Consumer Real Estate News

    • 4 Tips to Get Countertops Organized

      30 May 2023

      A great kitchen is a boon for any homeowner. Many prospective buyers place a high value on a roomy kitchen with new amenities and a lot of storage and counterspace. Unfortunately, remodeling your kitchen can be spendy, so if you are looking to get a little more room without a hefty price tag, organizing might be your best option. 

      Declutter Extra Appliances
      Few areas of your home collect miscellaneous gadgets like the kitchen. From tools to chop, mash, and puree, to a plethora of cooking appliances, you likely have a few tools sitting in your kitchen right now that you don't really use. Donate what you can and store appliances that only come out during the holiday season. Keeping your counters clear of less frequently used items is key to capitalizing on your space.

      Store Appliances off the Counter
      Your blender, toaster, and other appliances take up a lot of space. If you lack countertop organization, you may find that simply storing these appliances in a cupboard when not in use affords you plenty of room for your day-to-day tasks in the kitchen. Alternatively, consider only keeping out the items you use everyday or multiple times a day. 

      Use Vertical Space
      Capitalizing on vertical space is key in any organization project. Your kitchen is no exception. Take a page from Julia Child, and use a pegboard to organize your kitchen tools. Use Command hooks to hang items and get them off of the counters. Consider magnet strips to store your knives instead of keeping a butcher block on the countertops. Correctly using your vertical space it can ensure that you have a lot more counter space for cooking and prep when you need it.

      Use Baskets
      Some items do need to be stored on your kitchen counter. To ensure that everything stays contained and visually appealing, be sure that you are storing your items in baskets or bins.  Easy-to-clean baskets are perfect for storing fresh fruits and veggies, paperwork that must stay in the kitchen, and even spices or sauces. Anything that you regularly use in the kitchen should be appropriately stored in a basket or bin to ensure it doesn’t take over your countertops.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • School Prep Ideas for Your Home

      30 May 2023

      Before back-to-school hits in full swing, every household with school-age children should consider getting the home ready in advance. Since the school year brings with it sports, playdates, and homework, there are a lot of scheduling changes to contend with as summer transitions to fall. Mitigate some of the craziness of the transition by prepping these areas of your home in advance.

      Purge the Pantry
      The school season means sending snacks and sack lunches for many families. Make it easy to pack lunches and schoolyard snacks by going through your pantry and tossing any expired snacks or foods. Reorganize and bring any pre-packaged snacks to the front of the shelf for easy access. If your school has restrictions on certain foods due to allergens, be sure to set those items aside so they are not accidentally taken to school. This can also help your family inventory what needs to be purchased in your upcoming grocery trips, to ensure you have everything on-hand.

      Assess the Closets
      Back-to-school shopping is an annual tradition for most families. Whether your kids wear regular clothes or uniforms to school, some summer clothes will be too worn, stained, or small to wear outside of playtime. Now is an excellent time to take inventory of your children’s clothes to see what you may need for the coming school year. Donate any lightly worn or too-small clothing to someone in need or decide to host a summer yard sale before the school year picks up. Either way, you will know exactly what your kids need before you begin school shopping this year, which will make shopping a breeze.

      Prep a Homework Space
      Whether your kids tend to work on the kitchen table, or have their own desks for doing homework, now is an excellent time to ensure that any homework spaces have all the supplies they may need for the school year. From basics like calculators pens and pencils to bigger investments like laptops or tablets, now is the time to ensure that your child’s space has everything they need to be successful throughout the school year. If your child has a designated space within their room, help them reorganize and clean their room to create a calm and nurturing space that will foster their learning.

      Getting ahead of the game can ensure that busy mornings are not more difficult due to a lack of organization. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Simple Steps to a Tidy Pantry

      30 May 2023

      A kitchen pantry is one of those places that can be hard to wrangle. A common receptacle for a wide variety of grocery products—from the frequently used to the might-need-it-one-day—a pantry closet can quickly become a disorganized, cluttered jumble.

      By putting the right routine in place, however, the pantry can become a tidy and efficient part of your kitchen and daily lifestyle. Stick to these strategies from home-organization expert Marie Kondo and start adding some order back into your life:

      Discard expired foods. While this may seem like a no-brainer, expiration dates need to be tracked in order to keep your pantry streamlined. Keep a pantry inventory with items and expiration dates and refer to it frequently to know what foods need to be used soon. This will go a long way toward avoiding food waste as well as clutter.

