Here Comes the Sun: How to Prepare Your Home or Spring

Open the windows. Come out of hibernation. Spring is just around the corning! Rejoice by getting your home in shape for spring.

1. Inspect air conditioning units: Hire a professional to install or examine your air conditioner. Clean the filters and replace them as needed because dirty filters make the system work harder, increasing energy costs.

2. Change the doormats: Doormats collect a lot of dirt. By the end of winter, your doormat has seen better days. Buy a new doormat to reduce the amount of dirt and grime that is carried into your home.

3. Prep the outdoor areas: Dreaming of lounging by the pool, playing soccer, or dining al fresco? Get your outdoor space ready. Take out the patio furniture, power wash your deck, and plan your gardening.

4. Inspect the roof: After a rough winter of holding heavy snow and ice, your roof may be in need of some TLC. Take a pair of binoculars and inspect your roof from the ground level. Check to see if there are any leaks, broken shingles, or other damages. If you spot something, hire a professional to come repair it.

5. Repair broken walkways: Snow takes a heavy toll on the grounds around your home. The snow and sleet may have caused cracks in your driveways, walkways, and sidewalks. To make sure that the perimeter of your home is safe, check for cracks and fix any problems.

These tips can make your home safer and help you get ready for spring!

 

Recommended Reading:

-How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Touching the Thermostat

-5 Ways to Create a Beautiful Backyard

-Landscaping 101: Great Grass Alternatives

 

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Apps for Home Buyers and Sellers

When you are in the process of buying or selling a home, there are a lot of tasks that need to be handled. It can seem overwhelming, but with the right tools, you can stay organized and on top of everything that needs to be done. Luckily, there’s an app for that. Use these apps to help stay productive and organized during the home buying and selling process.

1. Evernote: Evernote is a note taking tool with lots of useful features that will help you stay organized on the go. Create separate notebooks for each step of the home buying process, for example: you could make notebooks for “Wants and Needs,” “Open House Reflections” “Financial Information,” “Closing Notes,” and more. You can even create bulleted lists, and attach photos and PDFs. Evernote syncs with all of your devices so you always have access to what you need.

2. Dropbox: Dropbox is essential for storing and organizing documents and paperwork. You have easy access to everything you need with the click of a button! Share documents or entire folders with your home buying team instantly so you’re always on the same page. Just like Evernote, Dropbox is able to sync with all electronics, giving you complete access to what you need!

3. CENTURY 21® Real Estate: Our app allows you to quickly find listings, sales associates, and nearby open houses. The app is GPS enabled so you can search listings specifically targeted for your location. You can also search based on price range, features, estimated taxes, square footage, and much more.

4. AroundMe: Learn about your potential new neighborhood. AroundMe[MH1] uses GPS to determine your location and in an instant, you’re able to see how close everything, from gas stations to movie theaters, is to the potential home.

These apps will help you stay organized and productive during your home buying or selling process.

Recommended Reading:

-On the Road Again: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

-Open House oops: Don’t Make These Mistakes

-Benefits of Working With a Real Estate Agent

 

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5 Home Projects to Complete in 10 Minutes or Less

You probably have a laundry list of projects you’ve been meaning to complete around your home. Luckily, there are tips to help you complete some of these tasks in ten minutes or less. Your home can feel more organized (almost) instantly.

1. Organize your kitchen pantry: Start by sorting out expired items. Now organize your shelves by function. Separate snacks, baking necessities, spices, and more. Take inspiration from your favorite grocery stores. This ten minute task can save you time when you’re cooking your favorite recipes or making a quick midnight snack. As an added bonus, it reduces the chance of adding salt instead of sugar or vice versa.

2. Make natural cleaning products: Skip the store. Make your own cleaning products using things you probably already have on hand. You can save money, have a clean home, and be more environmentally friendly. Get started by making these natural cleaning solutions.

3. Organize your closet: Set a timer and organize your closet for ten minutes. We recommend organizing by color, type, or function. For example, hang all shirts, jackets, sweaters, skirts, pants, and dresses with each other. You will probably end up saving time in the long run, because it will be easier to find what you’re looking for.

4.  Peeling wallpaper: Put a drop of wallpaper paste on a sheet of paper, rub the paper on the underside of the exposed wall, then press the peeling wallpaper against the glue. Smooth any bubbles out with a clean cloth and the wall can look as good as new!

5. Sliding glass doors or windows: If your glass fixtures are not sliding as smoothly as they should, spray a cloth with silicone lubricant and wipe it along the tracks. It’ll make it easier to get some fresh air.

