House And Garden

5 Tips to take your patio to the next level

Is there anything better than relaxing outside during the warm, sunny summer months? We've put together 5 tips to make your outdoor space the perfect place to unwind and entertain. You may even increase your home's value in the process!

 

 

 A few well placed pops of color can really tie a room together and make it look expensive. You don't have to spend a fortune, or overhaul your existing furniture to achieve a more cohesive look. Pick up a few outdoor throw pillows , a fun rug and a coordinating umbrella  and your patio will be instantly refreshed! Think of your potted plants as accessories and display them around the area for added interest. 

 

 

No need to head inside once the sun sets! Add some festive lighting to your patio and we're sure you'll find yourself hanging out there long into the evening. You can find tons of fun string lights, lanterns and even outdoor lamps at any hardware store these days. You can even add in a few citronella candles and torches to keep the bugs at bay. 

 

 

Add a stylish outdoor rug to your patio to make the area feel more cozy and pulled together. It's amazing how an area rug can make the space feel like an extension of your home! There are tons of inexpensive options available online

 

 

Turn your patio into a real retreat by adding a privacy fence and some tall landscaping around the perimeter. These plants are great for creating natural screens for your yard. 

 

 

Add a fire pit, hammock, outdoor bar or lawn games to your patio for added entertainment and fun! You may find yourself spending more time outside than inside this summer!

Tips to get your grill ready for summer

 

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it comes a time to remember the sacrifices made by so many to defend our freedom, as well as the official kick-off to the summer season! We hope you'll be enjoying some rest and relaxation with friends and family. In fact, this may be the perfect opportunity to whip out your grill if you haven't already this season. Here are some tips to make sure your weekend festivities go off without a hitch!

 

If you have a gas grill:

 

First, get the outside of your grill looking brand new using a solution of 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water and a microfiber cloth, and soft bristled brush. The vinegar will help cut through any grease stains, and the soft cloth will ensure you don't scratch the metal. 

Next, move onto the inside of the grill, where you can be a little more aggressive. Remove the grates and place in a large container filled with warm water and dish soap. Using a stainless steel grill brush and some elbow grease, slough off any residue that's baked on, and rinse well. If you forgot to clean the tray out at the end of last season, remove it and brush any remnants into the trash. 

After you've replaced the tray and grates, be sure the gas tank is filled and secure before closing the lid of the grill and turning the heat on high for 15 - 20 minutes. This last step will ensure any leftover cleaning residue has been removed and help keep your burgers from sticking the next time you grill.

If you have a charcoal grill:

The first step is the same as if you have a gas grill -  using a solution of 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water and a microfiber cloth, and soft bristled brush. The vinegar will help cut through any grease stains, and the soft cloth will ensure you don't scratch the metal. 

Next take a look inside and be sure there is no remaining charcoal left from last season. Remove the cooking grate, and leave it to soak in a solution of warm water, vinegar and dish soap. While that's soaking, take a look at the bowl of your grill - if you grill a lot, you may see some peeling, which is most likely carbonized grease. Using a stainless steel grill brush, and warm soapy water, scrub the inside until all of the layers have come off. Now that the bowl is clean, the soap solution should have loosened up any debris on the cooking grate. Go after that with the stainless steel grill brush and it'll look like new before you know it!

 

You're officially ready to start grilling!

 

If you're looking for a new home with a great backyard for barbecues, check out these listings!

 

5 Tips to organize your kitchen like a professional chef

If your kitchen were designed by a professional chef...

With the holidays upon us, you may find yourself spending more time in the kitchen than usual. House Logic interviewed two renowned chefs to find out how they set up their own home kitchens. Their tips are easier than you might think! Here's what they had to say...

 

Check out the full article here. Want to design your own dream kitchen? We can help with that! Take a look at new construction opportunities in your area.

8 Costly Home Selling Mistakes To Avoid

The housing market is on an upswing as spring ushers in a new batch of homes for sale. Before you list your property for sale, take a look at this list and avoid these common pitfalls. 

 

1. SELLING YOUR HOME ALONE. 

There are a plethora of details involved in selling a property...there's a reason Real Estate Professionals are licensed! Trying to navigate the complexities on your own is a recipe for disaster. The facts don't lie; homes listed without licensed representation spend more time on the market and sell for less. Save yourself the stress, and get every penny you can for your home...enlist professional help.