      Ask if an item will "bring you joy." A hallmark of Kondo's organizing philosophy, ask yourself if you would truly enjoy the experience of cooking with each item you've squirreled away in your pantry. While the thought of baking brownies with that can of imported cocoa powder might lift your spirits, you may get an entirely different feeling from the can of anchovies you've been holding onto. Get rid of anything that falls into the latter camp.

      Store food upright and by category. To maintain an organized pantry, you must be able to quickly see its contents. Therefore, make sure everything is stored upright, using risers where necessary, and group items according to category, such as dried goods like pasta and rice, and canned goods like fruits and vegetables. This will help you avoid the common pitfall of purchasing items you already have plenty of.

      Reduce, reuse, recycle. Once you've thoroughly assessed the contents of your pantry, make a plan for sustainably disposing of anything you no longer want (provided it's not expired). Give away items to neighbors or donate them to the local food bank. You may also be able to repurpose certain items, such as green tea, which can be used as incense or drawer potpourri. Old pasta and baking sprinkles can make great additions to your arts and crafts supplies, and certain canned vegetables and fruits may be compostable.

      If you practice the above steps routinely, your pantry will become a usable, organized masterpiece.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Home Upgrades You Should Think Twice Before Adding

      29 May 2023

      There are an endless number of upgrades you could make to your home if given infinite time and resources. Searching any home improvement site will show you a plethora of options, so how do you choose? While some upgrades are automatic ROI generators, there are some that should be avoided. 

      Swimming Pool
      Swimming pools require a lot of maintenance annually and not everyone is interested in that upkeep. This is particularly true for homebuyers who live in areas where it is not pool weather for more than half of the year. Pools can also be a liability and can even increase insurance premiums. Be certain you want a pool before adding it to your home and be aware that future buyers may not see it as an asset.

      A fresh coat of paint may go a long way to improve a room, but wallpaper can make future owners cringe. Since wallpaper is so difficult to remove, it can deter prospective buyers. If you truly love the idea of a pattern on your wall, consider painting it yourself (and paint over it before you sell). Alternatively invest in a good brand of removable wallpaper that can offer the look without the hassle.

      Bedroom to Home Office
      Home offices became popular at the height of the COVID pandemic, and many still value a home office today. Home offices may be coveted for those who wish to have a space for remote work, hybrid work, or hobbies, but not everyone wants a home office. Taking a bedroom and converting it to a home office by building in furniture can severely devalue your home since the number of bedrooms is the first thing homebuyers look at when evaluating a home. Feel free to use your spare bedroom as an office, but remember that customizing it too much can diminish your home’s value and limit prospective buyer interest in the future.

      Fish Pond
      Fish ponds–like swimming pools–can pose a danger to curious small children. For this reason, ponds can be a liability and could even increase insurance premiums in the same way a pool can. Fish ponds can also require a good deal of outdoor maintenance. While having a water feature in your yard filled with koi and lily pads sounds beautiful, it may be a deterrent when it comes time to sell your home.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Things to Consider Before Adding a Pool to Your Yard

      29 May 2023

      Adding a pool to the yard can be an exciting and fun thought, but many homeowners can get ahead of themselves when it comes to pool planning. Before you begin planning your yard and making plans for a pool installation, be sure you consider all the aspects. 

      Local ROI
      A pool can seem like an automatic asset, but your climate can largely affect your local ROI when installing a pool. A pool requires a lot of maintenance and this means a time and financial investment for potential buyers. If your climate is temperate throughout the year, a pool can be a reasonable asset. In areas where weather is cooler for a lot of the year, you will want to investigate the ROI in your local area. A pool may be a fun upgrade for your family, but don’t assume it will automatically add value to your home.

      Your Homeowner’s Insurance
      Be sure you understand your homeowner’s insurance policy and how a pool can affect your insurance premiums.

      A pool can entail liability if an accident were to occur. From your insurance’s perspective, a swimming pool is considered an “attractive nuisance,” which is a dangerous condition on a property that may attract children onto the land and pose a safety risk.This means that liability applies to invited guests and curious children who attempt to explore the pool without anyone’s permission or supervision. guests they invite, as well as to inquisitive children who may invite themselves into the pool without anyone's knowledge. You may want to increase your liability coverage for this reason. 

      Additionally, you’ll want to understand how your insurance will cover the pool if something were to become damaged or broken. Your pool may be covered under personal property limit or replacement cost value if your insurance policy considers it part of the home.

      Pool Safety
      No one wants to be part of a tragedy. Understanding your liability on a legal and financial level is vital, but pool safety is crucial to protect any children in your family and other neighborhood children as well. Pool safety and maintenance can be time-consuming, so be sure you understand all the safety laws for pools in your area and whether you want to commit to that maintenance or potential liability.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.