Sleep Well with These Bedroom Designs

Did you know that your bedroom could be affecting your ability to sleep well at night? Your bedroom should be decorated with a good sleep in mind. If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, it may be time to redecorate. The following ideas can help you improve the mood in your bedroom to help you sleep better and wake feeling refreshed.

Get a Great Mattress

Good sleep starts with a good mattress. Old or uncomfortable mattresses can place pressure on the wrong parts of your body, making it impossible to get comfortable. You can visit a mattress store or check out some of the new space-age foam mattresses available online to find one that is right for you.

Choose Soothing Colors

The psychology of color is fascinating. Bold, energetic colors such as red, orange or yellow aren’t great for a bedroom. Instead, choose cool calming colors, such as blue or neutral tones. If you want a little color, you can add it with accessories.

Reduce Clutter

A cluttered room makes for a cluttered mind. If you want restful sleep, keep your bedroom organized. That means putting away clothes and ensuring that additional clutter doesn’t find its way into the bedroom.

Keep It Dark and Cool

Light and temperature also affect our sleep cycles. If you want to sleep well, make sure the room is dark at night. You may need room darkening shades if the rooms gets any ambient light from the street. You should also block out light from alarm clocks, computers and televisions when you are sleeping.

If you are ready for a great night’s sleep in a new home, call us today.

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Projects to Finish Before You Sell

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Are you ready to make the transition to a new home? Or at least take a few steps to get there?

If so, you’ll need to think about selling your current property, and you’re probably hoping to get the best price possible. 

Renovations can be a great value booster. The right changes appeal to buyers and help you make a great return on your investment.

Here are four ways you might want to renovate before selling.

  • Fresh Paint Job: A new coat of paint is one of the most affordable renovations — and you can even do it yourself. Uplifting colors, like taupe or soft teal, can make a room look brighter. Remember that the more neutral the area, the easier it is for buyers to picture themselves living there.
  • Countertops and Light Fixtures: If you want to make your home look new without undergoing a full remodel, updating the countertops and light fixtures can work wonders. Similar to paint colors, it’s best to stick with simple styles.
  • Break-Even Remodel: Did you know the kitchen and bathrooms are the most important parts of the house? To interest buyers, consider a break-even remodel in these lived-in spaces. If the cabinets and floors are outdated, try low-cost upgrades (like new hardware) so the rooms look more modern.
  • Market Trends: Before deciding which renovations to make, check out the latest trends in home design. Choosing improvements based on what’s popular can help your house stand out to buyers — both online and in person.

Preparing your home to sell is easier with an experienced professional in your corner. To learn more about value-adding renovations, or to start looking for a new property, get in touch today.

Steps to a Cleaner Kitchen

Your kitchen might not be used just for eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many families use this space for homework, gathering, crafting and more. Keeping this space clean and clutter-free can feel like a losing battle. With a little planning and some tricks and tips, you can keep your kitchen neat and tidy. Let’s take a closer look at 5 simple steps.

1. Run Your Dishwasher at Night, Empty it in the Morning

Have you ever fallen into the trap of leaving dirty dishes in your sink for far too long? An easy way to handle this problem is to create a schedule to empty and fill your dishwasher. Run your dishwasher every night when you go to bed. Empty it in the morning while you make coffee, tea or breakfast. Then you can fill it immediately throughout the day rather than letting dishes pile up.

2. Assemble Your Supplies

When you begin to clean your kitchen, first get out all your supplies. This will save you time and also help you know where everything is. Have your surface cleaner, rags, sponges and whatever else you’ll need on the counter so you don’t have to dig under your sink to find what you need when you need it.

3. Wipe Down Surfaces

After every meal, wipe down the surfaces of your kitchen. It will be much easier to do each time throughout the day rather than to let things build up. Clean the counters and stovetop immediately. You don’t have to do a deep clean for this step, just a simple wipe with soap and water is enough to cut down on the grease and grime, making it easier to do a full cleaning later.

4. Put Everything Away

If you used it, put it in the dishwasher. If you didn’t, put it back in the cupboard. Don’t let your kitchen counter or table become a catch-all for non-kitchen items either. It’s easy to dump mail on the table to deal with later, but any time you put something off, it becomes clutter and will be much harder to sort through in the future. Have a place for everything and put everything in its place.

