5 Fun Ways to Spring Clean with the Kids

5 Fun Ways to Spring Clean with the Kids Spring-cleaning might seem like a necessity if you’ve accrued a lot of stuff through the fall and winter seasons, but it can be hard to determine how to get your kids involved. If you’re looking for tips on how to get this task done and engage your children at the same time, here are a few fun ways.

Play Some Tunes

It goes without saying that almost everything is more fun with music, and kids will readily agree with this! Instead of silence, pique your children’s interest with their favorite album and encourage them to take the duster or mop along with them.

Offer Up A Reward

It’s important that your children understand that helping out around the house is everyone’s job, but offering them a treat can be a good means of getting them involved. Whether it’s a couple of dollars or a trip to the ice cream parlor, a little work for a reward has always been a positive thing.

Give Them A Choice

Most kids don’t like to be told what to do, so providing them with the opportunity for leadership can be a great thing when it comes to the task of spring-cleaning. Not only will they be happy to help you along if they can direct, it will give them confidence in their own capabilities.

Make Room For New Duds

Getting rid of old clothing isn’t always fun, but if it makes way for a new outfit or toy many kids will spring at the chance. Instead of large scale, let your children tackle their own space to clear away stuff they no longer use. It will make them aware of what they need and what they can get along without.

Get Out The Gear

Outside of a damp cloth, most adults don’t have any specific clothes for cleaning the house, but dressing up is always a fun activity for kids! Whether it’s overalls, a cap and some rubber gloves, making cleaning a game of dress up is an easy way to appeal to the imagination of your children.

Spring-cleaning may not always seem like the most fun, but there are a few simple ways you can make it appealing to your kids and liven up an old activity for yourself. If you’re perking up your home in the hopes of a summer sale, you may want to contact trusted local real estate professional for more information.

2016 Kitchen Decor Trends to Inspire Your Renovations

2016 Kitchen Decor Trends to Inspire Your RenovationsA kitchen upgrade may seem like the sort of renovation that will cost a pretty penny, but there are a lot of funky things you can do that will add an easy accent and make for a current look. If you’re planning some home improvements in 2016, here are some upcoming trends you may want to try out.

Cue The Contrasting Cabinets

It can be a major undertaking to change the style of your kitchen cabinets, and that’s probably why many people are considering a little switch instead of a major upheaval. By keeping your top cabinets the same and adding a funky new color or material to the bottom half, you can create a striking appearance. Keep in mind that if you don’t want to change out your cabinets entirely, you can go for a bold paint color instead.

Bring Color Into Stainless Steel

From teakettles to mixers, brightly colored kitchen appliances have certainly seen a retro rebirth in recent years, but the stainless steel trend is also experiencing a bit of an upgrade. While the material remains popular, many people are becoming interested in different stainless steel color options like black and sunset bronze which offer a unique look for an old mainstay.

A Multi-Use Island

Space in the kitchen can become an issue when it comes to dinner parties, and that’s why the diverse utility of a kitchen island is maintaining its popularity. Instead of the prominent counter for holding fruit bowls and extra papers, think of a funky, fashionable drink cart or side table that can be used for prepping extra food and will have many other purposes once the party is over.

The Non-Committal Kitchen Shelf

While kitchens have become more of a gathering space for family and friends in recent years, this has led to the popularity of a less-formal kind of kitchen. Instead of a lot of counter space and pots and pans in their place, create a bookshelf or cabinet that mixes the living room and kitchen together, full of dishware, books, utensils and other popular household items. It’s a piece that will easily transform your space.

There are a lot of unique fixes on the horizon for 2016 that will instantly modernize your kitchen and easily improve its look. If you’re currently renovating and are looking to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate agent for more information.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Hiring the Best Contractor for Your Pre-sale Home Renovations

A Quick and Easy Guide to Hiring the Best Contractor for Your Pre-sale Home RenosIf you’re planning to complete some renovations on your home before putting it on the market, you may be unsure of the best way to go about finding the right contractor for the job. While there are probably many contractors available who can do your renovations right, here’s how you can get to the bottom of who will work the best for you.

Make A Few Phone Calls

Once you’ve done some research and determined a short list of prospective contractors, you’ll want to call each contractor to determine that they can complete your project in good time and are the right candidate for the work required. If they’re not available or are cagey about your question, this can be an easy way to whittle down the list.

Arrange A Meeting In Person

While a phone interview should provide you with some good insights right off the bat, you’ll also want to meet your potential contractors face to face before making any final decisions. If you get along well with the contractor and they are able to answer the questions you ask with confidence, it’s a good sign that they may be the right pick for your project.

