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RENOVATIONS TO THINK ABOUT NOW IF YOU WANT A HOLIDAY-READY HOME

Extended family descending on your house this year? Don't panic. If you start now, you can have a holiday-ready home by the time Aunt Brenda and her brood shows up.

"We say it every year - the holidays will be here before we know it," said Prime Lending. "For many people, that means hosting parties, welcoming overnight guests and opening your home to unexpected drop-in visitors. You may be thinking it would be great to spruce things up around your house before the holiday hustle and bustle begins. Now is a great time to dive into your home makeover and wrap it up before the holidays arrive."

Here are the areas you might want to focus on first.

Get your kitchen looking cheftastic

Chances are, your kitchen is going to be one of the places where people are congregating during the holidays, and not just while cooking. If it's seen better days, or if it just doesn't reflect your style - or any style from this century - get started. You can select, order, and have new countertops installed in a matter of a few weeks. If you don't want to touch the countertops, think about painting your cabinets and adding new hardware. A new backsplash can bring it all together, and is something you can do yourself.

 

Mary Evelyn

Photo by Mary Evelyn Interiors - More transitional kitchen ideas

Replace or repair appliances

Thinking about the function of your kitchen - not just how you'll use it over the holidays, but all year round - is key to making good choices when renovating. "If you are hosting Thanksgiving, a double oven and a new refrigerator may be your top priority," said Prime Lending.

Maybe your dishwasher has seen better days or your washer and dryer have been hanging on for a while. Knowing that they'll be put to good use with a house full of people might inspire you to make some upgrades now.

Consider the stuff you serve with and eat on, too

While you're in the kitchen, you may want to think about upgrading your cookware, cooking utensils, glassware, silverware, and anything else that will be helping you prepare, serve, or eat food during the holidays. How old are those dishes, anyway?

Living room redo

If you have clunky built-ins or a large armoire housing your outdated TV, it might be time to make some changes. Turn the built-ins into bookcases or a sleek desk with some streamlined shelving above, which can provide both function and a fashionable upgrade. Turn a fireplace into a focal point by re-tiling or simply painting old brick white and hang a flat screen above. Voila. Your hangout space is updated and holiday-ready.

If you're not super tech-savvy and have never installed a flat screen before, it's smart to hire someone who is and who has. "If a new flat panel television, home theatre system, or other electronic devices are bound for your household this gift-giving season, consider seeking installation quotes from a trained professional," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Proper installation can maximize your enjoyment of new electronics for a fraction of their purchase price, and the stress of following a multi-page instruction manual may bring out the Scrooge in many DIYers."

 


Better Homes and Gardens

Add new bedding

You can make the guests rooms (or the guest couches, if your family converging on one house for the holidays looks anything like ours) hospitable and improve the look at the same time by changing out the bedding. Buying new sheets and a comforter is easy and inexpensive - and don't forget new pillows, too. Choose a neutral color for the comforter and add some patterned pillow for some zip. Or, choose a graphic pattern to give the bed a modern feel. A fresh coat of paint in a color that is neutral and that gives the rooms a calming nature will help transform them into something that feels resort-like.

Address the back yard

If you live in a climate that allows outdoor enjoyment throughout the year - or if you know the kids will be playing outside regardless of the temperature - making some changes in your yard might be in order. The fall is a great time to buy patio furniture, since it's typically on sale after summer ends. A fire pit can be an inviting addition to your outdoor area, and one that will allow your guests to gather in front of a crackling fire while bundled up with a tasty, holiday beverage.

Update the guest bathrooms

One thing you can count on is that your guests will be spending time in the bathrooms. If yours are in need of some attention, now's the time to pay some. If you don't want to do a complete overhaul, you can make simple, inexpensive edits by changing out the showerhead, faucets, lighting, and slathering on a fresh coat of paint. A new paint color and some new hardware can also liven up older cabinets. Add a fresh set of towels and bath mats, and you're all set.

