Month: December 2015

New Year’s Resolution: Saving For A House

Realtor Mag

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For many of us, starting a new year means setting goals to achieve in the coming months. For some of us, one of these goals may be saving for a home.

  • How long does it take to save?: 37% of recent home buyers said it took them 6 months or less to save for a down payment, 15% saved for 6-12 months, and 10% said they saved for 12-18 months.
  • Saving can mean sacrifices: 72% of home buyers reported cutting back on luxury or non-essential items in order to save, 56% spent less on entertainment, and 45% spent less on clothing to save money.
  • Don’t be discouraged about saving: Many home buyers needed a smaller down payment than they thought they would need. The average down payment is 6% for first time buyers and 13% for repeat buyers.
  • It’s well worth it: 79% of recent buyers regard their home as a good financial investment with many believing it to be a better investment than stocks.
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Homes Of The Near Future

House Logic

                                                                

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There are 4 trends which are gaining popularity which seem to point to home features that will be important in the future. I’m not talking about homes run by robots, but instead home features that will increase home values, be more environmentally friendly, and suit our lifestyles.

  1. Extreme Energy Efficiency: Waterless toilets, Grey water systems (These currently reuse up to 60% of your household water for flushing toilets and watering the lawn), and garages wired for electric cars are just some of the trends expected to emerge onto the mainstream in the near future.
  2. Preparing for super storms: Since there has been an increase in super storms that have left consumers without electricity for long periods of time, it is expected that many homes will be equipped with whole house generators. These can keep a household running comfortably until the power is restored.
  3. Locally grown: With many people gravitating towards eating healthier and making better choices, indoor gardens will become more popular. Edible indoor kitchen gardens will be making it possible for many people to eat farm to table right at home.
  4. Better appliances: General Electric recently announced it’s vision for 2025 home appliances, and the changes made to our everyday appliances were very remarkable. Faucets will dispense not only water, but ice, beverages, and vitamins as well. Sinks will double as mini-dishwashers and will be able to wash a small load of dishes in only minutes. Laundry machines will not only clean clothes but will also fold them into small compact bundles.
The changes coming to our homes in the near future are exciting and will definitely make a big impact on our everyday lives!
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What Do Homebuyers Want?

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According to a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, a person’s gender and relationship status greatly influences what home features are important to them.

  • 42% of married couples rated walk-in closets as very important in a home, and surprisingly 38% of single men rated walk-ins as important versus 29% of single women.
  • Another twist: more single men viewed new kitchen appliances as important more than any other group, including married couples.
  • 21% of single men rated 9 ft. or above ceilings as very important vs. 8% of single women
  • A feature much more important to single women more than any other group is single level living; 31% rated it as very important compared to 18% of single men and 16% of unmarried couples.
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Things You Didn’t Know Could Go In The Dishwasher

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Here are some very dirty items that your dishwasher can make sparkle and shine:
  • Shoes: Any shoes that can be worn in the rain such as rubber boots, flip flops, pool shoes, etc can be put into the dishwasher for a good cleaning. Just be sure to remove any liners or orthopedic inserts.
  • Baseball Hats: Hats will get clean and keep their shape when put on the top rack of the dishwasher. Placing a small cup of white vinegar on the bottom rack will provide extra deodorizing power.
  • Toys: Any metal or plastic toys will look like new after going through a dishwasher cycle. Be sure to place them in the cutlery tray or mesh bag before cleaning them. 
  • Vent Covers and Grilles: These can be put on the bottom rack of the dishwasher for a good cleaning.
  • Cup Holders: When these come sticky and dirty from spilled coffee and pop, put them into the dishwasher to make them like new again.
  • Kitchen Brushes: The dishwasher can clean and sanitize basting brushes.
  • Scrub Brushes: Allow your dishwasher to sanitize your scrub brushes and bottle brushes.
  • Light Fixture Covers: Glass and plastic fixture covers can go through a gentle cycle in the dishwasher.
  • Switch Plates and Outlet Covers: These can all go through the dishwasher to be sanitized.
  • Potatoes and Root Vegetables: When you harvest potatoes, beets, turnips, etc from your garden, place them on the top rack and run through a short cycle without soap to clean them. To cook the same veggies, you can wrap them tightly in aluminium foil and wash again.
  • Fridge Shelves and Drawers: Get rid of sticky messes and put these through the dishwasher.
  • Cabinet Hardware: Place these in a mesh bag or cutlery tray and wash away.
  • Soap and Toothbrush Holders
  • Faux Flowers: Put these on the top rack and run through a short cycle.
  • Plastic Desk Accessories: Pencil holders, in and out trays, sticky note holders-all of these can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
  • Sports Equipment: Plastic shin guards, balls, and helmets can be cleaned, sanitized, and deodorized in the dishwasher.
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5 Ways To Make A Room Appear Larger