Check In On The References

Once you’ve decided between a few candidates, make sure you contact their former clients to determine how happy they were with the work and the contractor. Since you may have a date in mind for when you want to put your home on the market, it will be important to know if the job was completed in good time, as well as if any final issues were left hanging in the air unfinished.

Consider The Estimated Costs

Last but not least, you’ll want to have each contractor break down the project and provide a projected cost for labor and materials. You should be able to get a good sense of exactly what it’s going to cost and which bid is the most realistic. While it may be tempting to go for the lowest bid since you’ll probably be moving soon, you’ll want to strongly consider which contractor and which price will turn out the best in the end.

It can seem complicated to hire a contractor for your home renovations, but by conducting simple interviews and checking references you should be able to determine who the best person for the job is. If you’re curious about renovations and how they can impact the sales price of your home, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more insights.

Green-ify Your Home with These 3 Easy Home Renovations

Green-ify Your Home with These 3 Easy Home RenovationsThe concept of going green is often seen as an expensive process, and this can stop many people from taking the small steps needed to make their home more environmentally friendly. If you want to green-ify without any of the high costs, here are some simple things you can do that will easily improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Complete An Energy Audit

It can cost upwards of $400 to get a certified evaluator to take a look at your property and determine how energy is being wasted, but you can complete this type of evaluation on your own without all of the expenditure. Try the candle test and take a flame on a tour of your home, being aware of areas where the flame wavers and drafts may be coming in from outside. Once you’ve determined the problem areas, you can tackle the project of re-caulking which will seal up any openings that are leading to energy loss and more expensive heating costs.

Fix-Up Noticeable Insulation Issues

Completely overhauling your insulation is not among the easiest of fixes, but there are some simple ways you can improve its effectiveness without a lot of hard work. Instead of a comprehensive analysis, head up to the attic to take a peek at the insulation there. Using a mask and a pair of gloves, check the insulation and look for any spaces where air could be gaining access to your home. If you come across any vulnerable areas, add some extra insulation and seal the area with expanding insulation for a little added coverage.

Install A New Faucet

While heat conservation is one of the most important factors in energy efficiency, taking care of the water supply will also have a significant impact on your home’s environmental footprint. Instead of sticking with old-style faucets, head down to the hardware store for low-flow taps that will automatically cut down on water use without you or your family having to think twice. This type of fix is an easy enough installation and your water savings will be facilitated every time you turn on the tap.

There are a number of small changes you can make around your home to easily conserve energy and cut down on water waste. If you’re doing some small renovations because you’re preparing for a large move, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

Accent Walls: 3 Easy Ways to Spice up Your Space

Accent Walls: 3 Easy Ways to Spice up Your SpaceFor those who love to decorate and are always excited to test out the latest trends in design, the accent wall is a concept that’s become popular in recent years. If you’re not sure how to use this feature to twist any room on its side, here’s how to go about painting your very own and instantly dressing up the look of your favorite room.

Pick The Perfect Wall

When deciding on the ideal location for an accent wall, it’s important to consider which space in your home will benefit from a splash of color and still be complimented by this unique look. Whether you decide on a wall in your bedroom or living room, the location of your accent wall should be somewhere it can have a positive impact on the look of your room without overpowering its natural ambiance.

Decide On A Color You Can Live With

Once you’ve picked the perfect place for your paint, you’ll want to narrow down the list of color options to ones that will work best for the wall. It can be tempting to go from the most brilliant of colors to really indulge in accent, but think of this wall as a way to merely boost the look of a room you already enjoy. By choosing a color that is both vibrant and understated – and goes with your design aesthetic – you can use this wall to maximum, nuanced effect.

Any Additional Accents?

If you’re just wading into the water with home decorating, it’s entirely likely that an accent wall will be enough for now, but if you’re just beginning you may want to consider some other interesting design details as well. While you could choose more than one color to brighten things up or draw a makeshift frame around the border of each wall, if you’re interested in something funky you may want to use some stencils – like hearts or stars – to instantly add a whimsical effect!

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to home decorating, but if you’ve been considering an accent wall for a while you might want to test it out first before diving in with neon colors and funky stencils. If you’re making some changes to your home because you’re thinking of selling in the next few years, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more inside information.

3 Budget-friendly DIY Weekend Renovations to Step into Spring

3 Budget-friendly DIY Weekend Renovations to Step into Spring The springtime is often the best time of the year for cleaning up and getting rid of old items, but with its proximity to the winter months it can still be hard to commit to large-scale renovations. If you’re looking for some small fixes to give your home a seasonal boost, here are a few options that won’t take up a lot of time.

