Archives: June 2016

Stage Your Home (Room by Room) to Sell

Great Room 5

Living Room and Family Room

For the duration of your home sale, it’s important that you channel your inner minimalist. Remove your family photos, and other personal knickknacks that clutter up the shelves and mantle. If the room is full of furniture, try to get rid of a piece or two — you don’t want to give the impression that the room is too small.
Keep the decor scheme simple, too. If you have a boldly decorated room, consider covering the plaid couch with a neutral cover and add pops of color with throw pillows and blankets instead. And of course, be sure that the room is dusted, free of cobwebs, and that the floor is swept or vacuumed.

Kitchen

This may be the most difficult room, because buyers spend a lot of time looking at kitchens. Make sure every appliance is spotless on the inside and out, including the stove, range and hood, microwave and dishwasher. Polish all stainless steel, and wipe down light fixtures and cabinet hardware. Clean and deodorize your refrigerator, garbage disposal and trash to be sure that the kitchen smells fresh. If you use your kitchen as the “communication center,” be sure to get rid of the paperwork and bills that tend to accumulate on counter tops.

Dining Room

Before a showing, set the dining room table as if you’re about to sit down for a family dinner. Go only as far as the place settings, including linen napkins, dish-ware, water and wine glasses, and some seasonal centerpieces. Buyers love to picture sitting down for a meal after a long day at work. (Hint: If you choose to keep the table set for the whole selling process, and don’t use your dining room each day, consider covering the setup with a sheet until the showing to keep dust from accumulating on the table.)

Bedrooms

Follow the same rules you did for your living room, by removing clutter and family photos so that buyers can easily picture the rooms with their own belongings. Be sure that the closets and any other built-in storage are clean and well-organized. If you can’t finish your laundry before the showing, put any dirty clothes into a closed hamper out of the way.

Bathrooms

Focus first on cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom, including the fixtures, faucets and mirrors. Fix any displaced tile with grout, and caulk the tub or sink if needed. When it comes to the vanity and your bathroom storage, try to create displays in your storage when possible. Color coordinate your towels, and fold them all the same way. Buy small storage containers and label them for “Hair Products,” “First Aid,” etc. You may not live in a model home, but you can fake it to sell your home faster to eager buyers.

Attic and Basement

As you’ve removed family photos, collectibles and general clutter from your home, it’s normal to put it all into the attic or basement. Unfortunately, it can’t stay there. It’s really important that buyers see your home as spacious, so your storage cannot be packed to the brim during the selling process. Consider paying for a storage unit during the selling process, and also take time to go through boxes that have been in storage for years, and donate what you can.

A Guide to Choosing the Right Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

Adding patio furniture to your outdoor area is the perfect way to extend your livable space. With warm weather upon us, we put together a breakdown of the most popular outdoor furniture materials and the benefits of each.

Wicker: You might think of wicker as a material, but the term wicker actually refers to the weaving method used to make this furniture. Wicker can be made from a few different materials such as bamboo, straw, or rattan, but it is common to see wicker furniture made from synthetic plastic as well.

Organic materials like rattan are susceptible to breaking down and unraveling if exposed to harsh elements, and as a result, natural wicker furniture is not the best choice for outdoor furniture. On the other hand, synthetic wicker furniture is typically made of PVC, nylon or polyethylene materials, creating a durable material that can handle all of the seasons and one that is lightweight and easy to clean.

Synthetic wicker is UV resistant which means that you will not have to worry about your patio furniture cracking or fading out in the sun. Polyethylene also has great heat resistance and is able to withstand 230 degrees Fahrenheit continuously.

Teak: Teak is a natural wood found in Asian countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Myanmar. What separates Teak from other types of wood are the natural oils that remain in the wood after it is cut down. These natural oils protect and strengthen the wood, and as a result, teak furniture can last for many years and require little to no maintenance. The natural durability of teak makes it a great choice for high quality outdoor furniture that will last through every season.

