Whether you are shopping for a new home or thinking about building one from the ground up, it’s always wise to spend some time researching architectural styles. Finding or building your dream home involves several factors, from features and layout to neighborhood and location. If you really want your home to say something about who you are and what matters to you, it is essential to figure out exactly what you want regarding architecture. Here are a few architectural styles you should think about for your home, as well as why you might choose each one.
- The Style: Cape Cod
The Hallmarks: The Cape Cod home was initially designed to withstand harsh New England winters. Steep roofs, shuttered windows, and big chimneys are standard features. Muted, natural colors help Cape Cod homes blend in with nature. These homes remain popular in snow-prone regions but can be found in suburban areas throughout much of the country.
The Ideal Buyer: If you want a cozy home with a lot of small-town charm, the Cape Cod might be your best bet. It doesn’t stand out from the crowd but has a quaint appeal that your guests will love.
- The Style: Colonial
The Hallmarks: If there is one word to describe the colonial architecture style, it’s “symmetrical.” These homes have a classic plantation-style look to them, with evenly spaced windows, chimneys, and columns. You can find colonial homes in most parts of the country, but they are primarily common throughout the Southern United States.
The Ideal Buyer: You want something formal, elegant, and classic. Colonial homes make a bit of a statement without being too ostentatious.
- The Style: Craftsman
The Hallmarks: Craftsman homes are known for their natural building materials. Wood with muted colors, natural stone, and brick often blend in this style, to striking effect. On the inside, craftsman homes are typically characterized by wide-open floor plans. On the outside, they are marked by spacious, wraparound porches.
The Ideal Buyer: Between their open floorplans and large porches, craftsman-style homes are ideal for entertaining.
- The Style: Mediterranean
The Hallmarks: Expect red-tiled roofs, grand arched windows, stunning second-floor balconies, stucco walls, and yards filled with lush vegetation. These types of homes are tough to find in colder parts of the country, but they are everywhere in states like California and Arizona.
The Ideal Buyer: Warm weather homebuyers might love the Mediterranean style as a chance to inject some exotic flare into their lives. This style of home also really looks great alongside a flourishing garden, so it’s best for someone with a taste for gardening and landscaping.
- The Style: Modern
The Hallmarks: Simplistic design; sharp 90-degree angles; clean, straight lines; emphasis on glass and metal building materials. These features are synonymous with the modern or contemporary architecture style.
The Ideal Buyer: Modern-style homes are usually most popular near bigger cities. However, their designs—which provide plentiful natural light, open concept floorplans, and sustainable performance—are appealing to many a modern homebuyer.
- The Style: Ranch
The Hallmarks: Ranch homes feature sprawling, simplistic, and asymmetrical designs. In most cases, ranch-style homes are designed to have only one floor, though some ranch-style dwellings do have basements. Often, there is a focus on balance between indoor and outdoor living, with spacious backyards. Sliding glass doors connect the outdoor and indoor living spaces and let plenty of natural light into the house.
The Ideal Buyer: A buyer who struggles with stairs or a family with young children might appreciate the perks of single-story living. The focus on outdoor living space will also appeal to many buyers, particularly those in areas where the weather stays warm all year round.
- The Style: Victorian
The Hallmarks: Victorian homes are virtually the opposite of ranch-style houses. Instead of being simplistic, unassuming, and single-story, Victorian dwellings are ornate, brightly colored, and spread out across two or three floors.
The Ideal Buyer: In most cases, modern developers aren’t building new Victorian homes. However, these intricate and beautiful houses still exist in many parts of the country. They are magnets for buyers who appreciate history, character, and architectural flair.
Are you looking for one of these home styles in the Bay Area? At Twinley Homes, we can help you find homes for sale in Santa Clara, Cupertino, Willow Glen, and beyond. If you are after a specific style of home, just let us know.
Contact us now or give us a call at 408-909-TWIN to get started!
You’ve been saving up money to get your dream home. Maybe you’ve always planned to build something from scratch, to suit your every design whim. With all those popular home improvement shows on TV, though, maybe you’ve also started to think about renovation as a potential option. The question is, which option is better for you?
