Make A Small Bedroom Look and Feel Amazing

According to home experts, the popularity of the small bedroom keeps increasing today. It’s because the minimalist decorating style becomes everyone’s favorite when it comes to a trendy home.

However, to create a small bedroom which looks admirable and feel comfortable is not that easy. You have to deal with the limited space in placing the furniture, décor items, and accessories inside. Moreover, choosing the colors, patterns, and texture to decorate a small bedroom is not as easy as when you have a huge space.

Some simple basic tips to decorate a small bedroom below will totally open your mind.

Choosing the Colors

The very first thing to keep in mind is how the overall look of your bedroom will look like which strongly relates to the main color of the room. Color has a huge impact in creating the atmosphere of your small bedroom.

The most popular option to colorize a small bedroom is the neutral shades like white and grey. Those kinds of color will give a bright and calming impression which will not make a small bedroom look too intimidating or stuffy.

Light it Up

When you have a small bedroom, light becomes an essential key to make it look and feel inviting. Beside those lighting fixtures, installing a huge window can add another lighting source which let the sunlight in. Moreover, a window also creates an airy atmosphere by letting the air circulate properly.

If it’s not possible for you to install a window, you can use the glass ceiling which can light up the room when the sun shines so bright. In addition, a mirror will also reflect the light and create a wider impression.

Adding the Furniture

Nowadays, you can easily find some bedroom furniture which are specifically designed for a small bedroom. They can fit a small bedroom very well and provide great comfort for you. Moreover, you can also find such furniture with very low price tags. Check out this Cheap Bedroom Furniture Sets Under 500article to find some tempting products to buy

Providing the Storage

You can’t really place a big closet or wardrobe inside a small bedroom. Therefore, you have to trick it by using multifunction furniture. Pick a bed frame which comes with built-in drawers or a headboard which also works as the shelves.

Make a Statement

Choose one element of the room to become the main focal point which grabs most attention. For instance, you can hang a big wall art with vibrant color on one side of the walls. A single focal point is enough to enhance the attractiveness of a small bedroom.

Well, those are some tips that you can keep in mind when you are about to decorate your small bedroom. Though it’s not really easy to decorate, a small bedroom is definitely a good option for you who love minimalist concept and simplicity.


Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Driveway Updates That Add Value To Your Property

Most homeowners don’t think about their driveways much at all, but if you can create a driveway that’s well-designed it can ultimately improve the overall curb appeal of your property and provide a very aesthetic appeal that can add a ton of value to your home.

Upgrading your driveway offers an endless amount of possibilities and potential, and we’re very lucky to have partnered up with a Annapolis Paving Prosnnapolis Paving Pros to help us compile this list of ways to help give your driveway a makeover that can definitely lead to dramatic property increases and a simply fantastic external appearance!

Brick

There’s no denying the beauty of brick driveways, and this type of classic feel is something that has been becoming more and more popular in recent years. It’s not as hard as many homeowners think to make these types of driveways, and it will be a great investment if you’re trying to increase your home’s overall value.

Brick may be a more expensive material than most for driveways, but brick driveways are known to last for multiple decades at a time. They also don't require much maintenance at all and can withstand all types of weather conditions.

Crushed Gravel and Stone

We all know that gravel driveways don’t cost that much, and many people think these types of driveways are boring but there are plenty of ways in which you can up a gravel driveway’s curb appeal and overall aesthetics. One of the best ways to do this is to add a little more texture and colors to the gravel and stones.

The installation process is always rather simple with this kind of driveway, and these driveways tend to be really durable no matter what weather patterns persist in your local area. But when you start to include some unique color designs and styles there can be some added curb appeal that really can drive up property value in a cheap way.

Most people who have this type of driveway do live in rural areas, so by adding this type of landscaping technique to your driveway you can end up having one of the coolest driveways in your neighborhood.

Staining, Etching and Stamping

This type of process is usually known to enhance concrete, and the overall look of this type of driveway can go a really long way in terms of providing a great look that is unique and beautiful.

Acid staining and etching is a great way to give concrete a really creative look, and it also is going to last a really long time. Maintenance is definitely an issue with some driveway upgrades, but not this one, and you can be rest assured that this type of creative outlet on your concrete will leave you with endless possibilities and a really unique looking driveway!

Cobblestone Pavers

We all know cobblestone to be very classic look for roadways and paths along our city streets, and it’s also a really incredible way to give your driveway a memorable upgrade. These stones will undoubtedly last multiple decades or even longer with little need for maintenance, so you can be rest assured that this type of investment will last till the time you’re ready to sell your home.

When you work with professional pavers you’ll be able to get a whole bunch of different designs and patterns into your driveway, and this is can a long way in terms of building the overall property without really costing you anything extra.

Pavers and Grass

There are also some more modern, eco-friendly ways to go about updating your driveway, and we know that grass driveways may not seem like the best but they definitely are building in overall trendiness.

But having a paved driveway with some exposed grass is usually a really great look that just makes your home seem a little bit different than the mundane norms that we see constantly everywhere else. So this is a great way to increase your home’s value and just allow your property to stand out!

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Define Your Home With Color

When you're remodeling or redecorating your home or office, what is the first thing you think of? For many people it's, “what color do I want this space to be?” Color is one of the most, if not the most, important consideration when redoing the interior of your space.