Yellow Pine: Southern Yellow Pine originates in the Southeastern portion of the United States. This wood has some of the highest density properties of any pines, making it a sturdy choice for outdoor benches and seats. The abundance of yellow pine throughout the Southeastern United States makes this a cost-effective choice for wood patio furniture.

Another benefit of yellow pine is its high weight density, making it a strong and impact resistant. With a density between 50-55 lbs. /cubic foot when treated, this wood will be able to hold up to any demanding activities on your patio.

Recycled Plastic: If environmental protection is a priority, then recycled plastic might be your top choice for patio furniture. Recycled plastic furniture options include tables, chairs and benches, and the recycled plastic “lumber” used to make this furniture is designed to have the look and feel of real wood. This furniture is versatile in design and can fit any aesthetic that you are looking for, whether you want a wood grain look or a bright pink chair.

One type of this recycled material is Marine Grade Polymer, or MGP. This polymer is a plastic that is manufactured to last on boats, docks, and other environments where direct sunlight is constantly a factor, and as a result it is designed to not warp, rot, swell, or splinter when exposed to sunlight, humidity, or water.
Cast Aluminum: The sturdiness and longevity of cast aluminum make it a great fit for outdoor patio furniture. Cast aluminum is not prone to rust so it can be a great option for those who live in areas with high humidity or exposure to salt water. The construction of cast aluminum makes the material solid to the core, resulting in an extremely durable and long lasting product.

Additionally, aluminum and cast aluminum furniture can often have a powder coated finish, which helps protect against corrosion and color fading in adverse climates.

Steel: Steel is the heaviest of all the metals, so if you are one to constantly rearrange your furniture, it may not be for you, though the weight of steel furniture makes it extremely durable. Steel and other metal furniture (besides aluminum) can be at risk for developing rust, so some annual maintenance may be necessary, but few can argue that a nice steel furniture set can really create a beautiful outdoor space.

Worth noting is that steel, aluminum, and other metals can become very hot when exposed to direct sunlight, so they may not be the best choice in very sunny environments.

It is important to choose the furniture material that best reflects your style and your environment. Different materials have different benefits, but ultimately choosing furniture with a higher quality construction will result in longer lasting enjoyment.
This information was provided by Chris Dietrich, a furniture specialist with Patio Living. For more information on outdoor furniture and patio designs, visit patioliving.com.

Don’t Touch the A/C! 7 Tips to Stay Cool and Save Money

sunglasses laying in a grass fieldIt’s easy to just crank up the air conditioning during the hottest months of summer. Sure, the energy bill may be higher, but it’s worth the extra expense to keep your home cool — right? Or are there any sure-fire ways to save money and stay cool indoors?

Before you reach for the thermostat, try these DIY energy-saving tips to keep your home comfortable and keep you from breaking the bank.

1. Raise the A/C Temperature — Yes, Really

It’s better to keep the air conditioning down, but if you want to keep it on, raise the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. When you’re at home (or have buyers viewing your home), set the thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). When you’re away, set the thermostat to 85 Fahrenheit (29 Celsius).

The trick is to find the temperature that’s comfortable, not too cold or too hot. This is crucial if you’re selling your during the summer. No buyer wants to step inside and still be sweating during a showing!

2. Wash Dishes and Do Laundry at Night

You’ll want to avoid using as many heat-generating appliances or lights as you can during the summer. Use your dishwasher, dryer, or oven only during the coolest parts of the day, either in the early morning or evening. You can even air-dry your dishes and use the stove or microwave instead of the oven.

3. Unplug Electronics When You’re Not Using Them

Did you know your appliances still use power when plugged in, even if they’re turned off? One way to reduce your energy bill during the summer is by unplugging anything that you’re not using.

