Keep Your Home Cool This Summer!

realtors stay coolNo doubt about it, for most of the country Summer time is definitely here!

This is certainly true for those of us in the Northwest; while everyone knows some of the usual ways to cool down there’s a few things you can do to keep your house cool this Summer without cranking up the air and that will help keep the power bill down too.

Take a look at these helpful hint to keep you down to a slow sizzle this Summer!

Close Doors
If you have rooms in your home that are largely unoccupied for long periods during the day close the doors. By closing off sections of your house you can help keep cool air inside of the individual rooms easier, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Change Your Fan Direction
Which way is your fan spinning? Believe it or not it makes a huge difference! In Winter it’s good to use your ceiling fans to pull warm air up, but in Summer turn off the fan and flip the little switch to reverse direction so it runs counter-clockwise – this forces air downwards providing a direct skin cooling effect.

Cool Yourself
It’s a lot more cost effective to cool yourself off than to try to cool down the entire house! Consider dressing lighter, and drinking cool drinks (including plain old water!) to stay hydrated. This will help you feel cooler even if the house is warm.

Close the Curtains
Close up the curtains, especially if you have a sunny facing window or French doors as heat will penetrate your home and cause it to run hotter. Better yet, if possible get thicker black out curtains. Windows and glass surfaces are one of the biggest places where heat will enter your home.

There are plenty of ways to keep your cool! Hopefully these ideas will get you started. Long term things you may also consider include planting shade trees, or adding patio mist systems. Your home should be a place you love living in, get in touch today to find out how we can help make that happen!

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Questions to Ask Before You Sell

Selling your home can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a homeowner.

Whether it’s due to work relocation, or just that you’ve looked around and decided it’s time for a change, selling your home is something you will want to put some real thought into before jumping in with both feet.

Here are some good things to questions to ask your chosen real estate agent to help make your move a success!

What Is The Last Home You Sold?
Track record counts. While it’s fine to go with a new agent you do want to make sure your needs are taken care of. A good way to protect your own interests is to be sure to work with an agent who has a record of proven results. Ask them about the last home they sold for good insight!

What Is My Home Worth?
Knowing the market is key so you don’t undersell your property or over-price yourself into a long term holding pattern. Before you jump on Zillow or some other automated CMA tool talk to a real live agent – they will know far more about your local market and can give you a much more accurate property assessment.

How Long Will It Take?
Your agent may not be able to give you an exact date, but don’t be discouraged! They will know the market well enough to be able to predict a general timeline and also give references from some of their previous clients.

What Will An Agent Do?
You’ve sold your own car. You’ve sold stuff at a garage sale. Why not sell your own home? What does an agent really do, anyway? Well, you’ll be glad to know a qualified agent will do a lot more than just help shuffle paperwork! A trusted REALTOR will be there to assist with any questions, market your property, and handle any problem items that might arise. Your real estate agent is without a doubt your most valuable asset during a sale.

Find out what working with a professional is really worth – get in touch!! We’ll be there all along the way to help – let’s go find your dream home today!

Update Your Bathroom Without Breaking The Bank!

bathroom updatesEveryone knows the kitchen is the “heart of the home”, and while the bedroom may be where you spend the most hours dreaming, it’s often the bathroom where a lot of the living gets done and also the room most likely to be used by guests. Isn’t it important then to make sure it looks great? We think so too! So we’ve put together these get ideas to help you give your bathroom an updated look without spending a small fortune on a full remodel.

Frames
If you have a free standing shower one way to really open the space is to ditch the framed in glass. Going frameless helps take the hard edges off of corners and gives the shower a more open feel. Adversely, consider taking the frames off any mirrors in the bathroom as this lends to a more modern feel.

Paint
Seems like a no brainer! Changing up the color palette in a room is one of the best ways to change it up without knocking down walls. Take this time to patch up any dings and scratches on the walls too.

Fixtures
Update that faucet! Swap out that sink! Or hey, just change the knobs on the drawers. Just changing the hardware in your bathroom can make a big difference. It’s more than okay to splurge on that fancy infinity sink you’ve been wanting too!

