5 TIPS FOR REDUCING CLUTTER

5 Things To Do To Get Ridclutter Of Your Unwanted Clutter.

It doesn’t take much time to go from a perfectly organized room to a cluttered, chaotic mess. Papers pile up on surfaces, coats and bags end up on furniture, shoe boxes and shopping bags get stuffed in the first place you can find. But if you’re proactive, you can avoid the common clutter traps. Here are five ideas for reducing clutter:

hall treeHave a place for the things you bring into the house each day:  Do what you can to create an easy place to put your outerwear, mail, keys, phone, and the other things you bring home each day. Coat racks, mail holders, and a catch-all basket give you an easy, consistent place to put your everyday items.

basketGet a basket for once-worn clothes:  There are some clothing items that may not need to be washed or put away immediately after one use, like sweaters or denim. These items often end up on the bedroom floor. Instead, put them in a specific basket for items that aren’t yet ready for the laundry room.

wall rackKeep kitchen tools off the counter:  It’s really easy to let items pile up on the kitchen counters, and all that clutter can be frustrating when it’s ready to make a meal. To reduce clutter, use wall racks to keep cooking utensils off the counter.

no clutterDesignate a no-clutter zone:  This one’s simple. Simply choose an important surface or space (like a coffee table), clear it of clutter, and focus on keeping that one area totally organized.

set tableKeep the dining room table set:  Not only is a set table pleasant to the eye, but it also makes it nearly impossible for the table to gather clutter. Thanks to the plates and silverware, there’s no room for your junk mail.

DOES HOME STAGING MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

What is all the hullabaloo about Home Staging?after

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It seems to be universally accepted that home staging will help your home sell faster or for the best price—it’s been the common practice in the real estate business for a long time, and on the surface it seems like a no-brainer. Of course potential buyers will be more interested if a home is properly decorated, right?

That’s not necessarily true, according to a recent academic study. The study surveyed 820 homebuyers by showing them one of six virtual tours of the same property. In some instances the home was decorated with traditional furniture and color schemes, while in others more eccentric furniture and colors were used. In other tours there was no furniture at all, just empty rooms.

The overall results of the study were that staging is unlikely to increase a home’s sale price, and that staging isn’t quite as important as everyone believes.  It does make the home feel inviting which may increase showing.

Of course, real estate trends vary greatly from market to market. If you have questions about staging, talk to your trusted real estate professional.

5 INEXPENSIVE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

5 INEXPENSIVE HOME IMPROVEMENTS

The cost of some home renovations can seem daunting, but not every home improvement has to break the bank. Here are 5 simple improvements you can make that will have a major impact, but are still relatively inexpensive.

landscaping trees

Add some trees:  Want to add some curb appeal to your home and feel better when you’re pulling into the driveway after work? You won’t believe the difference a few trees can make. And compared to the cost (mature trees starts at around $1,000), they provide a great return on investment for you property value and can lower energy bills by providing shade.

 

 

Add Moldings:  Molding instantly adds a classy, sophisticated touch to any room, and if you do it yourself, it can cost less than $2 per foot. If you ever sell your home, buyers consistently say that molding is a big plus.molding

 

ceiling fanUpgrade your ceiling fans:  An efficient ceiling fan costs far less than air conditioning, and if your current ceiling fan is on its last legs, a replacement can totally change the look of a room.

 

 

 

 

energy efficiant

 

 

 

Energy efficient appliances:  Still using the appliances that came with the home? Upgrading your range, fridge, or dishwasher won’t just give your kitchen a sleeker appearance. Newer, more energy-efficient appliances will also lower your utility bills.

 

 

StorageInvest in storage:  One of the biggest ways to improve your home is to declutter. Throw out what you don’t need, and invest is some good storage solutions for what you keep.

BAD CHOICES FOR REDESIGNING YOUR KITCHEN

4 Things NOT to do when redesigning your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the areas of a home that sees the most wear and tear. All the water, heat, and food spills add up quickly, so it’s important to focus on quality and lasting appeal if you’re choosing materials for a kitchen remodel. Here are a few things you should avoid:

counterCheap laminate counters: The bottom rung of laminate is extremely susceptible to wear and tear. It can melt if you forget to place a hot pad under a pan that’s fresh off the stove, and the edges can chip off from repeated exposure to moisture and heat.

 

 

 

Fflat paintlat paint: A flat or matte finish is great in rooms with lower traffic, but it’s a bad idea in the kitchen, where the walls are regularly exposed to splatters and spills. You need paint that can withstand an occasional heavy scrubbing, so opt for gloss or semi-gloss finishes.

 

 

backsplashTrendy backsplash: If you watch any home remodeling shows, you’ve certainly seen kitchens with expensive, elaborate backsplash designs and materials. Those trends can be pricey to pursue, yet can look dated in a hurry. Subway tile is a cheaper, classic option that you’ll never regret—and you’ll have more room in your budget for quality materials elsewhere.

 

 

 

badfloorCheap flooring: Just like the countertops, your kitchen floor needs to be strong enough to take some abuse. Cheap flooring easily scuffs and peels (especially from moisture). Quality flooring is worth the investment.

5 BATHROOM TRENDS

5 Current Bathroom Trends

Staying on top of the latest bathroom trends in home decor isn’t for everyone, but even for traditionalists it can be fun to incorporate some new ideas. Here are five trends that are currently appearing in bathrooms.