4. Close the Blinds During the Day

living room with couch and sheer curtainsA little bit of sun can make a huge difference in your home’s indoor temperature. Cut down on the sunlight streaming in through your windows (east- and west-facing windows in particular) by closing the blinds and curtains and replacing heavier curtains with sheer ones.

During summer home showings, however, you still want to let in a little natural light to brighten up your home. Make it count.

5. Turn the Fans On

If your home has ceiling fans, use them. According to the US Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan will let you raise the thermostat by 4 degrees Fahrenheit without changing how comfortable your home feels indoors.

6. Replace Your Incandescent Light Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs give off a lot of heat compared with compact fluorescent lights and LED bulbs. A small but effective way to keep your home comfortable (and save some money in the process) is to replace any incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient ones.

7. Find the Gaps and Close Them

How well is your home insulated? Is any heat getting in from a leaky door or window? Seal any cracks with caulk or weatherstripping to keep the cool air inside.

“Summerize” Your Home for Showings

staged and decluttered living roomWhen you’re selling your home during the summer, remember that home showings are all about brightening your home and making it look and feel comfortable. You don’t have to crank up the A/C for home buyers during a showing. You can use these energy-saving tips to make it cooler indoors without having to pay those higher energy bills.

We have plenty of other tips to help you sell your home. Call us and let’s talk.

7 Things You Must Do When Relocating

a person moving a stack of boxesAnytime you relocate to a new area, whether it’s a city just a few miles away or across the country, you face a unique set of challenges.

The housing market, the transit, and even the weather may not be what you’re used to. Planning your move can be difficult, too, since you need to coordinate when, where, and how you’ll be moving your belongings to a new area.

Because moving to a completely new area means learning about a new housing market and a new community, we wanted to share a few helpful relocation tips to make it a much easier experience for you.

1. Research Housing Costs

Home prices for similar properties can vary drastically from one city to another. Take some time to research the real estate market, and consider these questions when searching for your new home:

  • How much are local property taxes?
  • How large a home can you afford?
  • Is it cheaper to rent or buy a home?

2. Check the Weather

If you’re moving far away from your current home to relocate to a new area, you may want to consider the new weather conditions and adjust your wardrobe.

For instance, someone who relocates from Florida to Alaska will need more winter coats, snow boots, and blackout curtains for the longer summer days. That’s an extreme example, but it can give you an idea of what to consider when relocating to a new area and a new climate.

3. Research Healthcare Professionals

You will need to choose a new dentist, doctor, and optometrist when relocating. Check local recommendations for healthcare professionals around the area before moving. That way you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you get there.

4. Test Your Commute

Give yourself enough time to test your drive to work, to the grocery store, or to other points of interest after you move. Traffic varies at different times of the day and week, so you may need to spend some time driving along different roads to get an idea of what to expect.

5. Plan for Your Move

two people packing cardboard boxesStart packing now so you’ll be less stressed later. Make a detailed plan for how you are shipping your belongings, what day you will be moving, and how you will get to your new home. Consider these packing tricks:

  • label moving boxes by room
  • keep a list of items that are in each box
  • keep your most valuable possessions with you

6. Adjust Your Home Search Checklist

Moving to a new area means you may have to adjust your home search based on the housing market, weather conditions, and commute. If you need help, just ask. We’re here to help you in any way we can.

7. Take One Step at a Time

Relocating to a new area can seem overwhelming. We recommend setting small goals. Search for homes for just 20 minutes. Pack just one box for the move. Make a list of pros and cons for just one community. You’ll be ready to relocate in no time.

We’re Here to Make Your Relocation Easier

It’s much easier to move and adjust to a new area when you have a local guide to help you along the way. That’s why we’re here. We can give you all the information you need to know about relocating to our area, maybe even details you wouldn’t have thought about. Our ultimate goal is helping you find the property that is best for you.

But we also want you to love living here just as much as we do. There is so much to explore, and we want to make it easier for you to get here and start spending your time enjoying our area.

Call or email us for more relocation tips — we’re more than happy to help.