Paint/Decor

Tips to maximize your small kitchen.

Not every home is equipped with a spacious kitchen, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style or function! We have some great tips to help maximize any small kitchen.

 

The ceiling is the limit. 

The extent to which you'll be able to expand your storage upward will depend upon the amount of cabinetry your kitchen has. That being said, nearly every kitchen can use some amount of wall space. If you have an older home with less cabinets, installing rows of shelves is an excellent way to get utensils, appliances, cutting boards cookbooks up off of the counters. If you don't have room for extra shelving, you will have to make the most of the space between the counter tops and the bottoms of the cabinets. This can be a great area to install a spice rack, or hang magnetic strips for knives. You can even set up metal rods to hang utensils from! Sometimes it just takes a little extra creativity to figure out what will work best. 

 

 

 

Under the sink storage.

If you're like most of us, the area under your kitchen sink has become a black hole filled with miscellaneous cleaning supplies. If that sounds like you, it's time to invest in some under the sink storage  to make the most of this space. You'll be shocked at how much room you have once you get everything up and organized! You might even find a lost "treasure" or two in the process. 

 

 

Upgrade your lighting.

You know what makes a small kitchen feel even smaller? Bad lighting. Upgrading your fixtures is a relatively simple and inexpensive project that'll not only make your space feel more open, but also give you a chance to show off your style! We're especially fond of pendant lights in a small kitchen. You can find some great ones here

 

 

 

Pops of color.

Last but not least, don't be afraid to add a few pops of color! Like we said earlier, having a small space doesn't mean you need to sacrifice style. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how far a well placed piece of art, a colorful dish towel or a vase of flowers will go toward adding interest. 

 

Top Home Staging Tips That Sell Homes Faster & For More Money

 

 

According to the National Association of Realtors, for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400! Staged homes not only bring in higher offers, but they normally sell much quicker than their non-staged counterparts. If you're thinking of listing your home, we would highly recommend at least some level of staging. Read on for our top tips to get your home prepped for sale.

 

 

 

Keep Decor Neutral.

Neutral doesn't have to mean boring. What we mean is avoid bold, bright colors (this includes stark white!) all throughout the home. The goal here is to appeal to the masses, and while your favorite color may be fuchsia, it won't necessarily translate well to potential buyers. That being said, we're providing tips to give you the best return on your investment, so if re-painting is out of the question, it'll just require some extra attention and thoughtful accessorizing to convince buyers that fuchsia might be their new favorite color.

 

 

 

De-Clutter

When buyers walk into your home, they want to be able to picture themselves, and their belongings there. Think of this step as a head-start on packing, and really minimize any extra possessions. A vase of flowers and a nice painting here and there will be great, but it's time to pack up personal pictures, diplomas, framed certificates, refrigerator art, etc. It's not that buyers wouldn't like your taste, it's that their goal is to make the space their own. It's easier to do that if personal possessions are kept to a minimum. While we're on the topic, this is also a good time to consider removing anything that could be considered divisive (think political memorabilia and the like). 

 

 

 

 

Strike a balance.

Yes, you're right, we just told you to minimize your personal possessions. But, what you don't want to do is go too far and remove every stitch of personality from the home. Selling a vacant home can be just as challenging as selling an overcrowded one. Remember how we said buyers are trying to picture themselves living in your home? That'll be a lot easier to do when rooms remain furnished. Surprisingly, furnished rooms actually appear bigger than empty ones! They also show less flaws and make it appear as though you're not in a huge rush to sell. Sometimes a vacant home can give that impression and therefore bring in lower offers. 

 

 

 

 

Remodel with caution.

Not only is remodeling generally a very pricey and time consuming process, but it can be a big gamble. Furthermore, if you need to take out a loan in order to fund your remodel, it could be harmful to your credit score and run you the risk of not recouping your investment. Even sellers with the best of intentions can't predict what buyers will be looking for in terms of decor. This is one of those situations where you'd be wise to consult with your realtor and get their opinion before taking on an extensive remodel. That being said, cosmetic fixes and repairs are always good things to get taken care of before listing your home. 

 

 

 

 

Be Timeless.

Interior design trends, just like fashion trends, come and go and there is a fine line between retro-funk and just plain out dated decor. When preparing your home for sale, it's best to air on the side of caution and avoid anything too trendy. A pop of color here and there (think pillows, curtains, bedding) can be very tasteful, but avoid anything that could read as out dated (shag carpeting, ruffled tapestry etc.).

 

Did you know that we offer home staging advice? If you're considering listing your home, we will happily offer personalized guidance to steer you in the right direction! Send us an email for more information. 

Tips to make your mudroom look like a million bucks

What better time to revamp your mudroom than at the beginning of a new school year? We have some tips to put your entryway to work and keep your family organized. These suggestions won't break the bank and they'll be sure to help you get out the door faster every morning, and keep your home from seasonal damage.

 

A message board, or large calendar, will help keep you and your family organized. I've found making lists not only helps with organization, but also time management and stress relief. Plus, if everyone knows what's on the schedule for the upcoming week, it'll be a lot easier to get out the door on time!

