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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.

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Where Have All the Houses Gone?

In today’s housing market, it seems harder than ever to find a home to buy. Before the health crisis hit us a year ago, there was already a shortage of homes for sale. When many homeowners delayed their plans to sell at the same time that more buyers aimed to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and purchase a home, housing inventory dropped even further. Experts consider this to be the biggest challenge facing an otherwise hot market while buyers continue to compete for homes. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“With buyers active in the market and seller participation lagging, homes are selling quickly and the total number available for sale at any point in time continues to drop lower. In January as a whole, the number of for sale homes dropped below 600,000.”

Every month, realtor.com releases new data showing the year-over-year change in inventory of existing homes for sale. As you can see in the map below, nationwide, inventory is 42.6% lower than it was at this time last year:Where Have All the Houses Gone? | MyKCM

Does this mean houses aren’t being put on the market for sale?

Not exactly. While there are fewer existing homes being listed right now, many homes are simply selling faster than they’re being counted as current inventory. The market is that competitive! It’s like when everyone was trying to find toilet paper to buy last spring and it was flying off the shelves faster than it could be stocked in the stores. That’s what’s happening in the housing market: homes are being listed for sale, but not at a rate that can keep up with heavy demand from competitive buyers.

In the same realtor.com report, Hale explains:

Time on the market was 10 days faster than last year meaning that buyers still have to make decisions quickly in order to be successful. Today’s buyers have many tools to help them do that, including the ability to be notified as soon as homes meeting their search criteria hit the market. By tailoring search and notifications to the homes that are a solid match, buyers can act quickly and compete successfully in this faster-paced housing market.”

The Good News for Homeowners

The health crisis has been a major reason why potential sellers have held off this long, but as vaccines become more widely available, homeowners will start making their moves. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zondaconfirms:

“Some people will feel comfortable listing their home during the first half of 2021. Others will want to wait until the vaccines are widely distributed.”

With more homeowners getting ready to sell later this year, putting your house on the market sooner rather than later is the best way to make sure your listing shines brighter than the rest.

When you’re ready to sell your house, you’ll likely want it to sell as quickly as possible, for the best price, and with little to no hassle. If you’re looking for these selling conditions, you’ll find them in today’s market. When demand is high and inventory is low, sellers have the ability to create optimal terms and timelines for the sale, making now an exceptional time to move.

Bottom Line

Today’s housing market is a big win for sellers, but these conditions won’t last forever. If you’re in a position to sell your house now, you may not want to wait for your neighbors to do the same. Let’s connect to discuss how to sell your house safely so you’re able to benefit from today’s high demand and low inventory.

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Thinking about Building a New Home? Your Agent Is Critical.

Thinking about Building a New Home? Your Agent Is Critical. [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights

  • A real estate professional is an expert who can advocate on your behalf throughout the process when building a home.
  • Agents help you understand key steps, like choosing upgrades and managing negotiations, while staying within your budget from start to finish.
  • If building is the right option for you, let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate professional who can help you successfully navigate the path to your dream home.
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Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year.

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year.

Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCM

Every year, households across the country make the decision to rent for another year or take the leap into homeownership. They look at their earnings and savings and then decide what makes the most financial sense. That equation will most likely take into consideration monthly housing costs, tax advantages, and other incremental expenses. Using these measurements, recent studies show that it’s still more affordable to own than rent in most of the country.

There is, however, another financial advantage to owning a home that’s often forgotten in the analysis – the wealth built through equity when you own a home.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist for First American, discusses this point in a recent blog post. She explains:

“Once you include the equity benefit of price appreciation, owning made more financial sense than renting in 48 out of the 50 top markets, with the only exceptions being San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.”

What has this equity piece meant to homeowners in the past?

ATTOM Data Solutions, the curator of one of the nation’s premier property databases, just analyzed the typical home-price gain owners nationwide enjoyed when they sold their homes. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe typical gain in the sale of the home (equity) has increased significantly over the last five years.

CoreLogic, another property data curator, also weighed in on the subject. According to their latest Homeowner Equity Insights Report, the average homeowner gained $17,000 in equity in just the last year alone.

What does the future look like for homeowners when it comes to equity?

Here are the seven major home price appreciation forecasts for 2021:Want to Build Wealth? Buy a Home This Year. | MyKCMThe National Association of Realtors (NAR) just reported that today, the median-priced home in the country sells for $309,800. If homes appreciate by 5% this year (the average of the forecasts), the homeowner will increase their wealth by $15,490 in 2021 through increased equity.

Bottom Line

As you make your plans for the coming year, be sure to consider the equity benefits of home price appreciation as you weigh the financial advantages of buying over renting. When you do, you may find this is the perfect time to jump into homeownership.

Let us at The Wheaton/Wass Real Estate Team help you in your search.

