Category: Home Owners

Brightening Up A Room

Do you have a dark room in your home? Brightening up a room can be easy and doesn’t have to cost a lot! Check out these ways to transform a dark space into a light and bright retreat.

Light and bright living room for an article discussing brightening up a room.


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Bad Homeowner Habits

Fireplace and living room for an article about bad homeowner habits.

 What are some bad homeowner habits? Do you have any of them? Read on to find out what you should be doing differently in your home.




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3 Landscaping Mistakes To Avoid

Photo of backyard for an article about landscaping mistakes.

  1. Plant for only one season: Think about all seasons instead of  just one when planning what trees and flowers you want to plant. Don’t just plant flowers that will bloom in the spring and summer, leaving your yard brown the rest of the year. Consider adding evergreens that will add color throughout the year or trees that bloom in the summer and have colored leaves in the fall.
  2. Ignore the upkeep: Don’t get into the habit of neglecting your yard; plant low maintenance flowers and trees so that the yard can be easily taken care of.
  3. Leave clutter around: Yard toys, sporting equipment and extra lawn furniture can all take over your yard, making it look chaotic and neglected even if the landscaping is taken care of. Invest in an oversized storage bin that these items can be kept in.
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CRS Designation

Logo for the Council of Residential Specialists.

Dawn Dause has earned the CRS designation and is now a member of the Council of Residential Specialists! What does this mean? Dawn has earned her CRS designation by completing extensive training and meeting significant experience requirements. Working with a CRS Realtor means they will provide exceptional service and will use their top notch negotiation skills to benefit their clients.

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Spring Home Decor Trends

Modern navy blue bedroom as an example of spring home decor trends.

  • Black is out and blue is in: Designers are gravitating towards navy blue instead of a black and white color scheme. Navy blue walls with pops of white will be seen quite a bit this spring, as Scandinavian design is being widely used.
  • Acrylic: This material is having a huge surge in popularity and is seen all over sites such as Pinterest. Not only is this material chic, it’s helpful to create the illusion of more space in a small room. Clear acrylic tables and chairs and even picture frames are being used more and more.
  • Hygge: This Danish way of simple living is being seen a lot in design lately. The basic premise is to create a cozy, simple living space. This means lot’s of candles, throw blankets, coffee table books, and not much else. Check out Pinterest for lot’s of ideas of how to incorporate this trendy design theme in your home.
    Hygge style coffee table as an example of spring home decor trends.Copper: This material is a very trendy choice for the home and will be seen throughout 2017. Try adding copper accessories or go bold and install copper lighting such as copper fixtures over the kitchen island. Copper light fixture for an article about spring home decor trends.
  • Climbing plants: With Pantone’s Color of the Year being Greenery, it’s appropriate that plants are a major spring home decor trend. Hanging plants are an excellent choice to add some signs of spring and life back into your home as we enter spring. Hanging plants are very easy to take care of and very hard to kill so they make perfect house plants, especially Philodendron.

Philodendron house plant as as example of spring home decor trends.


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Spring Cleaning Hacks

Photo of cleaning supplies on a counter for an article discussing spring cleaning.


  • Go with the 80/20 rule: The 80/20 philosophy suggests that people really only use 20% of the things they own. When deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, think about what items you would replace right away  if they were ever lost or stolen; this will help you determine what your 20% to keep should be.
  • Donate and schedule a pickup: Part of going through your belongings should involve donating some of your items, but often times people don’t ever get these items out of their homes. Go online and schedule a pickup so that you ensure this gets done.
  • Use vinegar: Vinegar is an amazing natural cleaning agent that has many uses. One use for vinegar is to tie a bag of vinegar around your showerhead and let it sit over night. This clears away gunk from the head and will also improve water pressure too.
  • Coffee filters and Coke clean too: You can use coffee filters to clean dust off of TV screens and Coke can be used to clean toilets. Pour Coke in the bowl, let it sit for an hour, and then flush.
  • Consider doing a digital purge: Clear away any files on your computer or phone that you don’t need such as duplicate pictures and then empty the recycle bin.
  • Update your passwords: Make your accounts more secure by updating your passwords with new ones that include both uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers. Have a lot of passwords to remember and keep track of? Consider using an encrypted database to store them for you.
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Top Kitchen and Bath Design Trends For 2017

Photo of a modern kitchen with quartz countertops for an article about top kitchen and bath design trends for 2017.