Color 101

Any discussion of color must include the effects of both warm and cool colors as well as the so-called “neutrals” (colors that do not appear on the color wheel). The class of color also contributes to the overall mood or emotional response to the space, as well as the perceived size of the space, regardless of its dimensions.

All colors can lean toward warm or cool, depending on the addition of another color. In that way, red can be even warmer if it leans toward the orange-yellow area of the color wheel. Blue, although seen almost exclusively as “cool” can lean toward warm with the addition of a warming color (as in plum or the deepest eggplant, both achieved by the addition of red).

As a rule, warm colors contain pure red or yellow. Some contain additions of red or yellow in various shades to create orange or brown colors from pastel to vibrant to deeply saturated.

Cool colors occupy the opposite side of the color wheel and most contain blue or green in some form, while primary blue is most definitely a pure cool color. Adding blue to almost any other shade or color can transform that first color into a cool-leaning color, while adding a warm color like yellow to green can make that cool green into a warmer version of green.

Black, white, gray and brown and their various shades are all considered neutral colors. But even neutral colors can lean toward warm or cool, depending on the undertones achieved by adding either a warm or cool hue. Although brown is definitely a neutral that leans toward the warm end of the color spectrum, adding cool pink can turn that brown into “rose-brown” which definitely comes across as cool-leaning.

Add a tiny amount of yellow to white and you have a warm white. Add a tiny amount of blue to white and you have a cool white. This is most evident in strings of holiday lights. The warm ones glow yellowish in the dark and the cool ones glow bluish in the dark. Adding a tiny amount of the lightest brown (usually called tan) will turn pure white into almond, another warm version of white.

Black is sometimes seen as the absence of color, but that's just because it absorbs all the light and does not reflect any back. But add white to black and you get gray. If you then add blue to the gray, it becomes a cool gray. Add very light brown or yellow to gray and that gray will come across as warm.

Emotional Effects of Color

Colors evoke an emotional response in almost everyone, although everyone has a response to color that is immensely personal. Color also sets the mood of the space, be it relaxing or stimulating. Can you mix both relaxing and stimulating colors in the same space? Yes, but this may be best left to a professional.

Red is used to decorate restaurants because it is known to increase both your appetite, strong emotions and physical desires. It is the color of power and strength, energy and love. Red stimulates and excites you but also exudes warmth. Use red judiciously because too much red can be overstimulating in your home.

Pink is a nurturing color, evoking compassion, love and happiness. It is also a highly feminine color and when not used with restraint can evoke immaturity and weakness. To decorate a room in pink that does not look sappy and too girly-girly, use simple, clean lines and sophisticated fabrics such as velvet, toile and/or raw silk. A combination of these fabrics, carefully chosen, will create a variety of textures that keep the eye moving beyond the “pinkness” of it all.

Orange represents joy, enthusiasm, sunshine and the tropics. Used to stimulate creativity, encouragement and success, orange is widely used in spaces housing creative minds, such as advertising, marketing, fine arts and the craft trades. Because of its stimulating effects, orange is ideal for an exercise room or a kitchen. If red seems like too aggressive of a color for you, orange is a viable replacement because it too can stimulate you and make you feel more energetic.

Yellow is a welcoming color and is an excellent choice for an entryway. Bright yellow makes you feel optimistic and light yellow makes you feel joyful. Because it is the color of sunshine, it also makes you feel happy. Try to use yellow sparingly, because too much of it in a room can feel overstimulating. Also, choose a bright yellow, whether you use a light or deep hue because dingy yellows can evoke sickness or decay.

Blue is the most-used color in user interfaces of computer programs and also hugely popular in home interior decoration. It has a calming effect and is known to slow down your metabolism and even lower your blood pressure. Blue works well paired with yellow, white or in concert with multiple shades of blue.

Green is all around us in nature and has the same calming effect when used in interior decorating. It symbolizes hope and security and feels fresh and safe. Green can be used as the basis for decorating an entire house. It will pair well with most other colors so each room has its own color identity with green as the common denominator, pulling everything all together.

Purple is one of the most sophisticated colors used in interior decorating. It creates formality and richness while adding a sense of luxury. The darkest purples are the most dramatic and sophisticated, while lighter shades such as lilac or lavender are calming and restful.

Black is the ultimate in sophistication in interior design. It evokes luxury, elegance and prestige. Although most commonly used as an accent color, it can be used as the main color by carefully balancing it with bright accent colors. It is used most successfully in this way by a professional interior designer.

White evokes innocence, goodness, purity and cleanliness, not to mention faithfulness. It is also calming and relaxing and it is no accident that hospitals use this color extensively in their interior designs. It can also evoke feelings of emptiness if the space is bereft of any accent colors. White is a pristine color, which can inhibit relaxation if one is worried about soiling or ruining the perfectness of an all-white room.

Brown gives us a feeling of security and stability. A color everywhere in nature, brown is not on the color wheel and is considered a neutral in terms of interior design. A good way to add the calming effect brown brings as a color found in nature is to use it by adding hardwood moulding in a shade of brown that is complementary to your overall color scheme.

Gray is our last neutral color and is elegant in a subtle way but not overly conservative. A yellow-gray can be depressing in a brown room, but gray combined with yellow accents is ultra-sophisticated. Combine gray with white and you create a clean, refreshing feeling.

