Kimberly Zecher - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Kimberly Zecher on 1/23/2021

Photo by James Balensiefen via Unsplash

An outdoor entrance that provides an attractive, welcoming appearance not only has the ability to enhance the curb appeal of your property, it also makes household residents and visitors with a warm visual reception to your home. You probably already know that hanging baskets and planters brimming with blooming flowers provide vibrant accents from spring through autumn, but entryways need more than flowers, particularly during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Here's what you can do to keep your outdoor entry area looking pulled together and appealing no matter what the season.

Plant Evergreens

Whether you place a dwarf spruce or Norfolk pine in a planter or plant arborvitae or another upright conifer tree in the ground near your steps, some kind of greenery is usually necessary to make an outdoor entryway look fully dressed. It also helps keep a bit of color going during the cold season. As an added bonus, you can decorate your evergreens with holiday lights and other embellishments during the celebratory season.

Create a Small Seating Area

Even if all you've got is a set of steps leading to a tiny landing, try to find room for a chair or a bench. This is functional as well as welcoming because it provides a place for people to sit and remove outer footwear before entering the home or to simply sit and relax for a minute or two before going inside after a long day at work. If you've got the room, a small bistro set made from weather-resistant materials adds a nice touch and provides a fun way to enjoy a casual family meal or round of beverages.

Install an Exposed Aggregate Walkway

Exposed aggregate walkways do double duty by serving as a highly attractive introduction to your home and providing a slip-proof surface that helps keep household residents and guests safe from potentially harmful slip-and-fall accidents. You can get as creative as you like with these and use aggregates in a variety of colors or simply stick with an understated, monochromatic look. For instance, you can use agate aggregate for a multicolored effect and oyster shell aggregate for a lustrous look. Add ground-level solar lights along the sides to show it off after dark.

Other ideas for creating a fabulous outdoor entryway include hanging a decorative door with features such as carved floral accents or stained glass, putting down rustic outdoor rugs  in front of the door, and placing accent items such as basketry or statuary on each side of the door. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to put some personality into it.

Please feel free to reach out to us for more advice on making the most of your home's appearance.




Categories: Home Improvement  


Posted by Kimberly Zecher on 1/16/2021

As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.

Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.

This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.

It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.

In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.

Organize your records

Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.

Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.

Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.

Dealing with deductions

Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.

If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.

Be ready to clarify

When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.





Posted by Kimberly Zecher on 1/9/2021

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Plumbing problems can end up causing major damage to your home. While some plumbing issues can occur suddenly due to factors beyond your control, you can take steps to reduce the risk of a few common plumbing problems. Keep the following tips in mind to help keep your home plumbing issues to a minimum. 

Keep Toilets and Drains Clear

Clogs are among the more common plumbing problems you may experience. When a clogged toilet or drain isn’t dealt with, it can lead to serious leaks or water damage. You can prevent clogged toilets and drains by restricting what you flush into the system. For instance, avoid flushing wipes down the toilet, even if they’re labeled as “flushable.” Wipes generally do not break up the same way toilet paper does. Try to keep larger items from falling into shower and sink drains, and consistently remove hair and other debris from around the drains, so they don't have the chance to accumulate in the drainpipe. 

Prevent Pipe and Faucet Leaks

Leaks are one of the more serious plumbing problems that homeowners encounter. Even a minor leak can end up causing severe damage when it goes unnoticed. While faucets can develop leaks as they deteriorate over time, you can reduce wear and tear by carefully and slowly turning the handles on and off. Pipe leaks can be hard to prevent altogether, routinely check for signs of potential leaks. These include a buildup of moisture on pipes or rusty areas. If you suspect you have a pipe leak, consult with a plumber about repairs as soon as possible to prevent a larger issue from developing.

Avoid Running Toilets

Toilets that run constantly can indicate a leak or other problem with the interior components is present. This kind of plumbing problem can be tough to prevent entirely. However, checking your toilet mechanism on a regular basis or testing for leaks using food coloring in the tank can ensure that you catch issues early on. Your toilets may need something as minor as untangling the chain that connects to the flapper valve, to work again properly.

Inspect Your Water Heater

Problems with your water heater might include a lack of hot water or water that isn’t getting hot enough for showers and other household uses. Water heaters can develop problems over time due to damage, deterioration, a mineral buildup or other problems. Inspecting the pressure valve, flushing the tank from time to time and doing other maintenance checks can help lower the risk of these problems.




