Nine Must-Haves For Your New Home, Valentine’s Day Edition

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Sure, the right number of bedrooms is important. And, of course, you wouldn’t even consider a house in the wrong school district. But what are the other things that really matter when buying a home? You know, the things that make your life easier – or at least a little less chaotic – on a daily basis and that support your lifestyle. Because it’s those things that make or break how you feel about living there.

What’s true of relationships also pertains to house hunting: A place you fall for today could lose its luster later on if you choose it out of lust and not love. Pay close attention to what’s on the inside and not just the shiny, pretty stuff to make sure you’re making the right match. These nine must-haves will help.

The right location

If you’ve never had to sit in traffic for three hours a day, you probably don’t know exactly how much it completely sucks. It may be worth it to you because a long commute is the only way you’ll be able to afford a home, but have a serious talk with yourself first.

The right overall layout

Sure, walls can be moved and floorplans reimagined, if that’s what you’re into. But some things you might not be able to change, perhaps because you lack budget or space—or both. If the idea of being on a different floor than your children stresses you out and you fear you’ll never be able to relax and enjoy your new home, a first-floor master with all the other bedrooms upstairs may not be for you. A floorplan in which a child’s bedroom shares a wall with the master suite might also pose a problem depending on your, ummm, typical noise level.

Enough bathrooms

Nothing kills the mood like having to squeeze your knees together while your honey is in the only (or only functioning) bathroom. If you’ve ever watched House Hunters and seen a couple buy an old home with one bathroom, which they justified because the place was “just so charming,” let us set the record straight: There’s nothing charming about peeing your pants.

Dual sinks

So the house you’re considering has an updated master bathroom, and what it lacks in space it makes up for in style, right? Yeah, maybe not. Having to wipe someone else’s hair or leftover toothpaste out of the shared sink may not seem like a big deal the first time it happens…but just wait.

A good family gathering space

Whether or not you have kids (or ever plan to), a good family room or living room is key to long-term enjoyment of a home. The amount of square footage is obviously important, but also pay attention to the key features of the room. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a space you hate being in because the west-facing windows make it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter and the TV niche is shoved into the corner, making it hard to see unless you’re sitting directly across from it. Or perhaps that’s just us.

Upstairs laundry

Back to House Hunters for a moment. Who else cringes every time someone buys a house with a laundry room in a creaky old basement? Just the thought of having to carry laundry baskets down two flights of stairs is enough for us to say a hard “No” to that. Many basement-free homes have laundry rooms on the first floor, when all the bedrooms are upstairs. This may be an acceptable feature for most people—and it may be all you’ve known to this point—but trust us: Once you’ve enjoyed the convenience of an upstairs laundry room, you’ll never want anything else.

A sufficient garage

Burning your butt on a hot car seat in the summer and having to run the engine for 10 minutes before you get into a freezing cold car in the winter might anger you every single time you do it.

The right size backyard

Taking the kids to the park instead of letting them loose in a backyard you don’t have. Getting out of bed to walk the dog in the middle of the night—and in the rain—because, again, no backyard. Not having a backyard at all, or a tiny patch of grass that doesn’t give you space to move, might not be the kind of compromise you want to make. On the flip side, a large back yard that requires time and effort to maintain may take away from family time and create stress or anxiety.

A kitchen you can work with

Yes, you can replace a dishwasher or repaint your cabinets. Heck, you can rip the whole thing out and start over if you want, but most people aren’t looking to drop that kind of money on a brand-new kitchen. Is the kitchen workable as is? Are there small tweaks you can make that would create a space you want to cook in? Being honest with yourself about what you need, what you can handle, and what is realistic can help you make a good choice instead of one you may soon regret.

 

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1015175-20180215-nine-must-haves-for-your-new-home-valentines-day-edition?rtmpage=

 

February 15, 2018   No Comments

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values?

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values?

Every month, CoreLogic releases its Home Price InsightsReport. In that report, they forecast where they believe residential real estate prices will be in twelve months.

Below is a map, broken down by state, reflecting how home values are forecasted to change by the end of 2018 using data from the most recent report.

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values? | Keeping Current Matters

As we can see, CoreLogic projects an increase in home values in 49 of 50 states, and Washington, DC (there was insufficient data for HI). Nationwide, they see home prices increasing by 4.2%.

How might the new tax code impact these numbers?

Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted their own analysis to determine the impact the new tax code may have on home values. NAR’s analysis:

“…estimated how home prices will change in the upcoming year for each state, considering the impact of the new tax law and the momentum of jobs and housing inventory.”

Here is a map based on NAR’s analysis:

What Impact Will the New Tax Code Have on Home Values? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

According to NAR, the new tax code will have an impact on home values across the country. However, the effect will be much less significant than what some originally thought.

