Happy Independence Day

It’s really the heart of summer now!  Time sure does fly when you’re busy barbecuing in the backyard, and getting all those fireworks in order for the Fourth of July.  But while spending time outside with the family, you may find yourself looking around the yard and thinking that it’s time to mix things up a little this July.  You might decide that the time has come to sell your home and buy a new one!

The weather outside isn’t the only thing heating up this summer!  With mortgage rates falling steadily since April across the country, home price appreciation is getting reignited.  So what does this mean for you?  It means that we may soon be seeing fiercer competition when buying homes.  With lower selling points popping up nationwide, more people are setting out to buy.  As a result, if you find the house that’s right for you, move quickly.  Supply is still low, especially for first time homebuyers looking for a starter house.  If you’re looking to sell, then this competition is good news!  You will be able to get a price that will leave both you and your buyer satisfied.

Don’t lose sight of your goals of buying or selling your home this July get lost in the summertime haze of lazy days and catching up on yardwork!  Contact me today, and I’ll get you started to be in your new home by the time school starts again this September!

Where To Splurge And Where To Save When Decorating

Saving money is great. But saving money can also prove problematic. While a piece of furniture that’s not used a lot or a knickknack that is not prominently displayed might be fine, you want to be careful when pinching pennies if it means compromising on quality.

Furniture

This is a mixed bag. You can get away with an inexpensive coffee table, and you may be able to score a killer deal on a dining table that looks far more expensive than it is. But when it comes to upholstery, proceed with caution—especially with large pieces. Cheap textiles can pill, rip, wear out easily, and stain permanently. Plus, the material is often scratchy and uncomfortable.

“The sofa is one of the most significant items you’ll ever buy for your home. It takes up a lot of visual space, it’s important for comfort purposes, and it’s something you could have for two or even three decades,” said The Spruce. “Look for something made with high-quality materials such as kiln-dried hardwood and eight-way hand-tied spring construction, and purchase a classic style so that over the years it can be recovered if you want to update the fabric and give it a different look. Remember the rule that a high-quality sofa should last around 25 years while one of average quality should last about 10.”

Art

Many designers will tell you that money is no object when it comes to art. “Unlike a rug that may get dirty in a couple years or a glass that could end up breaking at your next dinner party, the art you invest in is likely to stay with you for many years, or maybe even a lifetime,” said Real Simple. “The key is to take your time finding art you love, that you’ll want to spend years living with, and that fits your style.”

We agree with all of that, except for the “need to splurge” part. It’s gonna be awhile before we’re playing with Picasso money. In the meantime, we love finding great new resources to buy inexpensive art—especially those that allow us to support emerging artists instead of buying stuff that’s mass-produced. From Society6 to Minted to to Etsy, there are a number of places you can find great stuff without a great expense.

Flooring

Skimp out on your flooring and you might find yourself having to redo it soon—or living with the consequences of a poor choice. Everything from a wood product that is made too thin, and therefore is damaged easily, to poor adhesive, to carpet that doesn’t have the quality to stand up to kids, pets, or everyday use can cause problems sooner than you may expect.

Rugs

“One of the best items to buy cheap is an area rug, Gen Sohr, one half of the husband-and-wife team behind Pencil & Paper Co., a Nashville-based interior design firm, said to Real Simple. “I think there are so many wonderful area rug options that are a complete steal. And really who wants to break the bank on something that's going to eventually get soiled and need to be replaced?” she says. For an option that’s both affordable and durable, she recommends a natural sisal rug, which also hides the appearance of dirt. A flatweave wool rug is another popular option, and Sohr recommends finding deals on Overstock.com or Rugs USA.”

Mattresses

It can be tempting to go cheap on a mattress simply because it so expensive. But, if you really spend a good third of your life in bed, it’s worth it to pay for quality. If you can’t pay outright, it’s usually possible to get a zero-interest payment plan from a mattress stores if you have decent credit.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

7 Ways To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

Are you ready to begin getting your home in top condition to sell? There are a few steps every homeowner should take before listing your home to maximize the chances of getting a high offer. From decluttering and cleaning to fixing broken items and painting, the following actions can help dramatically when trying to sell your house.

1. Declutter Everything

Organizing your space will help prospective buyers visualize the home with their own things in it. Clutter, knick-knacks, and stuffed closets make it much harder for buyers to see how they could make it their own.

2. Have Extra Light Bulbs On Hand

All lights will need to remain on when your house is being shown. Having an extra stock of light bulbs ensures buyers can see every corner and room that they’re interested in.

