Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Extra Touches to Help Sell This Fall

Extra Touches to Help Sell This Fall

Homes can look less inviting in the fall and cooler months, but there are easy ways you can evoke that “homey” feel buyers crave. 
"Inventory is low, so if you have your house on the market and it's priced well, it's going to sell," says Gail Hartnett, a National Association of REALTORS® regional vice president and an agent with Keller Williams Realty Boise in Idaho.
Hartnett offers some of the following tips: 
--Creating a cozy smell. Hartnett says that fall can channel warm childhood memories of family Thanksgiving dinners. To give the home a more “homey” fall charm, Hartnett has spiced cider and freshly baked cookies during showings and open houses. 
--Tidy up the yard. Rake up large piles of leaves, but you don’t have to remove every single leaf from your yard, Hartnett says. "Leaves actually look nice as long as they have some color to them," Harnett says. "But you need to make sure that your walkways are swept clear for safety purposes."
--Put up seasonal decorations. Give the property an appealing “harvest” feel with fall-themed decorations, such as a seasonal wreath hanging on the door and pumpkins or pots of mums on the front porch. 

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Dozen Ways to Make Kitchens Sizzle

A Dozen Ways to Make Kitchens Sizzle

Whether they’re getting their house ready for the market or creating a dream kitchen in a home they just bought, clients considering a major kitchen redo will need guidance. Here are 12 tips and trends to help you serve as their resource.
Home buyers and sellers planning a kitchen redo have a lot of questions they need answered: What style of cabinets are in? What’s the newest color for countertops? What appliances should I install when there are so many? How do I ensure that my kitchen will be a gathering hub?
The cost of redoing a kitchen is on the rise, averaging $109,000 for an upscale renovation and $55,000 for a mid-range transformation, according to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. You can serve as a much-needed resource for clients, advising them on the dos and don’ts when considering a kitchen remodel and helping them identify improvements within their budget.
We asked some favorite kitchen pundits, including John Petrie, president of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and his firm, Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, Pa., about everything from paint to hardware to snazzy light fixtures.
Experts say the following dozen trends are generating the hottest buzz in kitchens this year:
1. Safety first. No matter how stunning a kitchen looks or how well it functions, it won’t make one iota of difference if fire occurs. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Home owners have multiple ways to guarantee safety, such as paying full attention when cooking, knowing to smother a flame with a lid if a fire starts, and knowing how to operate a fire extinguisher properly.
When considering a kitchen renovation, clients should consider additional safety systems, such asGuardian Safety Solutions International Inc.’s fire suppression system that turns off a range to prevent reignition.
Design choices can also help curb accidents, such as ovens placed within easy reach of all family members, tactile floors to avoid falls, and good illumination.
2. Cleaner, contemporary lines. Styles fade in and out, typically following suit with fashion trends and the economy. This year, home owners are gravitating away from traditional and even eclectic designs, instead opting for streamlined, modern looks, says Petrie. This preference is showing up in less-ornamented cabinet fronts, sometimes with a flat door or minimal molding and simpler hardware. Trends also include less exotic countertop patterns, simpler floor choices such as wood planks or bigger tiles with less grout, and pared-back color palettes.
If your clients prefer some texture, materials like brick warm up a space with a handcrafted look. Try applying it to novel areas — how about on the ceiling? 
3. Open wide. Whether it’s small or large, a kitchen that opens to other rooms — including the outdoors — offers space to cook. Clients could consider the different zones of a kitchen, such as eating and living space, says designer Jeffrey Collé of Estates by Jeffrey Collé in East Hampton, N.Y. His upscale remodeled kitchens often feature fireplaces, TVs, sound systems, and butler’s pantries — they’re now referred to as “caterer’s kitchens” since they include space and equipment to cook and clean up.
4. White still tops. While white continues to maintain its front-runner status because of its classic chic connotation, gray has increased in popularity, showing up in stained and painted cabinets and countertops fabricated from quartz, quartzite, limestone, granite, and marble with lots of gray veining. If home owners are making choices for a kitchen where they’ll live for years, opting for gray makes sense, but if they’re making improvements to sell, it may be smarter to stay with more buyers’ preference for white. Despite conventional wisdom, some pops of color can liven up a kitchen. 
5. Wood neck-to-neck with porcelain tile. These two choices command the greatest attention for flooring. Both are easy on feet and highly durable, and many porcelain tiles mimic wood so well they’re hard to differentiate. For those who favor wood, narrower widths are in again — 2 to 3 inches typically fit contemporary taste; for those who prefer porcelain, bigger tiles — 12 by 24 inches — are making inroads.
