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Summer is here! For families, it’s the most popular time to move to a new home because school is out. If there is any comfort in togetherness, a lot of us move in the summer. Don’t feel alone, we’re here to guide you! 


It’s no secret, no one likes to move and that includes your kids. Moving is one of the most stressful times in life, and it brings lots of change. For your kids, it means making new friends, and maybe, adjusting to a new school. If you have a little mover in tow, moving your home certainly adds to the baby adventures!


Here’s the good news, if you plan ahead and take simple steps, the trek through the moving process will become a walk in the park (well, maybe not, but it can be a manageable stroll up hill.) Way before you break out those cardboard boxes, use these pointers to help your kids, toddlers, and babies get through the moving process.


Here are four steps to a successful move with a young family. It’s all about: timing, transition, getting the kids involved, and an adjustment period.


Timing:


1. First, consider the timing of your move, this is probably the most important element:


  • What grades are your children in? If your eldest is about to be a senior in high school, it may be best to let them live with a trusted relative to finish up high school with their friends. If your youngest is about to start school or enter high school, this is an ideal time to move since they will be entering a new school either way. Is school on a break? Much better to time a move with kids when school’s out.
  • Babies and kids love and need their routine. Don’t let the moving to-do list and packing get in the way of your regular daily routine. Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time. Use naptime and baby’s early bedtime to get packing done in bits. Baby & parents need their sleep!

Transition:


2. Second, make the transition into the new home as easy as possible for your kids and little ones. Try these tips to make the transition a smooth one:


  • Make the new home the kids’ own. Allow them to walk through the new house before the move. Let them feel that they are part of the decision. Allow them (as much as possible) to choose their own bedroom, paint colors (“Here, let’s pick the paint color for your new room: which do you choose between these two.”), and play the imagination game with them: “Let’s imagine what this room will be like when it’s yours? Where will your stuffed animals go? Where will the bed go?” etc.
  • In the old house, talk about how their favorite toys, games, etc. are going to be in the new house too. This is not the time to clean out the closet and discard unwanted clothes and toys. You don’t want your kids associating loss with the move. If you need to de-clutter your kid’s room, do that way before the subject of the move comes up. De-cluttering is an excellent pre-move activity and really doesn’t have to involve the word “moving” at all.
  • TALK and LISTEN to your kids. Ask them what they are excited about and what things they are going to miss. Address their concerns: “What are we going to do about that? How about…”
  • During the actual moving day, when boxes and furniture are being moved, little ones should be somewhere else. Ask a trusted babysitter, friend or family member to take your kids and bundle of joy for the day. It is also ideal to use childcare for days leading up to your move so you can get more done on your moving calendar.
  • Stay connected to friends, neighbors and family back home. Arrange facetime appointments with the children’s friends before you move to the new home, it will help make the transition easier when they know they can keep in touch with their old friends. And, set up a play date for the old friends to come over for a sleep over.

Involve Your Kids:


3. There is no easier way to keep kids happy than giving them a feeling of control – get them involved!


  • Have them arrange their own room. Draw out a floor plan of the rooms in the new house and let the children make paper doll furniture and arrange what they want in their room.
  • Encourage your kids to pack themselves so they are involved in the moving process. They can have their own boxes and suitcases that they are responsible for. Give them color codes or fun stickers to stick on their boxes that belong in their room. You can oversee this. But, give them one box to pack freely with the stuff they want, it will be the first box they open in their new room.
  • Give each child a backpack to fill with overnight items so you don’t have to dig through boxes. Include their toothbrush, pjs, stuffed animal, favorite bedtime story, remember to put the children’s medications in mommy’s purse or backpack for safe keeping.
  • Pack a baby bag with all of your needs for three days. If you’re moving a long distance, you may want at least one month of supplies with you rather than on the moving truck. Once you move into your new place, you may not have easy access to diapers, baby food, pacifiers, and the all important security blanket, you’ll be happy that you know just where to look for those items.

Adjustment:


4. Last, is the adjustment to the new home and neighborhood. It’s an extremely important phase of a move; it sets the stage for your new life in your new home. Here are suggestions to make the adjustment period a great one:


  • When moving in, set up the nursery first. This will allow you to easily change your baby’s clothes and diapers. You’ll have a nice space for that first bedtime story when you put them to sleep on the first night in your new home. Arrange the nursery as closely as possible to your previous nursery. The familiarity will help you and your baby in the transition.
  • Host a party in your new neighborhood and invite children of the same age as your own kid(s) over so that they can make new friends. It’s as easy as a pool party, pizza party, or cookout. Try to host the party in the first weeks of being in your new home.
  • Take them for a drive by their new school, the local ice cream place, playground, if they have a hobby such as dancing, show them that there is a dance studio here too, so they can see their new neighborhood has all the same things as the old.
  • Set up a tour of the new school and to meet their new teacher before school starts.
  • If you move in the beginning of the summer, sign them up for camp or other local activities where they can meet new kids before school starts. It also keeps them out of the house so you can continue the unpacking!

By taking these four points into consideration, your next chapter in your new home will start out with ease – giving every member of your family time to make the new house home.



Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters



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Don’t you hate it when the grass is greener at your next door neighbor’s place? This summer you could have the lawn that turns everyone’s eyes green with envy and admiration, but you’ve got to get on it right now! Follow these tips to manifest the lawn of your life.

1. Inspect

Inspect your lawn and note any spots that need special attention. If you notice brown patches, you need to act quickly to identify the disease so you can treat it. If the entire lawn is somewhat flattened from winter weather, call in an aeration service. Those little holes in the lawn will last just long enough to loosen up the soil and allow better water and nutrient absorption.

2. Rake

Rake any dead spots and reseed using a variety of grass seed to match the rest of your lawn. For larger areas that may have been damaged by snow plows, for example, you can remove entire sections and replace with sod. If you notice areas where there has been a lot of soil erosion, mulch beds are a good way to shore up future runoffs.

3. Fertilize

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to feed the grass over weeks. Pick a day that’s not windy and check to make sure there’s no rain in the immediate forecast to keep the fertilizer where you want it. Dispose of any leftover fertilizer appropriately, as you would household chemicals like paint.

4. Water

Make sure to water deeply, not daily. Deep watering will encourage a healthy root system. Whether you drag the hose out in the morning or have an automatic sprinkler system, set a watering schedule. Your lawn needs an inch to an inch and a half of water a week.