3.  Deep Clean Your Home

Be sure that your home gives the best impression to interested buyers. Clean all floors, surfaces, toilets, rugs, and bathrooms. Some areas might need to be cleaned again while you’re in the middle of trying to sell. Do some research to find information about how to dust high ceilings or tips for cleaning your sink disposal. You can also make an appointment with a professional home or carpet cleaner to save yourself some time putting your house in immaculate shape.

4. Make an Appointment with a Handyman

If your home is older, you might need a handyman to come out more than once to fix toilets that run, faucets that leak, any cracks in walls or doors, malfunctioning locks, and appliances that might be broken. Buyers should never get the impression that your home hasn’t been maintained properly.

5. Do Some Touch-up Painting

Paint over any bright colors and make everything neutral. Light shades of white, greys, and beiges can make your house seem much brighter, more welcoming, and even bigger. New paint shows buyers that the home has been given a blank slate, and it also helps to hide any flaws. If you have kids and choose not to paint, be sure that fingerprints and smudges are cleaned up.

6. Try Staging Your House

Findings have shown that staging helps houses sell at higher price points much faster. It’s an easy way to increase appeal to buyers. Don’t forget the outside: mow the lawn, ensure the landscaping looks attractive, and put random objects like toys or gnomes away. If you’re lucky, you can get away with skipping external paint; but if your house looks like it could desperately use it, work this into your plan as well.

7. Consider Depersonalizing Your House

Ensure that your home looks inviting and welcoming, but try to clean up a few unnecessary objects around the house. Most photos that are framed can be taken down along with bulletin boards that appear messy, personal objects like magazines, equipment, toys, photo books, and awards. A handful of nice photos can remain, but be sure that people aren’t bombarded with personal items when they walk through.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Make Your Backyard Feel Like A Resort

Once summer arrives, we all go into vacation mode, right? But why should we only get to enjoy that feeling for a few weeks every year?! With a few simple updates to your outdoor space, you can be living that resort life all season long—and maybe even extend your summer well into the fall!

Multiple seating areas

An area for dining, another for lounging, maybe some seating around the fireplace or fire pit—now you have an outdoor space that’s perfect for entertaining, but also useful for every day. Creating a layered backyard will make it more useful, but will also make it feel more luxurious.

Cover it up

You can spend several thousand dollars on a pergola or patio cover, creating a permanent structure that extends your living space. But, a covered outdoor space doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a cue from resorts and put up a big articulating umbrella. Catch a good sale and you might be able to find one for under $100 that’s large enough to provide cover over a dining table or outdoor living space. A shade sail is another inexpensive option that can help transform your outdoor space into a relaxation zone.

Add a bar

Sidle up to this three-piece bar, currently on sale for just $209, and your intimate get-together is now a party. It’s also perfect for hanging with the family. Pack an outdoor fridge or cooler with drinks or drink fixins’ and no one has to go inside and get the floor wet.

Up your barware game

You can’t have a cool bar without cool barware. Part of the fun of being on vacation is ordering a cocktail, which arrives in a fancy glass. You can replicate that feeling with a visit to Tuesday Morning or HomeGoods or to a site like Wayfair. The best part” They’re plastic, so you don't have to fear a broken glass situation.

Spring for the good towels

If the towels at the hotel you’re staying in are old and hole-y, it might be time to find a new hotel! Same goes for your towels at home. Plush, oversized towels can make the experience of swimming or lounging so much more enjoyable.

Light it up

Good lighting is key both indoors and out, and that simple patio light probably isn’t cutting it. Why not string some twinkle lights over your dining table or across the fence? Accentuate an outdoor living room with mood lighting on a tabletop or opt for something wall-mounted. And don’t forget the task lighting for outdoor kitchens!

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Who's Buying Houses and What Are They Looking For?

When it comes to new home design, are current floorplans and features meeting or anticipating buyers' needs? A recent survey of future homebuyers - those who intend to purchase within 10 years - from Florida, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia builder Ashton Woods produced some interesting responses that could influence how new home builders approach home design and how buyers respond to them.

While we can review the survey results with a liberal grain of salt, knowing that different buyer segments in different areas may have varying wants and needs - and also knowing that what people say they want prior to buying, and what they end up choosing when factors including budget and practicality are woven in at the time of purchase - the Ashton Woods survey is still useful in examining what may be shifting buyer preferences.

Here are some of the, perhaps surprising, results of the survey.

Buyers are over white kitchens. Or, at least, they don't top their must-have list. "All-white kitchens are now second choice," said the Washington Post. "The survey found an overwhelming majority of buyers prefer natural wood cabinets for their kitchen, pushing white cabinets to second place followed by distressed wood cabinets."

Buyers would trade bedroom space for more living space. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed had this preference!

