Blog Post May 16, 2022

Top 30 Outdoor Activities to Do around Indianapolis NOW

Who says there are just cows and a race car in Indiana?!  If you’re looking for weekend fun outside, keep this list handy:

 

TOP 30 THINGS TO DO AROUND INDY & CARMEL

 

This list is IMPRESSIVE! I’ve done several things on it, but am going to work my way through the whole thing this spring/summer and do the Bloomington list, too (go IU!). My top 3 favorites on the list are:

 

1.   Newfields at the IMA – the gardens here is one of my favorite destinations in all of Indianapolis for picnics and walks ❤

 

2.  Midtown in Carmel – the place to be for great cocktails, food, coffee, walking, biking, everything!

 

3.  Eagle Creek Park – so much to do in the park, but GO APE is not to be missed! Ziplines and rope climbing right here in the middle of the city.

 

What are your favorite activities around Indianapolis that need to be added to this list? Tell me about it and don’t forget bookmark this list for when you’re trying to think of something new to do next weekend 😉

 

 

 

#thingstodoinindy #thingstodoinindianapolis #buyingahome #sellingahome #2022realestatemarket #market #carmelhomes #carmelrealestate #carmelindiana #carmelrealtor #indianapolisrealestate #indianapolishomes #indianapolisrealtor #fishersindiana #fishersrealestate #fishersrealtor #century21 #aliciabuckleyrealtor #aliciasoldmyhome #century21scheetz

Blog Post April 6, 2022

7 Essential Curb Appeal Tips for Sellers 

 

7 Essential Curb Appeal Tips for Sellers 

When you’re walking through a neighborhood and a house catches your eye because the lawn is well-manicured, the front porch is inviting, the house is painted the perfect color, the landscaping is fresh and the flowers are vibrant, that’s curb appeal! It’s what makes you go “wow” and wonder how amazing the inside must be as well.  Curb appeal is all about first impressions which is critical to selling your house at top dollar.

With spring starting to bloom in Indiana, it’s time to focus on the exterior of your home. You want your home to stand out from the others, and the exterior will be the first area buyers see. If it’s not in top shape, there’s a good chance buyers will offer you less or move on to the next home. Here are my best tips for improving your curb appeal:

#1 Be meticulous about your lawn and landscaping
Given that winter was likely harsh on your landscape, this will take some time. You need to trim and prune trees and bushes to get rid of anything dead or overgrown. Add a fresh layer of mulch to your flower beds and around trees to give them a professional, well-kept look. If you have any bare spots in your lawn from snow and ice, add seeds or sod to help renew and cover those areas. Fertilize your lawn to make it green up and get out your edger to clean up the edges along your sidewalks and driveway.

#2 Wash Your House
Your siding, garage doors and windows probably look a bit dirty and dusty after this last winter, so it’s time for a deep clean to make everything look fresh and new for the spring. If you don’t have much siding, use a bucket of soapy water and a bristled brush to remove dirt and debris. If the grime and dirt won’t come off easily or you’re tackling a large area, you may need to use a power washer or ask me for a good contractor to help. If your garage door faces front, clean it as well. Cleaning windows and screens go a long way to refresh the exterior and you’ll be amazed at how it brightens up the interior of your home as well.

#3 Decorate your front porch

Start with a deep clean of the porch – knock down all cobwebs, nests, and debris. If you have any peeling paint or rotten wood on the porch, you will need to make repairs and paint. After that, let the decorating begin! If you have enough space, add a cute bench or matching chairs and a small table. Outdoor rugs and door mats are a great way to show some style and create a space to linger. Outdoor pillows add color and plants are a must.

#4 Seasonal flowers

Large pots at your front door with bright flowers add a ton of curb appeal and cannot be overlooked. You don’t have to be a florist to make these look good – go large with your pots and use one color of flowers to make the biggest impact. If you have a greener thumb, continue with flowers along your sidewalk. Ferns on the front porch always make a statement. Make sure your flowers look fresh for the season and your overall porch decorating theme reflects spring, summer or fall.

#5 Make your front door POP!
Once people pass through your renewed landscaping and beautiful front porch, they will stand at your front door. If your door is dirty, faded or peeling, or in disrepair, it must be addressed (and after a long winter, it will definitely be dirty). Start by washing it down and then assess the paint, color and condition of the door itself. If your door doesn’t need to be replaced, a fresh coat of paint in a bright trendy color is one of the best things you can do to enhance your curb appeal.