5. Lawnmower Maintenance

Keep mower blades sharp and balanced for clean cuts, and change the pattern every time you mow so grass blades will stand up straight. Remember to let your grass clippings fall where they may, and remain there. “Grasscycling” returns nutrients to the soil, allowing them to fertilize the lawn.


Proper lawn care prevents the most common lawn problems from getting out of control. Keeping the grass at the right length will help keep it healthy and keep weeds at bay.

6. Rake & Weed

When autumn arrives, and the leaves begin to fall, don’t wait for large amounts to pile up. Remove leaves often, so they don’t get a chance to become wet and sticky. Blankets of wet leaves can create a fungal problem that will plague your lawn long after the last snow falls.


Set yourself up for another lovely lawn the following spring and summer by doing some weed control now, and an application of fertilizer for nutrients to feed your grass throughout the cold season.


Keep in mind, if you plan to sell your home, having a nice lawn is crucial. But the homes that show the best have more than just end-to-end grass.  The right shade trees will also protect your lawn and keep your house cooler this summer.


Notice summer lawn care doesn’t just cover June through September. By preparing your lawn well in advance of the summer heat, you’ll have a yard that will withstand the stress of summer and thrive through the fall.



Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Buying a home is both exciting and stressful. Consider these tips about how to spot potential issues when viewing homes with your real estate agent.


Buying a home is both exciting and stressful. After all, you want to find a place that suits your living needs and is in great condition. One of the biggest concerns is that the property you purchase is structurally sound, and this often starts with the foundation. Consider these tips about how to spot potential issues when viewing homes with your real estate agent.


Watch for these warning signs
When touring homes, keep an eye out for the following signs of foundation problems. Pay extra attention if you’re looking at homes built more than a decade ago or in an area with clay soil, which is notorious for damaging foundations.


What to look for on the outside:
• Horizontal cracks in the foundation itself
• Stair-step cracking in exterior bricks
• A chimney that leans away from the house
• Gaps above windows and doors or around the garage door
• Sunken porches or stairs


What to look for on the inside:
• Cracks in the drywall
• Misaligned windows or doors that are hard to open and close
• Sloping floors or cracked tiles
• Cracks in the ceiling
• Any separation between walls and the ceiling
• Moisture in crawl spaces or the basement


What should I do if I see these warning signs?
Many buyers run for the hills when they think a home’s foundation isn’t structurally sound, but you don’t need to immediately rule out a house if you believe it has foundation problems. Take a deep breath and investigate the issues—the more you know, the better decisions you can make. Keep in mind that some situations will only require minor repairs, while others can be quite complex.


Start here to weigh the pros and cons:
• Ask the seller if they’ve had foundation repair work or an inspection done. In most cases, sellers are required by law to disclose foundation issues.
• Research the potential cost of repairs to help you determine a fair price. A wealth of information is available online—search for “foundation repair cost” to get an overview of what to expect.
• Find out if the issues will affect your financing. Often, houses with unresolved foundation problems can only be purchased with cash or a special type of mortgage.


What if a home I’d like to buy has had the foundation repaired?
Many buyers would look at this as a positive, especially if the repairs were done by a reputable contractor who offers a warranty. The best foundation repair companies offer a lifetime warranty that is transferable when the home sells. Just be sure that all the proper permits were pulled at the time of the repair and that there hasn’t been any trouble since. If the foundation has been stabilized, any remaining cosmetic issues can be resolved easily and quickly.


What if I’d like to make an offer but don’t want to end up with a nightmare on my hands?
Make sure your offer is written up with contingencies that protect you if things turn out differently than expected. A contingency will make your offer dependent on specific conditions, such as inspections or repairs. Discuss your options with your real estate agent.


Should I ask the seller to fix the foundation as part of the sale?
You can ask the seller to make the repairs, but it’s common for them to reduce the price of the home and sell it “as is.” If you aren’t up for making the repairs yourself, you may need to look for a different house. Additionally, some buyers worry that if the seller is held responsible, they will choose the most affordable option, not the most thorough one.


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Spring is coming, which means it is almost prime time for gardening. Whether you are a novice gardener or an old pro, there are a few critical actions to take when you set out to design a garden. Read on for six steps for designing your garden–and get started stat!


Step 1: Location, Location, Location


Like so many things in life, with gardens, location is everything. Determine where you want your garden to be. There are a few important considerations to keep in mind. If you want a landscaped garden around your home, you will have to take into account the shadow cast by the house, drainage, and other logistical issues. If you want a vegetable and herb garden, you will need a place that receives full sunlight for most of the day but especially in the morning.


Step 2: Map it Out


These days, drawing out an aerial perspective isn’t difficult. Use some of the tools technology has given us, like Google Earth, to make an aerial image of your property or the specific part of your property where your garden will go. You don’t have to be a skilled artist to do this: you need a printer and some tracing paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect, either. You just want a visual reference of your site.


Step 3: Evaluate Your Options


Walk around your future garden site, make observations, and take notes. Note where the shadows fall during the day, which direction prevailing winds come from, and where water drains during heavy rains. Using your site drawing and some tracing paper (or multiple copies of the drawing), note these conditions on your map where they occur.


Step 4: Scale Your Drawing


This may sound difficult, but it really isn’t. The easiest way to make a scale drawing is to find the edge of a wall, measure it, and then decide on a unit to represent each foot. A good scale for design is ¼ inch to a foot. That would make a fifty-foot length just over twelve inches in your drawing. Again, it does not have to be perfect.


Step 5: Plant Selection


Finally, the fun begins! Make a list of all the plants you want, and if you’re not sure, visit a local gardening center and see what types of plants are available. There are also numerous online gardening guides to ornamental plants, or you can visit a local campus or botanical garden for inspiration. Make sure you select for species that will thrive in your hardiness zone.


Step 6: Planting Plan


Garden designers everywhere love this step: it’s the reward for all your hard work. Using your scale drawing and your notes on site conditions, create a design for planting. Have fun with colors, heights, and textures, but bear in mind which plants can tolerate shade and sun to ensure their success. Draw in your plants to the dimension they will be when mature so you can make sure they aren’t overcrowded.


And voila– you now have a solid design for a successful garden. If these six steps for designing your garden seem like a little too much work, or you aren’t sure how to put them in action, don’t hesitate to ask a landscape professional for help. It may seem like a lot of work, but that work will pay off when your garden is the envy of the neighborhood.


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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What makes a house a home? It’s a hard question to answer, but a large part of it is the years of memories you’ve made in it. Oftentimes that includes the blemishes, flaws and dents on the walls and furniture that serve as lasting impressions of cherished moments and fun times. However, whether you’re selling your home or just making it presentable for guests, there are times you’ll want to camouflage them up.

