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Planning a Fall Open House

by Melissa Dierks

24 September, 2014

Planning a Fall Open HouseYour home is newly on the market this and you want to have an open house, but you don’t know how to show it best in the shorter autumn days. As the weather turns toward fall and winter, consider these ideas for making your open house bright, warm and welcoming.

Curb appeal

In the spring and summer, it’s easy to make the exterior of your home appealing by keeping the lawn green and trim, adding showy blooms to your flower beds and trimming the hedge. If your lawn is the type that goes dormant in the winter, you know it won’t look its best, but you can make sure it receives a final trim and has clean edges. Keep the leaves raked and bagged, and add fresh mulch to your flowerbeds and the bases of your trees.

To bring some color to your exterior, add some potted chrysanthemums—they come in a multitude of beautiful colors that can display your architecturally interesting porch, fill in blank spaces in your planters or hide pruned bushes. You can even add a little lawn decoration with hay bales, pumpkins, squash or gourds, mums and marigolds, and brightly colored foliage such as crotons. Avoid gaudy or garish decorations, however, as they can be a distraction.

Prepare for inclement weather

All the meteorologists in the world cannot predict with complete accuracy what the weather above your home will be on the day of your open house, so you need to plan for multiple contingencies. That means protecting your entryway from the mud and leaves that an unobservant guest may track in, having places for coats or umbrellas and other weatherproof gear. Here are some options to help:

  • Place a welcome mat outside both the front and back doors especially designed to remove dirt from shoes and boots like this one from LLBean.
  • Designate a place for wet outerwear. When potential buyers arrive during a downpour, it is important to let them know you have planned for them. Have empty hooks, or an empty coat closet available for their wet coats, scarves and hats.
  • Place an umbrella stand just inside the door. If you have room, you can use a combination coat rack and umbrella stand. This decorative rack from the Home Depot has room for both in a stylish but heavy-duty construction.
  • Once winter weather sets in, make sure your sidewalks are swept or shoveled, and that you have removed any ice from pathways and steps.

Create a warm and cheery environment

When it is cooler outside, buyers want to know that the furnace or radiators function. Avoid overheating your home, which can make it uncomfortable for buyers that keep their coats on. Aim for about 70°F. Be sure that windows are caulked and that there are no obvious drafts. If you have a gas fireplace, consider turning it on to add a cheery glow, but if your fireplace is wood-burning, consider using candles inside the fireplace instead since some buyers may be allergic to wood-smoke.

Finally, make sure your windows are clean and sparkling. Open drapes so buyers can see the view, and turn on lights in every room to chase away any dark shadows. You can add seasonal interest with a pretty wreath on the door and pumpkin or spice scents throughout the home.

We can help

When preparing your home for a fall open house, we can help you determine the best way to display your home’s special features.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Apple Watch and other Smart New Home Products

by Melissa Dierks

20 September, 2014

Apple Watch and other Smart New Home ProductsNot just relegated to the workspace or entertainment, home technology products focus on every room in your house. Check out these smart-home products geared to make your life easier:

Apple Watch useful apps for home

In addition to your social media apps, maps and schedules, apps for Apple’s new smart watch include one from Honeywell that allows you to change your home’s temperature from your wrist (rivaling the Android Wear with Nest thermostat control), and another from Lutron offering light control. If you own one of BMW’s electric vehicles, your Apple watch will monitor its charge level and even remind you where you parked it. If your daily commute uses public transportation, the City Mapper app will keep you up to date on times and the right stops to get to your destination.

Next-generation cooling

Technology company Quirky joined forces with GE to make a smarter air conditioning system. Called Aros, the wall unit connects to a smartphone app allowing you to set the temperature in anticipation of your arrival home. Using information from your schedule, budget, location and current usage, it learns your preferred temperature and devises economical ways to keep your home there. It evens learns the temperature you appreciate most upon waking.

An innovative air-flow design pushes cool air up, increasing circulation and it’s three fan speeds, flatter design and sleek LED display add to its discreet designer appearance.

Home safety

Canary wireless home security packs a complete system into one small device designed to adapt to your home and activities over time and use. It sends notifications and HD video to your smartphone and monitors activity, noise levels, air quality and temperature and even humidity. When something is out of the ordinary, it lets you know. Best of all, it doesn’t require installation. Simply set the device in a central area of your home.

Easy entry

German company KISI Systems offers a keyless entry solution for homes or offices with revocable access. If you travel and have house-sitters or a neighbor that comes in to water your plants, or you use pet-walking or cleaning services when you’re at work or away from the house, or just want more control of who enters your home, this device is for you.

The KISI system allows you to limit entry during certain hours or certain days with the click of a smartphone app. You can track activity and know who comes and goes, and when they were there. The KISI key is linked to their specific phone and you can instantly delete or cancel it remotely it if they lose their phone or you want to restrict access.

Upgrade your home

We can help you upgrade your home just in time for the 2015 release of the Apple watch. We’ll search for the perfect home for you while developers are busy creating the apps that will run your new house more efficiently and other technology giants advance more products for home use.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Downsize to Upgrade

by Melissa Dierks

20 September, 2014

Downsize to UpgradeWhatever your reason for wanting a smaller home—empty nest, tired of cleaning, less mobile, closer to grandkids, moving from the suburbs to be nearer to work, single again—downsizing does not mean downgrading. In fact, when moving into less space, make it an upgrade at the same time.

Compact is the new supersized

If you’re moving from an older large home, you may have a big kitchen, but is it truly workable for you? Does the storage space work for that modern blender-mixer-food processer you’d love to own? Can you reach your workspace and the sink in one smooth motion? A smaller kitchen, designed around the way you use it, may feel enormous to you.

Just browse the Ikea showroom or the latest design images at Houzz to see what designers have come up with to make the most of smaller spaces. Functionality is the key!

Enlarge usable space

Is your larger home divided up by hallways, staircases, closets, nooks and crannies? Your new space might utilize an open floor plan with rooms connecting off the main room. Houses with open layouts and combined spaces make your home seem more expansive.

Divide your kitchen area from your living area with a counter-height eating space. It opens up both rooms making them warm and inviting.

Create multi-tasking rooms

All of that formerly unusable square footage now adds extra spaciousness and versatility for entertaining when added to your main living areas. Adjoining living and kitchen areas makes interaction with your guests while cooking a snap. Turn into a superhero that can be in two places at once: bake cookies in the kitchen and watch the grandkids play games in the living room at the same time.

Other multi-use ideas:

  • For those occasional overnight guests, consider making the living area double as the guest room.
  • Create a cozy office in the corner of the kitchen or bedroom.
  • Combine a convenient stacking laundry area with your walk-in closet or bath.
  • Utilize outdoor patio space with French doors off the living room or kitchen

Go tall for illusion

High ceilings give the illusion of space. Vaulted ceilings in a smaller single-story home make it seem sweeping, light and airy. Taller walls allow room for your art collection all in one place, while upscale floor-to-ceiling glass tiles in the bath area evoke a spa-like atmosphere.

Make sure storage utilizes the full height in your space. Remove false soffits and install cabinets that reach the ceiling. Consider putting glass doors in the upper areas to display artwork and remove precious keepsakes from busy little fingers.

Shop for amenities

Community access to pools, clubhouses, golf courses and playgrounds expands the usefulness of smaller homes. If you’re downsizing to avoid yard work or exterior maintenance, consider a condominium community or patio home. When seeking easier access to shopping, socializing, public transportation and other services make sure your real estate professional knows what’s important to you.

Make less more

So, when looking for that new smaller space, let us help you find an affordable home you can customize into the smaller space of your dreams.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Keeping the Old House when Buying the New

by Melissa Dierks

8 September, 2014

Keeping the Old House when Buying the NewThe current housing market, while picking up in most areas, has one basic problem: low supply. With many buyers choosing to keep their old home when they purchase a new home, fewer homes are on the market, driving up demand.

Becoming a landlord

Buyers that do not need the equity in their current property in order to purchase the home into which they are moving, are choosing to become landlords instead.

The financial crisis and ensuing recovery has increased the demand for rental housing. In fact, the cycle of buyers not selling their current home before buying a new one reduces the supply for homes to buy, thereby raising the prices and pricing entry-level buyers out of the market. Unable to buy the home they can afford, they then seek to rent a home that better meets their needs instead, resulting in rental price increases due to higher demand.

For those able to become landlords, it is somewhat of a perfect storm since the ability to demand a higher rent increases the income from your rental property, increasing your equity.

