The Super-Quick, Really Easy, Last-Minute Guide To Making Your House Guest Ready For The Holidays

It never fails. You have weeks, or even months, to get your house in order before family arrives to celebrate the holidays. But now it’s days, or even hours, before their arrival, and well, you’re nowhere near ready. Heed a few tips to get your house in great shape before the family descends on you.

Know where to go

You don’t need to deep-clean every inch of your house. There are lots of places your guests will probably never venture, and you can always close the doors to rooms you don’t plan on using.

“Stick to the bathroom your guests will use, along with the kitchen and dining or entertaining area where your guests will spend most of their time,” said Angie’s List. “Skip areas of the house or rooms your guests won’t see, such as second-floor hallways, bedrooms and your home office.”

Make your cleaning products work for you

Maximize your time by spraying your toilets, baths, showers, and sinks and then leave to do something else. Come back after a few minutes and wipe clean.


HGTV
Pick up your stuff

“The first thing you want to do is go through your entire home and pick up everything that is on the floor and not in its proper place,” said CBS. You probably have an extra box somewhere that can act as a catch-all for that stuff that seems to multiply in your house. If not, a laundry basket will do in a pinch.

Relocate

Now it’s time to figure out where to put all that stuff. Your favorite spots for relocating items (like your guest room or guest closets) may not work this time around. Chances are, your master bedroom is the safe spot. You may not love the idea of all those toys or knickknacks or all the clothes you’ve been meaning to donate that have been hanging out on the guest room bed gathering in the corner of your room or under your bed or in your closet for a few days, but it’s probably better than your Aunt Molly snuggling up with three years’ worth of your kids’ too-small clothes.

Clean off those countertops

Assuming you’re going to be cooking over the holidays, you’re going to need space to do it. Time to pare down the accessories. Think like a home stager and pack away the non-essentials. Not only will it give you the work space you want, but also a cleaner look in your kitchen.


sheknows.com
Put socks on everyone in the house

While you’re running around frantically, you’re doing double duty by picking up the dust on the floor.

Socks on hands works, too

Your kids may want to help, but their help may not actually be so helpful. Finding tasks they can do that will keep them out of your way is key. When those tasks actually make a difference – even better. Socks on little hands make great dusters. Send them toward surfaces that need work and don’t have breakables. They can also swipe along baseboards and blinds. A non-toxic cleaning product (for older kids) or just plain water for the little ones is even more effective.

Put out fresh bedding

If you haven’t had time to make the guest bed, throw a clean comforter down and let your guests know the sheets are in the wash (and then get the sheets in the wash!). Didn’t (and don’t) have time to get new bedding, like you’d hoped? Do the best with what you’ve got. If your bedding is the nicest in the house, which it should be, and it’s the same size as your guest bed, use your extra sheets for your guests. If you have a king and your guest bed is a queen, you can still make it work. Order same day shipping from Amazon on these sheet suspenders to turn a king bottom sheet into something that will work on a smaller size mattress.

Get some fresh flowers

Right. Flowers are probably the last thing on your mind with so much else to do. But if you have to run to the market at some point anyway (and you know you do!), pick up a couple of bunches of fresh flowers for the house–one for an entry table and one for the side table in your guest room. At least there will be something pretty to look at, and, even better if they smell good, too.


Pinterest
“Even a single stem on the nightstand, dresser, or bathroom vanity will do. In the winter, clip a branch from an evergreen for holiday cheer,” said Houzz. “Extra touches like this will make your guests feel special.”

Speaking of smells…

Nothing can dampen the hospitality your guests experience like a houseful of questionable odors. If you have pets, or kids, or both, you may want to freshen up the house. And, you may not even realize there are odor issues if you live what them every day, Tackle the obvious offenders, like cat litter boxes and athletic shoes (turning them upside down is a quick way to cut the smell, but it might be best to take them into the garage for a few days). Invite a trusted neighbor who will be honest with you on this touchy issue to do a walk-through. Remaining smells that are lingering can be taken care of with Febreze and plug-in air fresheners. Wise Bread has tips on the best ones to buy.

Written by: Jaymi Naciri on Thursday, 24 November 2016

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/48848-20161125-the-super-quick-really-easy-last-minute-guide-to-making-your-house-guest-ready-for-the-holiday

 

 

 

November 28, 2016   No Comments

Winter Is Coming… 5 Reasons to Sell Now!