Create a Gallery Wall

Put your inner art connoisseur to work to blend random light switches or bulky thermostats into your design. Strategically place similarly sized artwork around switch plates, outlet covers and wall gadgets to distract the eye. If you want to cover it entirely, mount a canvas painting over it or hang art from a swing arm so you can reach behind it when necessary.

Hang Long Drapes

Window treatments are generally used for, you guessed it, windows, but they certainly aren’t restricted to other uses. Drape big and breezy curtains above to disguise unsightly wall features or awkward off-center windows. Off-white and cream shades are perfect to use all year round.

Paint the Wall

This is probably one of the most obvious solutions to drywall chips and paint scratches, but here are some guidelines to help you get it right. Stick to one matte color for the walls, ceiling and trim to downplay the lines between and blend them together. Remember, the glossier the paint finish is, the more it will highlight imperfections.


Consider chalkboard paint for a non-glossy texture and an ever-changing wall feature. You can create your own design and erase it as your style evolves or use it to jot down lists and reminders.


Add wallpaper. Use wallpaper to inject personality and fun into any space. Choose from subtle designs to a dramatic mural or anywhere in between. Keep optical illusions in mind when picking patterns. For example, a striped design can make a small space look taller or wider.

Cover it With Clothes

If you have a scratch on your bedroom wall that just won’t go away, play fashionista and move a shop-style clothing rack in front. Showcase some of your most stylish garments or everyday staples on the rack to lighten your closet’s load.

Lay Down a Rug

Roll out a gorgeous area rug over all the nicks and notches on your floor from moving furniture or dropping heavy items. Especially great for renters, rugs come in a variety of styles, colors and price points to fit your personal preferences without committing to a permanent change.

Rethink the Fifth Wall

This is a bit of a heavier project to take on, but perhaps most rewarding for those left with an infamous popcorn ceiling. Upgrade overhead stucco for a beautiful new feature with paint or paneling. Try white beadboard or wood slats for irresistible rustic charm.

Work Around Wall Vents

Air vents are necessary for cooling, heating and any other home circulation systems, but can be quite unattractive. Conceal them with slotted laser-cut screens that add texture and visual interest. In this living room, the revamped air return works double duty as a display shelf.

Choose Your Switches Wisely

Light switches and power outlets are must-haves in every home and there’s often no easy way around them. Wherever possible, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, group your electrical outlets together and shop for new switch plates that complement the existing wall. You can blend them into an existing pattern, as seen here, or make them a fun feature with vibrant colors and textured materials.


Embrace imperfections. After all, they’re what makes your house so special. You can capitalize on the look and help them blend in by investing in distressed furnishings, such as rustic coffee tables or stained wood floors. You won’t have to worry too much about future drops or spills and they instantly add built-in age and character to any space.


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Your kitchen probably saw a lot of action during the holidays. How that splatter of mashed sweet potatoes got on the ceiling is anyone’s guess. But that mess just means it’s time for a deep cleaning. Here we round up a collection of cleaning guides that, if followed, will help you get your countertops, appliances, floors and more shining like new.


Appliances

A good portion of your deep-cleaning efforts should focus on the areas that see the most impact from spills, splatters and the like.


Refrigerator. Few appliances get out of hand as quickly as the fridge. Leftovers, forgotten food, leaky containers — before you know it, you’ll dread opening the refrigerator door to grab some coffee creamer in the morning. Begin by taking all the food out of the fridge and placing it in a cooler. Then remove the shelves and drawers and set them aside. Use a baking soda and water solution to wipe the inside thoroughly. Got stubborn, sticky spots? Try a nonabrasive scrubbing tool or put warm, wet paper towels on top to loosen the spot.


Dishwasher. The dishwasher, like the washing machine, is one of those appliances that many assume is self-cleaning. But that’s not the case. Lime scale, soap scum and food particles cause the machine to work inefficiently.  A clean dishwasher begins with hot water. So check to make sure your hot-water heater is operating at the optimal temperature of about 49 degrees Celsius. Next, empty the filter of food and debris, remove and clean the racks, and wipe the inside with a dry cloth or sponge. Avoid using hand soap or dish detergent, which can damage the machine’s components. Finally, use white vinegar or baking soda to remove hard-water stains.


Microwave. Food splatters are a fact of life when using this appliance. Even if you can live with seeing a mess every time you nuke your food, know that food particles can eventually make your machine run less efficiently. And nobody wants cold food. Prevention is the name of the game here. Cover your food to minimize splatters, and wipe the inside of your microwave daily with a wet sponge or towel before food has a chance to harden. For more stubborn spots, try heating about 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe container on high for two to three minutes. The steam should help loosen the caked-on spots. Next, use white vinegar to wipe out the inside. Also, make vacuuming your microwave’s vents part of your vacuuming routine.


Range and oven. This appliance probably took the brunt of your holiday cooking messes. It’s not the easiest or quickest thing to clean, but as the star of your kitchen, it’s necessary. Remove the burners and trays and soak them in soapy water for 20 minutes, then scrub clean with a sponge. Wipe down the stove-top. For the oven, remove the racks and soak them in sudsy water in your sink, then wipe clean with a sponge. Look to your owner’s manual for the right cleaning method for the oven, but you can begin by vacuuming out the crumbs on the bottom and wiping the inside with a damp sponge. A commercial oven cleaner will be your best bet but there are alternative solutions as well. As a daily preventative measure, try putting parchment paper on the bottom to catch drips and spills and change out as needed.


Stainless steel. Stainless steel appliances continue to be the norm in most kitchens. While its name implies a certain built-in cleanliness, steel surfaces, including countertops, are still prone to rust and stains. Use soft sponges and microfiber cloths to wipe steel surfaces. Avoid steel scouring pads, which can scratch surfaces. For tough spots, use plastic scrubbing pads. For brushed or polished steel surfaces, always wipe and scrub with the grain direction. Use  CLR for any hard-water stains, and diluted vinegar, baking soda, alcoholic solvents and chloride-free glass sprays elsewhere.


Countertops

Spots and stains on countertops are probably the most visible and pressing messes in your kitchen. Each material is different, so do some research before you break out the abrasive cleansers, which could damage your countertop beyond repair.


Marble. Few materials offer the subtle beauty of marble. But it comes with a price, both in terms of cost and maintenance. Etching from lemon juice, alcohol or tomato sauce can wreak havoc on your precious marble surfaces. First, avoid acidic substances coming into contact with your countertop. That includes cleaning products but also vinegar, lemon juice, and bleach. To clean, just use mild soap, water, and a nonabrasive sponge. At least once a month, experts recommend applying a spray sealer to help reduce stains and etching.