#6 Add a fence
A nostalgic touch that adds a lot of charm to a home is a decorative fence around the front of your property. It doesn’t have to be a secure fence like those you would add around the backyard, but rather a cute picket or wrought iron fence in the front yard. This can be especially appealing to families with young children

#7 Update the mailbox
Mailboxes often get overlooked, but they most definitely add curb appeal to your home. There are a lot of options for decorative mailboxes online or at local home improvement stores. Look for a mailbox that compliments your home’s color and style. Pass on any utilitarian plastic box and go for something with attractive. If you have a sturdy mailbox, but it needs a makeover, you can paint it a new color or add your address to the side with stickers or metal decals.

As your local real estate resource, I am always available to provide guidance to clients and friends on how to improve your curb appeal. If you need contractors to help you with landscaping, painting, window washing, etc, don’t hesitate to contact me for access to my list of preferred partners. Call anytime you need assistance with your home!

Blog Post March 3, 2022

Five Keys to Staging Your Home to Sell

Five Keys to Staging Your Home to Sell

If you are planning to sell your home this year, it’s essential to understand the need for staging. Even in this strong seller’s market, I consistently find that a well-staged home can sell for 10-15% more than a home that isn’t show-ready. As a listing agent, it is my job to work closely with you to best stage your home.

What exactly does “staging” mean? A staged home is in excellent selling condition, set up so that a buyer notices the home’s primary selling features rather than the seller’s things. Staging helps the buyer understand each room’s space and visualize living in the home. Sometimes this involves a professional stager who loans you new furniture and accessories, but staging begins with these five tasks for every seller:

Painting - Adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to increase the appeal of your home. Colors should be neutral and consistent throughout the house. If you have bright or dated colors or beat-up walls in any rooms, I highly recommend painting. Additionally, a fresh coat of white paint on trim throughout the house is a fantastic way to make the whole house look clean and fresh. De-Clutter - Get rid of all stacks of magazines and books, piles of mail and files, boxes of forgotten toys, baskets of clutter, fake dusty plants, etc. All counters and dressers should be clear of everything. The goal here is for buyers not to be distracted by your personal items and feel your home is organized (which translates in their mind to well-maintained).

Less is more - Go room-by-room and look at your furniture. Decorators love furniture, and we often live with a lot of it! Too much furniture makes rooms look smaller and can turn off to buyers. Try your hardest to eliminate at least one piece of furniture from each room in the house. Always remove pieces that are worn, ripped or stained. I will help you with your furniture placement to maximize the space.

Cleanliness - Even the slightest mess can be a turnoff to potential buyers. Deep cleaning is essential for going on the market. I recommend cleaning places that are typically ignored, such as baseboards, cabinets, pantry shelves, closet floors, ceiling fans, windows, vents, and air returns. Don’t forget to clean your front door, porch, and surrounding windows – make an excellent first impression!

Let the Light Shine - Now that your house is clean and clutter-free, make sure people can see it in all its splendor by opening all curtains and shades to let in the natural light. I often recommend removing curtains and drapes, including rods and hooks (don’t forget to patch the walls).

Staging is one of my favorite parts of working with clients! I tour many homes with buyers and understand what appeals to them. I have a full storage room of staging pieces to help fill in areas of your home that need a special touch. I also partner with Nested Spaces to do the heavy lifting when we need furniture for vacant rooms – they are excellent at staging an empty home with a designer style. Staging, combined with intelligent pricing, is how to sell with multiple offers going well above market value.

 

Blog Post February 16, 2022

Top 5 design trends for 2022

Today, home design can be summed up as a clean, uncluttered look with warm neutrals and plenty of texture. As a realtor, I tour many homes and watch the reaction of many buyers as they walk through spaces. Nearly everyone will tell me they’d prefer to have an “updated” home and are willing to pay more for it. As I’ve been in many show homes, new construction, and remodeled homes, here are the trends I’ve noticed over the last few months that I expect to carry us through 2022:

1.The color white

Many people see the color white and think no way, but there are many reasons why white is the best choice to add throughout your home. From walls and trim, to bedding, and to the kitchen, the color white brings you versatility, letting you change your style up or bring in pops of color and texture without changing big items every time. White also makes your rooms look bigger & brighter! Choosing the perfect tone of white can be challenging, so make sure you sample several colors and view them in your space before making a choice.

Pro Tip: If you’re painting your house this year, don’t use gray.

