Tag Archive for Home Décor

Improvements That Increase Your Home’s Value

Asian Chinese little girl playing in toy house
This year, if you’re looking to increase the value of your home but are unsure what home improvements to make, think curb appeal.
According to a recent report from Remodeling magazine, curb appeal projects, such as changes to windows, siding, and doors, lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) than interior improvements.
Over the past 30 years, Remodeling has compared the average cost of improvement projects with their value at resale, based on the experience of real estate professionals. The magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report supports the generally held opinion that today’s home buyers, while still enthusiastic about the bells and whistles, want to ensure their homes are structurally sound with all systems functioning efficiently.
Remodeling’s projects include a basement remodel, an entry door that was replaced with 20 gauge steel, and the addition of stone veneer. All of the 29 projects tracked returned on average 64.3 cents per dollar spent.
Among the trends, the higher return of curb appeal projects and projects that required the replacing of windows, doors, etc. Replacement projects generally scored higher than remodeling projects; the ROI of replacement was 74% and of remodels was 63.7%.
As in the previous year, adding loose fill insulation to the attic returned 107.7% and was the only project on the list whose value exceeded its cost. Steel door replacement and addition of stone veneer also paid off, at 90.7% and 89.4% respectively. Interestingly, these are among the cheapest projects, although their costs were up over the previous year.
Those who want to tackle an interior project might do well to consider a basement remodel, providing it’s done well; a high-end basement remodel was perceived as high value, returning 7.4% more than the same project last year, while a mid-range basement remodeling project only increased in value by 3.3% over the previous year.
Something to consider when you’re planning your next home improvement project.
 

Fall Remodeling? A Quick Guide

Interior Kitchen vibrant colors
As temperatures cool down, and we prepare for a season of shorter, darker days, it’s time to think about the inside of your home – how to make it as glorious on gloomy days as it was during the brilliant sunshine of summer. Oh good: Projects!
But wait. Don’t let the excitement of improving your home get in the way of proper planning. Rushing your project list can lead to unnecessary spending and less-than-thrilling final results. Here’s what you need to consider before picking up a hammer or swiping a credit card:
  • Decide on your budget and schedule. You’ll need to know exactly how much money you have available for your remodeling projects and how much time you want to dedicate to it. You absolutely need to have these figures decided before starting anything!
  • Make a list of what needs to be done and what would be nice to have done. It may turn out that your budget and schedule can only accommodate half your needs, or maybe you’ll find you have the time and money to cover your needs and at least one “want.” Look at your list, prioritize and decide which projects to tackle now.
  • Don’t let Pinterest get the better of you; just like a celebrity hairstyle, what looks good in a photo might not work for your space (or your head.) Be realistic about what can be achieved in your home, based on its current “bones” and your budget.
  • For financial reasons, it can be tempting to try to Do It Yourself. But unless you’re extra handy, turn to the experts to make your project dreams come true. An experienced, reputable contractor will find any flaws in your plans, make suggestions and produce a final product that not only looks good, but is secure, safe and strong.

Home Shopping? Ask the Right Questions

Family In Hallway Returning Home Together
When shopping for a new home, it’s easy to fall in love. You can find yourself dazzled by the sprawling backyard, trendy kitchen, or sky-high ceilings, and want to make an offer right then and there.
But it’s important to take a step back and take the time to evaluate the perhaps less-exciting details. These often overlooked details may ultimately lead to significant, costly issues. Here’s what to look for and how to get beyond the WOWs:
  • Windows: Does every window open? For emergency reasons, every room needs a window that can be opened. Do they close and lock securely? Is the glass intact? Is there a tight thermal seal (which is important to regulate temperature)?
  • Flooring: Look for cracks, stains, holes, and warping. Ask if there’s another layer of flooring under carpet, tile, or laminate. Is the floor level? If not, it might be an indication of water, or worse, structural problems.
  • Basement: That beautifully finished basement could be hiding a plethora of problems, from leaks to mold to holes to critter infestations. Use a powerful flashlight to carefully examine corners and walls and look behind and under finishings.
  • Roof: Roof replacements are costly. Find out when the roof was last addressed, and whether it was a patch or a replacement. Look for signs of damage from the street.
  • Neighborhood: Look beyond the obvious into the details: Is local traffic a nightmare in rush hour? Is there reliable transit nearby? Is the home near green space, schools, and recreational facilities?
  • Parking: If the house doesn’t have a garage, will the driveway accommodate your vehicles? Is there good on-street visitors’ parking?
Even after you’ve checked the details, make your offer contingent on a home inspection. A reliable home inspector can dig deeper into the details. Isn’t your peace of mind worth it?