Granite. Still the most popular countertop material, granite is relatively easy to keep clean. You can get by with using a soft cloth and warm water, or cleansers made specifically for granite. Every year or two, seal your slab with an impregnating water-based sealer made for granite. You’ll still want to avoid acidic cleaners and citrus when possible. And don’t use steel wool, which can scratch most countertops. Plus, never place a hot pot or pan on a countertop surface. Always use a trivet for protection.


Pantry

It’s hard to feel like you’re operating in a clean kitchen when you know a huge, disorganized mess lurks behind your cabinet doors. Begin by taking everything out and sorting by what you want to keep and what you want to donate. Then wipe down all the shelves and walls to remove stains and any food crumbs. This is a good time to assess what you can do to improve storage and organization. 


Walls

Walls see a fair share of abuse from splatters, scuffs, and dings.  Start including your walls every now and then in your vacuuming routine. This will help keep dust from accumulating and making the walls look drab. For spots, wipe clean with a damp cloth. For tougher areas, try a thick paste of baking soda and water. If all else fails, consider a Magic Eraser.


Floors

A clean floor begins with regular vacuuming. But food stains and scuff marks need a little more attention. Laminate floors need a barely dampened mop and a small amount of gentle cleanser. For tough spots, you’ll want to get on your hands and knees and work on the spot with a scrubber. The same goes for tile floors, but grout lines will give you more trouble. Try this grout-cleaning solution as needed. Hardwood floors are a different beast and will depend on the kind of finish that’s on your wood: polyurethane, shellac, wax or varnish. Follow the link below for tips on determining what finish you have.


Windows

What good is a view if it’s blurred by smudges and dirt? Don’t leave out windows in your cleaning routine. Before you begin, make sure you protect your floors, walls, and countertops from any drips of cleaning solution you’ll be using. A solution of warm water and mild dish soap is a safe bet. Use a sponge to scrub down the windows, getting into the creases and corners. Then use a squeegee and wipe dry with a clean towel.


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters



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Each new year is a time for goal-setting and renewal. If you’re like so many others out there, you may have set your sights on getting organized in 2019—knowing what you have and where it’s located throughout your house, from your bedroom closet to your home office.


It seems like a relatively straightforward task—but if it was that easy, wouldn’t we all be organized all the time? So many of us get stuck before we truly get started and can’t seem to stay organized over time.


If you’re planning to focus on organization in the new year, here are some tips that will set you up for success.


1. Define a Decluttering Process


Whether you’re planning to declutter your entire house over a weekend or focus on just your master bedroom closet, it’s best to determine your process before you start. The best way to start getting organized is to get the full view of what you have by taking everything out of the space, reviewing it and then deciding what stays and what goes. For your closet, you should consider donating items you haven’t worn in a year or two and discarding garments that are stained or can’t be repaired. 


Decluttering your home office is similar—remove all bills, files, equipment and anything else that’s hiding in a drawer and keep what’s necessary and shred, donate or digitize the rest. Creating a repeatable process will not only make the decluttering feel more manageable, it’ll set you up for success.


2. Tackle Clutter Little By Little to Avoid Getting Overwhelmed


Part of the reason many people aren’t able to get and stay organized is because they see it as a big project—but it doesn’t have to be. If a full-house declutter isn’t in the cards for you this week, tackling clutter little by little could be. Creating a checklist that guides you to clean out a different small area each day can help your home feel more organized in just a few weeks.


3. Give Yourself a Deadline


You’ve got a plan to get organized—now it’s up to you to actually do the work. If you’re enlisting the help of a professional organizer or a custom closet company, they’ll work with you to plan when your custom organization system will be installed. Then, you can work backward to figure out when you need to organize your closet, mudroom, pantry or office.


If you’re not working with a custom organization company, you’ve got some more wiggle room. Whatever you do, set a deadline, but be realistic! Create a schedule that includes extra time in case life gets in the way.


4. Avoid Distractions


To help you meet the goal you’ve set, work without being distracted. That might mean scheduling time to organize a particular room in your house or a specific part of your closet, such as your shoes or accessories. When that time comes, put your phone in another room for distraction-free organizing and start decluttering. You’ll be surprised how much you can get done with just a little bit of focused work.


When you’ve finished reviewing your old clothes and sorting them into piles, for example, reward yourself with a short break.


5. Consider Getting Help from the Pros


The best way to stay organized is to have a place for everything—down to the last bangle bracelet, watch, belt and handbag. And sometimes, the best way to do that is to enlist the help of a custom organization company. The Designers there can take a look at everything you need to organize and develop a plan for custom organization solutions that meet your needs—and fit all your stuff. Putting a custom solution in place will make storing your things—and finding them when you need them—a little easier.


Whether you’re moving into a completely new home or just looking to stay organized, following some simple decluttering tips can help you enjoy your spaces more and gain inspiration from them.



Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Selling your home through the holiday season can certainly come with a few challenges. Chilly, wet weather and falling leaves in November and December might mean more raking and shoveling to keep your home pristine. However, the damp weather and dark skies don’t have to squelch your holiday spirit. In fact, the holidays are a perfect time to showcase the warmth and character of your home to prospective buyers.


If you’ve already got the basics of staging under control — meaning you’ve pared down, freshened up and added a splash of color — you’re ready to follow these seven do’s to create an appropriately festive home for sale.


1. Do choose appropriately sized holiday decorations. Be thoughtful about the size of the decorations you use. A good question to ask yourself is whether the piece helps to positively showcase the space, light, and charm of the room. Or does its large size detract from the best features? Your goal is to be festive while honoring the value of your home.


For example, displaying a large multipiece holiday installation might be a family tradition for your living room, but doing so won’t highlight the value and space of that room. Perhaps find a new home for this piece on the front porch, or display only a smaller portion of the installation on a table.


Similarly, you might have to trade in that huge fresh evergreen tree that you look forward to every year for a slightly smaller version. Large trees and decorations, while festive, may make the room look smaller. Choose an oversized tree only if you have a really large room.


2. Do mind the light. Be sure your holiday decorating efforts don’t block any natural light from windows and doors. Though this may be a common sense tip, it may not be as easy to adhere to as you’d think, since windows are one of the most common places to place holiday decor. Just think of what you see when driving through your neighborhood during the holidays: Many residents affix decorations directly to the windows, place large, brightly lighted trees directly in front of them or install candles or figurines on the windowsill. We just love to showcase our holiday spirit to the world.


