Virtual Real Estate

Health and safety are the number one concern when it comes to showing homes to potential buyers, especially with the current state of the world. Technology has evolved greatly over the last decade, opening a whole new world of possibilities with showings and open house tours that decrease or even eliminate foot traffic in the home. From first-rate panoramic images and detailed reports on appliances to guided video walkthroughs, there is no compromising a quality examination to sell at maximum value.

One such application our team has been utilizing is Matterport. With this tool, buyers can take a full 360 degree tour of each room of the house as well as exterior shots from not just the front and back of the home, but oftentimes overhead from the use of a drone. Additionally, appliances can be clicked on for a closer image or feature infrared captures. An itemized menu of reports can be found as well, listing any appearance defects or further information on appliance replacement dates. An example of this can be found at

Smartphones and virtual meetings have also greatly assisted the shift to safer selling. Current homeowners can conduct a tour of the home with the shared company of both the listing and buyers agents. Realtors are also offering scheduled virtual open houses as well, where a link can be created for all interested parties to click on to join the viewing. WhatsApp has been a very successful application for these types of viewings, as well as Zoom and Google Meet.

When it comes time for the home inspection, if chosen to be conditioned contract, buyers are allowed to accompany the inspector as ordered by Governor Cuomo. As always we highly suggest having this done, but this now adds extra security to the feeling of buying a home sight unseen in person.

6 Tips for Choosing Paint Colors for your Home

A fresh coat of paint can completely transform your living space, and choosing the right color scheme is just as important as the application. Here are 6 tips to give you a jumping off point.

1) Don’t use too many colors! Having too wide of a spectrum will look too busy and gaudy and take away attention from your furniture and home decor.

 2) When using color, try to avoid anything too bright. You can achieve vibrancy and style, just steer clear from a neon color palette.

3) Reflect your personality! Pick colors that embody who you are and complement your style.

4) Create your color scheme BEFORE making purchases. Make sure the colors you choose for your walls, flooring, and furniture all work cohesively together before going out and buying them individually.

5) Choose the correct sheen. While flat and matte finishes can hide wall imperfections, a glossier finish will reflect more light which you may want to brighten a smaller space

6) Buy only a small amount at first to test out your choices. Paint a decent size square of each color on the wall and let the swatch dry. Take notice of how it looks over the next few days, during the daylight and at night.


For more specific color choice suggestions, here are some placement insights from Sherwin Williams:

Ceilings: weighty and annoying.
Walls: advancing and energetic.
Floors: confident.

Ceilings: soft hues delicate and comfortable.
Walls: complimentary to skin tones when soft or pale. Dramatic when highly saturated and vivid tones are used.
Floors: for select and special spaces.

Ceilings: energizing and advancing.
Walls: soft peachy tones are warm and glowing. Bright tones are energetic, burnt orange shades are rich and warm.
Floors: creates movement.

Ceiling: dark hues are heavy but work in high, open ceilings, especially to conceal exposed duct-work.
Walls: mid-tone and dark hues can evoke richness, warmth, and comfort. Soft hues are natural and create a neutral backdrop for furnishings.
Floors: implies durability, stability, and reliability.

Ceiling: light hue, luminous, reflective, and glowing.
Walls: warm if a golden hue.
Floors: bright hues are distracting and agitating.

Ceiling: protective (reflection on skin tone can be unattractive).
Walls: safe, calm, reliable, neutral, yellow-based hues create warmth, blue-based hues tend to be cool.
Floors: natural up to a certain saturation point (light to dark), soft, relaxing (if closer to blue-green).

Ceiling: soft shades are cool and heavenly, dark hues give the illusion of the ceiling advancing.
Walls: pale to mid-tone shades are soothing, darker hues provide a dramatic backdrop.
Floors: movement (darker hues) to effortless movement (lighter hues).

Ceiling: shaded, creates shadows.
Walls: bland to neutral, cool and neutral.
Floors: neutral. Blends into a space.