Bye bye, bonus rooms. Buyers still want bonus space, but they want it to match their lifestyle pursuits, and they're willing to pay for it. Think hobby rooms personalized for yoga, crafting, or wine tasting. "76 percent of the homeowners surveyed said they would spend extra to incorporate a hobby room in their next house," said the Washington Post.

Home offices remain a priority across all age groups. Almost 70 percent of those surveyed want a designated space, not just wireless capabilities that allow them to work on the couch or at the kitchen table.

Additionally, "Personalization is a priority. When choosing a builder, 75 percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to select a builder that offers design options, and 67 percent said they are willing to pay more for those options," said Professional Builder.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

4 Steps For Finding The Perfect Home

Moving is one of the most stressful things that you will need to do. It puts pressure on you, your spouse, and your children as you all try to find something that fits with each person’s expectations. You also have to consider the location of the new home, the size of the home, the size of the outdoor area, and the quality of the neighborhood. With all of these things that you need to consider, sometimes finding a house can seem like it’s impossible. The good news is that if you focus on these 4 main things, finding your home will be a whole lot easier.

1. Define Your “Perfect” Home

Get every in your family together and talk about what your perfect home would be. Your kids might want to have a big backyard and you want it to be close to your children’s school. If there’s a room size that you’re looking for, make sure that you write that down as well. You want your list to cover everything that you need. It’s also important to figure out what you need and what you want. For example, if your kids are big swimmers you might want to look at houses that have custom pools. However, this might not be something that you need in the house since a pool can be an easy addition to afterward. You need to realize which things can be compromised and which things cannot. Then, once you’ve defined what your perfect home is, give the list of needed things to your real estate agent and they’ll be able to locate houses that fit the criteria much easier.

2. Stay in the Budget

You might find a home that fits everything that you want, but it’s out of the budget. Now, you have a choice. You can abandon the budget and get the house, or find something that sticks within the price range. This piece of advice comes from years of experience--always choose to stick with the budget. You will only regret spending more than you were planning on spending and it will create financial stress in your future. It might take longer, but you need to find something that actually works with the money that you’ve set aside for buying a house. If you do, you will be a happier family with less financial stress on your shoulders.

3. Think About Remodeling

Remodeling is always an option. Let’s say that you find a house that is perfectly in your budget (maybe even a little cheaper) but it has one fewer room or the layout of the house isn’t what you were hoping for. Don’t just pass up the house. You might want to factor in the cost of remodeling the house and if that’s still in your budget, this might just be your dream house after all. It’s perfectly fine to remodel aspects of your home right after you buy it. Again, just make sure that remodeling isn’t going to push you outside of your budget.

4. Picture Your Family in the Home

Your family is the reason why you’re moving. Maybe your old home was getting too small for a family that’s always growing. Or, maybe you’re moving to a location that has better schools for your children. Sometimes, people move because they were offered a better job that will help them to better care for their family. Most of the time, the move is fueled by the desire to have a better location for the family. Because of that, the family should be at the heart of the home. Can you image your family happily living in the home? If no, then you should keep looking. If yes, then this might be the home for you.

Just make sure that your family is happy with the choice. Encourage your children to be apart of the move as well so that they know that their voices are valued in these big decisions.

 Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Tips For Turning Your Basement Into A Living Space

A basement is often a very special space. This is where people get away from the rest of the home. It can be your teen's bedroom, or the bedroom you keep for guests. It can be the perfect man cave, or the space you use for a party. Basements are extra spaces. If you're thinking about ways you can improve your basement, there are many little things that will make a big difference. This is the ideal part of your home to give a little extra thought and let your imagination run wild. Best of all, you can make your basement a room of many purposes so you'll always have the exact space you need.

Lighting is a Must

Basements can be dank spaces with little light. Lighting is essential. This will help prevent accidents and make the basement much safer. There are lots of ways to bring lighting to your basement. Basement window wells bring in natural light and air. Other parts of the basement benefit from artificial lighting of all kinds. Begin with any stairs to the basement. Stairs should have enough lighting so everyone can see where they're going even late at night. Overhead lights are a good choice as they can illuminate all parts of the basement. Set up a cozy corner in one part of the space with scattered uplights.

Storage Considerations

Many homeowners choose to use the basement for additional storage. Make this task easier with the right kind of storage. For example, consider lots of built-in storage. Use the staircase to put in extra shelving. Storage space can also be carved out of other spaces in the basement. Using awkward spaces such as little corners allows every single space to be used efficiently. Add in other options. A hanger with hooks for clothing and cubicles next to the door are good choices that help you stay organized.

