You may be at a good place in your life where your future plans include enjoying your last home, and "aging in place."
The new term, Aging-in-Place. refers to making plans for your future comfort and safety. Whether you plan to stay in your current home, looking to downsize, or move into a different community, below are a few essential universal elements to consider in your home to have it accessible, safe and stylish for your life ahead.
So how do I begin? Start shopping around for ideas. Interior designers and architects are fun professionals to consult with and will help match these changes with your lifestyle.
If your plans entail remodeling projects such as moving walls or making doorways larger, getting the proper slope in a bathroom renovation or making sure grab bars are safely installed, you may want to enlist the services of an architect. An architect will listen and understand your concerns, design unique solutions based on your individual needs, and provide your contractors with specific guidelines.
If you are looking to move into a new home, seek the help of a REALTOR® and be clear about your expectations which may be a home that suits your long-term needs or one that can be successfully renovated for your specific aging in place needs.
Central Virginia is a special area especially in the Fall. Lush with presidential history, vineyards & breweries along with gorgeous scenery, the area outside of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia is loaded with exciting adventures that pair with being in the center of Virginia's wine industry!
Designated as Virginia Wine Month, October is the oldest wine month in the country. It began in 1988 as a way to support the state's young wine business – with just 40 wineries at the time – and promote travel to Virginia wine country. Today, Virginia ranks 5th in the number of wineries in the nation with more than 280 wineries and over 400 vineyards.
"Virginia's 420 vineyards growing 3,800 acres of wine grapes are dotted across the commonwealth and are becoming an increasingly important part of Virginia's diverse agricultural economy," said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Basil Gooden. "We are proud of the caliber of wines our growers and winemakers are producing. October is a perfect time to get out and explore the vineyards and see the grapes being picked and taste the wines."
Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Todd Haymore adds, "Virginia's wine industry is an important part of our tourism economy, and serves as a major competitive differentiator for the Commonwealth, making us an ideal destination for travelers who are seeking authentic, experiential culinary attractions. With our 15 million acres of beautiful fall foliage, breathtaking vistas, and a large variety of events and festivals taking place across the Commonwealth, October is truly the perfect time to discover why Virginia is for Wine Lovers."
Join in celebrating Virginia Wine Month! It's the perfect time for all wine lovers to experience the very best of Virginia winemaking during dozens of state-wide events, including festivals, special dinners, vineyard tours, tastings and much more. Visit Central Virginia wine region #7 to see all this area has to offer at https://www.virginiawine.org/events/results?region=7
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a key part of any real estate transaction. For sellers, it's the foundational start for marketing their home, as its data feeds popular consumer sites like Zillow and Realtor.com. For buyers, it's where to find accurate information on a home and its features.
We expect to see certain features like square footage and the number of bedrooms in most listings, but as homes have changed so have the fields that represent them. Carbon monoxide detectors, for example, now have their own field in the MLS. It's the same for LED lighting, smart thermostats, foam insulation, solar panels, and more. Ten years ago features like these were rare or nonexistent, but not anymore.
The MLS has a special set of data fields called "Green MLS" fields which capture these attributes and others that contribute to sustainable living and increased home performance. Energy efficiency assets are considered performance features of a home in the same way that cars might have a performance package that improves its comfort and efficiency.
Don't Leave Money on the Table
According to Cynthia Adams of Pearl Certification, The US Department of Energy found that 40% of homes have energy-related features which could be included in a Green MLS. Unfortunately, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Appraisal Institute (AI) have found that most homes are not properly valued due to a lack of verifiable data on their high-performing, energy efficient features.
Given that third-party certified homes sell on average for 4% for more in most markets, this is a huge missed opportunity that collectively costs American home sellers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost home value. For an individual homeowner, this translates into $15,000 left on the table at closing when the home has upgraded, efficient features that aren't captured in the listing and marketed with the home.
Tools for Real Estate Agents to Master the Green MLS
NAR, the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS), and the Appraisal Institute worked with the energy efficiency community to align MLS data fields with available technical information on a home's green and energy efficient features. Information for these fields ultimately usually comes from a contractor, manufacturer specs, or a firm like Pearl Certification. It can include a visual inspection or diagnostic testing of the installation.
The tricky part for agents is that these features are not always obvious. An agent may know that the home has a newer air conditioner, but is it energy efficient? What's the SEER and EER of the unit? What is a SEER and EER anyway?
Fortunately, there are resources agents can access to help. The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) has developed a Green MLS Toolkit that has great advice for agents and professional development courses for agents.
For brokers, Pearl offers a "Using the Green MLS to Put Green in Your Pocket" course for agents that gives them training on how to recognize certain home features for inclusion in the MLS. Agents may also find helpful Pearl's free "Certify MY Home" app, whose guided question set helps them identify Green MLS home features and provides information that can be used to make adjustments to a Comparative Market Analysis.
Savvy agents who understand how and when to use the Green Fields have an advantage that can help them win a listing. And, of course, today's listing is tomorrow's comparable. Entering important data on a home's performance and green features enhance the accuracy and professionalism of the whole industry - it helps buyers find what they're looking for, appraisers properly value it and puts more green in your sellers' pocket.
Originally Published on July 28, 2017 by the Daily Progress.com/realestate