For the selling season, try placing your holiday pride far from the window. You might put decor outside your front door or, if inside, in an unobtrusive corner. If you absolutely must locate decor near a window, then place it far enough away that the natural light still flows in. Otherwise, by reducing the natural light, you’ll detract from the value of the room.


3. Do coordinate with the colors of the room. Maintaining a color-coordinated design scheme matters, even when all you want to do is deck the halls in red and green. Remember, every room of your home should be as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. So, if your favorite holiday decorations clash with the colors in your room, think twice about using those specific pieces. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to add holiday accents without throwing off your palette.


Metallics are one nonintrusive way to add a little festive holiday flair. Gold, silver or copper holiday accents pair well with almost any color scheme. White is also a peaceful, festive, yet still neutral accent color for almost any holiday decorating effort. Try replacing multicolored tree lights with sparkling white lights to give your room a more elegant feel.


4. Do keep movements and sounds to a minimum. Moving parts, loud noises, and even festive music will be a distraction for potential buyers. So please don’t welcome buyers with a singing toy soldier or dancing snowman. But if you must have those items on your mantel, then be sure to turn them off during showings. The same goes for flashing lights. Opt for simple white static lights that cast a beautiful glow, creating a neutral holiday feeling for many buyers.


5. Do decorate to showcase your home’s architectural features. Holiday decorating can give you a brilliant opportunity to highlight your home’s most attractive architectural features. For example, you might wrap a tasteful garland around a beautiful curved staircase. You can showcase your fireplace with accents such as knitted stockings or a strand of lights.


Be mindful not to cover up any valuable structural details such as a beautiful wood floor or crown molding. Remember, less is more when staging, even when decorating for the holidays.


6. Do use exterior holiday decorations to add curb appeal. Holiday decorations are a fantastic way to spruce up the exterior of your home and add some color. Wreaths, thoughtfully lighted shrubs and the occasional ribbon or bow on a mailbox can be tasteful ways to deck the exterior for the holidays. These elements will certainly add curb appeal and pleasantly welcome your potential buyers.


While a frenzy of flashing lights and rooftop ornaments might be fun and playful, your goal is to sell your house, not distract or even turn off your buyer by creating a neighborhood spectacle.


7. Do celebrate the holidays and create a warm, joyful feeling. There’s an advantage of offering your home for sale — and decorating it — during the holidays. If you strike the right balance, your residence will exude a positive energy and charm that can’t be felt at any other time of the year. Done well, your decorated home will offer the kind of warmth that appeals to potential buyers and helps them to imagine living there. So go ahead and celebrate what is likely your last holiday season in that home. Happy Holidays!


Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters


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It takes more than finding a realtor and posting a “For Sale” sign in the front yard for a successful home sale. Getting your house in order is the first step to a quick offer. The secret is to give potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their “stuff” and family living in the home. Plus, you want to put your home’s best foot forward and present it in the best possible light. Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

1. Clear Out Your Belongings 

You may be attached to your stuff, but the first rule is to clean it up, clear it out and pack it all away. It can prevent new buyers from imagining the house as their own.

  • Pack away personal items like family photos and kid’s artwork for your new home.
  • Make sure toiletries, clothing, jewelry, and accessories are in drawers and out of sight.
  • Eliminate excessive clutter. Display only a few generic items on your shelves and make sure the bathrooms are pristine.

Some rooms are harder to streamline, especially children’s or teens’ bedrooms. Clean them out and clear away as much clutter as your son or daughter will allow. Invest in covered containers that will fit under the bed or in the closet.

2. Make the Rooms Look Bigger

You want to make each room look as spacious as possible. Start with these tricks:

  • Take out some of the furniture. Move it to the basement or storage shed, or sell it if you won’t need it in your new place.
  • Clear off the kitchen counters.
  • Roll up area rugs, which tend to make rooms feel smaller.
  • Arrange furniture in intimate seating groups that encourage conversation and coziness. Don’t line everything up along the wall!

Installing curtains and blinds as close to the ceiling as possible draws the eye up and makes the room appear bigger. Panels should skim the floor. In this living room corner, a classic chair and small table before a window suggests to the future homeowner here is a place for a morning cup of coffee in a well-lit room. 


3. Pay Attention to Your Decor

Highlight your home’s best features and downplay the less-than-perfect areas to create a welcoming space.


Paint is an easy fix. When possible, paint walls in pale, neutral colors like soft grey, beige and off-white. Neutral colors allow the buyer to imagine their own furniture in place. Plus, it screams “move-in ready.”


Don’t overlook the power of the view and the importance of natural light. Window treatments can help solve many issues. Windows without draperies make a room feel empty or undone. Curtains also help absorb sound in rooms with wood floors and they can hide an unsightly view or enhance a lovely one.


If a major selling point is your view – such as green space or a gorgeous garden – don’t cover it up! Install stationary panel curtains that hang well off the window. If the scene outside is less than stellar (like an alleyway or the building next door), hang sheer draperies that allow the light in but camouflage the view. As with paint color, choose drapery fabric in neutral colors and traditional patterns.


After the living room and kitchen, a great master bedroom is high on buyers’ checklists. In addition to natural light and the view, privacy is paramount.


Follow the same rules to make the space look bigger, hang as high as possible and skim the floor. Sheer curtains that can be closed allow light and hide an unappealing view while providing privacy. Keep surfaces clear of personal items and choose plain, neutral bedding. Open up the wall space with minimal artwork and move the excess furniture out. Buyers are looking for large rooms that feel serene and calm. 


Don’t forget to spruce up any secondary bedrooms as well. Keep the window treatments simple with Roman shades and valances. If the room needs a touch of color, a classic plaid or small print that works for boys and girls is in order. Temporarily replace superhero bedspreads with coverlets or duvets in solid colors and encourage your kids to keep their room neat and tidy.


Follow these few simple staging tips and your next showing could produce a winning offer.



Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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The kitchen is one of the most difficult places in the home to keep clean and organized. Between your dishes, utensils and cooking appliances, you have lots of oddly shaped and bulky items to store. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the stuff in your kitchen, or maybe just need a more efficient way of storing and organizing, consider these genius ways to tidy up your kitchen.


#1 Group Similar Items Together


Grouping items together according to their use is a sensible way to organize your kitchen. Categorizing similar items makes it easier for you and your guests to find things quickly.


