Fall DIYs

On September 10, 2013, in Uncategorized, by admin

Even though it may not feel like it temperature-wise, Fall is headed our way! There are some great ideas on how to spruce up your home for the holidays here:

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The Benefits of Homeownership

On September 10, 2013, in Coldwell Banker, by admin

Did you see this infographic on HouseLogic’s website? It’s a great time to own a home. Any of our Realtors would love to help you find your dream home!

 Infographic Benefits Homeownership_75469be0403817a5ce36a9bb01295469

 

Have you heard the news? We’ll be following the contest and look forward to seeing the videos! Straight from Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter blog:

“The true value of a home. Expressed around the world.

That is the theme of what will be a first in the real estate industry. For the next 3 weeks, Coldwell Banker Real Estate is going to share what “home” truly means not just in the US, but across the globe. A few months ago we worked with a company called, MoFilm, to commission the creation of a series of 10 videos that asked filmmakers to share with us what the value of a home is in their country. We received dozens of videos from the likes of China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Africa, Great Britain, Canada and more.

We selected 10 videos as winners and we will be unveiling one video a day starting on September 9. There are some amazing stories of home in this selection. What’s really interesting is how each video is different in the details, but the overarching concept remains the same: home is a place we love.

After the 10 international videos, we’ll continue the film festival by premiering 2 new episodes of our luxury home series World’s Most Expensive Homes. We’ve been to South Beach and Aspen in our first to episodes, but in Episode 3 we’ll head outside the US and seean amazing estate on the gorgeous beaches of St. Thomas. Then in Episode 4, we’ll explore a home that’s also a winery in the perfect place for such a residence, Napa, CA.

To close out the film festival, we’ll share some of the top entries in our Life, Camera, Action YouTube contest and announce the $25,000 grand prize winner on Friday, September 27 to close out the International Film Festival.

So from September 9 through September 27 every weekday we’ll be sharing a brand new video that showcases the true value of a home at films.coldwellbanker.com. We hope you’ll join us and share in what I guarantee will be the most interesting and entertaining home movies you’ll ever see.”

 

By: Jane Hoback

Published: January 14, 2011

Repair wood floors and scratches that make rooms look worn out. We’ll show you easy ways to put the luster back into your floors.

Camouflage scratches

Take some artistic license to hide minor scratches in wood floors by rubbing on stain-matching crayons and Sharpie pens. Wax sticks, such as Minwax Stain Markers, are great scratch busters because they include stain and urethane, which protects the floor’s finish.

Don’t be afraid to mix a couple of colors together to get a good match. And don’t sweat if the color is a little off. Real hardwoods mix several hues and tones. So long as you cover the contrasting “white” scratches, color imperfections will match perfectly.

Homemade polish

Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar, which work together to remove dirt, moisturize, and shine wood. Pour a little directly onto the scratch. Let the polish soak in for 24 hours, then wipe off. Repeat until the scratch disappears.

Spot-sand deep scratches

It takes time to repair wood gouges: Sand, fill, sand again, stain, and seal. Here are some tips to make the job go faster.

  • Sand with fine-gauge steel wool or lightweight sandpaper.
  • Always sand with the grain.
  • Use wood filler, which takes stain better than wood putty.
  • Use a plastic putty knife to avoid more scratches.
  • Seal the area with polyurethane, or whatever product was used on the floor originally.
  • Apply the polyurethane coat with a lambs wool applicator, which avoids air bubbles in the finish.

Fix gaps in floor

Old floorboards can separate over time. Fill the gaps with colored wood putty. Or, if you have some leftover planks, rip a narrow band and glue it into the gap.

 

By: Gretchen Roberts

Published: January 19, 2012

Can’t afford an entire kitchen remodel in one fell swoop? You can complete the work in 5 budget-saving stages (and still cook dinner during the down time).

Stage one: Start with a complete design plan 

Your plan should be comprehensive and detailed — everything from the location of the refrigerator to which direction the cabinet doors will open to whether you need a spice drawer.

To save time (and money) during tear-out and construction, plan on using your existing walls and kitchen configuration. That’ll keep plumbing and electrical systems mostly intact, and you won’t have the added expense — and mess — of tearing out walls.

Joseph Feinberg, vice president of Allied Kitchen and Bath in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recommends hiring a professional designer, such as an architect or a certified kitchen designer, who can make sure the details of your plans are complete. You’ll pay about 10% of the total project for a pro designer, but you’ll save a whole bunch of headaches that would likely cost as much — or more — to fix. Plus, a pro is likely to offer smart solutions you hadn’t thought of.

For a nominal fee, you also can get design help from a major home improvement store. However, you’ll be expected to purchase some of your cabinets and appliances from that store.

