Proposed School Boundary Change

The Sequoia Unified School District proposed a boundary change.  There was a meeting last night – please visit their website for updated information:  http://www.seq.org  or http://www.seq.org/?id=131

Below is a map I obtained from their website with the proposed changes.

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I read this article at:  http://www.seq.org/?id=131

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

 

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

 

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

 

 

 

BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SAN MATEO COUNTY – According to me…

BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SAN MATEO COUNTY

Growing up the daughter of a Chef – I know good food.  Living in our beautiful Bay Area – I have good food all around me.

I thought I would share some of my favorite food spots – please share yours too!

SWEET TOOTH

Let’s start with the important stuff – the sweet stuff.

Dear lord my favorite place for sweets is ROMOLO’S CANNOLI at 81 37th Avenue in San Mateo.  They have THE BEST CANNOLI I’ve ever had.  I implore you to go.

I LOVE frozen yogurt – it could be an addiction – but I am ok with that.  One of my favorite places is YUMI YOGURT at 3955 South El Camino Real in San Mateo or 947 El Camino Real in Redwood City.  Man do these guys know what portions should look like – buy a small and bring a friend!

Cake.  Mmmmm Cake.  If this testionmial doesn’t sing – I don’t know what will – but I had my wedding cake made at Copenhagen Bakery & Café at 1216 Burlingame Avenue in Burlingame.  Oh My Goodness, bring your sweet teeth – as my mom would say – because everything in there is divine!

BREAKFAST

One of my favorite meals of the day – especially in the morning.  I love MY BREAKFAST HOUSE at 1137 Laurel Street in San Carlos.  Man do they make a mean raisin bread French toast!

LUNCH / DINNER

My hubby and I have lunch dates and one of our favorite spots is THE AMAZING WOK at 1653 Laurel Street in San Carlos.  It’s super affordable, the food is delicious and they move quick so you can get back to work.

If you have cash on hand, our second favorite lunch date spot is SANCHO’S TAQUERIA at 3205 Oak Knoll Dr in Redwood City.  Terrific fish tacos, tasty burritos –  hits the spot every time.

One of my quick lunch spots  when I’m on the go is also at the Emerald Hills Shopping Center it’s SPEEDERIA PIZZA (with two locations, one at 711 Laurel Street in San Carlos and the other at 3201A Oak Knoll Drive in Redwood City.)  Pizza by the slice, delicious thin crust pizza – I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Guess I like Italian food.  But one of my favorite restaurants for dinner is San Remo’s at 1152 San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos.  Awesome soup, pasta and of course – PIZZA!

Now if you’re in the mood to eat – one of my favorite spots is RAINBOW PIZZA at 112 Crystal Springs Shopping Center in San Mateo.  They have so great food and portions fit for a Greek God!

Now for my ultimate dinner treat.  Hands down SHIKI BISTRO at 825 Laurel Street in San Carlos (man does my hometown downtown have the best food!).  My husband took me there for our wedding anniversary and it was hands down the best dinner we’ve ever had!  And we love food.  Great atmosphere but better yet – some of the most creative sushi I’ve had ever!  It was like the first time I had sushi – amazing!

There are just a handful of my favorite culinary treasures in San Mateo County.  Please let me know what your favorite spots are – I love to try new places and cuisines.

Bon Appétit – Sabrina

PS – This is purely my opinion and none of these business paid to be on the blog.  Thanks for reading!

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Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522  Office:  650-365-9200

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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

2014 – What will the Real Estate Market be like?

It’s on my mind – maybe it’s on your mind – but I enjoyed this article about the 2014 market forecast. Enjoy!