Lighting
Consider changing the lights as well! Fixtures themselves, or even just a different style of cool bulb can add a real flare of personality. Lights literally light up our world, so the tone, brightness, and color can all make a big difference on how you feel in a room.

Hopefully these quick tips will get your ideas flowing! There are tons of ways to change up your home and keep it fresh and new for years after you’ve moved in. Stumped? Let’s talk – as your chosen REALTOR® we’re always happy to help any way we can!

Get Your Home Ready For Spring!

home buyer helpThe rains have come and the wind is blowing the fresh smells of a new season across the land…and that means Spring cleaning!

Yay. Right? Nobody looks forward to the work part of the process but everything sure is nice when it’s done and you can sit back and breathe in that crisp clean house smell.

We’ve put together a few quick but powerful tips to help you get ready for Spring without taking the spring out of your step!

Dust Off The A/C
Seasons change fast, and if you have central air it won’t be long before you’ll be wanting to turn it on to cool down. It’s a good idea to give the unit outside a good hose down and inspect it for any damage. Go ahead and change those air filters and turn the system on to make sure everything sounds right.

Do the Junkmail Jump
It’s a good time to review all those subscription and junk mail ads hitting the mailbox. Unsubscribing may not be the way you want to spend your Saturday but by the end of the year when the sales ads are really hitting you’ll be glad you did. It’s not a bad idea to take a look at your online subscriptions and bills in general as well…are there some things you’re paying for that you’re not even using? Cut them out!

Clean the Grill!
This one brings it’s own reward really. For many of us grilling season never really stopped so this may just be a matter of some light brushing off, but for everyone else go ahead and break out the wire brush and get things looking clean. Dump out old ashes and maybe even fire up a few burgers after you’re done – just to make sure it’s still “good”.

Brave The Deep Clean
Now is the time. Before Summer sports and the year really gets rolling, Spring is often the best time to go beyond your normal maintenance cleaning and go for the deep grime. Bleach the grout, wash down the baseboards, and do all the little things that make a big difference.

A good real estate agent wants to help long after the paper work is signed and helping you take care of the home you’re living in is just one part of that. If you’re looking for a home, or even looking to sell the home you’re in just get in touch!

Tame the Clutter! With These Kondo Tips!

homeowner helpMarie Kondo is the start of an outrageously popular Netflix series called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” where she helps homeowners tame their clutter by embracing the things they love in their home. She has some very creative and imaginative ideas for organizing your living spaces, and since the change of seasons is just around the corner it’s a great time to get started thinking about Spring cleaning!

Here are some tips we’ve put together to help you apply some of Marie’s techniques to transform your home into your oasis of tranquility!

Visualize Your Goal
It might seem like a small thing, but it helps to picture in your mind the end result you want before you even begin! Believe it or not this helps the idea of this change seem more real in your mind, and thereby also more achievable.

Does It Spark Joy?
A big part of Marie’s method is to go through items that may be cluttering up your home and ask yourself: “does this item spark joy in me?”. If the answer is not YES! Then it’s no; chances are the item is just something you’re holding onto. Free yourself! Get rid of things just taking up space and make room for what really makes you happy.

Treat Your Possessions Like They’re Alive
Seems kinda nuts doesn’t it? But think about it. A lot of the clutter and disorganization in our lives comes from haphazard habits; only respecting the items when we put them to use. By treating your possessions like they have feelings it makes it easy to treat them properly and put them in their proper places.

Call A Professional
Even if everything goes smoothly and you’re de-cluttering like mad there’s still the problem of where to put all the stuff you’re getting rid of! If you have a truck it’s not such a big problem but otherwise you may want to hire a professional junk hauling company to come pick things up. Some of them even take donations to thrift stores instead of just throwing it all away!

Keeping your home tidy is an essential part to the overall health of your home! You will be absolutely amazed by how much better a clutter free home feels. It’s about more than just cleaning  up – it can help improve every moment you spend in your house.

Get Your Home Ready For Travel

real estate websitesNo, your house isn’t going anywhere! Well, hopefully not anyway…and that’s kind of the whole point.

