Haves and Wants in Buying a Home

Q.  I am wondering if men and women have a different way of looking at the right home to buy.

A.  There was an interesting study earlier this year, by Realtor.com, equating looking for and buying a home to dating and falling in love. There are definitely differences between the sexes. A majority of consumers admit to having home crushes. That is a property they liked so much they were drawn back to looking at it numerous times. But men and women have a different pattern.

Men were more likely than women to move from one home crush to another. 36% of men surveyed say they find a new house crush weekly, compared to 29% of women. Women were more likely than men to have a crush on a home that was out of their price range. 41% of women revealed their home crush is out of their price range compared to only 30% of men.

One thing both sexes agree can make them fall in love with a home is outdoor living space. They both identified this attribute as most important in a home. Women swoon over open floor plans, great curb appeal, fixtures and appliances. Men loved open floor plans, great curb appeal and good garage space. They visualize their toys in it or toys they wish they had.

In life or in Real Estate, finding “the one” is easier when your list of deal breaker’s is short.


Q.  In staging a home for sale, how important is the garage?

A.  It is more important than many people realize. Generally speaking it is most important if a man is involved in the sale. Women, however, also can appreciate a clean garage with good storage cabinets. It gives her a feeling of practicality to park the car inside and also store items so she doesn’t have to use up all the indoor closets space.

Most buyers can’t visualize the potential of a garage that looks like a dumping site. I suggest renting a storage space when selling a home. The cost is worth the benefit. Not only will the garage look great but other areas of your home will also be less cluttered. Remember it is an important living space.

Good lighting is very important in a garage. You can get a fluorescent fixture.  So many garages are dark and dingy. If you have a large garage, at least a double, set up a portion of it as a workshop. Don’t go to a lot of expense. Keep it simple. A set of work horses and a piece of plywood on top is great. A loft area for storage is a desirable storage place for the buyer.

If you have a small, one car garage, park your car there for showings. Potential buyers will see that a car fits in. An empty garage seems smaller.

If the floor of the garage is stained or dirty clean it and consider painting it.

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm
Lynne French | Category: Buying, Moving Tips

What does the ‘fiscal cliff’ mean to Real Estate?


Q. How is the problem with the fiscal cliff going to affect the real estate recovery and interest rates?

A. The so-called “fiscal cliff” is a combination of tax increases and massive government spending cuts that will hit the U.S. economy in 2013 unless Congress takes action before the end of the year.  Most economists see the result of the fiscal cliff as something that will hurt the U.S. economy, with too many tax increases and spending cuts.  I discussed this with one of my mortgage advisors, Jay Voorhees.  He reminded me, first of all, that when stock prices go up, bond prices go down.  And when bond prices go down, rates go up.  With the fiscal cliff, such a threat to economic growth actually reduces interest rates.  If an actual compromise is reached in Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff, stocks will rally and bond prices will drop.  As he said, when bond prices drop, rates will go up.  Voorhees says that the increases in stock prices and interest rates will be temporary though because the Fed will continue to buy up bonds in what they call their QE111 program, which is a pledge to keep interest rates down.  So if nothing is done about the fiscal cliff, rates will probably go down.  If something is done about the fiscal cliff, rates will probably go up, but only temporarily.  It will help the real estate recovery because people will feel the confidence they need to make a move. I say this as long as they don’t mess with the mortgage interest deduction.

Q. We are almost ready to move into our new house.  What are some moving tips?

A. It is never too soon to start planning the move.  To-do lists are great so you don’t forget something critical.  This is a great time to sort and get rid of things that you really don’t need.  It feels good to start fresh with a lighter load.

When packing your boxes, put heavy items in smaller boxes.  Try to keep all boxes under 40 pounds.  Color-code the boxes for each room and label them on all sides.  That way you won’t have to move boxes to see the label.  Wrap every fragile item separately and use a packing material such as bubble wrap.  You can purchase these at moving stores.

Back up your computer files before moving your computer. 

Decide what items you are going to move on your own.  You might want to carry valuables, breakables and items with sentimental value with you; also, items that the movers won’t take, like plants.  Keep a bag with you that has necessities for that day such as snacks, tissue, medications, etc.  Keep all documents pertaining to the move with you including the movers’ name and contact information in your phone or phonebook.  Try to make arrangements for your children and pets to be away on moving day.  This will spare them the stress of the move.  When the movers arrive, inspect all boxes and furniture right away.


Send your question and look for your answer in a future column.  Email Lynne@LynneFrench.com.  French is the broker/owner of Windermere Lynne French & Associates and a Clayton resident.  For any real estate needs or questions, contact her at 672-878 7or stop in at 6200 Center Street, Clayton.

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm
Lynne French | Category: Government & Real Estate, Moving Tips, Real Estate Terms, Taxes | Tagged , , , ,

Humans Aren’t Alone in their Stress over Moving

Q. My family is going to be moving soon. We have a dog and a cat. I am worried about how they will adjust to the move.  Any suggestions?

A.  Moving is an adjustment for humans but it is also difficult for pets.  We are responsible for easing the transition and keeping the pet safe.  I went to the “Pet Realty Network” and got some suggestions:

1.  Keep the pets separated from all the chaos of moving day.  If your pet isn’t already comfortable with a crate it would be a good idea to get one and get them accustomed to it.  Make sure it is sturdy and well ventilated.  Put them each in one in a quiet, well-ventilated place.  If you don’t use a crate, still find a quiet place such as a bathroom and put their toys or treats in there with them.

2.  Find a veterinarian in your new area and ask if there are any local concerns like Lyme disease or any vaccinations or medications your pet may require.  If you are moving to another country, carry an updated rabies vaccination and health certificate.  It is important to contact the Agriculture Department or embassy to obtain specific information about bringing a pet into the country.

3.  Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag, labeled with your current contact information.  It should include your cell phone number and destination location.

4.  Keep at least one week’s worth of food and medication with you in case of an emergency.  Ask your current vet for an extra prescription before you move.  Purchase an extra supply of special food in case you can’t find it right away in your new area.

5.  If you are moving far enough away that you will be getting a new vet, get a current copy of your pat’s medical records and vaccinations. Keep your current vet’s contact information handy in case of an emergency or in case a new vet needs more information.

6.  Prepare a first aid kit.  Being prepared and knowing basic first aid could save your pet’s life. Supplies should include: gauze to wrap wounds or to muzzle your pet, adhesive tape for bandages, non-stick bandages, towels and hydrogen peroxide (3 percent).

7.  If you are traveling in a car a crate is ideal. A restraining harness is also good. For cats a well ventilated carrier is best. Don’t leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Try to keep your pet on its current eating schedule.

8.  Prepare your new home for pets. They are often frightened and confused in new surroundings.  When you arrive, immediately set out all the familiar and necessary things your pet will need: food, water, medications, bed, litter box, toys etc.  Be cautious of narrow gaps behind or between appliances where your pet might try to hide.  Keep external doors and windows closed when your pet is unsupervised.  If your old home is nearby, your pet might try to find a way back there.  Make sure the new owners have your contact information and a photo of your pet.

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm
Lynne French | Category: Buying, Moving Tips