The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Family

By now you’ve likely heard the big news. We’re becoming part of the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services family. You may be wondering what that means for you and what changes are in store. You may have also been wondering how we’re moving in the right direction.

First and foremost, we’re still the same group of agents you’ve come to know and trust, only now we have the backing of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Their values mirror ours. A home is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. It’s the place where memories are made, where families come together and grow.

Over the next few weeks you’ll see more of the new logo and colors, new signs, and a fantastic new website designed with you in mind. But even with these great new updates, we’re remain Utah owned and managed. We remain committed to those we serve, providing the very best in representation for both homebuyers and sellers. With the support of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, you’ll have even better access to the best in Utah County and beyond. We’re moving in the right direction and we’re good to know.

We’re so excited to be part of a select group of brokerages chosen to join the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices family. In the words of Gino Blefari, CEO, HSF Affiliated LLC, “When our name goes on a real estate sign, it means something. It’s a promise of integrity, professionalism, innovation and the highest standard of work. Berkshire Hathaway is one of the most respected in the world—especially when it comes to real estate. And we don’t take that lightly. That’s why you’ll see these values reflected in every office, every agent, every interaction. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is the name buyers and sellers trust. Bruce, together with his executive team, sales managers and agents, has built an extraordinary organization and exemplify a level of expertise, vision and leadership that is second-to-none in the real estate business today. We look forward to having a company of such tremendous caliber carry the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand into the Utah marketplace.”

We’re throwing a party to celebrate this exciting change, and we’d love for you to join us. Just click here for all the info about our Launch Celebration this Wednesday, the 27th. It’s absolutely free to join. Whether you’re a resident of Utah County who want’s to learn more, or an agent who would like to see what Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices can do for you, we think you’ll have a great time!

We’ll have food, networking, some fun activities, and a good old-fashioned ribbon cutting. It’s a great way to see what we’re all about, meet the team, have a little fun, and find out what’s new. We’ll be at Noah’s Event Center in Lindon and encourage you to drop by!

Find The Right Neighborhood For Your Family

When searching for the right home, your choice of neighborhood can be just as important as the right house. But how do you know what’s right for you and your family?

Start by Dreaming Big

What do you consider to be the ideal neighborhood? Create an outline of what your dream ‘hood looks and feels like. Ask yourself what’s most important about where you live. What might you be lacking in your current neighborhood that you know you want in your next? Here are some questions to get you started.

Do you prefer older homes or new? Do you love the feel of historic areas or prefer a more updated approach to neighborhood planning?
What type of living space do you need? A traditional single family home, or do you love the idea of a townhome or duplex?
Is the look and feel of a neighborhood important to you? Do you need a big yard or perhaps want a lot that could be added to in the future if your family grows?
Do you want to be close to parks? Walking distance to entertainment? A shorter commute to work?
Do you prefer urban or suburban neighborhoods or something in between?
Is there a list of things you absolutely do not want in your area? If you don’t want to pay HOA fees or be near a busy intersection, include these in your ideal list.

Talk to your Realtor!

Take your ideal neighborhood list to your agent. They can help you find areas that fit just what you’re looking for. Once you’re pointed in the right direction, your Realtor can help you figure out what the benefits are to each area and you can start really focusing your research.

Talk to Friends and Family

Chances are once you’ve selected a general area, your friends and family know someone who knows someone who lives there. Try and get in touch, ask questions find out what they love and what they may not love about the neighborhood.

Visit the Area

This may seem like a no brainer, but go for a drive, or have your agent take you to a few listings. Do you like what you see? More importantly, can you see yourself and your family there? If you’re instantly overtaken by visions of your kids playing in the yard and lovely evenings on your front porch, this may be the place for you. If you can’t, that doesn’t mean it’s not the right area. Take a minute to let yourself experience the sights, sounds, and feel of the area. Are they to your taste? The neighborhood may fit all your criteria, but if you can’t see yourself there, it might be time to move to the next option.

Some Final Neighborhood Thoughts

Be open to suggestions, but don’t feel you have to be excited about a neighborhood that just doesn’t do it for you. There are lots of options out there, find the one that makes you feel at home.