  • Traditional styles are losing momentum and both contemporary and transitional-style design elements are gaining popularity in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Bathrooms: Asian Fusion, Mid-Century Modern, and Shaker styles will rule in 2017. Both neutral and more bold colors will be seen including a lot of gray, white, and off white but also purple, blue and violet.  Undermount sinks are still a popular choice but trough sinks are also emerging on the design scene. As far as finishes go, brushed brass and gold are top choices but be on the lookout for designer colored faucets. The most popular type of bathroom storage is still wood vanities and linen cabinets but we are seeing a trend towards open shelves and floating vanities. As far as tubs go, it looks as though homeowners are losing interest in whirlpool tubs and are opting for larger showers instead.
  • Kitchens: Kitchens with clean lines, lot’s of storage, and simple cabinet doors are definitely in. Two toned kitchens continue to be popular with gray and white being the colors of choice although blue and black cabinets will be seen as well. A variety of materials are being used for both accents and surfaces. For countertops, granite is still falling in popularity while quartz is king. Convection ovens and induction cooktops are being incorporated into kitchens more and more and microwave oven drawers are being chosen instead of built in microwaves or freestanding ones.

Photo of a wood vanity in a bathroom for an article on kitchen and bath trends of 2017.Photo of a trough sink for an article on kitchen and bath design trends for 2017.


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15 Minute Home Makeovers


Photo of a modern kitchen for an article discussing 15 minute home makeovers.


  • Switch the plates: Update switch plate and outlet covers.
  • Make touch ups: Touch up scratched baseboards, window and door trim, and marks on the wall that won’t go away.
  • Change out hardware: Putting in new drawer pulls and knobs can give a room an inexpensive face lift. Home improvement stores have a wide variety of inexpensive hardware to choose from.
  • Update the mailbox: Give an old mailbox a makeover by scrubbing it down and then spray painting it, either the same color or a new hue.
  • House numbers: Switch out your old house numbers for new ones to create a custom look. Some numbers are peel and stick and others need to be nailed in. There are different material choices such as wood, plastic, brass, stainless steel, etc. Expect to spend about $6-$30 a number.
  • Toilet seat: A new toilet seat can instantly improve the look of your bathroom without spending a lot.
  • Declutter: Spending 15 minutes a day decluttering a room can really make a huge difference in your home. Start in the kitchen by clearing off your refrigerator door and watch your kitchen instantly look cleaner. Put mail and other paperwork in labeled boxes with lids or other organizers; put school supplies in caddies, etc.
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Tax Breaks For Homeowners

Photo of the word tax on top of money for an article about tax breaks for homeowners.


Tax season is upon us and there are many benefits awaiting homeowners:

  • Mortgage Interest: This is a huge money saver and can be taken on both primary and secondary homes, as long as you itemize your return and your loan is less than one million dollars.
  • Mortgage Points: Points, which are percentage based fees that a lender charges to originate a loan, are seen as a type of mortgage interest which is paid in advance. As long as you meet certain requirements, you can deduct these points in full the year they were paid.
  • Property Taxes: The amount you paid in property taxes can be entered on your federal form for as long as you own the home. You can find this amount by looking at your annual statement that you just received by your lender. This must be an itemized expense.
  • Home Improvements: Many homeowners took on various home improvement projects in the last year and you may have been one of those homeowners as well. Projects range from adding additional square footage, replacing the roof, etc. The money spent on these projects can help to lower your tax bill. If you used a home equity loan or other loan tied to your home to fund home improvement projects,  the loan will qualify for mortgage interest deductions just like your home mortgage.


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Home Improvement Projects With The Best Returns


Photo of the exterior of a home for an article about home improvement projects and their expected return.

When thinking about doing a home improvement project to your home, do you ever wonder what your return may be? The Remodeling Cost Vs. Value Report from Illinois Realtor Magazine lays out what type of return you can expect on your projects:

  • Replacing the garage door: 83%
  • Steel entry door replacement: 82.5%
  • Attic bedroom: 81%
  • Wood deck addition: 78%
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 76%
  • Wood window replacement: 74%
  • Vinyl window replacement: 73%
  • Vinyl siding replacement: 73%
  • Composite deck addition: 69%
  • Fiberglass entry door replacement: 66.8%
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