 

Add some hooks for easy and quick organization! We'd suggest at least 4 hooks per person to keep every day essentials (keys, backpacks, totes, jackets etc.) at-the-ready when you need them.

If space allows, building cubbies is an EXCELLENT way to maximize space and really take organization to the next level. Imagine the convenience of every family member having a designated space for the things they take to work or school every day! This may not seem life changing in the summer, but think about winter when we have to add bulky coats, hats, mittens and boots into the mix. You'll be thankful for the extra space. 

Mud rooms and entry ways are typically on the smaller side. Adding a mirror will make your space look larger while also giving everyone one last chance to get themselves together before running out the door. 

If space allows, we would highly suggest adding a bench or two to your mud room. Not only will it make it easier to put on and pull off boots and shoes, but it'll encourage your guests to remove footwear before entering your home.

We can't stress this tip enough! We know by now that life in Vermont gets messy - especially in the winter and spring. Choosing flooring that will hold up to moisture is crucial. We'd suggest tile flooring which will withstand whatever you throw at it, and is easy to clean.

The mud room is an excellent place to organize your pet's accessories as well! A couple of hooks will keep leashes and other necessities at-the-ready when walk time rolls around. This is also a nice place to keep extra pet food, toys and pet carriers. 

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!

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.

5 Easy DIY ways to beautify your bathroom on a budget

 

Give your bathroom or powder room a 'wow' factor with these simple and inexpensive, DIY projects!

1. Make storage pretty - Use apothecary jars, mason jars or even crystal sugar bowls (found inexpensively at thrift shops!) to hold q-tips, cotton balls, hair ties and other necessities. Find a soap dispenser to match, or re-purpose one of the jars with a screw on nozzle and you're on the right track! Not only do these serve their purpose of storage, but they add an instant visual appeal at the same time.

2. De-Clutter - It seems bathroom storage is always pushed to the maximum. Get hair dryers, straighteners and other odds and ends off of your counters by attaching magazine holders inside of cabinet doors. No more unsightly wires to get tangled!

3. Embellish Cabinets - A coat of paint will go a long way in changing the look of your cabinets (have laminate cabinets? No problem! Check out this DIY tutorial for painting instructions). If you want to go further, find molding to attach before you paint, or try using wallpaper inserts! Swapping out hardware is a fun way to make a dramatic difference as well, and since most bathrooms have few cabinets and drawers, it will also be inexpensive.

4. Frame your mirror - Add instant drama by framing your bathroom mirror. It's as simple as buying thick molding and gluing it, or if you have the carpentry skills, make a real custom frame to hang on the wall. Bring your mirror dimensions to the hardware store and they'll miter the edges for you. Paint in a metallic color for extra flair.

5. Replace your towel rack - Towel racks are useful, but not very visually appealing. Instead, hang a pretty coat rack, individual hooks, or even mounted door knobs for a quirkier look. Hang fresh towels to offset your new look!

Fall is a great time to sell!

Sell in fall blog

Putting your home on the market in the "off seasons" of fall and winter is a smart strategy that is often overlooked. The available inventory of homes is less by this time, giving the pool of buyers fewer suitable options. With less competition, it is easier to highlight your home's best features and stand out in the crowd. Furthermore, buyers searching during this time are generally more serious, qualified and feeling a sense of urgency. This combination makes for the absolute perfect selling atmosphere.

Now that you know why fall is a great time to list, let's talk about how to make your home a standout. 

 

Outside

Curb Appeal. If you follow our blog, you know how important this topic is. Whether searching online, or driving through the neighborhood, buyers are hyper-critical - and rightfully so! They are looking for well maintained homes that show that the owners care and have made upkeep a priority. If your home isn't presented well, buyers won't give it a second look, and certainly won't make an appointment to see it from the inside. Before your listing photos are taken, and the entire time your home is on the market, make sure walkways are clear of debris, landscaping is neat, windows are clean and your entryway is welcoming. Any outdoor furniture should be stored away by this time as well. Your Realtor should take pictures on a well lit day to paint your home in the best possible light. Adding a new welcome mat, some seasonal mums and maybe a pumpkin or wreath to your door add a thoughtful touch that buyers will notice and appreciate. 

Lighting. Now that the days are getting shorter, it's important that you leave your exterior lights on during all showing hours - both for safety and for a subliminally welcoming aesthetic. If you can, adding solar lights to walkways is a nice touch and added safety feature.

Inside

Maintenance. Just as with the exterior of your home, the interior needs to be viewer ready at all times. Keep up with the obvious routine housework as well as tending to any maintenance that may need attention. You may not notice that sticky window, or squeaky cellar door, but it will be a red flag in a buyer's mind. Keep drapes and blinds pulled back to let the sunlight in and clear out any clutter to give the appearance of large, open, clean spaces.

