Quintessential Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2017

Simple dining set decorative pendant lamp and roller blinds light open kitchen in the background

The two most common rooms in your home to renovate are the kitchen and bathrooms. Both projects yield some of the highest returns on investment. Whether you’re remodeling or customizing your kitchen or bathroom, let’s take a look forward to 2017 and highlight a few of the quintessential kitchen and bath trends you won’t want to miss!

  • Gray Is In: While black and white may still be popular, gray is the new shade on the block. Incorporate gray into your kitchen cabinets or paint your bathroom walls gray to keep your home trendy but timeless.

Modern white bathroom interior in the attic. The room has vaulted ceiling view of glass shower door bathroom vanity with black top and bathtub. Northwest USA

  • Unique Appliances: Stainless steel is losing its lead to appliances with sleek colors such as copper, gold and pewter that provide a clean, edgy look.
  • Storage Space: No matter how big or small your home, storage is always a challenge. New and innovative storage options include multi-tiered drawers in the kitchen and vertical spaces in the bathroom, which give you more without over cluttering your spaces.
  • White Paneling: Add or update your wood paneling with a coat of white paint to refresh your kitchen or bathroom. This simple look will never go out of style.

Beautiful Custom Kitchen Interior in a New House.

  • Three Dimensional Tile: Customize your kitchen backsplash or bathroom walls with three-dimensional tile that will add character and a fun touch to make your home truly one-of-a-kind!
  • Pet Friendly: It’s not secret that folks are crazy about their pets, so why not make your bathroom as pet friendly as possible? Update to a walk-in shower with a hand-held, waist higher shower spray to make your puppy’s bath time easy.

A Simple Thank You for National Gratitude Month

DIY hobby. Woman's hands wrapping christmas or other holiday handmade present in paper with red ribbon. Give present box, decoration of gift on white wooden table, top view with copy space

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

Gratitude is what happens when we feel thankful and appreciative. The feeling of gratitude can come at almost any moment for a number of reasons. This may happen when your colleague does you a favor on a busy day or when your friend buys you a cup of coffee when you’re having a bad day.

At Priority Mortgage, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize National Gratitude Month. We say thank you to our customers. There are a number of options you have and we are grateful that you have chosen us as your trusted lender. We pride ourselves in offering the highest level of customer service, and appreciate the opportunity to earn your business, time and time again.

We also want to recognize and appreciate our outstanding team of Mortgage Loan Originators and support staff. Our team of mortgage professionals goes above and beyond for our customers and each other. We appreciate their passion to deliver the fastest, most efficient mortgage loan closings.

In recognition of National Gratitude month, take a moment to express and give the gift of gratitude. Say “thank you” to those who have impacted your life and continue to each and every day.

#thankyou #nationalgratitudemonth

Team Fantasy League Drives Teamwork and Success

Priority Mortgage Corp. recently kicked off an internal campaign to build relationships, encourage employees to strive to deliver their best and have fun, regardless of their role in the mortgage lending process. The Priority Mortgage Fantasy League, inspired by the popular NFL fantasy football leagues, has already inspired that environment.

Each team includes both Mortgage Loan Originators and Support Staff, creating a supportive but competitive environment. In total there are seven groups with unique names such as “Mortgage Bucks” and “Lending Lovers”.  Teams earn points in a variety of ways such as by increasing productivity and team work.  Employees are also encouraged to nominate each other for going above and beyond, earning the Priority Mortgage High Five Award.

One of the most valuable aspects of the fantasy league is that employees rely on each other, creating a collaborative, successful and fun environment that contributes to our consistent and reliable process that our partners and valued clients can depend on!

prestige-worldwide

As we are a few weeks into our league, we are already seeing positive outcomes and friendly competition. The first team to achieve 6000 points, Prestige Worldwide, very much enjoyed their reward of throwing cake and cupcakes at Brad Ratliff our Vice President of Operations.

cupcakes

Stay tuned for more updates about the fantasy league leaders!

School Districts Make a Difference on Property Values

Burbank, California - March 5, 2016. School buses waiting for students at Burbank High School

Many factors impact the home buyer’s decision, including the look of the home, the floor plan, the size of the home and the neighborhood. However, one of the most essential considerations has become the quality of the local school district.

This factor means that homes in the best school districts, on average, sell for more than similar homes in less-desirable districts. In fact, in some cases, home buyers are even compromising for smaller or older homes if it means they can live within the boundaries of a great school district.

A Realtor.com survey showed that 91 percent of prospective home buyers said school boundaries were important in their search. Further, one out of every five were willing to give up a bedroom or a garage for a better school and one in three would buy a smaller home if it was in the right district.

This trend is driving home buyers who don’t have children to invest in a home within a top school district. Properties located in good school districts tend to appreciate and hold their value even through market fluctuations. As a result, buying a home in a good school district is seen by many as a safe bet when it comes to future resale.

In Central Ohio, the correlation between higher-ranked school systems and higher-priced homes seems to be backed up by data. Houses in top-ranked districts have an average asking price that is well above the prices offered in areas with lower-ranked school systems.