6. Quartz is the new granite. Because of its ubiquity, due in part to so many imports and lower prices, granite has lost star power. What’s taking its place is quartz, which is similar to quartzite; it’s easier to maintain and affordable (though not always as inexpensive as the least expensive granite), and it offers a less-fussy patterned appearance to suit contemporary styles. For home owners who still love marble for its old-fashioned cachet yet fear its porosity and stainability, there are quartzes that are difficult to differentiate, particularly from white Carrera marble.
7. Induction, steam ovens, microwave drawers, and more.There’s lots happening on the appliance front; some trends have been around but are increasing in popularity, while others are brand new. But a modern layout continues to separate cooking equipment so multiple cooks can work together without getting in each other’s way.
Here are some examples of appliance trends:
  • Microwave drawers that are easier for all generations to reach than those placed above a range or cooktop.
  • Induction cooktops that heat up and cool down faster, saving energy. Their higher prices may deter some, as may their need for higher amps, says Shirley Hood, appliance salesperson and spokesperson for Abt Electronics and Appliances in Glenview, Ill.
  • More powerful gas range burners that offer higher output, even 18,000 BTUs.
  • Steam ovens that cook faster and allow for healthier food preparation, along with a second convection oven; some steam ovens include a cleaning function that permits spills to be removed without heating and smelling up a kitchen for hours, says Hood.
  • French-door style refrigerators that make it easier to view contents when doors are opened, they’re now available from some manufacturers with four doors.
  • Hot-water dispensers on refrigerator doors.
  • Refrigerator drawers, which can be located anyplace in a kitchen or family room for easy access and let family members get to fresh foods without crowding the main work zone.
  • Beverage centers and wine coolers that are placed strategically at points of use.
  • Dishwashers that have three and four racks for silverware and utensils; also, models that use less water, are quieter and bigger, and place jets along side walls.
  • Integrated appliances, better camouflaged behind panels to dress up open-style kitchens.
  • Faucets that conserve water and have touchless controls.
  • Long, deep, one-bowl sinks, sometimes with cutting boards to conserve space.
  • Smaller appliances that fit into smaller condos and homes.
  • Built-in coffee makers fully in view. Everyone wants to be a barista!
8. Drawers beneath countertops rather than doors. Rather than have to go through a two-step process of opening below counter cabinets and reaching into and rummaging through shelves, drawers that pull out and present all their contents are taking hold. The one downside: These shelves aren’t adjustable as are those in many cabinets.
9. Glass splash and more. Backsplashes have become a major focal point; subway tiles are still popular, though now with beveled edges; matte rather than glossy finishes; a variety of colors rather than just classic white; and in larger 4-by-10-inch formats rather than traditional 3-by-6-inch sizes. Today’s trend is also to lay the tiles in vertical rather than horizontal rows. Bigger glass tiles in shimmery hues are grabbing attention, too—and they represent a green choice, made out of recycled materials. Another option is handcrafted tiles with an Art Deco and Frank Lloyd Wright influence.
10. LED lighting. Because it’s been mandated by certain states and the federal government has required that incandescent lamps be phased out unless sufficiently energy efficient, more professionals and home owners are making the switch to energy-wise LEDs underneath cabinets and in cans, pendants, chandeliers, and sconces. Costs have come down for LEDs, and lighting trends lean toward fewer but larger pendants above islands and more decorative fixtures above tables.
11. Look, ma, no desk. Due to the trend of using smaller personal electronic devices—computers, tablets, phones—fewer homeowners need a separate desk. Nowadays, a designated counter with several outlets, sometimes concealed, becomes the go-to charging station replacing a desk.
12. Eating in and cooking out. An eating area is more de rigueur, whether it’s a big table, a corner banquette with a table, or a countertop. And outdoor kitchens, with varying dimensions depending on climate and budgets, remain popular. Many home owners no longer want the full panoply of outdoor appliances, which were often underutilized and overpriced; a good grill sometimes may be sufficient.
Sources: Charles B. Clark Jr., vice president of engineering services at the Brick Industry Association, Reston, Va.; Jeffrey Collé, Estates by Jeffrey Collé, East Hampton, N.Y.; Dan Hechtkopf and Reid Heidenry, South Beach Investment Realty, Miami Beach, Fla.; Shirley Hood, marketing, ABT Electronics and Appliances, Glenview, Ill.; Claudia Juestel, Adeeni Design Group, San Francisco; John Petrie, president, Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry, Mechanicsburg, Pa..; Kristin Petro, Kristin Petro Interiors, Elmhurst, Ill.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yard Maintenance Tips for Fall