The truth of the matter is that both renovating and new construction have their perks and drawbacks. At Twinley Homes, we do both! We buy and restore distressed properties in areas such as Cupertino, Willow Glen, Campbell, Fremont, Belmont, and San Mateo, eventually putting the houses back on the market and selling them to new buyers. We also develop new properties of our own, giving families a chance to buy new construction homes in the California Bay Area.
In short, at Twinley Homes, we know all the pros and cons of renovating and building. Read on to learn more about both options.
Renovating Your Home: What to Expect
Renovating gives you a chance to take an existing house—either one that you’re currently living in or one that you are thinking about buying—and turn it into your dream home. Advantages of this option typically include:
- You don’t need to move: Perhaps you love your neighborhood and don’t want to leave it behind. Maybe you have an emotional attachment to your home because it’s where you grew up or raised a family. Either way, there can be an appeal to getting a better house without having to move.
- Your money goes toward the house only: When you build new, you have to invest some of your money in moving and closing costs. When you renovate a home you already own, you avoid these expenses. The extra money can allow you to do more things with your renovation.
- You are eyeing a prime location, but there are no vacant lots available: Sometimes, building a new house isn’t an option. In prime locations, there are often no vacant lots left for building. As such, if you want your “dream home” in one of these neighborhoods, your best bet is to either find the perfect pre-existing house or buy an existing house and renovate it.
Another advantage often cited in conversations about renovating is cost. The assumption is that renovating a home is cheaper than building one from scratch. This statement can sometimes be true—especially if you are mostly focused on one floor or just a few rooms. However, if you plan to gut the interior of the house and renovate everything, you could easily end up spending just as much to restore as you would to build. Experts will tell you that renovations always end up costing more than expected, whether due to unseen water damage, out-of-code electrical work, or something else. New builds are pricey, but their costs are more reliable.
Building a New House: The Perks
Building a house from the ground up usually seems more daunting than renovating an existing dwelling. However, there are a few advantages that can make things easier. These include:
- You get more freedom: You can do a lot with a renovation, from knocking out walls to changing out the flooring. You can even build new additions to the house. However, in many spaces, you will be limited by the existing layout and “bones” for the home. With new construction, you have a lot more freedom regarding architecture, style, and layout—simply because there is no existing structure to consider.
- You start modern: With a new build, it’s a lot easier to start with everything modern: appliances, electrical systems, building materials, etc. You get a house that adheres to every code, boasts an environmentally sustainable design, and looks innovative. You can accomplish most of these things with a renovation, but they will cost you.
- You don’t need to live amidst the wreckage: When you are renovating your home, you have two options: do it in stages and live in the parts of the house that aren’t under construction, or move out and find temporary housing for the duration of the work. The first option can be extremely inconvenient (or downright impossible) depending on the layout of the house and the extent of the renovation. The latter option adds considerable cost to the project. With a new build, you can continue living in your current home while the house is under construction and then move in once it's done.
As you can see, there many varied factors to consider when thinking about a renovation or new construction. If you are thinking about new construction, Twinley Homes can help you find brand new Bay Area real estate. Contact us today or give us a call at 408-909-TWIN to discuss.
If you are shopping for a home or getting into the real estate investing game, then you are likely to hear the term “distressed property” from time to time. If what you are looking for is a well-maintained home with no major problems or defects, the word “distressed” might give you pause. However, shopping for and buying distressed properties can be good business if you know how to do it right.
Simply put, a distressed property is a property that the owner can no longer care for or maintain. In some cases, the owner might be struggling to keep the home in excellent condition. In other cases, the owner might be behind on mortgage payments and nearing foreclosure. In any case, distressed properties usually need to sell fast.
That point brings us to the other question posed by the title of this article: should you buy a distressed property?
There are pros and cons to buying distressed houses. The biggest advantage is that these homes typically sell considerably below market value. When the seller needs to divest of their home quickly, they usually want a no-fuss sale. Said another way, they don’t want to go through the lengthy process of doing repairs and upkeep, worrying about curb appeal, staging the interior of the house, or negotiating over price. As a result, you can often buy distressed houses for real bargain prices.
