Archive for Around The Home

Dealing with an Empty Nest? 5 Great Reasons to Downsize into a New Condo

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 7th, 2022

Dealing with an Empty Nest? 5 Great Reasons to Downsize into a New CondoThere’s a good chance if your children have recently moved out that your home is feeling a lot larger than it used to, and perhaps you’re re-considering the extra space. If downsizing to a condo is on your mind and you’re weighing the benefits of this kind of move, here are some that might make it worth the switch in size.

A Little Extra Money

With the additional money you should be making off the sale of your home, there’s a good chance that downsizing may provide you with extra assets to sock away for retirement, travel or whatever your heart fancies. If you don’t need the money, it might not matter, but in the retirement years a little extra can be of benefit for many.

Minimize Your Costs

Usually, there are many utility and heating costs that go along with home ownership, but by moving into a condo you can alleviate many monthly payments instantly. Instead of paying for every utility, condo living can help to simplify and minimize the amount you owe each month.

Free Up Your Retirement

Often times it may seem like home ownership is the dream, but many people approaching retirement would rather have the flexibility of renting. Because there are limited responsibilities with a rental, it means you can spend the winter months in Mexico without having to worry about who will take care of your home.

A Condominium Community

The great thing about many condo buildings is that they are built close to amenities like grocery stores, drycleaners and restaurants, so you don’t have to worry about venturing far out. It might not seem important if you’re used to driving to the store to make your purchases, but being able to walk might make you a convert to a different way of life.

Forget About The Maintenance

If you’ve gotten used to all of the maintenance that goes into a home, downsizing can be a great relief in terms of the time you’ll be saving. Instead of a lawn to cut or a multi-level home you’re responsible for, you’ll be able to rely on the building manager to do this for you.

It can be comforting to have a home you’ve bought and paid for that belongs to you, but by downsizing you may be able to save on time and significantly lower your living costs. If you’re considering purchasing a condo and would like to learn more about your options, you may want to contact one of our local real estate agents for more information.

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Running out of Kitchen Space? 5 Storage Hacks That Will Help You Do More with Less

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 29th, 2021

Running out of Kitchen Space? 5 Storage Hacks That Will Help You Do More with LessWith all of the things that you need to fit into the kitchen, being economical with how you use your space can be a very important part of making it work. If you’re looking for some new ideas for how to use your space to maximum capacity, here are some hacks that might just make a marked difference!

Make Use of Magnets

Using magnets to hold up some kitchen essentials will not only be effective and functional, it will make for a quirky, modern space with personality. Whether you decide on a magnetized knife block for the side of the fridge or purchase some magnetized spices for easy access, this is a simple trick for storage that goes beyond the fridge.

Cue The Cutting Board Cover

One of the biggest problems with a small kitchen is the minimal counter space, but this is an easy problem to solve with a cutting board made to fit over your sink. Instead of having to move around items to make room on your counter, you’ll always have a convenient place to do your chopping that will be handy when you need it.

Maximize Your Ceiling Space

Pots and pans can take up a lot of cabinet space, but the purchase of an overhead rack can easily free up some of your shelves for a different use. By hanging pots, pans and even kitchen utensils from a rack, you’ll have a neat modern look that will add a twist on the traditional kitchen.

Arrange Your Drawers With Inserts

Everyone is familiar with the kinds of kitchen drawers that are in shambles, full of bottomless utensils that are hard to find when they’re needed. By purchasing a drawer insert, you will be able to organize your utensils according to type and utilize all of the drawer space that’s available.

Reconsider The Wine Rack

It’s generally the case that a wine rack is filled with wine bottles, but to add a funky and useful twist to your old rack, consider keeping all kinds of bottles in it. By adding in water bottles, soda, and even certain perishables, you can save room on your shelves and create a statement piece!

It can often seem impossible to make room for everything in a small kitchen, but there are lots of hacks that will free up more space for the items that are required. If you’re currently perusing kitchens on the real estate market, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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Tankless Water Heaters: The Pros and Cons of Going Tankless In Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 28th, 2021

Tankless Water Heaters: The Pros and Cons of Going Tankless In Your HomeLarge water heaters are unsightly appliances that home-sellers would rather hide. Although it’s not always possible to banish these structures, it is possible to replace them with a version that is not as overbearing. Tankless water heaters have the potential to make one home stand out amongst the competition, but they do have some disadvantages along with the benefits.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Use Less Energy

Traditional water heaters continuously heat water that is just sitting in the tank, and this requires energy. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not heat the water until someone needs it. Therefore, they are more energy-efficient and cost less to operate.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Last Longer

Traditional water heaters will need to be replaced after about a decade, but tankless water heaters can last much longer. If someone is planning on purchasing a home with a new tankless water heater, he or she would not have to think about replacing it for about 20 years.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Are More Space Efficient

The typical traditional water heater is 24 inches wide and 60 inches tall. Tankless heaters save a lot of space because they are generally only 20 inches wide and 28 inches tall. They open up a lot of space, and this impresses buyers greatly.

