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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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.

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!

Spring Home Remodeling Tips

painting-1744956_640Before you know it Spring will be here in full force!

Before the list of items for your honey-do list get filled up it’s  good time to start thinking about the bigger projects that may be on the board for the season.

Remodeling, even a small room, is  a great way to invest in your homes value and your own enjoyment, but not all home improvements are created equal – we’ve put together a list of a few of the best ones to get the most bang for your buck!

Install or Upgrade Insulation
If there’s one thing we learn about during the great snowpocalypse of aught 16 was the importance of staying warm! Proper insulation in your home is the difference between not only having good protection against the cold itself but also against the high energy bills as well! Of all the updates you can do for your home insulation ranked as one of the highest returns on investment with most recouping upwards of 90% of the cost over time.

Garage Doors
If your garage faces an alley or side road it’s not such a big deal but if you’re garage is on the front of your house like most it takes up a considerable amount of the visual look of your home. This is why it’s good to make sure that it’s not only in good repair but that it looks as nice as possible – so consider updating it or adding a pop of color.

Hit The Deck
Believe it or not adding a nice deck to your home is among one of the top 5 improvements that adds value to a house. Everyone loves socializing during those long Summer evenings; it’s really a wise choice to make if you want to add an improvement and pamper yourself a little at the same time.

Siding
Literally the skin of your house, and it’s important! Not only does it help keep the weather out but it is also a big part of how you home looks on the outside as well. If your siding is in bad shape it’s definitely time to get it looked at, but otherwise consider a different color or style. An easy fix if your siding is still in good shape is just to give it a good pressure washing every so often to keep it looking nice and clean!

The beginning of the season is always the best time to make plans; whether you’re remodeling because you’re thinking of selling or just because you want to get more out of your home while you are in it there’s a number of things you can do. We’d love the chance to talk with you more about your home, and your ideas – feel free to get in touch!

Keep Your Home Safe On Vacation!

16222298Warmer weather has arrived and the days are already starting to get longer; this means it’s time to start thinking about getting out and enjoy a little vacation time.  Nothing can ruin the memories of that time well spent like returning home to find a disaster area. Common sense things like turning off water, having mail picked up, and  locking all the doors are easy to remember, but there are some things many people may not have considered.

Here are some things you can do to be proactive in keeping your home safe when you’re out of town.

Save The Status Updates
We know it’s difficult but you might want to save posting those pictures of the vacation until you get back from the trip. Believe it or not, would be evil doers now use social media to see if people are out of town and target their home. If you can’t resist the urge maybe only share pictures via private messages or to selected friends.

Knock Knock!
Of course someone is home! It might not be a bad idea, even if you don’t have pets, to hire a house sitter or talk to a trusted friend about coming over and just spending some time in your home to help make any potential door knockers believe that there is someone home.

Lights!
Burglars often will watch a home for some time and may know your schedule, so they will notice things like a lack of lights on in the house. So, leave a few lights on, or better yet get a timer to have lights come on at dark to give the illusion that someone is home.

What Needs Power
Go through the house before you leave and take a look at what actually needs to be plugged in and what doesn’t. Things like computers, steroes or TV’s that won’t be in use while you’re out can be a big power drain even when not on, worse yet if there is a power surge while you’re gone they might be damaged.

These few things can help keep your home a little bit safer while you’re away enjoying your leisure time. It never hurts to talk to your next door neighbors and let them know you’ll be away so they can keep an eye on the house as well.

How To Create A Great First Impression For Your Home

house_entranceWhether you are looking to sell or just want to spruce up your new home for the season everyone agrees: first impressions count! 

The front of your house, of course, is the first place to start as it will be the welcoming view of your home for visitors; there are a lot of simple tips to perk up a houses exterior. Here are some of those ideas to help get you started!

The Big Door
In most cases your garage will take up the larger portion of the front of your home; that’s a great reason to pay attention to it’s impact on the overall reception of the house. If your garage door is looking a bit run down it may be a good time to consider replacing it, or if it’s in fairly good shape you might consider just slapping on some new paint or adding window features to it.

Hit The Bricks
If your walkway has pavers or bricks as part of it’s make up you will want to take some time to give them the once over – stone work of any kind can fade and lose color over time due to sun exposure. You can use a gentle washing to help clean them up and check of the mortar to make sure it’s in good condition. If the stone work is too far faded or crumbling it may be time to look into replacing it.

Upgrade The Windows
No, not Windows 10! The windows of your home! Whether this be just updating the glass itself to newer more energy efficient types or actually changing the style and look of the windows themselves, you can make a big difference in how your home looks.

How Does Your Garden Grow?
You can easily add pop and color to the front of your house with a nice flowerbed or planter. Make it seasonal but simple to save yourself upkeep while still looking fabulous. Flowerbed areas in front of your home are especially nice if you have a smaller yard as it can help soften the delimitation between the house and the yard itself.

It doesn’t take much to really make a difference in the look of your home – even just painting the shutters or trim a new color can really add some wow factor. So get out there and make it happen!

Energy Saving Tips For Your Home

energySaving money on energy costs can be one of the easiest ways to save on bills, especially during the hot months. If you get into the habit of making energy saving part of your every day routine you will be surprised at how the small things can add up to bigger savings.

Here are some quick little tips to help you do just that:

Use Power Strips
Simply having an electronic device plugged in causes power use. By plugging multiple devices into a single strip you can easily switch the whole strip off, or unplug it to keep the power drain from mutliplying. Great for office spaces!

Turn Off Unused Electronics
Seems simple, but it’s easy to forget too. Leave a room? Turn off that light. Going to bed? Close that laptop. If you are going to be away from home for an extended period of time you might even consider unplugging larger or lesser used appliances as well like the tv or stereo.

Unplug The Charger
Nowadays we have any number of pads, phones, or other devices that need charging, but when the device is fully charged unplug it – no need to let that power trickle away. Be sure to unplug the charging cord itself as well as they can pull small amounts of energy just being in the wall.

Use Programs
There are a number of energy use tracking programs available these days, and many appliances even have self-regulating options for power useage – so take advantage of them!

Bright Ideas
Be smart in choosing light bulbs. LED bulbs and compact fluorescents are much easier on power use; while their light may not be as complimentary they are perfect for closets and shops where the harsher light isn’t such a problem.

Cold Cold Water
Using cold water in your wash will generally keep clothes just as clean and uses less energy than hot water. Fact is, hot water can actually strip your clothes of color, so by using cold water you can solve two issues at once!