Scent. Did you know that scent is the sense most closely linked to memory? When buyers remember your home, make sure they're recalling the pleasant, seasonal smells and not a musky basement or stale dog bed. Strategically place scented oils and plug-in air fresheners throughout your rooms in warm, seasonal scents such as cinnamon, vanilla or pumpkin spice. Not only are these uplifting in the moment, but they tend to bring back happy memories and allow people to reminisce -- exactly the mood you want buyers in when they're viewing your home! 

Create Warmth. Sweater weather isn't just for people -- apply it to your decor too! Make your home look like a cozy place to curl up by strategically adding warm, chunky throw blankets to living room furniture, choosing pillows in seasonal fabrics and colors and using plenty of accent lighting.  If you have a fireplace, arrange furniture around it to make it a focal point. Think of the textures and colors that make you think of a cozy fall day, and apply those to your home. There's no need to break the bank with these updates -- retailers such as Home Goods have a huge selection of lovely options to add flare and comfort even on a budget.

Remember, you're selling the feeling of your home as much as the property itself. Make sure buyers can see themselves living in and enjoying your home by paying attention to the small details and you'll have no trouble selling your home this fall. In fact, you'll find the process is much easier than expected!

Cost Vs. Value Study Finds Remodeling Really Pays Off

 

If you are considering a home improvement project to boost the quality and appeal of your  home, this list of top 10 midrange and upscale projects will give you the biggest return on your effort when it comes time to sell!

Top 10 Midrange Projects

1. Entry Door Replacement (steel) Job Cost: $1,162 Resale Value: $1,122 Cost Recouped: 96.6%

2. Deck Addition (wood) Job Cost: $9,539 Resale Value: $8,334 Cost Recouped: 87.4%

3. Attic Bedroom Job Cost: $49,438 Resale Value: $41,656 Cost Recouped: 84.3%

4. Garage Door Replacement Job Cost: $1,534 Resale Value: $1,283 Cost Recouped: 83.7%

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel Job Cost: $18,856 Resale Value: $15,585 Cost Recouped: 82.7%

6. Window Replacement (wood) Job Cost: $10,926 Resale Value: $8,662 Cost Recouped: 79.3%

7. Window Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $9,978 Resale Value: $7,857 Cost Recouped: 78.7%

8. Siding Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $11,475 Resale Value: $8,975 Cost Recouped: 78.2%

9. Basement Remodel Job Cost: $62,834 Resale Value: $48,777 Cost Recouped: 77.6%

10. Deck Addition (composite) Job Cost: $15,437 Resale Value: $11,476 Cost Recouped: 74.3%

Top 10 Upscale Projects

1. Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) Job Cost: $13,378 Resale Value: $11,645 Cost Recouped: 87.0%

2. Garage Door Replacement Job Cost: $2,791 Resale Value: $2,315 Cost Recouped: 82.9%

3. Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) Job Cost: $14,236 Resale Value: $11,124 Cost Recouped: 78.1%

4. Window Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $13,385 Resale Value: $10,252 Cost Recouped: 76.6%

5. Window Replacement (wood) Job Cost: $16,798 Resale Value: $12,438 Cost Recouped: 74.0%

6. Grand Entrance (fiberglass) Job Cost: $7,305 Resale Value: $5,163 Cost Recouped: 70.7%

7. Deck Addition (composite) Job Cost: $35,158 Resale Value: $22,881 Cost Recouped: 65.1%

8. (tie) Bathroom Remodel Job Cost: $51,374 Resale Value: $32,660 Cost Recouped: 63.6%

(tie) Major Kitchen Remodel Job Cost: $109,935 Resale Value: $69,973 Cost Recouped: 63.6%

9. Roofing Replacement Job Cost: $34,495 Resale Value: $21,731 Cost Recouped: 63.0%

10. Bathroom Addition Job Cost: $72,538 Resale Value: $43,936 Cost Recouped: 60.6%

The data used in the Cost vs. Value Report was collected with the help of REALTOR® Magazine in an online survey between August and October 2013. More than 4,500 NAR members participated from 101 U.S. cities, up from 81 cities included in last year's survey.

Construction cost estimates were generated by RemodelMAX.

Prepare your home for listing photos

 

With more buyers shopping for homes on the Web, photos and virtual tours are a must. There are many things you can do make your home shine on camera.

  1. Understand the camera's perspective. The camera's eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home shine in a virtual tour or video presentation, cater to the lens.
  2. Make the home "white-glove clean." Because the camera magnifies grime, each room should be spotless for the best results. Don't forget floor coverings and walls; a discolored spot on the rug might be overlooked by prospects during a regular home showing, but that stain becomes a focal point for online viewers.
  3. Pack up the clutter. But leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, on an end table you can place a lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low). This dynamic creates visual interest without being distracting.
  4. Snap pictures. This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera. Closely examine the photos and list changes that would improve each room's appearance: opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art, for example.
  5. Pare down furniture. Identify one or two pieces of furniture that can be removed from each room to make the space appear larger.
  6. Rearrange. Spotlight the flow of a space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.
  7. Reaccessorize. Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves green. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.
  8. Keep the home in shape. You want buyers who liked what they saw online to encounter the same home in person.