Con: There Is Less Available Hot Water with Tankless Heaters

Although a tankless heater can provide a home with hot water only when it is needed, the amount is limited to a few gallons at a time. This will mean that more than one occupant in the home cannot take a shower at the same time. They will definitely not be able to do this while they run the dishwasher or the washing machine.

Con: Tankless Water Heaters Are Typically More Expensive

Tankless water heaters cost around $1,000 while the traditional version only has a price tag equal to $300 or $400. While this higher up-front purchase cost is a con, if you consider that a tankless water heater should last longer than a traditional heater you may end up saving a bit over time.

If you are thinking about purchasing a home or are selling the one you currently own, contact your local real estate agent for more information. While they might not be the best source of information about water heaters, these professionals are the best way to ensure you get a great deal on a home.

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3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Plumbing

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 16th, 2021

Get The Most Out Of Your PlumbingEveryone wants their pipes to last as long as possible, but there are a couple of simple problems that might be sucking the life out of your plumbing. Long-term stress is the enemy when it comes to your water system.

The three most common enemies are high water pressure, mineral-laden hard water, and grease. Avoid these three mistakes, and your water system will last years longer.

Take The Pressure Off Your Pipes

You might enjoy high water pressure when you’re taking a shower, but your pipes aren’t enjoying it at all. Over time, this high pressure stresses your plumbing system and can lead to leaks.

Is your high-pressure shower worth an expensive plumbing leak? To test your water pressure, you’ll have to hire a professional. Proper pressure should be somewhere between forty and eighty pounds per square inch.

To have a plumber reduce your water pressure should cost no more than about three or four hundred dollars. That sounds expensive, but it’s a lot cheaper than a leak.

Soft Water Is Good Water

If your water has a lot of minerals dissolved it, then it’s known as hard water. If you don’t already have a water softener you should consider it, because over time, those minerals will build up in your plumbing.

Eventually this will lead to a leak, so nip the problem in the bud, and look into getting a water softener. A good water softener should cost around five hundred dollars.

Hard water also makes soaps and detergents less effective. Soft water will get your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair cleaner.

Cease The Grease

Don’t ever pour cooking grease down the drain. It might be liquid when you pour it, but after a while, it will cool and solidify in your pipes. This won’t break the plumbing and cause a leak, but it will clog it all up.

The water that goes down afterward won’t do anything to wash away the sticky grease. You don’t want your pipes backing up, trust me. That is one messy problem.

Instead pour your grease into containers and throw it away in the garbage. Even better, go ahead and save it in the pantry and cook with it later.

Indoor plumbing is one of the most convenient technologies we have. So don’t take it for granted. Take care of your plumbing, and get the most out of it.

Avoid excessive water pressure, get a water softener, and don’t pour any grease down the drain. A little care now will go a long way. No one wants to deal with a plumbing leak. They’re expensive and a huge hassle.

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Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your Windows

Posted in Around The Home,Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 14th, 2021

Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your WindowsWindows can add a lot to the look of your home, and this means that dressing them up properly is an important key for aesthetic appeal. While draggy, neutral-colored curtains can be one of the less exciting aspects of decorating your home, here are a few ways you can adorn the most basic of home fixtures and turn your windows into something truly unique.

A Reconstituted Valance

A short curtain can be a nice, less fussy way to adorn your windows, but if you have a kitchen space in need of warming up, try a piece of wood or metal painted with a color or texture of your choice. Whether it’s covered in words or you stick with a neutral paint color, it can easily add texture and character while letting a lot more light in.

Stylish and Singular Shades

If you want something that will cover the window without getting in the way, you may want to opt for window shades that you can pull down or pull up at your leisure. While this might sound like a pretty tame option, shades are available in a variety of shapes, colors and motifs that are sure to add spark to your room.

Frosted Glass Find

If you want to forego having blinds altogether but you have large windows that need to be covered, you may want to try installing frosted glass in order to maximize the available light. Not only can this be a means of maintaining your privacy at any hour of the day, it will also leave your room feeling airy, well-lit and open well into the evening.

Parade Of Plants

It may seem like a strange solution to the traditional curtain, but a row of plants placed on the window ledge can add a lot to your frames while limiting the need for curtains. While this trick will work especially well for kitchen windows and other areas where you can use smaller plants, you can always try mixing it up to create a different effect.

