4 Ways to Safeguard Your Home While on Vacation

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Home While on VacationEveryone needs a vacation at some point, and worrying about your home should be the last thing on your mind while you’re out of town. Here are 4 ways to boost home security when you’re not around.

1. Enlist The Help Of Others

Even if you’re only gone for a short amount of time, asking someone you trust to keep an eye on your home can offer a big-time boost in security.

Hiring a house-sitter to collect your mail, mow your lawn, and make your house look lived in can be a great option for longer vacations, as physical changes to your property can tip-off burglars that you’re out of town.

For short trips, it is worthwhile to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities. Having someone who is aware you’re not around can nip crime in the bud, as they’ll be less hesitant to call the police if they notice any unexpected guests around your home.

2. No Give-Aways!

Sharing your vacation photos on social media can be a convenient way to share your experiences with your friends, but it’s best to do so after you’ve returned home. The fact that you’re not around is information that can easily fall into the wrong hands on the web, making you a target for crime.

If you decide to change your voicemail greeting while you’re away, be careful that it does not explicitly state that you’re out of town. It’s fine to tell callers that you’re unable to accept calls for a period of time, but they do not need to know it’s because you’re a thousand miles away.

3. Leave It To The Pros

If you’re looking for a security measure that’s even more reliable than your neighbors, it may be worthwhile to install a home alarm system. Houses that lack security systems are burglarized more often than ones that have an alarm installed, making them a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers.

4. Don’t Forget Internal Threats

It’s not only outside threats that you have to consider before heading on vacation! Make sure you prep your home for your absence by unplugging any appliances (toaster, computer, TV) that are at risk of a power surge.

If you live in a cold climate and your pipes are at risk of freezing, ask someone you trust to stop by your home every few days to run the water. Make sure to show them where the water main shut-off is in case a pipe bursts while you’re away.

Interested in more neighborhood safety advice? Contact your trusted real estate professional today!

4 Bathroom Design Trends That Buyers Hate

4 Bathroom Design Trends That Buyers HateBathrooms are an essential part of any home, especially when it comes to buying and selling a home. They’re impossible to ignore and one of the first things buyers look at. Despite this, it’s simple for homeowners to forget how important these rooms are.

Bathroom decor can quickly go wrong. Little features look big when they’re packed into these small spaces, so minor things like shower curtains or how clean the window is can make a big difference.

On the other hand, homeowners are also able to take advantage of how powerful interior design can be in smaller spaces. A little effort goes a long way when looking to maximize the price of property or speed up a sale.

Homeowners can boost the benefits of their sale with these four tips on the most unappealing bathroom trends around.

1. Color Toilets and Sinks

Toilets and sinks in colors like rose pink or seafoam green were incredibly popular years ago, but they’re still loved by many people who enjoy a vintage look or just love bright spaces.

However, homeowners have a greater potential to make more money faster if they appeal to a wide range of buyers. Bathrooms decorated in a classic style are great looking to most people, making them more likely to put in an offer.

2. Peel and Paste Wall Paper

Modern peel and paste wall paper is a new trend that’s taken over many interior design websites and stores. It’s available in countless prints, colors and patterns and its popularity continues to grow.

Despite this, it’s difficult to find a style that’s sought after by the majority of buyers. Yellow polka dot cabinets may be hip, but it’s usually best for homeowners to decorate in neutral colors and traditional materials.

3. Carpet

Carpet is warm and feels great, but there are several drawbacks to decorating with this trend. Buyers know the potential hassle of wall-to-wall carpet, which may reduce the price of their offer or stop them from buying at all.

Buyers like stress-free flooring that’s difficult to stain, so homeowners should consider using easy-to-clean materials in their bathrooms.

4. Unusual Tile and Linoleum Flooring

Unusual tile colors and patterns can look outdated, while linoleum flooring can look inexpensive. Unfortunately, neither results are attractive to buyers. To get the most out of their property, homeowners should consider replacing the flooring with hardwood or a convincing laminate alternative.

Reach out to your trusted real estate professional to get more advice on how to create beautiful bathrooms today.

3 Important Things To Consider Before Listing Your Home on Airbnb

3 Important Things To Consider Before Listing Your Home on AirbnbAirbnb has become an attractive way for homeowners to make income from their property. Although Airbnb’s is known for its reputable insurance policy, there are a few things you should consider before listing your home online.

Time Commitment

People have a tendency to think more about what they can gain from hosting on Airbnb than what hosting will do to their life. Having a steady stream of guests is quite a time-consuming endeavor; you’ll have to respond to inquiries online, clean your guest’s space and do laundry after every booking, and make sure your home is constantly neat and tidy.

This may seem like a small to-do list, but if you have a new guest every 3-4 days that could add up to 10 extra loads of laundry per month. Yikes!