On the other hand, buying a distressed property usually means agreeing to do some improvement work. In most cases, part of the reason you get a bargain price is that the seller hasn’t done much to maintain the property. A distressed home might have a yard overgrown with weeds, a roof that needs replacement, peeling paint, ratty old carpets, outdated appliances, and more. In other words, while you will save money on the purchase price, you will probably have to spend at least some of it getting the house back into decent shape.
Of course, not all distressed properties are falling apart. Homes reeling toward foreclosure can sometimes be in decent condition. The problem with these distressed properties is that they are more difficult to spot. In most cases, distressed properties are not listed on the real estate market, at least not yet. If you are interested in buying distressed houses, you will need to find them yourself.
For instance, say there is a home on your block where an elderly homeowner has lived for years. The house has started falling into disrepair because the owner can no longer maintain it. The owner’s family ultimately steps in an insists they move into an assisted living community. The family wants to sell the house but assumes that no one will want to buy it until they have taken care of some of the deferred maintenance. As such, the home remains unlisted. Owners facing foreclosure will also often leave their homes unlisted, even if they are interested in selling.
To buy a distressed property, you will typically need to reach out to homeowners to express your interest in purchasing their homes. This process can be uncomfortable since you will usually need to make these offers without any solicitation. However, if you have reason to believe that an owner is struggling with the financial or upkeep responsibilities of a property (or both), making an unsolicited offer might do wonders. An owner of a distressed property might jump at the opportunity to sell their home to an interested buyer directly.
So where do you start? Look for distressed properties as you walk or drive through neighborhoods in your area. Look for homes that have apparent signs of deferred maintenance or neglect. A property that stands out from others on the block because it obviously poorly cared for likely qualifies as “distressed.”
At Twinley Homes, we buy, rehabilitate, and sell distressed properties in the San Francisco Bay Area, among other regions. We have seen considerable success from using this model of real estate investing. We have also worked with independent buyers and investors who have had successes of their own with distressed properties. Of course, if you would rather buy rehabilitated homes, we can give you a tour of our Bay Area real estate offerings.
Either way, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 408-909-TWIN.
Perhaps you just moved into your first home and are trying to find the right stylistic flair for the place. Alternatively, maybe you are getting your house ready for sale, and you want to stage it with a unique but appealing look. In either situation, giving your home a personal touch is important. You don’t want the house to look like the page out of a catalog. It’s all too easy to fall into the traps of generic decorating habits. While those practices can result in rooms that look perfectly nice, they rarely result in décor that stands out. To really send a message with your redecorating, you need to find your own style.
Everyone can create their own decorating style. It doesn’t take a professional decorator to get adventurous with colors, textures, fixtures, paint, and furniture. On the contrary, you’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish just by mixing and matching different furniture styles or tweaking the way you place your furnishings throughout a room.
Indeed, all you need to create your own style when redecorating is the confidence to try new things. Here are a few tips to help you develop that confidence and run with it:
- Before you do anything, do a walk-through of your home: Don’t start by buying new furniture pieces or fixtures. Don’t even start by going online and looking at Pinterest for ideas. Instead, take a walk through your home. Bring a notepad and explore every room as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Which pieces or features do you like the most? Which rooms capture a singular atmosphere or style? Which ones don’t? Are there rooms where the paint color makes everything feel too dark, too washed out, or too bland? Write down your observations without taking time to think about them too much. Later, you can go back through your notes to identify the things that you love and the things that you can exclude. Separating elements of your décor into these two extreme categories will help you determine your style.
