Marie Souza & Team's Blog
Whether your adult children have left the nest or you recently decided to "upsize" to a larger house, you're now faced with the minor "problem" of what to do with that extra space.
While some homeowners just use it for storage or guest bedrooms, there are plenty of other possibilities that are well worth considering.
Exercise room: In spite of the many proven benefits of regular exercise -- ranging from increased strength and endurance to weight control and slowing down the aging process, many people have trouble getting started and staying motivated. It's a lot easier to come up with a laundry list of excuses than join a gym and stick with an exercise program. It's surprising how many people actually join a health club, but then stop going after the novelty (and their enthusiasm) wears off.
However, when you create a dedicated fitness space at home, most of your former excuses no longer hold water! With a home gym or exercise room, you not only have convenience, privacy, and 24/7 availability, but there are no parking issues, traffic problems, membership fees, or noisy weightlifters. If you prefer a regimen that's less vigorous, there's always the option to use the room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.
Home office: With more homeowners telecommuting, consulting, freelancing, blogging, and starting ecommerce stores, it makes sense to set aside a dedicated space in your home for business and career development. A home office is also a quieter place to go for other tasks, such as paying bills, applying for jobs, social networking, catching up on your email correspondence, or planning your next vacation.
Home library: If you or any of your family are avid readers, a room with lots of built-in shelving, comfortable furniture, and adjustable lighting would be the perfect place to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Not only would a home library be the ideal environment for reading, studying, or doing research, but it might even encourage your children to cultivate more of an appreciation for reading and learning.
Craft room: Whether there are artists, embroiderers, or jewelry makers in your household, a special room for artistic endeavors lends itself to creativity, while helping to keep craft supplies and projects confined to one area of the house! A craft room can also be ideal for storing gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards.
Music room: If your family is musically inclined, a separate room for practicing instruments is beneficial to both budding musicians and those who want to watch TV, do homework, or have quiet conversations elsewhere in the house. A dedicated music room can also be a good spot for making music videos, recording music, and having jam sessions.
As you can imagine, extra space in your house gives you and your family the opportunity for more physical, intellectual, and creative development. Designating a spare room, a finished basement, or an attic area for artistic expression or personal development may even encourage others in your family to discover and cultivate their hidden and emerging talents!
We’ve all seen the way landscaping and decorating trends can sweep through a neighborhood. Some are practical, like planting drought-resistant vegetation. Others are purely aesthetic choices.
In this article, we’re going to break down some of the latest trends in landscaping. Who knows, you might be inspired to get out and revamp your front or backyard with one of these ideas. Read on for some of the latest and greatest landscaping techniques for your home.
Landscaping you can eat
One trend that is making a comeback is growing herbs and vegetables. We’re not talking about a backyard garden in a chicken wire fence (although those are great, too!)--what we’re referring to is planting herbs and colorful lettuces right in your front yard. Well-placed plants look natural and can save you money at the grocery store at the same time. Just make sure they’re planted in soil appropriate for growing vegetables.
Similarly, many people are rediscovering the native fruit trees, bushes, and vines of their area. Adding these items to your yard will give you something sweet to eat and also a sense of pride in your region. So, find out which fruits and vegetables grow well in your area and find some to compliment your yard.
We’ve all seen the headlines. Climate change is upon us, and water shortage is one of the chief long term concerns. To save water and keep the front yard looking manicured, many people are turning to vegetation that can resist long periods of time without water.
There are drought tolerant plants in almost every family of flora. From flowers to shrubs and even grass. However, many homeowners in areas warm areas prone to drought are opting out of grass completely in favor of stone pathways lined with hardy, yet beautiful, cacti.
Actually comfortable outdoor seating
The days of uncomfortable plastic and metal chairs are numbered. Waterproof outdoor seating has improved immensely in the last few years and a greater number of people taking advantage of it.
Another indoor comfort that is taking root outdoors is the use of varied lighting techniques and colors to create different moods, be it calm or whimsical.
Let it grow
Many homeowners, fed up with having to mow their lawn every weekend instead of spending it relaxing, are opting to let their grass grow out. Planting shade-giving trees, incorporating natural boulders, and creating stone walkways give a wild, but pleasant feeling reminiscent of an English garden.
Where there is grass, it is often left to grow to “meadow” length to complement the natural feeling of the rest of the yard. Planning out such a yard, however, takes time, or you could end up with a backyard that looks like it just hasn’t been taken care of.
What are your favorite backyard landscaping trends?
Selling? Ready to wow potential buyers with some high-impact touch-ups? Here are some top ideas to mesmerize home buyers—without spending a fortune on renovations.
Dazzle Them at the Doorstep
Many of today's home sales, and certainly most fast transactions, begin with online browsing. First, snap a photo of your home. Take it from the perspective of someone walking up to the front door. Is the walkway weeded? Is the welcome mat spiffy? Is the patio tidy? Think about the irresistible qualities of your home, as you first saw them. Are those charming elements as visible today? Lay fresh mulch on the front garden to touch up the landscaping. A coat of paint for the door, window frames, and decorative shutters is well worth the time invested. Just one sunny day's work...et voilà!
Now, to clean the windows. Are they perfectly clear and inviting? Peek in. Is the interior clutter-free, sparkling clean, and charming? Well done! You're ready to start your virtual home tour on your social media accounts!