As a host, you will also need to be present to check guests in and out of your home, which means you’ll need to book time off from your other commitments to properly welcome your guests and fulfill your hosting requirements. Hosting on Airbnb is just like having a real B&B, it is a business and requires time as such.

Risky Business

Needless to say, allowing strangers to stay in your home comes with inherent risk. Although Airbnb has insurance to protect its hosts and their homes, hosts are still vulnerable to theft or property damage. This can be especially devastating if sentimental items, such a wedding rings or family heirlooms, are stolen by a guest.

Another risk for Airbnb hosts to be aware of is squatting scams. Some scammers have taken advantage of the fact that when a guest stays in a home for longer than 30 days, they may gain squatting rights to the property, making it difficult for their host to force them to leave.

To avoid this situation, do not accept bookings that are longer than 30 days, and/or be very clear in your communication to guests that they are only allowed to stay at your property until the agreed upon departure date, and explicitly state that they must vacate your home after that time.

Be Realistic

It is unlikely that listing your home on Airbnb will provide you with enough financial freedom to quit your job and travel the world, though it may provide you with extra funds to contribute towards your mortgage payments. Be realistic about your expected hosting income, and don’t make any major financial changes based on your expectations until you have experience as a host and can accurately predict your monthly Airbnb profit.

Are you ready to find an ideal income property for Airbnb guests? Speak with your local real estate professional today!

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate Newer properties may be infused with built-in designer touches that give them an instant sense of luxury, but older homes may lack many of these built-in features. Whether buying or renovating an older property, many people are interested in learning how to instill modern luxury in older property. The good news is that this is easier than it sounds, and it can be accomplished by following a few simple tips.

Make Thoughtful Upgrades

It may not be cost-effective or reasonable to upgrade the entire space with an extensive renovation, but making a few thoughtful upgrades can yield fabulous results. The light fixtures, faucets and hardware in the space should receive attention first, and homeowners should choose a modern finish that goes well with the rest of the home. If funds permit, consider upgrading the counter tops, sinks and bathtubs to further add luxury and modern style to the style.

Choose The Right Fabrics

When decorating the home, it is important to choose fabrics that speak to the luxury that is desired in the space. While some affordable materials have a luxurious look, it may be necessary to invest in premium materials like leather or upgraded upholstery in some areas to achieve the desired results. Think about the use of color, and layer fabrics for a truly upscale, finished look in the space.

Take Advantage Of Antique Charm

Most older homes have a special antique charm, and homeowners may have better results when working with this charm rather than trying to remove it from the space. Antiques can be incorporated with modern pieces to create a historic, classic or even rustic look to a home. Consider which aspects of the existing decor to highlight, such as gorgeous wood floors or an antique banister, and celebrate these areas while also including modern fabrics and other decorative touches to create the luxurious, modern look that is desired.

Decorating an older home can be challenging for many reasons, but it is possible to instill a sense of modern luxury into the space without a complete renovation. Some smaller remodeling efforts may be needed for the best results, and they can be incorporated with these tips to provide a lovely look that homeowners can truly fall in love with. Those who are thinking about buying an older home or renovating their older  speak with your local real estate professional for more information about thoughtful upgrades that can add value to the property.

5 Cheap Decor Ideas to Brighten up Your Bathroom

5 Cheap Decor Ideas to Brighten up Your BathroomDue to their size and the amount of work it can take to renovate them, bathrooms can be one of the least favorite rooms in the house for many people. However, there are little things you can add to instantly improve the look of this space. Instead of ripping out the tub or repainting, consider the following decor items for a much-needed boost.

Pick a Plant

A plant that can stand the heat of your bathroom is an instant way to add a new and natural element to an old, underappreciated space. With the addition of a deep, rich tone of green that will provide a pleasant scent and a unique shape, this is an instant, economical pick-me-up.

Add A Candle (Or Two)

Given the lovely scent that emanates from them and the dose of added color, candles can instantly change the appearance of a dram bathroom space. By adding one or two atop the toilet or on a cabinet, your bathroom will be a little closer to the spa experience.

Splurge On Fancy Bottles

If you’re a fan of beauty and bath products, there’s a good chance that you like to stock up on items like bath bubbles and shampoos; fortunately, items like these can make for a space that’s instantly appealing. The next time you’re at the drugstore, splurge on some beautifully packaged duds for some unexpected sophistication.

Replace Your Old Mirror

It may not seem like a mirror switch out will make much of a difference, but swapping out this stale household staple for a funkier version can completely change your bathroom. Whether you buy a new mirror with a funky frame or paint your old one a bold color, this will instantly revive the entire room.

