July 29, 2020

8 Outdoor Kitchen Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Many of us are hanging out at home more than ever, and all that extra time in your backyard may set you daydreaming about having your very own outdoor kitchen.

If so, you aren’t alone. According to a recent survey by Fixr, 41% of construction industry experts expect clients to invest in outdoor kitchens this year. And the good news is that you don't need a sprawling estate to accommodate one. You just have to think creatively about your space—and know your priorities. 

But just as with any other kind of home improvement project, things can easily go wrong. So if you’re thinking about investing in an al fresco cooking space, do your homework to avoid the following headaches—and ensure delicious results.

#1 Planning for the Weather

If you're a homeowner in a cooler climate, you won't be able to use your outdoor kitchen all year long. If you live in an area with frigid, snowy winters, you need to plan the space carefully. Make sure the electrical components of your outdoor kitchen are thoroughly planned out depending on your weather conditions. 

#2 Positioning Your Kitchen in Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight is a no-go for outdoor kitchens. On a practical level, direct sunlight can also be annoying. Nobody wants to squint into the sun while trying to enjoy an outdoor happy hour. If you don’t have natural shade, you can create a pergola or roof structure to help protect your outdoor kitchen from the sun.

#3 Building with Flammable Material 

Are you thinking of building a wooden island for your outdoor kitchen? Think again. Instead, opt for a material like metal, brick, or stone. If you absolutely must use wood for your BBQ island, be sure to install an insulated jacket around the wood to prevent fires—and don’t put your kitchen right up against vinyl siding, another serious fire hazard.

#4 Cramming Too Much into a Small Space

The idea of creating an outdoor kitchen is so you can bring the comforts of home outside. Having a cramped space will limit the feelings for coziness you are striving for. Remember, you don’t need to live on a sprawling estate to create the outdoor dining space of your dreams. If you’re short on space (or money), consider what you really need in your outdoor kitchen, then tailor the space to your priorities and your budget.

#5 Planning your Outdoor Kitchen like an Indoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have certain quirks that distinguish them from indoor kitchens. For starters, you probably won’t want to use the kind of cabinetry you have inside the house. Most outdoor cabinets are deeper than indoor cabinets. Also vent hoods for outdoor kitchens need to be more powerful than indoor ones. 

#6 Choosing a Grill that is the Wrong Size

If you’re putting the energy and investment into an outdoor kitchen, don’t skimp on your most important appliance: the grill. Here are three questions you should ask yourself when trying to figure out the right size for your grill. 1. How many people will you normally grill for? 2. What’s the maximum number of people you will be grilling for? 3. How often do you expect to grill for the maximum number of people

#7 Forgetting to Set Up the Space for Entertaining

Chances are, you want an outdoor kitchen for relaxing—not just for cooking. Don’t forget to think about how the space will function for entertaining. It is important to think about where you want your dining table and if you would want your outdoor kitchen to include an island where bar stools could be lined up. You may also want to incorporate TVs, sound systems, heating and cooling appliances, and decor, depending on your priorities and budget.

#8 Dropping the Ball on Maintenance

A new outdoor kitchen comes with a new list of things to keep spotless. It's important to understand what chores you’re getting into. If you have stainless-steel appliances, for example, coat them with a protectant to prevent rust. If you aren’t up to the task of regular maintenance, consider hiring a cleaning service.

Posted in Homeowner
July 27, 2020

Four Ways To Never Buy A Home

I want to talk about something that really makes me angry. I have been talking to many buyer agents who have called on some of the homes I have for sale and I have been shocked by the lack of representation from many of them. Right now there are so many buyers looking for homes and it is more important than ever to make sure you have an amazing REALTOR helping you. It is our job as Realtors to help you navigate the real estate market, contracts and negotiations, and everything in between.

"There are many buyers who will never have the opportunity to purchase a home if they stay with the agent that is currently helping them."

I know that is an extreme statement but it really makes me sad to know that buyers are putting their trust in someone only to waste their time and be heartbroken. Let me explain the best ways to NOT purchase a home...

NUMBER ONE: If you don't play the game, you can't win! Can you believe I spoke with 12 Realtors who told me "my client loved the home but I know you will have a lot of offers so we are not going to write an offer" WHAT??? How is that giving your buyer the best service? What about strategizing with your buyer to get creative with terms? Their Realtors never even asked me if I had any offers, they had zero confidence that they could help them purchase the home. It literally takes me ten minutes to process an offer for a buyer to give them a chance to purchase a home. 

"At least if you offer didn't get accepted you know you tried, RIGHT?"