  • Cost: professional designer: $5,800 (10% of total)
  • Key strategies: Once your plans are set, you can hold onto them until you’re ready to remodel.
  • Time frame: 3-6 months

Read on to learn more budget kitchen remodeling tips:

Stage two: Order the cabinets, appliances, and lighting fixtures
Stage three: Gut the kitchen and do the electrical and plumbing work
Stage four: Install cabinets, coutertop, appliances, flooring, and fixtures
Final phases: Upgrade if necessary

Stage two: Order the cabinets, appliances, and lighting fixtures

Cabinets and appliances are the biggest investments in your kitchen remodeling project. If you’re remodeling in stages, you can order them any time after the plans are complete and store them in a garage (away from moisture) or in a spare room until you’re ready to pull the trigger on the installation.

Remember that it may take 4-6 weeks from the day you order them for your cabinets to be delivered.

If you can’t afford all new appliances, keep your old ones for now — but plan to buy either the same sizes, or choose larger sizes and design your cabinets around those larger measurements. You can replace appliances as budget permits later on.

The same goes for your lighting fixtures: If you can live with your old ones for now, you’ll save money by reusing them.

You’ll have to decide about flooring, too — one of the trickier decisions to make because it also affects how and when you install cabinets.

You’ll need to know if your old flooring runs underneath your cabinets, or if the flooring butts up against the cabinet sides and toe kicks. If the flooring runs underneath, you’ll have some leeway for new cabinet configurations — just be sure the old flooring will cover any newly exposed floor areas. Here are points to remember:

  • Keep old flooring for cost savings. This works if your new cabinets match your old layout, so that the new cabinets fit exactly into the old flooring configuration. If the existing flooring runs underneath your cabinets and covers all flooring area, then any new cabinet configuration will be fine.
  • Keep your old flooring for now and cover it or replace it later. Again, this works if your cabinet configuration is identical to the old layout.

However, if you plan to cover your old flooring or tear it out and replace it at some point in the future, remember that your new flooring might raise the height of your floor, effectively lowering your cabinet height.

For thin new floor coverings, such as vinyl and linoleum, the change is imperceptible. For thicker floorings, such as wood and tile, you might want to take into account the change in floor height by installing your new cabinets on shims.

  • Cost: cabinets: $16,000 (27% of total); appliances and lighting fixtures: $8,500 (15% of total); vinyl flooring: $1,000 (2% of total)
  • Key strategy: Keep old appliances, lighting fixtures, and flooring and use them until you can afford new ones.
  • Time frame: 2-3 weeks

Stage three: Gut the kitchen and do the electrical and plumbing work

Here’s where the remodel gets messy. Old cabinetry and appliances are removed, and walls may have to be opened up for new electrical circuits. Keep in close contact with yourcontractor during this stage so you can answer questions and clear up any problems quickly. A major kitchen remodel can take 6 to 10 weeks, depending on how extensive the project is.

During this stage, haul your refrigerator, microwave, and toaster oven to another room — near the laundry or the garage, for example — so you’ve got the means to cook meals. Feinberg suggests tackling this stage in the summer, when you can easily grill and eat outside. That’ll reduce the temptation to eat at restaurants, and will help keep your day-to-day costs under control.

  • Cost: $14,500 for tear-out and installation of new plumbing and electrical (25% of total)
  • Key strategies: Encourage your contractor to expedite the tear-out and installation of new systems. Plan a makeshift kitchen while the work is progressing. Schedule this work for summer when you can grill and eat outside.
  • Time frame: 6-10 weeks

Stage four: Install cabinets, countertop, appliances, flooring, and fixtures

If you’ve done your homework and bought key components in advance, you should roll through this phase. You’ve now got a (mostly) finished kitchen.

A high-end countertop and backsplash can be a sizable sum of money. If you can’t quite swing it, put down a temporary top, such as painted marine plywood or inexpensivelaminate. Later, you can upgrade to granite, tile, solid surface, or marble.

  • Cost: $12,000 (21% of total)
  • Key strategy: Install an inexpensive countertop; upgrade when you’re able.
  • Time frame: 1-2 weeks

Final phases: Upgrade if necessary

Replace the inexpensive countertop, pull up the laminate flooring, and put in tile or hardwood, or buy that new refrigerator you wanted but couldn’t afford during the remodel. (Just make sure it fits in the space!)

 

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: March 30, 2012

Your bathroom, one of the rooms you clean most, hides areas that rarely see a scrub brush. It’s time to tackle these 5 nasty spots you probably forgot.

But we presume you or someone else regularly swishes out the toilets, wipes out the tubs and sinks, and mops your bathroom flooring.

But you may be missing some critical areas. With the help of Kristi Mailloux, president ofMolly Maid, we’ve compiled a list of 5 bathroom spots home owners often forget to clean:

1. Showerheads: A warm white vinegar bath will get rid of mineral deposits, making yourlow-flow shower head flow even lower. Let the showerhead soak for about 20 minutes, then poke a paperclip into shower head holes still clogged. Scrub with an old toothbrush, then rinse and repeat if necessary.

