Hot Home Trend: The Statement Shower

The shower in the master bathroom is getting a lot more attention. In fact, it’s one of the main splurges among renovating homeowners, according to the 2017 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. These “statement showers,” as Houzz dubs them in its report, include high-tech features, like rainfall showerheads, dual showers, curbless showers, and body sprays.

 

Upgrading the master shower was the most popular renovation project, according to the survey of more than 1,200 U.S. homeowners who were in the midst or just completed a bathroom reno project. For more than half of renovators, their main aim was to increase their shower’s size. Also, survey respondents showed a rise in demand for high-tech features, such as mood lighting or digital controls, in master bathrooms.

Over a quarter of homeowners – 27 percent – have opted to remove the bathtub in their master bathroom renovations, according to the survey. The removal of the bathtub has allowed more room for a larger shower.

“This year’s Bathroom Trends Study sheds light on two key trends in master bathrooms, showers as a focal point and the growing role of high-tech features in bathroom products,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “Additionally, it is clear that today’s master bathroom renovations are marked by timeless and durable elements, from natural stone finishes to curbless shower entries, a benefit of having older generations in the driver’s seat. Still, the early wave of millennial homeowners reveals their preferences for homes of the future, from larger master bathrooms to clean lines and white and gray color pallets.”

The Houzz study found that the national average for a major remodel of a large master bathroom (considered over 100 square feet) is $21,000.

Source: Melissa Dittmann Tracey, “Hot Home Trend: The Statement Shower,” REALTOR® Magazine

Paint your home these colors to sell it for the most money

Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis looked at more than 32,000 photos from sold homes nationwide to see how certain paint colors impacted their sale price on average when compared to similar homes with white walls.

Various shades of blue were also top picks in other areas of the house besides the bathroom, including the bedroom, kitchen, dining room and front door.

Natural tones like pale gray and oatmeal were also found in top-performing home listings.

“Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. “Incorporating light blue in kitchens and bathrooms may pay off especially well as the color complements white countertops and cabinets, a growing trend in both rooms.”

Although paint is a simple fix, darker, more style-specific walls may deter buyers.

Meanwhile, a lack of color could be the biggest mistake for sellers. Homes with white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,035 below similar homes, Zillow found.

Take a look at Zillow’s best and worst paint colors by room:

Kitchen

Best: Light blue to soft gray-blue; home sold for $1,809 more on average

Worst: Straw yellow to marigold; home sold for $820 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Bathroom

Best: Light powder blue to periwinkle; home sold for $5,440 more on average

Worst: Off-white or eggshell white; home sold for $4,035 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Image credit: Zillow

Bedroom

Best: Light cerulean to cadet blue; home sold for $1,856 more on average

Worst: Light pink to antique rose; home sold for $208 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Living Room

Best: Light beige, pale taupe, oatmeal; home sold for $1,809 more on average 

Worst: Pastel gray, pale silver to light blue, periwinkle; home sold for $820 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Dining Room

Best: Slate blue to pale gray blue and navy blue also found in dining rooms with white shiplap; home sold for $1,926 more on average

Worst: Brick red, terracotta or copper red; home sold for $2,031 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Home Exterior

Best: Greige (mix of gray and beige); home sold for $1,526 more on average

Worst: Medium brown, taupe or stucco; home sold for $1,970 less on average

Image credit: Dreamstime

Front Door

Best: Navy blue to dark gray or charcoal; home sold for $1,514 more on average

 

Source: Mike Timmermann, “Paint your home these colors to sell it for the most money,” June 2, 2017, Clark Howard, Cox Media Group.

A Front Door, Flooring and Other ‘Happy’ Home Upgrades

It’s no secret that an improvement or remodeled room can make being at home that much better. (Who doesn’t want more counter space?) The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently identified the projects with a “Joy Score” of 10—the highest happiness level for homeowners. Amp the feel-good factor up with these upgrades: 

Source: Suzanne de Vita, “A Front Door, Flooring and Other ‘Happy’ Home Upgrades,” October 12, 2017, RISMedia

Do-It-Yourself Fall Decor for the Decidedly Uncrafty

Are you feeling less than competent in the arts and crafts department? This can be especially difficult in the fall, the season that tends to kick off the DIY bonanza. The great news is, homemade décor projects have gotten a lot more creative and a lot simpler, making crafting accessible to even the less skilled among us. Here are some simple ideas with stunning results. Not only do you get a lovely little objet d’art for your home, but the made-it-myself bragging rights to boot.

  • Glam gourds. Sure, a well-placed pumpkin or two is always a nice touch this time of year, but paint them gold and you’ve suddenly got a magical design statement. For smaller gourds, use a paintbrush and some gold leaf paint; for the larger variety, get out a drop cloth and the spray paint.
  • Fall topiaries. Nope, you don’t need to be Edward Scissorhands. Just grab an inexpensive clay pot or basket and fill it with florist’s foam. Then snip a few branches from a colorful fall tree or berry bush and arrange them in the foam. Keep the foam slightly damp, and your fall topiary will live indoors for several days.
  • Chalkboard welcome. This great idea from Country Living involves taking a decorative tray (the kind with handles) and painting the center of it with chalkboard paint. Write a pleasant welcome message for guests on it—or leave a space for guests to write their own note—then decorate the handles and edge with fall leaves or berry vines. Hang it vertically on your front door for a creative alternative to a wreath.
  • Harvest votives. This quick idea from Martha Stewart involves taking a piece of dried corn husk—the kind from Indian corn is most colorful—and wrapping it around a small glass votive by tying it with a small piece of twine. Once the candle is lit within, the effect of the translucent husk is simply lovely.
  • Pumpkin pie potpourri. Another ridiculously easy but brilliant idea from Martha Stewart, this craft involves taking a smallish pumpkin, cutting the top off to form a lid and thoroughly cleaning out the inside. From there, carve round vents into the lid and base of the pumpkin with an apple corer. Next, push cloves into the lid and rub it with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spices. Light a tea candle, place the lid back on the pumpkin and enjoy the smell of pumpkin pie spice for about six hours.

Aside from lovely crafts you’ll produce, the best part of these projects is the opportunity they provide to immerse yourself in the season. Grab your kids, your bestie, or even mom and dad and craft away together for even more fun.

If you’d like more information about homeownership, please contact the Petersen Partners team at info@petersenpartners.com or read more about our #1 team at www.PetersenPartners.com

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)