NUMBER TWO: Not being represented locally! Some of the Realtors who contacted me were from other areas. Buyers selling out of area want to use their same agent to purchase in our area and that can work just fine but there are many times when not using a local Realtor can stop you from getting the home. Some agents that contacted me did not join our local real estate board so they actually cannot access our homes here and are not able to show many homes to their buyers. Some agents made appointments to show the home to their buyer and didn't realize how long it would take to drive to the home and missed their appointment. Some agents from out of the area said they didn't know the local market and what did I think they should write an offer for.

"Having a local Realtor can you get access to homes when they become available and we know which homes are good deals or priced too high."

NUMBER THREE: Not being creative! I recently did an entire video on writing an offer and how important price and terms are, message me if you would like a copy. Recently I have helped my buyers offer get accepted because of the terms we offered and we did not offer the most money.  

"It's not always about the price...for many sellers terms can be even more valuable."

Make sure your Realtor talks to you about different term options and is getting creative with how they write offers to you. 

NUMBER FOUR: Not putting a bow on it! Ok, so your Realtor got you in a home to see it, they actually wrote an offer on your behalf, they got creative with price and terms...now it is time to wrap it all up with a bow. How the offer is presented to the listing agent is also very important. I have worked with several buyers who took a lower offer because the other buyer was presented in a way that made the seller feel more comfortable. A great agent has strategies in place to help your offer stand out above others and that little difference can be all the difference in the world.

The real estate market is really busy and now more than ever who you work with matters. Not all real estate agents are the same and if you have had a bad experience with one, please learn what questions to ask and what red flags to look out for and find someone who will help you find your dream home.




Posted in Home Buyer
July 27, 2020

What Are The Current New Construction Trends?

Over the years I have seen new construction follow the trends of what homeowners are looking for. I am fascinated by what is currently trending in new construction, but first let's take a walk down memory lane.

In the 50's we saw a rise in single story ranch homes. 

In the 60's we saw homes with popcorn ceilings and the beginning of split level homes.

The 70's was all about style and color with gold and avocado appliances. By the mid 70's however 46 percent of homes had central air conditioning. 

In 80's bigger was better. Larger bedrooms and larger living areas. In fact, we saw a lot of mirrored walls to make rooms appear larger. Builders started putting larger homes on smaller lots.

In the 90's we went even bigger. New homes had skylights, vaulted ceilings, and two-story foyers. Larger master suites with luxurious baths and his and her walk-in closets became the trend.

In the 2000's it was all about the kitchen, both indoor and outdoor. Stainless steel appliances and the kitchen island became a common feature in homes. We also saw a demand for outdoor cooking areas as well.

In 2010 we saw an introduction of smart homes. Technology is becoming a part of nearly every room in a home, with lighting fixtures, thermostats, door bells, and more all being programmed by smartphones. We have electric car charging stations and voice controlled microwaves.

So what are we seeing in 2020? The current trends we are seeing in new construction are multigenerational living, home offices, open concept kitchens and indoor/outdoor living spaces.

Both as a consumer and a realtor I love seeing home trends change over the years. From my grandfather's home that was built in the 1900's to a new construction home I visit with a client...I love them all.

What interests me about the new construction homes today are all the multigenerational living options. So many families are moving in elderly parents to care for them, combining families to take care of the children, or just choosing to combine finances to purchase a larger home in a nicer area.

If you are interested in more information on a new construction home, reach out to my team and I, we are here to help. 




Posted in Homeowner
July 20, 2020

How Does Distance Learning Affect The Home You Live In?


We have been talking to many clients about the announcement the schools made last week to continue distance learning.

So many decisions have to be made… public schools, private schools, charter schools,  working, day care, the list goes on and on.   I have been getting several phone calls from people looking to move to four very specific types of homes to help them through this homeschool process.  Would any of these homes help you and your family right now?

Number 1:  A rise in homes with In-law areas:  With a need for child care many families are combining homes and purchasing larger homes with their relatives who can homeschool the children during the day while the parents are working.  

Number 2:  The need for a homeschool area:  People are wanting homes with more space and a designated area just for school time to help keep the kids focused and productive during the day.

Number 3:  A private home office:  With the children staying home many parents are asking their bosses if they can continue to work from home.  Because most people thought working from home was temporary they set up office space in the living room or bedroom.  As time goes on many buyers are looking for homes with more bedrooms so they can have a private office space with a door for more privacy.