Is The Open Kitchen Right For You?

Open kitchens are all the rage when it comes to new homes and renovations. They certainly increase a home’s value in today’s market. The open kitchen can be ideal for families, as those preparing meals aren’t left out of the action in the rest of the home. The kids might be busy in the family room, but since it opens on to the kitchen whomever is doing food prep can keep an eye on the little ones or continue conversations while making a meal.

The open kitchen is in stark contrast to homes of the past, where the kitchen was typically out of sight and likely only open to a breakfast room or nook. If you’re not a millennial, you may very well remember the time when the kitchen door was designed to blend in with the dining room so well, it could be a challenge to find.

Deciding whether an open kitchen is right for you depends a good deal on your family dynamic and what type of cook you are. Do you prefer a bit of seclusion when working with hot and sharp objects? What type of entertaining do you prefer? For those who enjoy more formal dinner parties, a kitchen separate from the rest of the house might be on the love list, ditto for those who like to be free of distractions while cooking.

The good news is that many new homes offer both. While the kitchen opens to the family room or a spacious casual dining area, the formal dining room is clearly delineated, offering the best of both worlds.

If you’re considering renovating an older home with a separate kitchen the current conventional wisdom and market suggests you should open the kitchen. That said, consider what it will take to do so. Assuming your kitchen walls aren’t load bearing, be aware of what permits will be required to take them out. And most importantly, if you prefer a separate kitchen and don’t have designs on selling, consider renovations that will make your kitchen feel more open without knocking out walls. Window banks, new lighting, and a reconfiguration of counter space can work wonders.

Creating Curb Appeal On Any Budget

Think of curb appeal as your home’s first impression. A home that looks fantastic from the street is likely to get buyers thinking positively even before they step inside. If you’re getting ready to sell your home, consider implementing a few of these ideas to help your home sell faster or use them to freshen up the home you love.

Think Clean & Tidy

Just like the inside of your home, the exterior should be free of clutter and neat as a pin. Remove any debris, weed beds, prune trees, and consider a power wash of your home’s exterior. Take a look at the actual curb – is your house number painted neatly? If not, break out the stencils.

Everything In Working Order

Take a hard look for any loose fencing, exterior hardware, pavers, or landscape details and get them up to snuff! If your front door hardware or mailbox is at all damaged, consider replacing it. Make sure all lighting is in working order and replace any bulbs that are out and fix any wiring issues. Examine trim elements and garden beds closely for flaws and repair or replace any item that is damaged.

Simple Additions

A new mailbox or exterior light fixtures can go a long way. Choose items that are well coordinated and tie in to the look of your home. Consider solar powered walkway lighting, updated house numbers, new door hardware, or adding plants or fresh mulch to existing beds.

Larger Projects

Take a hard look at your trees. If any show signs of disease or if you have large, low-hanging branches, it’s worth bringing in a pro to trim large or dead branches. If your walkway or driveway is cracked beyond repair, it’s likely time to start fresh. The same goes for gutters or siding that has seen better days. While they might not be something you notice day to day, potential buyers will be looking closely. The addition of a portico or pergola can add real wow factor.

Details, Details

Small upgrades, like window boxes or potted plants go a long way toward giving your property a boost. Create symmetry wherever possible – matching lights on either side of the door, matching beds on each side of the stoop or walkway, all appeal to the eye. Consider a bright color for your door or repainting trim with a complementary color.

Get Ready To Sell Your Home

Sell Your Home With These Tips

While you may be an expert when it comes to a seeing the potential in a home, not all buyers are. Some revisions to your decor that might seem counterintuitive can actually help your home appeal to buyers and help you sell.


Be Switzerland

By that we mean be neutral. While that deep, dark blue in your dining room might be right out of a design magazine, buyers may have a hard time envisioning their furniture in the room. Play it safe and repaint with neutral tones that make it easier for potential buyers to imagine how they would decorate.


