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25 Cheap Ways To Upgrade Your Home

1. Add some character and add texture to your walls with peel-and-stick wall panels.

2. Create a charming accent wall with peel-and-stick paper.

3. Upgrade your countertops to faux granite with a DIY paint kit instead of spending a fortune to replace it.

4. Reseal all those cracks in your tub and tile with caulking and make your bathroom look new again.

5. Update recess lighting without doing any electrical work with magnetic shades.

6. Install crown molding to help make your home look historic and charming.

7. Adding a fresh coat of paint to get that pop of color (or get rid of it) will give your home a touch-up without costing you a fortune.

8. Get the stainless-steel appliances you’ve always wanted at a fraction of the price with paint.

9. Add privacy and a touch of elegance, and make your windows look super expensive, with with “leaded-glass” film.

10. Paint your cabinets to give your kitchen that just-remodeled feeling for pennies versus what it would cost to replace them.

11. Add a new tile backsplash to give your kitchen (or bathroom) that gorgeous custom look.

12. Add a medallion to your light fixtures to instantly elevate your ceiling game.

13. Paint your ugly vinyl floors to get rid of the eyesore without ripping up the floor.

14. Bulk up your baseboards with paint and extra trim instead of replacing them.

15. Install shelving systems in every room to add storage.

16. Upgrade the fixtures in your bathroom to give yourself a mini spa experience.

17. Swap the handles on your cabinets and drawers to update your kitchen.

18. Add a doorbell to your home if you don’t already have one, or upgrade your current one.

19. Update light switches to give your home a fresh look and a tech upgrade.

20. Add some curb appeal and a pop of color by painting your front door.

21. Forget interior designers! Find matching fabrics, paints, and materials with a color match tool.

22. Get even more curb appeal by sanding down and painting rusted railings.

23. Consider these useful tips for upgrading your bathroom.

24. Cover door scuffs and prevent new damage with a metal kick plate.

25. Add adhesive mirrored tiles to the underside or top of your cabinets to subtly reflect light and make your space look brighter.

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How Homeowners Are Ditching The Tub

Homeowners are looking for large, high-tech bathrooms with sleek color palettes and finishes, according to the Houzz 2017 Bathroom Trends Report.

On average, homeowners spent $21,000 to remodel bathrooms exceeding 100 square feet. That cost drops to about $12,300 for homeowners with smaller bathrooms that are less than 100 square feet. When it comes to age demographics, those aged 55+ spent the most on remodeling their bathroom since the majority of them reported that they don’t plan to sell their home anytime soon.

Meanwhile, millennials, who see their home as a short- to medium-term residence, are choosing to invest less in bathroom renovations. Out of the 4 percent of millennials who renovated their bathrooms this year, most spent $9,200 to 12,500.

Homeowners of all ages were willing to shell out the extra dough for showers (42 percent), cabinets and vanities (40 percent), faucets (35 percent) and countertops (35 percent). On the other hand, it seems that homeowners weren’t so willing to spend extra money on an upgraded toilet.

Beyond updating showers, toilets and faucets, 90 percent of homeowners decided to change the entire style and color scheme of their bathroom during renovations. Contemporary is the most popular style at 25%, followed by transitional and modern. Contemporary is most popular among baby boomers, while Gen-Xers and millennials favor modern styles with clean finishes.

When it comes to wall colors and cabinet, countertop and floor finishes, homeowners of all ages favor a white and gray palette over neutral or more colorful options. Although baby boomers and Gen-Xers are more partial to using wood grain and darker tones, Houzz says paying attention to millennial design preferences is important, especially since they’ll be leading the housing market for the foreseeable future.

Beyond design and decor, homeowners (27 percent) swapped out bathtubs for large showers, and 73 percent of homeowners chose to add high-end features such as rainfall shower heads (55 percent), dual showers (24 percent), curbless showers (21 percent) and body sprays (18 percent). Also, 29 percent of homeowners purchased a high-tech toilet — a 19 percent year-over-year increase.

The most coveted features among toilet techies were self-cleaning (12 percent), optional bidet (8 percent), overflow protection (8 percent) and motion activation (6 percent). The least important features were a self-deodorizer (4 percent) and hands-free flushing (3 percent). Baby boomers also looked for increased accessibility with comfort-height toilets (68 percent).