5. Take Out the Trash

Don’t wait to take out the trash, either. Some people are willing to cram the trash can full to avoid taking it out, but that becomes a problem sooner rather than later. Instead, when you clean the kitchen after dinner, take the trash out right away. Not only will you avoid unpleasant smells but also you won’t attract bugs, which can become a menace.

Call us today to discuss the features you want in your dream kitchen.

Things To Know Before Buying A First Home

Millenials are getting ready to buy their dream homes. Image Via: Wettling Architects

Right now, millennial’s might have a reputation of crazy twenty-somethings not quite ready to settle down. But, a recent report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that “the number of households in their 30s should increase by 2.7 million over the next decade.” Ready or not, the millennial boom is coming.

Whether you count yourself in that demographic or are just a first time homebuyer. There are some topics in the buying process that are essential to know before taking the plunge.

We’ve compiled a list of the ten most important things that everyone new to the housing market needs to know. Look them over and keep them in mind as you start your housing search. You only buy your first home once, so let us help you make it count.

1. Hire a Professional Realtor

Let’s all admit it. Real estate agents often get a bad rap as swindlers. It’s because of that stigma – and the thought of saving a few dollars – that keeps many people from using them. However, listening to the hype may cost you more in the long run.

Your first time in the real estate market can get confusing. There’s lots of legal negotiation and large sums of money are often involved. There is no reason to add on the stress of having to navigate through the transaction alone, especially since if you decide to go it alone. Hire a professional to assist you.

A qualified professional can help you sort through the industry terms that make up the majority of contracts and inspection reports. They do the leg work of setting up showings and act as your advocate during the transaction so that you’re free to focus on preparing for your move. In the middle of all that craziness, you’ll appreciate the extra assistance.

2. Look Realistically At Your Budget

Your budget is the first thing that you need to look at when getting ready to buy a home. After all, it determines which properties you see and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you miss out on the perfect house because you’re not sure how much you can spend. Or, worse yet, find yourself falling in love with a dream home you can’t afford.

Budgeting is the way to make sure that you only look at houses that you can feasibly and comfortably. Doing so will help you save time and help you get into your new property much faster.

Sit down and budget your income versus expenses. Try to settle on two amounts: One figure that shows the amount you’d be comfortable spending monthly and another that shows your absolute maximum. You can use a budget calculator to help, if necessary.

Try to figure out exactly how much space you can afford. Image Via: Allen+Killcoyne Architects

3. Prioritize Your Wish List

We all have a wish list for our for our future dream homes. Whether it’s a gourmet kitchen or fabulous outdoor pool setup, odds are you know what you want and exactly how it should look. We’re happy to tell you that can take some your wish list with you when looking at properties, just not all of it.

When it comes to looking at real estate and especially when you are looking at starter homes, prioritization is key. You may not get every item on your list, but if you narrow it down to the features you absolutely need, you’ll likely end up happy with the result.

So make two lists. One with items that are absolutely necessary like the number of – bedrooms and bathrooms in a home – and another for nonessential items that would make you happy to have in a home. Focus on finding properties that check off all of the items on your first list and think of items on the second list as added benefits.

Decide which features - like layout - are necessary in a home. Image Via: Flow Home Staging & Design

4. Focus on Location

As for what should top your wish list, location is absolutely key. If you think about it, it is the one feature of your new home that absolutely will not change. Since you’re unable to alter it in any way, take the time to make sure that it will suit your needs for many years to come.

Before putting an offer in on a property, do your homework. Map out how long it will take you to get to work or school. Check the proximity to all essential spots like grocery stores and pharmacies. Make sure you’re happy with the amount of nightlife in the area.

It may be a good idea to have a few target areas in mind before meeting with your real estate agent. That way, he or she will be able to target your home search to properties that fit your needs.

Make sure you're home's location is one of your favorite features. I'mage Via: Chioco Design

5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Once you’re finally get to start the showing process, it’s exciting and overwhelming. You’ll be seeing a lot of houses rather quickly. Sometimes it can be hard to separate one property from the other and to pick out the features you like the most.

In an effort to keep everything straight, many first time buyers have a tendency to identify properties by focusing on the small details – a wallpapered dining room or some vinyl flooring in the kitchen. But, continually focusing on the small details can hurt in the long run, if you decide not to move forward on a house because of them.

