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Jason O'Neil's Blog

By Jason O'Neil | Broker in Carmel, IN
  • Universal Design

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate, Design & Decor  |  August 22, 2012 2:25 PM  |  49 views  |  No comments

    This year, the first wave of the 78 million baby boomers turns 65. Just as this group has led the country through numerous changes, they are once again on the forefront of what may be the next big evolution in the homebuilding industry: Universal Design.

    The major tenet of Universal Design is to build homes that are enabling rather than disabling. A home should be accommodating to people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. This can be achieved through the use of features such as wider doorways and hallways, no-threshold entries and showers, ergonomic faucets and door hardware, pull-out cabinet drawers and multi-height countertops.

    There is a conception that Universal Design homes will look hospital-like or institutional. But industry suppliers are working to overcome th

     

    at perception. They realize baby boomers don’t want to be reminded they are growing older. Research shows boomers prefer to concentrate on enhancing their wellness rather than focusing on the special accommodations they require as they age.

    Kohler Co. has addressed this mindset by designing a shower handrail called  “Belay,” which features a sleek design and a more palatable name than “grab bar.” Levers are becoming top choices for faucet and door handles as they are easier to turn than knobs. The challenge for builders is to use Universal Design principles in their homes in a manner where customers approve of the aesthetics while appreciating the functionality.

    Another misconception about Universal Design is that is solely for older people. Although it has its roots as an age-driven concept, Universal Design is helpful for people in all walks of life. A parent with a baby in a stroller appreciates a no-threshold entry as much as an elderly person who struggles with steps. That same parent also appreciates a towel bar anchored into a wall when a baby chooses to swing from it. And I know many shorter women who are grateful for pull-out drawers in base cabinets because they can’t reach the shelves of their tall upper cabinets.

     Universal Design is a concept that can be adapted to benefit many different lifestyles – both young and old. Buyers should ask themselves a series of questions to determine what features best suit them and their future in the home:

    What type of support network do I have?

    What is my financial status?

     Have I ever experienced reduced mobility?

    How long would I like to live in this home?

    The last question is one that has become more and more of a determining factor in today’s economic climate. Surveys tell us that boomers want to age in the same place. I think we are on the right track if we can build a home that buyers can live in for the rest of their lives, even if life changes on them.

  • Should I buy a home now?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Indianapolis  |  August 22, 2012 2:21 PM  |  58 views  |  3 comments

    I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

    Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

    While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

    Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

  • Your First Showing

    Posted Under: Home Selling  |  August 20, 2012 7:40 AM  |  36 views  |  No comments

    If you have your Indy area home for sale or are contemplating selling your home the one thing you must know is that every showing you have is a second showing. In today’s day and age every home buyer is scouring the Internet the view analyze and critic hundreds of homes before every stepping into a property.

     

    The first time a buyer walks through your home it is, in fact, at a minimum the second time they have seen your home. Buyers and agents alike start their home search online and looking at homes, more specifically, pictures. Today, in MIBOR, there are 43 homes on the market in the Washington Township School District, listed between $250,000 and $350,000 with a minimum of 3 bedrooms. Now, no buyer is going to look at 43 homes, the average home buyer looks at 8 homes before writing an offer. How do they narrow their list from 43 to 8? Pictures.

    Your pictures must be compelling, they must show the layout of the home, but also must show the home’s details, essentially its essence.

    Analyze your home’s pictures and if the true essence is displayed online if so, you’ll have a much higher statistical chance of getting showings and showings are the keys to offers.

    Your first showing is actually a second showing!

 
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