Landscape for Summer Outdoor Fun and Profit

Lawn and wooden floor with hedge

It’s hard to put a value on landscaping projects. A study by realestate.com indicates the return on investment for landscaping and/or man-made garden architecture can be as high as 150%, while others suggest a more reasonable 15% to 20%.

The bottom line, however, is that everyone wants a front yard with curb appeal and a secondary living space in the back. And while it may increase the value of your home, it also improves your quality of life. Particularly for those in cooler climates, summer is short, and a landscaped outdoors can be, well, priceless.

That said, landscaping can prove a very costly proposition indeed. The generally recommended figure for a landscaping budget is 10% of your home’s value, although that varies according to your local area. The majority of projects reported in a study of landscaping by houzz.com cost from $1,000 to $5,000 for minor planting or mulching, and $50,000 or more for “complete overhauls.”

ThinkstockPhotos-179971479

Remember, time is also money, and even small projects can take longer than you think. According to the Houzz survey, smaller projects averaged approximately three months of planning and three months of work to complete. Having spent time and money on landscaping, there are ways to reduce future costs:

  • Lawn care alone can cost upwards of $100 a month, so do as much of the maintenance as possible yourself.
  • Construct decks, stairs, and pergolas of maintenance-free materials such as composite decking.
  • Artificial grass can be a big expense up front, but it saves on maintenance (mainly the cost of water) in the long run.
  • Consider using recycled bricks instead of expensive rocks in your landscaping plan.
  • Perennials are a great choice, as they reduce the need to buy new plants every year.
  • Edible gardens can be lovely as well as a good source of delicious vegetables and herbs.

Now, step away from the lawn mower, take a break, and enjoy your newly landscaped property.

Quick Fixes for a Great Looking Kitchen

Happy young girl with her mother making dough
The kitchen is the heart of the home. The way to the heart is through the stomach. Cooking with love feeds the soul. From countless catchy phrases, to our own experiences at home, it’s clear that the kitchen is one of the single most important rooms we’ll find ourselves in. With this in mind, remember that it’s important to make sure your kitchen is inviting, warming, and inspiring to those who enter.
Here are some great ways you can help sell your home by reaching the hearts of your prospective buyers through one of their most vulnerable spots: their stomachs!
Cabinet Doors
Damaged or dirty cabinet doors are a big turn-off for buyers. But that’s easy to fix. Most cabinetry can be re-painted after cleaning it and applying a coat of primer. Just check that the materials can take paint; otherwise, you’ll need to give some special preparation to the cabinet doors first. Alternatively, you can just replace the doors. There are companies that provide doors to fit existing kitchen cabinets.
Hardware
Another way to fix up cabinets is to replace the hardware, perhaps swapping out-of-date fixtures for sleek, modern ones. This is a very cheap and easy way to update your kitchen.
Kitchen with bar stools at counter
Sinks and faucets
Try trading your faucets for more modern designs and replacing a damaged or very dirty sink.
Appliances
People love modern stainless steel appliances. It could be a good investment to upgrade your appliances to the most modern designs to give your kitchen that ‘wow’ factor.
Backsplash
An easy way to update your kitchen is to replace the backsplash. Subway or mosaic tiles or a sheet of stainless steel are very popular choices right now, and this quick change can really lift the feel of the room.
Flooring
Old, tired linoleum floors will turn off buyers. Try updating with tough laminate flooring or some tiles that tie into the designs choices you’ve made for rest of your kitchen.
Paint
Change the décor easily by repainting in fresh, modern, neutral colors. A coat of paint can be a very cheap way to refresh the look of your kitchen.
Clutter
Just by simply removing the clutter that accumulates on your countertops, you can freshen up your kitchen. Throw out things you don’t need; put away others you use only occasionally.

How to Stage Your Home To Sell Quickly At Top Prices

shutterstock_112335221

“Home staging” was coined by Barb Schwarz back in the early ’70s, and the concept has become well known as “house fluffing,” “dressing to sell,” and “home presentation”.

The focus of staging is to make a home more marketable by creating the most appealing home to the greatest number of prospective buyers. It should be impersonal enough not to infringe on a buyer’s own sense of style.