Ceiling: blank – creates lightness, reflects light, and reduces shadows.
Walls: neutral to empty, clean.
Floors: intimidating.

Ceiling: heavy but works well for an exposed ceiling with open duct-work.
Walls: threatening or dramatic.
Floors: unusual and absorbing. Dark furnishings would get lost placed directly on this floor color.

8 Signs You’re Ready to Stop Renting and Buy a Home

Buying a home is a major decision, and you want to make sure you are ready before diving right in. Here are eight signs that you’re ready to make the switch from renter to homeowner.

  1. You’re tired of rising rent prices.
  • Increasing rent rates makes formulating a budget extremely difficult, and even harder to save for other financial goals
  • You want to be building equity for the future, not pouring money into a bad investment month after month.
  1. Your credit score has improved.
  • Improving your credit score will help you qualify for a mortgage
  • You won’t require as large of a down payment
  • The better the score the better the interest rate and loan terms in general
  1. You’re good at managing debt.
  • Keep in mind your debt-to-income ratio: add up all of your monthly expenses and debts and divide by your gross monthly income
  • Most lenders require a ratio of no more than 43%
  • Some conventional loans allow up to 50%
  1. You have enough set aside for the extra costs of owning a home
  • Make sure you are thinking about emergency funds for unexpected expenses
  • Budget property taxes and routine maintenance costs
  1. You can afford the down payment and closing costs.
  • Most conventional loans require a 5% down payment
  • Some FHA loans, mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, require only 3.5% down
  • Closing costs could be another 2-7% of the property’s sale price, but this can sometimes be negotiable
  • Search for grants and other loan programs, or better yet contact us to find a loan officer to find what will work best for you
  1. You’re ready to settle down in one place.
  • With all of the upfront costs, you want to make sure you will be happy where you are settled
  • Having job security is key, as you don’t anticipate moving in the next few years.
  1. You’re going through a major life change.
  • Getting married, having a growing family, or getting a new job make for common incentives to prospective homeowners
  1. You know what you want.
  • Is there a specific neighborhood or school district that you want to live in?
  • Think about the different types of homes: houses, townhouses, condos, etc. 

Ready to leave renting behind?

Contact us to find out what’s next! Call Michael Olear at 418-9959 any time for a free consult or assistance with real estate related questions.


Spring Clean Home

While we regularly push off deep cleaning our homes until Springtime, there really is no reason to make this only an annual task. There are several small chores that can be done regardless of the season to keep things tidy and sanitary. Here are 8 tips to keep your home feeling spring-clean all year long.

#1 Keep garbage cans and wastebaskets clean and disinfected

  • Especially in winter when a closed up home traps all the germs in
  • Wash down cans and wastebaskets, even spray disinfectant
  • Scrub away and residue and let dry in direct sunlight as it help eliminate bacteria

#2 Wash and disinfect toilet brushes and holders

  • As with garbage cans, thoroughly rinse and spray wash the inside of the base
  • Let the brush sit in a mixture of hot water with either bleach or vinegar

#3 Flip your furniture over and around

  • Vacuum the underside of your furniture rather than just underneath it
  • Check dust covers that catch dust bunnies and dreck tacked under upholstered pieces
  • Shift the furniture around the room to vacuum the floor in previously hard to reach areas

#4 Clean horizontal surfaces

  • Be mindful of all of the flat surfaces that catch dust, not just tables and countertops
  • Clean the top horizontal edges of interior doors, baseboards, artwork and mirrors, upper kitchen cabinets, light bulbs & light fixtures as well as smaller items such as electrical wall plates and wall-mounted detectors
  • Dust off ceiling blades as a ton of dust gathers when idle

#5 Vacuum Behind the Fridge

  • Pull out your fridge regularly to vacuum behind it
  • Brush off condenser coils, whether in the back or behind the bottom faceplate
  • Check that the freezer vents are clear

