It’s Pumpkin Spice Season: Plan A Neighborhood Potluck

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 18th, 2018

It's Pumpkin Spice Season Plan A Neighborhood PotluckFall is the time to get back into a comfortable routine, but it’s also a great time to incorporate social events into weekend work parties, and gather friends to offer neighbors a helping hand — or just moral support — to spruce up their property.

While building a new sense of community may be a side effect, it can’t be denied that giving homes in need of minor repairs a little TLC is good for the dollar value of the neighborhood as well as for the soul. REALTORS agree that the overall appeal of a neighborhood adds value to individual homes.

Police departments and security companies also note that cohesive communities are less prone to crime than neighborhoods where residents don’t really know one another.

A Community Work Day

While it’s not uncommon for some subdivisions to sponsor periodic get-togethers, or hold multi-family garage sales and social events, the idea of a day to share work and expertise to tidy up individual homes is less common. But it represents an ideal solution for residents who could use a helping hand to accomplish minor upkeep and repair projects.

Especially if you live in a neighborhood with some older residents, planning a coordinated “home improvement day” can be a unique and wonderful way to bring different generations together. Community work days are a great way to complete seasonal maintenance projects before the weather turns bad. It’s also a way to make light work out of required tasks and to have some fun as well.

Here are some ideas on how to do it right — the results can be greater than expected.

  • Talk the idea up with your neighbors: Set a tentative date and divide up the planning tasks.
  • Start a checklist of neighborhood skills. Chances are you’ll find engineers, carpenters, painters, and neighbors with plumbing and electrical skills among the residents. And there are also apt to be artists and craftspeople, master gardeners and children who love to rake leaves or pull weeds!
  • Plan block party, potluck dinner or homemade ice cream social for the culmination of the workday or weekend, and get as many people as possible involved.

A weekend work project is reminiscent of old-fashioned barn raisings. It’s also a way to build a new sense of community, as well as to add neighborhood appeal and value. The food and the fellowship are bonuses!

There are, however, some cautions: Help should be freely offered, and readily accepted. But leave costly or complicated repairs to professionals. This kind of event should be strictly for easy DIY labor needs.

Done right, this kind of ongoing community effort can become a lasting and honored tradition. It’s worth a try, right? In the end, the entire neighborhood wins.

If a sense of neighborhood community is a priority to you when looking for a new home, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional.

 

 

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Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 6th, 2018

Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your HomeDownsizing at any stage of life can offer multiple benefits. Less square footage may come with a smaller price tag and usually means less space to clean. However, when downsizing a home, there’s usually the question of what to do with everything. That’s when creative storage ideas become essential. 

Before Downsizing, Take Stock

Before selecting the best storage options, it’s important to first take stock of all personal items, from furniture to clothing, kitchen gadgets, and keepsakes. Sort into items to keep, donate, discard, and place in long-term storage. Long-term storage may mean investing in a self-storage unit to hold things like seasonal decor. Less stuff can mean less storage space needed in a smaller home.

Maximize Closet Space

It doesn’t need to be a walk-in closet to have the capacity to store an array of personal items. Maximize any closet’s storage space with a few tricks. Install a second tier hanging rod and rely on an expandable shoe rack to keep the floor clutter-free. Reduce the number of hangers used by layering outfits on a single hanger — blouse, sweater, and necklace or dress shirt, tie, and jacket. Store seasonal clothing, linens, and pillows in space-saver bags that remove bulk.

Rely On Under-the-Bed Storage

Even in homes with expansive square footage, under the bed often is an under-utilized space. Shoes, books, and other items are shoved out-of-sight, collecting dust and remaining unorganized. When downsizing, every space should have a purpose. Depending on the bed height, consider flat storage boxes ideal for clothing, blankets, and other items. Storage boxes with rollers can make it easy to access and act like an additional set of drawers.