2. MISPRICING YOUR HOME.

Finding the correct asking price without overpricing or underpricing your home is crucial. You want to attract potential buyers without selling yourself short. Your agent will go over comparable homes in the area that are currently on the market, as well as ones that have recently sold, to help set the ideal price for your home. 

3. NEGLECTING NECESSARY REPAIRS.

Take care of repairs before potential buyers have the chance to notice them. If you wait, you run the risk of recieving lower offers, or having buyers ask for credits to complete the repairs before closing. Your home will be more attractive if buyers don't see it as a project. Your realtor can assist you in pointing out any potential problems and giving you contact information for specialists to assist.

4. NOT KEEPING YOUR HOME IN "SHOW" CONDITION.

Buyers want to picture themselves living in your home and unfortunatley, your family photos and knicknacks take that ability away. Pack up anything that creates clutter to create more open space in your home. You want buyers to think back and remember what your home looked like, not the pile of dirty laundry or the dishes in the sink.

5. LISTING A VACANT HOUSE.

While your space shouldn't be cluttered, it also shouldn't be completely bare. If you've already moved, consider leaving a few pieces of furniture behind to set the stage of how the home could look. 

6. LETTING YOUR EGO GET IN THE WAY.

When it comes to negotiating, keep your head in the game. Buyers will most likely try to bargain...do not take it personally. Remember, this is a business transaction and both parties are looking for the best possible outcome. Look for a win-win scenario.

7. NOT DISCLOSING EVERYTHING.

Many sellers have lost big money by not being forthcoming about all property imperfections. Being upfront with potential issues will prevent many potential issues that could arise later in the transaction. You don't want a deal to fall apart at the last minute because of something simple that could have been taken care of early on.

8. USING SUB PAR LISTING PHOTOS.

Too many listings are uploaded with dark, crooked, blurry or otherwise unappealing listing photos. With over 90% of buyers beginning their home search online, it is CRITICAL that your home looks picture perfect on the web. You and your agent need to work together to take the best listing photos possible; as a seller, make sure to have your home spotless and neat before photos are taken. Take a look at your agent's current listing photos and examine the quality. If you have concerns, bring them to your agent's attention! Showcasing your home in the best possible light is of the utmost importance. 

Allergens: The Unwanted House Guests

It's that time of year again when the sun comes out of hiding, the breeze is (finally) warm, and the trees are about to bud. Spring is here! If you're an allergy sufferer, Spring may be bittersweet. We can't control the air outside, but we can control the atmosphere in our homes. Let's talk about how to remove and prevent allergens from invading your space.

 

1. Banish Dust. It goes without saying that dust will aggrivate allergies. The first obvious step is to sweep, vacuum and dust every surface thoroughly. After that, it's time to look at unsuspecting dust magnets. One of the worst offenders are fans and window binds. Solution: Take apart any standing fans and clean all of the pieces thoroughly - there is no sense in blowing that dust around the room! If you can, replacing your typical blinds with roller shades will cut down dust accumulation immensely. If you cannot, take your blinds down and soak them in the bathtub to remove any buildup.

2. Fight Mold. Your bathroom and kitchen will likely be the worst offenders when it comes to mold. Solution: Take down your shower curtain and liner and replace them periodically. If it's not time to replace them yet, wash them in hot water with a touch of bleach before hanging back up. Next, mix a solution of bleach water and spray it on kitchen and bathroom plumbing before wiping clean. 

3. Soft Surfaces. Cleaning hard surfaces is simple, but it's the soft surfaces in your home (think curtains, furniture, rugs, bedding...) that really trap allergens. Solution: Wash any fabrics that you can in very hot water. Rent a steam cleaner to deep clean furniture and rugs - not only will the cleaner suck allergens out of the fabric, but the steam will kill any that may be left behind. 

4. Purify. Now that your home is allergen free, you need to keep it that way! Solution: Invest in an air purifier to rid the air of allergens before they have a chance to settle in and make themselves at home. Check out this list of the best air purifiers on the market.

 

Daylight Savings Time Begins!

 

Spring is on the way!

Daylight Savings Time Begins Sunday March 8th.

 

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead 1 hour this Saturday before going to bed. Yes, we may be losing an hour of sleep, but we'll be gaining an extra hour of daylight each day!

 

This is also a great time to test your smoke detectors and change their batteries. 

 

With temperatures on their way up, you might be in spring cleaning mode. Check out these tips to spruce up your home for spring, and holding a successful lawn sale to clear out any extra clutter.