Finding Your Village

I created this space to provide you with stories from my own experience and information that I gather from the most trusted and verified sources. I want to help you find your home and your village, just like I am lucky to be a part of mine. 

You’ll find my blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because I care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. I'd love to talk with you!

June 17, 2020

Top Trends in the Housing Market That Are Here to Stay

Just Tryan It with Gwen Tolbart

Do you remember what you were planning for 3 months ago? Doesn't that feel like a distant past? Things have changed drastically and it hasn't been easy. Yet I find myself getting used to the "new normal". Graduation and birthday parades have become the new tradition that's connecting streets and neighborhoods. You can now do almost anything virtually, including participating in a kid's triathlon. I'm encouraged to see my neighbors and people in our communities helping each other, standing up for what's right, and adapting to the changes in every aspect of life. 

With everything else that has changed in our day-to-day routines, the way we navigate the housing market has changed dramatically in just the last few months. Here are the top trends we see that won't be going away any time soon.

  • Working from home is changing the way we think about where to live. People are seeking out bigger houses in the suburbs to save money, get more space, and gain a better quality of life that is offered by eliminating a long commute.

  • Nursing homes and senior communities have been impacted the most by COVID-19, therefore families are looking to move their older family members nearby or purchasing bigger homes. 

  • LIVE Virtual Open Houses are here to stay. Although it may seem like you'll be missing the physical aspect of being in a house at first, live virtual open houses offer many benefits. Virtual tours and virtual open houses on social media quickly became the popular (and sometimes the only) option for buyers in place of the traditional open house – and offers an incredible opportunity that benefits the buyer and the seller. Click here to see my first LIVE open house. 

  • The uncertainty of COVID-19 has led to able buyers to purchase second homes and vacation properties. With the concern of air travel being so high and the use of hotels very low, vacation properties are becoming more viable options. 

  • Mortgage rates are an all-time low which is enticing first-time homebuyers to hit the market. Current mortgage owners are looking to refinance. 


As always, I am ready and happy to guide you through your real estate journey, no matter where you choose to find your community. 

All the best,

Dana

May 3, 2020

Should I sell or Should I Buy?

Dear Friends,

I hope you're all staying safe and keeping well during our extended shelter-in-place. As an active member of our community, I've seen and heard countless stories that have moved and inspired me. Despite the daily challenges, struggles and changes, one thing is clear - we all are in this together and the sense of community is stronger than ever.

As I was writing this entry, I was reminded of an incident that involved one of my children in the first grade, many years ago. My husband and daughter returned home after a playdate and our little one was inconsolable. Despite our reassurances, as well as support from the other child's mother, my child pleaded with us to not make her go to school the following day. It pained me to see my child so distraught (and hysterical) at the idea of going to school, a place, prior to this incident, she has enjoyed and thrived in. I emailed my child's teacher and in a matter of seconds, my phone rang. I will always remember what she told me: While her priority is to educate her students, her higher priority is to provide them with a safe, nurturing and loving environment, making it possible then for a child to learn. My daughter's teacher assured me she would take care of my little girl, as well as the other child, and use this as a teaching moment to share with her entire class. And she did just that--within ten minutes of the start of the school day, this very caring and thoughtful teacher emailed me to let me know my child was happy and smiling once again and wanted to remain in school for the rest of the day.

I am sharing this with you because as real estate agents, we too have duties to our clients--including financial, legal, loyalty, cooperation with competitors, and honesty in advertising. Just as beyond teaching, our teachers help our children feel safe and connected, I too have a higher priority outside of my duties. To connect and to engage, to listen and to advise my clients, making it possible then for sound decisions to be made, especially during times of uncertainty.

During this pandemic, clients considering a housing change are asking – what should I do - should I sell? Should I buy? Stay put or move? With interest rates at all-time lows and expected to stay low, today’s housing market presents opportunities.