Previous studies have shown that bathroom renovations yield some of the highest ROIs. It showed that blue and periwinkle bathrooms sell for an average of $5,400 more and that buyers tend to favor homes with clean, neutral colors.

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.”

 

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REPAIRS TO MAKE BEFORE SELLING YOUR HOME

So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!

1. Paint Your Walls

Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint.

2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs

Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.

3. Update Your Bathroom

The first priority is making sure your bathroom looks clean. If the toilet looks old, replace the seat to give it a fresh new appearance. Replace any tiles that may be missing, clean the grout, and remove old wallpaper that may still remain. This is a room you should consider painting if need be to make it appear bright and clean.

4. Fix The Exterior

The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so it is important that it looks good. Touch up the yard with sod as needed, remove any junk that may be in the yard, and make sure your fencing doesn’t have any missing parts or boards. Mow your grass and consider renting a power washer to make your siding look brand new.

5. Maximize Lighting

The goal is to maximize light so you can maximize the appearance of space. Light does a great job of making rooms look larger than they are. Update your fixtures, ensure that your windows appear clean and new, and add mirrors across from light sources to reflect even more light.

6. Ensure Functionality

Potential buyers are going to want everything to work. Do a full walk through of your home, checking all light switches, doorknobs, and locks. Repair or replace anything that doesn’t work as it should. The less issues that arise during the buyer’s home inspection, the better chance of you maximizing your profit during the sale.

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Tricks For Hard-To-Paint Areas

While some DIY projects seem like they should be left for the pros, painting doesn’t have to be one of them. Basic painting seems easy enough, but sometimes we run into those hard-to-paint areas and regret not hiring a professional. Instead of hanging up the towel, try out these tricks for those spots and see if you can finish your project all on your own (and save some money in the process!)

Painting Window Trim

Painting the wood diving panes and sashes on windows can seem daunting at first. Most people think that lining your windows with painters tape will help, but that is usually just a waste of time. Instead, just paint away! This is the one time it is okay to get a little paint outside of your target area. When paint gets on the glass, just allow it to dry and as soon as it does, scrape it off with a razor blade. Try not to let the paint set for longer than a day.

Painting Behind Toilets

Sometimes, the hardest places to paint are the tight spaces where we can’t really do much to make that space bigger. This is where you will need a “hot dog” roller. They’re smaller than regular rollers and when attached to a longer handle, can make painting in tight spaces a breeze. You can use this roller for other small spaces, like behind radiators or other fixtures.

Painting High Ceilings

If you’ve got a high ceiling or a tall wall where a ladder can’t safely reach, like above a staircase, you’ve usually got a challenge on your hands. This is where a paintbrush extension tool comes in. Rather than attaching a roller to a pole and losing stability, an extension tool is more like an extension of your arm. Make sure to avoid dripping paint by loading less paint on the brush that you typically would for a wall right in front of you.

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MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT THIS SUMMER

As May comes to a close, school ends and the summer officially begins, that means one important thing – home selling season is upon us. With the kids home from school and vacation time accumulated, both buyers and sellers are ready to enter the market as the weather heats up. As the market begins to grow, you may wonder how to make sure your home stands out among all the others trying to sell during the summer months. Here are a few tips to make sure you can catch the eye of potential buyers during busy season!

1. Tour Other For-Sale Homes

Check out open houses for homes similar to yours that are also on the market. As you are preparing to list, use these tours to see what decor and design-types are attractive to you and potential buyers. If there are things you notice that you do not like, be sure to remove those features from your own home if you have them. Sometimes stepping out of the box (or in this case, your own home) will allow you to look at your home through the lens of a potential buyer.

2. Complete Your Home Inspection Up Front

The home inspection can be a dreaded part of the closing process. Instead of waiting for a buyer, complete your home inspection ahead of time. The goal is to set your home apart from the others on the market, and an easy way to do so is letting those potential buyers know that your home is not just for sale, but it is already inspected. If you repair any issues found by the inspector, you’ll be one step ahead and gives potential buyers peace of mind.