Buy Some Colorful Towels

It may be a simple fix-up, but having a set of old towels hanging around can instantly downgrade the look of your bathroom. If your bathroom is a neutral color and you’re looking for a little dress-up, accenting with a set of colorful towels will instantly switch up the mood.

From the tiles to the tub, the idea of renovating a bathroom can seem like a huge undertaking, but there are little decor items you can add that will really change its look. If you’re renovating your bathroom and are preparing to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate agent for more information.

4 Home Decor Websites to Inspire You

4 Home Décor Websites to Inspire YouFrom DIY projects to the aisles of IKEA, there are plenty of ways for those looking to dress up their home to come up with unique and fun decorating options. However, with the instant accessibility of the Internet, there’s no reason you can’t search the world over for other’s people great ideas. If you’re looking for new tips and tricks, here are some websites that may inspire your own miniature renovation.

Limitless Art At Lumas

Finding the perfect portrait for your living room or bedroom wall has long been one of the last struggles of home decorating, but with Lumas.com you don’t have to conduct a search of the very best portraits. Instead of waiting for the ideal piece, just search this website created by two art collectors for items by new artists, signed images and economical options that will provide a wide variety of great wall coverings.

DIY Designs From Pop Sugar

With a lot of great images and ideas for what you can do all over your home, Pop Sugar – formerly known as Casa Sugar – is ideal for getting a smattering of instant ideas on how to change up your favorite living spaces. From things to do for your studio apartment to ways your furniture can compliment your astrological sign, there are few limits to the kind of advice you’ll find.

Vintage Offerings At Rubylane

As one of the largest websites of its kind, Rubylane provides one of the most extensive collections of vintage and antique items available anywhere. With so many web searches that offer up pages and pages of the goods you’re looking for, there’s no reason you can’t locate whatever unique item will kick up your room a few notches on this popular design site.

Small Sized Design With Small Furnish

With so many people looking to deck out their studio apartments and small houses, decor and DIY ideas for smaller spaces are becoming more popular, and no website can capitalize on this need quite like Small Furnish. Featuring everything from items for your laundry room to wall mounted laptop stations, this website will give you great small-scale ideas with an arty design ethos in mind.

It can be hard to know where to begin with decorating your home, but there are plenty of online options that will give you great ideas for how you can upgrade. If you’re currently on the market and are considering options for your next home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Looking to Renovate?: 4 Renovations That Are Cheaper in the Summertime

Looking to Renovate?: 4 Renovations That Are Cheaper in the SummertimeIt’s often necessary to make a few small renovations before putting your home on the market, but it can be surprising to learn that summer can be a less expensive time for many common fix-ups. If you’re wondering what you should renovate in the summer months, you may want to consider a few of the following for the sake of economy.

Take On The Lawn

In many cases, often-difficult weather conditions that the winter months can provide make a lot of things difficult, and tackling the state of your lawn is certainly among these. Since curb appeal is very important when it comes to the overall impact of your home, the summer months are the optimal time to deal with any changes you want to make to the lawn, gardens or even your walk-way or front stoop.

Fix Up The Kitchen

A kitchen renovation may be long overdue but this is another one you’ll want to put off until the summer. While the warmer seasons afford the possibility for many outdoor, evening meals, this option may not exist in the cold throes of the winter, depending on your location. Instead of hustling off to restaurants where the costs will quickly add up, summer will provide a more affordable opportunity for upgrading.

Add On Extra Space

Whether your doubling your garage or adding on an extra room, this is the kind of work that can bring an influx of cold air into your house and will take a little longer given the discomfort. Instead of completing renovations that deal with the elements in the cooler months, spring for the summertime when the temperature and timeline will be a little milder.

Paint The Exterior

Few things will have a more positive impact on the overall look of your home than a coat of paint, but taking on this task in the winter can be a recipe for disappointment with the sudden snow and storms that may come along. Instead of chancing it and extending the completion of this task, save it for summer when the weather will be more predictable.

There are countless renovations under the sun, but there are some that may end up being more affordable if they’re completed in the summer months. If you’re fixing up your house because you’re planning on selling in the near future, contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.

3 Ikea Hacks That Can Be Done in a Weekend’s Time

3 Ikea Hacks That Can Be Done in a Weekend's TimeWhether you’re moving into your first apartment or preparing to purchase a second home, Ikea is a favorite for those trying to economically fill up the extra space in their home. While Ikea may have plenty of inexpensive options that you might not think can be dressed up, there are actually a lot of simple pieces that you can add to for a stylish, DIY look that will take no time at all.

Cue The Cocktails

The popularity of the bar cart has seen a resurgence, but many of these decorative pieces can be quite pricey for the person who isn’t sure they want to commit to the cost. Instead of shelling out of for this overpriced piece, purchase the BYGEL utility cart from Ikea for less than $50 dollars and spray paint it in the color of your choice. While this will serve as a basic bar cart, it will easily look the part with some glasses, liquor bottles and an ice bucket.

