With the start of the school year upon most of us, now's a great time to talk home organization! Kids resuming their studies often results in a flurry of backpacks, textbooks, and various other school supplies that can quickly leave your home in a stressful state of disarray. Here are some airtight back-to-school home organization tips you can use to corral the chaos.
Whether you're selling or refinancing, a lot rides on your home's professional appraisal. The appraiser's unbiased opinion will give buyers and lenders alike a clearer vision of your home's worth. A lower number hurts your chances of securing a loan or selling for a good price.
Many factors go into your home's appraisal, some of which you simply can't control like number of bedrooms or the neighborhood. Luckily, there are things you can do to boost your home's profile. Here are some tips for getting a high appraisal.
Look at Past Appraisals
If your home has been appraised in the past, take a look at those records. Pay close attention to the things that lowered your home's value and try to improve those issues first.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, and that goes for your home too. Scrub, dust, and wipe every corner of your home to create a spotless presentation. Renew your air fresheners or light a candle or two to emphasize a clean, crisp environment. You'd be surprised how something as simple as cleaning can influence your appraisal.
Take Care of Those Minor Repairs
If you've been putting off those pesky leaks or clogged gutters, now's the time to knock them out. Neglecting quick and inexpensive fixes will absolutely negatively affect your appraisal. Be sure to document any minor and major repairs as well, especially if you hire contractors to work on them.
Before the process even begins, your appraiser will start making mental notes about your home's exterior as they arrive. Make sure they're taking good notes by creating welcoming curb appeal. This can be done by maintaining the grass and any plants, presenting a clean walkway, touching up the paint if need be, and more.
Enter the Modern Age
Worn finishes and creaky, old appliances won't score you any points for being vintage. Instead, consider saying goodbye to these relics of the past and enhancing your home with more modern touches, like quartz countertops or stainless-steel appliances. Appraisers will place more value on these sorts of higher-end details. Of course, it's always worth talking to your agent about which upgrades make the most sense for your home.
With that said, however, it's important not to cater your home to one specific niche. Pricey upgrades may not make as much sense as they do on paper – you may not even recoup those expenses in the sale.
The ultimate takeaway is to ensure your home is well-kept. Even a home with outdated stylings could sell well if it's been maintained with care and consistency over the years.
If there are repairs you haven't completed by the appraisal, be honest with your appraiser. The desire to hide them may be strong – no one is proud to admit they haven't gotten that cracked foundation fixed yet – but it will only hurt you in the long run.
By telling your appraiser of any needed repairs, they can possibly factor the costs of said repairs into the appraisal. Otherwise, they may use a general figure, which could end up hurting your value. If you intend to have the repairs done yourself, the appraiser may need to return to confirm their completion.
Have more questions about getting a high appraisal? Contact a Watson agent today for more info!
If you're looking for a new home, one thing you may be thinking about is gardening and landscaping. Many homes have plenty of yard space for growing plants. You may want a home with room for something else, too: a compost pile. If you've never had one before, they're a great tool for anyone with a green thumb. Here's how to start your first compost pile.
Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. One of the best ways to sell your home quickly and increase your sale price is through proper home staging. Home staging is both an art and a science and often takes a good bit of experience to pull it off just right. Our real estate agents are experts at home staging and are always willing to offer tips to help you through the process.
If there's one thing we could all take from the lovely people of Denmark, it's the concept of hygge. Pronounced hyoo-ga, hygge encapsulates all that is cozy and comfortable. But beyond the material aspects of hygge, there exists a desire to enjoy life's simple pleasures, to pause and find contentment amidst the chaos of living. What better place to introduce hygge into your life than your house? Here's how to incorporate hygge into your home and create a personal sanctuary.
Bright color schemes might be bold, but they don't exactly align with the goals of hygge. After all, hygge emphasizes the simple pleasures. Keep your space uncluttered and clean and your color scheme neutral. Browns, creams, and similar colors encourage peaceful, relaxing feelings.
Cozy & Comfortable
Life is hard, so we should prioritize coziness at all possible opportunities. In your home, that means lots of cozy blankets, fluffy pillows, and feathery comforters. Another great way to incorporate hygge into your home is by creating a cozy nook or corner to which you can retreat when things get a little hectic.
Further increase the coziness of your space by lighting a few candles. Pick scents that calm you and your candles will serve as a great self-care tool. But it's not just the scent you're after; the soft, radiant light provide the perfect comforting glow.
Casual Dress Code
What you wear at home contributes just as much to hygge as the décor. So leave the jeans and dresses in the closet and opt for your coziest pair of sweatpants and fuzzy socks. If you really want to commit, grab yourself a pair of hyggebuksers.
Let There Be Light
The gentle glow of candlelight sometimes isn't enough. Open up those curtains, lift the blinds, and let as much natural light in as possible. Those soothing pillars of sunlight become invaluable for comfort in the chilly winter.