Freshen Up The Window Frames

Paint can instantly enhance the brightness of any room, but deciding to repaint can be a job that takes more than just a weekend. Instead of committing to everything, paint your window frames for a task that is cheap and doesn’t require a huge expenditure of time. Since the eyes will naturally be drawn to the windows in any room, this will serve to improve your space without all the work that goes into sanding and taping everything.

Add An Accent With Wallpaper

A creative, striking way to upgrade the look of your home is a wallpaper accent that will be easy to install but add trendy appeal to your home’s aesthetic. Instead of going for the same old, choose a wallpaper with a funky design to the area of your choice. By placing it behind a mirror or another picture, you’ll add a lot of oomph without all of the effort that goes into completely repapering a wall. It’s just important to ensure you use an adhesive wallpaper that can be repositioned in the event your first attempt doesn’t work out.

Replace An Old Fixture

It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of legwork to easily revamp a stale space, so consider a light fixture that will instantly draw the eye and can serve as a high-impact piece that really sets the tone for your chosen space. While you’ll want to choose something that won’t completely contrast with the style already present, the right piece can really enhance and modernize what you already have. It’s just important to turn off the breakers before you start fiddling around with installation.

The idea of home renovations can make people think of large scale projects that consume a lot of time, but there are plenty of little things to be done that will make for big changes without an excess of effort. If you’re making some upgrades and are preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Smart Appliances Get Smarter: Here’s What We Saw at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show

Smart Appliances Get Smarter: Here's What We Saw at the 2016 Consumer Electronics ShowWith technology advancing at a mile a minute, the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is a great place to see what’s new to the market and what will be sure to turn heads in the year to come. If you couldn’t make it to the show yourself but are curious about the highlights of the event, here are some of the hottest items in technology that appeared in Las Vegas this year.

Make It Molecular With A Spectrometer

Designed by Consumers Physics, the SCiO is a modern, small-sized molecular sensor that can give you volumes of information about your food that you’ve never had before. Instead of consulting the nutritional information, you can easily obtain all of the products contained in your food (or any other product, really) by simply pointing it at the item in question. This information will then be transferred to the product’s associated app for you to review.

Forgot To Lock? Grab Your Phone!

We’ve all experienced the fear here and there of thinking we forgot to lock the door, but with the innovative Kwikset Premis door lock, you can easily put this former fear to rest. Instead of having to rush home with key in hand, the Kwikset allows you to easily control its locking mechanism with a PIN number using your smart phone. So, the next time you’ve think you’ve forgotten to lock the door behind you, you can instantly access your smartphone and put your mind at ease.

Wake Up To Your Favorite Scent

Waking up is often associated with the uncomfortable sensation of a beeping clock, but with the Sensorwake the first few minutes of the morning don’t have to seem like such a chore. Instead of beeping, you can insert an aroma module into your Sensorwake that will release the scent you choose, whether it happens to be espresso, croissant or peppermint. If you don’t think this will be enough to wake you up, you can also arrange for an audible alarm that will come on a little bit later.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is one of the best events of the year for interesting, new technology, but if you missed it there are plenty of exciting gadgets that will soon be available on the market. If you happen to be looking for a new home that has all of the gadgets on the horizon, you may want to contact your local real estate agent for help in your search.

Dream Renovations: Upgrading Your Bathroom from ‘Regular’ to ‘In-Home Spa’

Dream Renovations: Upgrading Your Bathroom from 'Regular' to 'In-home Spa'There are times you might long for the relaxed leisure of the spa experience, but with the cost of a manicure it’s not always a pleasure one can afford. If your current bathroom set-up isn’t the optimal place for rest and relaxation, here are some cues for how you can turn it from a bit of a problem to a consummate pleasure.

Install A Vintage Vanity

The look of slick steel and porcelain can certainly be classy, but if you’re looking for an upscale room you’ll love to spend time in, consider a vintage dresser that you can turn into your very own unique vanity. While you’ll need to develop some plumbing and woodworking know-how to make this dream a reality, it will easily fancy up your bathroom and lend for an elegant, everyday experience.

Spring For A Bold Color

Part of the spa experience is often the palette of jewel-toned colors that are used on the walls, but it can often be considered a risk to take on such an intense tone in one’s own bathroom. However, if you have a smaller sized bathroom and can find a brilliant color you really love that will work with your decor, it may make for a unique and singular spa-style experience.