2. Toilet bases: Mildew can grow on the caulking around the base of your toilet. Spray with white vinegar or disinfecting household cleaner, then scrub with a hard-bristled brush. Dry thoroughly.

3. Shower curtains: Clean soap scum and mildew from plastic shower curtains by tossing them into your washer on the gentle and cold (never hot!) water cycle, with detergent and ½ cup vinegar. If mildew is present, add ½ cup of bleach instead of vinegar. Toss a couple of large towels into the machine to act as scrubbers. Hang curtains back on your shower curtain rod, spread them out, and let them drip-dry. If you turn on the bathroom fan, they’ll dry faster.

4. Drains: We don’t usually pay much attention to drains until they’re clogged. But all year your hair, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner are building up in sink and tub drains. Remove the stopper — unscrew the shower drain — and clear away obvious gunk, like hair and soap. Soak the drain in vinegar to clear away mineral deposits. Then, pour boiling water, or a mixture of ½ cup white vinegar and ½ cup baking soda, down the drain, which will bubble away crud sticking to pipes.

5. Medicine cabinet: Throw out prescription and over-the-counter drugs you no longer need or want. But don’t dump them down the drain, where they become part of the watershed, or into the trash, where anyone can fetch them out. Instead, take them to a local collection site, often at police or fire stations. Or check U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take Back Initiative’s website for dates and sites for their next collection.

Bonus tip: Just for the fun of it, launder those powder room towels you won’t let anyone use. And be sure to clean out your dryer’s lint filter when you’re finished.

 

10 Great White Kitchens

On August 17, 2012, in Uncategorized, by admin

Is this your dream kitchen?  Coldwell Banker curated 10 Great White Kitchens, pick yours here!   Thinking  of a new home with your dream kitchen in it?  Call Coldwell Banker!

 

The Link Between Clutter and Depression

On August 16, 2012, in Uncategorized, by admin

http://tidyhouse604.wordpress.com/

Dishes in the sink, toys throughout the house, stuff covering every flat surface; this clutter not only makes our homes look bad, it makes us feel bad, too.

At least that’s what researchers at UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives and Families (CELF) discovered when they explored in real time the relationship between 32 California families and the thousands of objects in their homes. The resulting book, Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century, is a rare look at how middle-class Americans use the space in their homes and interact with the things they accumulate over a lifetime.

It turns out that clutter has a profound affect on our mood and self-esteem. CELF’s anthropologists, social scientists, and archaeologists found:

A link between high cortisol (stress hormone) levels in female home owners and a high density of household objects. The more stuff, the more stress women feel. Men, on the other hand, don’t seem bothered by mess, which accounts for tensions between tidy wives and their clutter bug hubbies.

Women associate a tidy home with a happy and successful family. The more dishes that pile up in the sink, the more anxious women feel.

Even families that want to reduce clutter often are emotionally paralyzed when it comes to sorting and pitching objects. They either can’t break sentimental attachments to objects or believe their things have hidden monetary value.

Although U.S. consumers bear only 3% of the world’s children, we buy 40% of the world’s toys. And these toys live in every room, fighting for display space with kids’ trophies, artwork, and snapshots of their last soccer game.

Although Life At Home documents the clutter problem, the book offers no solutions. But there are some simple things you can do to de-clutter your home and raise your spirits.

1. Adopt the Rule of 5. Every time you get up from your desk or walk through a room, put away five things. Or, each hour, devote 5 minutes to de-cluttering. At the end of the day, you’ve cleaned for an hour.

2. Pledge to clear and clean your kitchen sink every day. It takes a couple of seconds more to place a dish in the dishwasher than dump it in the sink. A clean sink will instantly raise your spirits and decrease your anxiety.

3. Return to yesteryear when only photos of ancestors or weddings earned a place on a shelf. Put snapshots in a family album, which will immediately de-clutter many flat surfaces.

 

Free Home Staging E Book

On August 15, 2012, in Tuesday Tactics, by admin

Free e book for staging your home for sale!  This PDF guide will introduce the concept of staging to you (and your clients!), help you identify what to look for when hiring a stager, and provide resources for researching staging online.

 

Fall Gardening Tips

On August 14, 2012, in Tuesday Tactics, by admin

As the Summer months are beginning to wind down, we thought you might be interested in these tips on what to plant for a Fall vegetable garden. With a little planning, these helpful tips will ensure you have a nice store of healthy home-grown veggies:

What to Plant in Your Fall Vegetable Garden
http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/what-to-plant-in-your-fall-vegetable-garden

Also, if you’re tight on garden space, there’s also a great section on the HGTV website covering tips for great “container” gardening:

Container Gardening on HGTV
http://www.hgtv.com/container-gardening/package/index.html

Here’s to your health and happiness this upcoming fall season!