Using Color to Make your Rooms Cozy with Natural Daylight

North-facing rooms naturally receive bluish, cool light all day long. It is best to use bold colors in these rooms. If the room is small and you want to make it look larger, a cool color will make the walls appear to recede giving the impression that it is larger than it actually is. However, because the room faces north, make that cool color bold and bright for maximum effect in the softness of the north-facing light.

Another trick is to paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter than the walls to add a feeling of spaciousness. A good trick is to add one to two cups of your wall color to a gallon of white paint for the ceiling color. It will be lighter than the walls and will not clash.

To make a north-facing room appear smaller, paint the walls a bold, dark shade. This has the effect of making the walls appear closer, which makes the room feel smaller. Another way to make a large room feel smaller and cozier is to paint the ceiling a darker shade than the walls. Choose a color on the same paint sample strip as your wall color that is at least two shades lighter than the one you chose for the walls.

South-facing rooms are bathed in sunlight virtually all day long. This has the effect of bringing out the best in virtually all colors, whether they are warm or cool. The darker shades will look richer and brighter but not overpowering. Lighter shades of colors will glow as they bask in the sunshine of a southern exposure.

Use the same tricks to fool the eye in a south-facing room that you would use in a north-facing room relative to a too-small or a too-large space. The only difference is that you can use virtually and shade of warm or cool colors and the southern exposure will make them look fantastic.

West-facing rooms have little light during the morning and early afternoon hours which tends to make colors look dull. However, once the sun moves to the western sky, the light changes, becoming warm and welcoming. If you use a west-facing room only in the evening, any color will work for you. If you use it during other parts of the day, choose lighter colors with a glossy finish. The gloss reflects light and appears to minimize shadows.

A room that faces east will experience warm, yellow light in the morning and bluish light as the day wears on. Rooms with eastern exposure look stellar with warm colors such as red, yellow or orange.

To make a room that faces sunrise or sunset look smaller or larger, use the same tricks for north-facing or south-facing rooms. Warm colors will make a too-large room smaller. Lighter colors will make a too-small room look larger. Just remember to use a glossy finish in rooms with western exposure to avoid shadows if you use the room all day long. 

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Five Things To Consider Before Buying A Home

Buying a new home can be both intimidating and exciting, especially since it’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. It pays, therefore, not to jump in without careful thought and questions. Since buying a home comes with risks and obstacles all its own, you’ll want to approach the market prepared. Below are some tips and considerations for when you’re ready to make the leap.

The Type of Mortgage

A common mortgage lasts for 30 years, but that isn’t the only option you have. Depending on your budget, you may choose among varying policies that differ by length, down payment, or government assistance. For instance, the Veterans Affairs Benefits Administration and Federal Housing Administration offer loans that come with as little as zero to three percent down payment for qualifiers. It’s also possible to get shorter mortgages, usually around fifteen to twenty years. Even if you go with the standard length, though, you can make a difference on your own by making a higher down payment and reducing the overall price from the start. You’ll have to consider your budget and other long-term goals, as well as local programs for home buyers, before deciding.

Credit

Though you’ve probably already checked and double-checked your savings before committing to making a purchase, your credit will also need to be secure. A good score can be the difference between the home of your dreams and no home at all, as well as whether you have access to a mortgage loan and its rates. Check your credit before you get too far into the process, and handle any errors or disputes on your account. You’ll also not want any surprises, so avoid opening new accounts until you’re secure in your finances.

Good Home Warranties

A home warranty might seem like an unnecessary added cost, but the right one can save you a great deal of trouble. Home warranties are not the same as home insurance, which covers just the physical structure of the house, so your appliances and major systems might need the extra protection. While they aren’t required, home warranties tend to be inexpensive and come in handy when you aren’t sure you can cover repair or losses for those fixtures. Not all warranty plans are the same, though, so shop around as you deliberate.

Post-Purchase Fees

Once you’re in your home, will you have enough to cover closing costs? What about needing to furnish the place? The former can run between two and five percent of the loan, and whether you plan to live in this house for the length of the mortgage (and beyond) or not, the full cost can vary. Some fees are negotiable, if not defrayable by the lender. As for furnishing costs, don’t forget that the home might need fixes, improvements, or simply new pieces of furniture for your comfort. Be sure to budget carefully for these in the event the prices fluctuate.

The Neighborhood

Where the house is can matter a lot more than you might expect. Besides the common concerns over crime and safety rates, you’ll want to know about the traffic, nearby amenities, and helpful business to determine if the area’s a good fit. You should also check out the schools and exact neighborhood itself, as these can have an impact not only on price but on later home value. Depending on what your needs and future plans are, you’ll want to mind your options.

No matter where your chosen home is, this purchase is no small deal. It'll affect your life for years to come, so picking well matters. Make a more informed decision with the tips above, and you'll be closer to having the right place at the right price.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Things To Know Before Moving To A New Neighborhood

When looking for a new home to buy, it's very easy to overlook other facts when the home's interior is designed perfectly. The home has all the amenities you want such as smart appliances, granite countertops, spacious rooms and that ceramic tile floor you wanted.  While the home's design and features are certainly something to consider, ultimately how long you stay in the home be influenced by the immediate surrounding neighborhood. Here are some factors to consider.

Financial

You may have purchased a home with an affordable mortgage interest rate, however property taxes can become a significant part of your expenses. If you moved from another state or even county, it's a good idea to find out about potential taxes or local special assessments that will affect your budget. A good way is to confirm the amount with your realtor and title company.