With the holidays coming up Winter is one of the hottest travel times of year; it’s likely for many that you will be off to see friends or family and leaving your homes for at least a few days.

It’s important to make sure everything at home is just as ready for your time away as your suitcase, so we’ve put together some tips to help you be prepared!

Set Your Temp
If you’re not going to be home and don’t have pets or plants to worry about consider setting your thermostat lower to save on energy costs. In Winter months most suggest at least 55 degrees to keep pipes from bursting, and in Summer most recommend 80 degrees. If possible you can even buy a smart thermostat you can control from your phone!

Turn Off Water
If you’re going to be gone for any extended period it’s a good idea to turn off your water to avoid coming home to a flood of troubles.  You’ll need to do this via the main water line of your home; then let the faucets run until dry before you leave. It’s a fairly easy thing to do that can really help save you a ton of headaches.

Clean The Fridge
It’s not the first thing to come to mind when leaving to go on vacation, but while you’re out soaking in the sun those groceries are still at home going bad! If you’re going to be gone for an extended time you really should check the dates on things like milk and fruit so that you won’t come home to a real stinky situation.

Last Minute Tips…
If you have a trusted friend or neighbor have them stop by while you’re away to check on things – even if it’s just to drive by and take a look from the outside. You may also want to put a pause on posting all those beautiful sunsets until you get back: criminals may see posts on social media and see you aren’t home. Your home is one of your most valuable assets, be sure to keep it safe while you are away from it!

Important Questions For Relocating Seniors

senior real estateFor many seniors the thought of finding a new home seems daunting to say the least.

In fact, it can be down right frightening depending on one’s situation. But it doesn’t need to be.

The thought of moving by itself can be troublesome, much less finding the right place with the right amenities, and the right price – thankfully your chosen real estate professional will be by your side to help you navigate the ever changing real estate market.

But before you start searching for a new place we’ve put together some things you may want to talk to your REALTOR® about before your move.

What is the demographic of the area?
It’s always good to know your neighbors and the community you will be calling home. As such make sure your area not only has the resources you require but also caters to your personal preferences as well, you may not want to be in a loud neighborhood that has a lot of traffic or that is near a playground.

What are the taxes and on-going costs?
The price of your new place may only part of the cost. Be sure to be aware of any homeowners association fees, utility costs, or community costs that may be part of the area you live in.

How safe is the area?
Your agent should be very familiar with where you will be moving. There is nothing more important than feeling safe where you live. Be sure to do a little homework on crime rates, or just ask outright what they know about the location.

How much home do I need?
Downsizing is common with seniors and so it’s a natural thing to consider how much house you really want. Better yet, how much home do you really need? You may not want or need a ton of space that will need extra upkeep. Talk to your agent about your goals and what your ideal space looks like to you.

The most important thing is to choose the right agent and communicate openly with them. Remember, they are there to help guide you through their experience towards the realization of your vision and that requires all the information you can provide.

Basement Remodeling Ideas for the Most Return

A basement can be a valuable asset for a homeowner, and as it turns out it’s also one of the areas of your home where you can often make the most return on remodeling.

Remodeling your basement yields an average ROI of about 70%, so you will typically get $700 back for every $1,000 spent. But not all remodels are created equal, so what options make the most sense?

Here’s some ideas to help you get the most out of your basement while you live in your home as well as when it’s time to move.

Keep It Clean
More than anything cleanliness is most important. In fact, a finished but minimal basement is often the most recommended option for the most return. Give the new owners a blank slate to create their own space.

Avoid Permanent Personalizations
While you live there, hey, go nuts. Paint the walls with your visions of space viking warlords riding dragons across a rainbow sea of kaleidoscope gumdrops – after all you can paint over that when you get ready to move. You might want to avoid more permanent changes like built-in bars, hot tubs, and other things that will potentially change the structure of the house and cause a remodeling nightmare for the new owner when they claim their dream home.

Wired and Plumbed
It’s one of the bigger things you can do but adding all the connections for your basement to easily become a media room, or having light plumbing added so you have an accessible bar sink or half-bath can really take your value for space over the top. Not everyone has this in the budget, but if you do it’s one of the upgrades that will almost make you reconsider selling.