The housing recovery hit high gear in 2013 with bigger than expected price gains and solid home sales. This year isn’t likely to be as exciting. Rising mortgage interest rates will price out some potential buyers. Instead of double-digit price gains, look for single-digit ones, economists say, while existing home sales remain at last year’s level.
Sound boring? “You want boring in the housing market,” says Svenja Gudell, Zillow director of economic research.
Here’s what’s ahead for:
• Home prices. They were the highlight of the 2013 housing market, up 12.5% in October year over year, CoreLogic says. Prices are now 20% off their 2006 peaks after falling more than 30%, shows the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index.
Economist John Burns looks for a 6% gain in 2014. Many others see smaller increases ahead. Zillow forecasts just a 3% rise.
Prices will likely rise more slowly as more homes come on the market, fewer investors bid for homes and higher ownership costs — including interest rates and home prices — take a bite out of housing affordability, housing experts say.
Still, U.S. housing remains 4% undervalued when compared with other economic fundamentals, such as consumer incomes and the cost to rent, says Jed Kolko, Trulia economist. At their 2006 peak, home prices were 39% overvalued based on the same metrics, Kolko says.
•Existing home sales. They’ve started to slow. In November, they were down year over year for the first time in 29 months, National Association of Realtor data show.
The dip was driven by higher interest rates and a tight supply of homes for sale. It doesn’t mean the housing recovery has come off the rails, because home prices and housing starts continue to improve, says Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth.
Existing home sales, which came in at a 4.9 million seasonally adjusted pace in November, are expected to be about 10% higher in 2013 than 2012 and stay about the same at 5.1 million in 2014, NAR forecasts. That’s roughly back to 2007 levels but below the inflated levels preceding the housing crash.
New-home sales, which make up a smaller part of the market, have more room to grow. They hit an annual pace of 464,000 in November, up almost 17% from a year ago but still below the 700,000-a-year pace generally considered healthy.
The new year will be different for home buyers, though.
Look for fewer bidding wars and a less frantic market, says Glenn Kelman, CEO of brokerage Redfin. Its data show bidding wars recently falling to one of two offers handled by Redfin agents, down from three of four at the peak in March.
Homes are taking longer to sell, and more sellers are also reducing prices to win sales, Kelman says. At the same time, the supply of existing homes for sale edged up to 5.1 months from 4.9 months in October, NAR says. That’s still below the six-month supply that Realtors generally consider to be a balanced market for buyers and sellers.
Supply should get closer to that level in 2014, Kelman says.
Donaee and Jeff Reeve hope he’s right. The couple sold their Seattle-area home in just 10 days amid a hot June market. They’ve been renting as they search for a new home with a few acres. Meanwhile, prices have risen. The lack of suitable homes for sale is “discouraging,” says Donaee Reeve, 36, a dental hygienist.
• Housing construction. This part of the housing recovery has been a laggard.
November’s data showed an improvement, with housing starts topping 1 million on an annual basis, the Commerce Department says. That was up almost 30% from a year earlier, but it’s still far below the norm. Starts averaged 1.5 million a year before the mid-2000s housing boom.
Construction won’t return to normal this year, but it will strengthen enough to be the main driver of the housing recovery as home price gains shrink, says investment manager Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
It sees housing starts increasing 20% a year for the next several years as household formation picks up with the strengthening economy.
More home construction means more jobs for construction workers, plumbers, civil engineers and others in the building trades, as well as related industries such as furniture manufacturing, it says.
Construction alone will add 300,000 to 500,000 jobs a year to the nation’s job base for the next three years, GSAM predicts. That’s up from about 100,000 in 2013.
“The construction revival is primarily a matter of when, not if,” says Tom Teles, GSAM head of securitized and government investments.
• Mortgage rates. Sarah and Andrew Katz know home prices are going up, and mortgage interest rates, too. But they’re still convinced it’s a good time to buy a first home. They’ve set their sights on spring.
“We’re banking on interest rates staying under 5%, but they are what they are,” says Sarah, 29, who works in public relations in Manhattan.

We’re banking on interest rates staying under 5%,

— Sarah Katz
The couple better not wait too long, economists warn.
Average rates for a fixed 30-year mortgage will rise to 5.5% by the end of 2014, says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. Rates have already risen about 1 percentage point in the past year as the economy has strengthened. They’ll be pushed up further as the Federal Reserve winds down its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program.
Each percentage point increase in mortgage rates makes homes about 10% more expensive in terms of higher housing payments.
Another factor could weigh on borrowers. Starting in January, lenders must make home loans that meet new federal qualified mortgage standards or face greater liability from borrower lawsuits, should the loans go sour.
At least 5% of mortgages extended in 2013 wouldn’t meet the new standard, Yun says. More than that will likely face additional scrutiny from lenders as they implement all parts of the new rule, says Brian Koss, executive vice president of lender Mortgage Network.
He says the higher rates and tighter rules will likely drive some home buyers out of the market or into lower-priced homes than they could have afforded last year.
“People have gotten spoiled,” Koss says. Higher rates and home prices will test the strength of the housing recovery in 2014, he says.

I read this article at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/01/home-prices-2014-housing-starts/4181021/#!

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.
Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com
Call us at: 650-568-5522 Office: 650-365-9200
Want Real Estate Info on the Go? Download our FREE Real Estate App: http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp
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Connect with us professionally at LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro
Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com
Thanks for reading – Sabrina
The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors
Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

San Mateo County Quick Real Estate Update

I am so happy to share that our real estate market is improving – if you didn’t already notice. Enjoy this update.