Safety

Some of the best places to find reliable information about local crime statistics are at CrimeReports, SpotCrime, NeighborhoodScout and FamilyWatchDog. You'll be able to review police activity and local trends. One good sign if if you see kids playing outside. If not, you may want to invest a security system, wireless cameras, and put out a “Beware of Dog” sign.

Access to Care

On the subject of safety, is the neighborhood close to a police and fire stations, emergency rooms and other pertinent services in the event of an emergency? We all know too well of a hurricane's affect on residents in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, and fires in California. You want to have emergency personnel or shelters nearby.

Convenience

Important deal breakers for some people are how close it will be to their favorite eateries, grocery stores, gym, bank, shopping and volunteering opportunities. If you're used to a 1-2 mile convenient and the new home is 5-to-10 miles away, that could be a big problem. Are you a person who needs a Trader Joes, WholeFoods or Sprouts Market nearby? If you are person that actively participates in volunteering in your community, make sure you still have that opportunity where you're moving to, especially if it's one of your passions. Did you know that a neighborhood located near numerous retail stores, helps maintain or increases home value if you choose to sell later on.

Schools

Schools are a very important element as a home buyer. The quality of schools in the neighborhood can influence the future value of the home. By a wide margin, families prefer a highly rated school district. To determine the school's rating GreatSchools is a great source. 

Neighbors

Don't be nervous to be the one who starts a conversation with people you may find yourself becoming next door neighbors. To be honest, they'll be very interested in meeting their prospective neighbors. Find out if there are block parties, how many young families are here, any people with aggressive dogs, best hangouts, their favorite local places, parks, how many years they've lived in the area, and more about the community. Some research should be done yourself but it never hurts for a neighbor to confirm what you researched. The better you know your neighbors, the easier it is to ask them to watch your home while you're away on a trip.

Sights, Sounds and Smells

Identify warning signs in the neighborhood. Are homeowners maintaining their yards, does one neighbor have 10 or more unsightly cars parked outside, are there college-aged kids stationed on the street all day? Is there a cow slaughter house within 5 miles away? The stench can travel your way depending on the time of day.

Find out Opinions of Former Residents

People love sharing their opinion on places they've lived. Online discussion forums like Reddit and City-Data are good places to inquire about your new neighborhood for relevant advice from people who know best.

Bonus Tip

There are a few tax breaks for someone moving due to a new job or relocation. The frst thng you want to do is to be sure to keep all receipts for your moving expenses so you can write it off on your taxes.  If you’re selling your home and you lived in it for more than two years, you may qualify for a capital gains tax exemption. If it’s been under two years, and your new job is 50 miles or more away from your current home you may qualify for a partial exclusion.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Easy Ways To Create More Storage Space In Your Home

If you’re frustrated with the lack of storage in your home, you’re not alone. Forbes reports that, “Most buyers are looking for extra storage space to organize and declutter their homes. Garage storage solutions and walk-in pantries rank high for organizing and concealing items.”

Take a new look at your house

Don’t have enough linen space? Maybe there’s a corner or niche that could be turned into a closet. It might just take an open mind and a fresh outlook to reimagine a space. 

Pick the right furniture

“A hardworking family needs a hardworking living area, one that uses every inch of space available,” said Better Homes and Gardens. “Built-in cabinets stash books and media and provide a bonus display surface. Find or design and build furniture that serves more than one purpose.”

Ottomans are a great option for living spaces because: They’re small, easily movable, can act as a coffee table or an extra seat, and can hide remotes, blankets, and a bunch of other stuff that could otherwise be cluttering up your space.   

Spin the bookcase

IKEA’s KALLAX is one of our favorite finds because it has tons of storage space and you don't need a ton of wall space to use it. It’s finished on both sides, so you can also use it as a wall divider. If KALLAX isn’t your thing but you want to crib this idea, find two bookcases and use them back to back.

Grab some Space Saver Bags

Not everything you see on a late-night infomercial is a waste of money. Space bags are great for off-season clothes, jackets, and bedding because you can compress them to a fraction of the size. According to Amazon, the jumbo size is “More than big enough to fit bulky bed linens with pillows, favorite big winter jacket, entire wardrobes of a season.”

Roll it out

There’s a better use for the space under your bed than dust bunnies. All you need are a few rolling storage tubs to reclaim this square footage for your stuff.

Recycle your coat closet 

Unless you live in a cold climate where lots of jackets, coats, scarves, and boots are needed, your coat closet may be able to serve better uses. Add some basic wire shelving, which you can find in tons of sizes and configurations, and now you’ve got a place to store linens, Costco goods, or anything that doesn’t currently have a place to go.

Go above and beyond

Closets typically have a shelf above the hanging rod, but that space above the shelf may go quite high. Make it easier to store items up there by installing another shelf at the top. That way you don’t have to worry about your stuff teetering or toppling, and you can use all the space available, all the way up to the ceiling.

Hang from the ceiling

Like Forbes said, garage storage is critical. But if your garage doesn’t have much—or much room in which to fit it—you can still make it happen. SafeRacks are hanging garage storage shelves you can buy online or at Costco. They get your stuff up off the floor so you can reclaim the space for your cars. 

Organize your pots and pans 

Maybe it isn’t that you don’t have the space, but it’s just not well-organized—especially in the kitchen if you have giant, shelf-less boxes for cabinets or a small pantry with shelves that don’t allow you to see clearly to the back. The right organizer can change your life. Check out this and this, and your kitchen will never be the same. 