#2 Use Baskets to Store Commonly Used Items


Searching for commonly used kitchen items is frustrating. Rather than storing them in random cabinets, use a simple wicker basket to corral and hold popular items. It looks nicer than just stacking utensils on the counter and it’s more organized than stashing them in available cabinets.


#3 Install Slide-Out Pantry Drawers


There’s nothing worse than having to pull everything out of a drawer or cabinet to reach something you’re looking for. Rather than shuffling with all of that mess, install slide-out pantry drawers or cabinets. Now, when you need a spice or are looking for specific dry goods, you can slide the entire cabinet out.


#4 Use Open Shelving


There’s nothing wrong with showing off some of the items you own, like your formal dinnerware or antique teapots. The only challenge you’ll face is keeping it all straight and tidy on your shelves. Installing an open shelving solution will help you organize everyday kitchen items and bring an open, airy energy to your kitchen. As an added benefit, you won’t have to open drawers and doors to find the items you’re looking for.


#5 Explore Alternative Storage


Traditional kitchen storage is great, but sometimes alternatives are just as functional. Consider storing extra kitchen items in wooden crates, baskets and other containers. Do you have a movable kitchen island with space underneath? Use woven baskets to hold your plates and bowls below.


#6 Don’t Waste Space


If you’re struggling to find space to organize all of your cutlery, plates and other utensils, consider high-shelf storage. Remember to only store rarely used items, like your fine china or fondue pot, on high shelves.


#7 Cut Down When Necessary


The kitchen is one of the most popular places in the home to display knick-knacks. If your assortment of collectibles has outgrown your space, the easiest way to organize is to eliminate what you can’t put out on display. This cuts down on clutter and opens up the visuals of your kitchen.


Conclusion


These are just a few simple ways to improve the organization of your kitchen. Now you can enjoy less frustrating meal preparation and less overwhelming visuals.




Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make – learn how getting a home inspection can help you get the most value for your home.


Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make, and you want to ensure you get the best value for your hard-earned dollar. That’s why more and more home buyers today are turning to professional Home Inspection experts. A professional Home Inspector takes a close look beneath a house’s surface and then prepares a detailed written report for the prospective buyer on such things as the condition of the foundation, electrical service, roof, insulation, and other critical structural factors. Your Coldwell Banker sales professional can help you connect with an experienced trusted Home Inspection service in your community.


Although costs will vary, you can probably expect to spend three to four hundred dollars for an inspection of a single family home. And who pays for it? Well, since the benefit is almost entirely that of the home buyer, it’s usually the buyer who pays the cost of the home inspection …particularly in a “hot” real estate market, where the home sellers have more leverage. All things considered, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides, and the negotiating power it can give you — especially if it indicates that there are major repairs required, but you decide to make an offer anyway.


When it comes to making your offer to purchase, your Coldwell Banker professional can provide you with good advice on how to allow for a home inspection as a part of this process. Subject to the homeowner’s permission, you can commission a Home Inspection before or even after submitting your offer to purchase. This is done by having your Coldwell Banker salesperson prepare a conditional offer that’s contingent on a Home Inspection report that’s acceptable to you. This approach gives you some distinct advantages: if the conditional offer is accepted, the property is temporarily held against other offers, yet you still have a legal escape route if the report turns up some major negative surprises, such as a bad roof or a crumbling foundation. On the other hand, if the conditional offer isn’t accepted, then the need to pay for a home inspection may never arise. Your Coldwell Banker professional can counsel you on the best approach to suit your market and your individual situation.





Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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Give your prospective buyers extra incentive to purchase your house by making it smell like a home they can see themselves in.


Smell is one of our most important senses. Psychologically speaking, it’s the sense that is most closely linked with memory, meaning that good smells can evoke happy memories and experiences while bad smells can do just the opposite. Smell is also highly emotive; different fragrances can convey a vast array of emotions and feelings. So, it’s no surprise that smell can come into play when you’re trying to sell your home.


There’s a reason why real estate agents always think about the best scent for home staging before a showing. A house that smells like freshly baked cookies can evoke a warm and homey feeling while a refreshing and clean smelling house can evoke feelings of potential and new opportunities.


The question is what scent sells a house and what can you do to ensure that you create a wonderful smelling home for potential buyers?


Use Baking Soda


First and foremost, you want to get rid of any current smells in your home. Baking soda, when spread on your carpets and soda, can help remove tough smells and leave you with a neutral pallet. All you have to do is let the baking soda sit for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming it up. It even works great in trashcans, sinks, toilets, and more.


Take Advantage of Your Stove


The best way to make your house smell good is to use your stove. All you need is a pot of boiling water, and then you can make your own essential oils for selling your house with the right spices.


 During the winter, we recommend using spicy and warm flavors such as cinnamon and/or cloves, which evoke a sense of the holidays. During the spring and summer, you can use lemon or orange rind for a fresh citrus scent instead. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but make sure you try out each scent before your open house.


Add Plants


Not only do plants add life to a home, but the right plants can also release wonderful fragrances that are highly compelling. When it comes to plants, the best scent for home staging includes some type of flowers such as roses, eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender. The key is to choose plants that have a universally appealing smell and to make sure they’re always well groomed and lively.


Diffuse Essential Oils


If you don’t want to use your stove to make your own essential oils for selling your house, you can diffuse bottled essential oils instead. All you need to do is purchase an affordable diffuser, add a few drops of essential oil, and run it for a few hours before your open house. Just make sure you use the right oils.


Avoid using strong scents that can have a polarizing effect such as patchouli, sandalwood, or ylang-ylang. Instead, go with relaxing and simple scents such as lavender, grapefruit, rose, or bergamot. These smells evoke the atmosphere of a luxury spa.


Give your prospective buyers extra incentive to purchase your house by making it smell like a home they can see themselves in. Your goal is to make every guest feel like they belong. Just be sure you use scents that evoke only the best memories and feelings. It can be the added factor you need to make the sell. For more tips on selling your home, contact a real estate agent in your area.




Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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But if you can buy a house with cash, should you do it?


Most people try to avoid getting into debt; it’s a much wiser financial decision. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. On big-ticket items such as higher education, purchasing a car, and buying a house, loans are a common occurrence. But if you can buy a house with cash, should you do it? What are the benefits of making a cash offer on a home or accepting a cash offer for your home?

Benefits of Buying a House with Cash

If you have the means to be a cash house buyer, then you’re in a great position.


There are many reasons why paying cash for a home is better than getting a loan, even when it comes to the effect of a cash offer on house closing costs.