Speaking of Paint
Even if you’re happy with the color of your walls in the basement it might not be a bad idea to give it a fresh coat – even if it’s just to touch up dings. Try to keep things neutral but don’t be afraid to follow up on current trends as well.

Improve the Lighting
One of the best things to invest a little time and money in is lighting. Adding a few lights, or half-windows can really brighten what can be an otherwise dark and confining basement space.

Still not sure? Need to sell and want to get the most value for your home?
Talk with a qualified REALTOR® to find out what the market is doing as well as to get great ideas on what you can do to maximize your returns.

Home Improvements To Reconsider

It’s natural to think about upgrading your home, especially if you’ve lived in it for some time or are thinking about selling in the near future.

While updates can be good, and cleanliness is a must above all else, there are some upgrades that can actually hurt your home value rather than help it.

We’ve put together a quick list of these possible improvements gone wrong that can have a negative impact when it comes time to move.

Wall to Wall Carpeting
Believe it or not flooring is a very personal thing. While some love the plush, soft feel of carpet others recognize it can be a cleaning nightmare to keep up with, or simply just don’t prefer it. Regardless, installing new carpeting throughout the house may be a costly investment that could be better applied elsewhere.

High End Landscaping
While curb appeal is very important and you want your yard to look it’s best going overboard with exotic plants and waterfalls may be a bit much. Your potential buyers taste might not match yours, or they simply might not want to inherit all that upkeep, so keep your yard simple and trim.

Built In Electronics
Home automation is all the rage these days. Set your thermostat from your phone, have your house ask how your day was when you walk in the door – if you can imagine it they are finding a way to make it possible. Some people don’t want all this technology however; some in fact out right oppose it. Beyond that it may be too complex for them to even figure out and no one wants to be stuck in a home with a thermostat set for “Arizona Summer” year round.

Wild Quirky Colors
Chartreuse is trending! And it’s fine to stay up on trends, or to even paint the kids rooms in a fun way, but you may want to keep from applying huge swaths of unconventional colors to rooms. Yes, potential buyers can always re-paint them later, but a big part of the sale comes from them being able to picture themselves in the home and that’s hard to do with bright yellow and pink stripes on all the walls.

Live in your home, make it your own and love every single minute of it, but when it comes time to find your next place keep in mind these things to help make the transition as easy as it can be. The new owners will appreciate your consideration and you’ll have a whole new house to transform into your dream home.

 

Let Your Yard Go To The Dogs

One member of the family that simply can not be left out of the home making process is our four legged friend the family dog.

No matter the breed or size your fur baby is one of the most important parts of what makes your house a home.

We’ve put together some ideas to make pooch feel extra special when you’re looking for a home!

A Safe Place
First and foremost you want your new home and yard area to be safe. Make sure you have a fence for the back yard and that it is in good repair without any gaps or holes where your pup might get out or get stuck. Even if there are holes too small for her to get out remember other things might get IN also, so patch up all those spaces!

Made in the Shade
This is especially important if your dog will spend a lot of time outside: a shady place. Whether it be a dog house, shade trees, or just the porch it’s important to have a spot that pups can get out of the sun to stay cool.

A Cool Water Feature
Puppers got fur. Puppers get hot! A water feature, even just a small pond or kiddie pool in Summer time will make your doggie flip their wigs! It’s a great way to add some fun and to provide a way for them to cool down when things get hot outside.

Toxin Free Is The Way To Be
Some plants and flowers can make your doggo sick – some can even cause your dog to die! – so be careful in choosing the greenery that is in your yard. Talk to a local landscaper or vet to get more info on which plants to avoid and keep your best friend free from danger.

Something Fun
Maybe it’s their favorite toys or a fun tunnel to run through; you might even consider cutting a little window in the front fence – doggies love watching whatever is going on out beyond their walled castle. Pups can get bored easily and this can lead to digging and other less desirable behaviors, so include something to keep them busy.

It’s not a big thing to do and with a little creativity and even a tiny budget you can make your new home, or your existing home, a great place for your four legged family members! If you’re currently searching for a new place get in touch I would love to help!