DIY yourself a solution

If you’ve got a good imagination and a few good tools, you can make something that will help meet your storage needs. You’re going to want to put Bob Vila’s secret compartments in the fireplace trim, pull-out drawers in the banquette, and definitely the under-the-stairs trick on your to-do list.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Hello September

Don’t you just love September? The back-to-school shopping, the waxy smell of crayons in the air, the promise of fall starting to cool down that breeze, those last-minute Labor Day camping trips? Really, September is a magical time of year! Magical, but also busy. With all that return to the go-go-go of the academic year, it can be easy to lose track of your goals of homeownership. But don’t worry—I’ve got my finger on the pulse of today’s fast-paced market to make buying or selling your home this September a breeze!

Across the country, cost is continuing to rise in regard to labor and materials that go into building a new home. As a result, new home construction is falling rapidly. In fact, home building in the US fell for a third straight month this summer, pretty close to a new record.

What does that mean for you?

Well, with the cost of building a brand-new home continuously rising, more and more buyers are turning their sights onto already built, ready-to-go properties. With mortgage rates at a three-year low, that means the housing market will soon be heating up. Competition is fierce, which is good news if you’re looking to sell. More competition leads to higher prices and a shorter time on the market. If you’re looking to buy, stay strong! With a clear head and some smart negotiations, you can navigate this market!

Soon enough the leaves will be changing colors and we’ll be breaking out pumpkin carving knives! Wouldn’t it be great to welcome autumn in your new home?

Hello August

This year has flown by.  Can you believe that we’re already halfway through 2019?  It’s August, which means it’s getting close to back-to-school season.  But summer’s not done yet, and there’s still some time to get outside and have some fun in the sun before autumn rolls around.  And, of course, to realize your dreams of buying or selling your home before the summer’s done!

Nationwide, demand is still strong for available and affordable housing.  More and more people are pushing out of bigger cities to mid-size and smaller cities, which is keeping the market healthy and thriving.  But even with the growing demand, supply is staying steady.  This is heating up to be a competitive August! 

So what does that mean for you?  If you’re looking to buy, expect to spend some time pounding the pavement before you find the right home for you and your family, and be prepared to spend some time, energy, and resources to get the deal you want.  If you’re looking to sell, less supply means you’re more likely to get the price you want for your property.  However, don’t let yourself get carried away: I can help you set a price that will keep you happy and net the perfect buyer for your home.

Whether you want to buy or sell your home this summer, I’m here to help!  I have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate this dynamic and competitive market.

6 Tips To Make Your Home Look More Expensive

Does your new home fit into your budget, but not your design wishes? Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses, but not everyone can afford the price tag. Don’t worry, with the tips below you can make your home look expensive without spending big bucks to do so. It just takes a little creativity and a bit of elbow grease, but you can create the home of dreams.

Moulding

Moulding is an easy ways to take your walls from drab to fab without looking gaudy. You can choose a more ornate, Victorian style moulding, or go for a simple piece of wood framing, as was popular in Craftsmen homes of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Whichever you choose, paint your moulding and walls the same color to provide a cohesive look to your home, and consider splurging to hire professional to help you out. A licensed handyman can not only repair existing moulding in your home, but can also help you add new moulding. A professional can make the new moulding look seamless, like it has always been a staple part of your homes character.

Accessories

Whether you are going for a minimalist or eclectic look, your accessories can provide both interest and elegance to your home.  Things like candles and fresh flowers can bring add points of interest to your home as can throw pillows and blankets.

Get creative and DIY items that can be pricey in stores, such as making throw pillows from fabric scrapsinstead of spending $45 for one at Target. You can also make your own wreaths, or reupholster chairs to give them a new look.

Save your money for investment pieces, like large artwork that can instantly become a focal point to your rooms. Of course, save money when you can by thrifting these too.

Mix Up Your Textures

Experts say a design that is too matchy-matchy – excessively color-coordinated, in other words – can actually make it look less expensive. Instead you should mix and match different textures throughout your home that can help to enliven multiple senses at a time. A faux-fur throw on top of a leather couch, for example, as well as velvety pillows and knit rugs. Each of these items can provide beauty to your home on its own, but when put them together it will give the feeling of a well-thought out and unique space.

Let Someone’s Trash Be Your Treasure

One of the easiest ways to add a bit of class and character to your home is to choose antiques and vintage pieces to put side-by-side with your newer décor. This might seem like and expensive option, since vintage headboard can cost several hundred dollars or more online, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You just have to know where to look.

Check out your local thrift stores and garage sales to get the best deals on vintage furniture. Many people just want them out of their homes, without considering their value. You can advantage of these pieces, repaint them, or just refinish them to former glory. Your home will instantly look more cultured, and you will help keep items out of the landfill as well!

Make Your Own Built-Ins

I love looking through Zillow, picking out my favorite homes and imagining my family inside of them. One thing I always look for first is built-ins. There is just something about them that screams class to me, and I am dead set that my dream home will have them. If your home doesn’t though, you can improvise. Just make them yourself.

Ikeas hacks are all over the internet, and the one that most often catches my eye are DIY built-ins using Ikea bookshelves. The Billy Bookcase comes in several different heights and colors, making it versatile for your home. Add a bit of moulding to make them truly blend in, and it will look like they have always been there.