Just because winter is on its way, now is not the time to slack on taking care of your yard. In fact, lawn care professionals say fall is the ideal time to get your landscaping into gear so it will look great in the spring.
In cold climates, taking extra care of trees, grass, shrubs and plants will ensure they survive the winter and look great in the spring."It's a common misconception that just because most plants and gardens aren’t actively blooming in the fall, they don’t require maintenance during the colder months," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). "Many homeowners work hard all spring and summer to care for their yards and gardens, only to let them languish once colder weather arrives."
"I'm already thinking about next year," says John Dillon, who maintains the 200 acres of lawn that makes up New York City's Central Park. "The grass I grow this fall is what will be there next spring."
Follow these five tips to prep your yard for winter:
  1. Start plantingThe warm soil in the fall is perfect for planting flowering bulbs and perennials, and allows plants and roots to have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.
  2. Get rid of leaves: Winter's frigid temperatures can cause leaves, dead grass, and plants to release chemicals that run off frozen ground during spring's snow melt and spring rains.These chemicals can end up in surface water, so removing leaves is important. Getting rid of leaves also improves the state of your grass.
  3. Mulch madness: Applying two to three inches of mulch can help to protect plant roots and grass from extreme temperatures in the winter months. You can even make your own mulch by running over leaves couple of times with your lawnmower.
  4. Wrap your plants: Burlap or frost protecting fabrics will protect many plant varieties like roses, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas and crape myrtles from being damaged by sub-freezing temperatures.
  5. Apply fertilizer: Make sure to fertilize your lawn before the first frost so your grass will survive the winter conditions. Choose a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn's needs. The numbers on a fertilizer bag show the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium on a weight basis. If you aren't sure what kind of fertilizer your lawn needs, talk to a lawn care or landscape professional. It's also good to know that some states are actually banning types of fertilizer and times of the year when fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff. Check with your local extension service to see the regulations for your area.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tips for Planning Ahead for a Spring Bulb Garden