No Mortgage Payments: If you purchase your new home outright, you won’t have to worry about what type of interest rate you get or how much your monthly payments will be. Instead, you can enjoy financial freedom without a mortgage. This also means that you’ll be saving money on interest. You paid for the house in full, so you don’t have to worry about thousands of extra dollars over the years in interest payments.


Lower Purchase Price: In most cases, sellers love for cash homebuyers. It makes everything easier on the seller’s end, which means that you can probably negotiate a better price. The seller will know that you won’t back out at the last minute due to loan issues so that you can haggle a little more.


Fewer Closing Costs: You might be surprised by the impact of a cash offer on house closing costs. Many typical closing costs have to do with a mortgage, but if you’re paying in cash, you can avoid various loan fees including:

  • Property appraisal fees
  • Notary fees
  • Private mortgage insurance
  • Credit report fees

Quicker Closing: With a mortgage, closing a home requires you to wait 30 to 45 days on average. Paying in cash, you can finish the purchase transaction in one to three weeks.


Quality Investment: If you have a large sum of money in cash, it won’t be earning you any extra sitting in the bank or a CD. On the other hand, real estate investment is a great idea, even when the market may not be ideal. If you’re willing to hang on to your property for a few years, you’ll get out more than you put in on a cash deal.

Benefits of Selling a House for Cash

What about when it comes to selling your home? Should you sell a home for cash or is it better to go the conventional route? Beyond the fact that there may be negotiating for a lower selling price for a cash offer, there are many benefits to accepting a cash deal.


Fewer Deals Fall Through: If you’ve ever tried to sell a house, you understand that it can be risky. Too often, buyers lose loan backings or don’t qualify for enough to complete the purchase. With a cash offer, you don’t have to worry about this as much.


Faster Closing: If you need to get out of your home quickly, a cash offer is a great way to do this. Normal closing times are four to seven weeks. A cash offer can cut that time down to one to three weeks.


Fewer Fees: Typically, a cash offer means that you’ll be able to avoid many annoying closing costs, so you keep more of your sale money.


Cash offers in real estate can be a great idea if you know what you’re doing. At Coldwell Banker, we suggest talking to a financial expert, as well as an experienced real estate agent, to help you decide the best option for you.




Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

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What happens to your mortgage when you sell your home?


Most people won’t live in the same home for 30 years, the typical life of a mortgage loan. So, when it comes time to sell, many homeowners still have mortgage debt to deal with. Is this a problem? What happens to your mortgage when you sell your home?

 

Once you sign your name on a mortgage loan, you are responsible for the money—no one else. This means that you must pay it back, which you can do with the money you gain from selling your home.

 

The truth of the matter is that selling a house with a mortgage is a common occurrence.  Consult with your mortgage lender and your real estate agent to find out how you can sell a home with a mortgage. Here are a few tips that they might share with you.

Check Your Mortgage

The first step to selling a house with a mortgage is to contact your mortgage lender and ask about your current mortgage. You want to know:

 

  • Your current mortgage payoff amount
  • Your due-on-sale clauses

Your mortgage payoff amount is the exact amount of money, including accrued interest that you owe to the bank. This amount is typically good for 10-30 days and represents the outstanding loan balance that you must pay. The last thing you want to do is default on your mortgage.

 

The due-on-sale clauses reveal the exact rules of how to sell a house you still owe money on. It covers such information as when the paid-in-full loan is due and what the process is, including any fees. The clauses won’t tell you who you can or can’t sell your home to, but they may need some additional information about the buyer’s mortgage lender. Be sure to ask any questions you might have about these clauses, so you have a full understanding before you take the plunge and start your sale.


Selling Your Home


Once you know the ins and outs of your loan terms, it’s time to get to selling a house with a mortgage, which can get slightly complicated. First, you’ll want to work with a title company.

 

If your current lender doesn’t set you up with a title company, you can hire an agent on your own. This agent will be responsible for ensuring that there are no issues with your property’s title and act as the intermediary throughout the entire purchase and sale process.

 

Here’s what happens to your mortgage when you sell your home and use a title company:

 

  • The title agent holds the money from the new buyer during the sale
  • After you sign all the documents at the closing table, the title agent uses the sale money to pay your current mortgage holder
  • Once the amount has been paid, the title transfers to the buyer and you, as the seller, are given the leftover money (minus various fees)

If the sale covers the full cost of the current loan, it’s a fairly smooth process. However, if you owe more than your home is actually worth—negative equity—there could be some trouble. In that case, you’ll have to work out a deal with your lender for a reduced payoff amount, or you may need to refinance and stay in your home for longer than you planned.

 

In the end, selling a home with a mortgage shouldn’t be a problem. The most important thing is to know your options so that you can make the right decisions.

 

 

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

 

 

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Spring is here! Time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. It is also the ideal time to do a home health check-up, inspecting what winter left behind.

 

So, what are the three key areas of your home to examine and what do you look for? We have you covered from roof to deck. Follow this step-by-step home check-up guide to find warning signs and advice on how to repair them.

 

Roof: You’ve probably never thought about it, but your roof has to battle a lot of enemies: ultraviolet rays, rain, wind, snow, and ice. But the good news is most new shingle roofs are designed to last about 20 years. Slate roofs and some types of tile and metal roofs can last even longer. The actual lifespan of your roof is determined by several factors, including environmental conditions, material quality, proper application and regular roof maintenance.

 

Warning Signs: How do you know when your roof is in trouble? Look for these warning signs:

 

Outside:

  • Shingles that are warped, blistered, missing or torn
  • Shingles covered in moss or algae, which hold moisture and encourage rot
  • Loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations
  • Overhanging tree branches that could gouge the roof in a strong wind
  • Excessive debris (leaves, dirt, ice, roofing granules) in the gutters or downspouts, which block drainage

Inside:

  • Ceiling spots or leaks
  • Cracked paint
  • Discolored plasterboard
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Mold, mildew or rot in the walls, ceilings, insulation and electrical systems
  • In the attic, look for signs of water infiltration such as staining, dampness, or mold growing on insulation/sheathing/rafters A poorly ventilated attic that shows signs of moisture, which promotes the roof’s decay. Sufficient attic ventilation can be achieved by installing larger or additional vents

Repairs Needed?


If repairs are needed, don’t skimp on quality to save a few cents. Much of the damage associated with serious storms result from water entering the home when roof coverings or siding is blown off. This is why it is imperative that you have a secondary layer of waterproofing protection underneath the shingles and siding. If proper protection measures are not taken, the resulting leaks are the main cause of interior damage, as well as potential causes of rot and mold. Rot and mold can lead to major structural damage and even potential health problems for homeowners.

