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The Real Costs of Halloween Home Disasters: Serial Killers, Phantasms, and Floods of Blood

Looking back at some of the ‘classic’ horror home disasters, lets estimate the home repair costs in Poltergeist, Scream, The Shining, and other horror classics.

The Shining

When little Danny Torrance saw a river of blood surging down the hallway, there’s one thing that was probably not on his mind: What’s it going to cost to clean up this mess? He was a little more concerned with evading his possessed, axe-wielding father. But the answer depends entirely on whether the Overlook Hotel was covered for flood insurance. Let’s just hope they opted for maximum blood coverage.
Disaster: Flooding

  • The average flood claim for a residence is about $33,000.
  • The average annual cost of flood insurance for a residence is $540.

When considering a new home, save some money, have it inspected—and make sure it’s not on an unmarked burial ground. You’ll disrespect the dead, and as we learned in Poltergeist, phantasms can get pretty miffed. They’ll suck children into other dimensions and even push coffins through the back yard, ripping up the landscaping and inflicting serious damage.
If ghosts do turn your yard into Swiss cheese–and your house doesn’t get sucked into a void like the Freelings’–you’ll need to redo your landscaping. Consider hiring a certified landscape architect to design a plan that includes irrigation, lighting, soil conditioning, and repotting (or removing) those pesky coffins. You might also want to consider planting a few new trees which, when properly placed for shade, will save you up to $250 a year in energy costs.
Disaster: Destroyed landscaping

  • A landscape consultation costs about $100 to $150.
  • A detailed plan can run from $300 to $2,500.
  • New sod installation is 30 to 50 cents per square foot.
  • Total sod cost for the average suburban yard: $2,000.
  • Three 15-foot trees cost a total of $300 to $600.

Going up? When Ghostface caught this beered-up victim in the too-small cat portal of a garage door, he scored a memorable kill, but shorted out the garage door opener in the process. While this party girl never made it to a sequel, the home owners lucked out with an easy repair. So easy, they might even consider a whole new garage door. But, of course, spring for a bigger cat door.
Disaster: Broken garage door

  • A replacement garage door opener costs about $300.
  • Installed garage doors range from $550 to $1,650 for a single door, and $800 to $2,500 for a double door.

The Amityville Horror

Bolts of lightning might have blown out the windows of this infamous Amityville residence, but whole-house surge protectors would have kept the lights on and things running smoothly—at least until Father Delaney and the Devil battle it out over who has to pay for window replacements. Spoiler alert: bet on the Devil.
Disaster: Broken windows

  • Replacement windows cost $250 to $800 each.

Interview with the Vampire
Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt had a great time slurping the life out of the residents of New Orleans, but you wouldn’t want the same drain on your homestead. That’s why you need to be vigilant about the waste caused by vampire energy, also known as standby power consumption—unneeded electricity usage that sucks up to $100 out of your wallet annually.
Most common culprits are computers, monitors, printers, and stereo subwoofers. Try plugging devices into a power strip and get in the habit of turning them all off at once. Or try a “smart” power strip that senses when you’ve shut off your computer and cuts the juice. It works much better than garlic.
Disaster: Energy drain

  • Power strips are $10 each
  • “Smart” power strips cost $30

Thriller video
When Michael Jackson and his zombie buddies broke into an old house to terrify his girlfriend, costly damage ensues—destruction that could have been avoided if only the undead had turned the doorknob.
Unfortunately, zombies aren’t too dexterous, and the hapless home owners got stuck with the cost of a new steel exterior replacement door. If only they had installed a home security system, those zombies would be singing an entirely different tune.
Disaster: Zombie attack

  • A replacement door costs about $1,200.
  • A home security system installation costs $500, with a monthly fee of $35 to $75.

Houses sell in Fall and Winter too!

Every year about this time, I hear the same thing, “Houses don’t sell in the Fall and Winter”, or “We want to take the house off the market until next Spring.”  Sellers seem to think that the buyers disappear during the Fall and Winter months, but this simply isn’t true.
Yes, there are less transactions during the fall and winter months, but selling a home from October – February is still a very common occurrence.  Why?  It really comes down to simple supply and demand.  I know it may be hard for some of you, but try to remember back to your high school or college basic economics class.  Supply and Demand.  A little political side note:  Our country’s economy is based on the supply and demand functionality.  If people want something, they will pay for it, and based upon the supply of inventory, the price will be determined according to the demand.  This principle has stood the test of time, and it will stand during fall and winter for the local real estate market as well.
During the fall and winter months housing inventory is typically lower, which means less competition for the seller during the fall and winter months.  But, during these same months when inventory is lower than any other time of the year, life still happens.  Life changing events continue even when the leaves are changing color, snow is falling, or you are celebrating Christmas.  What are life changing events?  New babies.  Deaths.  Divorce.  Loss of Job.  New Job.  Relocation.
All of these life changing events create demand for housing.  If the demand is there, and the supply is lower than it is possible to not only see shorter days on market, but better pricing as well.  Yep, I said it.  It is possible to sell a home at a higher price and shorter time frame during the fall and winter months.  The typical fall and winter buyer is ready to make a decision, either due to these life changing events, or to get a fresh start by or around the new year.
2011 was a classic example of this for Central Arkansas.  Throughout the Greater Little Rock area, October 2011 thru February 2012 was HOT with real estate activity.  Don’t miss this wonderful time to sell your home!
Here is some research I conducted over 2012, for West Little Rock and Maumelle, to show that the numbers may support a better selling time is during the fall and winter.  In January 2012, there was 1 buyer for every 2 active listings.  In July 2012, there was 1 buyer for every 7 listings!  Inventory, and competition, had increased greatly so there were more sellers fighting for the active buyers.
New Article just published:

Let the Fall Buying, Selling Season Begin

Daily Real Estate News |      Friday, September 28, 2012

The fall housing market isn’t known for being as robust as the spring market, but there are different motivations that tend to attract consumers during this season, experts say.”We’ve observed in seasonal household buyer patterns that there is a higher ratio of first-time buyers and childless couples in the fall,” says Walter Molony, economic issues media manager at the National Association of REALTORS®. “Families with children time their purchase based on school-year considerations, so they peak in the spring and summer.”
According to a recent Real Estate survey, based on 30,000 of broker and agents, about 20 percent of buyers are emotionally driven in the fall to purchase a house so that they can be in a new home by the holidays. Ten percent are motivated by tax benefits.
Sellers in the fall tend to be highly motivated too and face less competition with smaller inventories, says Shaun White, vice president for corporate communications for RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colo.
“Some sellers will opt to lower their price in the fall because they’re afraid of missing the boat and being stuck trying to sell during the holidays,” says White. “Buyer traffic drops in the fall, too, so buyers may have less competition as well as better prices. You find motivated sellers and motivated buyers in the fall, especially as you get closer to the holidays.”
In some areas of the country, such as in Arizona and Florida, the prime selling season doesn’t even begin until the fall as snowbirds come in from the cooler climates looking for new homes, White says.
Source: “Homebuying: Fall Is the New Spring,” (Sept. 26, 2012)

Pending Home Sales Slip in June, Remain above a Year Ago

Pending Home Sales Slip in June, Remain above a Year Ago

[1]Pending home sales declined in June but marked 14 consecutive months of year-over-year gains, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, slipped 1.4 percent to 99.3 in June from a downwardly revised 100.7 in May but is 9.5 percent higher than June 2011 when it was 90.7. The data reflect contracts but not closings.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said inventory shortages are a factor. “Buyer interest remains strong but fewer home listings mean fewer contract signing opportunities,” Yun says.