The numbers show that the market has stabilized in most geographic regions and is about ready for “a long winters nap.” But, something was definitely happening in San Mateo County. Single family home sales were UP from September. Comparatively, single family home sales, inventory and average days on market were fairly stable in other regions. San Mateo County showcased a 28% increase in single family sales rising to 453 in October. Most notable was a 78% increase in sales in the $3-5 million price range and a 61% increase in sales in the $1.2-1.4 million range.

Single family inventory remains substantially lower than the same period from a year ago, but there is increasing progress in closing the gap. Compared to October 2012, there is a significant increase for single family median prices in all counties. Single family sales are still coming under pressure compared to October 2012. Median prices increased in San Benito County by 45%, Monterey County by 31%, Santa Cruz County by 29%, and both San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties by 12%.

I read this article at: http://www.mlslistings.com/NewsRoom/market-data-reports/current-month?utm_source=MLSListings+Real+Estate+%26+Housing+Update+-+October+2013&utm_campaign=October+2013+Market+Indicators&utm_medium=email

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Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:
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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors
Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

ARE DINING ROOMS DEAD? 5 BETTER WAYS TO USE THAT SPACE – by Brightnest

Have you checked out Brightnest?  Of course I have – being a home addict and a Realtor.  I’ve really enjoyed playing with the app and reading the newsletters.  When this article popped into my inbox – I was intrigued!  Be rid of the dinning room?!  What?  But then I thought about it, and how much lives have changed.  It may not work for everyone – but I was an interesting ready – enjoy!

ARE DINING ROOMS DEAD? 5 BETTER WAYS TO USE THAT SPACE

How many times did your family use your dining room last year? If you can count the meals at the table on one hand, then you may want to consider repurposing that room. It can be hard to let go of the dining-room dream, but let’s be realistic. A room that only gets used during holidays isn’t worth keeping.

If you’re willing to break out of the traditional dining-room mold, the possibilities can go a lot further than three-course meals and dress shoes. Here are five ways to get more from your dining room.

Convert it into a home office. Picture your large dining room table. Now picture that same dining room table with one chair. Boom! You now have the home office you’ve always wanted. Let your china cabinet double as office supplies storage and use this space as an office for 360 days a year. For the 5 days that you host large dinners, simply clear off your office supplies and add the extra chairs back to the table!

Keep it as the party room. If you love entertaining people but hate the idea of hosting a formal dinner, turn your dining room into hang-out central. Replace your dining room table with a pool table and install a bar along one wall for finger food and cocktails. The dining room will quickly become the most popular room in the house!

Make it a morning cafe. Instead of squandering every square inch of the room with an oak table that sits eight, place a couple small, café style tables in the room. Small tables are more inviting when you’re enjoying a cup of coffee, reading the paper or even opening the mail. Plus, smaller tables are easy to move around and join together (just in case a dinner party of eight does actually happen).

Turn it into a guest room. If your extended family treats your house as their free hotel, consider installing a Murphy bed in your dining room. Most of the time it will simply look like a shelf and you can use the room for whatever your heart desires. Then, when guests arrive, it instantly turns into an impromptu guest bedroom.

Make it playtime central. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen and love the idea of your kids playing close by, then turn your dining room into their playroom. Ditch the fancy table and replace it with a craft table and add toy bins or book shelves. We also recommend adding a comfy rug for optimal toy enjoyment.

What do you think?  Please share your thoughts by email or comment – thank you!  -Sabrina

I read this article at: https://brightnest.com/posts/are-dining-rooms-dead-5-better-ways-to-use-that-space

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Feng Shui and Real Estate

I have to say – Real Estate introduced me to the art of Feng Shui 10 years ago.  I was walking through a home that didn’t feel right.  My client mentioned it had bad Feng Shui as she looked out the window to the intersection that was heading straight at them home.  Before she even finished her sentence she was out the door.  I looked Feng Shui right away and have been reading about it ever since.

When we were remodeling our home, I took out my trusted Bagua to choose colors.  When I look at homes I consider the front door, the homes position etc.  I have truly enjoyed learning about Feng Shui.  Enjoy this article I read through the California Association of Realtors.

8 Staging Tips Using Feng ShuiThe ancient Chinese art of feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is over 3,000 years old, and has been known to help many REALTORS® sell homes when applied to their listings. This method of arranging inner and outer environments so they consistently support the possibility of all the good things in life encourages health, wealth, great relationships, career, and wisdom – just to name a few. Karen Rauch Carter, author of the bestselling book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, works with many REALTORS® who swear by her techniques. Here are a few easy fixes to help prepare your listings for sale the feng shui way.1. Create a happy front door. According to feng shui principles, the easier it is for people to bring opportunities to your front door, the more you’ll have.  Make the walk from the car to the front door a delightful experience. That means no thorny plants nearby, no sidewalk trippers, and no cobwebs to walk through.  Next, add details that draw people to the front door, such as a welcome mat and flowers.  You might even consider painting the front door a shade of red to attract positive energy, especially if it’s positioned in shadow or under an overhang or porch.  Make sure the doorbell and outdoor lights are in good, working order. Clean the door and stoop thoroughly — shine the metal on the knocker, wash any windows — make it the prettiest front door on the block!