You Shouldn’t Judge a Book by Its Cover, but Many People Do

A person’s opinion of your home does not start when they walk through your door. It starts when they are standing on your sidewalk. Keep your yard tidy and pruned, your lawn mowed, and your walkway clean and clear of cracks if possible.

Raised garden beds are pretty to the eye and can help you save money if you fill them with herbs and vegetables. And perennial flowers, such as tulips and peonies, only need to be planted once but will make your garden beautiful year after year.

You do not have to own a million dollar listing to make your home and inviting and expensive looking place for you and your family to enjoy. Even the smallest budgets can have a big impact with a bit of planning and work ethic. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, your only limit is your own imagination! 

Author Bio: Edward Flanagan is the founder of Edward’s Enterprises Remodel Contractor & Handyman Repairs and has been improving homes and providing facilities maintenance in Southern California since 1996. Their handyman services include carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, and electrical repairs. Edward currently divides his time between Camarillo and Venice Beach, CA, and loves the 405.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Your First Home

Many starter-home purchases are driven primarily by price, which is understandable. But, there are so many other considerations involved in finding the right place, like square footage and location, to name just a few of the most consequential.

When looking for your first home, it’s critical to keep the most important considerations in mind so you don’t find yourself going down a real estate rabbit hole. Remember these common buyer mistakes to keep you on track.

Buyer mistake No. 1: Being seduced by the pretty stuff

Fresh paint, pretty throw pillows, nice bedding. They’re all decoration, and decoration can be dangerous for homebuyers. Don’t let it distract you from the house itself. How’s the floorplan? Does it work for your family? Is there enough square footage? Does the location make sense? These are among the factors that should be driving your purchase.

Buyer mistake No. 2: Searching for a home that fits your furniture

How many times have you heard a buyer on House Hunters say, "Our furniture won't fit in here." When you're buying a property that costs a couple hundred thousand dollars, it’s silly to hold back over a five-year-old, $1,000 couch. 

Buyer mistake No. 3: Getting too hung up on price

It’s easy to get a number stuck in your head and refuse to give up, but that figure might not be doable depending on your local real estate market. Raising your price range by $10,000 may vastly increase the available homes and may only mean another $50 per month. That’s one lunch out you can forgo to get what you really want.

Buyer mistake No. 4: Not trusting your gut

The price is right, the location is right, and the home has the right number of bedrooms and baths. But it just doesn’t feel right. You may not be able to put your finger on what it is that’s bothering you about a house, but if something’s nagging at you now, imagine what it will be like to live there. It could be your gut is trying to tell you something.

Buyer mistake No. 5: Ignoring the neighborhood

The hope is that any major problems with the home you’re looking at will show up on an inspection report, but other issues could pop up to derail your purchase or kill your enjoyment of the home once it belongs to you. A lot of the time, that has to do with the neighborhood.

That could mean a commercial area too close to home, a rundown house across the street, or some zoning changes that are bringing a ton of new multi-family units to the area and increasing traffic. Whatever it is that’s bothering you, think it through. You can always fix your home, but you can’t change the neighborhood.

Buyer mistake No. 6: Not thinking long term 

Maybe you think you’ll only be in this “starter home” for two years, and, therefore, the neighborhood isn’t all that important. As long as the house meets your approval, you’re good, right? According to a study by ValuePenguin, “the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13.3 years.” That varies depending on the location, however, of the 20 largest U.S. cities studied, the lowest median was 9.7 years in Denver.

Does that mean you’ll stay in this home for 10 years or more? Who knows. But if you’re a young couple planning to have kids in the next three-to-five years, let’s say, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure the home you buy now can accommodate that lifestyle change.

Buyer mistake No. 7: Thinking too long term 

By the same token, looking for a forever home when you’re newly married and/or just starting your careers and don’t know where your life may take you may not be the answer either.

Buyer mistake No. 8: Not considering the commute

No one moves two hours (each way) away from work because they enjoy the time in the car. A move away from the city center into the suburbs is typically driven by affordability, or, rather, a lack thereof. But, absorbing an exceptionally long commute may not be worth it in the long run. Buyers have to ask themselves, “How long is too long?”

But, asking yourself the question is only the beginning. If you think a one-hour commute each way will be fine, try it for a few days. Do a test run. It won’t be the same as having to do it day in and day out for years of your life, but it will give you a taste.

You’ll also need to consider things like:

• What happens if there is an accident on your ride home, which extends your one-hour commute even longer?
• Will you need daycare for your kids, and who is going to pick them up if you can’t get there in time?
• What will it do to your mental state?
• What about the financial hit—wear and tear on your car, extra gas, and tolls, daycare?

When you crunch the numbers and think about the logistics, you might see that it makes better sense to buy closer to work. 

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Top 5 Kitchen Design Trends for 2019

Each year, new trends emerge within the home improvement and design industries. In fact, there are hundreds of new ideas, styles, and materials that get introduced on a regular basis. Not all of them are going to have staying power, however, and not all of them will increase the value of your home or make it function better.

The following five trends have been deemed as the most likely to succeed in 2019 by a group of experts in interior design. In this report, they took to showcase what the hottest trends are for 2019 kitchen remodeling, and which ones are most likely to add function and value to a home.

Smart Lighting

Smart technology is one of the fastest growing fields. Actually, according to Vivint, approximately half of renovators are introducing smart devices as they make upgrades to their homes. With so many smart devices available, homeowners have a lot to choose from.

