Color of the Year: Off-White Is On Trend for 2016

It’s the time of year when many paint manufacturers and color forecasters release their picks for top shades for the coming year. And while these selections typically vary widely from company to company, one emerging trend for 2016 is what some would call a colorless color: white or, more specifically, shades of off-white. Here are four major paint brands’ achromatic color picks and how best to use them in your home.
Benjamin Moore and Glidden have made off-white hues their “color of the year” for 2016, while Sherwin-Williams and Behr are each showing an off-white in their 2016 color trend forecasts.
From Jennifer Ott on Houzz:

What 92% of Sellers Know About Listing A Home

The rate of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homes has been decreasing steadily for the last decade. In 2014, FSBOs accounted for just 9% of home sales. Why do 92% of home sellers now use an agent to sell their home?

It’s simple: today’s buyers are web savvy and expect homes to be marketed on national home search sites that FSBO sellers often forget about. Agents can also help with negotiation and to streamline the closing paperwork. Plus, sellers who use an agent usually make more†on their home sale, even after paying an agent’s commission. But don’t take our word for it — there are plenty of stats showing that hiring an agent is the smart choice. Check out these facts about hiring an agent vs. selling your home FSBO.

Still on the fence? Name the price you will sell your home for and let us find the buyer for you! Visit today!

To learn more about the #1 team for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and our advanced marketing solutions, visit or contact us at


Keep Your Home From Looking Like a Haunted House to Potential Buyers

3130698335_5a16ef7eff_zHalloween is just around the corner and, while it’s fun to decorate, make sure your house itself isn’t causing a fright. Check out these 5 steps to keep your home from looking like a haunted house. Even if you’re not ready to sell your home just yet, fall is the perfect time for some simple maintenance.

  1. Spruce Up Your Lawn
    While brilliant fall foliage can automatically make your home look more attractive for showings, that doesn’t mean you can slack off on lawn maintenance during this season. Keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking, keep the lawn trimmed, get rid of any dead plants, and patch any bare or brown spots in the grass. Once your lawn is looking its best, spice it up with a splash of color—replace your fading summer plants with vibrant mums or other colorful seasonal flowers. Make sure your landscaping is cohesive with your geographical area and the rest of the neighborhood, too. For example, planting palm trees where everyone else has pine trees or using lava rocks in flowerbeds where everyone else uses mulch can distract potential buyers from seeing the home itself.
  2. Highlight Your Front Door
    Making your front door the focal point of your home’s exterior is a good tactic no matter what time of year you decide to sell your home. During the fall, a simple wreath of fall foliage and flowers can add an inviting touch. A fresh coat of paint in a vivid red can also make your entrance stand out.
  3. Clean Up the Exterior
    When fall rolls around and the trees shed their leaves, your home becomes more exposed, making its exterior appearance extra important. Fall is a great time to pressure wash the exterior of your home and clean the windows. While you are at it, make sure all windows and screens are in good, working condition. If the paint is chipped or faded, applying a fresh coat will do wonders to revive your home’s appearance. Replacing rotted wood shutters or tattered awnings can also drastically improve your home’s curb appeal.
  4. Clear Out Your Gutters
    Stay on top of yearly and monthly maintenance. During the fall, be sure to clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris. Not only will it help signal to a potential buyer that your home is appear well-maintained, it will also protect your home from water damage.
  5. Get Rid of the Clutter
    What you see as unique may come across as an eyesore to a potential buyer. With winter approaching, you probably won’t be spending that much time outdoors anyway, so go ahead and pack up the lawn ornaments and put away any kids’ toys scattered around. Don’t forget to clean out your garage and any exterior storage buildings, too. A cluttered garage tells potential buyers your home doesn’t have enough storage. If possible, avoid having vehicles in the driveway. It’s not only distracting in photos, it also suggests the overflow of clutter in the garage prevents cars from actually parking in the garage.

Fall Lawn Care Tips

Your main job in fall is to keep your lawn free of leaves and other debris. You can use a mulching mower to break up leaves and add the organic matter to your soil, but be sure to clean up any clumps so they don’t kill the grass.

In the northern one-third of the country, now is the time to fertilize your lawn. Your grass will store the nutrients in its roots as it goes dormant over the winter, and your lawn will be ready for a jump start when spring warms the ground.

This is also the time to clean up your garden.

Add Home Value with These Indoor Décor Ideas

decorIf you’re like a lot of homeowners today, you might be tempted to chalk decorating choices up to personal preference and think they have little to do with home value — but this is a mistake. Whether or not you’re planning to sell your home soon, here’s what you need to know: the right decorating choices not only make your home a more enjoyable place for you to live, but also they increase and improve your property value when it comes time to put it on the market. This is because, believe it or not, there are a lot of ways that updates and decorating can increase how much your home is worth. How exactly does this work? What indoor décor boosts property value? Consider the following:

  1. Fresh Paint. “Whether it’s interior or exterior painting, a fresh coat of paint instantly makes any space appear updated and clean, increasing its surface value,” says TLC Decorating Services. Stick to light neutrals that enlarge your living spaces and appeal to a wide range of tastes, and, if you have it in the budget, hire professionals who will make sure the paint job is done right.
  2. Upgraded Lighting. There’s a reason real estate agents turn on all of a home’s lights for a showing — generally speaking, the brighter, the better. Well-lit rooms look bigger and more inviting, especially when attractive fixtures light them. Plus, because light fixtures are one of those home features that often will stay with a home when it sells, potential buyers are getting extra value from the recessed lighting, pendant lights and other fixtures you add to your layout and design.
  3. Plantation Shutters. Attractive window treatments are always a selling point, especially if they’re custom-made like plantation shutters. Specifically created for your home’s living rooms, bedrooms or basement, plantation shutters add as much functionality as they do value, showing buyers yet another asset of your home.
  4. Granite Countertops. It doesn’t matter if you live in a two-bedroom condo or a six-bedroom Georgian-style home, adding granite countertops is a design choice with value impact. “No matter what price the home is, most buyers want granite these days,” says Lee Anne Culpepper at Networx. Plus, because granite or other stone countertops are such an in-demand feature these days, most buyers will be willing to pay more for a home to get them.
  5. New Appliances. Right along with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances are a top upgrade in terms of value boost. “The cold feel of steel is a hot ticket item for buyers,” saysHGTV. “Transition your appliances as they wear out and go with a similar metallic look in your light switches.” Swap the old, outdated fridge, stove and dishwasher in your kitchen with sleek stainless steel and you bring it into the new century.
  6. New Bathroom Tile. Nothing dates a bathroom faster than vintage tile, so if you want to breathe fresh life into a bathroom space, go with new, bright, modern tile instead. Light colors make small bathrooms look bigger — a major value boost come selling time — and modern choices make your bathrooms fit with your home’s more updated overall look.
  7. Staged Rooms. Only a small percentage of the population can truly envision living in a home with outdated décor or empty rooms — that’s why a service like staging can be so powerful. According to Bank Rate, one survey showed that home staging resulted in an average $1,780 price increase or 586 percent return on investment. If you want to make your home look more valuable and thus to command a higher sale price, consider hiring a stager to make your rooms look their best. When potential buyers see how attractive and spacious rooms can look, they’re one step closer to making an offer.
  8. Attractive Framing. Empty walls force a buyer to try and imagine where art could go and how to fill space. When you have attractive, perhaps even custom framing throughout your living spaces, however, you have a perfect finishing touch — both for your own enjoyment in your home and for a desirable look when it’s time to sell.

If you’ve wanted to upgrade your home but are unsure how to justify it, this list is good news. Not only will the right indoor décor make your home more livable for the short term, but also it will add value for long-term resale. To figure out where to start with your remodeling projects, use the above eight ideas and make the most of your updates.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall

7 Reasons Why You Should Use a REALTOR to Sell Your Home

Realtor  Selling your home can seem a daunting task. When you close that deal, you want to make sure that your home goes to the best buyer for the best price. It may seem cheaper to sell your home yourself, and many do; however, there are a lot of details to work through.

“Selling your home through a REALTOR can help you make sure you get the best value overall,” says Kimberly Nicole, a REALTOR based in The Woodlands/Houston, Texas metro area who caters to luxury homes and their clientele.

Nicole offers seven reasons why you should use a REALTOR instead of selling your home yourself:

1. REALTORS Know How to Navigate the Process A REALTOR is the manager of your home buying process. Nicole explains that you and your REALTOR will begin with extensive discussions to head off any road blocks later on. Your REALTOR is aware of your concerns, needs and priorities. They are there from the beginning to end, navigating each step of the way with you. Selling real estate can be a tricky business, full of regulations and involved steps. Your REALTOR works for you, staying on top of the latest regulations and helping you meet them.

2. REALTORS Know How to Professionally List the Property In the age of web 2.0, it’s not enough to upload your phone photos to a few random sites. Buyers expect professional photos, videos and flawless online presentation. To get the most exposure, you also need to manage your listing across multiple channels. REALTORS will do all this for you, including coordinating with photographers and videographers to make sure your listing is top-notch. “Hitting the right emotional and responsive chords with buyers is the goal,” says Nicole. “Determine who the likely audience is, and market directly to that audience.”

3. REALTORS Know How to Prepare Sellers Before you sell, your home must be in the best condition possible. Your REALTOR can advise you on what repairs need to be done, and they frequently know good contractors. You may have to have inspections done before you sell, and will probably have to do repairs. A REALTOR can set up any required inspections and instruct you on how to prepare. Sometimes homeowners will take out a loan against the house to finance costly repairs, but this can’t be done while the house is on the market. A REALTOR may help assess the situation, and then wait to list it until the repairs are completed.

4. REALTORS Can Help Sellers Prepare for Showings “Staging is extremely important,” says Nicole. “That first impression is vital.” Not only do all of the repairs need to be done, but if you still live there, the place must be kept clean and staged. This means everything from maintaining curbside appeal to the little details, like placing out a plate of cookies or laying out your best dishes in a table setting. She advises that a home must be open and inviting, and that smells, pets and lighting must all be taken into consideration. “We don’t want a home not selling because a buyer can’t see their own furniture in the home.” Your REALTOR may also advise you to de-clutter certain closets and rearrange rooms. They may explain which personal touches add a “homey” look and which things detract from a potential buyer envisioning their own decor.

5. REALTORS Can Help Get Buyers through the Doors REALTORS not only get the traffic in, they know how to manage it. They can arrange and hold open houses in a way that gets as many visitors as possible. They also work with buyers so that showings are more convenient for you. This is especially important if you still live in the house. REALTORS may also help weed through potential candidates so that you don’t waste your time with no-shows or non-serious buyers. “If a person needs to sell a house before buying another, the seller needs to know this,” says Nicole. This all factors in to final decisions and net proceeds.

6. REALTORS Know How to Objectively Negotiate You may think preparing and showing your home may be stressful, but receiving offers can be difficult. “The goal is to get the most money as the seller, and as the buyer the goal is to look at market value and if it’s priced appropriately. You don’t want to present an offer that’s an insult to the seller,” says Nicole. A REALTOR can help you stay reasonable, without letting you take a lowball offer either. They will also be there to navigate a multi-bid and renegotiations. “Renegotiations fall apart all the time, and deals frequently don’t come through,” she says. “Each side has different concerns, and each party needs to know where the other stands.” Closing can be a confusing process, and there is a lot of paperwork to sign. Your REALTOR has been through this many times and can explain everything you are signing and why. If you have any questions on anything, your REALTOR is right there.

7. REALTORS Know the Area “The key to a good agent is knowing the area,” says Nicole. They know what the property values are, and have a good idea of future market fluctuations. They also know where and how to list your property for best results. Having a home listed on MLS is not enough. A good REALTOR that is knowledgeable of the area is essential to getting the best deal on your home.


originally posted at:


Early Fall Lawn Care

Preparing to patch grass in the early fall

Spread grass seed evenly over bare patches. Image: Home Joys


The best time to patch bare or thin spots is when the hot, dry days of summer have given way to cooler temps. Follow these simple steps:

1. Remove any dead grass.

2. Break up the soil with a garden trowel.

3. Add an inch of compost and work it into the soil.

4. Add grass seed that’s designed for shade or full sun, depending on the area you’re working on. Spread the seed evenly across the bare patch.

5. Use a hard-tooth rake to work the seed into the soil to a depth of about half an inch.

6. Sprinkle grass clippings over the patch to help prevent the soil from drying out.

7. Water the area; you’ll want to keep the patch moist, so lightly water once a day until the seed germinates and the new grass gets about one inch tall.

11 Ways to Create a Welcoming Front Entrance for Under $100

Wouldn’t it be nice to approach your home’s entrance with a grin instead of a grimace? Take our tips for beating a clear, safe, and stylish path to your front door.

First impressions count — not just for your friends, relatives, and the UPS guy, but for yourself. Whether it’s on an urban stoop or a Victorian front porch, your front door and the area leading up to it should extend a warm welcome to all comers — and needn’t cost a bundle.

Here’s what you can do to make welcoming happen on the cheap.

1. Clear the way for curb appeal. The path to your front door should be at least 3 feet wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, with an unobstructed view and no stumbling hazards. So get out those loppers and cut back any overhanging branches or encroaching shrubs.

2. Light the route. Landscape lighting makes it easy to get around at night. Solar-powered LED lights you can just stick in the ground, requiring no wiring, are suprisingly inexpensive. We found 8 packs for under $60 online.

3. Go glossy. Borrow inspiration from London’s lovely row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors. The reflective sheen of a royal blue, deep green, crimson, or whatever color you like will ensure your house stands out from the pack.

Related: Pictures of 10 Great Value-Add Exterior Paint Jobs

4. Pretty up the view. A door with lots of glass is a plus for letting light into the front hall — but if you also want privacy and a bit of decor, check out decorative window film. It’s removable and re-positionable, and comes in innumerable styles and motifs. Pricing depends on size and design; many available for under $30.

A way to get the look of stained glass without doing custom work or buying a whole new door: Mount a decorative panel on the inside of the door behind an existing glass insert, $92 for an Arts and Crafts-style panel 20-inches-high by 11-inches-wide.

5. Replace door hardware. While you’re at it, polish up the handle on the big front door. Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lockset with a secure deadbolt. Available for about $60.

6. Please knock. Doorbells may be the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life, and another opportunity to express yourself (whatever your favorite animal or insect is, there’s a door-knocker in its image).

7. Ever-greenery. Boxwoods are always tidy-looking, the definition of easy upkeep. A pair on either side of the door is traditional, but a singleton is good, too. About $25 at garden centers. In cold climates, make sure pots are frost-proof (polyethylene urns and boxes mimic terracotta and wood to perfection).

8. Numbers game. Is your house number clearly visible? That’s of prime importance if you want your guests to arrive and your pizza to be hot. Stick-on vinyl numbers in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting at about $4 per digit.

9. Foot traffic. A hardworking mat for wiping muddy feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20. Even fancier varieties can be found well under $50.

10. Go for the glow. Fumbling for keys in the dark isn’t fun. Consider doubling up on porch lights with a pair of lanterns, one on each side of the door, for symmetry and twice the illumination. Many mounted lights are available well under $100.

11. Snail mail. Mailboxes run the gamut from kitschy roadside novelties masquerading as dogs, fish, or what-have-you to sober black lockboxes mounted alongside the front door. Whichever way you go, make sure yours is standing or hanging straight, with a secure closure, and no dings or dents. The mail carrier will thank you.

