Blockchain technology could revolutionize the real estate business model.

With Bitcoin making headlines, a new word has entered the business lexicon: “blockchain.”

Much like the internet two decades ago, blockchain is a relatively new technology with seemingly endless possible applications. But outside the techie world, people have a limited understanding of how it actually works and whether it should be trusted.

Still, some experts see blockchain’s potential to completely change how real estate transactions are handled.

How blockchain technology works
A blockchain is essentially a decentralized database with continuously updating digital records. Instead of using a central depository of information, blockchains use a network of databases that are constantly synchronized and available to those on the network (all via the internet).

Much like the internet itself, blockchain networks can be either private or public, says David Conroy, R&D lab engineer with the National Association of REALTORS®’ Center for REALTOR® Technology. The private version works like a private business’s intranet system, with information available only to those with a login to that specific network. Public blockchains are accessible by anyone, without a login needed.

In at least a couple of instances, agents have made and closed deals from start to finish exclusively using blockchain technology.

In September 2017, Sheryl Lowe of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty in Austin, Texas, became the first broker to close on a home purchased entirely with cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) when it represented the buyer of a custom home.

Blockchain gets its name from the way the digital transactions are completed, by being added to blocks with other transactions being carried out at the same time, then cryptographically protected. The blocks are “validated” using complex coded problems, and once the coding is finished, the new block is linked to older blocks, creating a chain that shows all the transactions made since the start of that blockchain.

Because the chain is constantly checked and updated across the entire network, everyone sees the same information at the same time, and everyone can follow each piece of the transaction as it occurs.

The downside of Blockchain
Blockchain sounds failsafe, right? It is, except for one sticky problem: People still largely control it. That means individuals’ blockchain access codes are only as safe as they’re kept, says Ridaa Murad, founder of Breakform|RE in El Segundo, California—a common problem with current passcoding systems.

Of course, another huge issue facing blockchain technology is similar to that faced by the internet in 1994: People don’t really understand how it works, and therefore don’t trust their transactions to be handled correctly through this new and seemingly complex technology.

“Companies are seeing the potential, but people aren’t really secure about putting all that information out there in this way yet,” Conroy says.

Is blockchain the future of real estate?
We’re still far from having all transactions done on the blockchain, Murad says, mostly because so few people understand how the technology works. Also, he says, despite the fact that it’s superior in many regards compared to other similar technologies currently in existence, that doesn’t guarantee that it will become commonly used in businesses. People will need to adapt.

But Conroy sees it as the obvious evolution of the real estate business model.Blockchain and real estate

“It will revolutionize how real estate is transferred. It will be one of the most impactful technologies for sure,” he says. “It will increase the speed of transactions, reduce risk, make customers more informed … It has the biggest opportunity to create positive change.”
A little farther from home, in Ukraine, an entire transaction was completed using smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, showing how quickly and securely the technology works for this purpose. That home was sold, perhaps unsurprisingly, to Michael Arrington, co-founder of the tech news site Tech Crunch.

“It’s only being done right now by absolute cryptonerds,” says Ridaa Murad, founder of Breakform|RE in El Segundo, California. “The one in Ukraine, this is just a guy trying to show everyone it can be done way faster, way better, way cheaper.”

By Megan Craig

When you are ready to buy or sell your home, contact us here at Dupont Real Estate- one of the most experienced realtors in the Charlotte area. We are here for you.

Downsizing is becoming more popular.

Downsizing is a common discussion among couples. I often find working with couples that one wants to downsize but has agreed to purchase a large property with their spouse.

I advise them to find a home that seems intimate despite its large size. I tell them, ‘You don’t want to feel you’re rattling around in an oversized place that seems lonely, especially when you’re there by yourself.’

I recommend they avoid a property with a two-story atrium or ceilings that soar 10

downsizing

feet or higher. Likewise, they should avoid a home with an oversized formal living room they’re unlikely to use often.

The coziest arrangement is to have a big family room right off the kitchen, because people spend most of their time in the kitchen area.

Finally, I tell them not to assume that a place they buy upon retirement will be their last home.
Source:

Tips are from your local Charlotte realtor, Dupont Real Estate. Call us when you are ready to buy or sell a home.

Home improvements will help you sell your house.

Today’s homebuyers are less attracted to cosmetic aesthetics and more to a home’s bones, mechanicals and structural improvements

Homebuyers—regardless of generation—want a move-in-ready home. That may sound like an old song, but looking forward there’s a new verse. Move-in-ready is less about trending pop and sizzle in the kitchen and bathroom and more about what’s going on behind, under and over those cupboards and fixtures.