2. Warm wood accents

Wood is a highly distinguished element when added to an interior space. Bringing comfort, warmth, and natural beauty inside is why people love it so much. Wood can be incorporated into just about any style, including modern, rustic, and vintage. Adding reclaimed beams to high ceilings can make the space feel more intimate. Wooden light fixtures have become a significant trend because they are easily incorporated into most areas, are sustainable, and offer an organic look—the highly flexible material pairs beautifully with everything from marble to concrete to metal and glass.

3. Light-colored floors

These days people are opting out of the dark color wood options. Light-colored floors are overall easier to clean. They hide dirt and scuffs better, making them easier to maintain. That means less need to break out the broom or shake your head over marks and scrapes.  Lighter wood has a way of making a room feel bigger and airier by accentuating natural light.

4. Plants

Many low-maintenance plants thrive indoors, like ZZ Plant, Snake Plants, Staghorn Fern, and many more. Did you know that aside from the aesthetics, there are other more significant reasons to add plants to your home? Plants clean and purify the air and reduce stress creating a healthier living environment.

5. Gold/brass hardware and fixtures

If you haven’t already noticed, gold or brass fixtures and hardware are back in style, and it’s a trend I jumped on with my newly remodeled kitchen. Gold provides warmth, sophistication, and elegance to any room.(delete this part because I’m seeing all colors: and these days, it has a brushed finish, not a “brassy” one).  Changing hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to accessorize and update any room in your home. Maybe it is time to change your mind about using brass and gold in your home.  As far as I can see, the subdued brass and brushed gold fixtures trend is not going anywhere!

If you’re ready to remodel, keep these trends in mind to look current and appealing. As I always say, keep your home updated while you’re living in it! Please don’t wait until it’s time to move to invest thousands to make it look current. Call me anytime you’d like some advice on how to best update your home with resale in mind!

Blog Post February 2, 2022

Understanding the 2022 Market

Everyone keeps asking me what’s driving this crazy real estate market. When is it going to crash? Simply put, it’s not a bubble that’s going to burst (and it’s ok if prices level off a bit to help buyers get a foothold). At the heart of the problem is the primary explanation of supply and demand. Let’s dig into why we are experiencing this market in Indiana and across the country.

1. Millennials: Their most many birth years were 1989-1993, which means all of those people are now turning 30. Millennials are the most significant segment of our population. Around 30, they are either buying their first home or looking for a second one to accommodate the new babies.

2. Interest rates: Rising in 2022, but still crazy low! Rates most likely will not exceed 4% on 30 year fixed mortgages. The low lending cost further increases our buyer pool and raises their buying power.

3. Equity: There’s a lot of money in real estate now, and home-buyers are bringing cash or making larger down payments. In a competitive market, money wins. Adjustable-rate mortgages and 0% financing are a thing of the past. Mortgage companies carefully verify income, assets, employment. Buyers are now fully vetted and making a significant investment in their homes. This is the opposite of the early 2000s which led to the 2008 crash.

4. Builders are behind: There are so many reasons why builders can’t catch up. Materials and labor shortages, supply chain issues, zoning challenges, etc. Even if they could build more, their costs are forcing prices beyond the reach of the average first-time buyer. Local builders estimate they are 25% behind demand.

5. The Pandemic: Working from home, schooling from home, vacationing at home, caring for aging relatives at home are all factors driving up demand! Everyone wants more space, a yard, an oasis now that we’re spending more time at home. People who have these things aren’t moving, further exacerbating the problem.

If you’re thinking about moving this year, there are more logistics than ever. I work with people every day to buy, sell, and do both simultaneously. The market is extremely fast-paced, and you must have all your ducks in a row before starting, which is where my expertise comes in. I’m here to advise you, put together a plan, and negotiate for you.

“We’re amid the five years (2019 through 2023) where the five largest millennial birth years (1989 through 1993) will hit the all-important first-time homebuying age of 30.”

Stay Social: https://linktr.ee/AliciaBuckleyRealtor

 

Blog Post December 1, 2021

Pay Less Property Tax

Don’t pay too much property tax! There are big savings to be had if you purchased a house or refinanced your mortgage in 2021.

If you bought a home this year that is your primary residence, property tax deductions must be filed with your county auditor by December 31Homestead and mortgage deductions can save you nearly 50% on your annual tax bill! 

When you buy a home, the title company usually files the homestead deduction for you, but I always recommend double-checking that it was accepted and posted by the county auditor before the end of the year since this is such a huge savings.  The mortgage deduction is not always filed for you by the title company (it is considerably less $$$, but it is still money saved), so you will need to check on that as well.

