Saratoga Springs, NY Real Estate News

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Saints are sinners who kept on going" --Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, and essayist INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Home prices also keep on going, and in a decidedly upward direction. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported thatfor Q1 of this year, the median existing home price jumped 11.3% over last year, the largest annual gain since Q4 of 2005. But Q1 inventory was down 16.8%. The NAR's chief economist expounded: "Inventory conditions are expected to remain fairly constrained this year, so overall price increases should be well above the historic gain of one-to-two percentage points above the rate of inflation." A leading research analytics firm reported that home prices in March jumped 10.5% year over year, posting their bigge...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Cool deck and patio lighting helps you get more use — and enjoyment — from your outdoor living spaces.   Star Floors Fiber optic lighting uses only a single light source, typically a 5-15 watt LED housed in a small fan-cooled box sheltered from the elements. Light travels on slender, flexible cables that end in points of light — small emitters that you insert into holes drilled in your decking. Because there’s no electricity or heat conducted, the cables and light are safe in any type of weather. Installing fiber optic lighting is a good DIY project. A kit with 120 emitters and cables is about $325. Credit: Starscape Fibre Optic & LED Lighting   Lighting the Way Deck lighting extends party time on your deck, and adds safety, too. Fixtures on posts offer ambient lighting and signal the r...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Chlorine keeps swimming pools safe and clean, but there are alternatives to chlorine if you’re willing to pay the price. Chlorine is popular because it handles the three main jobs in keeping a swimming pool clean: It sanitizes (kills bacteria and germs), oxidizes (controls organic debris from perspiration and body oils), and deters algae. The chemical is unpopular because it has a strong odor, reddens eyes, and causes allergic reactions in some swimmers. There are alternatives to chlorine including bromine, ionizers, and ozonators, though with each you’ll still need to use some chlorine. A fourth alternative is PHMB, which doesn’t require the use of any chlorine. All four have drawbacks, including cost. Chlorine is relatively cheap. How much chlorine you’ll need depends on the size of y...
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Document your household's contents the efficient way, then let your list help you streamline your belongings. You may have heard of, or even created, a home inventory before. This record, often used to document belongings for insurance purposes, can also be a really helpful tool if you are trying to declutter, prepare for emergencies, clear space for a remodel or just get organized. Check out these tips to create a thorough home inventory and streamline your belongings at the same time. by Lauren Leonard Interiors » Make Your Inventory Choose your checklist.The first step in making a home inventory is getting your hands on a comprehensive checklist — one from your own insurance company is best. Review the checklist before getting started. by TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders...
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Look to metal, glass and even wooden crates for an attention-getting backsplash that might even save you some money. ut your own personal stamp on your kitchen design by adding a bold backsplash. Go beyond standard tile and try playing with unconventional materials — an unusual backsplash can help you spice up your kitchen without having to dish out a ton of money for a full remodel. Have you thought about using industrial metal sheets? Antique glass or mirrors? Cork or copper? A unique backsplash can quickly take your kitchen from boring to beautiful. Explore some of my favorite bold backsplashes here — they just may inspire you. by Goforth Gill Architects » 1. Tin. Repurpose an idea from the past by using tin for your backsplash. This is a great way to bring an old-fashioned element i...
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Overpopulated deer will spread disease, attract predators, damage landscapes, and even go after you. Understand the truth about deer danger. Deer disease and destruction can make those doe eyes and white-tipped tails much less appealing than they are in Disney movies. These pretty creatures can cost you money and wreck your health. Think it’s a shame to fence out, repel, and hunt deer? Think again! 1. Deer carry diseases Lyme disease: Transmitted via a tick bite, Lyme disease can cause headaches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, and rashes in humans and other animals—including the family pet. If not treated properly, Lyme disease can cause memory loss and damage the nervous system. Brucellosis: This bacterial infection can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever and headaches. Brucellosis c...