Dress up Plain Drywall

The basement drywall can feel drab and unappealing. It can be hard to clean and get dinghy over time. Make the basement more appealing by redoing the walls. Wainscot paneling is a great way to add detail. Use them to help define the space better. Paint the bottom of the panels white to bring in more color. You can also consider adding a contrasting color such as vivid red or deep blue to help show off the panel's fine details. This is also a good space to use your favorite fabrics. If you have a collection of scarves from your travels abroad, hang them across the walls. They'll add color and pattern. Create a man cave feel in this part of your home with dark green walls and lots of pictures of your favorite sports teams everywhere.

The Flooring

Your basement floors need to be thought about carefully. You want flooring that can take a beating and still look good. This is a good place for options that are soft underfoot and easy to clean. Rubber tiles offer lots of give for a basement you're using as a family room. Tile is durable and stands up to potential water damage easily without staining. Tiles that look like wood offer a warm welcome and yet are also easy to clean and will take on water without a problem in the event the basement floods. You can layer on the texture and warmth with lots of different kinds of rugs. Place several in varied areas. This helps define each space and provide softness underfoot when you want to take off your shoes and snuggle up with your family as you all watch your favorite shows.

Extra space in any home is incredibly useful. The basement offers the space you'll need to hold a party, welcome guests or just stretch out on a cold winter day. Making your basement more livable is easier than ever. Lighting, storage, and flooring help bring it to life.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Kitchen Design Trends Stolen From Restaurant Kitchens!

Not all kitchen design trends stand the test of time, but a restaurant kitchen is meant to be as functional as possible for as long as possible. Taking a few details and cues from restaurant kitchens can help you to create a residential kitchen renovation plan that you’re sure to love for years to come!

If you’re planning a residential kitchen remodel, you might take some time to check out commercial kitchens and how they’re planned and designed before you decide on your own kitchen renovation details. To help you along, the kitchen design and remodeling experts at San Diego Kitchen Renovation Pros have shared ten of the hottest details stolen from restuarant kitchens that are favorites with their remodeling clients. Be sure to work at least a few of these into your upcoming kitchen remodeling plans as well!

1. Forget the Island in Your New Kitchen Design!

A kitchen island allows for lots of prep space and storage but a solid island can also make even a large space seem cramped and crowded. A work table in place of the kitchen island still provides plenty of room to work as well as shelving underneath for storing what you need at your fingertips, but those open shelves also keep the kitchen more spacious.

If you’re planning a small kitchen makeover, consider a work table in place of an otherwise oversize island. A metal work table is also an excellent choice in monochrome kitchens or those with lots of wood cabinets, to add some visual appeal and break up the look of all that wood.

2. Add a Stainless Steel Backsplash

Stainless steel doesn’t absorb germs and microbes and is also very fire-resistant, which is why it’s long been a popular material for appliances. Its density and durability is also why commercial kitchens often include a stainless steel backsplash! Why not consider the same in your upcoming kitchen renovation plans, for a surface that’s easy to clean and that coordinates with any kitchen style?

3. Hang Utensil Rods

Rarely do restaurant kitchens keep utensils in drawers, as this is a surefire way to create a cluttered, jumbled mess! Even if your residential kitchen remodeling plans include drawers with sorters and separators, it’s still an excellent idea to utilize utensil rods from which you can hang hooks and then all your utensils. A utensil rod or two will keep all your kitchen tools organized, in plain sight, and close at hand.

4. Install a Magnetic Knife Strip

Along with utensil rods, many commercial kitchens include magnetic strips along walls for holding chef’s knives. Attaching a knife blade to a magnetic strip on the wall reduces the risk of cutting yourself while rooting around in a drawer for a knife, and also allows you to easily see each knife blade type and size. A magnetic knife strip also opens up space in the drawers and reduces the need for a bulky knife block on the countertop.

5. Use Wire Shelving in Your Kitchen Design

If your kitchen pantry has standard painted wood shelves, it’s time to get rid of them in favor of wire shelving! Wire shelves allow for air circulation around your stored foodstuffs, reducing damaging heat and humidity, and don’t need cleaning as often as standard wood shelves. Open wire shelves also allow you to see items stacked in the back of the shelves easily, making them an excellent option for your residential kitchen remodel!

6. Add Lighting Over the Prep Space

Your residential kitchen remodeling plans should include beautiful overhead lighting, to enhance the look of your new space and give it an upscale style and appeal. However, in commercial restaurants, pendant lights are often placed over specific prep spaces, to ensure a chef can read cookbooks and food orders and see what they’re cooking! Talk to your kitchen renovation contractor about adding pendant lights or spotlights over your new work table or directly over the cooktop, for added ambience and increased functionality in the kitchen.