Instead, every once in a while, try to force yourself to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Is the house structurally sound? Does it require any monumental repairs? As long as those things are okay, small details like wallpaper can be fixed later down the road.

Don't let small details like a lack of upgrades turn you off a house with the perfect footprint. Image Via: A+B KASHA Designs

6. Go In With Your Best Offer

Real estate is one of the few areas where sale price is still up for negotiation. Unfortunately, this means that many people, especially those like first-time homebuyers who may be working on a lower budget, go in to the buying process with the mindset that they can try and score a deal on their new property.

However, by doing so you may actually be setting yourself up for disappointment. If their is another offer on the table, submitting an offer that is far below the sale price will almost certainly put you out of the running. Even if there is no other competition for the property, a super low offer may insult the sellers and they could decide to reject it as a result.

When you’re thinking of what price you’d like to put forward, ask yourself how you would feel if you received the same. If you would turn your nose up at an identical offering, consider going in a little higher. This particular piece of advice comes with one caveat. If you absolutely love the property, go in with your best foot forward. However, if you feel lukewarm about the house, feel free to try and score a deal.

7. Gather All Your Inspection Information

It’s true. Home inspections are optional. Some people choose to skip them to avoid paying the upfront costs. However, especially when it’s your first time buying a home, we do not recommend skipping them. In fact, we suggest you gather as much inspection information as possible.

This is because inspections can often reveal hidden issues like expensive repairs. Plus, since buyers are still able to walk away from the transaction during their inspection timeframe, if you find that the repairs are too much to handle, you will be able to move on to another home that better suits your needs.

However, if you opt out of your inspections, you are essentially agreeing to take the home in its current condition, whatever that may be. If you happen to find a major issue later down the road, it will be your responsibility. Whenever possible, get the information upfront.

8. Keep A Level Head When Negotiating

Once you’re under contract and headed to the settlement table, every decision becomes a negotiation – who will shoulder the cost of repairs, what items will get left behind, even when settlement will be. The best thing that you can do in these situations is to work at keeping a level head.

It can be easy to get over invested in getting your way, particularly when making a decision that you are truly passionate about. But, remember that successful negotiations work on a system of give-and-take.

Stand your ground when you believe that you have a cause and try to do so in a polite and respectful manner. However, don’t underestimate the power of striking a compromise or ever conceding on issues that aren’t so important to you. You never know when that act of good will may be returned by the sellers.

9. Don’t Tackle Every Improvement At Once

This is the biggest mistake that many new homeowners make. While it’s sounds like a great idea to get all of the annoying construction out of the way at one time, taking on too many improvements at one time is a sure way to become overwhelmed with your new home before you’ve even truly had a chance to unpack.

Instead, only focus on the repairs that are absolutely necessary to make your home livable. Then, live in the space for a few months before taking on any cosmetic fixes. Living in your home may open your eyes to better repair scenarios than you had originally envisioned.

Then, when it’s time to tackle those upgrades, take on one project at a time. Remember, presumably you’ll be living for at least the next few years, so you have time to make your mark.

Update the rooms in your home one at a time instead of all at once. Image Via: Jason Arnold Interiors

10. Aim For Resale Value

Let’s be honest for a second: It’s very unlikely that your first home will end up being the home you live in until you become old and gray. In a few years, you may need to relocate for a job or your family may grow.

That’s why when buying your first home you should focus on resale value. While it’s obviously important to find a home that you love, you should also focus on finding one that will appeal to others, if you need to sell it in the future.

As for what counts as resale value, think about things that appeal to the younger generation – first-time homebuyers. Things like proximity to shops and restaurants, curb appeal, and neutral upgrades tend to have mass appeal.

Focus on making improvements that will add resale value to the property. Image Via: Axis Mundi

Buying your first home is exciting, nerve-racking, and downright terrifying all in one. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we are here for you every step of the way. We’ve compiled a list of all the thing’s that millennals – and those who love them need to know before entering the housing market. Keep them in mind as you search for your first home and beyond. After all, you never outgrow good advice.