Choose Space-Saving Furniture

The popularity of tiny houses and the number of people downsizing has created a boom of innovative space-saving furniture options. For the living room there are ottomans that open to reveal storage space for pillows, blankets, or video cases. Consider a couch with built-in drawers that slide out. In the bedroom, there are multiple bed choices that have built-in drawers and storage, perfect if the room doesn’t have dresser space. 

Open Shelves Provide Functionality Plus Style

Whether in the kitchen, bedroom, or main living area, open shelves offer great functionality in a smaller space while providing style to the home’s decor. Use them as storage for books, collections, and artwork. They’re ideal when there isn’t space for large bookcases or a coffee table. In the kitchen, open shelves can hold everything from dishes to glassware and potted herbs.

When downsizing a home, trust a local real estate professional to find the right space to fit lifestyle and budget needs.

 

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Tips For Selling Your Home In The Fall

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 23rd, 2018

Tips For Selling Your Home In The FallFootball season has kicked off, temperatures are cooling and pumpkin spice everything is for sale in the stores. Yes, fall is here. While most people associate the spring and summer months as the ideal times of year to buy or sell, fall is still a great time to put your home on the market.

Families tend to want to get into their new homes prior to the holiday season, so buyers are typically still very active during the fall months. That said, there are plenty of ways that you can ready your home for a fast fall sale.

Here’s a look at several tried and true tips to increase your curb appeal and move your property this autumn:

Keep The Yard Free Of Debris

Chances are your yard is full of leaves in the fall. But because temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter, fall is also a time of the year when your lawn looks its greenest and most lush. Make sure your leaves are cleaned up to show off the true potential of your yard (not to mention create the impression that your home is well maintained and cared for). Rake daily if you have to. If you don’t like raking, set the lawn mower to a low setting and bag the mulched leaves.

Autumn Curb Appeal

Buy some mums, a haystack and perhaps even some pumpkins or gourds to decorate your home with. These are perfect fall decor and can really help make your home stand out to potential buyers.

Hit The Lights

The days are shorter in the fall, which means that the natural light inside of your home may be waning during show times. That said, make sure all of the lights in the home are turned on prior to showings to create a well-lit, welcoming environment. 

Clean The Fireplace

With the nights getting cooler, fall is the perfect time of the year to start up the fireplace. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure that this is mentioned in the listing. Also make sure that the fireplace is clean and looks inviting in case the buyer wants to turn it on. If you have a natural fireplace, don’t fret. Even if you don’t use it, make sure that it’s cleaned out and looks ready to use.

Clean Your Gutters

In addition to making sure your yard is leaf-free, make sure that your gutters are also clean. You don’t want to give buyers the impression that your home isn’t well cared for. Plus, gutters overflowing with leaves can make the buyer think that the home requires excessive maintenance, which can be a turn off.

Your trusted real estate agent is ready to help you with these tips and more to make sure your home is a must-see listing this fall.

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Getting Ready For Winter: Necessary Home Checks

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 21st, 2018

Getting Ready For Winter: Necessary Home ChecksWhen the leaves start falling, winter can’t be far behind. In order to make sure your home will offer you cozy shelter from the coming cold, there are a few simple checks that you should not delay.

It’s wise to perform simple pre-checks of major home operating systems; schedule required maintenance or call for service if you suspect a problem. Be diligent about routine upkeep; replace filters regularly. Check for faucet drips, and make note of unusual appliance or plumbing fixture noises.

Here are five areas you should not ignore:

The Roof 

A tight roof is vital all year long, but especially in the winter. Take a walk around your home’s exterior and look up. Curling or missing shingles, damaged vents and ridge cap, sagging gutters or loose flashing are all signs that you should call a professional for thorough diagnosis.

Visit your attic to check for drafts and daylight. Also check for small holes and signs of insect or rodent infestation. Critters seek winter shelter, but you don’t want to leave an open invitation.

If you have turbine vents on the roof, you may want to cover them before winter arrives, and fall is the perfect time to do that.

