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Articles Tagged "Home Maintenance"

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January
30

 

The first home purchase a person makes is exciting. There is furniture to buy, appliances to put in, that first house warming party to have with friends and family, too. With all the great things happening, it is easy to overlook the challenges of home maintenance. Things break and need repair. When a new homeowner gets a house, they may need to do some things upfront to keep things running smoothly or perhaps something breaks along the way. Here is a deep dive into home maintenance to-dos that need to be handled the first year. 

 

Furnace

The last thing a person wants to worry about is the furnace going out. Dust and grime can build up in a furnace. Clogged filters can make them less efficient, but also a fire hazard. Harmful allergens can get stuck in there and this can harm air quality. Don't let this happen. Do regular checks and look for some issues:

  • Turn off the system and pull filters
  • Inspect for dirt and grime
  • Get replacements at the store
  • Remove old filter and toss
  • Be sure to do this right away upon move-in and every year thereafter

 

Caulking Windows

Winter heat loss happens with cracks inside a home. Sealing the space around windows really goes a long way to helping this issue. Caulking products vary depending on windows and siding. Ask a salesperson what kind of caulk that is needed for a certain finish. With the right caulk, there is no need to repeat again next season. How to do it well:

  • Apply caulk carefully
  • Make sure surfaces are dry
  • Look for temperature specs in the product info
  • Start the project after things have leveled out

 

Do this on an as-needed basis. Inspect every summer and touch up but it may not need a full overhaul every year.

 

Inspect Basement and Crawl Spaces

To avoid water damage to the foundation, it is best to check for any leaks. Get into a crawl space and look around for any signs of water. It helps to also look for mold. Flashlights are helpful to inspect corners, edges, and other small nooks for changes in color or odor. Home inspectors are good for this process because they make sure everything checks out and can fix the problem by calling in someone qualified to handle the leaks. 

 

It is best not to let things slide. Make a yearly checklist to follow up with things. Make note of some things to check more frequently, but don't hesitate to keep up with things as they need work because it will be better for the home (and safety) overall to stay on top of it.

 

 

Choice Properties knows buying that first home is hard. It is a big commitment and decision. We help you make it easier by giving you space to look at the homes you want, understand the type of property you are looking for, and spend time finding just the right space for your needs. Call us if you are ready to get started.

 

January
16

Tips on Maximizing Space in Your New Home

Regardless of how big your new home is, we all crave the need of maximizing space to make our homes feel spacious and welcoming. If you have been wondering how to make your bathroom more organized or tips on making use of your spare bedroom, stay tuned! The experts at Choice Properties are sharing our tips on maximizing space in your new home, allowing you to truly enjoy your recent purchase.

Open Up Your Entryway

The entryway is the first area of your home that guests welcomes guests. This space should be functional, allowing space for maneuvering quickly and easily. Take full advantage of the space by adding a bench or sitting area for guests to remove shoes. A coat rack also makes it easy for kids to grab backpacks when rushing to the school bus! Mounted wall hooks are easy to install and don't take up much space.

Organize Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room in any home. This means the space should be enjoyable, comfortable to cook in, and functional to entertain guests. Maximizing space by adding vertical storage shelving in your pantry is a great way to hide food and making use of other cabinets. Using drawers for kitchen utensils and cabinets for plates gives items a designated spot.

Tidy Up Living Rooms

Have you noticed how your living room may become cluttered without even trying? This is a high traffic area and can easily become tight. Whether it's family movie night or Saturday football, consider rearranging the space for better enjoyment! Multifunctional furniture, such as ottomans, are perfect for tucking away video game accessories. If you're looking for a coffee table, consider one that offer drawers and open shelving to store TV remotes.

Don't Hide Junk in the Garage

Although the garage is the perfect place to store items, be sure to do so properly rather than hiding boxes of junk. If your garage became piled with miscellaneous items during the move, it's time to go through and purge the unnecessary. Take this time to donate unused furniture that is in storage or discard broken appliances you never got around to fixing. Installing an overhead ceiling rack for luggage, recreation equipment, and seasonal decorations allows you to park your cars where they deserve!