Here are just a few examples of how I am doing things differently:

  • Virtual Tours have quickly become the norm. For my buyers, making videos as I tour the properties we have identified together, highlighting rooms or features of a home that are important to them, provides them with the feeling that they're actually inside the home while remaining at a safe distance. Producing these comprehensive videos gives them most everything an in-person client showing would.
  • Live Streaming a one-on-one showing with my buyers makes it possible for them to ask me specific questions or to take a second look at various parts inside of the home, as well as the outside, as together we go along on the live tour.
  • Holding Virtual Open Houses for my sellers allows me to show multiple buyers around a home, while answering questions as they come up, or revisiting a part of a home, upon the buyers' request.
  • These new ways of presenting and showing homes serve as a gateway to pre-qualify buyers’ interest, as it reduces the number of in-person visits to those who are truly interested. It’s also less disruptive to my sellers, as they can remain in their home, especially since most work from home while simultaneously having their children at home, as they distance-learn.
  • When a buyer visits my sellers' home in person, making certain that buyers have viewed the virtual home tour and have looked over the sellers' property Disclosure Statement further ensures a buyer is ready and able to make a purchase, benefiting both parties.
  • Now more than ever, verifying buyers are pre-approved is more vital as lenders have increased minimum credit score requirements, have tightened their lending guidelines, and require more reserves.

I hope you find the information in this newsletter helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. I would be honored to be of service.

Together, we'll get through this.

Dana

Feb. 1, 2019

Home is where the Heart is

 

You know that feeling you get when you exhale deeply and your body relaxes, and you didn't even realize that you had been so tense up until that moment? Wherever you are when you exhale like that, whoever you are with - that is home. 

 

Although we traditionally think of home as a single structure where all your things reside, it can actually be more than that. It can be your entire neighborhood, your grandma's kitchen, or your own comfy bed. Or for you, home may be your child, your spouse, or any person who makes you feel like you truly and deeply belong here - every single part of you, not just the pleasant ones. 

 

Sadly, sometimes the house one lives in doesn't feel like a safe and secure place to call home. We recently learned that a close relative lived in such a place. He shared with us that he had lived in constant fear whenever he stepped outside of his old apartment. It is heartbreaking to know this, because one of our basic human needs is safety. To feel safe, that is to feel a sense of security, order, law, stability, protection from the elements, and freedom from fear is one of the pillars of happiness. Persistent fear and anxiety changes who you are. They can particularly affect a child's learning and development. It is such a relief to know that our loved one is now in a new home and is safe. He is smiling once again, that same beautiful smile we remember from when he was a toddler.

 

The affection and relaxation we feel in our homes, and the passage of time there, strengthen our attachment to the places that we live. Because our physical surroundings play such an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organization in our lives, it is not surprising that our sense of the place we live in is closely tied to our sense of who we are. A strong attachment to your home results in greater satisfaction and expectations of future stability in that place.   

 

I am eternally thankful for the safe, welcoming, and loving community and home that we have built here. It is our home that provides us safety and warmth. I'm reminded of that every single time I enter my home, put down my bag, feel my shoulders relax, and feel my body release any stress I've carried that day. That is, until my husband and all four of our children demand and/or complain about something at the exact same time. ;)

Home is where the Heart is.

Happy Valentine's Day!

-Dana

 

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Posted in Community
Nov. 14, 2018

October 2018 Newsletter

 

October is a month of transition and transformation. It just so happens that this year, October is a month of transition and transformation INSIDE our home too. We’re well into our home renovation, learning so much at every turn, and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s kind of like parenthood - no matter how much you think you know about something, you really don’t know until you’ve experienced it for yourself!

For one thing, the sheer number of decisions you have to make are overwhelming. Do I want this doorknob or that handle or eggshell or satin or granite or marble? It’s enough to make your head spin like a five-bladed ceiling fan - or is it a three-bladed fan  ?? And everything turns out to be so much more expensive than you think it would be, from hidden construction costs to the constant desire to upgrade here, no wait, there!