According to a recent consumer survey by homebuilder Taylor Morrison, 62 percent of homebuyers most want energy efficiency and 56 percent seek easy maintenance.

Are homebuyers willing to pay for what they want? In most cases, yes, says Craig Webb, editor of Remodeling magazine and its annual Cost vs. Value Report. The 2018 Report, not yet released, cites at least a 10 percent drop in return on investment (ROI) for upscale remodeling projects. “The highest resale payback is in projects that involve replacing what’s broken, inefficient or outdated,” he says.

Here are several key areas where you can guide sellers through home décor and design trends, attract homebuyers and profitably close more sales.

Get FIXated
“Between Pinterest and HGTV, many sellers get caught up in visually preparing their home for sale,” says Lilli Schipper, CRS, REALTOR®, with Fort Lauderdale-based Island and Resort Realty. “Yet they forget about outdated mechanical and structural issues, which could come up during an inspection and end up killing the deal. Pre-listing inspections can sometimes provide more value than staging.”

Based on 2017 data, here are the top-10 home improvements in terms of ROI, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report:
1. Garage Door Replacement- 98.3%
2. Manufactured Stone Veneer- 97.1%
3. Deck Addition (wood)-82.8%
4.Minor Kitchen Remodel-81.1%
5. Siding Replacement-76.7%
6.Window Replacement (vinyl)-74.3%
7. Universal Design Bathroom-70.6%
8. Bathroom Remodel-70.1%
9.Window Replacement (wood)-69.5%
10. Roofing Replacement-68.4%

Mechanical and structural improvements may not be the sexiest home trend, but it’s hot—and getting hotter. “In 2017, the payback for these kinds of projects averaged 74 percent. In 2018, it’s up to 76 percent,” Webb says.

Driving home this point, the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint study from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), gives a new roof a 109 percent ROI. The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report gives top honors to what’s going on under that roof, with a 107.7 percent payback for fiberglass attic insulation.

Debra Pitell-Hauge, CRS, broker-REALTOR® with Michael Saunders & Company, headquartered in Longboat Key, Florida, says it’s about fixing functional obsolescence. That can mean an energy efficient HVAC system, new windows and doors, or the ability to withstand almost anything that Mother Nature dishes out. “Here on Florida’s west coast, buyers want hurricane-impact glass. I’ve seen people buy their second-choice home because it’s hurricane proof.”

Curb your enthusiasm
“Curb appeal is more important than ever,” Pitell-Hauge says. “It’s partly because most people start their search online. So first they see the front of the house and then they move on to interior photographs.”
While every REALTOR® knows the importance of curb appeal, Webb emphasizes that exterior project ROIs have been outpacing interior projects for a while now—and are not expected to slow down any time soon. These exterior improvements include landscaping and fresh paint as well as new doors, windows, siding and roof.

Open floor plan 2.0
For years, many homebuyers wanted an open floor plan, with a seamless flow from kitchen to dining room to family room. Homebuyers still want an open floor plan—but now they also want flexibility. Or, as Taylor Morrison’s survey reports, 58 percent of today’s homebuyers want a floor plan that can be personalized.
Visually “explaining” an open floor plan’s flexibility ramps up the importance of professional staging, says Linda Rike, CRS, broker-REALTOR®, with Linda Rike Real Estate and serving Crystal Coast–Carteret County, North Carolina.

“A personalized floor plan implies creating living spaces where you want them to be. For example, in my market, the open formal dining room is making a comeback, so I might take an open space and stage a breakfast nook and a formal dining area—rather than one space for all meals.”

Or you may want to stage an open space with less family room and more home office space. Depending on your market, you might stage a smaller dining area and introduce room for a mixologist’s dream bar cart. It’s a visual solution for the increasing number of homebuyers who want to share the trending “cocktail experience” with friends.

Generally, stagers charge $300 to $600 for a consultation. Regardless of staging price, the payback can be substantial. According to the 2017 Profile of Home Staging report by the National Association of REALTORS®, 77 percent of buyers’ agents say staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home and about one-third of buyer’s agents feel that staging increases the dollar value offered from 1 to 5 percent when compared to similar unstaged homes on the market.

A warm welcome
Houzz predicts that 2018 home design and décor will go to bold, warm colors—like ruby red, grays with a hint of brown, and rich, earthy shades of camel, rust, tobacco and burnt yellow. Vibrant floral patterns are expected to bloom from ceiling to floor. Not a warm color fan? Sherwin-Williams named Oceanside SW 6496 as its 2018 Color of the Year, describing the cool, deep tone as a rich blue that collides with jewel-toned green.