Uplift the Interior Mood
Look for spots where you can lighten up the interior look. White paint over dark panels, doors, or cabinets can make a world of mood-lifting difference.
If possible, remove the furniture, except for your staging pieces, before having the photography done. Make the essence of your home bright and joyful. Consider, for instance, that essential oils can be exceptional mood enhancers. Research has confirmed lavender's "anti-agitation and antidepressant" effects.
Make this knowledge work for you. Drop a little lavender oil on your AC filter, or on the cardboard roll inside toilet tissue, for diffusion that keeps spreading a calm feeling throughout your home. (You can share the tip with the new homeowner at closing!)
Try Speed Renovating
Here again, start by taking pictures inside. Find your best touch-up targets.
- Pick out some simple brass outlet covers to replace your old ones.
- For a mini-makeover in the kitchen, install a sleek, new faucet. It's a relatively small project. But it can be transformative.
- Grab some attractive peel-and-stick tiles. Make a backsplash to frame your stove or sink.
Now, throw those curtains open! Open those blinds and windows. Bright, sunny interiors sell homes.
Ready to Sell Your Home?
You've cleared out everything. The baseboards are painted. Your kitchen is ready with its glistening—and empty—countertops.Be sure the lock and key work nicely. (You might be surprised, but homes get passed over because the agent can't get the key to work.) Now, you're ready to open your home, and I'm ready to help you. Just give me a call, and let's get that SOLD sign ready!
Common sense is powerful, particularly for those who plan to sell a house in the near future. If you use common sense as you consider myriad home selling decisions, you may be better equipped than ever before to make the best-possible choices.
Now, let's look at three tips to help you take a common sense-oriented approach to selling your house.
1. Analyze Your Home
You believe you have a great home that will attract plenty of interest from potential buyers. Yet the housing market offers no guarantees. But if you analyze your residence, you can identify its strengths and weaknesses and proceed accordingly.
It may be beneficial to conduct an inspection before you list your residence. During an inspection, a property expert will review all areas of your house. You then will receive an inspection report that you can use to evaluate various home problems.
2. Perform Home Improvements
Home improvements are key, as they can help you transform property weaknesses into strengths. If you allocate time and resources to upgrade your house, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.
Oftentimes, it helps to mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades to enhance your residence's curb appeal. Because if your home boasts amazing curb appeal, your residence may stand out to dozens of prospective buyers.
You should clean each room in your home, too. If your home's interior dazzles, buyers are sure to be impressed with it as soon as they walk through the front door. Perhaps most important, buyers will have no trouble envisioning what life may be like if they purchase your house.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
As you explore ways to streamline the house selling journey, collaborating with a real estate agent may prove to be an excellent decision. A real estate agent can take the guesswork out of selling a house, and as such, help you achieve your desired results.
Generally, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to list your house. He or she also will promote your residence to potential buyers and set up home showings and open house events. Plus, a real estate agent will help you assess any offers to purchase your house and ensure you can get the best price for your residence.
Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides as you navigate the home selling journey, either. If you are unsure about how to proceed during the home selling journey, a real estate agent can provide recommendations and suggestions. He or she can respond to your home selling concerns and queries as well.
For those who want to reap the benefits of a successful home selling journey, using common sense is ideal. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can navigate the house selling journey like a real estate market expert and accomplish your home selling goals.
If you're on the lookout for your dream house, it helps to be persistent. In fact, there are many reasons to take a persistent approach to the real estate market, and these include:
1. You can pounce on the opportunity to acquire your ideal residence.
A persistent homebuyer should have no trouble finding lots of homes that match or exceed his or her expectations. Then, this buyer can take the necessary steps to submit an offer on his or her dream house and finalize a home purchase.
As a persistent homebuyer, it is essential to submit a competitive offer on any residence that you want to acquire. By providing a competitive offer, you can increase the likelihood of receiving an immediate "Yes" from a seller.
2. You can stay ahead of the competition.
When it comes to buying the best house at the lowest price, the early bird catches the worm. Thus, a persistent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to find and purchase his or her dream residence as soon as this house becomes available.
To stay ahead of the homebuying competition, it helps to assess the real estate sector closely. This will enable a homebuyer to identify his or her dream house in no time at all.
Furthermore, a homebuyer should create a checklist of dream home wants and must-haves. This list will allow a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search, making it easier than ever before to discover a great house.
3. You can boost the likelihood of a seamless homebuying experience.
No one should be forced to deal with a long, arduous homebuying experience. Fortunately, a persistent homebuyer can act quickly on available houses, ensuring this buyer can accelerate the homebuying journey.
For a persistent homebuyer, it often is a good idea to get extra help from a housing market professional as well. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can provide comprehensive support to persistent homebuyers in any city or town.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house in a buyer's or seller's market and is happy to share his or her industry expertise with a homebuyer. By doing so, a real estate agent can provide valuable insights to help a homebuyer accomplish his or her goals.
In addition, a real estate agent offers plenty of support at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will learn about your homebuying aspirations, set up home showings and keep you up to date about new residences that become available. Plus, once you find your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer right away.
If you want to pursue your dream house, it may be beneficial to take a persistent approach to the housing market. With the aforementioned tips, you can enter the real estate market as a persistent homebuyer who knows exactly what he or she wants to find. Take advantage of these homebuying tips, and you can move closer to acquiring your ideal house.