preference to those that come on automatically.
As your loved ones ages, don’t forget about the challenges associated with outdoor maintenance. Low maintenance landscaping is key, as it reduces the amount of time required by your loved one and reduces the expense should they hire professional help. Suggestions for low maintenance options are shrubs and plants that don’t require watering, or synthetic grass to save the trouble of maintaining a lawn.
Modifying your loved one’s home to meet their needs is a process, and as their needs change, you may have to find other ways to help them adapt. Bring in a professional if necessary, and keep the lines of communication open with your loved one to ensure their home remains a happy and comfortable place to live.
April 15, 2017
As winter snow gives way to warmer temperatures, the housing market in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area also springs to life.
Buyers take advantage of the better weather to start their search for a home; smart sellers use these helpful tips to make spring sales listings more attractive:
- Clear The Yard And Plant Spring Flowers. Curb appeal helps sell a house at any time of year, but fresh spring flowers and a manicured landscape give your listing a special boost in spring, when many yards are still recovering from winter’s chill.
- Brighten The Home’s Interior With Spring Colors. When staging a house in springtime, use light colors and fresh pastels to give your home a clean, fresh feel. Replace the bathroom and kitchen towels and entry mats with fresh, springtime colors that complement your home’s décor and add an attractive splash of spring to your home’s interior spaces.
- Clean Windows And Install Spring Window Coverings. Windows get dirty during the winter, when storms and dust build up inside and out. Sparkling-clean windows and lightweight window treatments let in light and give your home an inviting feel that buyers appreciate.
- Decorate With Flowers Or Balloons. Decorate your home before showings or open houses with a welcoming vase of flowers or a bouquet of colorful balloons. Colorful, welcoming decorations make buyers feel welcome and draw attention to your open house.
- Price Your Home to Sell. No matter what the season, well-priced houses sell faster, and with less hassle, than overpriced ones. Pay attention to the market and set your listing price at a level the house’s location, size, and condition will support.
If you need to sell fast, and don’t want to wait on the housing market, consider selling your home to 4 Brothers Buy Houses instead. As investors, we buy “as-is,” with no loan or inspection contingencies, and normally close your sale in days instead of the weeks or months most sellers wait for a traditional sale. Click here for more information or to obtain a no-obligation quote from 4 Brothers Buy Houses today.
April 3, 2017
*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.com
In February 2017,Overall Median Housing Prices Rose, Achieving a Ten-Year High For The Month of February.
The February 2017 median home sale price in the greater Washington D.C. area was $390,700– a minor increase over January’s median prices and the highest median sales price for February in a decade.This increase was seen in all property types, with condos showing the highest overall increase (10.3%).
Sales volume also increased, with closed sales above both the 5 and ten-year averages for February. Properties sold, on average, at slightly more than 97% of the listing price.Overall, these numbers suggest a healthy housing market in the greater Washington D.C. area.
Once again, Falls Church City remained the region’s “most expensive”location (measured by average prices), with February median sales prices of $615,000; as in January, Prince George’s County remained the most affordable, with median sales prices of $265,000.Individual home prices and neighborhood values vary, but the average numbers demonstrate an improvement over both the five and ten-year averages for February sales.
Pending Sales and New Listings Increased in February 2017.
According to figures published by RBIntel.com:
The number of new listings in the Washington D.C. area increased in February, with 22.4% more new listings coming on the market this February than in January of 2017.All property types showed an increase in new listings, with the largest increase occurring in townhome listings, though single-family and condo units also saw an increase in new listings.
Pending sales at the end of February increased by 2.7% over 2016’s February numbers, and by almost 18% over pending sales reported at the end of last month.
Average “Days on Market” For Listed Properties Remained Unchanged.
The median days-on-market for listed properties in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in February 2017 was 28 days,six days shorter than the DOM for January 2017 and sixteen days less than the average days-on-market in February of 2016. Since lower days on market averages suggest a faster moving market, this is good news for the area housing market.
Falls Church City was the fastest regional market last month (median days-on-market: 6), while Fairfax City was the slowest-moving regional market, with a median DOM of 55 (though even that is still four days slower than the average DOM in February 2016).
Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods. The speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.