6 Tips for Planning Ahead for an Eye-Popping Spring Bulb Garden


Fall is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus and alliums. Before ordering your bulbs, here are a few tips to guarantee great results come spring.
1. Pick a color theme.
longfield1Interior designers often work with a color palette – a selection of colors chosen to give a room or a home a particular look, mood or style. This technique is equally effective in gardens and landscapes.
“One option is to choose a single color scheme,” says Marlene Thompson, creative director at Longfield Gardens. “The effect is simple and always has a big impact.”
Thompson says that you can also build your design around a pair of colors such as pink and white, red and yellow or orange and purple. Another approach is to use the color wheel and choose a harmony of several related colors, such as pink, lavender, burgundy and purple or cream, yellow, orange and red.
2. Include different bloom times.
From early-blooming crocuses to late-blooming tulips and alliums, the spring bulb season can stretch for as long as 8-10 weeks. When choosing your bulbs, be sure to include a few from each bloom time: early, midseason and late season. This way you’ll have flowers in bloom for as long as possible.
groups3. Plant in groups.
Fall planted bulbs look best when the plantings are generous and the bulbs are spaced just a few inches apart.
Small bulbs such as scilla or chionodoxa should be planted in groups of at least 25 bulbs. Tulips look best in groups of at least a dozen bulbs. Daffodils and alliums can be planted in threes, though groups of seven or nine bulbs look even better.
repeat4. Repeat shapes and colors.
Landscapes are more pleasing and cohesive when the same plant or grouping of plants appears in multiple locations.
“Our eyes connect these similar shapes or colors into one scene rather than a collection of separate elements,” says Thompson.
In a formal setting, plant in squares, rectangles or circles. For a more natural or informal look, use ovals, triangles, kidney shapes or a free-form shape that fits the location.
5. Plant both annual and perennial bulbs.
Many spring bulbs, including daffodils, scilla, chionodoxa, alliums and muscari, can be considered perennials, as they will return and bloom again every spring. In fact, most of these hardy bulbs will naturalize and multiply over time.
Tulips and hyacinths are often treated as annuals because they usually put on their best show the first spring after planting. In the right growing conditions (full sun, well- drained soil, hot dry summers), some tulips, such as Darwin hybrids, will re-bloom for several years. To ensure the most dramatic spring display, treat these bulbs as annuals and plant a fresh batch every fall.
6. Shop for large, high quality bulbs
When you are shopping for flower bulbs, pay attention to bulb size. Larger bulbs will produce bigger plants with more or larger flowers. Also remember that bulbs are perishable, so it’s important to purchase the freshest bulbs possible and store them in a cool, dry place until planting time.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Half Baths May Mean More Than Whole

Half Baths May Mean More Than Whole



If a home has more than five bathrooms, putting in an extra half-bath can do more to raise the price of the property than adding a full bathroom, according to a survey of listings on realtor.com® in late July.
The median listing price per square foot for homes with two full bathrooms was 15 percent more than for homes with only one full bath, while homes with 1.5 bathrooms commanded only a 10 percent premium over those with just a single full bath, according to the data. But the median listing price for homes with 6.5 bathrooms was 10 percent higher per square foot than for homes with seven bathrooms—suggesting that once a property has a certain number of tubs and showers, the added convenience of an extra toilet may make a bigger difference.
And in high-end homes, extra half-baths are often included with luxury features such as pool houses, catering kitchens and home theaters that contribute to the price of the property."You get to the point of diminishing returns with the full bath," says Stephen Melman, director of economic services for the National Association of Home Builders. A half-bath, also known as a powder room, on the first floor of a house may get more use than any of the home's other bathrooms, he notes.
A large home without one or more powder rooms may feel like it is missing something, says Joan Eleazer of Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty, who is listing a 40,000-square-foot home outside Dallas that has six full baths and eight half-baths—including three sets of his-and-hers powder rooms.
Source: "Half a Bathroom Can Be Better Than One," realtor.com® (Sept. 3, 2015)

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The She-Shed Is Gaining Popularity