  1. Geometric patterns: bathroom geometricMany homeowners are selecting bold patterns in geometric shapes, like chevrons, triangles, or hexagons. These patterns can add intrigue and continuity to your tile or shower curtain.
  2. Plants: plants in bathroomEven the best-designed bathrooms can benefit from some small plants. If you have a windowless bathroom, there are some low-light options that can survive with little maintenance.
  3. Dark colors: dark bathroomThis can be tricky, but with a big pay off. While traditionally bathrooms are painted with brighter whites and greys, opting for darker colors can make a bathroom seem more luxurious and relaxing. Imagine sinking into a deep bath with dim lighting—that might convey the appeal of a darker palette.
  4. Brass hardware: brass bathroom fixturesTrends always come back around. The brass fixtures of the ‘70s are popular once again.
  5. Minimalism: minimulist bathroomThe massive master bathroom is still great, but there’s also some appeal in smaller bathroom designs. Minimalism allows for smaller spaces to feel more intimate, but still airy and open.

HOW TO LOWER YOUR CABLE BILL

Can you cut your Cable bill?

cable companies

More and more people are cutting the cord and going without television service, but for many—especially those who watch a lot of live programming— cable is still a necessity. Cable and satellite companies love to sign customers to a two-year contract, but will dramatically raise your bill when a promotional period ends after one year. Suddenly, you’re paying $50 or more per month for the same services.

Here’s how to get (and keep) the best deals on television service.

 

Know what’s in store: Cable and satellite companies seemingly make it impossible to go online to downgrade your services, cancel service, or choose a new bundle. Even online chat support gives the cable company the upper hand. Picking up the phone and negotiating remains the best way to get the lowest price for your television service.phone

Knowledge is power: Before you call, do some research. Understand the terms of your current contract, see which bundles your cable provider is currently offering to new customers, and price out similar service offerings from other companies. You’ll be in a better bargaining position if you have the freedom to cancel on your current provider.

Make the call: Make it clear to the support representative that you are calling because your rates have increased and you’re considering cancelling if they cannot lower your bill. The support representative will initially try to offer higher-priced bundles or short-term freebies, but don’t give up on the negotiation—remember, you already know you can switch to another provider. If the sales representative won’t budge, you can even end the call, and try again with a different representative. In most cases, they would rather find a package that works than lose a customer.

TIME TO REPLACE YOUR WINDOWS

HOW TO DECIDE IF IT’S Time —AND WHERE TO GET STARTED

Before you dive into replacing your windows, the first step is to carefully evaluate the pros and cons. Replacing your windows is no small investment. The average cost to replace the windows in a home is in the five-figure range. Even if replacing your windows results in huge energy savings, it can take years and years for the investment to pay off.

If you’re truly ready to replace them—whether it’s for energy and comfort, an aesthetic upgrade, or your current windows are simply beyond repair—here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pick the right materialswindow material
Window materials include vinyl, fiberglass, composite, wood, and aluminum. There are several factors that should go into deciding on the best material for your home, such as durability, energy efficiency, maintenance requirements, and even the style of your home. Some materials look great on one architectural style, but totally clash with others.

Carefully consider add-on featureswindow styles
Beyond choosing a window material and style, you’ll face another series of choices for add-on features. There are impact-resistant windows, extra panes, gas-filled windows, climate control coatings, and more. Most add-ons will significantly increase the price for each window, and in many instances, the long-term savings don’t justify the extra cost. Do the math and consider how long it will take for the extra features to pay for themselves.

5 SECRET WEAPONS FOR DIY PROJECTS

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5 Simple Ingredients for some of your Dreaded DIY Projects

 

 

 

Is there a DIY home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store?

Here are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.

  1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
  2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
  3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
  4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

5 SIMPLE STEPS FOR A BETTER HOME APPRAISAL

real-estate-appraiser

What to do to get a Better Home Appraisal

If you’re looking to refinance your home or possibly sell, you’ll need a killer appraisal. A bank will not refinance a home for more than it is worth, and a potential buyer will not pay more than the recognized value of the home.

Here are 5 simple steps for a better home appraisal.

Tidy your space Make sure your yard looks well-groomed and the interior of your home is clean clutter-free. It is well worth the investment to have the home professionally cleaned and have your yard serviced.

Invest in the right types of renovations Kitchens and bathrooms are the best types of renovations. They will typically provide 80% ROI. High-efficiency appliances and upgrades that improve the overall efficiency of the home are well worth the investment.

Document your upgrades Provide the appraiser with a list and documentation of all upgrades, renovations, and improvements to the home.

Do your homework Research and provide your own comparable valuations for similar properties in the area. Note your tone. You don’t want to come off as defensive but rather helpful.

Be available but not in the way Be present to assist with the process but don’t be the appraiser’s shadow. You want to appear helpful, not nervous that he’ll find something wrong!

Appraisals can be helpful in increasing the sale of your home or assisting in refinancing your mortgage. Use these tips and you’ll get a better value for your home.

DISPELLING REFINANCING MYTHS

Refinancing_Mortgage_Loans

3 Things You Need To Know About Refinancing

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE.

For years now, we’vtime-vortexe been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.

IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING.

Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?

 

 

adjust-fixed-250x250ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO.

Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.