7. Make Room for a Rolling Prep Cart

Rolling bar carts are popular accessories to add to a dining space, but many commercial kitchens feature rolling prep carts in the kitchen as well. A rolling prep cart allows you to easily move your food ingredients, bulky containers, and other items from one part of the kitchen to the other, without having to carry hot dishes and without the risk of dropping anything. If your upcoming kitchen renovation doesn’t include a center island or work table, be sure to ask your kitchen remodel contractor about a coordinating rolling prep cart for the space.

8. Install an Open Shelf Over the Stovetop

Many commercial kitchens feature an open shelf or two over the stovetop, for holding pots and pans, spices, timers, and even a recipe or prep instructions if needed! Consider asking your kitchen contractor about an open shelf over your new stovetop, for added convenience and to break up the look of a long, large wall behind the stove.

9. Use Chalkboard Paint in Your Residential Kitchen Remodel

Restaurant cooks and other staff need to be informed of so much ever-changing information that they often rely on a chalkboard wall, on which they might note the day’s specials, if certain supplies are low, and so on. Keep yourself and your family organized with the same! A residential kitchen renovation might include a full wall of chalkboard paint, to keep track of grocery lists and daily schedules or to give children something to do while food is being cooked.

10. Add a Compact Dishwasher

A commercial chef or line cooks often cannot wait for all the dishes in the restaurant to be washed before they need to use a certain knife or cookware. Restaurants also tend to use up all their glassware very quickly, so many commercial kitchens feature small, compact dishwashers near the cooking area, for a quick clean of items needed in a hurry. Your residential kitchen design might also feature such an appliance, for washing small loads or for quickly rinsing and cleaning items such as drinking glasses.

Stephen Jones is the owner of a remodeling company in San Diego, California. He knows design and stays on top of all the latest kitchen trends so that when he offers any advice to his clients, he can bring their vision to life while increasing the value of their home.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

How To Survive A Summer Renovation Project

The longer days and warmer temperatures associated with the summer makes it the perfect time to complete home renovation projects. However, completing these projects in the summer, when children and other family members are more likely to be home, presents a unique set of complications.

The following tips will help you and your family survive a summer renovation project.

Decide What You Will Keep:

Before the start of a renovation project, take a close look at the belongings in the area that will be renovated. Decide which of these belongings you and your family would like to keep. Indecision on these matters can cause delays with your project. Anything you do not intend to use in the new place should be discarded or donated.

Find A New Parking Space:

The contractor working in your home will need to come and go throughout the day. Your contractor will need to bring workers and materials to your home. You should make sure contractors and workers have easy access to your home. It may be necessary for you to park further away from your home so your contractor can have access to your home.

Protect Adjoining Rooms:

Your remodeling project may affect rooms other than the room where the work is being completed. For instance, repair work and drilling in one room can cause items in adjoining rooms to become dislodged and suffer damage. You should declutter these adjoining rooms and place fragile items in a location they will be safe.

Provide Alternative Entryways:

You should provide one point of entry to your home for your family and another for workers. You should make sure the entryway used for workers is free of toys, bicycles, and other things that will block the pathway of workers. Make sure the path available to workers provides them with access to the main electrical panel and shut-off valve for the water.

Remember To Enjoy The Summer:

There will be times during the remodeling project that the best thing for you and your family to do is leave the home. The noise of repair work and the odors created by things like paint and floor finish will at times seem unbearable.

This would be a great time to enjoy the many great places to visit in your city or a nearby town. However, don't let home rennovations get you down this summer. Home renovators can visit the beaches of California and learn to surf, stay at hotels in Utah to visit the national parks, or see the hustle and bustle of Times Square in New York.

Minimize Dust Spread:

There is a risk of dust spread throughout your home during a home renovation project. Your contractor will try to contain dust in the area where he or she is working but this will not always be possible. There are a number of ways you can help with this goal:

• Keep interior doors closed.

• Seal doors with painting tape or plastic sheeting.

• Protect stairs with runners or plastic sheeting.

• Replace HVAC filters both during and after the renovation project.

Protect Kids And Pets:

Children are naturally curious and will be drawn to the site of the renovation project. Do not allow them in an area where work is being done. They should also not be allowed in a room where a renovation project is underway during non-work hours without supervision. The noise and new faces in your home will also cause your pets to become excited. They will also need to be kept away from the worksite.

Many families choose the summertime to schedule home renovation projects. While there are definite advantages to completing renovation projects during the summer months, there are also a few reasons for concern. The seven tips mentioned above will make a summer renovation project more manageable for your family.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Garage Organization: A Chore No More In 5 Easy Steps

When Spring rolls around, you may find what was once a home for your cars has now become a landfill for everything you own but don't use. It's important to define different spaces of your house, and the garage is no exception: it's just as functional as any other part of the home. However, it's meant to store your car and tools, not your Christmas tree. Therefore, it's best to solve the problem once and for all with a little garage organization that'll help keep things nice and tidy for the future. Follow our 5 easy steps to get the job done quickly and painlessly and enjoy your garage once again.