The idea of long, white curtains isn’t necessarily something that will work for every room, but there are plenty of ways you can dress up your window frames without having to reach for a piece of fabric. If you’re looking for new design tips because you’re considering a move in your future, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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$500 Renovations That Will Boost Your Home’s Value and Speed Up Your Sale

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 9th, 2021

$500 Renovations That Will Boost Your Home's Value and Speed Up Your SaleThe idea of home renovations when you’re selling your home can be unpopular because of the cost and time that can go into sprucing up a place you’re about to leave behind. However, making a few simple, economical touches can go a long way to capitalizing on your home’s value and making a difference in dollars. If you’re curious about cheap options for an easier sale, here are a few that may make the deal a little sweeter.

Kick Up The Kitchen A Notch

With all of the time that a family spends in the kitchen, it’s unsurprising that it is fast becoming one of the most important features that go into a potential buyer’s interest in a home. For less than a thousand, you may want to consider an upgraded appliance that will serve as a sparkly new selling feature or even some slightly revamped cabinet fronts that will keep the price down and the look up-to-date.

A Little Bathroom Fix-Up

With the bathroom being one of the smallest spaces in any home, it can be hard to know how to properly enhance this minimal space for maximum effect. Instead of re-doing the floor or the tub, consider the basic cost of a new light fixture and an updated mirror. Simply updating these two items will completely shift the look of an aging bathroom.

Clean Up The Carpet

With carpet making a bit of a comeback, it’s certainly not going to be worth your while to replace any damage it’s incurred before leaving your home. Instead of leaving things to chance, though, consider a relatively economical carpet cleaning that will drastically improve the look of your carpet and may convince potential buyers it’s less worn than it is.

Lighting Is Everything

There are few things that can lend or detract from the look of a room more than the lighting you choose. While you may want to consider a new, nice fixture to change up your living room, kitchen or foyer area, a shade of light that is complimentary to the space it’s illuminating will have more of an impact than anything on how your home is viewed.

Renovations may seem like unnecessary work if you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, but some minor upgrades can make a huge difference on the price tag that your home sale will pull in. If you’re wondering about home upgrades and other factors that will be considered in selling your home, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for more information.

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Greenify Your Home with Our Guide to Conducting a DIY Energy Audit

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 24th, 2021

Greenify Your Home with Our Guide to Conducting a DIY Energy AuditThe idea of conducting an energy audit on your home might seem like something complicated that should be left to the experts, but there are ways for you to make your home a little greener without consulting anybody. Instead of having someone else do the work, here are a few simple ways for you to inspect your home and green up its energy use.

Do A Candle Test Of Exterior Walls

Since cold air coming in from outside your home can impact your energy use significantly, do the simple test of taking a candle on a tour of your home to determine if there are any drafts. Ensure that you check all of the windows, doors and exterior areas where outside air can gain access; if your candle blows out or wavers, this is a surefire sign that a fix-up is needed. If you’ve located an area where air is getting in, you may need to caulk it or add insulation to remedy the problem.

Carefully Inspect The Attic

Since we rarely venture up to the attic, it can be one of the last places that we would look for a draft, but it can be one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to insulation. Before heading up, put on a mask and some work gloves to protect yourself from the dusty surfaces, and lift up the insulation to inspect for any spaces where air could be accessing your home. If you’ve noticed gaps or places that lack coverage, fill them with additional insulation and seal it with expanding insulation for added coverage.

Don’t Take Ducts For Granted

Since ducts are made of thin metal and can easily lose heat if they are damaged or unclean, it’s important to inspect them for holes and make sure they are joined sufficiently so air is not escaping. If you’ve found an issue, you will want to replace or insulate them more effectively so that energy loss can be prevented and does not impact energy use throughout your entire home.

There are plenty of ways that your home can lose energy – from the ducts through to the exterior walls – but there are simple things you can do to test its efficiency and improve your energy use. If you happen to be doing some minor renovations so you can put your home on the market soon, you may want to contact your trusted real estate agent for more information.

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Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs This Winter in Just Three Easy Steps

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 18th, 2021

Save Money on Your Home Energy Costs This Winter in Just Three Easy Steps It doesn’t matter if you heat your home with electricity, natural gas or some other energy source; prices continue to rise and that means increased heating costs for most of us.

In today’s blog post we’ll share three easy ways that you can save money on your home energy costs this winter.

Install and Use Programmable Thermostats

Now that Nest and other companies have brought Wi-Fi enabled, programmable thermostats on the market there’s very few excuses to avoid using them. At bare minimum you’ll want a digital thermostat that can be programmed to turn on and off at certain hours of the day.