Bring the Outside Inside
Greenery in the form of plants are a great way to liven up the atmosphere in any room of your home, especially in your cozy nooks. Even if you don't have a great track record of keeping plants alive, you can still capture the ambience of the elements with wood accents in floors, furniture, and other décor pieces.
Light a Fire
If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, set a fire to create warmth – an essential piece of the hygge mindset. Few things can improve a relaxing night cuddle up on the couch under layers of blankets like a roaring fire.
Ready to reimagine your kitchen? Or tackle that backyard project? Or maybe you're just finally ready to declutter and reorganize. Perhaps you don't even know what it is you want to do with your house; you just know you want change. Never fear! We've got New Year's resolutions for your home to inspire you.
Give Your Stuff a Home
Over the course of a year, we tend to accumulate lots of stuff. If you don't keep a handle on it, you can find your drawers, cabinets, closets, and counters overflowing with heaps of stuff that maybe doesn't belong there. Make it a resolution to give all that homeless stuff a place where it can live comfortably – preferably somewhere neat, tidy, and out of the way. Decluttering in this way not only frees up useful space, it'll make your home feel even roomier than before.
You'll likely have a lot of stuff that doesn't make the cut after this process. Instead of just tossing it, consider donating it to a local organization that will give it to those in need.
Restock & Organize Your Pantry & Fridge
Unless you're hyper-diligent when putting away groceries, chances are you've got a lot of clutter in your pantry, cabinets, fridge, and freezer. Dedicate some time to reorganizing theses pivotal kitchen spaces: sort out the items you'll use/eat from the things you won't, store frequently used items like flour and sugar in airtight containers to minimize the amount of unwieldy bags taking up space, and reorganize what remains in a clean, sensible fashion. It'll make cooking feel like much less of a chore when everything you need is where it should be.
Make Your Home Safe
We mean safe in two ways: safe from intruders and safe for yourself.
First, intruders. If you don't already have one, maybe this is the year to have a security system installed. They're incredibly sophisticated these days, allowing you to control many features remotely from your phone. Pair it with a smart doorbell and cameras and you'll feel safer than ever in your home.
Speaking of feeling safer in your home, sometimes it's the unseen threats that you should worry about. Invisible invaders like radon and carbon monoxide can endanger everyone living in your home. Check for radon with an inexpensive testing kit from your local hardware store. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every bedroom floor as well to monitor this deadly gas.
While we're on the topic of unseen threats, have you cleared out your dryer lint lately? Not the relatively paltry amounts caught in the trap inside the dryer, but rather the lint in the vents and ducts behind the machine? With even just a reasonable amount of lint buildup in those areas, you could be looking at a major fire hazard.
New year, fresh start – what better time to give your house a deep, deep clean? Go room to room and scrub, dust, vacuum, wipe, and just generally sanitize every nook and cranny you normally glance over during your regular cleaning sessions.
Be More Eco-Friendly
Going green at home doesn't have to mean installing solar panels (though that doesn't hurt). It can happen in smaller but just as impacting ways, like recycling more than just your soda cans. From compost to cardboard and glass to grease, organize your recyclable materials into appropriate bins and dispose of them properly – your local recycling center can help you figure out the best way to approach this.
Going green can also save you money on your power bill, and who doesn't want that? Seemingly little things like turning the lights off when you're not in the room or cutting off your AC when you're gone can help the environment and your wallet. Installing LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads that use less electricity and water, respectively, are other beneficial ways to save money and the planet.
It's chilly, blustery, and it gets dark as soon as you leave work – yep, it's winter. For many Floridians who view the cold weather as a personal attack, that means spending less time outside until spring's warm touch returns. But if you're determined to get outside despite the chilly weather – especially in your backyard – you can make it happen. Here's how to make the most of your backyard during winter.
The best way to combat the cold? Heat things up! Install a firepit in your backyard for the ultimate winter hang-out spot where you can roast marshmallows with the family. If a firepit won't work for your yard, add some heat lamps to create a toasty atmosphere.
Part of what makes winter hard for some people is the seemingly inescapable darkness. Depending on your schedule, it might be dark when you go to work and dark when you get home. That's why adding lights to the backyard goes a long way towards brightening things up literally and figuratively. You have tons of options, too: LED, solar, path marker, string lights, spotlights, and more.
Swap out your summer furniture for more winter-appropriate items. Or if you can't, just cozy your usual furniture up! We're talking warm rugs, blankets, pillows, anything that makes you feel safe and snuggly. Do make sure whatever you use is weather-resistant, though, lest your cozy days be ruined by ruined furniture.
Grilling doesn't have to be a summer-exclusive habit. Especially in Florida where we rarely get truly frosty weather, you should keep grilling all winter long! Wear an extra layer and enjoy the radiant heat from the flame as you flip your burgers.
If you're in a position to, get a hot tub for your backyard! It's an immaculate luxury item, and there's nothing quite as exhilarating as spending an evening soaking in the hot tub on a frigid 32-degree night.
In addition to installing lighting to raise spirits, adding some color to your backyard surroundings can have a similar effect. Plant some colorful flowers that thrive in the winter, like Japanese quince, pansies, snowdrops, winter jasmines, or cyclamen.
Hang garland, put up Christmas lights, accessorize your outdoor furniture with wintry color schemes, and more to get your backyard holiday-ready.
Home value is a tricky thing. Factors that are out of your control – the market, your neighborhood, and more – can cause your home's value to inflate and deflate. But there are ways to control your home's value, and that's why we're here. Whether your budget is big or small, we've gathered an assortment of projects that will help maximize your home's value.
Great things often come in small packages. The same applies to home renovations and maintenance projects designed to maximize your home's value. Sure, installing a brand-new roof or completely remodeling your kitchen will likely boost value, but those sorts of projects will also drain your budget fast. Focus on smaller-scale projects to see big payoffs in the long run.
Inspectors can identify flaws in your home that you didn't even know were there. Once you know they exist, you can take steps to remedy them.
You can't magically change your square footage, but you can rely on visual tricks to give the illusion of greater space. Replace heavy curtains with blinds to let in more light – natural light helps a room feel more open. You could also try adding a large mirror to essentially double the space.
First impressions matter, so make sure your home always makes a strong one with high curb appeal. Refresh the exterior paint if it needs it, decorate your front door, and consider adding accent items like light fixtures or furniture to your home's walkway as ways to ensure your home presents a handsome exterior.
Keep your lawn neat and tidy with regular landscaping can be a major factor in maximizing your home's value. Shrubs, colorful plants, and flowers can liven up your yard as well, but make sure to keep everything trimmed and well-manicured.
Planting a tree has a long-term payoff, but it's well worth it if you don't plan on selling anytime soon. A fully grown mature tree boosts curb appeal and can help with cooling costs by providing shade. Consider it a solid investment that boosts your home's value in the future.
You may not live in a multi-million-dollar beachfront mansion, but that doesn't mean you can't add affordable luxuries on a smaller scale. For instance, installing a water filtration system to your kitchen sink not only gives you clean water to drink without having to constantly drop money on water bottles, but it's also the kind of touch that will attract homeowners.
A fresh coat of paint always helps to liven up rooms or your curb appeal, and for those reasons it can have a positive impact on your home value.
Cleaning the house might just be a weekend ritual in your house, but if you're looking to sell, it can make a huge difference. Clean houses look better, feel better, and typically have a better chance at selling.
You're probably familiar with the concept of winter home maintenance. Floridians don't exactly have a lot to worry about in winter, but summer? The brutal heat and humidity summer brings can affect your home in unsuspecting ways. Keep your house protected during the hot months with this inclusive summer home maintenance checklist.
Start your summer home maintenance checklist by tending to your home's biggest ally against the sweltering sun: the air conditioner. If you have a central AC unit, a professional servicing may be in order. Check, clean, or replace filters for both central units and window units. Be proactive to ensure your AC doesn't fail mid-summer.
Airflow is crucial in keeping your home cool during summer months, so give your ceiling and room fans some love. Use a damp rag to wipe down the blades. For room fans, remove the casing and dust away the detritus that blocks airflow.
Applying a sun-blocking window screen or cover keeps your home cooler in an energy-efficient way. They also help to keep summertime bugs and dirt outside where they belong. While you're at it, re-caulk the seals on your windows and doors to boost your energy efficiency.
Keep an eye out for rotting or loose siding – it can be a haven for dust, sap, dirt, bird droppings, and any number of things that can spell trouble in the long run. If you have brick or concrete, give it a good power wash. Heat can also do a number on paint, so check for peeling, fading, or chipping in your exterior paint. Refreshing with a new coat not only protects your home, it also pumps up your curb value!
Summertime is grilling season! To clean charcoal grills, empty all charcoal and ash, then wash it with hot water, a scrubber, and soap. Let it dry fully before using again. For a gas grill, turn the heat up high and let it cook with the lid closed for half an hour. Once it cools, scrape the grill with a sturdy brush. Wipe down the exterior with a damp sponge and cleanser and empty the drip pans.
Clogged exhaust fans annoy with their loud wheezing, but they can also reduce airflow. Simply remove the covering and use an attachment to vacuum out the dust.
Summer in Florida also means lots of thunderstorms. Give your roof a thorough inspection for any missing shingles, cracks, sags, or other structural concerns to prevent a much larger accident.
Just like the sun's damaging effects on your home's paint, your deck and/or patio can take a lot of hurt from the heat of summer – not to mention the wear and tear of near-daily thunderstorms. And since you'll likely be using your deck more in the summer, it's a good time to give it a good power wash and maybe a new finish.
Regular landscaping can help your yard stay strong and healthy even in the punishing summer heat. Pull out weeds and mow regularly to reduce potential infestations and encourage healthy growth. Adding new layers of mulch can also help choke out weeds and retain moisture.
Summer storms can put a lot of strain on your gutters with lots of water and debris. Make a point to regularly clean them out to prevent leaks and further damage.