- Think about the house itself: Not all homes have a distinct architectural style, but some do. Do you live in a contemporary home with supremely modern architecture? Do you live in a rustic farmhouse with a more relaxed vibe? Do you live in a ranch-style home out in the woods? Typically, each of these types of homes has its own kind of default décor. Modern homes have contemporary furniture, modern art pieces, and a streamlined look to complement their own, angular architecture. The more relaxed feel of farm-style dwellings lends itself well to mix-and-match décor styling. And off-the-beaten-path cabins or ranch style homes often feel welcoming because of their cozy furniture and decoration. You don’t necessarily have to adhere to these guidelines completely. For instance, it can be a lot of fun to incorporate pieces of modern décor into a classic ranch style home. Subverting expectations is part of defining your style! However, identifying the things you like about the standard décor style for your house can certainly give you an excellent place to start.
- Try to tell your story: It’s fine to take inspiration for your home’s décor from looking at magazines or visiting the houses of friends and family. However, try to avoid mimicking anyone else’s style. The fun part of decorating is that you get to do your own thing. To tap into the right headspace, pretend that you are writing your personal story—you’re just doing it with furniture, color, and other hallmarks of décor rather than with words. What are your hobbies? If you love music or film, try to incorporate those passions into your décor, at least in a room or two. Do you collect anything? It can be fun to display collections—from books to vinyl records to pint glasses—as part of your home design. Where have you traveled in your life? Were you strongly inspired by the look of homes or buildings in Paris or Barcelona? Try to figure out what moved you about those and incorporate them into your décor. There are countless ways to tell your story through home decoration, so take some time to figure out the best ones.
If you are decorating and staging your home with the intention to list it on the real estate market, consider Twinley Homes instead. We are investors who buy houses for cash throughout the California Bay area. We can help you close a sale on your home quickly, so you can move to a new house and start decorating a space that you will be able to appreciate for years to come.
Contact us here or call us at 408-909-8946 to learn more!
Every year, smart home devices become more advanced and more commonplace. We are slowly moving toward a future where all new homes will be smart homes—at least on some level. This prediction might sound radical on the surface, but that’s only because smart homes are often thought of as being more futuristic than they are. In truth, a smart home is just a home outfitted with multiple intuitive technologies that connect with one another (and to your computer, tablet, or smartphone) via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking technologies.
As the concept of the smart home begins to feel more within reach for the average homebuyer or homeowner, more and more companies are embracing this subset of technology. Right now, there is no shortage of smart home-related products on the market. The question is, which products deserve a spot in your smart home design? Read on to learn more about the technologies that are currently forming the backbone of smart home design.
- Apple Home/HomeKit: Apple has been the leader in lifestyle electronics for more than a decade, so it stands to reason that the company would also be an early leader in smart home technology. Apple offers an iOS app called “Home,” which you can use to control and monitor things around your house directly from your iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. What can it control? The answer depends on what HomeKit accessories you have. The HomeKit line includes a wide range of devices, including thermostats, security cameras, locks, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, light bulbs, outlets, and more. It is certainly possible to leverage the Apple HomeKit range to create an entire smart home design. You can then use the Apple Home app to control everything from one place—an attractive option if you are already a staunch Apple device user.
- Personal Assistants: With Apple Home and HomeKit, you can create a network of devices that you can easily control from your preferred mobile device. This simplistic, self-monitored and self-controlled design may align perfectly with your expectations for a smart home. However, many people want their smart homes to be even smarter, and that’s where personal assistants come in. Artificial intelligence was always going to be a part of the smart home revolution, and thanks to personal assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, it already is. Both devices are voice-activated and smart enough to do an array of things, from playing songs to keeping track of your daily schedule. They can also make it easier for you to control the smart devices in your home using nothing but your voice. This hands-free functionality can make smart home designs even cooler and more helpful.
- Other Brands: Apple, Amazon, and Google are big names in technology, but they certainly aren’t the only companies that are embracing smart home technology. Nest, for instance, is a very notable company that makes some of the best-reviewed Wi-Fi security cameras and thermostats on the market. August is a favorite brand for smart locks. Philips Hue sets the standard in lighting. And while the Amazon Echo and Google Home are the most well-known smart home hubs, they arguably fall short of the Wink Hub2, a hub that is compatible with just about every other smart home device on the market.