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Prevent burglaries when you're traveling by using the latest gadgets, apps and online services. Burglars can watch for signs that homeowners are on an extended trip, so one of the best ways to keep your home secure is to prevent strangers from knowing you're away. Most are well known: Put a few lights on timers to go on in the evening and off again at night. (Leaving them on all day and night can signal your absence.) Park your car in the driveway, rather than keeping it in the garage or on the street. Put a temporary stop to your newspapers and mail delivery. New technology can help, too. Here some high-tech tips for taking home security to the next level while you're traveling. Keep Your Social Media Posts PrivateOne way some crooks might learn that you'll be away is on social media l...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Survey of Millennials finds today’s 18- to 35-year-olds aspire to own their own homes. The majority of Millennials are strongly interested in becoming home owners, according to a survey from national home builder PulteGroup. The PulteGroup Home Index Survey found 65% of renters ages 18-34 with an income of more than $50,000 want to buy a home. Most of them plan to be coupled in their home with 76% indicating they will live with a spouse or significant other. Among those not moving in with a significant other, 22% anticipate having a roommate, including a friend, parent, in-law, grandparent, or sibling living with them. “Millennials have witnessed the housing boom and bust, but still believe home ownership is a good investment,” said Fred Ehle, vice president for PulteGroup. “Consistent ...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Moving company study turns up 16% growth in residential moves during first quarter. With the economy stabilizing, Americans are feeling, once again, the bite of the moving bug. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they feel more comfortable purchasing a home today than at any other time in the past five years, results of a new survey by Mayflower show. And nearly a third say they are now ready to make a move. Compared to first quarter 2012, residential moves were up 16% in the historically slowest moving months — January through March. The new data are also consistent with other national data showing continued rises in existing home prices and sales. Growth appears to be the strongest in the West, where the Mayflower data showed 54% of survey respondents are now comfortable purchasing a h...
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up,...discovering we have the strength to stare it down." --Eleanor Roosevelt Our hearts go out to the Boston bombing victims and their families. Our pride goes out to the heroes who responded with sacrifice and courage. God Bless America. INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Last week Housing Starts were reported UP 7.0% for March to a 1.036 million unit annual rate, 46.7% higher than a year ago and the highest they've been since 2008. But wait. The boost was all due to multi-family units, up 31.1% for the month. Single-family starts were down 4.8%, although they actually are UP a very healthy 28.7% from a year ago. Analysts tell us the multi-family sector is super volati...
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Stay organized and focused on your quest for a new home, to make the search easier and avoid surprises later. In the hunt for the perfect house, it's easy to get swept away by a home's most charming details (a gracious front porch) and play down the important stuff you'll be kicking yourself for later (the price is over budget). And if you are touring multiple open houses each weekend, keeping everything straight can get complicated. Set your priorities and streamline the house-hunting process early on, and you can breathe easier knowing you have a handle on things. It's probably the most important purchase you will ever make, so take a few deep breaths and make a plan before diving in — you'll be glad you did. These 12 tips can help you stay organized and focused on the important thing...
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures."--Josiah Gilbert Holland, American novelist and poet INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Last week gave us more evidence that this housing recovery, though growing slowly, will in fact endure. According to a major online real estate portal, listing inventory rose 3.5% from January to March. This beat the gains going into the 2012 Spring selling season, although inventories are still 15% off last year's levels, with only nine of 146 metros showing annual increases. Not surprisingly, the median age of inventory in March dipped to 78 days, down 12.3% from last year, and median asking prices were up 0.5% from February, gaining in 29 of the top 30 metro areas. According to a housing consultancy,...
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HOME INSURANCE: TOO MUCH? TOO LITTLE? CHECK IT OUT! Here are five steps to take to get the right insurance at the right price: Step 1. Determine how much coverage you need. Don't go by your home's appraised value, which includes the land. Ask your local homebuilders association for recent per-square-foot replacement costs. If your area is prone to natural disasters, price out extended or guaranteed replacement policies to protect you from inflated labor and material costs after such events. With your home replacement taken care of, look at coverage for possessions, living expenses, and liability. Step 2. Find out what's NOT covered. Standard policies don't cover damage from flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes. If you're in a flood zone, you may have to buy supplemental flood insurance....