3. Completely Remove Clutter

Decluttering and cleaning is always the first step on the list when you are preparing to list your home, but often we don’t take the clutter ‘removal’ part as seriously. Instead of just moving clutter from a room to a closet, completely remove the clutter from your home. Whether that means donating, storing, or just tossing those items, removing clutter will allow potential buyers to picture themselves in every part of your home, including your closets and garages – rather than just picturing your clutter stashed away there.

4. Curb Appeal Is Key

With spring quickly transitioning to summer, your yard may need a little love. Spring rains and warmth might’ve left your lawn a little overgrown. Take the time to remove weeds, mow your lawn, and add new plant life around the outside of your home. The outside will be the first thing potential buyers see, and you want them to be drawn in by your yard, not turned away by it.

5. Use Refreshments To Your Advantage

Whether you’re a baker or just love buying baked goods, open houses are the perfect opportunity to draw potential buyers in with sweets. With rising temperatures, a thoughtful treat with a glass of lemonade or ice water adds a personal touch to your open house that will, at a minimum, guarantee that potential buyers cross the threshold of your home. Sometimes, getting them in the door is all you need.

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Build a DIY Sporting Goods Center In Your Garage

 

What You’ll Need:

Bookcase

Locking Wheels

Drill

Bungee Cords

Peg Boards

Hooks & Holders

1. Find a bookcase

Choose a bookcase with at least three wide shelves so you can store gear in a variety of sizes.

2. Add locking wheels

Attach locking wheels to the bottom of the bookcase so you can easily move it around the mudroom or the garage.

3. Drill holes

Drill evenly spaced holes (about four or five, depending on the width of the bookcase) along the top surface of one of the shelves. Keep the holes fairly close to the edge — about one-half inch away or less.

On the underside of the shelf below, drill holes to match up exactly with the holes on the shelf above.

4. Attach bungee cords

Place the bungee cord hooks in the drilled holes, and arrange the cords vertically so they create a net. You want the cords to be pretty taut, so get the right size for your bookcase.

5. Mount peg boards

Frame the sides of your bookcase with 1-by-2-inch boards to support peg boards that have been cut to size. Secure the peg boards with a few nails on the top and bottom.

6. Customize with hooks and holders

Place hooks and holders on the peg board so you can hang your tennis rackets, baseball gloves, jerseys, helmets and more.

7. Load up your catch-all, MVP!

Grab your gear and organize the bins however you see fit. Now all you have to worry about is scoring the winning goal.

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DIY Gallery Wall

Thinking about adding a gallery wall? Here’s a step by step process to make it easy!

Start With Art

If you’re goin

g for a modern look, choose a color palette and find art that fits within that. You can also try pieces that are from one collection, or ones that have a similar theme. If you want to make it appear like more of a long-time collection, use new and vintage prints and paintings.

Keep It Cohesive

If your images are going to vary, try to keep your frame choices cohesive – at the least, get them all in the same color. You will want any mat-boards to be the same color as well.

Make A Plan

Before adding any nails, lay your pieces out on the floor. Take a photo of your final arrangement so that you will know what you want it to look like up on the wall. You can also use painter’s tape to create outlines on your wall so you can imagine what the pieces will look like once they are up.

Use A Level

Making sure that first piece is hung correctly is one of the most important steps. If your reference point is crooked or slanted, the whole gallery can be thrown off.

Maintain Uniform Spacing

While the idea of a gallery wall isn’t necessarily to be perfectly organized, you don’t want it to appear messy. Leave the same amount of spacing between your pieces so the wall doesn’t appear haphazardly thrown together.

Use Measuring Tricks

Painter’s tape can be used in this step to mark off the amount of space you want between the frames. The tape will double as spacers between items as you hang the collection. Trying to use a measuring tape while hanging items can become frustrating, especially in small spaces.

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HOW TO BLEACH YOUR HARDWOOD

If you want to lighten the color of wood in your home, bleaching may be the cheapest route. You may want to lighten your floor to prepare it for a special finish, or maybe they have just become discolored with age or spills/stains. The first step in this process is to find what type of bleach will work best for you.