HVAC

As the seasons change and you move from air conditioning to heat, you’ll want to check both for proper operation. With a single integrated system, it’s easy and there’s no need to shut one down to start the other. But if you call a professional to winterize an outside compressor, you might also have thermostat settings checked and recalibrated if necessary. 

If you have a separate oil-burning or propane furnace, confirm your fuel is adequate before turning on the heat.

Fireplace

Whether a fireplace is wood-burning or gas-fired, it’s smart to have a professional check the flue and assure that the damper is operating properly. Make certain the gas line is free from obstructions, and that anyone who lights a fire is aware of safety precautions. House fires and deadly fumes are entirely preventable; a seasonal checkup can save lives.

Doors and Windows

Checking the weatherstripping and seals is an easy task, even though it takes some time. Look for cracked or brittle rubber weatherstripping and light leaks, as well as drafts around the perimeters. Also check for signs of moisture on sills and trim.

Door sweeps should graze the floor so that dust and small insects don’t cross the threshold. Adjust and caulk the threshold if necessary. This is also a good time to check locks on both doors and windows.

Outside Hose Bibbs

Outdoor hose bibbs can be problematic in freezing temperatures. Always disconnect hoses for the winter. If you notice any leaks around a hose bibb, call a professional. During severe weather, it can be helpful to wrap those outdoor hose bibbs with foam insulation and a plastic sleeve in an effort to discourage freezing.

A little preventive maintenance pays big dividends when spring finally arrives!

If you are planning to wait until spring to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate agent to find out what other steps you could take now to improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers.

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Plant Now For Spring Beauty

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 16th, 2018

Plant Now For Spring BeautyWhile the weather is still pleasant this fall, it can be a good idea to plan ahead for early spring blooms. Trim shrubbery, plant bulbs, install new edging or add whimsical garden accessories to assure that when spring rolls around you’ll have something attractive to look at. Getting creative now will boost your spirits when winter seems to last longer than it should!

Whether you want to beautify for your own enjoyment or spruce up your yard with the intention of listing a home for sale come spring, get a headstart on your goals by taking time now to plan for spring.

Plant Early Spring Flowering Bulbs

If you want a profusion of color in your early spring garden, now is the time to plan for it. Most flowering bulbs require ample in-ground time in order to thrive, so it’s always wise to check with a local nursery before purchasing specific varieties of bulbs. Gardening success depends on adapting to local conditions.

Seek out a qualified expert if you have little experience, and then plan to experiment until your garden grows just the way you want it to. In most areas, the first flowers to bloom include crocus and daffodils, as well as some varieties of tulips.

Plan Your Planting Beds

Depending on your locale, fall can also be a good time to plant new trees and and perennial shrubs. Again, it pays to ask questions and to plan ahead. Even if it’s not the optimal planting season, direct your efforts towards defining planting beds, soil preparation, and various hardscape elements. 

Cooler weather brings with it the chance to do some of the “heavy lifting” of landscape design: install brick or stone walkways, dry riverbeds, low stone walls, or decks and patios. By completing these tasks now, when spring arrives you’ll be able to concentrate on the fun parts of landscaping.

Plant an Edible Garden

Growing edible plants is a new trend: Not only are they generally easy to maintain, but the “fruits of your labor” are just as good to eat as they are to look at. A simple 4×4 raised bed garden can supply a wonderful variety of produce throughout the growing season and you’d be surprised as how they help create unique landscape appeal.

Some of the best crops for fall planting include cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and carrots. Even if you don’t eat them, they add a unique dimension to the landscape. Use showy cabbage along a garden path, and plant some carrots among heavier shrubs to create a lighter border.

Just remember that all growing things need a bit of tending to look their best. So be willing to spend a bit of time regularly in the garden — your plants will benefit from the attention, and you’re sure to enjoy it as well!

If you’re sprucing up to put your house on the market, be sure to talk to your trusted real estate professional about the most eye-catching updates for potential buyers.