2. Fix the leaks. This is, of course, basic common sense, but in feng shui leaking water is equivalent to leaking money. When a leak is fixed, the money stays, and you may just end up selling the home at a higher price.

3. For every room, a true function. When buyers see a treadmill in the bedroom, a computer on the kitchen counter, or a bike in the hallway, it may appear that the house doesn’t seem to have enough room for all the necessary functions. When staging a home, make sure every object in the room matches the room’s function.

4. Manage outdoor plants. Plants, especially dead ones, can block positive energy when physically touching the outside of the house.  When the limbs of a tree are in direct contact, they may even transfer negative energy into the home. Remove worry and excess debris, and the house may sell faster.

5. Place furniture in a commanding position. This means different things for different rooms, but the feng shui basic premise is that furniture should be arranged so the back and head are protected. Don’t have your back to a door or window when you’re on a couch, chair, or bed, and avoid directly facing a wall, especially when sitting at your desk.

6. Keep the energy flowing.  Doors and windows are the entry points for energy to enter or escape, so make sure all are in good working order to encourage positive energy flow.  All doors (including closets) should open freely with nothing blocking their way.  Windows should be easy to open – make sure none are painted or nailed shut. If they’re stuck, you might get stuck with a listing that’s hard to sell.  If possible, open curtains and blinds before a showing to invite energy into the home.

7. Let the buyer find the view. When a home is designed to give you that big WOW view upon entering the front door, consider creating a bold, dramatic design statement to compete for that attention somewhere inside the home. This may seem counter-intuitive, but if buyers are immediately drawn outside, that means nothing inside is holding their attention. The more you can keep attention INSIDE the house before the eyes slip outside, the better energy and “greater likeability” you are creating.

8. Employ the power of red. Homes lacking a fire element may be more difficult to sell. This problem can be addressed with a quick fix of adding red or hot orange colors where appropriate.  Place a vase of red flowers on the counter, or toss a few red throw pillows on the couch or bed if the décor allows. A bowl of red apples is another easy solution. Pointy, triangular shapes are also considered fire elements in feng shui, so consider filling a vase with flowers like birds of paradise. Animal prints can also provide a fire element, as can actual fire, such as candles. Try adding a few splashes of red here and there, and see what it can do for your next listing.

Remember to follow our Blog at: https://therealestatebeat.wordpress.com/

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.

Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

Want Real Estate Info on the Go?  Download our FREE Real Estate App:  http://thecatonteam.com/mobileapp

Visit our Website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

Yelp us at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-caton-team-realtors-sabrina-caton-and-susan-caton-redwood-city

Or Yelp me:  http://www.yelp.com/user_details_thanx?userid=gpbsls-_RLpPiE9bv3Zygw

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LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=6588013&trk=tab_pro

Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:

http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE#70000218/ 01499008

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

How to Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper House

When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix.

1. Decide what you can do yourself

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

*  Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.

*  Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

2. Price the cost of repairs and remodeling before you make an offer

*  Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.

If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.

Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

3. Check permit costs

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.

Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.

Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

4. Doublecheck pricing on structural work

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems. 

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.  Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

You’re getting it at a steep discount

You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem

You know the problem can be fixed

You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

5. Check the cost of financing

Be sure you have enough money for a down payment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings. 

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan:

*  Get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.

*  Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

*  Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help homeowners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation. The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans. A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

6. Calculate your fair purchase offer

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement. 

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently re-carpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

7. Include inspection contingencies in your offer

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

*  Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.

*  Radon, mold, lead-based paint

*  Septic and well

*  Pest

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with. 

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

My words to the wise – if you get outbid – don’t fret – start again.  Each home you take the time to break down and understand the cost of repair – the better prepared you will be when the next opportunity arises.

We bought a condo as our first purchase – and though you mainly own just the paint in – we budgeted $10,000 in repairs only to spend $17,000 in the end.  Hind sight is always 20/20 – but now when we buy our next home, we’ll have the experience under out belt and a better picture of a budget and our limitations. 

By: G. M. Filisko

I read this article at:  http://members.houselogic.com/articles/how-assess-real-cost-fixer-upper-house/preview/

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina