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How to Properly Light Your Kitchen Counters

Like a canvas is to an artist, so a countertop is to the home chef. It’s a workspace that requires proper lighting to create a safe, functional and comfortable environment. If you’re remodeling your kitchen or just looking for a quick update, working with your home professional to place lights in the proper location will make your kitchen work better for you while adding beauty to the heart of your home.
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How to Organize Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers for Good

Getting your kitchen storage organized and working well is very satisfying, but it can be hard to know where to begin — especially if you’ve been using your kitchen for awhile and are used to its quirks. To help, here’s a quick guide to the best ways to organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers by grouping items by type, storing them near where you use them and getting rid of what you’re not using.
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Maison & Objet: 7 Color Trends to Watch in 2019

Since 1995, the Maison & Objet trade fair in Paris has been one of the most important international gatherings for professionals in lifestyle, interiors and design. Held twice a year, the event brings together about 3,000 exhibitors and nearly 90,000 visitors, half of whom come from outside France. Houzz editors scouted the recent January show to find this year’s biggest ideas, including the colors we can expect to see on bedding, walls and more in 2019 and beyond.
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The Power of Staging Your Home to Sell

Often times the smallest changes can enhance a home’s “showability” when it is offered to the public for inspection. Sellers don’t seem to realize when “too much of their home” is showing. Staging your home for its finest presentation requires a room by room critique to offer the best first impressions.

Accentuate the Positive

When studying a room, the first point your eye catches should be a positive one. For example, a home with a massive fireplace commands the first attention spot. However, poor placement of furniture, too many “comfy” afghans and plenty of books and magazines will distort the simplicity of the rooms greatest asset. Add last night’s empty pizza box and full ashtrays and any prospective buyer will less appreciate the fine points the home would have offered.

Here is a list of ten points to keep in mind when staging your home for buyer inspections:

1. Start packing the belongings you absolutely do not need to “live.” Extra books, magazines, kids artwork, afghans that don’t match the decor should be boxed and labeled for your next home. Extra knick-knacks from Christmas, cluttered bulletin boards and several months bank statements can easily be stored away. Kitchens are the biggest culprits as they are such a busy meeting place in the home. Discount coupons, excessive decorative magnets, photos, etc. really catch the eye of the overwhelmed buyer. The top of the refrigerator is the largest collector of sometimes used gadgets. Unless you use your “wok” daily, it is better to clear the top and the front of your refrigerator to make the kitchen a little simpler. Convenient appliances also do better when tucked away so counters look cleaner and sharper. Please check switchplates for fingerprints and smudges, as those are the first places to get noticed. Doorbells are another place that fingerprints are evident. Be sure you are making the right first impression.

2. Family rooms are for relaxing, and need to be staged for crisp impressions and not your lazy evenings! Fold up grandma’s afghans, get rid of tired pillows, and pack up slippers, and cribbage sets for neat and clean appearances. Leftover smolderings in the fireplace can add a stale scent to the room. Give extra attention to removing ashes to avoid the less appreciated smokey smells from last nights fire.

3. Bedrooms are other places we enjoy our conveniences the most. Having our robes and slippers waiting for us does not offer top exposure to a viewing family. Get closets slimmed down for a generous look. Freshen with a soft potpourri to diminish the stale odors that come with humidity and small confined places. Although we like our shades and blinds pulled for sleeping hours generally all buyers are drawn to a light, airy and bright room, so open up all window treatments to maximize brightness. With windows being exposed, be sure they are really clean and sparkling. A house really shows its best when it looks like it has been cared for. Remove jewelry and other small personal items from dresser tops. Clean and simple sells the best.

4. The most inexpensive way to brighten a home besides a fresh coat of paint is to increase the wattage in light bulbs. That small guest room may be seldom used, but needs to look bigger and brighter to an interested buyer. Be sure the lamp can handle a stronger bulb and invest in a 3-way if possible. When you know that a showing is scheduled be sure to turn on every light bulb in the house for the best showing potential. Look around model homes, you will notice all the lights are always on, even on sunny days! This is not the time to conserve electricity – it’s part of your marketing plan. If you have a room that shows particularly dark, put in an interesting lamp and leave it on most of the time. It will help the buyer leave with a brighter impression of the rest of the home.
5. Everybody has a “junk” room or closet. It’s acceptable not to be perfect throughout, but minimize the clutter to one room, desk, or area and you are ensured of a better showing. If it is impossible to move around you could be adversely affecting that buyer’s perception of the size of the home, so give careful consideration to overstuffed rooms.

6. Everyone’s basement and garages are relatively the same, full of seasonal equipment, holiday decorations and tools. Garage sales are the best remedy for liquidating extras that you have accumulated over the years. Better to sell than to pay to have incidentals moved you really don’t need anymore. The biggest offender in basement commentary is the strong mold odors from high humidity. A dehumidifier can assist greatly in relieving that damp “basement” feeling and can alleviate concerns of water problem that don’t exist. It’s worth the effort to alleviate this common problem.

7. The worst offenders for dust and dirt are the cold air returns and heating vents. If they won’t clean up with soap and water and painting doesn’t improve them either, purchasing new ones is not that expensive and a great alternative. A house with cobwebs and loaded vents really gives the wrong impression about the cleaning standards of the present owner.

8. Pet dishes of water and food should be relocated to a spot where they will not get kicked accidentally. Water provides the perfect setting for falls or slips that can cause an accident. Cat boxes and pet beds should be clean and fresh and out of sight if possible. Those that don’t appreciate pets as much as you, will be turned off to pet “evidence.”

9. Junior’s bedroom posters of rock groups to minimize the true picture of the room. Limit the “artwork” to 1 or 2 posters and promise him that he can resurrect the rest at his next destination.

10. Bathroom grouts must look like new. Bleaching can take care of some of the problems, but it’s worth the money to have a professional tile person patch and regrout problem areas. This is not a good time to try extensive grouting yourself. Often times amateur attempts convey the problem more than it is. Shower tracks from doors should glisten, along with the mirrors. Remove prescription bottles, pills, old toothbrushes, and worn towels. This room should get the most attention and look its best at all times. Dated colors in sinks can be replaced for generally a low investment and can render a much-updated feeling when a yesteryear color is no longer an objection. Remove old moldy shower curtains and limit shampoos to a few.

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1022397-the-power-of-staging-your-home-to-sell?rtmpage=null

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Why You Need a Professional on Your Team When Buying a Home

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home.
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Tax Reform: Here’s What Could Impact Homeowners Most

A new year has started, and with it a newly enacted tax policy: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While most changes will not be noticeable until consumers file their taxes in 2019, the new tax law stands to alter how consumers view homeownership incentives and could impact real estate markets across the country. Additionally, many consumers, but not all, may see a change to their paychecks by next month due to the new tax rate deductions. These are the biggest real estate-related tax policies and how they could affect homeowners.

1. Cap on Mortgage Interest Deduction
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the limit for the mortgage interest rate deduction for new loans starting Dec. 15 to $750,000. Loans that were taken out before this date are grandfathered into the previous tax policy, which featured a $1 million cap on the deduction. Homeowners can refinance their existing mortgage balance up to $1 million while still being able to deduct the interest—the new loan cannot exceed the amount of debt being refinanced.

“Although only 1.3 percent of all U.S. mortgages are likely to be impacted by the capping of the mortgage interest deduction, it poses a risk to large urban areas with high-priced housing stock,” says realtor.com® Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner, Ph.D. “The No. 1 area with the greatest risk to its home prices and sales is Washington, D.C., followed by California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York.”

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9 Things Real Estate Agents Wish You Knew About Selling Your Home

When it comes time to sell your house, having a great listing agent is one of the keys to making it happen. And yet, the agent can’t do it all—your help is needed. Help your agent help you!

Ideally, you will have an open, honest relationship with your listing agent. But even then, there are some things your agent might be reluctant to tell you. Whether to spare your feelings or because he assumes you already know, here are some things your listing agent wishes you knew. Listen up and learn!

1. Your stuff is lovely, but…

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Tips That Can Prepare You for Bringing a Puppy Home

Bringing home a puppy is exciting because he becomes a new member of the family. But, raising one is hard work, so the whole family needs to pitch in and do their part. The new puppy needs to be fed, walked, bathed and more.

You’ll need to make sure each family member knows his or her job to help out. Plus, you’ll want to follow a few more tips to keep your puppy healthy and your home safe from any potential damage. This includes supplies to buy beforehand.

General Puppy Supplies

You’ll need to have some supplies on hand when the puppy comes home, such as:

1. A Crate

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Why Your Attitude Is More Important Than Your IQ

When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.
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