Categories: Home Maintenance  


Posted by Kimberly Zecher on 1/2/2021

When we’re trying to find a new home and planning for the changes that will come with moving, it can seem daunting to also have to think about how you’re going to sell your old home.

Everyone has their own unique situation that they’ll have to account for when selling. Some people choose to buy a new home and move in before selling their old home. For others, this isn’t always possible and they have to rent or stay with family while they wait to close on their new house.

Regardless of your circumstances, there are a few things you can do to make the process of selling your home easier. In today’s post, we’ll teach you how to do just that.

1. Make a timeline

Undoubtedly, you’re going to have a lot going on in your life when selling your home. To keep yourself on track, work with your real estate agent to establish a timeline for accomplishing everything you need to do.

This will help you avoid feeling rushed when it comes to completing the tasks on your list. Whether that includes cleaning, packing, preparing documents, or popping the champagne bottle after your sale, it always pays to have a schedule.

To make this process even easier, be sure that you and your spouse/family are working on the same schedule so that everyone is on the same page.

2. Pack and store

When you’re showing your home to potential buyers, you don’t want it to be cluttered with your personal belongings. Furthermore, all of those belongings will soon have to be packed and transported anyway.

To save yourself time and to increase the appeal of your home while it’s on the market, pack up your items by room and store them until you’re ready to move.

You can do this by renting a storage unit or just packing things neatly in your basement until you can move.

3. Make minor repairs now

Before ever putting your home on the market, it’s a good idea to do a thorough walkthrough of the home to check for small issues that you either haven’t noticed or have been putting off.

When a potential buyer visits your home, you can be sure that they’ll be looking for signs that the how was well-maintained. This is your chance to prove that you’ve been staying on top of things around the house.

Making these repairs in advance if selling your home will relieve some of the workload and stress you’ll be feeling once you get closer to selling.

4. Be available

This last step can be the hardest, especially if you and your spouse work full-time and have children with obligations like sports.

Your real estate agent will do most of the work for you when it comes to showing and preparing the home. However, it’s vital that you’re available to respond quickly at key times. This means answering any questions your agent has for you, gathering paperwork when it’s needed, and discussing offers when they’re made.


If you can pull of these four steps, you’ll be in good shape to sell your home quickly, ensuring a smooth sale and transition for you and your family. 





Posted by Kimberly Zecher on 12/26/2020

If you've recently sold your house or are preparing to list your residence, now may be the perfect time to cut down on clutter. That way, you can remove excess items from your home and earn extra cash before you move into a new residence.

Of course, selling excess items may prove to be difficult, particularly for those with limited time and resources at their disposal. But individuals who use the web to their advantage should have no trouble selling excess items.

What does it take to effectively promote a wide range of items online to prospective buyers? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Take Excellent Photos

Regardless of whether you're looking to sell an old tennis racquet or a rarely used refrigerator, it is important to take outstanding photos of your items. This will enable potential buyers to get a look at what an item has to offer and decide if it is right for them.

Before you photograph an item, clean this item thoroughly. By doing so, you can ensure the item will look pristine before you post photographs of it online.

Furthermore, take pictures of an item from multiple angles. And be sure there is sufficient lighting when you capture photographs, as this will allow you to showcase the true beauty of any item, at any time.

2. Provide Relevant Information

When it comes to selling excess items online, it pays to be honest. If you provide accurate, relevant information about an item to prospective buyers, you can increase the likelihood of connecting with the right audience.

Also, don't forget to include an engaging headline in your item description. This will help your item listing stand out from others, thereby improving your chances of stirring up substantial interest from dozens of potential buyers.

3. Respond to Buyer Concerns and Questions Immediately

An alert online seller usually is a profitable one. As such, if a buyer has a concern or question about an item listing, it is important to respond as quickly as possible to boost your chances of getting the best possible results.

For example, if you publish an item listing on Craigslist and a potential buyer sends you an email, you should try to respond within the first few hours. This will allow you to connect with the buyer and reduce the risk that the buyer will become impatient and look elsewhere for the same item.

If you need help decluttering your house and listing excess items online, your real estate agent may be able to lend a helping hand. This housing market professional understands the complexities of selling a house and moving into a new residence. Therefore, he or she can help you find innovative ways to declutter and streamline the moving process.

Take advantage of the aforementioned pre-moving tips – you'll be happy you did. Thanks to these tips, anyone can declutter a residence, sell excess items online and earn extra cash at the same time.




Categories: Moving Tips   online shopping