As you can see, there are many technologies to choose from when it comes to devising a smart home design. What you need to decide is what types of smart home technologies would make your life better. Thermostats, lighting systems, and home security systems are the logical places to start, but there are also systems that can give you remote control of cooking, cleaning, and more. Our tip? Make a priority list and go from there.
Alternatively, you could just buy a home that is already enabled with smart home devices. If you are in the market for a new home in Belmont, Campbell, Cupertino, Fremont, San Mateo, or Willow Glen, Twinley Homes might be able to help. We are investors who buy and sell homes in the California Bay Area. We often renovate the properties we purchase and outfit them with the latest features, often including smart home technologies.
To find out what we have to offer, contact us here or call 408-909-8946 today!
Throughout the entire country, the inventory of homes for sale has been gradually declining over the past decade. We know this fact thanks to statistics from the National Association of Realtors. Depending on where you live or where you are trying to purchase a house, you may also recognize the signs of low inventory firsthand. In particular, the Silicon Valley area has hit historically low inventory rates during 2018.
If you tried to buy or sell a house this past year, you undoubtedly saw the side effects of this inventory shortage. Even if you didn’t, though, you can probably guess at what happened. It’s the simplest law of economics that low supply and high demand leads to price increases. The limited housing inventory in Silicon Valley fulfills the low supply part of the rule. Silicon Valley fits the demand side, too. Between the area’s booming business environment, plentiful networking opportunities, vibrant community, gorgeous weather, and delicious dining scene (to name just a few perks), Silicon Valley is the place where a lot of people want to be.
The combination of low supply and high demand has turned Silicon Valley into one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country. Consequences of the low inventory/high demand situation include:
- More competition for properties: When a property does hit the market in Silicon Valley—be it in Cupertino, San Mateo, or Fremont—competition immediately becomes frantic. Many buyers would like to purchase homes in these areas, which means bidding wars and higher sale prices, among other things. The high demand for living space in Silicon Valley also means that more investors are eyeing for-sale properties as business opportunities. Some investors intend to renovate existing properties and turn them into even higher-value assets. Others purchase homes or condos with the intention of renting them out to other tenants.
- High listing prices: In 2017, the median sale price for homes in the United States was $232,000. In Santa Clara, it was 1,097,000. Appraisers, realtors, and sellers in Santa Clara—and all throughout Silicon Valley—were well aware of the property values in their area. As a result, asking prices for homes were higher across the board than they were for virtually anywhere else in the country. Simply put, sellers are seeing the opportunity to get a lot of money for their houses—and are seizing it.
- Brief listings: There isn’t much time in Silicon Valley to mull over real estate purchases. Because listings in this area are few and far between these days, the ones that do crop up tend to sell within a matter of days.
- Homes selling above asking prices: Throughout Silicon Valley this year, 60-70% of homes were selling above asking price. Buyers understand how limited the area’s housing inventory is and are getting aggressive to stake claims on Silicon Valley real estate. The regularity of bidding wars—more common in a low supply/high demand inventory—are pushing sale prices higher and leaving asking prices in the dust.
- Unpredictable fluctuations: While we’ve mentioned some statistics in this article, the fact is that, with inventory low, statisticians don’t have a big enough sample size to compile accurate numbers. You can cite median sale price statistics, for instance, but when there aren’t that many homes selling, those statistics only mean so much. The limited statistics mean that the market in Silicon Valley is fluctuating quickly and unpredictably. Median prices made considerable jumps throughout Silicon Valley this year, almost always in the upward direction. With no sign of the market cooling down, buyers, sellers, and investors should all be aware of how quickly these numbers can change. In fact, the quick fluctuations could explain why buyers in Silicon Valley are so eager to buy, even if they are paying significantly above asking price: next month, the prices will probably be higher.
Whether you are trying to find Santa Clara homes for sale or sell a house in Willow Glen, Twinley Homes might be able to help. We buy and sell distressed properties throughout the region, as well as developing new construction opportunities. Contact us here or give us a call at 408-909-TWIN (8946) to learn a bit about what we might be able to do for you!