It is clear that the demand for top schools has become a driving force in the home buying market. Parents are willing to sacrifice on a number of important elements or are willing to pay more for less in order to ensure that their children will attend good schools. Even buyers who are not utilizing the school district are benefiting from its high demand and stability compared to other options.

Five Ways To Ensure An Unsuccessful Home Sale

Sad and worried entrepreneur working on line with a laptop in an office desk or home

So you’re getting ready to move. You’ve researched new neighborhoods and found your dream home, and you’re ready to call it your own. But first you’ll have to sell your old home. Since there is no shortage of great articles out there about how to have a successful home sale we thought we’d do the opposite. Without further ado, here are our top five ways to sabotage any attempts at selling your home.

Don’t Stage Your Home, Or Take Care of Any Known Issues
It makes a lot of sense to stage your home. After all, you’ve lived in your home for several years and it has no doubt accumulated a lot of wear and tear, and many customizations that buyers may not prefer. And if that’s not enough, studies have shown that homes staged prior to listing sell 79% faster than those staged sometime after listing, or not staged at all! But, of course, if you are dead set on sabotaging your sale, feel free to leave your home as-is.

Take Your Own Photos (With Your Camera Phone)
Professionally taken photos are, without a doubt, a great way to cast your home in a positive light before a potential buyer even steps foot in an open house or showing. In fact, online listings with professionally-taken photos typically receive 118% more views than those without professionally-taken photos. So, if you are trying to sabotage your sale, be sure to take your own photos – with your camera phone if possible.

Sell Your Home Without A Realtor
Selling your home doesn’t just mean finding a buyer – it includes dealing with banks, passing inspections, completing paperwork, and more. These are all things that professional realtors deal with every day, and are equipped to help you manage. Thus, if you want to pour hours of your own time, and risk making a critical mistake that prevents your home from being sold, be sure to do it all on your own.

Overvalue Your Home
With the wealth of information available online and from your real estate professionals, it’s not hard to value your home correctly. And since most of your showings will happen within just weeks of listing your home, it is crucial to price it accurately and competitively from the get-go. But, if you’re content with letting your home sit on the market without any movement, feel free to overprice it.

Put Off Listing Your Home
With a real estate market that is subject to things like elections, natural disasters, and rate hikes, it is usually safe to say that the best time to list your home is now. So if you are trying to halt your momentum, the clear answer is to just put it off. The market will be better in a few months or next year… Right?

What’s Your #AugustAdventure

Summer holiday vacation accessories on beach sand summertime lifestyle objects in flat lay top view arrangement.

It has happened – August has snuck up on us and suddenly our children are heading back to school and Buckeye football is around the corner. In just a few short weeks Autumn will arrive and we’ll all be “back in the swing of things.” But, remember that these last days of summer are the perfect time to go on an impromptu adventure. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for a local, spontaneous #AugustAdventure.

Try A New Cuisine
Columbus is practically overflowing with unique and tasty dining experiences. From the authentic, flavor-packed tacos al pastor at Los Guachos Taqueria, to the tender, smoky spare ribs at Ray Ray’s Hog Pit (recently dubbed the “Best Damn Ribs In the Country” by Esquire Magazine!), to the contemporary Mediterranean fare offered at Brassica, there is always something new to try. So, get out of your culinary comfort zone and stumble upon something that might just become a new favorite.

Find A New Place To Experience Nature
It’s no secret to longtime residents, but those that are new to central Ohio might be surprised at the wealth of green-space in and around Columbus. From the beautiful scenery at the Highbanks Metro Park just north of Worthington, to the shocking variety of wildlife at Slate Run, near Circleville. And if you’re looking for somewhere to experience nature nearby Downtown Columbus be sure to visit the newly renovated Scioto Mile, with a 15,000 square-foot fountain, a free outdoor climbing wall, and 33 acres of parkland.

Spend The Day At A Festival
While July might be a popular month for festivals, Columbus has no shortage of August festivities. These include celebrations honoring historic neighborhoods, like Clintonville’s CrestFest, art festivals like Franklinton’s Urban Scrawl, and cultural experiences, such as the India Festival at the Ohio Expo Center.

For a full list of festivals in Columbus, take a look at ColumbusUnderground’s 2016 Festival Schedule.

The breathtaking Rock House at Hocking Hills after a rainstorm.

The breathtaking Rock House at Hocking Hills after a rainstorm.

Plan A Weekend Trip
With many Central Ohio districts not heading back to school until August 24, there’s still time for a weekend trip with your family. And even if your children are already back in school, we’ll give you credit for planning an adventure over Labor Day’s long weekend ;).

One thing is for sure, between the natural beauty of Hocking Hills, the charm of the Ohio Amish Country, the roller coaster capital of the world at Cedar Point, and the island breeze of Put-In Bay, there are many adventure options available for everyone in Ohio.

How Damaging Winds Affect Your Home

photo of fallen trees and downed powerlines after local tornado storm in westcheter county new york 2006

Severe weather is always a risk with the change in seasons. In many areas, high-powered winds can cause catastrophic damage to homes. Understanding your risk-levels can help you protect one of your largest investments: your home.