Written by KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2018/01/18/what-impact-will-the-new-tax-code-have-on-home-values/

January 22, 2018   No Comments

Follow These Steps Before Starting Your Kitchen Remodel

If your kitchen is looking a bit dated, consider a remodel to upgrade its efficiency and looks. Here’s a quick guide to planning your kitchen update:

#1 Plan it out.

Sketch out what you want your finished kitchen to look like. Whether you draw your designs by hand or use software, understanding the finished look of your kitchen is an essential first step.

#2 Measure your space.

It’s important to know how much space you have to work with. Record the dimensions of your entire kitchen and other surrounding areas in your initial sketch. Use your measurements to plan the rest of your project.

#3 Choose storage options.

One of the biggest advantages of remodeling your kitchen is adding more space. Think about your current storage problems and how to solve them. Consider all your storage options, from standalone shelving units to built-in turntables in your new kitchen cabinets.

#4 Pick a color scheme.

Do you want to keep the same color scheme or go with something different? Do you want your kitchen to stand out from the rest of your home or blend in? Now is the time to answer these questions. Your color scheme could impact the appliance- and flooring-related aspects of your remodel.

#5 Compare materials.

Now it’s time for window-shopping. Head to your local home improvement center and begin calculating your remodeling budget. Compare the different costs of different materials. While it’s okay to splurge on some aspects, stray away from a $50,000 kitchen remodel.

#6 Have a set budget.

Once you know how much your project will cost, start saving your money and planning your remodel in earnest. Prices can change over time, so be sure to include some flexibility in your budget. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of permits and contractor labor.

#7 Find a remodeling pro.

Unless you are an expert, you will probably need to hire a remodeler to update your kitchen. Research local contractors, check their references and interview at least three pros before hiring one.

Conclusion.

Remodeling and redesigning your kitchen takes work. If you want to create an updated kitchen, you’ll need to plan, budget and hire a trusted professional.

January 18, 2018   No Comments

Live It Up in a Smaller Space!

If the house or condominium that you can afford seems too small, maybe you’re not thinking about space the right way.

Buying the best location you can afford is what successful real estate ownership is all about. These are the properties that hold value even in down markets and that appreciate steadily and consistently in all markets. Great-location properties are financial stepping stones to your multimillion-dollar dream home.

Since buildings and units in a price range decrease in size in inverse proportion to improvements in location — either at street level or vertically — when you make a smart real estate investment, you may end up with something smaller than your ideal.

Have you analyzed exactly how much space you really need?

Ask families with big houses how many rooms are occupied at once and where the family regularly congregates, and usually they’ll admit to less than half the space really being essential to daily life.

Tiny homes, floating homes, and micro-urban condominiums prove that the less space you have the more cleverly you use it. On top of that, the premium location you’ve selected offers benefits you value — many

of which encourage you to spend more time out of the house — so you’ll love your lifestyle, build wealth, and, therefore, enjoy living in your cozy home.

Prepare to make the most of a small space by getting rid of over-sized furniture and purging rarely or never used items including shoes and clothes that no longer fit in spite of your hopes. Take quality, not quantity, to your new space.

How many of the following interior design and decor ideas for accentuating small spaces are you ready to put in action?

Winning Design Elements

High ceilings, lots of windows, multi-level lighting, light layered monochromatic decor schemes, and sparkling surfaces like crystal, glass, and mirrors add warmth and volume to create inviting living spaces.

Functional Layouts

If you love to cook, a large kitchen matters; if you’re a take-out fan, you may appreciate this extra space elsewhere in the home.

Visually Enticing Verticals

Let decor draw the eye up to visually expand rooms. Use vertical storage and shelving units to open up floor space and reduce clutter. Hang pictures above each other to raise the eye. Install curtain rods just under or on the ceiling to add height to walls. Use paint accents or moldings to visually raise ceilings.

Clever Useable Space

Add shelving, built-ins, and storage everywhere possible, especially in under-utilized areas: under stairs, around windows, across windows, high on walls, over doors, under beds, in corners, in walls, as islands…. Add

elevated platforms for sleep or storage where ceilings are very high. Steal slivers of space from other rooms to expand the closets that matter to your lifestyle.

Open Lines of Sight

Enlarge doorways, windows, hallways, or shelf depths to improve flow. Remove walls to combine small rooms into wide-open spaces. Open lines of sight by installing glass, french, or louvered doors or by removing doors and trim. Install bay or green-house windows to add an airy, practical touch.

Camouflaged Clutter

Conceal screens, electronics, and associated wires to reduce visual clutter. Use slipcovers to transform distracting mismatched chairs into harmonious seating. Decorative boxes collect hobby paraphernalia and other task tools out of sight, but at your fingertips.