Add An Accent With Tile

A sizeable Jacuzzi that you can really get comfortable in is a great start for an in-home spa experience, but there are some stylish ways you can add to it that will make for a particularly sophisticated look. Instead of taking out the tub, pick a colorful tile that will mesh with the other colors and textures of your bathroom to add an accent. It’s not necessarily a simple fix but it will add a lot of oomph.

Work A Walk-In Shower

It goes without saying that a shower curtain does not always provide for the most sublime of bathroom experiences, so one step towards your own ‘in-home Spa’ may involve the addition of a walk-in shower. While this can be an expensive upgrade, it can completely change the look and feel of your bathroom, and might just mean you’ll save on manicures.

The spa experience can be enticing for the relaxation and comfort it offers, but you can create a similar experience in your own bathroom with a few changes that will elegant it up. If you happen to be renovating your home because and would like to look at financing options, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

3 Quick Painting Tips That Will Help Take Your Walls from Tacky to Tasteful

3 Quick Painting Tips That Will Help Take Your Walls from Tacky to TastefulWhether you happen to be a painting pro or you’ve never dared to pick up a roller, there are a few tricks of the trade that professionals use to make a paint job look its best. If you want to take an old, outdated paint job and turn it into something you can be proud of, here are a few tips from those who know best.

Start With A Perfectly Smooth Surface

If you’re trying to rush through it, sanding might seem like an unnecessary step in re-covering your walls, but it’s very important in order to level out the spackle paste and ensure that no ridges will appear in the paint around the nails. According to one professional painter, you should start by sanding from the baseboard to the ceiling with a fine grit sandpaper, and then move on to a horizontal sand that will make for a smooth wall finish.

Forget About The Plastic

The proper floor coverage while painting is just as important as the paint when it comes to getting the job done properly, so opt for a large canvas cloth instead of linens or plastic. Paint on linen can sink through to your floor and stain it, while paint on plastic takes a long time to dry and may end up smearing all over other things. A canvas cloth will keep any paint splotches away from your floor and ensure they aren’t tracked throughout the home after they fall.

Stick To One Wall

It can be tempting to get done the rudimentary step of completing the corners and trim before you move on to painting, but this can actually make for a less smooth finish. Instead of finishing one task at a time, complete the corners and trim on one wall and immediately reach for the roller. This is something professional painters do to ensure that the brushed and rolled paint will blend together more seamlessly.

There are a few simple steps you can follow when painting a room that will make it look like a professional did the job. By using a canvas cloth to cover your surfaces and sticking with one wall until the job is done, you should have a smooth new surface you can be proud of. If you’re currently painting your home and preparing to sell, you may want to contact one of our local real estate agents for information about your options on the market.

Spring is Almost Here: Planning a Massive Spring Cleaning in Just 4 Easy Steps

Spring is Almost Here: Planning a Massive Spring Cleaning in Just 4 Easy StepsIt may seem like the holiday season has just passed, but it won’t be too long before the flowers begin to bloom and spring peeks out from around the corner. While the tradition of spring cleaning that comes with the season may not be as common as it once was, it can actually be a great way to revive and refresh and prepare for the summer ahead.

Begin With The Bedroom

Start with your bed by washing all of the sheets and linens, and then move on to dusting, making sure that all of the spots missed throughout the year are wiped clean. Since you may find yourself purchasing some extra items in the summer months, take an hour or two to look through your closet and donate or discard any pieces you haven’t worn for two years.

Liven Up The Living Room

As one of the most lived-in rooms, your living room will likely need some extra time with the vacuum or mop, so once you’ve dusted the baseboards and vacuumed the couch, give the floor your undivided attention. Once it’s thoroughly cleaned, dust everything and sort through any books or papers that have been left about so they won’t sit around for another year.

Clear Away The Kitchen Grease

The kitchen can be one of the easiest to spots to sully, so clear out the fridge and wipe down the shelves rigorously, ensuring any food that has expired is composted. Give the floor a good scrub and pull the refrigerator and stove back from the wall so you can get rid of any dust or accumulated grime underneath. Last but not least, wipe the countertops with an all-purpose cleaner for a fresh scent.

Bargain With The Bathroom

If you’ve already cleared away the dirty towels, clean out the drawers and cabinets and ensure any toiletries you no longer use are thrown out. Wipe the mirror clean with a glass cleaner and give the toilet a good scrub. It may also be a good opportunity to get down on your hands and knees and scrub the floor for a clean feel it may not get for a while.

The arrival of spring after the long months of winter is always a welcome occurrence, but it can also be the perfect opportunity to clear away the dust of last year.