Millennial’s, what questions do you have about the housing market? What are you looking for in a home? Let us know in the comments below. Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

Organizational Hacks from the Experts

The age of home organization is upon us. Sorting, editing and retaining joy have become big business for organizational experts around the globe. Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method tells us to keep only those things that bring us joy. The experts at The Home Edit suggest color-coded organization in their signature rainbow pattern.

What easy techniques can you apply at home today to help you stay organized? Following are 4 tips to get you started.

1. Make a Plan

Before you start any organization in your home, make a plan to help you see the final vision. Many homeowners simply start going through their stuff without conceptualizing how it will all go back into the space. Expert organizers suggest making a list or even a  map that will help you know how much space you have and how to use it in the best way.

2. Clean as You Go

If you’re taking things out of a room, storage area, or off shelves, don’t start putting anything back until you thoroughly clean the space. This means dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, disinfecting and thoroughly deep cleaning. Many people will skip this step, which defeats the entire purpose of organizing the area into more usable space.

3. Use Labels

The Home Edit specifically encourages the use of labels to help keep things organized once your space is put back together. Labels can be used in closets to help you identify boxes of items stored away, such as seasonal clothes, or even in a pantry so you know exactly where specific food items are kept. Labeling prevents you from throwing unrelated items in the same bins.

4. See What You Have

Along with labels, you also should use bins that allow you to see what you have. Clear bins, easily available at organizational stores, will help you keep things neat if you can see what you have at a glance. You won’t have to go through boxes to find out whether you need more of something — you can see what is inside without having to pull the bin off the shelf. Clear bins also help you avoid junk drawers, closets or rooms, which can quickly grow out of hand.

If you are ready to tackle a big home organizational project, call us today.

Make Sure Your Remodeling Pays off When It’s Time to Sell?

Now that spring is here, many homeowners are looking to start a remodeling project. And home buyers look at homes with eyes to remodel after purchase or review existing remodeled spaces and decide how much extra—if any—they’re worth. Others are deciding whether spending money to remodel is a good use of funds, or if it’s better to just save your money.

Remodeling magazine and the National Association of Realtors® completes a cost vs. value study each year. The latest report from 2020 can give you some insight as you review remodeling plans.

Something as simple as a front door replacement will recoup much of the expense, but not all. The study found the national average cost for a fiberglass entry door replacement to be $9,254 with an average resale value of $4,930 making that an 53.3% return. The report also found that a steel entry door replacement costs $1,881 nationally, with a resale value average of $1,294, showing a 68.8% return. So, if you need a new front door, go for it. Don’t expect buyers to repay you for every cent of the change though. Instead, enjoy the new addition and how it makes your home look nicer!

Other popular projects that provide a decent return include a bathroom remodel and major and minor kitchen remodels. Again, though, don’t expect a full return on cost. If your home needs updating, do it to enjoy the update before you have to sell your home.

A bathroom remodel costs on average nationally $21,377 with an average return of 64.0% or $13,688. Similarly, with an average return of 58.6%, a major kitchen remodel (new cabinets, appliances, countertops, paint room/trim, etc.) costs $68,490 and the resale value is $40,127. However, if you go for a minor kitchen remodel (re-facing kitchen cabinets being the main difference between a major and minor kitchen remodel), on average you’ll spend $23,452 according to the national average, but resale will return you $18,206 or 77.6%. So, if money and time are tight, you might consider a minor kitchen remodel for the best return when compared with a major kitchen remodel.

For more information about what remodeling projects will pay off when it’s time to sell your home, give me a call today.

Ways to Build More Equity in Your Home

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Equity — or the share of your property you actually own — is a benefit to any homeowner. For one, it means more profits when it’s time to sell. On top of that, it can also give you cash when you need it — either through a refinance or home equity loan. 

Fortunately, building equity can be easy. Every month you increase your home equity by making your mortgage payment. 

If you want to build your equity even further, there are several ways to do it, including: 

  • Buying in an up-and-coming market. If home values in your neighborhood start to rise, so will your property value. That can mean more equity, too.
  • Increasing your down payment. The more you put down, the less your lender will need to loan you, and the larger your equity stake will be.
  • Paying more on your mortgage. Putting extra toward your mortgage loan — either each month or a few times a year — can help you pay down your balance and increase your share. Consider putting your annual tax refund toward your loan to really make a dent.
  • Renovating your home. Anything that improves your home’s value also increases your equity. Choose your projects wisely, and reach out if you need some help getting started.
  • Refinancing your loan. With a short-term loan, like a 15-year, you can pay down your balance faster (and sometimes get a lower rate as well). This can help you build equity more quickly.

Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.

8 DIY Garage Organization Ideas That Will Make the Best Use of Your Space

garage tools hanging on s-hooks that are suspended from copper pipes mounted on a wall

Garages can serve a multitude of purposes. Sure, they’re earmarked for cars but the added square footage always makes them an enticing zone for extra storage. It also doubles as a dumping ground for holiday decorations, old furniture, toys, you name it. Naturally, integrating an organizational system can be the difference between a cluttered area you can barely fit a car into and a streamlined zone that comfortably houses all of the odds and ends that you’ve accumulated over the years.

Now, while there may be a whole host of garage storage and organization products out there, we’re partial to a DIY project, which can offer a more customized approach with a design-friendly spin to boot. Another major plus? You can cater each project to a specific need and spot, which will allow you to maximize every available square inch. With that in mind, we set out to source a few clever solutions that took on garage storage with effortless flair.

1. Get to labeling

DIY garage organization idea with cabinet with labeled bins

Having dedicated garage storage and organization is half the battle — getting the family to stick to it is the other. Cue this easy DIY from Tidbits, which entails a cabinet outfitted with all of the essentials for keeping staples in check. Labeled pull-out bins mean no more excuses for misplaced items while bungee cords looped around a set of dowels help contain balls and toys in their respective areas.

2. Create a drop-off zone

DIY garage organization idea with art and shoe rack

Taryn Whiteaker transformed a lone corner of her garage into a certifiable mudroom courtesy of a little DIY project. The blogger paired a wall-mounted shelf with a set of milk crates to store hats, gloves, etc. She then completed the look by adding hooks (perfect for hanging backpacks and scarves) below the shelf and a stylish shoe rack.

3. Shelve it

DIY garage organization idea with garage shelving unit

If you’re looking for an all-encompassing DIY garage organization idea, Modern Builds has the ultimate solution: custom-built shelving. The four-tier unit is open and provides ample space, with assorted opportunities for holding everything from bulky containers and power tools to outdoor gear and generators.

4. Add some luster

DIY garage organization idea with tools hanging on s-hooks from copper pipes mounted on a wall

Not all garage storage and organization ideas need to entail plywood and pegboards. Cue this clever DIY by Trisha Sprouse, which uses a sleek set of copper pipes and matching S-hooks to deliver a handy hanging system for tools, accessories, and any other gear that comes your way.

5. Embrace the pegboard

DIY garage organization idea with pegboard with power tools above a work bench

Pegboards are as versatile a solution as any when it comes to garage storage and organization. Joann of Woman In Real Life installed one in her space to stash an assortment of tools — she even framed the pegboard so it would have a finished look. Below, the creative added a workbench, which can be folded down when not in use.

6. Hang your bikes

DIY garage organization idea with bikes hanging from garage ceiling

Bicycles can take up a lot of floor space in a garage, especially when you have an entire arsenal. Instead of giving up valuable square footage, follow Dream Green DIY’s lead and take to the ceilings with this easy hack. Secure a heavy-duty hook to a stud and use that to hang your bike up and out of the way.

7. Use the walls

DIY garage organization idea with elements hanging from the walls

This setup by Chris Loves Julia is pure goals when it comes to garage storage and organization. By installing GearWall panels, the couple was able to transform their walls with purpose, effectively maximizing the amount of excess space they had. From there, they added a series of hooks (some that even held up wire baskets!) to contain everything from bulky wires to ladders and more.

8. Line up your tools

DIY garage organization idea with tools and shovels on pvc pipe stand

If your garage functions as a space for outdoor storage, too, that can make things a little tricky. Finding a viable spot to store garden and landscaping tools is a tough job, but luckily, the bright minds behind Newly Woodwards have just what you need. Using cut PVC pipes attached to wooden boards, the creatives were able to fashion a sturdy landing spot for shovels and rakes, without taking up any floor space at all.

Do you have questions about home equity? Or are you planning to buy or sell property this year? Reach out today.