Number 4:  Downsizing into a smaller home:  For some they are having to quit work to stay home and care for the children or they have been laid off from their job.  With their change in income some people are choosing to use the equity in their home to sell and purchase a smaller home to save money.

Whatever your needs are, I know the last few months have made many of you rethink the way you are living.  If you have any questions about your options and how I may be able to help, please reach out to my team and I.  

Posted in Home Seller
July 15, 2020

How to Buy a Home From Home

Many of our buyers are still not comfortable going out and touring homes....Did you know: You can tour homes from the comfort of your own home. 

If you are wanting to purchase a new home but don't know how to even start with everything that is going on, don't worry...WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

We have a virtual process that will help find the perfect home.

𝙰𝚛𝚎 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐, "𝙿𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎 𝚌𝚊𝚗'𝚝 𝚋𝚞𝚢 𝚊 𝚑𝚘𝚖𝚎 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚑𝚘𝚖𝚎"


We have been helping buyers for years buy homes virtually. We work with buyers relocating from other states who shop virtually to find the perfect home before even coming to our town. 

𝙷𝚘𝚠 𝚍𝚘 𝚠𝚎 𝚍𝚘 𝚒𝚝?

We utilize modern technology to ensure you see every inch of a home, behind doors and inside drawers so you know exactly what each home has to offer. We show you the neighborhood and the street so you see the full picture of what it would be like to live in that home. Once you eliminate homes that don't fit your needs, you can sign any documents needed online. When you are ready to view the home in person we will ensure a secure private showing with masks, gloves and booties. 

We want to make sure you are protected throughout the home buying process. If you want to purchase a home but don't feel comfortable walking through several homes, let's talk about how we help you through the process. 

Posted in Home Buyer
July 15, 2020

A Historical Rebound for the Housing Market

A Historical Rebound for the Housing Market!

Pending home sales increased by 44.3% in May.

Buyers are back in the market and purchasing homes NOW! 

Chief Economist at NAR, Lawrence Yun says:

"This has been a spectacular recovery for contact signings and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership....this bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery."

In order to keep up with buyer demand, we need more homes for sale....

- Have you had thoughts about selling?

- Do you know someone who is thinking about selling?

- We probably have a buyer waiting!


Posted in Home Seller
July 7, 2020

5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

If you are wanting to sell your home it is important to show it at its best to potential buyers.  These 5 tips will help you get a head start to getting your home sold. 


#1) Increase Curb Appeal

  First impressions are everything so anything you can do to freshen up the front of the home is important.  Cleaning up the yard with a well manicured lawn, plants and flowers,  fresh mulch or newly planted flowers for a pop of color.  Make sure to fix anything that is noticeably damaged. Consider putting out a seasonal door mat, rug, wreath or porch decorations.

#2) Pack and Depersonalize

   When buyers walk into a home, they need to be able to picture themselves living there. By pre-packing and removing items you have in your home, you make it easier for buyers to do just that. The other benefit to doing this is that you get a jumpstart on preparing for your move.

#3) Clean

Give the home a deep clean.  Once it's clean you can assess the walls to see if they need a fresh coat of paint.  If you are repainting, stick to neutral colors that will allow potential buyers to see past the decor and picture themselves living in your home.

#4) Simplify

  Less is more.  With less stuff in the home it will look bigger and allow for more areas a buyer can picture their things in.  Remove items from counters, take out extra furniture pieces, and decorate with minimal accents.

#5) Make Simple Updates

When buyers see things that are broken or not maintained, it will affect the sale.  Sometimes all the little things like leaky faucets and missing outlet covers can detour a buyer. If you are able to repair the quick fix items it can really make a big difference.
Our job is to help you understand each of these five tips and prioritize things to help you get your home sold. If you have questions about getting your home ready to sell reach out to my team and I. 
Posted in Home Seller
July 6, 2020

Gray is STILL the New Black

Gray is going nowhere...it still remains at the top of the list. Gray is one of the most versatile colors in home design because it complements a range of design styles from modern to traditional. 

A good tip to go by when choosing a shade of gray for your home is if space constraint is a thing, we recommend using light grey.

There are so many shades of gray, and the ultimate choice lies with you. Here are some examples of "shades of gray" to give you some inspiration for your future home renovations. 

There are so many shades of gray cabinets that can be absolutely beautiful in a kitchen! From dark, charcoal gray to light gray to a warmer mushroom or a cooler blue-gray, gray cabinets are a beautiful neutral for any kitchen. It's hard to beat a good two-toned kitchen...we love this gray and white combo. 