Be Anonymous

While you’ve spent years personalizing with carefully curated family photos, they don’t always play well with buyers. De-personalize and focus on how you’ll display those items in your new home. Pack family photos, mementos and other items that scream you. Opt instead for art with broad appeal.

Be an Editor

Particularly with your furniture. Large pieces can make a room feel smaller than it actually is and dated furniture can send the wrong message. Your great-grandmother’s armoire may be a stunning example of Victorian craftsmanship, but storing it can prevent damage and make a room look larger and less cluttered. In many cases, hiring a staging company will be well worth the time and money.

Pare down to the bare necessities when it comes to cookware, dishes, and small appliances. Do the same in the bathroom. Get as much off the counters as you can, or consider plastic containers that can be packed and stored when the house is to be shown. In addition to kitchen and bathroom cabinets, make sure all cabinets and closets look tidy and uncluttered. Matching hangers help. Store any out of season clothing to make closets look bigger, and yes, figure out how to fold your fitted sheets to keep linen closets organized.

Now is the time for a major house clean out. Donate or pitch anything you aren’t using and don’t want to take with you. Store anything you don’t absolutely need right now. A few moving boxes in the garage are fine, if they are stored neatly and don’t take up too much space. A storage space can be your best buddy during a transition. It will also help you determine what you can and can’t live without in your new home.

Be Safe

Make sure items with your personal information are secured, especially during open houses. Put away bills, prescription bottles and extra car keys, preferably in a locked drawer or container, or keep them with you while you’re away. Get a lock box at your bank if you don’t already have one for small valuables like jewelry and paperwork. If you have any pieces of art on your insurance policy, talk to your agent or your bank about secure storage while your home is on the market. And while it should go without saying, make sure any firearms are in a locked gun safe or off the premises. Whenever possible, take the pets to daycare, or take your dog with you while showings take place. Indoor cats are likely to run outside while homes are being shown, so make arrangements ahead of time for their safety.

Your friendly Prudential agent will provide you with even more tips and personalized suggestions as you go through the listing process. Getting organized ahead of schedule will make the process easier and help your move go off without a hitch.

Spring Into Home Improvement

Spring is right around the corner, though in Utah it might be June before spring is sprung. Regardless, it’s coming. Whether you plan to list your home, (with one of our amazing Prudential agents, of course), or you plan to stay put for a while, we have a honey-do home improvement list for spring that will ensure you enjoy your summer.

Don’t Just Cut the Grass, Manicure your Lawn

If you want your side of the fence to have greener grass, start thinking about your lawn now. Early spring is prime seeding time, particularly for Kentucky Bluegrass. You can start to feed your lawn as soon as it starts greening. Get some bulbs in the ground and add a few plants that thrive in Utah (plants labeled for zone 5 and lower), to really make your yard shine. Spring is also the perfect time to put in new beds or that water feature you always wanted. Koi fish are optional.

Hope You Had a Blow Out

Your sprinkler system might have looked dormant all winter, but chances are it was up to no good if you didn’t have it blown out. If your system wasn’t winterized, consider bringing in a pro to get it back up to snuff. If it was winterized, (good job), turn the water back on SLOWLY. If you don’t hear the water shut off after a few seconds, check to make sure the backflow or blowout valve is closed. Run a test and check for any broken sprinkler heads and replace them. Reset your sprinkler timer and you’re ready to go. The internet abounds with how-to guides if you plan to turn your system back on without professional help.


Life in the Great Outdoors

Consider some new outdoor furniture or create a living space outside to enjoy this summer and many more to come. If you already have patio furniture, update the cushions or add a new umbrella to make your backyard your favorite hang out. Potted tropical plants that can be brought inside during cooler months do double duty. Clean the grill, fix any loose decking or pavers, and you’re ready for an amazing summer retreat just outside your door.  

Cool It!

Early spring is the ideal time to check your air conditioner for issues. You’ll beat the summer rush before all the contractors are booked and won’t be left sweltering when the mercury rises. Clean your A/C unit to ensure efficiency and if you haven’t replaced filters in a while, now is the time.


