Considering renovating your house in Yardley, should you work with an interior designer?
A friend of mine is an outstanding interior designer. Her name is Donna Hoffman, and her company is Interiors by Donna Hoffman.
I am frequently asked by my Yardley area real estate clients, whether I know of a good interior decorator, and sometimes I am asked to describe or explain how interior decorators work. It seems to me, that some people can be a bit intimidated by the process.
In order to try and help answer questions about how designers work, and whether it even pays to work with one, depending on the nature of a particular project, I asked Donna to contribute to my blog, with a guest post.
So, the question was asked, “Should you work with an Interior Designer?” What follows are Donna’s thoughts. I just wanted to add, that if you are considering working with an interior designer, Donna does a faulous job. She is very organized, very detail oriented, and very easy to work with. Please check out her website at InteriorsByDonnaHoffman.
Should you work with an Interior Designer?
Like ice skating, designing an interior is exponentially harder than it looks. Design is 14 armed octopus, but I love it! You might be surprised to learn that even though I run a successful and busy Philadelphia area design business, I’m the first one to say: Not everybody should work with an interior designer. Since I get this question, here’s a little guide as to who would should, and who should not ,hire a design pro.
Hiring a Designer to Steward Your Project Is A Good Move if at least 2 of these are true about you:
- *You view your home as an extension of (or expression of) yourself & you take great pride & pleasure in living daily in a beautifully appointed home.
- *You’re about to undertake a renovation & feel overwhelmed or confused by the breadth of decisions.
- *You just moved into a new home and cannot make your existing furnishings work or get them to ‘fit’
- *You want to upsize or downsize & do so beautifully and with high function.
- *You want something that looks like an interior that might bee seen in a magazines a but recognize that you can’t ”get there” your own.
- *You have a long narrow room, or an oddly shaped room & you can’t figure out how to get it to ‘feel right or look beautifully right.
- *You recognize that you lack the skill set, time or resources to create the look or lifestyle you’re after
- *You’re struggling with odd or mismatched windows in a single space and just don’t know how to handle them.
- *You expect excellent value for the dollar, but also value the expertise, experience, service, resources, and unique ideas a professional provides
- * You believe in hiring experts to do things that you cannot do as well as they can.
- *You’re sensitive to the way an interior looks and feels, but don’t know how to ‘cross the design finish line’ yourself.
Avoid hiring a professional designer if you are either or both of these:
1) A Die-hard do-it-yourselfer Don’t do it. It’ll be a disaster for both you & designer. Do it yourselfers are not likely to value the experience, fresh perspectives, design science, service, legwork and intellectual property a designer brings to the table. Just as some people don’tt value of having an accountant do their tax return. There’s nothing wrong with being a do-it-yourselfer. In fact, I have a pal who lives in a palatial home in an elegant area and she and her husband have made every design decision themselves. Would it make it into a design magazine? Not likely. Do I agree with the decisions they’ve made. Not a lot of them. But who cares. It works for them and for their lifestyle. Not hiring a designer has nothing to do with how elegant you are or how ‘classy’ you are. Hiring a designer has more to do with your goals and what you value.
2) A Bargain Shopper. We all want good value. Getting excellent value is one thing – but always wanting the cheapest possible thing at the cheapest price is something else. The Bargain Shopper is the person who’d choose price over quality every time. This person will never be happy working with a design professional because they will not value the experience or skills a designer provides - nor the unique ideas or products a designer can provide. Becuase this person doesn’t value the designers place in the process, they may even be downright suspicious of a designers recommendations. Generally, the Bargain Shopper likes to work independantly and will likely feel satisfied with whatever result they come up with. Good enough is good enough for them. And as a professional designer I’m here to tell you … that’s ok too!
So if you find that you are in the market for a designer – look for an excellent, fair, ethical and professional designer. Not only should your end result be marvelous, but you should be surprised with marvelous service throughout the process. There is the right designer out there for you. (Every shoe has its match!) Talk to friends, talk to designers. You will find her! And you’ll be oh so glad you did.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Selling your home in Yardley, Bucks County, home inspection before you sell!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POcfzgBG8Kw[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
New Hope Lambertville Restaurant week
Wanted everyone to know that tomorrow, is the start of the second anual, New Hope & Lambertville restaurant week.