Painting your bathroom gray is a great choice. Make it sleek and modern with a black vanity and black linen shelves. Gray bathrooms can have their entire look changed just by choosing a different tone of gray.

A gray door has a way of balancing a bright exterior and lending just the right amount of steely modernity to more traditional structures. 


The gray home office is one that combines modern sophistication with a sense of style that is also timeless. Gray can be used both as a neutral and as an accent hue depending on what you choose as the backdrop for the home office. In its many shades, gray can bring warmth to the home office or even as a 'cool' addition and it an be easily used with a variety of themes and styles. 

There is nothing like opting for a neutral shade to create a serene atmosphere in a bedroom design. From gray furniture to gray paint...I love how there are different hues of gray, ensuring that the light colors aren’t too overpowering.

A soothing, pretty laundry room can help turn the tasks of washing clothes and folding laundry into a more pleasant chore. As a bonus, the neutral gray cabinets provide numerous options for different accent colors in the future.

Posted in Dream Home
July 1, 2020

Getting An Offer Accepted In A Multiple Offer Situation


Buying a home and worried about bidding wars? This video can save you money and help you get the house. 

Did you know that Highest and best can sometimes mean best?

As you know the real estate market is moving quickly and if you are trying to purchase a home you have probably heard the term "highest and best".

With many sellers receiving multiple offers on their property they have requested buyers review the home and submit there highest and best offer.  Now why are they not just saying give me your highest offer... well because it's not always about the money.

"I know that is hard to believe, of course it is all about the money, right?"

The truth is there are many terms in a contract that can often mean more to a seller than the purchase price or terms that are worth more to a seller than the extra 5,000 dollars someone else may offer.

I recently had a buyer that was up against multiple offers and although we did not offer the highest price we were able to offer the seller terms, that worked for my buyer, and that were more valuable to the seller than the money the other buyers were offering.

There are many different ways to structure an offer.  Shortened time frames for inspections or loan financing, time for the seller to remain in the home so they don't have to move twice, shortened escrow period, and so on.

Our job is to help you determine what the seller is looking for and work backwards to determine the best plan and terms to give your offer a push to the front of the pile.

"If you are trying to buy a home make sure the seller picks your offer because it is the HIGHEST price with the BEST terms."

If you have more questions about multiple offer situations or if you have other real estate questions we can help with, please reach out.  I'm Kari Cross with The Cross Group at Intero Real Estate and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Posted in Home Buyer
June 23, 2020

Buying a Home in Phase II of Covid-19


Our local real estate market is hot with more homes coming on the market for sale and even more buyers out looking to purchase homes.  However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, things are a little different for those of you trying to buy a home. Here are a 4 things you can expect.

1) Start virtually.  If there are 8 homes for sale in the area you love in your price range, you will want to do some virtual shopping first to narrow down the list.  Many homes are offering 360 degree virtual tours where you are able to actually walk through a home and look around as if you are inside the home.  You will want to eliminate homes that don't have the yard space you need or that don't have the formal dining room you know you want.  Then you want to drive by the homes and make sure you like the area, or the other homes in the area.  Once you narrow down the list you can then make appointments to see the homes at the top of your list.

2) Only two people.  Don't expect to bring your parents, friends or even your children with you to look at homes.  We are only allowed to have two people visit a home during this time. So that would be you and your spouse or one parent. But you’re not able to show it to any more people and children are not allowed in homes during this time.  If you do want to show a place to someone else we can give them a virtual tour but they will not be able to see the home in person with you.  Also, because children are not allowed in the home you will need to make child care arrangements or we will have to show the home to one spouse at a time while the other waits in the car with the kids.

3) Signing Disclosures.  You are not able to drive up to a home and expect to get an appointment to view it right away.  There are forms that need to be signed prior to entering any home. The Coronavirus property entry advisory and declaration must be signed by any person entering the home.  Also, if you are seeing more than one home, you must sign a seperate form for each home.  This form will need to be given to the seller and acknowledged before you are allowed to enter the home.  These forms can be signed digitally but can still cause a small delay so planning in advance when you want to view homes is very important.

4) Wear masks, gloves and booties.  To help spread the virus and to protect yourself and the seller anyone who enters the home must wear a mask, gloves and booties.  You will want to make sure you keep these in your car or ask your realtor before going to the home if you need them.

There are many buyers out looking at homes right now and although it sounds very different we have everything streamlined pretty well.  We are here to walk you through the process and make sure you don't miss out on finding your dream home.

If you have any additional questions about buying a home during this time, or any other real estate needs, my team and I are here to help. 

Posted in Home Buyer