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Easy Decor Tricks That Make Any Home A Standout

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 15th, 2018

Easy Decor Tricks That Make Any Home A StandoutIf your home’s style currently wouldn’t win any awards, there’s no reason to put off a redo indefinitely. With a little ingenuity and a few hours of time, it’s possible to transform a “Plain Jane” into a trendsetter.

Here’s how:

Paint and Pattern

Almost any designer will tell you that color is the best way to alter the character of a room. It doesn’t have to be dramatic; even a subtle change of tone, texture or pattern on a single wall can be a distinctive focal point. If your home lacks architectural detail, you might consider adding wood paneling to one wall or to the ceiling. It can be rustic or refined, and it will add instant appeal and point the way to further decor ideas.

If you don’t want to make major changes, hang simple fabric panels on a decorative rod to frame a window; or add color throughout a room with accessories — textured accent pillows, cozy throws, ceramic lamp bases or attractive woven baskets that do double duty as storage containers.

Framed Photographs

Create a gallery wall by collecting favorite vacation shots, art photographs or family portraits. Depending on your personal taste and your decor style, frame them similarly or create a lively display by interspersing other shapes and objects into the grouping.

It’s best to have a plan, however, before you start pounding nails in the wall. Create your wall montage by first laying it out on the floor or on a large table. Then take measurements and transfer the whole arrangement to your wall.

Family Memorabilia

If you have a variety of items that have special meaning, it’s best to display them or use them regularly rather than to hide them away. Furniture, china, antique clocks or kitchen tools, books — even old clothing or uniforms — can be attractive and impressive when grouped together and displayed.

You don’t want to create a museum in your home, but if you curate a collection with care, it can be meaningful and beautiful at the same time. Small objects are best displayed in some kind of case or on enclosed bookshelves. Furniture, however, can still be functional even if put to a use far different than was originally intended.

Sports Ribbons and Trophies

The rule is: If it has meaning to you, it’s worth showing off. So signed game balls, jerseys and team photographs, as well as the swim team trophy from college or the first place debate ribbon you won in high school should have a place in your home as well as in your heart. They can be as important in your life as your college diploma or your wedding portrait, and you wouldn’t dream of hiding them in a closet, would you?

Your home should reflect your personality, not the style sense of a magazine editor.

Unless, of course, you’re actively trying to sell the house. Then it’s best to pack away some of the personal items! Contact your trusted real estate professional for more staging tips to help make a positive impact on potential buyers.

 

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Outdoor Projects That Will Help You Sell Your Home

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 14th, 2018

Outdoor Projects That Will Help You Sell Your HomeFirst impressions matter when you’re selling your home. Curb appeal is what draws potential buyers to your home. It can make or break a home sale.

Attractive landscaping or an appealing entryway can determine whether or not buyers walk through your front door. If the outside of your house is poorly kept up, they probably won’t bother to see the inside.

You don’t have to have a large budget or tons of time to make your home look appealing from the outside. Here are some easy outdoor projects that will help you sell your home.

Get Rid Of Clutter

Getting rid of clutter and garbage in your yard is one of the easiest and cheapest things that you can do to make your home look great. Pretend that you are a buyer. Walk around your home and look for clutter. Pick up any plastic, paper, branches or other garbage that has made its way into your yard. Remove trash cans, skateboards, bikes and garden tools. If you have newspapers on your front porch, clear them away.

Clean Up The Landscaping

The last thing that you want is for buyers to pull up to your house and see an overgrown lawn that is littered with weeds. If you have listed your home on the market, it is important to keep the lawn looking neat and trimmed. Prune overgrown shrubs and trim hedges. Weed and water your flower gardens. Add a layer of mulch to all of your flower beds, as well. Sweep away any dead leaves or small branches. Make sure that you are mowing and weed-eating your lawn on a regular basis.