#6 Clean seasonal entry

  • Utilize coil doormats to wipe away winter slush and mud
  • Maintain a clean floor by sweeping up dirt and leaves that track in
  • Create a shoe station; somewhere to sit to take off boots and add a rack or tray to keep wet footwear

#7 Clean the windows

  • Take advantage on natural light by cleaning the dirty layer that tints your window glass
  • Clean both the inside and outside surfaces with solutions and microfiber cloths

#8 Change Furnace Filters

  • One of the simplest chores is to regularly change these out, at least every 60 days
  • Minimum efficiency rating values range from 1 to 16, though 7-13 is typical for households
  • Filters with a higher number have a better efficiency, but also restrict air flow
Millennial Home Must Haves

Millennial Home Must Haves

Millennials are currently the largest percent of home buyers, sitting at 37% of the buyer population. With such a large age bracket hitting the real estate market, they have a great influence on trends and demand. There are a few key aspects this demographic is searching for in a home.

Open floor plans
While millennials rank as the largest buyer segment, they are not so highly classified in household income. This being said, they want to make the most out of the space, particularly in entertainment spaces. Staging homes with bar stools and kitchen islands will likely appeal to these potential buyers

Updated kitchens and bathrooms
In most cases, younger millennials have been saving their funds for a hefty down payment and are not budgeting extra funds for renovations. Finding a house with updated move-in-ready features are high up on the “want” list!

Vintage and European designs
In the face of growing up in a technology driven digital age, millennials have a considerably aged design approach. Mid-century, Mediterranean, pre-WWII architecture have made a stylish comeback along with herringbone flooring and art deco inspired elements.

Regardless of the desire for old fashioned structure, millennials still want to hold onto the convenience of smart home technology. From smart thermostats to doorbells, having remote control is a key feature to incorporate. Energy efficiency is also a winning attribute wherever possible as this generation is growingly more environmentally conscious. 

Location preferences
Commuting time and cost are one of the most important considerations for millennials, whether the cost be in currency or environmental. Additionally, this age group is very interested in having a sense of community and belonging within the neighborhood. The younger subset of this population is opting to buy urban houses or condos with roommates to share expenses, whereas those on the older end are looking to move towards the suburbs

Pets have become increasingly more important to millennials as an alternative to starting a traditional family. Very frequently they are checking to make sure condos are pet-friendly and asking about weight or other restrictions. When it comes to single-family homes or townhouses they are looking to have a yard, ideally already fenced in, for their dog.

Baby Boomer Market Trends

The “Baby Boom” generation, born between 1946-1964, is undoubtedly one of the largest age groups of our nation and consequently greatly influenced our economy and culture. As marketers research this consumer segment, they must take maturing investments and spending habit changes into account. These are the 3 trends that we will see over the next 5 years.

Working Retirement
Previous generations have stopped working at retirement; this is not true of the baby boomers. Roughly 65% of Boomers plan on working past the age of 65. A study by Voya Financial noted that 60% of retirees were forced to end their careers earlier than planned, due to layoffs and health concerns, and then found that their savings were not as sustainable as expected and needed to find additional income. Taking this time to ensure ends meet results in less free time for leisurely activities and travel.

Changes in purchasing habits
With continuing to work comes the need for professional attire and reliable transportation. Along with that, more and more time and money is being spent online. Medical care, security, entertainment options, obtaining and maintaining pets and community activities are all varying factors taken into consideration. Medical care in general is a huge budget item as Boomer’s rely heavily on both traditional and innovative medical technology and healthcare support.


Skew even more female
With the life expectancy of women exceeding that of men, a greater and growing percentage of this generation will be women. Products mostly bought by men won’t have the same consumption rate as before, so items like golf gear and men’s grooming tools will not be in high demand. Respectively, women’s products will increase.

We see major changes ahead as our country’s infrastructure stains to supply housing, medical care and entertainment for the oldest members of our society.