Winter Is Coming… 5 Reasons to Sell Now! | Keeping Current Matters

People across the country are beginning to think about what their life will look like next year. It happens every fall; we ponder whether we should relocate to a different part of the country to find better year-round weather, or perhaps move across the state for better job opportunities. Homeowners in this situation must consider whether they should sell their house now or wait.
If you are one of these potential sellers, here are five important reasons to sell now instead of in the dead of winter.
1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.
2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market (which is 4.5-months).

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market soon.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase, reaching historic levels in 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream homes within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing timelines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler.
4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.2% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.57% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.
5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.

 

Written by:

Source: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/11/21/winter-is-coming-5-reasons-to-sell-now/

November 21, 2016   No Comments

8 Tips for a Pet-Approved Pad

You’ve finally got your apartment designed just the way you love it. The focus is on your cool collections – or maybe your clean, streamlined minimalism – and you’ve already got plans to entertain. But you’re worried that your much-loved Fido or Fluffy would rather chew, scratch or drool on your new sofa than admire it. Can you share an apartment with a pet and keep both of you happy? Yes, you can. Read on to find out how.

1. Find an Apartment with Pet Amenities

Finding a city apartment is tough enough. You might feel the deck is stacked against you when you’ve got a furry companion in tow, but some new condos and rental buildings have discovered that amenities like pet grooming stations, rooftop dog runs and even daycare services will actually entice pet owners. These features can make apartment living easier on your pet with very little effort on your part. Experienced real estate agents should be up-to-date on which buildings are pet-friendly. You can also add pet-friendly search terms to your online searches, and local ASPCA services can point you in the right direction.

2. Keep Upholstery in Mind

To make sure your expensive new couch doesn’t look like shredded wheat in a week – or take a week to de-fur – choose upholstered pieces wisely. Avoid nappy fabrics like microsuede and velvet, as fur clings to them and sticks to the next person to sit down. Tightly-woven fabrics and non-fabric materials like leather are easier to keep clean.

3. Don’t Compromise on Cool Design

When choosing pet beds, scratching posts and dishes, you’re no longer limited to cheap-looking items in garish primary colors. Thousands of devoted design-loving folks have stepped into the void in recent years to create pet furniture that’s just as chic as your own decor. A quick search on even the most mainstream shopping outlets like Amazon can yield perfectly coordinated accessories for your four-legged roommate.

Brilliant minds are also at work creating high-tech solutions to enhance life with your pet. Pet cams matched with apps come in all shapes, sizes and levels of interactivity. Some, like the Furbo camera/app pair, can even dispense treats remotely.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to do any remodeling, built-ins are as much a boon for pets as people. From food and water stations in the kitchen and multi-level crash-pads to custom built-in litter boxes in bathrooms and basements, they’re a very cool way to seamlessly integrate your apartment’s design with your pet’s needs.

4. Pet-Proof Your Apartment

To maintain your perfect pad, you’ll want to pet-proof it to head off problems – or at least nip them in the bud when they do arise. Cats need to scratch to keep their claws sharp. A variety of scratching posts is necessary to keep them from shredding the furniture. (Cats like to have options.) Double-sided tape can work in a pinch to stop your cat from scratching a spot he’s already discovered, and a water-soluble adhesive tape like Sticky Paws won’t leave tape residue on your furniture.

To keep dogs from digging up your potted plants – or just being where you’d rather they not be – a sprinkling of cayenne pepper will do the trick. It’s a natural deterrent that won’t hurt your pet (or your plants). There are also nontoxic deterrent sprays you can buy, such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray.

5. Make Safety a Priority

As for those plants, be sure to do your research before bringing them into your home. Many popular houseplants are poisonous to dogs, including jade, aloe vera and rosemary. Lilies, carnations, daises and roses can be toxic to cats. However, there are just as many cool indoor plants that are totally pet-safe. Check the ASPCA’s list before you unleash your green thumb.

To make sure your four-legged friends don’t follow their curiosity into trouble, install locks on closet and sliding doors keep kitty from wriggling in where she’s not welcome. Store toxic household products up high in a hard-to-access place, like on a shelf above the bathroom door, to keep them out of paw’s reach.

If you live on a high floor, your views might be great, but many pets aren’t wired to understand the concept of breathtaking vistas. High-rise syndrome is real; it means cats and smaller dogs don’t realize it’s a long way down until it’s too late. Make sure there are screens completely protecting windows before you open them, and keep an eye on pets whenever the windows are open.

6. Know How to Deal with Odors

With pets come pet odors. As most owners know, sometimes you don’t have to see Spot run (or even hear him) to know he’s in residence. Though the odors might not be apparent to you, your guests will sniff them out quickly. Be disciplined about keeping your space clean and get some help from products meant to keep pet smells at bay.