According to experts, when it comes to the kitchen, smart lighting is the top trend within this category. Lighting within the kitchen is crucial to the design and the function of the space. Using smart lights, which can vary in color and brightness, and can be controlled via a tablet, can enhance the use of the room whether you’re cooking or entertaining. This makes smart lighting a good choice for homeowners looking for a first step into the smart home market.

Shaker or Slab Cabinets

Photo by Jose Soriano on Unsplash

Cabinetry is an integral part of any kitchen design. It provides the necessary storage the kitchen needs, but it also sets the tone for the style of the room.

Experts felt that both the Shaker and the Slab cabinet door styles are hands down the most popular for 2019. Both of these styles fit in well with clean, minimal design, which is also rising in popularity. Shaker cabinets can also be more transitional, fitting in well with some Cottage styles as well.

Anyone looking to update their cabinets should also be aware that solid wood is the preferred material - outstripping all other options by a wide margin. Fresh, updated designs with real wood are sure to hold their value better long term, making this an investment that can pay off now or in the future.

Pendant Lights

All kitchens ideally need three types of lighting - ambient, accent, and task - to look and function at their best. Pendant lights were chosen as the most popular fixture to include in the kitchen, and with good reason; they can technically fit all three roles depending on how they are used and where they are placed.

Groups of pendants can provide ambient light for large areas, while single pendants centered over a peninsula or table can be an accent. Hang a pendant directly over a workstation, and now you have task lighting as well. With this versatility, it’s no wonder that pendant lights make the most sense for inclusion in the design.

Kitchen Island Layout


Photo by Rustic Vegan on Unsplash

There are many ways to plan and layout a kitchen. When asked what was the most popular layout, a staggering 91% of experts agreed it’s the island kitchen. Islands aid in the function of the room, with most reporting that its main function is to bring additional counter space.

Islands also improve the working triangle of the kitchen, and add additional storage as well, making this one of the best additions that can be made to a space.

Natural Stone or Quartz Countertops

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Homeowners have more choices for countertop materials today than ever before. When it comes to the style of a countertop, most experts agree that the slab style is the most popular for kitchens. Slabs are a single piece of material, and of those available, granite takes first place, followed very closely by quartz. When questioned about their own choices, experts nearly unanimously agreed that they would install quartz in their own homes, making this one of the best choices for adding style and value to a home.

Pay Attention to What’s Popular

It’s important to track trends as they emerge and change, because these will show the direction of the industry and what most homebuyers are looking for in a home. If a homeowner needs to choose strategically when it comes to picking which features to include in their kitchens this year, these 5 top the list. Be sure to read the full report to know more about what’s popular in kitchen remodeling this 2019.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your House Organized ( All the Time!)

With a little time and effort, you can make even the messiest house look clean for a day or two. However, many people struggle to actually maintain their organization. Instead, they get stuck in a cycle of getting the house dirty, spending hours cleaning it, and then messing it all up in just a few days. People who manage to keep their house organized all the time tend to follow a few basic rules. Here is what you need to know about keeping your home tidy without too much effort.

Store Things Where You Use Them

If you have to go get an item, use it, and then walk a long distance to put it back in its place, you are likely to just give up and lay it down after using it. Instead, create organizational spaces right by items you commonly use. A few things to consider are cups for pens by your desk, a tray to hold your remote on the coffee table, and a shoe rack by your door 

Look for Creative Ways to Simplify Your Life

Each home is unique, so everyone has one or two things that always get in the way of being completely organized. Think carefully about major organization hassles that take up too much time in your life and then consider how you can cut back on the inconvenience. For example, if you spend hours every Christmas sorting out a garbage bag filled with tangled lights, consider switching to a pre-lit Christmas tree.

Stock Up on Containers

Storage bins, boxes, and baskets are the ultimate tip to making any room look organized. Containers are helpful because they ensure that every object has a specific place, and they clear up visual clutter in a room. To make things easy for everyone to find, consider using labels or putting things in clear bins so you can easily see them.

Tidy Up During Wait Time

Throughout our life, we end up using almost two years of our time waiting around. Those who feel like they cannot stay organized because they are always too busy can use this time to tidy up. For example, you can load a few dishes in the dishwasher while you wait on the microwave, or sort out a messy bathroom drawer as the shower heats up.

Create a System for Paper

One of the biggest culprits of mess in the modern home tends to be paper. It is far too easy to just toss a stack of mail in a letterbox and ignore it for weeks. The end result tends to be drawers, bulletin boards, and boxes that are just a mess of random pages no one needs. Creating a system for dealing with this ensures that you deal with the root of this problem. Make it a goal to open mail and discard of all unnecessary items as soon as you get it. Every week or so, sort through the pages you keep and file them away in a box.

Organize for Five Minutes a Day

The final key to avoiding hours spent organizing every few weeks is to break organizing down into tiny, manageable chunks of time.Professional organizer Heidi Goodwin recommends her clients aim to tidy up the house for five minutes every day. This should just be a quick walkthrough where you sort through a stack of bills, straighten throw pillows on the couch, or make your bed.

These helpful tips keep you from having to spend major time completely organizing and tidying up your house regularly. If you want to live in an organized home everyday, all you need to do is keep on top of the mess. Once you get into the habit of being organized, it is far easier to keep it up.

 Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

The Home-Selling Checklist

Before selling your home, you’ll want to make sure it is ready to be seen by potential buyers. Follow the next five steps to ensure that your house sells for the maximum value.

First Step: Paint

First, make sure that the paint is up to date. You may need to skim coat your walls. Skim coat, also called mud, is a thin layer of seam compound that can be used to repair or smooth damaged walls. You may need a skim jacket if you want to repair cracks, fill in joints, or flatten the area with an existing flat surface. Use a spatula or drywall knife to lay a layer of skim coat on rough walls or ceilings to form a flat surface for painting or wallpaper. Usually, two to four layers need to be applied before the surface is smooth. Examine the walls and ceiling for damage. If there is a lot of damage (notches, cracks, large holes), you have to fix them first. You may only need to complete the connection between the new plasters, maybe you have to complete the broken plaster or plaster-gypsum board joints, or you have many years of settlement or vibration Plan to repair plaster that will begin to break down.

Skim coating is a texturing technique used to smooth walls. Drywallers use this technique to hide imperfect taping work and give the wall only a plaster-like appearance and the smoothest surface. Non-oiling coatings are the only way to achieve class 5 drywall completion and many industry groups, including painting contractors, recommend them.

Second Step: Repairs

Some of these tips are quite simple, while others may need more elbow grease. But once the buyers have begun to show up at your location, you will benefit. When you are ready to sell, check your home for damaged parts, broken equipment, and spaces that need cleaning or exhilaration. Our home maintenance checklist will guide you through common home repairs that may affect your family's value, especially when you are examining each area. Taking an assessment can also help you decide what needs to be corrected. The total cost of repair depends on the condition of your home. Once you have listed the repairs you need, decide for yourself what you can do and where you need expert help. Compare quotes from multiple contractors so that you can consider the price range. Look at the whole house and consider if you need to make some improvements.

Third Step: Check the Foundation

Concrete is essentially a very porous material. It absorbs moisture naturally. Cracks in the concrete floor are completely expected and not a structural problem, but be sure to check the foundation with a specialist.

Fourth Step: Landscaping

Be sure that your yard looks good. Hire a professional to keep everything neatly trimmed. This includes mowing the lawn and keeping shrubs and trees manageable. Also, be sure to clean off your patio.

Fifth Step: Cleaning

Finish by sweeping, mopping, and dusting the whole house clean. This includes making sure that there are no signs of dirt or stains. Countertops, sinks, showers and toilets are the main places to keep clean. Roll up your sleeves and go to work. Save some money by using homemade cleaning products

Next, plant the “for sale’ sign in your front yard and discuss with your realtor. Then, you’ll be all set to start showing your property.

 Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Create A Calmer, More Peaceful Home

Your home should be your sanctuary, but sometimes it’s hard to brush off the stress of the day and sink into the serenity. That's especially true if your home is more chaos than calm. Use these tips to create a space that’s soothing, so, no matter what the day holds, you always have an inviting place to come home to.

Add some greenery

Studies have shown that plants can make your home feel calmer and ease anxiety. Plants like jasmine and English ivy can improve sleep, lavender and rosemary can lower stress, and several other plants have been shown to improve air quality so you breathe easier.

Hide the electronics

“Nobody wants to stare at a tangle of cords,” said Houzz. “Thankfully, we have more options than ever for keeping our tech devices hidden away. When possible, choose smaller, wireless devices that look less obtrusive even when left out in the open. Tie up cords in a media center so they are not visible, and dedicate a single drawer to storing all of your chargers, power cords and small tech devices when they’re not in use.”

Get a dog

Or a cat, a bird, or a turtle, for that matter. Yes, having a pet can mean more noise and more mess. But, there are all kinds of studies that show that having a pet lowers stress. “Researchers found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets,” said AnimalSmart.org. “Another study shows that pet owners may also have increased odds of surviving for at least a year after having a heart attack.”

Clear the clutter

Going all Marie Kondo on your home can have surprising effects on your mental state. “Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves,” said psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter in Psychology Today. “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed.”

Tone down the harsh colors

There’s something to be said for going bold, but soft colors can bring on a calming feeling. If you want a deeper color, consider shades of blues and greens—two colors that are known to be more serene than, say bright yellow, orange, or red.

Clean up your entryway

It’s the first place guests see, and while you probably don’t pass by or through your front entry all that often if you park in the garage, it may not feel as welcoming as you’d like when you do.

Soften the lighting

Harsh overhead lighting can make you feel like you’re being interrogated, and can also be hard on your eyes. If you need to keep it because the space will be too dark otherwise, a dimmer can at least give you some control over just how bright it is, and allow you to create a mood with lower lighting as needed.

Limit the patterns

“Opt for solids and subtle patterns,” said Houzz. “Busy patterns have their place, but if you’re aiming for calm, then solid fabrics are your friends. Don’t be afraid to include subtle patterns, though: herringbone, tone-on-tone stripes, and tiny dots can add textural interest without competing for attention.”

Buy some fresh flowers

According to a study by Rutgers, “The presence of flowers trigger happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive way far beyond what was originally believed.”

Make your master bedroom a zen zone

Getting good rest is key, and there are several ways you can create a soothing space. Keeping the colors serene is key, and so is a good mattress. Loading the bed up with soft textures can also help. “The sensation of touch is often overlooked, but a powerful way to unwind,” said Mass.gov.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.