From Sunday, March 20th, until Friday, March 25th, a total of 27 restaurants, in New Hope and Lambertville, will be participating.
The week-long promotion includes a $29.95 Prix-Fixe Fine Dining or $19.95 Prix-Fixe Casual Dining.
I have been at virtually every one of the 27 participating restaurants, and I would say that you can not go wrong if you try any of them.
Check out this link to see all of the participating restaurants. Hope to see you there, during the week. It is really a fun event.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Yardley, Lower Makefield Township real estate market update.
In real estate parlance, although spring doesn’t arrive in Yardley, for another day or so, here in Bucks County, we are already in the spring market. From a real estate perspective, we thing of the spring market starting, just after the super bowl.
It is supposed to be in the seventies, on Friday, so we are all really going to have spring fever!
I have spoken with 6 or 7 clients, whose houses I will be putting on the market within the next few weeks. Virtually all of these homes are in the Yardley , Newtown area. I thought it would be a good time to take a quick look at the real estate market in Bucks County.
I have linked in this post, to charts and graphs, that you may find helpful in understanding where things are right now.
As most of us would expect, the real estate market in Bucks County, and specifically in the Yardley-Newtown area, continues to favor buyers. Although our area has performed significantly better than other parts of the country, it is critically important for sellers to realize that Yardley and Newtown real estate pricing levels, are about where they were in 2004 & 2005.
Yardley-Lower Makefield Township Real Estate Market statistical update
The volume of real estate sales in Bucks County through Februray of 2011, is donw by about 3% from last year at this time. Last years numbers were still being impacted by the tax credit, so this is not a surprise. I believe that unit sales will continue to be flat.
- In the Yardley-Lower Makefield Township real estate market, one of the biggest changes is in the number of homes on the market, as of the end of February. The number of houses on the market is 17% less this year, than it was at the same time, last year.
- The number of houses that have gone to closing in Yardley and Lower Makefield, is almost the same through February, compared with last year.
- Buyers are still getting close to a 10% discount from the asking price. This has actually increased from last year.
- Another interesting markety dynamic in Lower Makefield Township, is that there is about a 6 month supply of homes on the market. We consider a market to be balanced between buyers and sellers, at that point.
- It is taking longer for homes to sell in Yardley, than in the past, which is also not a surprise.
Please check out the price appreciation chart to see exactly what real estate prices have done since 2000, in Yardley, Newtown and other communities in Bucks County.
It is clear, that the real estate market is extremel price sensitive. For sellers, be realistic, and understand the real estate market dynamics, and you will sell your home within a reasonable amount of time. What do you think?Continue Reading > Add a Comment
In Yardley & Lower Makefield Townsip…get Your Spring Cleaning Checklist
The calendar has turned March in Lower Makefield Township and warmer weather is around the corner. Get ready for Spring Cleaning Season.
For households in which Spring Cleaning is an annual ritual, this helpful checklist from MarthaStewart.com makes sure no job gets left behind.
From the smallest of chores to the biggest of projects, many common tasks are covered, including:
- Vacuuming and shampooing rugs
- Waxing wooden furniture and non-wood floors
- Dusting books and shelves
- Resealing grout lines in kitchens and bathrooms
- Clean and/or launder window treatments
Most of the cleaning can be handled with household items like rags and cleansers, but for a few of the items, you may want to rent a machine from a local hardware store or supermarket. Carpet shampooers are a noteworthy example. Rental costs are nominal and the potential time savings are big.
For some households Spring Cleaning is a one-day affair. For others, it’s a weekend project that lasts a month. However you choose do it, keep this checklist handy and you’ll have an easier time.
If you are considering putting your house on the market, in Bucks County, these things can be even more important. In fact, I have a very detailed check list of steps to take, to help ensure that your house looks as good as it can possibly look, when it goes on the market. Given the current market enviornment in Yardley and Newtown, this is even more important than it has ever been. Recent survey’s done by Coldwell Banker show that today’s buyers are seeking homes that are as close to perfect as possible, within a buyers price range.