The bleach you will need will depend on the source of the color you are trying to remove. There are three types of bleach you can use on wood: chlorine bleach, peroxide bleaches, and oxalic acid. The hardest part of bleaching your floors is finding out what created the current stain to be able to choose which bleach is appropriate. Chlorine bleach will remove dyes and many stains such as tea, blood, and juices. Household bleach is the mildest form and can take several treatments to see results. Swimming pool chlorine, or calcium hypochlorite can be used for a stronger chlorine-based bleach treatment. Two-part bleach is the only choice for altering actual wood color. Stains that do not respond to either chlorine bleaches will typically disappear when treated with two-part bleaches. Oxalic acid is your best choice to battle iron and rust stains. It can remove water stains and some black inks if they are iron-based. You can find oxalic acid in a crystal form. Any bleach will deteriorate the wood, and those chemically weakened wood fibers can be more susceptible to wear and tear.

Once you’ve found your bleach choice, it is time to start! You will need to strip, bleach and neutralize your hardwood floor. Start by removing whatever is the existing finish. You can use lacquer thinner to dissolve lacquer finishes or denatured alcohol to remove shellac. Paint-and-varnish remover will work on most other finishes. Follow your finish remover with sandpaper to lightly smooth the surface.

Mix a solution of washing soda, found in the laundry aisle of most big stores, with hot water in a small bucket following the package instructions. Use the solution to wash over the now-stripped wood and let air-dry.

Next, you will prepare the bleach you have chosen. Chlorine bleach can be mixed with hot water until saturated. For oxalic acid, use 1 quart of hot water to dissolve about 4 ounces of oxalic acid crystals.. For two-part bleaches, simply follow the product instructions.

Use a synthetic-bristled brush to apply your bleach solution. Natural bristles can dissolve and metal materials can create a chemical reaction with the bleach. Carefully spread an even layer of bleach across the wood and place a paper towel over top to keep it from drying too fast. After 20 to 30 minutes, test the wood color. When the color matches your goal, you can blot up any remaining bleach. Rinse the area with distilled water to rinse away any remaining bleach. You will also need to neutralize the bleached area to completely stop the bleaching action. You can use a blend of half hot water and half white vinegar or a mix of 2 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved per quart of hot water.

Leave your wood to air-dry at least one full day. Sand down any rough areas created by the bleaching. You can coat the wood with a light coat of lacquer to help stiffen the wood and help the sanding. You can now refinish the area as desired. If he stain or color does not lift, you can try successive bleach treatments.

If bleaching is too much for you to take on call today, we have wonderful floor vendors that can step in to help: 719.822.1444

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How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home

How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home | MyKCM

Today’s homebuyers are faced with a strong sellers’ market, which means there are a lot of active buyers competing for a relatively low number of available homes. As a result, it’s essential to understand how to make a confident and competitive offer on your dream home. Here are five tips for success in this critical stage of the homebuying process.

1. Listen to Your Real Estate Advisor

An article from Freddie Mac gives direction on making an offer on a home. From the start, it emphasizes how trusted professionals can help you stay focused on the most important things, especially at times when this process can get emotional for buyers:

“Remember to let your homebuying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

A real estate professional should be the expert guide you lean on for advice when you’re ready to make an offer.

2. Understand Your Finances

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process. Only 44% of today’s prospective homebuyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. Doing so make it clear to sellers you’re a serious and qualified buyer, and it can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war.

3. Be Prepared to Move Quickly

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property sold today receives 3.7 offers and is on the market for just 21 days. These are both results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and alert in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to submit an offer as quickly as possible.

4. Make a Fair Offer

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t make an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Stay Flexible in Negotiations

After submitting an offer, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive market, it’s important to stay nimble throughout the negotiation process. You can strengthen your position with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Freddie Mac explains that there are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego:

Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure you rise to the top along the way.

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Preventing Household Germs

Where germs live and how to stop them in their tracks

Let’s face it, germs are everywhere. While many microorganisms are harmless or even helpful, there are a vast array of others that can make us very sick. To help you identify where these little guys live and help you prevent their ill effects, we’ve prepared this handy infographic full of germs. Full of germ info, that is.