Make the Most of Your Bedroom   

Every bedroom in your home should be a place of comfort, giving you a space to escape from the daily stresses of the world. It can be easy for nightstands to become cluttered or drawers to be overflowing. Maximize the space by ensuring drawers are cleaned of outdated or unused items. Adding storage to your closets is a great way to organize jeans, work pants, and shoes without taking up space.





Choice Properties provides the best in service when it comes to finding your dream home. Our excellent team of realtors will support you in finding the right home at the right place, right now.

Give us a call today!

July
10

Adapt Your Home to its Selling Season for Best Results

There is a home-selling myth that spring is the best season to sell a home. Although spring is the busiest time for real estate, people are looking to buy homes everyday of the year. When making the decision to sell your home in the off peak season, consider adapting your home to its selling season for best results. Emphasizing seasonal amenities will gain the attention buyers who are looking to enjoy every feature a home has to offer. At Choice Properties, we look forward to helping you sell your home during any season, focusing on the home's features and amenities.

Decide Your Selling Season

The real estate market starts to heat up as early as February, since most families are looking to move in the spring or summer. Moving before a new school year and summer vacations is a goal commonly shared, making spring a popular season to buy or sell. Although these are peak dates to sell, not everyone's situation will be the same. Deciding how quickly you need to move will determine the urgency of needing to sell. If your moving dates are flexible, you may consider holding off until early spring for a higher sale price.

Location

The location of your home also plays an important role on when to sell. Early spring and summer are ideal times to sell a beach or lake house, while a ski cabin is more likely to sell in the winter. Playing off the features your house offers will attract the interested buyer.

Staging Tips for Selling a Home

Stage the Outside

With selling a home comes with staging the space, offering a chance for potential buyers to envision their future. Playing off the season will make the home feel welcoming and inviting, such as hanging beautiful door wreaths in the winter or planting colorful flowers in the summer.

Lawn Maintenance

Ensuring your lawn is maintained and weeds are pulled will give buyers a clean perspective on the house. If selling in the winter, consider sprinkling salt after shoveling the driveway and walkways to create a safe entryway. The outside of your house is the first impression buyers will see, so it is important to present a well-cut landscape.

Tidy Up the Inside

When entering your house, guests should walk into a space that is clean, well organized, and comfortable. Be sure to take all factors into consideration, such as welcoming smells, comfortable temperatures, and simple staging. Giving individuals inspiration with how you stage your space helps them envision their own design.






Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

May
16

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is a rewarding accomplishment in life. To officially call yourself a homeowner and knowing your hard work paid off is a memory that will last forever. Although you should feel prepared to avoid pitfalls, it never hurts to research common problems almost all new homeowners experience. The last thing you should be worrying about is not being prepared for the unexpected. We have curated a list of costly mistakes to avoid after buying your first home to help your process be smooth and memorable.

Investing in Multiple Expensive Home Improvements

Updating your home consists of fun projects worth planning, but don't let the eagerness make you invest in too many home improvements at once. Tackling one project at a time will keep your budget in line and ensure a well completed renovation. If you are debating between which home improvements to start, consider speaking with a trusted real estate agent to discover which options add more value to your home. Adding value to a home is a great option when planning for long-term goals.

Ignoring Maintenance Issues

Moving into a new home comes with the chance of having to deal with any surprises, from a leaking sink to water damage. Tackling these small maintenance issues in the beginning will prevent you from spending extra money down the road, as the issue only progress in time.

Selecting The Cheapest Options

The saying "quality over quantity" goes hand-in-hand in renovation, even though quality may come with a price. Whether it is the flooring you choose or the contractor who installs, avoid making a poor mistake only for the fraction of the cost. When searching for contractors to assist in home renovations, be sure research previous work and read testimonials from clients in the past. The price you pay will show within the materials.

Performing a DIY on Complicated Projects

Do it yourself projects are fun and shows off your hard work! However, don't get too wrapped up in a project you can't handle or finish yourself. Painting your walls and hanging art are great tasks to complete yourself. When it comes to electrical issues or plumbing, it's best to leave those for the pros. Hiring a professional will not only save time and money, but will ensure a completed project performed the right way.

Calling yourself a homeowner is exciting and should come with a proud feeling! It's important to keep in mind the responsibilities that come with homeownership, from small maintenance issues to big renovations. Be prepared when tackling sudden leaks or water damage to keep your home value rising.





Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.

August
24

 

Remodeling a home can be stressful whether it includes a room or a full addition. Five distinct stages exist which a homeowner experiences while remodeling: planning, budgeting, demolition, construction and cleanup. If a homeowner stays focused on the goals of a remodel, it is possible to feel less anxious and more excited as each step progresses closer to the end goal.

 

Planning

The main goal when starting out is to stay organized. Remodeling projects and home additions are challenging depending on the size and budget of a project. Start by listing 'must-haves' and stick to the product list to stay on budget and schedule. A minor change can cause delays.

 

Budgeting

Receive written estimates from licensed contractors, architects and designers. Resist the temptation of going with the first referral. Ask friends, family and others to provide names of people who assisted with similar remodels or additions and what the people paid for the work. Unless cash is set aside, an individual may be looking to pull financing from the home in the form of a home equity loan or refinancing opportunity. Depending on current equity in the home and interest rates, refinancing may be a better option. The project may increase the value of the home by more than its cost.

 

Demolition

Remove walls, wiring, carpet and flooring to get started in the demo phase. This remodeling phase is tough, dirty and gritty work but if people do it without help it can save alot of money to go back into the project for other amenities. It may be the shortest phase of the remodeling process but can wreak havoc on the home if a person is ill prepared.

 

Construction

Large projects such as a kitchen remodel or new addition might require a family to move out of the home to complete. Sometimes electricity, heat or water must be turned off to complete projects for a few days. If this does not work, find family, friends or a hotel to stay at while things are completed.

 

Cleanup

Cleaning up the mess from remodeling can be labor-intensive but doing it without outside help can offset costs. If time is a factor, it may be more beneficial to hire outside contractors for clean up. Once all the dust and debris is removed, decoration can begin on the newly renovated and remodeled home.

 

Design Tips

It may make sense to consider energy-efficient and eco-friendly products during the remodeling process. Many products such as appliances, windows, HVAC, front entry and garage doors offer tax rebates and savings on utility bills. A wide range of high-quality and affordable products are available. Check efficiency ratings of appliances and light fixtures to see what can be done and consider it a long-term investment into the home.




 


Looking for that Dream Home?  Let Choice Properties help you find what you're looking for!

August
17

Companies are working hard to bring in extra money for business all the time. Airlines are charging for extras which used to be free (baggage, extra leg room, snacks) and food companies are putting less in packaging for the same or even a higher cost. The bottom line has become more important than meeting consumer needs, in some cases. Consumers may forget this fact when signing a lease for a home. Renters may feel reasonable fees are charged to lease space but forget about itemized charges for utilities and other amenities which add to the total cost. A competitive rental market has driven prices higher than ever before in many urban markets. Learn more about the hidden costs and fees associated with leases and what to look for before signing a lease on the dotted line.

 

Utilities

Tenants tend to overlook amenities and utilities in a lease in a desire to either renew a lease or move into a new apartment. The overall cost of a property can become more than was bargained for if a consumer is not careful. Landlord/tenant laws in each state govern how utilities are billed and what recourse is available when payments are missed or shutoffs occur. Utilities may be included in the overall charge yet other times tenants must pay electric or gas bills. Third-party billing happens when an entire building is metered and the landlord splits charges among all tenants in the building, then bills individually. The charges are usually an add-on the rental charge.

 

City Ordinances

Third-party billing is seen by some states as a deceptive practice. Ordinances such as one in Seattle,  cover all residents living in buildings with three or more units to protect tenants from fraudulent overcharging practices. Some questions can be asked of a landlord prior to signing a lease. The following are just a few a tenant may ask about add-on fees:

  • Ask about utility service before signing a lease

  • Set up utility accounts quickly

  • Pay utility bills promptly and document payments

  • Take steps to protect self from landlord

  • Act immediately for better dispute resolution

 

Hidden Charges

Landlords in a competitive rental market may increase fees based on supply and demand which is cause for even more awareness around hidden fees. Additional fees may include:

  • Pets

  • Separate parking fee

  • Application fee (with approval or not)

  • Condos or HOAs may charge move-in fees for tenant-occupied units

  • Cable TV, internet may be billed through HOA or the landlord

  • Security deposit payments

  • Pre-paid fees (first and last month's rent due on move-in)


The best way to protect oneself in the rental market is to be a savvy consumer, know rights afforded tenants and don't sign anything without asking questions and reading the paperwork. Advocacy organizations and state agencies provide information to consumers. Lawyers are also available who specialize in landlord/tenant law to provide support and dispute resolution.

 

Get more advice on spotting those hidden costs in your lease.

Contact one of our agents today.

August
10

Purchasing a second home can be a big step. Whether seeking a cabin in the woods, a getaway beach home or modern condo in the city, buying another property is a big decision. Here's how to know if now is the time to buy.

 

Affordability

Assessment of personal finances is critical in determining whether to purchase a second home. Beyond the cost of a second mortgage are other financial issues such as what interest is charged on a second mortgage. It may also depend if the home will be rented out as lenders consider rental properties a higher risk than those listed as primary residences. Other factors may include:

  • Insurance

  • Property taxes

  • Ongoing costs such as utilities (water, electric, gas, trash removal, etc)

  • Unexpected maintenance charges such as landscaping

  • Cost to hire a property manage to check on the property while away

 

Location

Having a property by the beach may sound great but it may not be a great investment. Some things to consider include:

  • Ability to visit the second home as often as desired

  • If not used as a rental, will home get used enough to make it worth the investment

  • Decide where is the ideal location before buying and whether it is affordable versus the time that will be spent using the property before purchase

 

Investigate

Chat with the insurance company to see what is next after finding the general area in which to buy a second home. Begin by speaking with the current insurer with whom a relationship is already established. A better rate may be available for multiple lines (existing home, cars, etc). Better rates may not necessarily be more inexpensive. If potential new property is prone to flooding, insurance rates may be higher. Homes with swimming pools also have higher rates as do pools with no fence or gate which may not have coverage available at all.

 

Find the Home

After all possible expenses are accounted for and a neighborhood is identified, contact a real estate agent to get started. Once settled, soak in the benefits of the new home. A vacation in the comfort of one's own home is a true luxury. When time is spent with family and friends in the new home, the cost savings will become apparent compared to vacation rentals. Privacy and no crowds (like in hotels) are another added bonus of having one's own property. Financial benefits may exist in the long term even if the property is not rented out. Tax benefits may help lessen the financial burden. A vacation home is a space to unwind, relax and enjoy time with loved ones. Soak it in and enjoy the new home.

 

Get more advice on the steps that you need to take to owning a second home.

Contact one of our agents today.

July
13

Taking an outdoor space from drab to fab does not have to cost a fortune. Any space can be made over with some simple tips for creating the look and feel of a brand new space which is easy on the wallet and freshens things up a bit.

 

Shape Matters

Tables and chairs can make a space wonderful for hosting friends and family outside. Consider a circular or oval-shaped table rather than square or rectilinear. Rounded tables make for easy access around the space and accommodate additional guests without a fuss without putting anyone into a corner.

 

Garden Walls

Most people focus energy on improving the ground space in a garden. Fences and walls can offer a wonderful design opportunity for the right space. Repurposing what already exists into planters, for example, can spruce up a patio and add a different look and feel. Small patios especially benefit from creating the perception of more space.

 

Top to Bottom

The top of a garden wall can be just as important as the ground space or erected walls. Planters can create a new look while providing a screen for any less-than-desirable views or privacy curtain from neighbors. The idea also works for someone who wants to plant more than available ground space provides. Utilizing more space can create flow and balance in the garden while putting some carpentry skills to use in the process.

 

Noise

Depending on where a person lives, the sounds in one's backyard may incorporate elements of nature such as chirping birds and buzzing bees. If this is not the case, including sounds from nature can help nurture the mind and soul. Including a fountain with running water which provides relaxation, masks traffic and other unwanted noise from the outside world. A free-standing fountain can provide just the right atmosphere with do-it-yourself kits available at many nurseries.

 

Draperies

Curtains or draperies can add softness and sun protection while also providing privacy. Cozy up a space with outdoor fabric for areas exposed to the elements. Panels with weighted bottoms don't blow around in a breeze and sheers provide nice protection from sun and rain while keeping bugs at bay.

 

Lights

A string of lights is an inexpensive way to transform an outdoor space. Design options are many from small to large, round to decorative. Paper lanterns are also an option in a covered area with less exposure to the elements for a fun, decorative patio.

 

Personalize

Take creative license to express personal taste with vintage finds or spruce it up with some artwork such as a mural. Friends and family will cherish the personal touch and style.

 

Reuse

The attic, basement and garage may hold underused pieces to make the outdoor patio shine. Hanging baskets can be made from old colanders or old crates can be made into a planter. The sky really is the limit on making a patio shine with just a few personal touches.

 

Get more advice on simple and inexpensive ways to give life to your patio!

Contact one of our agents today.

July
6

People are visual when looking at homes. Curb appeal begins with most homes by looking at garage doors and spaces. If a garage door is in poor shape or is not well maintained, a home's appeal can go up rather quickly with a few adjustments and updates to suit any budget and style.

 

Timing

Replace garage doors during warm, dry weather. Hire a pro to help get the job done within a few hours.

 

Hiring

A garage door professional will have the most experience and expertise to fit and install the garage door and do the work needed to make it look nice.

 

Permits

A reputable pro will be able to say whether a permit is needed or not for the work. Contact the city or county government agency in the home's area to find out regulations and requirements before starting work.

 

Materials

The following are some materials which will be needed to get the job done:

  • Wood offers the widest range of options for design and works well in all climates. Cost is higher for wood than other materials.

  • Steel is less expensive than wood but can also rust and is not recommended in coastal areas.

  • Aluminum costs more than steel but does not rust. Coastal homes often benefit from the use of this material.

  • Tempered glass in an aluminum or wood frame can be well suited to modern and contemporary homes.

  • Fiberglass and vinyl are budget-friendly options which do not rust but may offer limited design options. Materials may also crack in colder weather.

 

Door Types

Several types of doors exist to fit any style or budget:

  • Sectional doors are the most common type. The doors typically roll up and down on tracks

  • Sliding doors are also known as barn-style doors that require a wider garage wall to accommodate the door once open

  • Swing-out doors are double doors that swing out when open. This style is not a good fit for cold climates with snow drifts that may block the doors from closing.

 

Expect doors to run anywhere from $300-$10,000 depending on the type of material and installation costs associated with having a professional remove, dispose of and install the new doors.

 

Design

Match the style of the new doors with the home, keeping in mind architectural features, materials and colors. Some tips to follow include:

  • Update Spanish colonial with a wooden garage door with iron hinges

  • Add rustic barn-style door to the farmhouse

  • Add a wooden garage door with rectilinear windows and trim to a Craftsman home

  • Match a modern home with a glass-paneled garage door

 

Getting Started

Follow these tips to get started on revamping the garage:

  • Browse photos online for ideas

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors and professionals

  • Have a professional measurement done, especially if custom doors may be needed

 

Get more advice on all the creative ways that you can revamp your garage.

Contact one of our agents today.

March
10

One of the reasons people search for investment property in Ohio is to gain financial freedom. Financial independence is possible with an investment property if a person knows how to go about finding the right home and the ins and outs of putting money into an additional place. There are many benefits to purchasing such an investment in Ohio, especially Indian Lake, as prices are low and demand is going up for homes by the water. To increase cash flow, an investment property can be leased or rented out and eventually sold for profit. The appeal of injecting cash into a property which can build equity and profit later is possible. Follow these steps to   get started.

 

Establish a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

An LLC is a private limited company which is a designated business structure. This is ideal for smaller businesses because it limits and shield's an entrepreneur's personal liability risk by the enterprise's liabilities. Any individual who uses an LLC does so to protect their rights as business owner against legal issues.

 

Find a Good, Reputable Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent can find out immediately if a property will be a worthwhile investment. They will know the area and market values to help make the best choice. When a property is selected, cash will need to be available on hand for a 20% deposit. A good lender is key to help process the loans in a timely fashion. Choice Properties has excellent trained, qualified real estate agents available to help in the selection of an investment property in Indian Lake, Ohio and beyond.

 

Property Rehab

Homes are prone to wear and tear and investment properties are no exception. As years go by, a property will need upkeep as it may not be well taken care of by tenants. Damage is an inevitable part of owning a home so keeping a fund available for leaky roofs, new heating units and more is a consideration.

 

Contracts

Be selective when choosing renters for a property. Rent arrangements need to be covered in a contract. Failure to outline this in a written agreement may result in difficulties later if the need to evict a tenant arises or if other issues come up.

 

Patience

Patience is important when searching for investment property in Ohio. Indian Lake is an area with lots to offer but it will take time to locate the best property. It is time consuming to search for contractors and good renters. Taking time now will save a headache later so be patient, take time and do it right from the start.

 

Business First

Do not let renters get away with anything. After all, an investment is part of one's financial portfolio which can affect the quality of life. It is better to kick out a poor tenant for non payment or other issues than let the issue linger and risk losing money.

 

Choice Properties has agents ready to speak with you about investment properties in Indian Lake, Ohio.                                      Don't wait, call today at 937-842-2244 to discuss the options and get started!

 

Get more advice on steps it takes to own an investment property.

Contact one of our agents today.

November
10

Want to give your home a face lift but don't have a magically refilling wallet? With a budget of about $5,000 and a solid game plan, you can get a fresh new feel for your home this winter!

Home Improvements on a Budget

When working with limited funds, it's best to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the areas which are used the most, and if there's a chance you'll be selling your home anytime in the future, these are also the areas that buyers will show the most scrutiny over. With some finesse, you can even look at adding living space by enhancing your available outdoor areas.

Kitchens

A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen so start by assessing your cabinet situation. How practical are they? Could you use deeper cupboards? Taller? Wine-racks and spice storage might be beneficial, as well as a walk-in pantry to not only make better use of the space, but give you better control over your food supplies. Knowing what you have on hand will ultimately help out your grocery bill!

If you're happy with the cabinetry, other areas you can consider upgrading/updating are lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, look for replacements that are not only 'pretty' but have 'green' benefits. These will eventually pay you back in utility bill savings, not to mention you can claim eco upgrades on your taxes. Win-win: help the environment AND put money in your pocket.

Bathrooms

Carry the green theme into your bathrooms. Update lighting and plumbing. While you're at it, consider giving the outdated tub/shower a facelift. Nothing says luxury like a tiled shower area, complete with a bench and a shelf area to house your assorted soaps and shampoos.

Outdoor Improvements

Create an outdoor living area to give your usable living space a boost. Actually building on new rooms can get quite costly, but a few dollars can go a long way toward turning a bland patio into an oasis. Things you'll want to keep in mind when creating your outdoor escape:

  • granite, pavers, or flagstone for the 'floor'

  • mulch landscape beds for visual appeal (if you don't have landscaping, consider a few potted plants)

  • provide shade by building a pergola or installing a retractable awning

  • if in a hot climate, consider installing outdoor fans and/or a misting system

  • water features will help with temperature as well, and can provide an audible escape


If you're looking to bring some life and energy to your home, a $5,000 budget can add quite a bit of flair and improvement to your house. Homes in Logan County are always beautiful but the upgrades keep them fresh. If you've recently updated your home, let us know!  Send us a picture and we'll feature it on our blog!

 

For more tips on how to upgrade your home with the buyer in mind.

Contact one of our agents for special advice.

 

October
27

A home is a place that belongs to the entire family and the entire family belongs to the home. In an effort to build familial relationships, joining forces to care for and maintain your house can be an excellent source of inspiration and bonding. Whether you like the cliche or not, "clean up and do your share" can go a long way toward turning family chore day into something more akin to bonding time than a war zone. You just have to get everyone on the same page and set realistic expectations. Determine what your general goal for the day is, set everyone their tasks, and then dive in.

Doing Household Chores as a Family

First and foremost, don't expect perfection. As long as everyone's chipping in you can consider it a win. Allow for breaks, don't criticize, and be willing to offer praise and encouragement . . . especially if you have younger kids trying their best.

Do expect some whining. Nobody likes getting sweaty and dirty, so it's normal that there will be the passing comments of, "This isn't fun," or "I hate yardwork." Laugh it off, agree that it can suck, but keep going. Keeping your resolve to get the job done will reap rewards and satisfaction at the end of the day.

Don't omit anyone in the family. Everyone who is physically capable should have a job to do—you'd be surprised how much fun youngsters will have gathering leaves and bagging them (after a few rolls in the piles, of course!). Something as simple as bringing glasses of water to the older folk can make them feel useful and included. By the way, did you take advantage of the photo op when your kiddos were frolicking and laughing?

Bring the Family Together

If you know the day is going to be spent clearing the chaos and clutter, plan on something special as a reward at the end, like dinner. Order pizza in, or maybe head out to your favorite restaurant. Mom and Dad deserve a break, too; especially after a day of backbreaking labor and fielding potential emotional breakdowns amongst the children. Another option is to set aside the day after as a 'lazy day' … board games, movies in the living room, anything that brings you all together without expectation to work, just have fun.

October
7

Before you take on any kind of major redecorating, you're going to want to take some preliminary steps. Like determining what your working budget for the project is, and taking a good long look at not only your likes and dislikes, but those of the other people living in the space with you, especially your significant other. If you aren't both on board, one of you could end up miserable in your home—the place that is supposed to be a sanctuary.  Discuss these home decorating tips with your family and see what ways you can spruce up your living environment.

 

"Spend an hour or two on the computer and look at some things together and talk about them. Ask your partner: 'What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?'"~Alana Homesley, interior designer (Woodland Hills, CA)

 

Having a plan in place before you begin will help make the process smooth and painless. 

That being said, there is no reason not to go after your 'dream space'. Have fun collecting pictures and ideas of what you would do if money and time were no object; create a wish list of sorts. Investing time—months, if necessary—in this step will give you a jumping point and allow you to really figure out what appeals to you, and what doesn't. This can also be an insightful tool in the event that you hire a professional home decorator.

 

"If you don't have that master list, it's hard to prioritize." ~Amy Luff, interior designer (Viva Luxe Studios in Bristol, VA)

 

Good questions to ask yourself when creating your vision:

  • What colors are comforting, welcoming, and relaxing?

  • Do you have pets that need to be accommodated?

  • What building materials 'speak' to you? Sterile and clean (marble, travertine, silk), warm and inviting (wood, bamboo, cotton and linen), et cetera.

  • What era, or style, are you most at home in? Victorian, French Country, Museum Chic . . . the choices are endless.

 

With the ideas flowing, now you need to start narrowing down your home decor ideas in order to achieve a realistic budget. Review what you have in terms of furniture and large décor pieces, and decide what can stay and what absolutely has to go. A whole new room can be created around existing pieces. Maybe you adore the design of your sectional couch, but the upholstery doesn't fit the new color palette you're considering . . . it may be cheaper to have that couch re-covered than it would be to go buy a brand new one. Love the frame on your mantle artwork, but the image itself isn't going to work with your new theme? Reuse the frame by replacing the print.

Think outside the box and be open to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Your pocketbook will appreciate it, as will mother Earth.

 

If you need an experts advice on decorating tips,

Contact one of our agents today.

October
7

Fall is in the air and the days are getting cooler. Time to pack up summer, then pull out the winter gear. This is also the perfect time to give your closets a good tidying. Here are some suggestions from professional organizers for organizing your closet space.

 

Sort 

The chief design officer for California Closets, Ginny Snook Scott, suggests the first step you need to take on is pulling everything out of your closets and then sorting the stuff into four distinct piles.

  • Now Pile—often used and worn

  • Someday Pile—special occasion clothes that still fit

  • Never Pile—face it, you're never going to put these items on again (Geralin Thomas, who is the president of Metropolitan Organizing in Raleigh, North Carolina, recommends that any "trophy garments," those that do not fit or you're keeping only because you paid a small fortune for it but are honestly never going to wear again, need to go. The money isn't coming back and all these items are doing are cluttering your space.)

  • Seasonal Pile—self-explanatory

Ms. Scott recommends going through your Someday Pile once again, see how much you can move to the Never Pile.

 

Sort Again

The first step is always the easiest, but now comes the hard part. Eliminating. For real.

Most people find that their Never Pile is often much larger than they anticipated it would be—up to 40% or more of the closet content. With this discovery usually comes motivation to keep going, to do more. Use this mindset to revisit the Now Pile; see just how much of it you can shift to the Someday and Never Piles.

 

Keep Up Your Resolve

Get that Never Pile boxed and bagged, ready for repurposing by either donating them to a goodwill store, passing them on to friends or family who can and will use them, or setting aside for a garage sale. DO NOT STORE these bags where you will be tempted to sift through or have 'one last peek'.

 

Organize the Seasonal Pile

  • Wash (or have dry cleaned) anything that is getting packed up. You don't want any lingering toiletry products on the clothes as this will draw insects. **Make sure all items are completely dry before they get stored. Unpacking your clothes to discover them threaded with mildew is nobody's idea of fun.

  • Use air tight, clear plastic containers which have been clearly labeled with what is inside.

  • Store the bins out of sight, but in an easily accessible place.

 

"Never store clothes in plastic bags like those from dry cleaners. Store them in cotton zip-up bags. No mothballs. No exceptions."  ~ Geralin Thomas

 

You're Almost Done!

 

Take advantage of the fact that the closets are empty by getting in there with the vacuum. You want to suck up all those lingering dust mites which destroy fabric and play havoc with people's allergies.

This is also a good time to evaluate your hangers. Wire hangers should go back to the dry cleaners or get recycled; these are meant for temporary use, using them long-term will stretch and ruin the shape of your clothes.

As you return the Now Pile items to your freshly cleaned closet, professional organizers suggest you "group" like items, i.e. shirts, dresses, pants, et cetera. If you want to go all out, you can do each group by color or style.

 

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. It's okay to go treat yourself to one or two new items, just don't go too crazy.

 

Get more advice on organization in any space.

Contact one of our agents today.

 

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