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Five Cheap and Effective Staging Ideas

Appearance is crucial when selling your home. Making your home look sensational will go a long way in being able to get what you want out of the property. It’s here that staging comes into play. But many homeowners aren’t able to afford the cost of a professional stager. Thankfully, you don’t have to turn to a professional. There are a number of things that you can do on your own to transform the look of your home.

#1 Pack up your personal items.

Packing up all of your personal effects is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to prep your condo or home for sale. Removing your personal touches will help a potential buyer to see the home as their own. Sometimes your personal items can make that difficult. Pictures, artwork and other decor are more distracting than you realize. Hide them in the basement or a storage space while conducting tours.

#2 Get rid of the clutter.

Getting rid of any excess clutter is a great way to get potential buyers to look at your home. Sometimes emotional attachments can make throwing out clutter difficult. It’s easy to gather clutter if you have lived in the same home for years. Excess items can have a negative impact on how your potential buyers view your property. De-clutter your home as much as you can to attract more buyers.

#3 Rearrange and neutralize your rooms.

Even though you might enjoy the blue walls in your bedroom, that doesn’t mean a potential buyer will. Loud or eclectic design elements might make a potential buyer think about all of the work that they have to put into the home. The best thing you can do is to repaint your rooms a neutral color, like white, tan or cream. This will appeal to more buyers and allow them to visualize their own decor in the home.

Consider rearranging the furniture in your rooms to increase their functionality. Think about how to show potential buyers how much they could do with a room. Maximizing space is crucial when selling a home.

stagging

#4 Eliminate smells and stains by deodorizing and scrubbing your home.

No buyer wants to walk into a home that is dirty and smelly. The best thing you can do is scrub everything from floor to ceiling before having an open house. You don’t want any dirt, dust or odors lurking around the home. You want to make sure your property shines as much as you can. Greet buyers with a clean, fresh smell in every room. If you’re short on time, hire a cleaning service. A pro will save you time and ensure a spotless home.

#5 Replace the hardware around your home.

Most homeowners can afford to replace the hardware around their home. Focus on your doors and kitchen first. Next, make your way through the rest of the home. Swapping out your old hardware with new hardware can make a big difference in how your cabinets and doors look.

Conclusion

In going through the tips above, you can quickly transform the appearance of your home. Even making these small changes can make a major difference in how potential buyers view your home. You don’t need to spend a fortune staging your home. Instead, invest some time and effort in making a difference in the way your home looks.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

How To Have The Coolest Home In The Neighborhood

It’s the American way to always be looking for the next big thing. Whether you’re just looking for some cool new additions to your home décor, want the latest tech, or need to figure out a few new ways to make life easier, these products will get you there.

1. Self-cleaning sheets

Do you wash your bedding as much as you should? These sheets will actually help you out with that.

“Founded by the creators of The SleepClean Pillowcase, Silvon just introduced a line of bacteria-resistant sheets,” said Elle Décor. “Uniquely, the company doesn’t produce its linens with chemicals or nanotechnology—but rather with silver, a naturally bacteria-resistant substance. When the silver-infused linens come in contact with bacteria cells, the positively charged silver ions attack the DNA of the bacteria, hindering the cell’s ability to reproduce.”

Silvon sheets are available as a preorder on Kickstarter, where their original $20,000 campaign has now reached $537,824.

2. A machine that helps with your laundry

You may have already seen the Foldimate. It went viral last month because it actually FOLD S CLOTHES FOR YOU.

“Completing the robot takeover of our laundry chores, the appliance is designed as a third addition to the washing machine and clothes dryer you have lined up in the basement,” said Cool Things. “That way, you don’t just have to leave the laundry room with your clothes properly washed and dried, you can come out with every item neatly folded, too.

Personally, we’ll like to see a next-generation unit that can hang stuff up. Maybe that’ll happen before the Foldimate, which is still in development, goes to market—currently slated for 2018.

clothfolder

3. A refrigerator that’s helps you write your grocery list

We’ve written about the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator before, when it debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But back then it just seemed like a cool novelty. Now that it’s out there in stores and being advertised on TV, we’re kind of obsessed.

“The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator has a 21.5-inch 1080p screen, which can be used to display recipes, a calendar, notes and more. The screen can also be used to stream TV and music — and screw sticking your shopping list on the door, you can out and out order your groceries on it,” said techradar. “And the Family Hub has another trick up its sleeve, in the shape of built-in cameras that show you what’s in the fridge. You can view the contents from your smartphone wherever you are — so if you get to the shop and aren’t sure if you need to buy milk you can just take a look on your phone.”

Refrigerator

4. Transparent speakers

Not loving the way traditional speakers look in your house? No problem. Just go transparent.

“Transparent speakers usually just show off internal components or an LED-illuminated chamber full of bubbles. Not the Turtle Beach HyperSound Glass, though,” said Geek. “These are transparent speakers that you can actually see right through. There’s no cone. There’s no voice coil. No magnet, no dust cap, no terminals. The HyperSound Glass is just a black stand and a rectangular frame that surrounds a completely translucent panel.”