1. Plan of Attack

Don't enter alone. And use the buddy system—if for no other reason than you may get overwhelmed and lost in your own sea of debris. Friends, family, and the kids can all lend a hand to get the job done quicker and to help keep you on track: it's easy to get distracted rooting through the objects of your past.

The first goal of any garage organization is to create more floor space, so that's where you should begin as well. Get all the knick-knacks, the holiday decorations, and any other indoor-related storage out of there and into the attic. This area is for outdoor items only. Always keep this objective in mind: it'll help you decide what stays and what goes.

2. Divide and Conquer

Give each helper a section to cover. This should help the garage organization run smoother. And don't be clingy. If you haven't used something in over a year, or if you forgot it even existed, it's time to say goodbye. Give your stuff to charities, thrift stores, or maybe even make a trip to the dump. Or, better yet, make a separate pile for a future garage sale, allowing you to reap all the awards of your excavation. (However, don't procrastinate on this chore either. It's easy to say you'll have a garage sale and not follow through so as to keep putting off the inevitable.) Then, divide up the remaining possessions into categories—sports items, seasonal décor, gardening tools, car maintenance, etc.—to help with the next step.

3. Get Vertical

Once everything is cleaned and categorized, now it's time to rearrange. The best way to store your things is to make use of your vertical space.

  • Get a pegboard for your tools.

  • Put up some shelves for boxes.

  • Heavy-duty hooks are great for shovels and rakes.

  • Buy a magnetic strip for stray metal items, such as steel rulers or chisels.

If you have bikes, skis, or ladders, put them overhead in the rafters (or if you have a drywall ceiling, once again, heavy-duty hooks are great for hanging these heavy-duty items).

Remember that a garage is mainly used to store or work on your car or other vehicles so make sure you clear enough space to make this possible. Garage car lifts provide a great way for you to store a vehicle whilst still giving you floor space to move around in. You can get 2 post lifts which make it easy to work on your car and 4 post lifts which allow you to store 2 vehicles in one space.

4. Compartmentalize

Once you have as much as you can off the floor, it's now time to find additional storage. The easiest answer to this dilemma is a garage organizer.

  • A multiple tier shelving unit is great for storing paint or varnishes.

  • A cabinetry system for miscellaneous items is always handy.

  • Maybe buy several Rubbermaid baskets to hang on the wall to help separate the recycling.

  • Buy a crank to roll up that hose.

  • Use garbage ties or bungee cords to keep your extension cords in line.

Whatever the need, investing in some form of garage organizer helps to maintain the floor space you've just created.

5. Items Big and Small Don't forget the little things.

If you save glass baby-food jars, clear film canisters, or milk cartons (to be cut in half), you'll now be able to store smaller items, such as nails, screws, or tacks. If these small containers aren't see through, they can also be easily labeled with masking tape. Another alternative garage organizer is an inexpensive tackle box to help contain the confusion. But what if it's your bigger items that are getting in the way? What if it's the necessary tools, such as snow blowers, lawn mowers, or edgers creating the clutter? Then consider building an extra shed in the backyard or a lean-to against the outside of the garage in order to produce additional square footage.

Don’t Let It Happen Again

The main thing to keep in mind is never let it get to this point again. If you take these steps, you should be able to keep up with your garage organization in the future. This is not to say that you won't have some occasional maintenance—some sweeping, scrubbing, or washing. But by simply taking the time to arrange the space, at least you'll no longer dread entering into it.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

10 Reasons Why Your Home Isn't Selling

The waiting game isn’t a fun a game to play - especially when it comes to selling your home. You’ve put your house up on the market. Yet, you haven’t had one single offer. So, what’s going on? There are a variety of reasons why your home isn’t selling. Forewarning: You might need to make a few adjustments.

Here are the top 10 reasons why your home isn’t selling (and don’t worry, most of them are fixable!).

1. You Lack Marketing

“If we build it, they will come.” This doesn’t prove true for many new (and sometimes, useful!) products. And same goes for when you put your home up for sale. Just putting it up on the market isn’t enough. You need to post your listing in as many places as possible. Most of these places are online. Online is the first place potential buyers check out.

Real estate agents can also be great resources for this. If you haven’t hire one, think about it. If you have, make sure they are doing their job. Ask questions regarding where your house is listed. And if they aren’t doing a good job, it might prove best to switch agents - Find someone that knows what they are doing and has ample experience.