 

Use Underlayments: FEMA has published recommendations for the use of fully-adhered roofing underlayments, such as Grace Ice & Water Shield®, as an enhanced secondary water barrier for homes. In the event roof coverings are blown off or water manages to get underneath your shingles, these underlayments are the key to preventing water infiltration.

 

Windows & Doors: Beyond the roof, a home’s doors and windows can also become major leak zones. Even if the windows and doors are well shuttered in a storm, wind-driven rain can be blown into the house at these points, especially if they have not been properly flashed and weatherproofed.

 

Warning Signs: How do you know when your doors and windows are in trouble? The following are some signs of water damage:

 

Inside & Outside:

  • Leaks or breaks in seams around window trim and sills
  • Uneven doorframes
  • Discolored plasterboard
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Chipped or cracked stucco finishes
  • Mold, mildew, or rot in the walls, insulation, and electrical systems
  • Missing, cracked, or blistered paint inside the home

Repairs Needed?


Use Flashing: Flashing is a critical part of your home’s weather barrier system. If not properly selected and installed, wind-driven rain, ice, and snow can leak and quickly cause damage to your home. Flexible flashings such as GCP Applied Technologies’ Vycor® Plus can be used to seal the most vulnerable spots, including windows, doors, corner boards, and other non-roof detail areas. It is designed to work in severe winter climates, milder climates, and in coastal areas where wind-driven rain is common.

 

Deck: Last but not least, check the deck. A deck is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in the warmer weather. But, if your deck is not protected against the extreme weather, it can deteriorate and become unsafe. Decks, fences and other wood products should be routinely weatherproofed and cleaned to maximize their useful life. The weather combined with the treatment chemicals used for today’s pressure treated lumber means that the modern deck must be properly constructed to hold up.

 

Warning Signs: How do you know when your deck is in trouble? Look for these warning signs:

  • Warped boards
  • Cracked or split boards
  • Debris that is “clogging up” space between deck boards
  • Look under the deck for corroded joist hangers and other connectors
  • Softwood
  • Mold and mildew

Repairs Needed?


Use a Protective Barrier: Even with today’s treated and high-tech decking products–which look great and last and last–preventing joist rot and decay, as a result of water accumulation under the decking boards, remains a major problem. Vycor Deck Protector® is a unique solution to significantly extend the useful life of decks. Vycor Deck Protector® helps prevent joist rot and decay and decrease the corrosion rate of connectors and fasteners.

By inspecting these three areas of your home and correcting any damage with the best materials, you will ensure your home will live longer. Not to mention your wallet will be happy too! Now, put on those shades and head out to enjoy the spring & summer activities with peace of mind!

 

 

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

 

 

 

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You have decided to sell your home, and you are eager to sell it ASAP!  You need to move or want those proceeds immediately, but how? Let’s go through the best ways to efficiently and effectively improve your home for a speedy sale.

 

 

First, curbside appeal.  This is the first thing every potential buyer sees so make it stand out!  Some suggestions:

  • Hire a gardener to clean and spruce up the entrance
  • Remove superfluous items from the front of your home, i.e. garbage cans strollers, etc
  • Put a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your home

 

Second, this is the time to clean and eliminate all clutter inside your home.  Here’s how:

  • Give away extra toys, clothes, and anything else that makes it look crowded or disorganized
  • Organize the kitchen countertops and closets
  • Place bulky items in storage

 

Third, landscaping matters.  A large yard cannot shine if the plants, grass, and trees are in bad shape.  Try the following ideas:

  • Artificial grass - always looks amazing and eliminates the need for maintenance
  • Plant fresh flowers and maintain the grass and trees.

 

Fourth, look under the hood.  Make the inside of your home look as good as possible.

  • This is the time to do some of the minor repairs you have been putting off.  This will make your home look better and may eliminate certain issues during the inspection period.
  • Yes, it seems expensive or time-consuming.  However, if you hire a professional company, this can truly make the difference and get you more money in less time.

 

Finally, hire a professional, licensed REALTOR®.  A REALTOR® with experience and expertise can help sell your home quickly for the best price.   

 

 

 

Best of luck!

 

 

 

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

 

 

 

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After a long winter, nothing feels better than having a clean and sparkling home. But, actually jumping into a deep clean is another story. Here are some simple tips to whip your home into shape without breaking a sweat:

#1 Wall Cleaning

A Magic Eraser is your best bet for tackling walls — it can spot clean anything from splatters to crayon marks. It’s tough enough to reach the cobwebs that collect in the corners of your walls and ceiling. You can also cover the bristles of a broom with a cloth or old T-shirt and use it to knock down any dusty spots.

#2 Carpets and Rugs

Take a little more time vacuuming the high-traffic areas of your house. (Make sure you don’t forget to spot treat any stubborn stains with a stain-removal product.) If your rug or carpet has lingering oders, sprinkle some baking soda over it and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum up the baking soda and you’ll find the odors have disappeared.

#3 Mattress Ideas

Give your mattress cover a thorough cleaning in the washing machine — don’t forget to throw in a cup of white vinegar to boost the cleaning process. Sprinkle baking soda on your mattress while you’re washing the cover. You can vacuum it up later when you’re making the bed.

#4 Shower Care

Don’t knock yourself out trying to clean glass shower doors. Add a couple drops of water to your dryer sheets and use them to wipe down your shower doors. You can even let your showerhead clean itself overnight while you sleep. Simply tie a bag filled with white vinegar around your showerhead and let it soak overnight. Remove the bag in the morning for a non-clogged shower experience.

#5 Toilet Scrubbing

Have water stains built up in your toilet? Cola can help you attack these stains with little effort.  Just pour some in the toilet, let it sit for several minutes, then flush.

#6 Oven Shine

If you have an oven with a self-cleaning feature, spring is a great time to finally run that cycle. Otherwise, mix baking soda with a bit of water and use it to quickly clean up grease and various other spills inside the oven.

#7 Clutter Solutions

When you don’t have time to clean but you need your house to look presentable, tackling clutter is the quickest way to create the illusion of a clean house. Zip through each room of the house and put anything that doesn’t belong into a basket. This strategy requires very little work and can make a big difference in your home’s appearance.

Conclusion

Although these tips won’t completely eliminate the effort involved in spring cleaning, they’ll make the job a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of new beginnings — if you use even a couple of these ideas, your home will enjoy a clean and fresh start to the upcoming season.

 

 

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matters

 

 

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