Do a complete audit of everything else

Do a complete walk-through of your house. Turn on all the baths, sinks, and showers, and all the lights and TVs. Sit on the beds, couches, and chairs. Open closets. Search the walls, doors, and baseboards for nicks and scratches. This will give you a head start on anything that needs to be fixed or replaced before family starts knocking on the door. 

Written by Jaymi Naciri
October 10, 2016 

The Five Biggest Turn-offs For Homebuyers

A lot of sellers don’t listen to their real estate agents, so we’ll tell you what your agent wants to say, but can’t say to you and this is it – your agent can’t get you the price you want unless your home is in pristine move-in condition.

That means no sticking drawers in the kitchen. No leaning fences. No rust-stained plumbing fixtures. We could go on, but maybe we need to make it clear. If you have even one of following “turn-offs,” your home won’t sell.

Buyers can get instantly turned off. Here are their five biggest turn-offs:

  1. Overpriced for the market
  2. Smells
  3. Clutter
  4. Deferred maintenance
  5. Dark, dated décor

Overpricing your home

Overpricing your home is like trying to crash the country club without a membership. You’ll be found out and escorted out.

If you ignored your agent’s advice and listed at a higher price than recommended, you’re going to get some negative feedback from buyers. The worst feedback, of course, is silence. That could include no showings and no offers.

The problem with overpricing your home is that the buyers who are qualified to buy your home won’t see it because they’re shopping in a lower price range. The buyers who do it will quickly realize that there are other homes in the same price range that offer more value.

Smells

Smells can come from a number of sources – pets, lack of cleanliness, stale air, water damage, and much more. You may not even notice it, but your real estate agent may have hinted to you that something needs to be done.

There’s not a buyer in the world that will buy a home that smells unless they’re investors looking for a bargain. Even so, they’ll get a forensic inspection to find out the source of the smells. If they find anything like undisclosed water damage, or pet urine under the “new” carpet, then they will either severely discount their offer or walk away.

Clutter

If your tables are full to the edges with photos, figurines, mail, and drinking glasses, buyers’ attention is going to more focused on running the gauntlet of your living room without breaking any Hummels than in considering your home for purchase.

Too much furniture confuses the eye – it makes it really difficult for buyers to see the proportions of rooms. If they can’t see what they need to know, they move on to the next home.

Deferred maintenance

Deferred maintenance is a polite euphemism for letting your home fall apart. Just like people age due to the effects of the sun, wind and gravity, so do structures like your home. Things wear out, break and weather, and it’s your job as a homeowner to keep your home repaired.

Your buyers really want a home that’s been well-maintained. They don’t want to wonder what needs to fixed next or how much it will cost.

Dated décor

The reason people are looking at your home instead of buying brand new is because of cost and location. They want your neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they want a dated-looking home. Just like they want a home in good repair, they want a home that looks updated, even if it’s from a different era.

Harvest gold and avocado green from the seventies; soft blues and mauves from the eighties, jewel tones from the nineties, and onyx and pewter from the oughts are all colorways that can date your home. Textures like popcorn ceilings, shag or berber carpet, and flocked wallpaper can also date your home.

When you’re behind the times, buyers don’t want to join you. They want to be perceived as savvy and cool.

In conclusion, the market is a brutal mirror. If you’re guilty of not putting money into your home because you believe it’s an investment that others should pay you to profit, you’re in for a rude awakening. You’ll be stuck with an asset that isn’t selling.


How to create fun kid’s spaces

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If you have been thinking about creating a fun space for kids in your home but don’t know quite where to start, or are struggling for ideas, know that you’re not alone.

Maybe soon you will be creating or recreating a space in your home just for kids. There’s no shortage of ideas or inspiration for such a project, whether your aim is a space for education, for play, or just a place for kids to call their own.

When creating a fun space for kids, there are some tips to make it truly kid-friendly. Here are a few:

The point of view – Remember, kids are smaller, and how they see a room from a lower level will be different than yours. Put some thought into placing items – chalkboards, shelves, wall art – at a lower eye-level so kids have access to all that they need, along with kids-sized tables and chairs. This blog about a homework area looks at how to keep things simple, sorted and not distracting.

An inviting space – Consider what you would like the children to be doing, and create a motivating invitation. For an art area, like these on Pinterest, go beyond just placing art supplies out; create a comfortable and inspiring area that’s prepared with everything they need to be creative within arm’s reach. Similarly, if your goal is a space for reading, prepare pillows, blankets or a comfy beanbag or chair to invite them to sit and stay awhile.

The right colors and design – Think about what your design invites kids to do rather than how it looks. Use bright colors where you can – on the walls, for accessories (like chairs or pillows or baskets) or even floor tiles in rugs – to help inspire creativity. Pinterest has many ideas on how to explore using different colors and shapes.

Try a theme – The best spaces for kids will invite them in and get them to stay, and an overall theme might be an idea if you have the space and the resources. Whether you’re considering a play area, homework area or an entire bedroom, themes like these on Houzz help create fun and inspiring spaces. Kids will feel comfortable in these types of spaces and will love a space they can call their own. With some careful consideration and planning you can blend colors, design and functionality to create spaces like these spaces on Pinterest.


Perfect Guest Bedroom

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Often times our spare bedrooms end up being untouched spaces or unofficial storage units where all of our miscellaneous belongs get shipped off to. Creating a space for houseguests that is inviting while still versatile for your needs when no one is visiting can be a bit of a challenge, but with a few simple touches you can ensure your guest bedroom is no longer an underutilized area of the home. Your first step is to clear the clutter. This is especially true when guests are due to arrive soon. Investing in storage boxes and bins for your personal items ensures you won’t need to clear all of your belongs each time someone visits and it also keeps the room airy and appealing for your guests. You also don’t need to settle on boring and unstylish plastic storage bins either. Here are some inspiration photos for storage containers that can add a stylish flare to any room: http://www.pinterest.com/rlsenn/storage-containers/. Check out this unique storage idea for utilizing the space under your bed:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/83527768060324674/. Having trouble organizing your closet trinkets? Take a look at this organizational idea:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/48976714667186686/.

The next step to making your guests feel at home is to set the scene with extra pillows, blankets and towels placed out for easy access. Adding in a small vase of fresh cut flowers is a perfect way to gain some extra hospitality points as well.  If you have your seasonal clothes in the drawers in your guest room, you can still accommodate your guests with some inexpensive luggage racks so clothing is easily accessible. Here is a visual list of a few more items you may want to include: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/103301385174128872/. When it comes to beds, the common thought is a queen or king sized arrangement. If you find yourself with a higher traffic of visitors, you may want to look into the two twin bed configuration. Here are some ideas on how to implement this design style:http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/161978/

Details make all the difference when it comes to guest bedrooms. Having a motion-sensor night-light plugged in alleviates the confusion when shuffling around an unfamiliar place in the dark of the night. Make sure the light bulbs in the table lamps work and the television remote has batteries. Another welcoming touch is having a toiletry bag ready and available in your guest room for your future visitors. Include that with some extra towels, a washcloth and toilet paper. This will keep your guests out of the linen closet searching for these essentials and you happy.

Something simple and elegant like this: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/460704236850865878/is universally appealing.  Some other great touches are hyper-local magazines, brochures of attractions nearby, a list of your address and cross streets and a spare key. This is an obvious fit for visitors renting but also perfect for friends and family. When it comes to the time of the year where you have your home all to yourself, it’s nice to add some elements into your spare room that give you incentive to use it more often. Daybeds provide versatility and invite you to use the room any time. Add some of your favorite books, which can lead you to using the room as a quite space to read and offers your guests some more entertainment.


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