Bring On The Board Games

With its four square legs and flattop, the LACK table is one of the plainest items in IKEA, but this inexpensive table can be fixed up as part of a fun activity with your kids. Once you’ve purchased your own brightly colored table, pick up some paint and using stencils paint the family’s favorite board game right onto its surface. Whether it happens to be backgammon, chess or Monopoly, this will add a lot of personality to the family room.

Create Your Own Sitting Table

The EXBY ALEX shelf is a relatively simple shelving unit that attaches to a wall for extra storage space, but it can also serve as a perfect starting point for an item that’s completely different. Instead of attaching this shelf to the wall, add a set of legs so the unit will serve as a cabinet without any need for wall mounting. While this will still serve as an understated piece, it can say a lot more about your room than the average wall cabinet.

Many people head to IKEA for the economical furniture options, but it’s also a great place for coming up with your own home DIY projects that are sure to make for a unique look. If you’re planning on purchasing a home and are looking for interesting furniture to fill it with, you may want to contact your trusted local real estate professional for more information.

4 Neglected Home Maintenance Tasks That Are a Must

4 Neglected Home Maintenance Tasks That Are a MustThere are a number of home maintenance tasks that are easy to forget about in favor of more obvious renovations, but forgetting to do some of them can end up costing you a lot down the road. If you’re hoping to keep your home in tip-top shape, here are a few tasks that you shouldn’t forget about.

Sealing Off Access Points

Small rodents and insects can wreak havoc on your home if they gain access, so ensure that you maintain the foundation of your home and seal off any areas where these pests might get inside. Check all the windows and doors, and survey the foundation of your home, making sure to patch up any areas where sealant or mortar has come loose.

Cleaning The Shingles

The reality of algae eating away at your roof shingles can be an unpleasant, expensive renovation, so clean your roof on a regular basis before any black streaks can take your shingles with them. Simply mix together hot water, bleach and detergent and spray this from your garden hose on a cooler day so you can save your roof from rot. This will also save you the cost of having to hire a professional

Maintaining Your Wood Deck

There are few things that will age your yard like a poorly maintained deck, so take the time to re-stain and seal your deck so it doesn’t quickly see the effects of time and weather. While harsh weather can have an ill effect on your deck’s appearance, properly maintaining it will mean you can avoid the high cost of replacement that will be required.

Keeping It Clutter Free

Many homeowners get pretty comfortable in their home, and this can often mean that many boxes of unused items get stored away. Instead of keeping old items though, do a clean out once every 6-12 months to get rid of the things you don’t use. By having a clean basement and garage, you’ll also have the ability to notice many other maintenance issues that might not be visible with all the extra stuff.

There are a number of maintenance tasks around the home that people often forget, but neglecting to complete them can often times cost a pretty penny down the road. If you’re doing a few home renovations before putting your house on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thinking about Renovations?: 5 Considerations Before Hiring a Home Improvements Contractor

Thinking about Renovations?: 5 Considerations Before Hiring a Home Improvements ContractorWith the pre-summer enthusiasm and the milder weather, springtime can be one of the best times of the year to take on home renovations that aren’t as easy in other months. If you happen to have some projects in mind and are considering taking the work on yourself, here are a few questions you’ll need to ask.

What Can You Take On?

If you have specific renovations in mind for the coming months, it’s very important to decide what you can reasonably take on and what you could pass on to a contractor. While some projects and fix-ups may be easier to complete on your own, some will require a greater degree of expertise.

What’s Your Skill Level?

You may have something that you think you can take on yourself, but if you’re new to renovating, it may be worth hiring a contractor who will be able to complete the job without incident. It can be a great learning experience to do many fix-ups on your own, but this can take a lot of time and energy too if you don’t know the details.

What’s Your Price Point?

Before deciding to hire a contractor, it’s important that you’ve thought about the potential costs associated with what you want to do. It can be pricy to hire someone if you have a lot that needs to be done, but someone else’s expertise can also end up being worth the money spent.

Do You Have A Timeline?

Many people renovate in the spring and summer months, and this means that your ideal contractor may not have a lot of time available. While this may end up working out for you, you’ll want to consider when you want it done so your expectations are not unreasonable.

Is A Second Opinion Helpful?

It’s great if you can handle all your home renovations on your own, but no one will be able to offer you the knowledgeable opinion that a contractor will. While a professional will undoubtedly be able to complete the work you’re requesting, they may also have helpful suggestions for you that may make for an even better home improvement.

Spring is an ideal season for home renovations, but before taking anything on you’ll want to carefully consider whether or not you’ll need to hire someone. If you’re renovating to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.