2. Your House is Priced Too High

This is a common mistake. Too high of a price won’t exactly woe any buyers. It can deter people from even viewing your home - It’s not in their budget. And it may be obvious that the home isn’t worth the price tag. You should do your market research before determining a price for your home. Compare your home to others currently on the market. Again, a real estate agent can help you out with this!

3. Your Home is In Serious Need of Repairs

A lot of people don’t want to buy a home that needs work. It isn’t ideal. So, what can you do? You could have someone come in and do a pre-listing inspection. From there, fix the problems. It will help you sell your house faster.

4. Your Home Isn’t Prepared For Showings

That first impression matters! If you haven’t done it yet, get an expert to set up or make suggestions to switch things up so your house shows better. You might have to move furniture around. But it is entirely worth it.

Other ways to make your house show worthy? Make sure it is tidy and clean. If you have pets, clean up after them. Pay attention to the temperature. If it’s winter, make sure it feels warm and inviting. If it’s summer, make sure you have the A/C on and working.

5. Your Location is Anything But Ideal

This is a tough one to fix. If the location isn’t exactly sought-after, be prepared to play the waiting game. It might just take more time to find that perfect buyer.

6. It Smells

We get used to the smell of our own home. And unfortunately, it can be hard to detect. Some of the most common odors that throw buyers off include cigarettes, pets, food, and moisture. Do a smell test. Have a friend or neighbour come by to make sure you are good to go.

7. Bad Timing

In real estate, there is a good time to sell and a bad time to sell. If the market isn’t looking good to sell, it may be best to wait (and there are tons of reasons that this may be the case). Do your research. Ask your local real estate agent. Find the right time for your area and location.

8. The Local Market is Working Against You

It’s not just timing you have to worry about. Are a lot of people selling around you? Is it a buyers market in your area? That might be why your home isn’t selling. Again, your real estate agent should be able to point you in the right direction for this one. The time of year plus the number of houses on sale play a huge role in whether your house sells or not.

9. You Hired The Wrong Real Estate Agent

This can be a major problem. You want someone with experience, who is reliable, and knows the market. Make sure you take your time choosing your real estate agent. It’s okay to meet with a few before selecting yours.

10. You Aren’t Flexible

You stand your ground on your asking price. But everyone is putting in offers that are lower. You don’t bother with repairs even though it’s the main reason your home inspection fell through. These could potentially be reasons why your home isn’t selling. Get those repairs done. Be flexible and realistic when it comes to pricing and offers. Or else yes, it will take a lot more time for your house to sell.

Go through the above reasons and be honest with yourself. Determine why your home isn’t selling - then, find ways to fix the problem. Or at least come to terms with it. Don’t make selling your home more of a hassle or process than it has to be.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

Why Social Media Should Be Your Best Friend When House Hunting

Social media can get a bad rap, but when it comes to buying a home, it can be useful in some unexpected ways. If you’re in the market, consider how sites like Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you make the best decision.

Get to know your neighbors

You can learn a lot by spending time in the neighborhood where you are considering buying a home. But if you can get access to the neighborhood Nextdoor, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at who lives there.

Keep in mind that every area’s Nextdoor is filled with the requisite wild animal sightings, landscaping gripes, and grumps who want everyone to slow down while driving and wait until after 10am to mow the lawn on Saturdays. But if there’s something that stands out as a red flag, you might want to do a little more research into the place you’re looking to call home.

To know what happened in your house

Is it invasive to read through the timeline of sellers on Facebook or look through their Instagram feed? If they don’t have their social media pages set to private, you might be able to get some background on the house. Maybe they posted pictures of before-and-after renovations. Maybe the house had a flood or fire or some other issue that they haven’t disclosed. Maybe those countertops that you thought were real marble are really a $90 DIY paint-over-laminate situation. The more information you can gather about the house and its condition and its history, the more confident you may feel making an offer, or walking away.

To keep up with mortgage rates

Mortgage rates have been all over the place this year, rising one week and taking a surprising dip the next. Following a site like Bankrate or Nerdwallet on Facebook or Twitter can ensure that you know what’s happening, so you can save money wherever possible when buying a home.

To learn more about real estate in your neighborhood

Nextdoor is also a great place to learn about rentals and homes for sale that may not be on the MLS. Both can potentially affect your decision to purchase a home there.

Homebuyers are going to look at Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia—it’s inevitable. But do so with an understanding of what you’re looking at. You can review actual home sales to compare prices in different areas. But trusting estimates on these sites that are typically many thousands of dollars off and not reflective of actual, current sales can be dangerous. It’s best to trust the comparative analysis your real estate agent provides to you.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

June is here!

June is here!