Deductions are also available for veterans, seniors, geothermal systems, and more. Check out this Indiana website for details.

You do not need to fill out forms before visiting the county auditor’s office, simply take your whole file from closing with you and they will take out the papers they need and give you forms to complete. Very simple.

You also want to make sure your exemptions are still on your property if you REFINANCED the mortgage of your primary residence this year.

Here is a contact list for all the Central Indiana auditors:

HAMILTON CO AUDITOR
33 N. 9th St. #L21, Noblesville
317.776.8401
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (M-F)
HamiltonCounty.IN.Gov/443/Auditors-Office
MARION CO AUDITOR
200 E. Washington St. #841, Indianapolis
317.327.4646
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (M-F)
Indy.Gov/Agency/Marion-County-Auditors-Office
HENDRICKS CO AUDITOR
355 S. Washington St. #202, Danville
317.745.9300
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (M-F)
Co.Hendricks.IN.US/Auditor
 

BOONE CO AUDITOR
201 Courthouse Sq., Lebanon
765.482.2940
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM (M-F)
BooneCounty.IN.Gov/Offices/Auditor

 

JOHNSON CO AUDITOR
86 W. Court St., Franklin
317.346.4310
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (M-F)
Co.Johnson.IN.US/Auditor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call me if you have any questions!

Blog Post February 18, 2021

Top 5 Home Design Trends for 2021

I love home design and enjoy studying the latest trends.  I’ve recently toured many new model homes and have been seeing some common themes that I’d like to share.  If you’re preparing to make some updates to your home (be it painting a bedroom or tearing your kitchen down to the studs), try integrating some of these new design styles.

 

#1 Metal: Brushed gold and brass is the hardware of choice for cabinets and lighting. This is not the polished yellow gold of the ‘90s. Think of a softer “champagne” color or darker brass. Matte black is also popular, showing up on doorknobs, cabinets and faucets.  A welcome change from many years of brushed nickel!

 

#2 Wood: Dark wood floors are drifting away because they are high-maintenance!  Dust, pet fur and scratches are too conspicuous on dark floors, so light natural wood has taken center stage. Warm, natural wood cabinets are also trending in bathrooms and kitchens.

 

#3 Interior Color: Clean and fresh is the trend for your walls! White has replaced gray so that furniture, artwork, and color accents pop. Explore SW Alabaster, Eider White, Pure White, and Shoji White to find the one with the best undertones for your home.

 

#4 Accent Walls: With all the white walls, we need to add some interest. Wallpaper is so fun in small doses! Put it on the wall behind your bed to make a statement without being too busy. Another really cool trend is an accent wall of wood trim, then all painted a solid color.

 

#5 Exteriors: If you’re getting new windows, think about black frames, or paint your old ones to really update your exterior. Dark siding is also very popular – go with very dark gray, blue, brown, or black for a contemporary look.

 

One of my favorite annual events for checking out new designs is BAGI Home-A-Rama.  If you missed this event last fall, you can see the designs on the virtual tour – a great way to get inspired!

Blog Post January 1, 2021

Central Indiana Real Estate Outlook for 2021

The 2020 real estate market saw a lot of activity, despite the pandemic, and Central Indiana is a hot spot. National Association of REALTORS has identified our area as one of the Top 10 Markets During and in a Post-COVID Environment

Factors that are driving our local market include:

  1. Record low interest rates that are projected to stay in the 3% range in 2021
  2. Low inventory levels, meaning not enough people are selling their homes to keep up with the buyer demand. This ultimately increases prices and keeps days on market low.
  3. New home construction is limited in Hamilton County – labor, materials, and local regulations make it difficult to build homes that are affordable for first-time buyers
  4. The ability to work in any location is bringing a lot of out-of-state buyers
  5. Mortgage pre-approvals are up, a leading indicator of buyers in 2021

Per MIBOR data, Hamilton County home prices have increased 9.5% over 2019 (through Nov).  The median price is now $325,000.  It isn’t just the northside suburbs seeing demand, Marion County prices rose by 11.5%!

2021 will be another good year for sellers, as prices are projected to continue to rise and there are still a lot of buyers looking for homes.  This doesn’t mean we can over-price homes or poorly market a property.  Listing your home still takes expert preparation, a strong on-line presence, and correct pricing.  Getting offers is often the easiest part of the process, but inspections and appraisals make the journey to closing difficult.  I’m here to help you prepare your home for listing and navigate the process to closing.  My biggest tip is to start planning now for your spring-summer move.  Learn more about listing your home and my listing services.