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Making a small space look larger can be a challenge but if you follow a few simple guidelines, it can be achieved. 
  • Using furniture with dual purposes: Using a sofa which doubles as a bed or choosing pieces of furniture with storage in them is a great way to improve the functionality of a room without taking up too much space.
  • Use light paint colors: Dark colors can look good, however, they close a room in and make it appear cramped. In order to open up a space, choose light and airy colors for the walls.
  • Reflection: Placing a mirror on the wall reflects light and makes a room seem bigger than it actually is.
  • Adjustable dining room tables: Small dining room? Choose a table with a removable leaf so that you may accommodate guests as needed without the table overtaking the room the rest of the time.
  • Monochromatic color scheme: Painting the walls and trim different shades of one color will create a clean, streamlined look which will help with making the space look larger than it actually is.
  • Interesting ceiling: Although you may have heard that small rooms shouldn’t have a busy look, creating an interesting ceiling by painting it a different color than the rest of the room or adding texture to it draws the eye upwards, creating the illusion of more space.
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What Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You To Know

House Logic

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  • He’s not going to do the majority of the work: General contractors often times don’t do the physical labor themselves. Normally their main role is to gain clients, manage the budget, and schedule subcontractors. Be sure to ask who will be in charge of the job site and go and meet them on the job if possible to see who you will be dealing with.
  • A large deposit is not necessary: If a business is financially sound and the contractor has good relationships with his suppliers, he shouldn’t be required to pay anything up front. A small deposit should be fine to start a job and your payment plan should be based around a specified amount of work being done. With this arrangement, if the work is not going according to schedule, then the payments will be delayed.  The Federal Trade Commission suggests using a credit card to pay for home improvement work so that a homeowner is protected if the project falls through.
  • Both labor AND materials will be marked up: If you are able to buy your own items such as cabinets, countertops, etc. have the contractor take those items out of the bid price. Make sure to agree on specific numbers of items to purchase and ensure they are on the job site when needed. Purchasing some items on your own could save you 10%-20% off the entire project cost.
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Kitchen Trends You Might Regret

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  • Pot racks over an island: Pot racks definitely had their place in kitchen design years ago but they aren’t really a safe bet anymore. Pots and pans are best stored neatly in drawers instead of hanging out in the open. Going with a clean and sleek design is a safe choice and should remain in style for years to come.
  • Putting in a kitchen desk: Desks in the kitchen was very popular a few years ago but those usually end up with clutter on them that you don’t want to see. Instead, try to keep all paperwork in the home office instead.
  • Distressed or glazed cabinets: This style has been very popular over the last decade but it is starting to fade out. Instead, opt for cleaner designs/paint color or clean wood tones.
  • Farmhouse sink: Although they are charming, choosing a stainless steel look instead will ensure that your sink remains in style for years.
  • Faux finishes: Faux finishes on the wall are starting to move out of many new kitchen designs while fresh paint or clean wall paper are on their way in. 
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