The Roof Over Your Head

Have you checked your roof lately? Clean the gutters, (everyone’s favorite chore), and check your roof for any damage it might have incurred over the winter. Catching small issues early can extend the life of your roof significantly, not to mention the savings that come from repair vs. replacement. If you are ready for a new roof, start looking for a contractor and book for summer.

While some of these home improvement tasks might seem a bit daunting, get them done early and you’ll enjoy some much needed R and R this summer. Not only that, but you’ll increase your home’s value and boost curb appeal when you keep it in good repair.

Design Trends That Make People Say … ‘No!’

Design trends are just that: trendy. They change from day to day, year to year, and decade to decade. The ones that are popular now won’t be soon. The ones that were popular years ago aren’t now and the ones that were popular decades ago are already back again.

Interior design trends tend to follow fashion trends about three years later. As colors gain popularity in fashion, they follow shortly thereafter in interior design.  The trick is being able to see what are trends and what is classic.  The difference is that classic will never go out of style, whereas trends always eventually go out of style.

Here are some major trends from our recent past that are turning people away from houses:

 1.   Carpet in the master bathroom. The 1990’s brought us so many fine trends, carpet in bathrooms was one of them. The thought was that cold tile on your bare feet was unpleasant. You know what else is unpleasant? Mold in your carpet pad.

2.   Plantation shutters. They are expensive, I know. Every single one of my clients who has them tells me over and over how expensive they are. Plantation shutters were designed for plantations. Hot, muggy places. The shutters were designed to block light and still allow a breeze to come into the house. The issue today is that they still block light, over 50 percent of the light that would have come through a window is blocked by plantation shutters. The fact of the matter is that nobody wants to buy a dark house. If the shutters aren’t there, they won’t miss them.

3.   Curtains over closets. The odds of the next buyer having the same taste in curtains as you is slim. Curtains over closets scream “YOU HAVE WORK TO DO” to your potential buyers.  Do yourself and the buyer a favor, take the curtains down and put the doors back up.

4.   Family, Friendship, Love, Laugh, Dance… BARF! Word art inevitably tells a story of the seller’s life and is distracting to the buyer.  Nobody cares how deep your family roots run, or that this is Emma’s crib. Take it down.

5.  Accent walls. The term “accent walls” is a misnomer, they should instead be called focal walls as they tend to provide a focus point for the room. Unfortunately, as the focal point of a room, they tend to dictate how a room should be set up and what the color scheme should be for the room. If you have a purple accent wall and all of your buyer’s furniture is red, they are going to have to work to remove that paint or more than likely just buy some other house.

6.   “Faux” is french for fake. No matter what language you translate it to faux paint is fake and is as out of style as pleats on men’s dress pants. The overwhelming commonality of all of cultural trends is truth — people want real food made by real people in real time. The time of fake and fast is over. Faux painting will send your buyer away faster than you can say “marbleized”!

7.   Wallpaper. Wallpaper is hard to take down and, again, the chances of them having the same taste as you and having furniture that will go with it is slim.

8.   Curtains.  See item 7. Wallpaper and item 3. Curtains over closets.

9.   Platform beds and other Feng Shui items.  Feng Shui is the Chinese thought system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy, and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings. It most likely works great in China where most people are acutely aware of the thought system, but in Western culture it just looks like a giant platform bed with a mirror and a stick above it. Your buyer will most likely have no idea why you did it and it will distract from the room.

10. Collections. Using a collection to highlight built-in shelves works well, so long as the collection does not overshadow the shelves themselves. Completely overwhelming a house with a collection or series of collections will overshadow the house and positively or negatively take attention away from the house. Pre-pack these items to proudly display them in your next house.

11. Rounded outside gypsum board corners.  These became popular in the building boom of the 1990’s because they required less time and skill for laborers to mud and tape. This, of course, was a very cost effective way to build homes. However, we quickly realized that rounded corners left us no place to end wall finishes like paint and wallpaper.  Needless to say, the trend faded away and now we have tons of houses with rounded outside corners.


From NAR Realtor Mag: By Justin M. Riordan