Decorating is optional. Staging, on the other hand, is essential – that is if you want to sell your house for the most possible money in the shortest amount of time.

You can make at least 3 percent more with home staging. In some areas, that number can go as high as 50 percent! Statistics also show that homes that had not sold in an average of four and a half months after listing sold within a week of being staged by a professional. Homes staged before listing were under contract more than twice as fast as comparable homes that had not been professionally staged. Following the techniques in this guide will maximize your equity while reducing the market time for your home.

  1. Be sure that your home is staged before you or your Realtor take photos for the web. Over 70% of all new apartment/home searches are started on the Internet. It is imperative that the property looks good in the photos so that it can attract as many people as possible to see the real thing.
  1. You should not have one person look at your house until it has been staged completely. It should not go through the broker walkthrough, open houses, or anything. Stage first!
  1. Home staging works for all properties regardless of the price point because home staging is about preparing your home for a faster and more profitable sale and marketing your property to the most potential buyers for its target audience. A home stager who has staged homes ranging from $100,000 to $10 million has had the same result — the homes sell faster and for top dollar compared with the competitors within their price range.
  1. Do not offer money towards painting or installing new carpeting. Remember, if you are not willing to do it, your buyer is not likely to either.
  1. You need to be willing to change paint colors. Paint is very inexpensive and gives you a big bang for your buck. Although a bit labor-intensive, painting is not expensive and gives your home a new, fresh, clean look. There are certain universally accepted colors and these should be used when repainting your home. Yellow or shades of gold are warm and inviting. You should also accent with yellow. The human eye is more sensitive to yellowish-green light. Green or blue in the bedrooms are great colors because they are restful.
  1. It is essential during the selling process to have the toys limited to one area and minimized to a few containers. Not everybody has children and most do not care about the new and amazing things your new baby can do. You just cannot make a home with children turn into a children’s house and expect it to sell.
  1. Recognize that your major competition comes from newer homes. People will take a newer home over an older home if all else is equal. That is why it is essential to give an older home something that puts it above the rest.
  1. Don’t forget about the entryway. If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. It’s also a good idea to buy a new, plush doormat. This is something else you can take with you once you move.
  1. If you have dark cabinets, a light-colored handle or something shiny will enhance them. If you have light cabinets, you can give them the sleek look by using handles of the same color so that they are hardly noticeable, or using brushed silver handles. With light wood, you can also use darker handles, gold, bronze, or even colors.
  1. Sometimes renovations are needed. However, here are five that you should avoid:
    • Adding high end appliances to a modest home
    • Adding hand painted tiles to the bath or kitchen
    • Adding a central vacuum
    • Adding air conditioning (unless you are in an area that all homes have it)
    • Replacing windows with newer models
  1. Be sure to check with your city or county building inspector before beginning a new project. Many departments require permits, even for things as simple as changing a dishwasher.
  1. Everything in its place is a good motto to remember. Always find appropriate places to store your items. Litter boxes in the kitchen and trashcans in the pantry are just two examples of inappropriate placement.
  1. Do not have any cleaning products visible. You want the buyer to think that the house cleans itself. You do not want to remind buyers that there will be work to do in this house, so put away laundry baskets and dish drainers as well!
  1. Selling an empty home can be a huge mistake. Buying or renting furniture is especially vital in an empty home. Empty homes do not show well and can sit on the market for months until a buyer with a good visual imagination comes along, or until the seller drops the price so low that the home is a steal.
  1. Your refrigerator will need to be cleaned, even if you are not leaving it. People will still look inside and a dirty refrigerator will turn them off. If you are taking it with you, you may as well clean it now. If you are leaving it, then it is imperative to have it sparkling.

’Tis the Season … to Decorate

Holidays decorations

The holiday season is about the only time we can indulge our decorating fantasies. Whether your dream décor is over the top or simple and elegant, the following will give you ideas to make your holiday fantastic.

  • Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and home for the latest design trends. For example, during Halloween, we saw painted pumpkins (even gold-leafed) used as flower centerpieces. For Christmas and Hanukkah, we’ll see more clever ideas for reimagining and repurposing holiday décor items.
  • The DIY trend continues: Make your own Christmas ball garland by stringing your favorite ornaments on fish line, twine or ribbon. It works beautifully on your fireplace mantle or stair railing (but don’t forget to leave spaces for hand holds).
  • Last year the emphasis was on mercury glass, but this year there’ll be a reversion back to natural materials that focus on a central theme such as a classic winter wonderland.
  • Consider clusters of beribboned ornaments on tabletops and use flameless candles and strings of lights to brighten up darker corners.
  • Advent calendars are making a comeback – in an unexpected and fun way. Stretch a string across your fireplace and hang 24 numbered and handmade paper cones containing small gifts and candies. The kids can pull off one a day from December 1 to 24.

How to Save Big Bucks by Refurbishing

Refurb home decor

A wooden bookcase can take on new life as a storage bench when turned on its side and a cushion is added to the top. A lampshade can be covered with wallpaper for a designer touch. A solid but unappealing chair can be painted and re-covered to create a unique piece.

These days it’s all about reusing and recycling. With a bit of imagination and some work, finds from thrift stores, garage sales and even Dumpster diving can be refurbished for a great – and environmentally responsible – new look. And the best part? You’ll save money too. Following are some tips for refurbishing:

  • Look for well-built, solid furniture to transform.
  • Check online for great, inexpensive ideas.
  • Don’t forget the Habitat for Humanity store near you for deals that appeal to your social conscience.
  • Good furniture that has been given a new life goes well in any décor.
  • Have fun.

7 Easy, Low-Cost Ways to Transform Your Home

Home Decor

Searching for easy ways to spruce up your abode? Following are some ways to transform your home for less than $10.

Turn Your TV Into Art: Newer television sets can easily display family portraits, vacation photos or your favorite scenery with the touch of a button. Just upload to the gallery, add music if desired and enjoy.

Paint It Up: Add a splash of color to a boring old chair or bring new life to a table with bold bright colors.

Sign Your Name: Decorations don’t need to be expensive. Use a template or vinyl letters to showcase your favorite quote. Simply select a blank spot on the wall or furniture to instantly apply a thoughtful expression to your daily life.

Stop to Smell the Roses: Bring a little of the outdoors inside with the creative use of flowers, grasses, leaves, pinecones or even rocks. They add interest and color to any décor.

Cover Up: Use old wrapping paper, string and ribbons to transform plain cardboard boxes into ultra-colorful organizers.

Soft Spots: Create soft spots with the help of a semitransparent scarf draped over a lamp, table or armchair. Use different colors to create ambiance.

Create Interest: Re-purpose old jewelry, buttons and other knickknacks by adding interest to throw pillows, pull strings or other ordinary items around the home. Sew on or thread together using ribbons and lace.

For more home décor and home improvement tips and tricks, click here.

 

How to Make Your Home Appear Much Bigger

Blog #6

One thing that most buyers are looking for is space. They want to know they’re going to have room for everything (and everyone) and they’re not going to grow out of their house too quickly. So here are some ways to make your house seem bigger than it really is.

Get rid of clutter

This is probably the most important secret to increasing the illusion of space. Remove items you don’t need from surfaces, particularly in the kitchen. Keep shelves tidy and not stuffed with books and ornaments.

Paint the walls

Use white or neutral colors to make rooms appear light and spacious. Use tones of a neutral color such as brown or gray to avoid visual clutter and make your décor feel more harmonious.

Consider off-site storage

If you’re running out of room for your possessions, move some of them into a storage unit while your house is on the market. Alternatively, have a yard sale to get rid of unwanted items — or donate them to charity. Otherwise, your house might look as if it’s not spacious enough for a family.

Remove some furniture

Potential buyers need to be able to walk around your house without bumping into chairs and tables. Put some furniture into storage until you move. Leave a path through your rooms that buyers can walk through.

Organize closets

Make sure you’ve tidied your closets. Invest in an organizing system, if necessary. Remove clothing that you’re not likely to wear from your closets.

Clean up the garage

People want to know they can fit a car (or two) in the garage and still have room for storing their possessions. So clear out your garage and neatly organize everything that must stay in there.

Mirrors and drapes

Place mirrors in strategic places and remove fussy window treatments to enhance the illusion of space.

Small space doesn’t mean you have to be cramped. So, if you want to make your home appear much bigger, get some free advice from Guidance Realty Homes real estate agents. Luckily, they’ll be able to connect you with home improvement specialists and qualified stagers to make your living space look and feel larger than life. Did we mention that it’s Free? Connect with our listing specialists and make the most of every square foot of your home to captivate homebuyers.