These colors are fabulous, but potential ROI disasters if permanently applied to walls, floors, fixtures or cabinets while preparing a house for sale, says Kathy Novak, CRS, REALTOR®, with Howard Hanna Real Estate serving Northeast Ohio. “Use color trends for furniture, bathroom towels and shower curtains, and kitchen knick-knacks, but not for anything that’s permanent.”

Specifically addressing walls, anything bolder than warm gray, warm beige, or better yet, a combo called warm greige, can immediately shut a buyer down, Rike adds. “The first thing that pops in their mind is: ‘I’ll have to spend a fortune to repaint the whole house.’ With that, they move on to the next property.”

Counter intelligence
Yesteryear’s stark, all-white kitchens are warming up with vibrant pops of color, dark wood floors, dramatic statement tile work, black appliances and countertops created from a myriad of materials. However, Schipper says, these are pricey, upscale trends meant for personal enjoyment—but not investment. “If you put $80,000 into a new kitchen, do it for yourself and enjoy! Just don’t expect to get it back on resale value.”

The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report and the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report agree, both giving a major, upscale kitchen remodel a slim ROI of only 62 percent.

The general consensus is to keep kitchen updates down to a new granite countertop and perhaps a new sink. As Pitell-Hauge explains, “In high-priced markets, I believe buyers will tear the kitchen out and put in what they want, regardless of what you’ve done. In mid-priced markets, buyers won’t likely be able to afford the additional cost to cover a major kitchen remodel.”

Floor it
Hardwood flooring continues to attract homebuyers. Popular alternatives range from distressed or reclaimed wood for a rustic look to sophisticated dark hardwoods stained sleek black to traditional oak, which remains a perennial fan favorite. However, with more trends than ever, it’s tough to know which look will grab a homebuyer’s second glance.

For that reason, it’s often better to professionally clean existing carpet or refinish existing hardwood floors. The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report gives refinishing a solid thumbs up, citing a 100 percent ROI.

The projects attracting homebuyers aren’t necessarily inexpensive, but they typically cost less than a luxury kitchen remodel or bathroom addition, Webb says. That means sellers need to invest less to prepare a home for sale and will likely recoup more—if not all—of their investment. As for sellers who think they need to present an upscale trend-worthy home, well, that only happens on HGTV. 

BY DONNA SHRYER, https://crs.com/resources/connect-blog

These Tips come from Charlotte’s most experienced realtor, Dupont Real Estate. Call us when you are ready to buy or sell a home. We are here for you.

Shop for Loans

Shop for Loans- it is possible

Over 50% of home buyers don’t shop for loans to find the best interest rate for their mortgage.

While a buyer would rarely purchase the first home they look at, they will accept the rate and terms offered by only one lender. While the borrower and the property affect the rate and terms that a lender may offer, not all lenders offer the same terms and rates to the same buyer. Shop for loans- before choosing a mortgage loan- Charlotte realtor tips

I advise my clients that shopping around to compare rate and terms for a mortgage is a reasonable exercise considering that a half percent less interest rate could not only lower the payment but the cumulative interest that is paid while that loan is outstanding. Remember to shop for loans before making your decision

When you are ready to buy or sell your home, contact one of the most experienced Realtors in town- Dupont Real Estate.

(Taken from crs.com)

Teenagers and snooping- To Snoop or Not to Snoop?
Granted, the teen years are harrowing times and worrisome for every parent on the face of the planet. But is snooping on your teen really the best solution? Guess what – there’s a better way to find out what’s going on with your young adult … and you might just accomplish some relationship-building in the process.

Before you snoop, make sure to ask yourself these questions. Is there really something you should be afraid of or are you just curious? If you don’t have evidence that your child could be in danger then simply ask them what’s going on before choosing to snoop. Asking before snooping will cause your child to respect you more as a parent, as opposed to hating you for rifling through his or her top drawer.

If you are still uncertain whether or not your child is telling you the truth, lay some ground rules and explain your position. Explain your position on matters like drugs, alcohol, Facebook, etc. so that your child knows where you’re coming from and how you feel. This conversation can assert your authority for the future.and snooping- You should also model what you want your child to be like. You wouldn’t want your child snooping through your things, so you should trust your child enough not to snoop through theirs. This will increase the respect between you and your child.