A top-loaded litter box like the one made by ModKo will accommodate more litter so cats are encouraged to bury their waste, which cuts down on tracking and keeps odors out of the air. Lining your cat box with baking soda is another time-tested way to absorb odors. You can also sprinkle baking soda into rugs once a month or so. It will sink in and absorb odors and can be vacuumed right up for a new application.

Pee happens. Blot quickly and well, and don’t rub. When you clean the area, avoid using products with ammonia, as its urine-like smell might encourage cats and dogs to return for a repeat performance. Use cleaning products with enzymes that will neutralize and dissolve uric acid – otherwise you’ll only mask the smell temporarily.

If you’ve got a dog that can’t be taken outside during the day, indoor grass products like Fresh Patch Disposable Potty Grass can do the trick in an emergency. The clever patch of real, though disposable, grass absorbs urine and odors.

7. Don’t Forget Exercise and Socialization

Dogs need to get outside and walk for more reason than one. Your sanity level, as well as your pup’s, will greatly benefit from multiple daily walks with you (or a dog-walker or pet-sitter if you’re crunched for time).

This may the root of the issue if your dog has a barking problem – and you can be sure your neighbors will thank you. Barking and destructive behavior can signal loneliness, boredom or separation anxiety, as well as a need for more exercise or stimulation. Doggy daycare can keep Fifi occupied and happy when you’re not able to be on hand for playtime.

Dogs also need to socialize with other dogs. A local park or dog run can be a great place for both you and your pup to be social. Just make sure you follow a dog park’s rules regarding size, registration and behavior. Sites like BringFido.com can help you scout out the parks and dog runs near you.

Exercise can also keep your pet from tearing back and forth across your beautiful hardwood floors (a sure bet for annoying the neighbors, too). If your critter’s doing sprints, thick or high-pile rugs can block the noise well and withstand wear and tear.

8. Help Your Pet De-Stress

Cats often experience anxiety after a big move or change in surroundings (including houseguests or the addition of another pet, for example). Cat owners swear by Feliway, a plug-in that stimulates your cat’s natural pheromones to help him cope with stress. If you have a stressed pet and nothing seems to help, Bach Flower Rescue Remedy for Pets is a naturally calming mix of vegetable and flower extracts that pet parents swear is a safe and effective shortcut to mellow.

 

Written by: Written by Michelle Cohen on Thursday, 10 November 2016

Source: http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice1/item/48554-20161111-8-tips-for-a-pet-approved-pad

 

November 14, 2016   No Comments

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable?

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Keeping Current Matters

There are some experts questioning whether the current pace of residential home sales is sustainable. Are too many people buying homes like in 2004-2006? Are we headed for another housing crisis? Actually, if we look closely at the numbers, we can see that we are looking at a very healthy real estate market.

Why the concern?

Some are looking at the last three years of home sales and comparing them to the three years just prior to the housing bubble. Looking at the graph below, we can understand that thinking.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Keeping Current Matters

However, if we go further back in history, we can see the real picture. After taking out the “boom & bust” years, the pace of sales is growing at a quite natural pace.

Is the Current Pace of Home Sales Sustainable? | Keeping Current Matters

And new home sales are way below historic numbers. Trulia’s Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin explains:

“Adjusted for population, [new home sales] are at about 63% of their fifty-year average level—way better than 2011, but nowhere near heated.”

Bottom Line

The current pace of residential home sales definitely seems sustainable.

 

For more information, visit: http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2016/09/07/is-the-current-pace-of-home-sales-sustainable/

September 7, 2016   No Comments

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | Keeping Current Matters

School is back in session, the holidays are right around the corner, you might not think that now is the best time to sell your house. But with inventory below historic numbers and demand still strong, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.

Here are five reasons why you should consider selling your house this fall: 

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Realtors’ Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, the supply of homes for sale is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market at 4.7-months.

This means, in most areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this fall.

Also, as builders regain confidence in the market, new construction of single-family homes is projected to continue to increase over the next two years, reaching historic levels by 2017. Last month’s new home sales numbers show that many buyers who have not been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory have turned to new construction to fulfill their needs.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. 

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 5.3% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

According to Freddie Mac’s latest report, you can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 3.46% right now. Interest rates are projected to increase moderately over the next 12 months. Even a small increase in rate will have a big impact on your housing cost.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. 

That is what is truly important.

 

September 7, 2016   No Comments