Repaint the Exterior

Repainting your exterior doesn’t cost a ton of money and it can enhance the value of your home quite a bit. It is especially important to repaint if your existing wood trim and front door have peeling paint. Adding a new coat of paint can be done over a weekend in most cases.

Update Lighting  

If you have old or broken exterior lighting, consider updating it. This is another job that does not take much time or money and can quickly give your home a facelift. Plus, exterior lighting is a great safety feature and something that most buyers appreciate.

Replace Broken Fixtures

Take a look at your door hardware, doorbell, house numbers, mailbox and other exterior fixtures. Do they look worn or old? Are they broken? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then it is time to replace these things. Brushed nickel or bronze are both very nice exterior finishes. They work equally well in both contemporary and traditional homes.

Remember, it can also be a great idea to have your trusted real estate professional take a look and give you tips on how you can maximize your sales price on your home. They have years of experience and will likely be able to uncover opportunities that an owner may overlook.

 

 

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Home Trends Includes Natural Mindfulness Designs

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on August 9th, 2018

Home Trends Includes Natural Mindfulness DesignsUrban and suburban life offers wonderful conveniences and cultural benefits. But a downside that many families are experiencing is the pervasive use of electronics and disconnectedness from nature.

These lifestyle deficiencies have increased the popularity of yoga and meditation and the practice of mindfulness is topping the covers of national magazines. Everyday mothers and fathers are also working hard to engage their children in outdoor activities and nature. These things require an ongoing effort on top of already packed schedules. That’s why mindful home designs that bring nature into your living space have been trending.

Origins Of Mindful Home Design

There are plenty of home fads that come and go. Some may remember the intense oranges of the 1970s or tiles that covered over lush hardwood floors. Yikes.

One of the founders of the nature-infused home movement was America’s beloved architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His acclaimed Fallingwater marvel was built in 1935 directly on top of a waterfall. The design incorporated natural stone and timber in a way that brought the outdoors living experience into the home. The southwest Pennsylvania wonder forms the basis for the recent trend to incorporate natural elements into living spaces.

The idea that connectedness to nature improves mindfulness has been supported by a wealth of research. The Japanese use “forest bathing” as a way to feed the mind and spirit. The basic idea goes hand in hand with Wright’s architectural thinking that human senses benefit from a direct and discernable connection to nature.

Studies have shown that patients recovering from illness or surgery demonstrate marked health improvement through natural immersion. But the practical question is: how does this trend benefit everyday homeowners?

Natural Homes Improve Mindfulness

It’s not practical to bring an entire forest into your home. But creating semi open-air spaces go a long way to enhancing an outdoor feeling.

Many homes are including semi-enclosed spaces constructed from natural timbers, stone flooring and rich plant life that emulate the positive effects nature has on the human psyche. Although subtle, they help reduce the nature deficiency experienced by many tech-oriented adults and children.  

By working with materials that further the experiences of nature’s sights, sounds, touches, smells and even tastes in some cases, living environments are bringing a touch of the natural world home.

When considering a remodeling project or new construction, consider looking at the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater project and contemporary home designers about infusing nature into your everyday life.

If this housing type is appealing, be sure to let your trusted real estate professional know so that they can help you find just the right home for you.

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4 Important Reasons To Install A Home Generator

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on July 18th, 2018

4 Important Reasons To Install A Home GeneratorHome improvements are key investments when it comes to quality of life and property value. While decks, solar panels and smart technologies are trendy options, installing a home generator may be even more valuable. That’s because backup generators not only improve market value, they also protect you and your home during severe weather incidents.

Consider these four reasons why a home generator makes good sense.

Protect Against Severe Weather

The impact of severe weather can reach catastrophic proportions. Thousands of people are left without electricity for days — even weeks — after storms. Heat waves also put an inordinate strain on the power grid when all of those air conditioners and HVAC go into 24-hour overdrive.

The consequences of extended power losses are generally fouled foods in the refrigerator and freezer, unbearable temperatures and an inability to take corrective measures to the physical property itself. When the grid goes down, you may be left powerless as the losses mount.   