What are damaging winds?
Damaging winds, or “straight-line” winds are different from tornadoes. These aggressive winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.

How can damaging winds impact my home?
The structural frame of your home can be affected by high-speed winds and hurricanes in a variety of ways. Here are four ways your home can face costly damage during a high wind.

  • Racking, a horizontal pressure on the house that causes the structure to tilt or lean.
  • Sliding, horizontal pressure that forces the house to slide off the foundation.
  • Uplifting, when wind flows over the roof it creates a strong lifting effect, like the air flowing over an airplane wing. If the connection between the roof and walls is not strong enough, the entire roof may detach from the rest of the structure. 
  • Overturning, if a house is unable to rack or slide, the lateral forces from the wind may cause the house to completely rotate off its foundation. 
Beautiful tornado over a dusty field

High-powered winds are different from tornadoes, but can be just as dangerous.

To protect your home, consult with a builder or remodeler to determine the appropriate adjustments to make to create a continuous load path in your home.  Connecting and strengthening the structural frame of the house, along with the use of storm shutters and impact-resistant windows, will ensure your home is better equipped to handle high-speed windstorms in the future.

Visit our blog for more severe weather tips, including this infographic on preparing for extreme weather.

Emerging Trends in Real Estate

Estate Agent Showing Prospective Female Buyer Around Property

2015 was one of the strongest years for the real estate market in history. 2016 is shaping up to be as good and possibly even better. With unemployment steadily declining, consumers are starting to buy again, boosting the real estate market into a success.

With the market increasing, here are current trends to watch.

Inventory is on the rise

Single-family home sales are growing and homebuyers are seeing an increase in inventory of quality houses to choose from in their search for their new home. Understanding exactly what the homebuyer is looking for will alleviate time wasted touring homes that might not meet expectations.

Millennials are in charge

According to a recent study, more Millennials plan to buy homes between now and 2018. Just 65 percent of Millennial-aged borrowers (ages 18 to 34) wanted to own a home in 2011, but now that number has increased to 80 percent for 2015, up from 78 percent in 2014. And one-third of those will want to buy in the next two years. However, a digital presence is key as Millennials are always researching and shopping online before committing to a purchase.

Renting is more costly

Many are acting on the false assumption that renting is cheaper than buying.  This may be because the prospect of saving for a down payment on a home can be overwhelming. However, rental prices are increasing as vacancy rates dwindle and landlords are able to increase fees to amounts higher than mortgage payments.

For more information on why this is the year to buy a new home, read Four Reasons Why 2016 is The Year to Buy a Home.

Prevent Mosquitos From Ruining Your Outdoor Living Space

Mosquito sucking blood on human skin with nature background ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

The warmer weather brings many exciting opportunities for homeowners, including an extension of the home into an outdoor living space. Unfortunately, mosquitos can quickly zap the luxury and joy out of spending evenings sipping cocktails on the patio or enjoying morning coffee on the front porch. Not only are the pesky insects annoying and itchy, they have become a cause of health concern due to an influx of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Depending on your situation, you may not be able to rid your yard entirely of mosquitos but there are still a number of options you have to minimize the population. Here are a few tips to implement for a mosquito- (mostly) free yard.

Dispose of potential water containers
Standing water is the breeding ground for mosquitos. Stop mosquito invasion in its tracks by removing any potential for standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs on the surface of standing water. Even the smallest amount is enough for the pests to spawn, including standing rain water in your yard. Look for these typical culprits around the yard:

  • Bird baths
  • Ornamental fountains
  • Rain barrels without screened covers
  • Plant pots
  • Animal drinking bowls
  • The crevices of plastic toys
  • Garbage cans
  • Clogged gutters, obstructed down spouts, flat roofs, and yard debris.

Remove or turn containers upside down since the airborne bugs leave their eggs in dry containers. The eggs hatch once filled with rainwater.

Exchange your bulbs.
When the lights come on outside, little bugs start hovering around the fixtures. The light attracts the small bugs and the large bugs head over to find their evening meal. Consider replacing existing outdoor lighting with opaque yellow bug lights to reduce the influx of the flying pests in your yard.

Grow repelling plants
It is common practice in many other parts of the world to grow aromatic foliage to repel pests such as mosquitos. Some plants produce strong oils that, when the plant is touched or processed mask scents people emit which interferes with mosquitoes looking for prey. Other plants contain substances toxic to insects. Consider adding the following to your garden:

  • Basil
  • Lemongrass
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Alliums
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Marigolds

Mix up some oils
The benefits of essential oils are endless. Add mosquito repellant to that list. Like their plant counterparts, many essential oils’ aromas are repulsive to mosquitos and other pests. As coconut oil is also repellent, mix with the following oils to help repel mosquitos while calming your mind:

  • Lavender
  • Indian Lilac
  • Eucalyptus and Lemon
  • Holy Basil
  • Mint
  • Tea Tree

It is important to remember that while mosquitos are a nuisance and can carry potentially deadly diseases they are also important to our ecosystem. Using natural defenses against infestation can help you to enjoy your outdoor living space to its fullest potential.

For more tips on how to maintain your home in the summer months, read 5 Key Summer Maintenance Tips on our blog.