7 Exterior Home Improvements That Increase Resale Value

Exterior Home Improvements

Curb appeal is everything when it comes to selling your home, and that means your home’s exterior needs to be in optimal condition. In fact, 71 percent of prospective home buyers say that a home’s curb appeal is an important factor in their buying decision. This infographic from LawnStarter shows seven exterior home improvements that can increase resale value and help sell your home even faster:


Replace Your Front Door

Believe it or not, a front door says a lot about you and your home. A quality front door can be a huge asset for your home’s value, and how secure your home feels upon entrance. Kelly Fallis of Remote Stylist says, “It’s the first thing a buyer walks through. Repaint or replace; their first impression rests on it.” According to House Logic, a standard 20-gauge steel door can cost around $1,230, but that investment can more than pay for itself with the amount of value it adds to your home. A quality front door replacement can bring you a return of around 102 percent, which makes it a great bang for your buck.

Updated Landscaping

Over 92 percent of prospective home buyers use the Internet at some point during their search process, meaning a lot of eyes are going to be looking for pictures of your home. You want to be able to showcase your property in the best light possible to drive interested parties in for a closer look. According to Bankrate, a quality landscaping job has the potential to net you a whopping 252 percent return in increased home value. John Harris, a landscape economist, has stated that updated landscaping can increase a home’s value by 28 percent and have it sold 10-15 percent quicker.

New Paint

Most prospective homeowners tend to look at what they need to update or work on in the homes that they look at. Repainting your home can cause less stress on the buyer since they know that the job is fresh and adds to the look of the home. That being says, don’t go overboard with color choices. Choose warm and inviting colors, such as taupe, tan or white. “Individuals too often minimize the impact of a first impression,” says James Alisch, managing director of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. “The exterior paint job of a home greatly impacts how potential buyers feel about a place.” You want to make sure that potential buyers can envision themselves inside your home, and having a neutral exterior color is appealing to a larger pool of buyers. If you do feel the need to add some brighter colors, make sure that they aren’t overpowering and can work well with the neutral base. It’s best to consult your local home improvement store to discuss your options and budget.

Add Home Automation

The home automation industry is expanding faster than ever. Nearly everyone has a smartphone with them at all times, so adding wireless automation to your home could be the feature that sways a buyer. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of adding home automation into your residence is around $2,100. Clair Jones of says, “Most smart locks are available for under $250. For such a small purchase cost, homeowners can expect a full return on their investment when they sell their home, and may even see an opportunity to present their property as a ‘smart home,’ which is a hot market term right now.”

Like most technology products, the price ranges vary from cost-effective to break the bank, so weigh your potential return with your REALTOR® before proceeding.

Add a Privacy Fence

Having a quality fence can drastically change the look and security of your home and property. Depending on where you live, fences are on average four to nine feet tall and made of quality materials such as wood or stone. While a chain link fence is an option and may be secure, it won’t look good or provide the privacy that a wood or stone wall will. The average cost of a wood fence is $2,450, but homeowners can expect to get 100 percent back in updated home value.

Updated Windows

Replacing old, single-pane windows is a great way to add a level of security, modernize your home, and help bring energy costs down. According to Energy Star, you can save from $125-$465 per year on energy bills. While you may not recoup the entire cost of the new windows when you sell your home, many prospective buyers will see value in energy saving additions. New windows are a great way to give new life to your home without a ton of changes, and can help sway a buyer to choose your home.

Pressure Wash

Pressure washing is hands down the best bang for your buck in terms of rejuvenating the exterior look and feel of your home. Many people don’t realize how dirt their driveways and walkways are until they start pressure washing the surfaces and seeing the difference. Bob Vila says, “If the paint is still in good condition, a light pressure wash will brighten it up and welcome visitors.” For the low average price of $236 (maybe more depending on lot and home size), you can have your home and property pressure washed. You also have the ability to rent a machine at almost any home improvement store and turn it into a weekend project for yourself.

This post was contributed by LawnStarter. This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends for you and your clients.