Move Over Man Caves, the ‘She-Shed’ Is Gaining Popularity


Men have their man caves, but how about a space just for females? Welcome, the “she shed.”
These backyard retreats are becoming the latest buzzword in interior design — emerging as the perfectly carved out haven for the woman of the household who seeks a quiet place of her own. Women are transforming old backyard sheds or even building mini cottages to create a place of relaxation or where they can pursue hobbies, such as ceramics, painting, and gardening. They are designing these mini sheds with everything from crystal chandeliers to luxurious furniture to create a top-notched designed space with all those feminine touches their heart desires. The only rule: No men allowed.
Take a look at some of these ‘she sheds’ photographed on Houzz.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Housing Market Strongest in Years

Freddie: ‘Housing Market Strongest in Years’


The housing market is gradually showing signs of stabilizing, as two additional states – Arkansas and Tennessee – as well as four additional metro areas are added to Freddie Mac’s latest Multi-Indicator Market Index reading. The added metros are Omaha, Neb.; Scranton, Pa.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Madison, Wis.
Since hitting an all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 35 percent. However, it remains significantly off from its high of 121.7. It’s currently at a value of 80.3, a housing market considered mostly in a stable range.The MiMi measures the stability of the nation’s housing market by comparing its long-term stable range to current ratios in home purchase applications, debt-to-income ratios, on-time mortgage payments, and employment.
"Housing markets are the strongest they've been in years with the National MiMi above 80 for the first time since 2008,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “Nationally, all MiMi indicators are heading in the right direction. Robust home buyer demand has put total home sales on pace for the best year since 2007 and look for that trend to continue as the MiMi purchase applications indicator remains on the upswing. The West has been especially strong, with many markets posting double-digit growth in their MiMi purchase applications indicator compared to a year ago."
Still, home prices are about 7 percent below peak values nationally, Kiefer notes. However, home prices in many markets are soaring to all-time highs, and that along with low interest rates, are helping to support home buyer affordability, he says.
Also, "mortgage delinquencies are coming down rapidly, but are still high in many markets,” Kiefer says. “Those markets hardest hit by the Great Recession, including many in Florida, are rebounding but they still need to improve to get delinquencies back in line with their benchmark historic averages. The key driver of all this recovery has been solid job growth, with 96 out of 100 metros and all states within range of their benchmark historic average unemployment rate."
Freddie Mac’s latest MiMi reading showed that 28 of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have values in a stable range. The top five are: Washington, D.C.; North Dakota; Montana; Hawaii; and California and Utah (tied).
What’s more, 42 of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range. Ranking in the top five are: Fresno, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Honolulu; Salt Lake City; and Los Angeles.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Open House Tonight 5:00 - 6:30

Stop on by tonight from 5:00 - 6:30.




Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!

What Movers Leave Behind


You may want to alert your home sellers that their movers won't haul away all of their belongings on moving day. Sellers will need to prepare to remove some items themselves.
"Federal law bans moving companies from transporting hazardous materials," says Lindsey Schaibly, operations coordinator of Two Men and a Truck, a moving company based in Lansing, Mich.
Besides propane tanks, gasoline tanks, and ammunition, Atlas Van Lines provides a list of the following items of belongings they won't move:
  • Car batteries
  • Charcoal
  • Darkroom chemicals
  • Batteries
  • Nail polish
  • Scuba tanks
  • Liquid bleach
Movers also won't take household plants. "Some states are really sensitive about plants," says James Sullivan, president of Humboldt Storage & Moving of Canton, Mass. "Officials are afraid of bringing in bugs or other problems into the state."
Perishable food items also can't be moved as well as some outdoor equipment – like lawn and pool equipment. Pool items, like acid or treatment chemicals, will have to be disposed of properly by the owner. Also, weed killer and pesticides will be left behind by movers too. Some movers will take a lawn mower or generator, but sellers will likely want to check beforehand. "We ask customers to remove as much gasoline from engines as possible before we can move the item," Sullivan says.

Contact Stacey Guzanick 262.490.3696,   RE/MAX Realty Center  Guzanick@gmail.com,  if you have questions about buying a house or selling one.

I can  guide you  toward your next home.

www.HomesWithStacey.com

See you at the closing!