Archive September 2014

Color Your World

With autumn just around the corner, you want to give your home a fresh look for the season. Better Homes and Gardens reports that brushing on a new coat of paint is an obvious first step, but by adding small splashes of color to your home’s exterior, you can improve curb appeal and entice buyers to walk through your door.

If you don’t have the time or exterior, focus on one or two areas, such as the front door, window trim or the roof. Look for doors that come ready to be painted and choose high-quality acrylic latex paint. If your budget allows, decorative glass inserts add more visual interest, and often complement a range of housing styles.

Painting the roof can often make a big impact on your home’s overall look. For best results, choose a tone in the same color family as the home’s paint or siding color, or pick a color that’s close to the hues in the brick or mortar.

Don’t feel like painting? Changing out the hardware and lighting in your front entrance — from the door knockers and house numbers to the porch lights and mailbox — adds character to your home’s appearance, while plants such as coleus and big-root geraniums are lower-cost and colorful options for your landscaping. These plants also thrive in shady areas and are easy to care for.

CRS “Your Home” Newsletter – September/October 2014

Show Time

End-of-summer sales on patio furniture might be front and center, but it might be just the right time to invest in new indoor chairs, couches or tables. Take a seat and learn how to prepare with tips from Better Homes and Gardens:

Do your homework. First, measure everything. Write down room dimensions, accounting for the door and other details of the space. Also, have an idea of what you like. Get inspiration from home décor magazines and online research. But, remember, you will need to touch, sit and even lift furniture before deciding if you should bring it home.

Ask yourself the right questions. What is the purpose and function of the furniture? Is comfort or aesthetic the priority? It may help to bring to the store the measurements, photos of the room and magazine pages so that you can refer to them while you’re shopping.

Pay attention to detail. Check the cushions and stitching. Run your fingers over the woodwork and finish. Take time to examine every detail. Make sure that the furniture piece is exactly what you are looking for.

Don’t settle. If you aren’t sold on a piece, don’t get it. Every detail should be perfect. Many stores now even have a custom design division. Still feel overwhelmed? Ask your CRS REALTOR® for an interior designer referral.

CRS “Your Home” Newsletter – September 2013

App Picking

There’s an app for that.” Tired of hearing that phrase? Well, don’t knock it just yet. When you’re shopping for a home, you’ll want to know the apps that will lead you to the next open house. Consider these tips from AOL Real Estate and CNET.

For starters, real estate websites, such as Zillow, Redfin and Trulia, have free apps with many of the sites’ functions. You can search addresses, contact REALTORS®, and find the estimated value of homes.

Homesnap (iOS, free) is another tool on the scene. Take a photo within the app when you’re passing by a home to get the list price, square footage, number of bedrooms, heating and air conditioning systems, local schools and estimated taxes.

If you’re looking for a home in a specific area, try the REALTOR.com Real Estate App (Andriod, IOS; free) Area Highlighter feature. You can customize the search area by drawing the boundaries directly on the map.

And once you’ve started your search, keep track of the houses and wish list features you like with CrumbTracks’ (iOS, $1.99). Create files—with notes and photos—for each one.

The Home Buying Power app (iOS, $1.99) can help you calculate your down payment, ideal monthly payment, closing costs and more.

And, if you’re just looking to do some home improvements, there’s an app for that, too. Try Photo Measures (iOS, $5.99), which gives you accurate dimensions of rooms and lets you include design notes.

The Great Outdoors

If you’re thinking about taking a late summer trip with your friends or family, camping offers an affordable and fun option. It not only gives everyone a chance to unplug from their devices and spend some time focusing on each other and nature, but it has even been shown to help children deal with stress and decrease restlessness. This advice from Parents.com will help ensure your camping trip is fun and safe.

No campsite is complete without a fire, so get your whole family involved by sending them to collect wood. Smaller children can help by picking up small sticks and twigs or bark, while teens and adults can collect larger logs to be used as fuel.

Once the fire is roaring, you’re going to want to cook up some fun and delicious campfire treats. Beyond the classic s’mores, try skewering an unpeeled banana and cooking it on the fire the same way you would marshmallows. Once it’s soft, slice it down the middle, add your own treats like chocolate chips, and use a spoon to eat it. Quesadillas are another easy option: just wrap the uncooked quesadilla in foil and throw it in a cast iron pan or directly on the grill.

Of course, any time you’re in the wilderness and around fire, there is a chance for injury. Make sure you’re prepared to deal with these situations when they arise by packing an emergency supply kit. Items you will want to include in the kit include first-aid supplies, blankets, batteries, water, medication, flashlight, maps, and a compass or GPS.

CRS “Your Home” Newsletter – July/August 2014