We’ve pushed through the April showers and stopped to sniff all those May flowers—and now summer is officially underway!  With school wrapping up for the year and vacations on the horizon, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals of buying or selling your home this summer.  But this time of the year is one of the best to realize your homeownership goals.  Don’t let this hot, hot, hot market pass you by with the hot, hot, hot temperatures! 

Home sales in April fell a whopping 6.9% this year.  When compared to the forecasted 2.7% fall, this might make sellers feel like their stomachs are dropping with those statistics.  But don’t let that get you down!  With trends like these, it’s never been more important to work with a realtor versus entering the market alone.  With my know-how and a little extra elbow-grease, we can work together to sell your home.  But this is good news for buyers.  For months we have been seeing a sellers’ market.  Buyers will soon see some relief in a competitive environment, and may be able to bargain a lower price than this time last year. 

Before you break out the grill and start down your sunny summer to-do list, give me a call today!  Summer passes by before you know it, and it’ll be fall as soon as you can blink.  Celebrate this warm month by moving down the path to buying or selling your home.

Your Spring Cleaning Checklist for a Summer Ready Home

Whether spring-cleaning is an ongoing ritual for you or a once-in-a-blue-moon struggle, the spring months are an ideal time for a home scrub down. From the standard deep clean to the budget review, make sure these seven tasks are on your spring-cleaning checklist for a summer-ready home.

1. Embark on a Deep Clean

It wouldn’t be a true spring-cleaning without a full house sweep. From dusting the fans to scrubbing the oven, deep clean your home at least once a year. Make this easier to manage by creating a checklist for each room. Which rooms need the carpets vacuumed and scrubbed or the floors mopped? Are there blinds and fans that need dusting or mirrors and windows that need washing? Along with cleaning, clear out closets, cabinets, and pantries. Toss expired food and anything broken, and donate gently used furniture and clothing you no longer need.

2. Dust Off the Air Conditioner

After months of hibernation, inspect your air conditioner to make sure it’s working efficiently. Run the unit and listen for strange sounds like squeals or rattling, which may indicate a part is wearing out. Test its efficiency by running it ten degrees below the outside temperature for ten minutes. Then place a refrigerator thermometer inside one of the air conditioning air ducts, as well as in the return air duct, to check the temperature. Lastly, look at the air filter and clean or replace it if it’s clogged.

3. Feed Your Greenery

With spring comes new growth, and with summer, rising temperatures. Make sure your yard is ready for the changes. Fertilize the lawn for a boost of nutrients and use a turf builder to fill in any barren patches of grass. Make sure to use a metal rake to first dethatch any dead grass and clear out twigs, leaves, and dead branches. If weeds start rearing their ugly heads, using a weed killer during a string of dry days will help it work better. You may need to apply it a few times to clear out more stubborn weeds.

4. Scrub the Grill

Your grill and outdoor furniture likely haven’t seen much use these past few months. Give them a thorough scrub down so they’re ready for beautiful sunny days. To clean a BBQ grill, heat it at a high temperature for ten minutes, which will make it easier to scrape off any built-up grease or food residue in the cook box. Just make sure to let the grill cool before cleaning the grates, burners, and drip tray.

5. Reconsider Your Subscriptions

Along with cleaning your home, tidy up your subscriptions. You may find that you aren’t using all of them. Do you really need Hulu and Netflix, or can you cancel one? Are you still reading those magazine subscriptions arriving in your mailbox every month? By adding up the amount you spend each month on recurring subscriptions, you may be surprised to see just how much you spend. Play with your budget to see how you may be able to save by condensing or cutting back on your subscriptions.

6. Review Your Bills

While you’re reconsidering your subscriptions, run through your credit card statements and bills—from utilities to cable services—and make sure you’re being correctly charged. Reviewing your bills also helps you catch any subscriptions or services you forgot you had. This is also a good time to research comparable services and companies, as you can often save by bundling or switching carriers. For example, if you live in a rural area, check your internet plan to see if the speed you’re experiencing matches the plan you pay for. You may find that satellite internet offers higher speeds than your other options outside of cities.

7. Conduct an Energy Audit

With summer comes rising energy costs. Beat the heat money-wise by assessing your home’s energy efficiency. While you can pay for a professional assessment, you can easily perform your own DIY home energy audit. Start by assessing major energy drainers, including air leaks from gaps along the edge of flooring, windows, or doors. Next, check ventilation near appliances and insulation in your walls and ceiling. You can make several small fixes too, like swapping inefficient light bulbs with LEDs and installing a smart thermostat.

Now is the season to get your home ready for summer so you can relax and enjoy the sun and warm weather. Tackle these tasks all at once or spread them out over the next few weeks. Either way, your future self will thank you when you can fire up the grill and kick on the AC.

Copyright © 2019 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.