Lastly, before you snoop, think back to your teen years. I’m sure there were some things you hid from your parents…and you managed to turn out just fine. Take a step back and trust that you are raising your children right and that they are making good decisions.

Source: SWparents.com

Home staging will help you sell your house faster. When you show your home’s best features by staging it effectively, you help increase your final selling price without breaking the bank. In fact, on average, sellers receive $2 in increased sale price for every $1 they put into staging a home. As the infographic below shows, the following five golden rules of home staging will help you show off its best assets.

Rule #1- Depersonalize your house

Buyers need to picture themselves in your home, not you. Remove photos, trophies, personal items from your home. They are a distraction to a buyer.

Rule #2- Declutter and Maximize space

Clear closets of unnecessary clutter- it makes your closets look larger. Use boxes stacked together to hide your clutter. Use matching hangers for a modern and clean look. Use gender neutral colors, and try to create a focal point for each room. Remove anything not related to sleep from the bedrooms, such as televisions or office furniture.

Rule #3- Clean your home

The easiest and cheapest way to stage your home is to clean it. Wash dirty dishes; clean floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and windows. Clear off countertops. Put white bath and hand towels in the bathroom. Clean shower doors.

Rule #4- Modernize

Modernize your cabinets with a coat of stain or paint. Replace brass or wooden cabinet hardware with brushed silver or stainless steel. Clean your refrigerator, sink, inside of oven and declutter kitchen cabinets and drawers. Remove rugs. Flat appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators can be updated quickly, using stainless steel stick-on coverings or specialty appliance paints.

 

Rule #5- Neutralize

Paint your home neutral colors. Depersonalize each room. Maximize all available space.

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to update your home. Window treatments can also help to make a room feel larger. Use neutral color curtains and thin rods to hold them.

Tips taken from blog.rismedia.com. When you are ready to sell your home, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Tips to protect your home

Tips to protect your home:  If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, be sure to take some safety precautions before leaving to make sure your home and possessions are safe.

For starters, make sure to not post on social media sites about your being away before your departure. The less people who know about your vacant house, the better. And speaking of that vacant house, try to make it so that your home looks “lived in” even when you are away. Set your lights to turn on and off with a timer and leave a car parked in the driveway at all times. These small steps alone will deter any burglars or unwanted guests from entering your property.Tips to protect your home

Make sure to stop your mail or have a neighbor bring it in for you. Hiring a house sitter is also a great idea to amp up your home’s security. Install deadbolts on doors and make sure all windows are covered.

Another often-overlooked idea: Make sure all of your insurance policies are up-to-date and accurate. Keep this information secure in a fire-proof safe. You aren’t going to be taking every valuable possession with you, so be sure that the ones you do leave behind are completely covered in the case of a burglary, vandalism or fire.

With the proper protection in place,  and these tips to protect your home, your mind can rest easy and be focused on your trip at hand.

Special Seeing-Eye Animal instead of a seeing-eye dog. 

Instead of a seeing-eye dog, Renata di Pietro of Cleveland, GA, relies on a different animal to guide her through life – her miniature horse, Angel.

di Pietro has had guide dogs her whole life, but it got to a point where it was just too heartbreaking for her to handle since guide dogs only work or live for 6-10 years.

“It’s very painful, because you love each one with all your heart,” says Renata.
But then in 2007, on the hunt for another dog, Renata thought about a friend who had a mini horse as her guide. They’re rare: Experts estimate that there are just a dozen or so of them at work in the United States. Renata knew from her friend that mini horses are calm, strong and typically live for 30 years or more.Special Seeing-Eye Animal- article from your Charlotte realtor

Renata paid a breeder $3,000 for Angel (many mini horses are available for $1,000 or less), and hired trainers she found through word of mouth to help ready the horse for service. She also paid $350 for a special harness, but the rest of Angel’s upkeep is pretty manageable: $20 a month for hay and feed, $20 every six to eight weeks for hoof trimming, and vet bills comparable to those for dogs.

Now when Renata di Pietro walks into a store near her home in, jaws drop, cameras click and strangers want to talk. “It’s like the paparazzi are after me,” she says, laughing.

The classically trained singer, who is legally blind, is used to an audience, but these days the main attraction is her loving miniature guide horse, Angel.

The one challenge Renata anticipated—her guide horse being denied access—has not come up. (Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, guide horses are generally legally allowed to go anywhere guide dogs can.) “The first day I took my horse to a store, a police officer ran up to me. I thought, Prepare yourself, Renata. But he just said, ‘Can I take a picture?'”