Keeps Critical Systems Operational

When the power goes down for an extended period of time, important electronics become inoperable. If you work from home or rely on electronic devices to earn a living, either you’re putting in for vacation time or losing money. But beyond the financial implications, many people need power for vital medical equipment to function. It’s simply too risky to not have a backup plan if you or a loved one suffers from a health condition.

Backup Generators Improve Home Security

We have all seen the national news coverage about post-storm or brownout crime waves. Looting and burglary ran rampant when residents are evacuated. That’s because criminals know full well that your alarm system went down with the power.

Consider the accumulated wealth you have at home and irreplaceable personal items. Those could be lost if your home gets robbed during a power outage. Fortunately, installing a home generator will allow you to keep the lights on and thugs away. Just having your lights on at night demonstrates that you have electricity and that acts as a powerful deterrent. A backup generator provides peace of mind against theft.

Backup Generators Improve Property Values

It only makes sense that a home generator will increase your property value. After all, home generator installations are direct financial investments.

According to Consumer Reports, installing a home generator can improve your home’s value by as much as 3-5 percent. Similarly, Remodeling Magazine indicated that the return on investment for a home generator installing can range as high as 150 percent. Of course, those figures may be weighed against the money you saved by being powered up when the grid was down as well.

The point of this discussion is that while new kitchens and smart homes are exciting ways to amp up your home’s values, improvements such as backup generators have a quiet value worth considering.

Your trusted real estate agent is available to suggest other home improvement tips that can help to improve the value of your property when you are getting ready to put it on the market.

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Can Color Help Sell Your Home?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on June 27th, 2018

Can Color Help Sell Your Home?Color psychology is not an exact science, but there are basic principles that marketing pros use to sell everything from greeting cards to automobiles. Much of it has to do with color. Yes, the colors you put on your walls, or on your front door, can help clinch a home sale!

Humans have emotional reactions to color, and sensory perceptions of color are remarkably consistent. Even though individual reactions can vary, it is acknowledged that some colors evoke generally positive response, while others typically generate a negative reaction. Learning the basics of colors can be as simple as studying the color wheel. Forget about the trends, and rely on your own feelings.

Warm and Cool Colors

All colors are derived from three primary hues: Red, yellow and blue. The way they are mixed and combined results in all the colors of the spectrum, divided into warm and cool tones. And that’s where it can get a bit complicated: Humans are able to perceive millions of different color variations, and subtle differences can result in unique reactions. 

So, while the simple answer to whether color influences buying decisions is a qualified yes, there is more to the story. Neutral tones are often recommended because they allow people to add their own color personality. 

Color Dynamics

Both on a home’s exterior and inside each room, color plays an important part in attracting — or discouraging — potential buyers, so if you’re thinking of refreshing your home’s color scheme before listing it for sale, it’s wise to study the basics of color psychology. The goal is to appeal to the widest possible pool of buyers, and that’s why real estate agents tend to recommend staying with neutrals.

But the “safe” route is not necessarily the only path to a quick sale. Take the time to drive different neighborhoods and visit open houses. Take note of exterior trim colors that seem especially appealing. Study interiors: Look beyond the furnishings and visualize rooms as they would appear empty. Analyze different color options, and notice that the most appealing homes typically have a unifying theme. That doesn’t mean that every room is the same color, but simply that color choices throughout the home are related and always compatible.

Develop a Plan

By taking the time to assess your reactions to different colors, you can assist your realtor to market your home. If you love energetic red, consider painting your entry door and adding red accents in many of your rooms.

On the other hand, if sunny yellow makes you feel happy, emphasize that mood with variations of cream and warm golden tones, with accents of daffodil or saturated sunflower yellow throughout.

Color is very personal, just like a home. If your home reflects your unique personality, it will no doubt appeal to others.

Your trusted real estate agent will be able to assist you with additional color tips and so much more to help you get the most value from your property.

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