Something else that would have been nice to know upfront is how to hold up your sanity (and not take it out on your husband) during a renovation. Word to the wise - make your first call to a contractor but your second to a marriage counselor.  All joking aside, in the midst of the chaos, we have to remind ourselves to laugh. One thing that helps us, is getting OUT of the house together, even if it's just for a few minutes. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a walk or a bike ride and just breathe in the fresh air.

October has always been a time for family adventures. Ever since the kids were little, we’ve headed to Butler’s Orchard to pick our own pumpkins every fall. Afterwards, we jump in the hayloft barn, ride those giant slides, and chase each other through the straw maze.

Boo at the Zoo is another family tradition of ours. We love to sip hot chocolate and visit with the animals after hours when everyone is nestled and cozy. It’s so much fun to see all the little kids in their costumes here - it can be tough to tell a costumed lion from a real one!

Fright Fest at Six Flags, I've been told, is a favorite family tradition of some of our neighbors who love to ride roller coasters all day long or enjoy being chased by zombies through the park! I think the adults have even more fun than the kids do here.

I hope you get outside to enjoy the crisp, beautiful weather this month. And I also hope you snuggle up with your family and hibernate a little too. Wishing you many sneaky tricks and yummy treats in the coming month!

Trick or Treat!
Dana

Posted in Market Updates
Nov. 14, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

This time of year, it’s only natural that gratitude comes to mind.

I am grateful for so many things. First and foremost, for my family, who love me unconditionally - even during the moments I’m not so lovable. My 10-year-old son, for example, just instinctively knows when I need a tight hug. (He gets that superpower from his dad.) I remember that when my son was just two, I experienced my first ever migraine headache. I told him that I wasn’t feeling well and that I needed to lie down. Instead of fussing, like a two-year-old understandably might, he came and sat next to me on the couch and held my hand the entire time I slept, and waited for the migraine to pass. My headache eventually left me, but my gratitude for that moment never did.

 

Friends are also an incredible support system. They intuitively know when I need them, and I feel the same pull towards them when they need me. I’m also thankful that as I get older and wiser, I’m learning how to be vulnerable and actually allow myself to lean on my friends, instead of thinking I’m burdening them. I learned recently that in the construction industry, when one wooden beam needs support, two others are placed on either side of it - a process technically referred to as “sistering.” There couldn’t be more accurate of a description for how my sister-friends and I support one another.

I count my blessings even during the painful and challenging times that are part of life, because of how much they push us to grow, and how much they bond us to one another. My husband’s dear friend from middle school, who was a groomsman in our wedding, recently lost his father. This sudden loss forced us to stop in the midst of our daily running around, to appreciate the friendships we have and to let the people who matter the most know how much they mean to us.

On a daily basis, I feel grateful for the kindness of strangers, from a sweet smile to a door patiently held open – constant reminders that people are inherently good. Never would the nine-year-old girl that I used to be, who moved here from a tumultuous situation in India, think that she would be living in the beautiful, loving and supportive community that I’m blessed to live in today.

 

My work is also a core part of my daily gratitude. I am in awe that I get to work in an industry that does not feel like “work.” And that I get to be surrounded by coworkers and clients who feel like friends. I always appreciate your kind support and positive feedback. Thank you for being a part of my life.


In Gratitude,
Dana

Posted in Schools
July 14, 2018

July 2018 Newsletter

July represents many things to those of us fortunate enough to live in this country. For many of us, it represents independence and freedom -- the right to make our own choices and to have our voices heard.

I’m an immigrant who arrived in America when I was nine years old. My mom sacrificed so much to move here from India with my sister and me. She was in her 30s and divorced - something that was unheard of during that time and culture. She struggled onward because she knew that bringing us here would provide us with a better education and future than we could have ever had overseas. She did so at a great cost to herself. Thanks to her sacrifices, both my sister and I do have a much different and better life than the one we would have had otherwise.

In my family, July represents something else too - it represents love. It was on a beautiful July sunset that my husband, Ray and I stood on a Key West beach with soft white sand beneath our feet in front of a beautiful sunset, and with a group of amazing friends and family we exchanged our wedding vows. Happy Anniversary, Babe!

And have a Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

2018 Newsletter

     

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates