Sherwin Williams’ Pick for 2018’s Hottest Color

Oceanside_Sherwin3A rich blue with jewel-toned greens is forecasted to be 2018’s hottest color of the year, according to Sherwin Williams, which unveiled its 2018 Color of the Year choice this week. Other paint companies will be announcing their paint choices over the next few weeks.

Oceanside SW 6496 is a statement color. It can add a bold, attention-getting pop to wall colors, furnishings,  accessories, and even a home’s front door.

“Green-blues in deep values, such as Oceanside, respond to changes in light, which is a quality that creates intense dimension,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “It is a tremendously versatile color, and harmonizes with other diverse color groups.”

Oceanside is reminiscent of a marine-inspired look. But Sherwin Williams says the color can be woven into practically any design style, from mid-century modern to Mediterranean, traditional, or contemporary. Sherwin Williams says the color is versatile enough to be paired with any number of other colors, from hot pinks, yellows to navy or sky blues.

For 2017, Sherwin Williams had selected Poised Taupe (SW 6039) as the hot color. The company has been pushing the brownish-gray hue into more color schemes this year. Sherwin Williams had predicted taupe to become the next “it” color base for many homes today, edging out the popularity of gray.

But for 2018, Sherwin Williams is returning to a bolder shade for its hot-pick.

“People today have a growing sense of adventure, and it is making its way into even the coziest corners of our homes,” Wadden says. “We are craving things that remind us of bright folklore, like mermaids and expeditions across continents. Oceanside is the color of wanderlust right in our own homes.”

Oceanside_Sherwin2

Photo credit: Sherwin Williams

Source:  Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine’s Staged Styled & Sold, October 5, 2017.

Home Renovation for (Less Than) the Cost of an iPhone 8

With every new iPhone release, we discover new ways we can’t live without our devices. The iPhone 8 is waterproof, rustproof, and has the most durable glass yet. It has enhanced stereo speakers, wireless charging, a stellar camera and more. However, it comes at a hefty price: $699-$949.

You may see that price tag and think, “There is so much I could do with $1,000!”—and you’re right. With $1,000, you could buy a thousand donuts, fly to Europe and back, or even take a couple of cruises—or, you could tackle a home renovation, which will add value and character to your home. You may be surprised by the scope of projects you can pursue with a $1,000 budget. Here are a few to get you inspired.

Swap out your old front door.
The front door is a signature part of your home’s first impression. If you’re selling your property, a brand-new door in a flattering color can help draw buyers. If you’re renovating for yourself, you can choose a door that speaks to your personality and makes your house feel fresh.

Front Door Installation: $900

Give your bathroom an upgrade.
With this budget, you can have both your toilet and your sink replaced professionally. These two elements can instantly change the way your bathroom looks and feels. Seriously: Each installation takes less than two hours! If you’ve always wanted a porcelain vessel sink, consider treating yourself now.

Sink Installation: $400
Toilet Installation: $400

Get the kitchen island you’ve been dreaming of.
Didn’t realize you could have kitchen island for less than $1k? Now that you know, it’s time to get to planning! These fixtures afford so many conveniences. You can chop and prepare foods, create an eating area, or use their drawers and cabinets for storage. You can get a medium moveable island with cabinets and a butcher block top for $225-$550. Built-in ones typically range in price from $500-$2,000.

Kitchen Island Installation: $130-$2,000

Ditch that rickety garage door.
An old garage door can make you feel less secure and bring down your curb appeal. With a new one, you can change up the color and style, and consider useful features like insulation. Some homeowners brave this as a DIY renovation, but that approach is not recommended. These doors are heavy, and if the electrical system is compromised during the installation, you could be looking at a big headache.

Garage Door Installation: $1,000

Try your hand at a DIY project.
You can make some excellent additions to your property all on your own, with a little bit of handy work. Follow a step-by-step guide or buy a ready-made unit to guarantee correct installation, and you’ll be flying through the renovation like a pro. Here are a few which will come in under $1,000.

Add cabinets to your laundry room. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. Even one or two cabinets can make a huge difference, allowing you store laundry items out of sight and keep the room more manageable. Basic cabinets run about $150-$200 each.

Treat yourself to built-in bookshelves. It sounds more complicated than it has to be. You can actually purchase pre-made shelving units and install them yourself for $200-$500. Gather all of those books and knick-knacks from cluttered surfaces and integrate them into one cohesive, organized space.

Spruce up your outdoor space with a bistro patio. This is a big project, but it will be well worth it to have an outdoor gathering space for those good weather days. These patios are typically seven feet by seven feet, which is a perfect size for the DIY-inclined. Outfit it with a few chairs and a firepit, for casual nights under the stars. Materials cost anywhere from $400-$900.

There are many possibilities with a budget the size of an iPhone 8 price tag. Each of them has the potential to add value to your house, by upping the curb appeal and creating useful amenities. If you have $1,000 to put toward a home renovation, you can make it go a long way with any of these high-impact projects.

 

Source: RISMEDIA, Friday, October 06, 2017. This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Effect: Home Staging Tips to Spark Love at First Sight

Photo provided by Phil Karp

 

It’s no secret that a properly staged home can sell faster than an empty one. But how far do you need to go to inspire the “chocolate chip cookie effect,” where a buyer walks in the front door and immediately feels right at home? Sellers often look to their agent for home staging advice, which can be based on initial impressions and feedback from early showings.

Here are five tips for effectively staging a home before the next potential buyer walks in the door.

1. Create a Welcoming Entry Way

When it comes to selling a home, the importance of curb appeal can’t be stressed enough. Buyers need to fall in love at first sight — which happens around the time they pull up to the front of a property. For sellers who need to spruce up their yard, recommend inexpensive outdoor projects like a garage door replacement or an exterior power wash.

2. Enlist All Five Senses

Rather than focusing solely on how a home looks, give buyers a multisensory experience. Smells like fresh-baked cookies or scented candles can help create a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere. Calming music can also help to set the proper mood for open-house tours.

3. Encourage Decluttering

When a buyer walks into a home, they need to believe in the possibility that this house could belong to them. Seeing personal articles like photographs, kids’ artwork, or pet toys can detract from the appearance of a home that’s ready for move-in. Any loose papers and other stray items should be removed from countertops and tables to avoid distraction.

4. Turn on the Lights

To avoid a dark and dingy look, be sure to maximize the use of available lighting. Open curtains for natural light and turn on overhead lights in every room. If further accent light is needed, consider bringing LED candles or portable lights to showings.

5. Keep It Natural (and Neutral)

Neutral colors are still a favorite of house hunters looking to add their own style to a home’s decor. If you decide to add accessories for staging purposes, go for neutral accents such as throw rugs, shower curtains and towels or linens. If sellers are willing, replace window treatments or repaint rooms with dated color schemes. Natural touches like flowers and plants can also add a breath of fresh air to a home.

Home staging can range from simple decorative touches to repainting rooms or removing furniture. As buyers move through the house, they should have a clean, consistent experience designed to show off the home’s best features and make them want to move in immediately. 

 

Source: “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Effect: Home Staging Tips to Spark Love at First Sight,” By Phil Karp, posted on Styled, Staged & Sold 

4 Questions You Should Ask Your Real Estate Agent About the Market

When shopping for a home, we’re understandably preoccupied with the physical features of our future abode. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Is there a first-floor master suite? Enough space in the yard for a pool?

While those details are of course paramount, there is some other critical information you should know about any home you’re considering buying: local market statistics. The house you buy is not only the place where you will raise your family and live the lifestyle you’ve always wanted; it’s most likely one of the biggest—if not the biggest—investments you will make in your lifetime.

Make sure you’re making a wise investment by asking your real estate agent the following questions:

  1. What’s the average time on market, and how has it changed in recent years?Knowing how quickly homes in your market sell is a great indicator of how much you will be able to profit off the sale of your home in years to come. Also be sure to ask how the days on market is expected to trend in the coming year.
  2. What’s the average sales price in your market? This is important to know in order to gauge whether you’re getting a sweet deal or potentially overpaying and hurting your chances to at least recoup your money when you sell. Find out if the average sales price has gone up or down in the last year or so and in which direction it will head over the coming year.
  3. What’s the current inventory of homes for sale in your market? Inventory is an easy way to determine whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market. Both have their advantages. If inventory is high and you’re in a buyer’s market, you can negotiate a better deal. If inventory is low and you’re in a seller’s market, expect to pay above listing price. However, if market stats show that you will be in a seller’s market for years to come, you can make a nice profit should you choose to sell.
  4. What’s the rate of building and construction in your market? New homes, apartment buildings and businesses are all excellent indicators that you’re buying in a thriving and expanding market, which bodes well for your investment. Conversely, if businesses are closing or moving out of town, and if new-home construction is stagnant, your market may be experiencing a decline.

Bear in mind, while market stats are extremely important, if you’ve found a great home in an area you love, and plan on staying put for many years, it’s most likely a wise choice. Real estate is still the safest and smartest long-term investment.

If you need more real estate information, feel free to contact the Petersen Partners | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices team at info@petersenpartners.com or Direct: 678-439-6699 • Office: 770-379-8040 

8 Things Interior Designers Notice the Instant They Walk Through Your Door

If an interior designer were to walk through your front door, like, right now, what would this professional think of the place you call home?

We’ll tell you right now: plenty. And that’s even before you’ve given the pro the grand tour. Interior designers, with their sharply honed sensibilities, can take in a space in seconds. In fact, these pros can’t help but make a ton of snap judgments—and typically these first impressions aren’t all that good.

In case you’re curious about what jumps out at interior designers when they first enter a home, here’s an unsettling glimpse, courtesy of some experts who aren’t afraid to spill the beans. But don’t beat yourself up if you recognize your home in some of these criticisms; these flaws are entirely fixable. Read on for an inspiring home decor wake-up call.

1. A wonky flow

Photo by Intrabuild

“The first think I notice is whether or not the furniture placement promotes good flow of traffic,” notes Lorelie Brown, a Showhomes franchisee in Charleston, SC. Most living and family rooms have a focal wall that’s anchored by a fireplace or television, which means the chairs and couch should be arranged to face this point without causing you to walk awkwardly around them.

“I find this problem happens a lot in an open floor plan, with pieces defeating the whole ‘open’ idea,” she adds.

The solution: Less is more. Remove extraneous chairs and side tables to create a natural path in and out of the space.

2. Poor lighting

Photo by Rebekkah Davies Interiors + Design

The wrong lighting can ruin even the best interior design.

“Usually when I walk into a home, the overall look is dark and drab because there’s not enough of the right kinds of light,” says Anna Shiwlall, a designer with 27 Diamonds in Los Angeles.

Of course, we can’t all be blessed with a flood of natural light, but you can install what you need rather easily. Sit in each chair or section of the room, and determine whether you can read easily. If not, add in the missing table or floor lamps; don’t rely on one big overhead light.

3. The insane amount of clutter


Photo by CKS Design Studio

Interior designers dream of a streamlined, junk-free look, which means their eyes will immediately come to rest on the hot mess that is your bookshelf.

“Just because you have it doesn’t mean it needs to be on display,” points out Jeanne Hessen, senior designer at Closet Factory in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Her advice? Pick and choose a few sentimental or interesting pieces to show off, and put the rest away.

4. A lack of theme

Photo by Dresser Homes

Style continuity is a big one for design pros. If your pieces don’t work well together or there’s no unifying color or theme to the rooms, the whole look can feel off.

“This seems to come from a lack of understanding of the style elements and characteristics of the pieces in the room,” explains Mark Sidell, a Closet Factory designer. Too many colors, in particular, can create a sense of disorder. Make it better by choosing a neutral palette and then introducing just a couple of coordinating hues.

5. That (ahem) smell

Photo by Renewal Design-Build

Truth: Interior designers make snap judgments not just on what they see, but also on what they smell. As a homeowner, you’ve become inured to your own odors, but an outsider can nail a scent right away.

Pets are the most obvious offenders, followed by cooking smells and odious candles. Fortunately, the remedy is an easy one: Open the windows as often as you can to air out stale spaces (especially in bedrooms and the kitchen).

6. The state of your loo

Photo by GOMMSTUDIO.COM

We can’t be more emphatic here: Your bathroom must be pristine!

Interior professionals (and potential buyers) will look with a critical eye at every bathroom in your home, and a dirty one will convince them that the entire home isn’t clean, even if it is. Towels must be fresh, grout should be clean, and definitely clear your counters of personal items (makeup, hair dryer, toothbrush).

7. No sense of scale

Photo by Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects

We’re talking tiny lamps on huge tables, or king-size beds squeezed into too-small rooms.

“I always notice the layout and scale of the pieces in a bedroom,” says Hessen. Frankly, most people buy whole packages at the furniture store instead of choosing complementary items in the correct sizes for their home.

“To fix this, try to mix and match your styles and the stores where you shop,” she adds. “You’ll end up with a more interesting, inviting space.”

8. A lack of personal style

Photo by Rikki Snyder

Let it shine! A lack of personality in a home means your space will appear boring or sterile. Even worse is a look that’s been copied directly from a catalog. A designer can certainly help you develop a style, but you can also jazz up your abode with art you love, mementos from a faraway trip, or a collection that has special meaning.

 

Source: “8 Things Interior Designers Notice the Instant They Walk Through Your Door,”  (Aug 14, 2017)

50 Cheap and Easy Ways to Boost the Saleability of Your Home

Want to sell your home quickly? We’ve got some good news for you – chances are, you don’t need to invest in costly and time-consuming renovation projects, or chop the price of your home in half. Often, all it takes to boost the saleability of your home are a few quick, simple, and more importantly – cheap fixes – like painting the walls, clearing away the clutter, and giving it a really, really good clean.

Kitchen

  1. Replace cabinet doors and/or door handles
  2. Replace cheap appliances e.g. toasters and kettles
  3. Add moldings to cabinet fronts
  4. Clean the inside (and outside) of the oven

Bathroom

  1. Replace taps
  2. Throw out any half used products
  3. Buy (and use) a shower caddy
  4. Store towels rolled up
  5. Replace the shower curtain

Bedrooms and living areas

  1. Wash cushion covers
  2. Invest in new duvet covers
  3. Add decorative cushions to beds
  4. Sand and polish tired wooden furniture
  5. Cover worn sofas with throws

General

  1. Clean carpets
  2. Paint walls
  3. Create a sense of space by removing excess furniture
  4. Get rid of, or hide your clutter
  5. Do (and put away) the washing up
  6. Clean your curtains or blinds
  7. Install uplights to highlight your home’s best features (such as fireplaces)
  8. If you have an unused room, stage it – as an office, a kid’s playroom, etc.
  9. Buy new, brighter light bulbs
  10. Fill vases with fresh flowers
  11. Remove family photos
  12. Add artwork
  13. Replace light shades
  14. Hang mirrors (bigger is generally better)
  15. Clean, clean, then clean some more!

Outside

  1. Mow your lawn
  2. Plant flowers
  3. Get rid of cobwebs
  4. Pressure wash your patio and driveway
  5. Replace house numbers
  6. Add hanging pots
  7. Clean your windows
  8. Paint your front door

Before people visit

  1. Open blinds/curtains
  2. Open windows (unless you live on a noisy road!)
  3. Open internal doors to help light flow through the home
  4. Leave pets with a friend or neighbour
  5. Spray air freshener, light scented candles, or bake bread
  6. Tidy up
  7. Empty bins
  8. Close toilet seats
  9. Make the beds
  10. Light your fireplace (if you have one, and it’s not summer)
  11. Fluff the sofa cushions
  12. Arrange decorative cushions
  13. In winter, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature (about 68°F)

Source: “50 Cheap and Easy Ways to Boost the Saleability of Your Home,” Stormclad (October 23, 2015)

5 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector

Home buyers would be wise to interview a home inspector before they hire one. But what should they ask? Here are a few questions to consider.

1. What do you check?

A home inspector will look at everything from the roof to the foundation and in between, Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors, told realtor.com®. But they are restricted to visual, general inspections. A specialist may be needed for further investigation on some items. Buyers will want to get a clear understanding of what the inspector will and will not be checking. For example, will they scrutinize the inside of the fireplace or the well and septic systems? Read: 4 Things Home Inspectors Don’t Often Check

2. What do you charge for an inspection?

Home inspections typically cost between $300 to $600. That will depend on the size of the house and the market area, however. Lesh cautions buyers about choosing an inspector based on a low price alone. “That’s often a sign they’re having trouble getting customers,” he says.

3. How many inspections have you done?

You can’t discount a home inspector just because they’re new on the job. That doesn’t mean lower quality. But experience is also important, especially if your home is an older one or something with unusual home features, realtor.com® notes.

4. Can I come along during the inspection?

Inspectors should want you present during the inspection. They’ll be able to explain the home’s system and how it works. The opportunity also gives you the chance to ask questions and get clarifications. A red flag would be a home inspector who asks you not to join him or her.

5. Can I view a sample report?

You may find it helpful to see an inspection report of someone else’s home inspection. While every home has problems, many aren’t a big enough deal to jeopardize a sale. A sample report may help prevent you from panicking if you see something come up on your report and also give you more of a feel for the information you’ll be receiving from your inspector.

Source: “5 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector,” REALTOR® Magazine Online (August 1, 2017)

5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement

 

basement_bar2

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

The basement doesn’t just have to be a space to throw all of that extra storage. Show it as usable space, and it may even help you increase the value of the home. Basement remodels typically recoup about 70 percent of their costs at time of resale, which can add a tremendous amount of value to your home.

Making it the coolest room in the house may not be too difficult either. After all, basements tend to stay cooler during the summer months, making this an ideal place for the family to hang out when the weather heats up outside.

basement_media3

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

1. Create an In-Home Theater

Basements not only are typically cooler than the rest of the home, but they’re also usually darker. For that reason, they’re an excellent place to add a theater to watch movies on those hot summer nights. Best of all, you don’t have to do a complete basement remodel, with costs around $50,000, to gain this space. A TV mount costs around $250, while built in seating costs around $840 – $1,680. (Just be sure for safety to completely waterproof the room before running wires through the basement.)