Take a look at the spring cleaning check list, and let me know what you think.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Yardley Boro flood preparation update information
Compliments of Yardley Boro, here is an update on the steps being taken by Yardley Boro, based on the expected rain that is on the way:
Right now, the Delaware River is projected to crest at 22.5 feet in Trenton at 1 AM Saturday morning. Flood stage is 20 feet. That being said, Yardley Borough is taking the following steps:
Friday, March 11th, 7 AM: N. Delaware Ave. River Road) to be closed from Afton Ave. to Brown St..
Friday, March 11th, 2PM: N. Delaware Ave. to be closed from Afton Ave. to Fuld St..
Friday, March 11th 7PM: N. Delaware Ave. to be closed from Afton Ave. to Woodside Road.
Any closing of S. Delaware Ave. will be on a as–needed basis.
At 7pm Friday, evacuations will occur on N. Delaware Ave.
PECO will be working with the Boro to minimize the impact of any require electrical shutdowns, meaning power will be shut off in as small an area as possible.
At this time, there is no information as to when Delaware Ave. or any other affected roads will be reopened.
This information is based on the knowledge Borough officials have at this time. The above could change due to any change in the weather forecast over the next 48 hours.
For up to date information, please visit the Yardley Borough website at www.yardleyboro.comContinue Reading > Add a Comment
Delaware River view, from Yardley during rain storm
Had a nice lunch today, at the Yardley Inn. It was delicious, as always.
I did see a news van from ABC and NBC, covering the impending rain storm. As those of us know who have lived in Bucks County , and specifically in the Yardley area for a few years, the Yardley Inn is a lovely restaurant on the Delaware River. It offers great food, a fabulous atmosphere, and gorgeous views of the river.
It has also flooded several times, when Yardley experienced its terrible flooding.
The restaurant was crowed today for lunch, and it did not look like flooding was iminent. Hopefully as the rain increases, it will not flood. I will keep everyone posted.Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Yardley, Newtown, Upper Makefield Real Estate statistical review.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giYTqLRUyyc[/youtube]Continue Reading > Add a Comment
Bucks County Tax appeal time?
It has been a while since I have done a post regarding property tax appeals.
If you live in Bucks County, and own a home, then you recently received the first of 2 property tax bills for the current tax year. This bill represents the smaller of the two. It is for the County/Township portion of your total property taxes.
I have already received numerous emails and phone calls, about filing tax appeals, becuase home owners have received these bills.
Here is the update regarding filing appeals. First, a disclaimer. I am not a tax attorney, or financial advisor. I am also not an appraiser. However, I can offer some suggestions and comments, based on experiences of clients I have worked with who have filed appeals succesfully.
As I point out frequently, the process is not complicated. The first step is to submit a form notifying the County of your intent to appeal. That form can be found on the link above, and it is also available from the Bucks County Tax Assessors website. Once the County receives that form, they will schedule a hearing date. It is important to note that the hearings generally are not heald until August. This is important, because it may impact when it would be appropriate to have a formal appraisal of your property completed.
The most critical question, is how you determine whether or not you have a reasonable case for an appeal. Here is a brief explanation about how the process works. Every year the state comes up with what is called a STEB rate. That stands for state tax equalization board. That number is used basically to equate a property’s assessment to fair market value. The ratio last year was 10.9%. Without getting to detailed with the math aspect, if you take your total assessment, and divide by .109, the result would be the market value for which the County is taxing you on. So, based on last years number, if you could prove that the fair market value of your property is less than what that value represents, then you would, in theory, have a case.
The challenge right now, is that we don’t have any idea what the STEB rate will be for this year. Last year, the State did not release the number until July. It also changed by around 13% from the previous year, which represented a very large change. That, in itself, prevented many people from appealing.
For estimating only, I would suggest using a value of 11%, this year. Again, this is just a guess, but at least you will have an initial frame of reference, to see if it makes sense to appeal. If you still have questions, or would like me to go through the computations with you, please contact me. I can also make suggestions as to how to complete the appeal process. The choices are to do to the hearing by yourself, using your own comparables, get an appraisal done, and go to the hearing with it, or hire an attorney, on a contigency basis. I can explain all of those options.
In the coming months, I will continue to follow Bucks County tax appeal issues, and will post as I feel it is warranted. Hope that you find this helpful.Continue Reading > Add a Comment