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
As a homeowner, you always want to be prepared. Here are five home safety devices you should have: 1. Fire extinguishers. Put one on every floor of your home, plus an extra in the kitchen where the vast majority of home fires start. Multi-purpose A-B-C extinguishers put out all types of fires. Check and recharge when the pressure gauge drops. You'll even get a discount from some insurers.2. Upstairs escape ladders. Put one under a window in each upstairs bedroom. Practice deploying them.3. Wireless water alarms. Place under sinks, behind the refrigerator, anywhere water will collect if there's a leak.4. Automatic shutoff valve for water heater. This cuts off the water supply as soon as it senses a leak.5. Sump pump alarm. Alerts you to a rapidly rising water level that could mean a floo...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Happy Earth Day! There are many ways to green up your life, but many of the most important improvements you can make are right in your own home. You can celebrate Earth Day by making green changes in your own home. What will you do? Image: Maica/iStockphoto We’ve searched the Internet for offers, contests, and tips for making your home a greener place—not just on Earth Day, but every day. Recyclebank’s Green Your Home Challenge: Log on to this online challenge, which asks you to complete green actions around your home. The more actions you complete, the more points you earn. You even get bonus points for referring friends to the contest. At the end of the contest, a grand prize winner will win a green home kitchen makeover, complete with brand-new Energy Star-qualified appliances. Small...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
April is Perk Up Your Patio month at HouseLogic, and we’re bringing you eye-catching projects that give your patio some pizzazz. At the end of the month, vote for your favorite. Taylor made this mason jar light fixture for just $31. All images in this post: MaryJanes and Galoshes I just love mason jars, those wide-mouth glass canning jars that hold everything from strawberry jam to fireflies. That’s one reason I’ve fallen for the DIY mason jar light fixture made by Taylor of the MaryJanes & Galoshes blog. Although Taylor originally wanted it to light up her gazebo, she loves it so much she’s going to relocate it to her living room. Taylor glued the jars to a wood plank, stuffed strings of Christmas lights into the jars, then hung the whole thing in her gazebo, giving the fixture a saloo...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Does “natural” mean organic? Should you buy anything labeled “non-toxic”? Here are the truth and eco-facts about many of the green terms you find on product labels. What’s really green? Soon you’ll have a little more confidence about green product marketing claims, such as “biodegradable” and “recyclable”: The Federal Trade Commission, which sets standards for the use of environmental claims in its Green Guides, is getting tougher on green terms. Proposed revisions to the Green Guides will make it harder for companies to make unsubstantiated green claims about their products. So when is all this happening? An FTC official we spoke to says the revisions may be final this summer. Until then — and even after then, since the guides don’t have the force of regulation — put on your skeptic’s ...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
New mortgage rules favor you, the home owner. We explain the rules, plus give you tips to ensure your lender treats you fairly. Tired of getting the run-around from your mortgage lender or servicer? Starting Jan. 10, 2014, you’ll get consumer protections aimed at taming the worst habits mortgage lenders picked up during the mortgage foreclosure crisis. But realize that you need to follow specific procedures to make the protections work for you. Companies have to offer you good customer service and set up procedures to ensure employees do their jobs correctly.  The fact that federal legislators put this in the law tells you a lot about how frustrated consumers have gotten with mortgage lenders and servicers. Servicers (the companies that collect your mortgage payments on behalf of the le...
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By Orson Klender
(Equitas Realty)
Enjoy your outdoor room more with these enhancements that are easy, impactful and kind to your budget. In spring it's time to get outside and enjoy your patio. So make the most of your space without a huge investment of time or money by planting, scrubbing and accessorizing your way to a renewed outdoor room. From the free (rearranging furniture) to the smart (increase space with a mirror) and easy (roll out a rug), these practical tips should spark your imagination and guide you in improving your patio this weekend. Let's get started by Westover Landscape Design, Inc. » 1. Renew plantings. Fresh, vibrant plants can transform the look and feel of your patio, so any investment you make here is well worth your while. Give existing plantings a little TLC, remove dead leaves and spent bloom...
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Free seeds and starter plants for your vegetable garden happily live in your refrigerator and pantry. Plant a potato and you’ll harvest a bagful; plant a single horseradish root, and you’ll grow a field of the eye-watering spice. Theoretically, every fruit or vegetable seed in your kitchen can germinate and deliver baby produce. But some store-bought veggies are hybrids and produce offspring that look nothing like their parents. Others are irradiated to prevent insect infestation, or sprayed with anti-sprouting chemicals to prevent spoilage, which wrecks their ability to go forth and multiply. Your best bet is to shop for produce in an organic market. Seeds (and tuberous roots) from chemical-free produce yield plants that sprout readily and look like their folks. Here’s a look at some ...
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