For example, you can shut your heat off after leaving for work and have it turn back on again a half-hour or so before you get home. You can do the same at night when you’re fast asleep under warm blankets. If possible, try to get a thermostat for each room so that rooms can be heated individually as needed.

Switch Up Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans you may not know that by reversing their direction you can keep your rooms feeling much warmer. In the winter you’ll want your fans spinning in a clockwise direction, which will push warm air downward into the room where you’ll be able to feel it. In the summer you’ll want to switch the fans back to counter-clockwise as this will help move warm air towards the ceiling.

Check Your Insulation, Furnace and Ducts Now

Finally, you’ll want to check that your home heating system is operating at peak efficiency. If you can access your attic, check to ensure that your insulation is tightly packed and that it’s still in good condition. Clean or replace the air filter on your furnace, and check your ducts for any leaks that need to be repaired. If it has been a few years, consider having a professional furnace and duct cleaning to get all of the dust and debris out of the ductwork.

As you can see, a little time spent on home maintenance can end up saving quite a bit in energy costs when the temperatures drop. When you’re ready to look at buying a newer, more energy-efficient home, contact your local real estate agent and book a consultation where you can share your needs and price range.

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How To Interview An Architect When Building A New Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 9th, 2021

How To Interview An Architect When Building A New HomeMaking the decision to build a home might be one of the biggest you make in your life. You’ve found the perfect plot of land and have a vision of what type of home you want, but you need someone to bring your dream to life.

That means it’s time to start interviewing architects.

Hiring an architect isn’t as simple as just calling up a few and seeing who might have the time.

You’ll want to ensure you choose a professional that understands your design aesthetic, communicates well, can design on budget and has an upstanding reputation.

Below are a few key questions to ask when deciding whom to hire.

Do You Have A Specific Design Style?

When interviewing architects, be sure to ask each one if they have a specific aesthetic and if you can see a portfolio of his or her work. While most are adaptable, they usually all have design themes that recur in their projects.

Whether you want a minimalist structure or LEED certified construction, you’ll want to know they have the experience.

What Is Your Fee?

You’ll need to inquire whether they charge a flat fee for their designs or a percentage of the total building cost. Most architects charge a percentage of the overall cost of your home, usually ranging from 5-20 percent.

This is important to know because it means that for every floorboard installed, you’ll need to add on the architect’s additional percentage.

Do You Provide Project Management Services?

There are many services that architects should include within their contract, such as checking the contractor’s work, making adjustments as the construction moves forward and obtaining lien waivers.

Get a list of what each architect you interview includes in his or her fee. Additional charges can add up and might play a part in who you choose.

Interviewing architects and finding the right professional can make all the difference when it comes to building exactly what you want. One you work well with can make the construction experience extremely pleasant, while a negative relationship can leave you hating your new home.

So do your research and be sure to get references.

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Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel Bigger

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on October 26th, 2021

Five Unique Renovations That Can Make Small Living Spaces Feel BiggerJust because you live in a small space doesn’t mean your home needs to feel cramped. There are several renovations that are popular among interior designers to make a space feel larger. Incorporate them into your own home to give it a more open, spacious feel.

1. Crystal Clear

Glass is an absolutely phenomenal way to make a small space feel larger as it removes visual barriers to show off additional square footage, making it seem as though it’s part of the room. Whether you choose a glass railing for a staircases or room divider or incorporate a glass shower into a small bathroom, glass can help your home feel more spacious.

2. Make The Most Of Mirrors

Similar to glass, mirrors can make a small space feel big as they add an illusion of depth to a room. Try installing a large mirror on a wall in lieu of paintings or other decor if you’d like to make a room seem larger than it is.

3. Goodbye Island

If it’s your kitchen that’s feeling cramped, consider removing the island. Islands can add value to a home, but if your kitchen is small enough that it shouldn’t have been there in the first place then getting rid of it will create a much more functional space. Consider whether you’d still have ample counter space and storage without your island, and if the answer is yes it may be time to say goodbye to your island.

4. Tear Down The Walls

Creating an open concept floor plan is a fantastic renovation for a small home as it removes barriers between several small spaces to create one larger open space. Do you really need a wall between your kitchen and dining room? How about between your dining room and living room? If there’s a wall that simply isn’t necessary, it may be time to tear it down.

5. Keep It Light

A very quick and easy renovation to help open up a small space is to paint the walls in a light color as it will reflect more light than a darker shade, making the room feel airy rather than cozy. If you’re considering re-doing the floors, choosing a lighter color can further contribute to the feeling of a larger space.

Small spaces don’t have to cramp your style. In fact, they offer unique design opportunities and can make wonderful living spaces. If you’re looking for more homeowner advice, get in touch with your local real estate professional today.

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