Call today: 719.822.1444

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Protecting Your House After Snow

Who doesn’t love a snow day? Cuddling on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa while watching holiday movies can make anyone not want to venture out into the cold. Next time you find yourself in this spot, it will be a good idea to head out for half an hour to protect your home, especially if you want to sell in the future. Once your driveways and sidewalks are shoveled, check out these tips on protecting your home that you may not have considered.

Clear Your Vents: Make sure your furnace vents are clear of snow. Carbon monoxide could build up if your furnace vent is blocked.  A blocked vent may also cause a hot water heater to quit functioning. Use a broom to remove any snow.

Uncover Fire Hydrants: If you live near a fire hydrant, you should take a few minutes to dig it out if you notice it is covered – this can help a firefighter if there is an emergency!

Unblock Ice Dams: Be sure to check your gutters for ice dams. When ice dams are present and water backs up, it slows the water melting off the roof behind it and that water then seeps under the shingles and into the house.

Sweep Off Hot Tubs: Always broom off your hot tub if you happen to own one. The weight of heavy snow can cause the cover to buckle in the middle.

Shovel Decks:  If there is more than half a foot of snow, you may want to consider clearing it from your deck. Using plastic shovels can help prevent unwanted scratching on your deck material. Avoid using ice melter or salt as it could damage wood decks.

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10 Items You Shouldn’t Store in Your Pantry

Not all foods store well in the pantry, even if it says it doesn’t require refrigeration. Some can go stale, others grow bacteria, and a few develop mold. Here are 10 items that are better off stored in your fridge.

Garlic-Infused Olive Oil

Homemade garlic-infused olive oil can contain botulinum spores, which grow into the bacteria that cause botulism. Any oil infused with garlic should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria growth. Throw it away after seven days.

Pure Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup can go moldy, so it’s best stored in the fridge. If you store your syrup in the pantry and the container is opaque, you may not see the mold until you’ve started to pour syrup on your pancakes.

Sunflower and Truffle Oil

Cold-pressed oils like sunflower and truffle oil have a short shelf life if they’re not refrigerated. As they’re pricier than some of their counterparts, it’s definitely worth keeping them cold to extend their usefulness.

Nuts

When stored in the pantry, nuts are more likely to go stale. If you frequently reach for the nuts, you may be leaving bacteria behind, and if you grab a few nuts while your hands are wet, the chance that bacteria will grow increases. Over time, you could end up with nuts that are both stale and covered in bacteria.

Salami and Other Cured Meats

Cured meats are prone to drying out if opened and stored in the pantry. Wrap the meat in butcher paper and refrigerate it to preserve its flavor and texture, and to protect you from potential illness.

Chocolate

You can extend the life of chocolate by storing it in the refrigerator. Before you stick it in the fridge, wrap chocolate tightly. Once the chocolate is wrapped, put it in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat it.

Tortillas

Though tortillas are rarely served cold, it’s best to store them in the fridge. Whether you use flour or corn tortillas, they’ll stay fresher longer if kept at a regulated cold temperature after you open the package.

Whole-Grain Flours

Whole-grain flours retain the bran and germ that gets removed from all-purpose flours. Both bran and germ contain oils that can go rancid if they’re not refrigerated or frozen, so keep your all-purpose flour in the pantry, but move the whole-grain to the fridge.

Natural Peanut Butter

Natural peanut butter, the kind that separates in the jar, needs to be kept cool. Like the oils in whole-grain flours, the oils in natural peanut butter can go rancid if left in the pantry.

Mustard

Most mustard containers indicate that refrigeration isn’t necessary after opening. But mustard loses its flavor and vibrant color fairly quickly. To keep it tasting and looking its best, keep mustard in the refrigerator.

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Turning a House into a Happy Home

Turning a House into a Happy Home | MyKCM

We talk a lot about why it makes financial sense to buy a home, but more often than not, we’re drawn to the emotional reasons for homeownership.

No matter the living space, the feeling of a home means different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the feel-good connections to our own homes are typically more important to us than the financial ones. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Owning your home is an accomplishment worth celebrating

You’ve likely worked very hard to achieve this dream, and whether it’s your first home or your fifth, congratulations are in order for this milestone. You’ve earned it.

2. There’s no place like home

Owning your own home offers not only safety and security but also a comfortable place where you can simply relax and kick-back after a long day. Sometimes, that’s just what we need to feel recharged and truly content.

3. You can find more space to meet your needs

Whether you want more room in your home for your changing lifestyle (think: working from home, virtual school, or a personal gym), or you simply prefer to have a large backyard for socially-distant entertaining, you can invest in a location that truly works for your evolving needs.

4. You have control over renovations, updates, and your style

Looking to try one of those complicated wall treatments you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building? Maybe you want to finally adopt that fur-baby puppy or kitten you’ve been hoping for. You can do all of these things in your own home.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that turn a house into a happy home.

The Wheaton/Wass Real Estate Team is here to help.  Call today: 719.822.1444