In their three years together, Renata has come to rely on Angel for much more than sight. “She’s my own personal war horse. We’re fighting a battle for my independence.”

Source: Woman’s Day

 

Contact Dupont Real Estate when you are ready to buy or sell a home. We hope you enjoyed this article.

Outdoor kitchens are a interest of a lot of homeowners. Homeowners continue to cook up outdoor kitchens that in some cases rival their indoor counterparts. Yet some experts insist the popularity of outdoor kitchens has boiled over.

Belgard, a maker of outdoor living products, says souped-up outdoor kitchens include professional-grade appliances (particularly refrigerators and dishwashers), numerous cooking surfaces, bar-style seating and brick ovens, while Trex Co., another maker of outdoor living products, adds cooking islands and built-in sinks to the mix.outdoor kitchen DIY tips from your Charlotte realtor- Dupont Real Estate

“The whole concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue,” design expert Paul Lafrance, one of the stars of HGTV’s ‘Decked Out,” says in a Trex news release. “Homeowners are hungry for fully appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury.”

In a 2015 survey by the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, 35 percent of people who have outdoor kitchens said they planned to undertake upgrades within the next three years. Outdoor furniture purchases, deck/patio improvements and garden/landscaping improvements topped the list of planned upgrades.

“Outdoor kitchens make life easier for those who enjoy grilling their meals and entertaining outdoors, making your deck or patio an extension of your family’s living space. It also can enhance your home’s resale value,” the National Association of Home Builders says.

As you’d expect, the National Outdoor Kitchen & Fireplace Association is bullish about outdoor kitchens.

“The outdoor kitchen has become one of the most popular home improvements for consumers across America,” the association says, “and just about every consumer we speak to is either planning on having an outdoor kitchen built or it’s at the top of their wish list for a future backyard project.”

A 2013 survey for Casual Living and HGTV showed that 4 percent of U.S. consumers had outdoor kitchens, but it’s likely that number has grown in the meantime. The 2013 research found that outdoor kitchens most often are owned by wealthier, older Americans.

Ian Phi, publisher of the Patio Resource website, says the popularity of outdoor kitchens peaked a few years ago and now is waning. As a matter of fact, a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association indicates that builders expect outdoor kitchens to be one of the least likely features incorporated into new single-family homes in 2016.

Phi says some homeowners have discovered that they don’t use their outdoor kitchens all that much, and that these kitchens are yet another area they must clean and maintain. If outdoor kitchens aren’t maintained well, he says, birds, insects and other pests might come calling.

“Most homeowners want to have some planned outdoor space,” Phi says. “It could be something simple, perhaps just a small area to put an outdoor table and a grill. Other people want to go all out and have a fire pit area, lots of custom-built seating, extensive landscaping and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based company that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

DIY backyard ideas

Remember backyards? Those things we’ve been ignoring for the past four months? They’re back! They might not be looking as sharp as they did before the snowfalls, but we’ve got some rad DIY backyard projects to bring it back to life.

1. Ground-level trampoline
Do you live in constant fear of your kids falling off the trampoline? Honestly—parenting fears aside—trampolines might be fun, but they’re pretty ugly structures. Well, with these sunken trampolines, you’ll never have to worry about either of those things. Just dig a hole, place your trampoline, and voila!

2. The only thing better than a tree house
Looking for a treehouse alternative, something that looks nice but offered a little distance from the main house? What about a garden house, originally for children to play in and now a perfect woman cave. Moral of the story: your treehouse need not be on a tree.

3. Tin can lanterns
This project is both DIY and eco-friendly (because recycling is good). They are easy to make, and will elevate your backyard to the next level. It’s a win-win!

4. How about some outdoor Tic Tac Toe?
Not only is Tic Tac Toe the best (especially when you’re super good at it), but it also scores high in decorative value. With little effort, you’ll come across as cool and tasteful.

5. Vertical garden
Since we’ve already installed a sunken trampoline, a play house/woman cave, and have a Tic Tac Toe board lying around, how about we go for space efficiency with this one? A vertical garden can cover any and all walls. It looks good, it smells nice, and you can eat it! That is the best of all the worlds, if you ask me.

6. Last but not least, a fire pit
If you can’t roast s’mores in your backyard, is it even a backyard? I’m going to go with no. This DIY project costs only $60 to make, but look how fancy. This fire pit will make the perfect centerpiece for the intense fantasy backyard we just built together. (Also: s’mores.)

An awesome backyard is just one DIY away.

When you are ready to buy or sell your home in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

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