Savored Furnishings

Select multi-purpose furniture with open design, mirrored surfaces, glass tops, and compact-scale to reduce clutter — visual and practical. Space-saving furniture, moved out from walls and artfully arranged in conversation groupings, further adds to flow through the home.

Color Magnifiers

Add colorful, well-chosen, eye-catching focal points — a vibrant accent wall, sophisticated art, unifying accessories, smart cushions… — as creative bold emphasis to monochromatic decor to help minimize the importance of room size. Each paint manufacturer and many decor media have their own “Official 2018 Colors” so check around to uncover tones and shades that work best for you.

On-Trend Accents

Dictate whether and how trends can be beneficial to your home. Not every fashionable idea makes sense in your special small space. Ball-shaped lighting fixtures, circle patterns, golden-brass fixtures, natural materials, and velvet sofas are a few hot 2018 trends, but they won’t automatically add functionality and visual value to your space. Test trends on one or two accessory items or pillows to see what works. Before jumping into a major make-over, seek out small-space professional design input.

Written by

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1014040-20180116-live-it-up-in-a-smaller-space?rtmpage=

January 16, 2018   No Comments

Faking It: Faux Materials You Can Use To Bring Real Interest

As the Marvin Gaye song lyric goes, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing, Baby.” And while that might be a good motto to live by, when it comes to home trends and décor, today it’s all about faux. You can have a great-looking place, even if it wasn’t built that way, and without a huge expense. And because many of these items that stand in for the “real stuff” are DIY friendly, they’re even more attractive.

Electric fireplaces

Fireplaces can make a space feel cozy and comfortable, but not everyone was blessed with a built-in version. Thankfully, electric fireplaces are inexpensive, starting at just a couple hundred dollars, and are easy to incorporate into your home.

“If you don’t have a chimney or simply want to avoid the hassle of a wood-burning or gas fireplace, electric fireplaces provide an alternative to traditional systems,” said the Topeka Capital-Journal. They are also super easy to install since all they require is a power outlet and no chimney or venting, although, if you plan on setting it into a wall, you might need to hire outside help.


woodlanddirect.com
Make your fireplace pretty

Once you install that fireplace, you may want to trim it out to make it look pretty. DIYers swear by Airstone veneers, which look like stacked stone but are light, durable, and easy to install.

Faux panels

If you want to redo a large space, small products may not be an answer. These faux panels and sidings “are made of a high-density polyurethane” and are “molded from actual rock, stone, and brick, so they are lightweight, durable, realistic and easy to install,” said FauxPanels.com. “Whether you are a homeowner or builder, you can install the panels yourself for a fraction of the cost and time.” These panels could provide an easy update to the exterior of your home or transform an interior space that is calling for a little character. Their sister company, FauxWoodBeams.com, also has faux beams that can give your ceiling some interest without the high cost of real wood beams.


fauxpanels.com
Peel-and-stick wallpaper

Peel-and-stick wallpaper has grown from being a novelty to being a legit interior design option, and not just for those who can’t do (or can’t stand) “real” wallpaper. For those of us who like to change our décor a lot (guilty!) temporary wallpaper from companies like Walls Need Love are a godsend.


wallsneedlove.com
Other peel-and-stick options

The idea of peel-and-stick is a DIYers dream, and it goes beyond wallpaper. This peel-and-stick option gives you the look of real stone in an easy-to-apply, easy-to-manipulate, and easy-to-remove package that will look great on a backsplash. They are pricy, at about $23 a piece (which covers one square foot), so it’s not exactly a budget answer. But if you want stone without the installation hassle, this could be for you.

Quartz countertops

Quartz is the single hottest countertop product on the market today, having surpassed granite. One of the reasons today’s homeowners are choosing to go this direction: the ability to get the look of upscale, high-maintenance marble at a lower cost and without the abject fear of a stain or scratch that could ruin your expensive counters.


thespruce.com
Marble backsplash

If you want to run marble up your walls, creating a rich backsplash look, you could be talking about thousands of dollars. These peel-and-stick vinyl tiles are intended for floors, but at about a buck apiece, they are an affordable option for kitchen (and bathroom) walls too.

Stencils

These stencils make it easy to create the look of Moroccan tile or shiplap, customized furniture and even handmade-looking pillows. Create the impression of custom tile in your kitchen or on your floor (or both!) without the expense or hassle of remodeling.

These also come in a variety of sizes (this particular Santa Ana Tile Stencil is available in 6×6, 8×8, or 12×12). You also may want to check out the furniture stencils that can transform an ugly old piece into something fantastic. This Indian Inlay Furniture Stencil piece looks…like it would take a ton of time, if we’re being honest, because of the intricate pattern. But it’s so amazing we might be willing to give it a try.


cuttingedgestencils.com

 
Written by Jaymi Naciri
Source: Realty Times

January 15, 2018   No Comments