Archive August 2019

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

Each year brings about new home design trends, and one of the most popular rooms to study is the kitchen. Looking at trend studies can provide inspiration for homeowners considering updating or remodeling their kitchens, so check out these findings from the latest Houzz report:

Organization and decluttering are top priorities. Seventy-five percent of homeowners want clutter-free countertops, and 63 percent said adequate storage was the most important feature in a kitchen. Custom storage options have become popular, especially pullout waste and recycling bins, utensil and dish organizers, and wine/bar cabinets.

Countertops are getting a new look. Countertops are the most commonly upgraded feature in the kitchen (94 percent), as well as the one homeowners are most willing to splurge on. Engineered quartz has also gained popularity over granite.

Open layouts are in. Half of renovating homeowners open their kitchen to other interior spaces, with a completely open transition or double doors being the most common. One in 5 homeowners made their kitchen more open to the outdoors, usually by installing exterior doors.

Design is transitional. Iconic styles such as modern and traditional are falling out of favor as homeowners lean toward transitional, contemporary and farmhouse styles. And they are choosing shaker-style and flatpanel cabinets over raised-panel.

But what about color? White is a predominant color chosen for cabinets, countertops, walls and backsplashes, while wood is the top choice for floors. Natural wood continues to be most popular, but is on the decline as homeowners are choosing engineered wood or laminate flooring

KILL THE clutter

There’s a reason REALTORS® always advise home sellers to remove all clutter when selling their homes: The difference is remarkable. The clutter-free home often looks like a new one entirely, and homeowners even wonder how their home could look that good.

You don’t have to wait to sell your home to make it look better. Plus, clutter can physically and mentally stress us out. By breaking your decluttering down into five-minute sessions, you can slowly conquer your clutter.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits offers some ways to start:

Designate a spot for incoming papers, and don’t put them anywhere but that spot until you can sort and file them.

Clear one area and designate it your “no-clutter” zone. There is one rule for that area: Nothing can be placed there that’s not actually in use. Everything must be put way. Once you have that, expand to more areas.

Pick up five things and find places for them. These should be things you actually use, but which don’t have a good spot to live.

Pull everything out of a drawer, evaluate it and sort it into three piles: stuff that really goes in the drawer, stuff that belongs elsewhere and stuff to ditch.

Create a “maybe” box. When you’re organizing, you often know exactly which items you want to keep and which you can trash or donate. But sometimes there are items you can’t trash, and yet you’re not sure what to do with them. Put them in the “maybe” box and pull it out every six months to re-evaluate.

Keep it going: After you’ve decluttered, don’t get tempted to buy new things. Instead, create a 30-day list and put any non-essential items you want to buy on it along with the date. If an item has sat on the list for 30 days and you still want to buy it, you can.

THE pre-listing LIST

Completing some quick and easy tasks before listing a home for sale can help reduce stress and save time during the home-selling process.

Clean the House. An important part of selling a home is keeping it clean in anticipation of a showing. Cleaning the home will convey that it’s been well cared for and that the house is less susceptible to any issues caused by neglect.

Finish the Honey-Do List. Some areas of the home, although not typically thought of as areas that would affect a home’s appeal, may be displayed as safety concerns on a home inspection report. Help yourself by replacing burnt-out light bulbs, testing smoke detectors, replacing air filters and unclogging drains.

Check All Outlets. A sampling of electrical outlets will be tested as part of the home inspection to make sure they’re in good working order. Take note of which outlets are not functioning and replace them, or consider hiring an electrician to make sure all outlets and the electrical box are updated and in proper working condition.

Clear Areas for Easy Access. Home inspectors will be looking at the major systems of the home, including the foundation, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing and even the water heater. Making sure they can easily access these areas, including the basement and attic, will save time during the inspection process.

Consider a Pre-Listing Inspection. Hiring experienced and professional home inspectors can save a lot of headaches during the selling process. They will thoroughly go through the home and notify you of any potential issues ahead of listing the property