Advantages for landlords

Don’t forget the other advantages of being a landlord too. Since your former home is now a business for tax purposes, repairs, maintenance, utilities, taxes, insurance, some fees, and other costs may be tax deductible. Be sure to consult a qualified tax accountant to find out what your tax liabilities or deductions may be when making your former home a rental. Remember too that collected rents count as business income, so be sure to establish proper accounting records for your property.

Advantages for underwater homeowners

The option of turning a home that currently is worth less than then its mortgage into a rental property offers a way to build equity into the home and shift the balance back toward the break-even point, while potentially making a little income in addition. So, rather than chuck more money into the current home, making it into a rental solves the upside-down mortgage issue while freeing up cash for the down-payment and mortgage on a new home.

The emotional costs of being a landlord

Some property owners, especially if they lived in the property, find it difficult to make the shift from homeowner to landlord. They mourn painting over their faux finishes with generic rental neutrals, and seeing a nursery turned into an office. They worry about potential damage to their property, and the associated costly repairs, and they fret about the possibility of months without a renter and having to pay on two mortgages at once.

The best solution toward making this shift is to hire a professional property manager. A professional helps you establish the appropriate rental amounts to cover both the initial mortgage and other costs and repairs that may become necessary.

In addition, they offer a buffer between the owner and the renter that keeps the relationship entirely professional. Having a property management service handle your rental and renters can give you peace of mind while ensuring that your former home is in good hands.

As your real estate professional, we can connect you with a property management professional, so let us know what your plans are so we can help.

Compliments of Virtual Results

How to Choose Lights for Your New Home

by Melissa Dierks

8 September, 2014

How to Choose Lights for Your New HomeIt’s not just about wattage anymore. Light fixtures and light bulbs come in myriad types, sizes and colors. Do you want LED? Should you use “soft” bulbs? And what is the difference between watts and lumens? With the phase-out of the traditional incandescent bulb, the lighting choices you grew up with are not the same as what will be available in the future.

When making choices for your new home, consider the light’s expected usage, the use of the room and the availability of replacement bulbs.

How Light Works

Artificial light affects how color appears on your walls and ceilings. That is why paint colors that seemed so perfect at the paint store can look all wrong on your walls. Some popular bulbs for home use will change how color appears, and how a room “feels” when the lights are on.

  • Incandescent bulbs. The bulbs we grew up with typically have a warm cast and brighten up colors in the warmer spectrums (reds, oranges, yellows) and dampen colors in the cool spectrum. However, as of this year (2014) most incandescent bulbs will be phased out for general use. Although there are exceptions for specialty bulbs, including some sizes of the very popular designer Edison bulb, when your bulb goes, you’ll need to replace it with some form of fluorescent or halogen bulb. Or, you’ll need a new light fixture altogether.
  • Standard fluorescent bulbs. The long tubes used in schools, retail stores and offices emit cooler colors that enhance greens, blues and purples while subduing reds, oranges and yellows. These bulbs often “hum” in the background. Better for work areas (kitchen, garage), standard fluorescents offer an economical lighting source.
  • CFLs. Compact fluorescents are the obvious choice to replace incandescent bulbs. With bayonets that fit most light fixtures, CFLs are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and wattages. They also have a Kelvin rating which determines the color spectrum of the bulb. The lower the Kelvin number, the warmer the colors. A “full spectrum bulb” is designed to mimic daylight.
  • LEDs. Light-emitting diodes emit a warmer light. Often the “bulb” has a reflective cone that augments the light. LED light enhances most paint colors and gives natural lighting that works well for bathrooms and dressing areas.
  • Halogen. Because of their whiter, brighter light and longevity theater stages use halogen lights for high performance applications. In the home, halogens reduce eyestrain as reading lights, offer safety and security to your outdoors and highlight your artwork. They burn hotter than other lights, though, so don’t belong in areas where the bulb can’t be shielded. Some older halogen fixtures—especially torchiere lamps—posed a fire hazard from the hot-burning bulb, so check to make sure your halogen fixtures have protective shields.

Replacing Fixtures

When replacing light fixtures, consult a lighting designer to solve lighting challenges and create the most economical arrangement of your lighting profile.

We can help you determine the best lighting upgrades for the sale of your home. Give us a call to set up an appointment for a home review today.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Melissa Dierks
Keller Williams Professional Partners
7025 W Bell Road, Suite 10
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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