2. Make a Children’s Play Area

Basements are often neglected areas of the home, used primarily for storage and not much else. So why not turn your unused basement space into a new playroom for your kids?

Start with the staircase. Most basements have only partially finished staircases so installing a new one will help make the space more comfortable as well as safer. Next, ensure that you have egress windows installed, and that the basement is fully waterproofed. From there, you can carpet the floors to make the space more comfortable, and move your children’s toys downstairs to make more space in their rooms.

3. Create an Adult Entertainment Space

basement_bar3

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

If you love to entertain, consider building a bar into your basement. Basements are already the ideal place to install a wine cellar, so why not take it a step further and put in an entertainment area and bar for parties as well? Basements that walkout onto patios can be the ideal place for summer entertaining, giving guests a way to get in out of the heat or a summer rainstorm. Consider putting in a tile floor to give the room a finished look and keep the floors easy to clean. Match the bar countertop to the color of the floors for a fresh, stylish appearance.

4. Create a Garden Utility Room

If you spend any time out in the garden, you probably know about the dirt, tools, and pots that accompany this hobby. Basements are a great place to install a utility sink and counter, and to store all of your garden paraphernalia. Installing a french drain and a hose will make cleanup a snap, while shelving placed just beneath the windows will give your plants a place to sprout before you take them outside for the summer.

basement_media2

Photo courtesy Shannon Dittmann

5. Create a New Family Room

Family rooms often get even more use than the more formal living room, so family rooms in a cooler basement can get a lot of use during the summer months. Basements finished as family rooms may be coveted by homebuyers too, giving you the maximum return on investment. This includes not only tiling or carpeting the floors, but also putting up drywall to complete the walls as well. Consider adding a suspended acoustic ceiling to help insulate the basement from the sounds above, while making the rooms more attractive at the same time.

 

Article Submitted by Fixr.com Source: “5 Ideas to Increase the Value of a Basement,” RealtorMag (July 24, 2017)

The Home Designs Gaining, Losing Popularity

Builders are slowly switching focus from the $500,000-plus luxury market to more moderate price points, particularly when it comes to single-family move-up homes. And the shift is influencing the types of materials and upgrades becoming popular in new homes, according to Home Innovation’s 2017 Builder Practices Survey. It turns out that high-end materials aren’t limited to construction of luxury real estate.

  • Crazy for quartz. Despite being one of the priciest products on Home Innovation’s list of building materials, quartz had its best year in 2016. Quartz surfaces in the bathroom appeared in 13 percent of new homes last year, up from 9 percent in 2015. In the kitchen, quartz countertops were even more popular, appearing in 15 percent of new homes last year compared to 9 percent in 2015.
  • Nickel gains ground. Nickel faucets are also gaining popularity in kitchens, outselling stainless steel, chrome, and bronze. In the bathroom, nickel is also being used more often, though it fell just shy of chrome in popularity.
  • Hardwood, vinyl are tops for floors. High-end solid hardwood and luxury vinyl tile are popular for kitchen floors. But engineered hardwood and ceramic tile each rose by 3 percentage points in market share.
  • No more bubble baths? The jetted tub is continuing to lose favor, going from being installed in about 15 percent of new homes in 2015 to 11 percent in 2016.
  • Granite and marble are on the outs. The share of new homes with natural granite and marble showers and bathtubs dropped from 12 percent to 9 percent last year. High-end enameled cast iron and granite sinks also lost favor. Lower- to mid-range vitreous china and enameled steel sinks each increased in popularity.

Source: “The Home Designs Gaining, Losing Popularity,” REALTOR Magazine (August 7, 2017)

Fast Home Maintenance Fixes for August

Some helpful seasonal tips for keeping tabs on all corners of your home from the folks at This Old House magazine.

 

Maintain Dryer Ducts

Lint that gets trapped in ducts poses a risk for fire. Remove each end of the duct and vacuum with a wet/dry vac.

Wash Window Coverings

Outdoor irritants like pollen may have built up on curtains after a season of open windows. Have all drapes washed or dry-cleaned.

 

Prevent Powdery Mildew

Thin out crowded branches to increase air circulation. If signs are already there, pick off affected parts and throw in the trash to avoid inviting spores back into your garden.

Plant Fall Crocuses

The saffron crocus (shown) will bloom in 6 to 8 weeks; the spice can be harvested for cooking by removing the bright red stigmas at the center.

 

Eliminate Pest Magnets

Move items touching your house’s siding, like firewood, tools, and toys, which create a haven for bugs and mice.