Get off your computer, turn off the TV, and get started!

Recommended Reading:

-Dodge the Most Common DIY Mistakes

-Small Changes Make a Big Difference: 5 Low-Cost Ways to Give Your Home a New Look

-5 Productive Things To Do Around the House in 5 Minutes or Less

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10 Facts About the White House

There are so many interesting, seemingly unknown, facts about one of the nations’ most important buildings, The White House. In honor of Presidents’ Day, here are some facts about the famous building.

1. George Washington never lived there: Washington passed away in late 1799, before the White House was completed. John Adams became the first president to live there, one year later. (Yahoo News)

2. The basement: The White House basement doesn’t just have meeting rooms. It’s lined with rooms including a bowling alley, a flower shop, and even a dentist’s office. (SuperCompressor.com)

3. The “temporary” West Wing: The famous room known as the West Wing was never meant to be. It started out as a temporary office for President Theodore Roosevelt, but it expanded into a permanent residence under President Taft and President Franklin Roosevelt. Taft moved the Oval Office to the West Wing and the rest is history! (Yahoo News)

4. It wasn’t always called the White House: Can you imagine calling The White House by any other name? Well, before Teddy Roosevelt, it was called many other things. The famous home was once called “The President’s House”, “The President’s Palace” and “The Executive Mansion.” It officially became “The White House” in 1901. (WhiteHouse.gov)

5. The White House was rebuilt after the War of 1812: The British set fire to The White House in 1814. Before escaping the burning White House, Dolley Madison insisted on saving a portrait of George Washington. It is said that she thought someone was taking too long rescuing the painting so she broke the wood and took out the canvas. The painting that she rescued was actually a copy of the famous portrait by Gilbert Stuart. The piece has a book with the title, “Constitution and Laws of The United States.” The typo isn’t a mistake – it was intentionally done to show that the painting is a copy of the famous original. (The Atlantic)

6. Gallons of Paint: 570 gallons of white paint are required to cover the outside surface of the White House… That is a lot of paint and many trips to the hardware store! (Visual.ly)

7. Lots of rooms and doors: Aside from 132 rooms and 412 doors, the White House also has 28 fireplaces, eight staircases, and three elevators. It also has six floors—two for the public, two for the First Family, and two basements. (FactMonster.com)

8. Press Pool Room: There is an indoor pool underneath the press briefing room. It was installed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as therapy for his polio. The pool was put out of use during the Nixon administration when the press briefing room was built on top of it. (The White House Museum)

9. Chefs and Guests: The White House kitchen is home to five chefs who can serve dinner to at least 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000 people at a time!  (Visual.ly)

10. The East Room: The East Room is the largest room in the house. Abigail Adams would hang clean laundry in The East Room! (The White House)

Now that you have a briefing sheet on The White House, go impress your friends and family with your knowledge!

Recommended Reading:

-Instagram Inspiration: Interior Designers to Follow

-How to Make a House A Home: Creating Memories

-What’s the Difference?

 

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How to Get Your Home Ready for Valentine’s Day

As the author Melissa McClone wrote, “Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home.” Although this adage almost always holds true, it has extra value on Valentine’s Day. This year have a Valentine’s Day date at home. Here’s how you can fill your home with lovely details of love.

1. Romantic photos: Display your wedding photos and other romantic photos around the house then find them all together. Walk through your home together and talk about the stories the pictures tell.

2. Flowers: There is nothing like a beautiful bouquet of red roses to make your home feel ready for Valentine’s Day. Display a few bouquets in your bedroom and on the dining room table. Feeling extra romantic? Scatter rose petals in a heart shape on your bed.

3. Candles: Light scented candles in your living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Candles are soft, romantic, and can change the ambiance of any room.

4. Date night activities: Cook a decadent dinner together then set the table and eat by candle light. Hang a sheet on a large wall and use it as a movie projector. Watch your favorite romantic movie and share popcorn. Move your living room furniture and dance to love songs.

5. Details: Add details like heart cutouts, heart shaped garland, and your favorite candy.

Setting the mood is the first step. Turn the lights down, set out some wine glasses, and enjoy a nice evening in with your loved one!

 

Recommended Reading:

-5 Creative DIY Projects You Can Do with Wallpaper

-5 DIY Projects to Tackle This Year

-How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays

 

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Instagram Inspiration: Interior Designers to Follow

The goal of decorating your home should be to reflect your taste and to create a space where you enjoy spending time. Stay up to date on new interior design trends to inspire your design updates. Whether you’re moving to a brand new home, or sprucing up your old one, there’s always room for inspiration.

Follow your favorite interior designers on Instagram for instant inspiration. Here are a few interior designers we admire.

1. Jonathan Adler: Jonathan Adler’s Instagram feed is beautiful rooms filled with colorful throw pillows, duck figurines, and gorgeous flower arrangements. Follow Adler for inspiration on decorating with bright colors, patterns, and quirky accessories.

 

2. Emily Henderson: This interior designer turned style blogger keeps her Instagram feed filled with colorful art and sleek design trends. From serene bedroom setups to brightly lit sunrooms, you can find plenty of insight on her feed.

 

3. Grace Bonney: Bonney has an eccentric, abstract design aesthetic. From geometric patterns to colorful quilts, Bonney is bound to make you want to add some life to any room.

 

4. Kate Arends: Arends has a simplistic design style. She favors clean lines, white walls, and a clutter-free home. Follow her if you hope to achieve a clean, modern look for your home.

A photo posted by Kate Arends (@witanddelight_) on Jan 28, 2015 at 3:52pm PST

 

5. Caitlin Wilson Textiles: Caitlin’s feed is filled with crisp, simple spaces with vibrant pops of color thrown in. Caitlin is known for her textiles and her pillows, furniture, and decor that can complete any room. Try adding a few pillows to your couch or bed for a budget-friendly upgrade.

 

6. Studio McGee: Syd and Shea McGee, the husband and wife behind Studio McGee have a classic, timeless, and preppy aesthetic. Their designs often incorporate white, gold, and pastels. They certainly follow their motto which is to, “Make life beautiful.”

A photo posted by Studio McGee (@studiomcgee) on Jan 27, 2015 at 3:45pm PST

 

You should make your home decor decisions based on what makes you and your family feel good. Advice and inspiration from professionals is just an added bonus that might spark your interest to try something new!

 

Recommended Reading:

-How to Make a House a Home: Creating Memories

-Small Changes, Big Difference: 5 Low-Cost ways to Give Your Home a New Look

-5 Ways to Take Your Living Room from Good to Great

 

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How to Sell Your Home in the Winter

Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call (an agent affiliated with CENTURY 21® Real Estate) and we’ll be there. Here are a few tips for to help ensure an efficient home sale during the winter months.

1. Shovel and salt: Blizzard or no blizzard, a few flurries can freeze quickly and create an ice patch [1] in front of your home. Shovel and put out salt the moment the snow starts. Additionally, always keep a clear path from the sidewalk to the door to make it safer to walk into the home. There is nothing worse than having a buyer or agent almost slip on ice!

2. Keep it warm: Keeping your home the right temperature is an important aspect of creating a successful open house, regardless of the season. In the winter, it’s especially important because you don’t want buyers to be shivering as they walk through your home. Find a happy medium between hot and cold.

3. Let there be light: A well-lit home is welcoming. Since the days are shorter and the nights are darker, it’s crucial to make sure there is enough light during your open house. Turn on all the lights throughout the home, including the closets, to show everything off.

You can add even more lighting to rooms that don’t have as many windows by placing spotlights on the floors behind furniture to accentuate parts of the home. Make sure that walkways and outdoor areas are well-lit so that people can navigate them safely.

4. Make it cozy: People want to feel cozy in the winter, especially when they’ve traveled through the cold to get to your open house. Your home should be as decluttered and depersonalized as possible during an open house, but feel free to add a few cozy elements like throw pillows and an extra blanket.

5. Curb Appeal: You may not have beautiful blooms in the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade your curb appeal. Paint your door with a fresh coat of paint, assemble planters with plants that do well in winter, and trim shrubs and trees so that people can walk safely.

You never get a second chance at a first impression. These tips will help you have a safe and successful open house in the winter.

 

Recommended Reading:

-Snow Safety for the Home

-Open House Oops: Don’t Make These Mistakes

-5 Biggest Seller Mistakes

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How to Build a Winning Home Buying Team

Buying a home is a huge milestone – especially if you are buying for your first time. Although buying a home is exciting, there is a lot to keep track of and manage. It’s imperative to have a solid team behind you. Aside from having an excellent real estate agent to guide you through showings and the closing process, there are other essential people that you should have on deck.

Meet your home buying team:

1. Real estate agent: Your agent will help you research the homes that cater to your needs, negotiate with the seller, and help you find the rest of your home buying team. (Learn more about how your agent can help you.)

2. Lender: If you’re purchasing a home, you will most likely need a loan. Your lender can come from your bank, mortgage company, credit union, etc. Once you apply for a loan the lender will then decide if you qualify.

3. Home Inspector: An inspector will make sure that the home you hope to purchase is in good shape. Even if the seller has already had the home inspected, it’s a good idea to have someone else double-check and triple-check.

4. Appraiser: An appraiser will determine a “fair price” for the home by evaluating the home and comparing it to similar homes on the market. It is best to have an appraiser come before you negotiate with the seller.

5. Attorney: Your attorney will write contracts, settle any disputes, and review all documents before the closing.

6. Escrow officer: An escrow officer takes care of everything happening during escrow—the amount of time between when the purchase contract is signed and the date of the closing. The officer works for both the buyer and seller. Their main job is to hold onto all the documents and money during escrow, making sure that everything is taken care of.

With a team of professionals to take you step by step through the process, you’ll have a very positive home buying experience so that you can enjoy what matters most – your new home.

Recommended Reading:

-Open House Advice for Buyers

-On the Road Again: The Ultimate Moving Checklist

-We Asked, You Answered: Advice for First-Time Homeowners

 

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How to Incorporate Collections into Your Home

Your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Incorporate your personality into your home decor by displaying family collections. Your collections tell stories that deserve to be told – and represented throughout your home.



Get creative and find a place for all of your cherished collections. Here are a few sample ideas to get you started. Modify them according to your collection of choice.

1. Stamps: Do you have a bevy of vintage or one-of-a-kind stamps? Frame pages of stamps. Display your framed collections on mantels, in your entryway, or even create a gallery wall.

2. Crystal Figurines: Display your figurines in glass cases or on a shelf near a window. The light from the windows and glass will reflect on the figurines and make them sparkle beautifully.

3. Matchboxes: If you have a collection of fancy, beautifully designed matchboxes, put them out for show. Group them together on an end table or in an armoire with glass panels.

4. Antiques: One of the most popular collections to display in a home is antiques. Whether it’s antique furniture, picture frames, or something as small as a breadbox, place them in their appropriate room for added decor. Display them in different rooms so that you remember the story behind them whenever you see them.

5. Travel Souvenirs: Save travel souvenirs like museum tickets, plane tickets, and even currency. Put them in memory boxes and frame them throughout your home. Hang a map with pins representing every place you’ve traveled as a family.

6. Any other quirky item: Any collectible has the ability to be hung up on a wall. Creating a gallery wall is the easiest, no fuss way to display your items. Grouping similar picture frames, silver trays, or any other like items on a blank wall in your home creates a focal point of beautiful decor.

Displaying your beloved and timeless collections throughout your home is not only a great way to display your interests, but it’s also a great conversation starter.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Creative DIY Projects You Can Do with Wallpaper

-Old to New: Tips for Rearranging Your Furniture

-How to Make a House a Home: Creating Memories

 

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How to Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa-Inspired Escape

Your home should feel like a calm and comfortable space where you can unwind, relax, and recharge. Here are tangible ways to let the soothing qualities of a day at the spa inspire your bathroom decor.

1. Aromatherapy: Choose scents that match your desired mood and intention. If you are stressed, nervous, or can’t sleep use scents like bergamot, chamomile, cinnamon, lavender, clove, rose, sandalwood, or vanilla. If you are feeling a bit melancholy, use scents like clary sage, cypress, or marjoram. Tired and fatigued? Try cinnamon, cypress, eucalyptus, fennel, lemon, peppermint, sage, or spiced apple. Learn more at Underground Health, then set up a collection that makes scents for you!

2. Vanity: You’ll feel like a celebrity when you do your makeup at your vanity. As an extra perk, you can keep all of your beauty products and jewelry organized and accessible.

3. Mood Lighting: Skip the florescent bulbs. Your lighting affects your mood. Take some cues from the New York Times article, LEDs Change Thinking About the Light Bulb.

4. Calm Colors: Use the principles of color psychology when you choose your paint colors. In an interview with WebMD the color consultant Leslie Harrington recommends painting the bathroom in shades of blue, green, or turquoise. These colors, “give a sense of being clean and fresh — and calm.”

5. Little Luxuries: Incorporate little luxuries like, fresh flowers, a heated towel rack, pretty soaps and storage containers, a bath pillow, bath salts, fluffy bathrobes, and an additional shower head.

6. Storage Space: Keep your bathroom clean, open, and clutter-free. Recent studies have shown that clutter causes stress. Don’t let a mess ruin your at-home oasis.

Now the only thing left to do is to draw a bath, pick up a good book, and relax.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Ways to Make Your Home Cozy for Fall

-5 Ways to Take Your Bedroom from Good to Great

-Be My Guest: How to Style a Guest Room

 

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