Even better, the sound is directional. “The ‘stream’ of ultrasound they send out is highly focused, and it gradually becomes audible sound as it reaches its intended target. Listeners just a few feet away won’t hear a thing.”

hypersound-glass

5. The coolest chair you’ll ever make yourself

Think Lego meets IKEA meets haute home. This multifunctional chair called SPYNDI from Lithuanian designer Mindaugas Žilionis uses 60 handmade wooden elements that click together and can be fashioned into as many shapes as you can come up with.

“In just 15 minutes you can turn this pile of sticks into many different chairs, lounges and tables,” said Bored Panda. “The human spine-inspired project has already reached full funding on Kickstarter!”

chair

6. Next-level weather display

Weather apps are so yesterday. This ambient weather display doesn’t just tell you the weather, it shows you. “The tempescope is an ambient physical display that visualizes various weather conditions like rain, clouds, and lightning. Based on weather forecasts from the internet, it can reproduce tomorrow’s sky in your living room,” said Tempescope.

This product is not yet available.

Tempescope-Ambient-Weather-Display

7. Keep track of what’s going on at home

There are tons of drop cams you can use to provide home security and also watch over your kids and pets at home. We love Circle, which lets you “See, save and share what’s happening at home from your mobile device,” they said. Our favorite feature: the fact that you can listen in and even talk through the device. The ability to say “Hi” to your dog while on your lunch break? Yes, please!

8. Remote pet play

Not enough to just watch your pets and have a few words with them while you’re gone for the day? With PlayDate, you can also play with them right through the camera. “Play with your dog or cat from anywhere using a smart ball that you control from your mobile device,” said Indiegogo. “You can control PlayDate’s smart ball remotely from your iOS or Android device after downloading our free app from the App Store or Google Play.

Imagine being able to play with your dog when you’re not at home.”

This product is currently being crowdfunded, with $483,407 raised as of the end of May 2016. Check out the video here.

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Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

10 DIY Home Improvements Even a Beginner Can Handle

So you just bought a house that needs some work, but you are a short on cash and ever shorter on the skills needed to fix up your place. Not to worry! There are plenty of home improvement projects even the most beginner of DIYers can handle.

In fact, here are 10 such projects that can work for practically every budget and skill level. We’ll start with the very easiest of projects and then add some more interesting ones once you feel you’ve gotten the hang of some of them.

1. Painting

One of the easiest ways to spruce up the look and feel of your house is by painting. Whether painting just an accent wall, a whole room or the entire exterior of your house, painting is easy enough for anyone to tackle.

Just make sure to clean the walls before you paint, always tape the edges, and never roll horizontally!

2. Garage organization

Not every home has a garage, but if you do, it’s most likely messy and disorganized. Adding a permanent organization system to your garage is a great way not only to free up usable space but also to add some perceived value to your property.

Phoenix garage-organization-10

Having a designated place for all of your tools, your yard equipment, athletic and outdoor gear and anything else you might be carrying around is much better than just stuffing them into a corner of the garage.

3. Landscaping

Curb appeal. It’s often the top reason cited why potential buyers won’t buy a house. If the house looks ugly on the outside, it will probably be ugly on the inside. Having a great first impression is key when buying a home.

The best way to make that great first impression is to have a well-manicured front yard. Sod, trees, shrubbery, annuals and more are just some of the basics any beginner DIYer can install and maintain to keep his or her curb appeal dazzling.

Phoenix Landscaping

Curb appeal is often the top reason cited why potential buyers won’t buy a house.

4. Door hardware

Every home has doors, yet not everyone knows there are thousands of ways you can decorate your doors. The easiest way to do that is to replace the hardware on your doors.

Whether it’s your front door, your bedroom door or some cabinet doors, changing up the hardware can have as much impact on a room as painting it.

Changing up the hardware can have as much impact on a room as painting it.

Change the color of the hinges from gold to black. Replace an old knob with a fancy lever. Add an electronic keypad to your front door so you never have to worry about forgetting your keys!

5. Deck staining

Like painting, staining is a fantastic way to change the look and feel of an area from drab to luxurious. Pressure washing and staining a deck to a darker color can make your deck feel like new, and it gives discerning buyers what they want.

Staining is a fantastic way to change the look and feel of an area from drab to luxurious.

6. Light fixtures

Do you want to make a room look more contemporary? How about that modern look? Or farm-house chic?

One of the best ways to enhance the look of your home is by changing the light fixtures. And yes, even a beginner DIYer can handle changing a light fixture.

If you can tie shoe laces, you can wire a light fixture. Just be sure always to turn the electrical break off before starting any electrical project.

7. Mirror framing

Have you ever looked into your bathroom mirror after you’ve taken a shower and realized you weren’t the only naked thing in the room?

Most mirrors are simply just a plate of glass with nothing else around them.

To upgrade the look, find a large picture frame at an antique store or farmer’s market. (Or buy a new mirror to fit inside of an existing picture frame.) Then, hang that picture frame around your mirror for that luxurious look.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always custom make your own frame using baseboard molding. Just be sure to cut your corners at a 45-degree angle.

8. Ceiling fans

In warmer climates, ceiling fans are an absolute must. Or, if you live in a place where you don’t have to run the air conditioner often but still want air circulation, you need a ceiling fan.

Like light fixtures, ceiling fans are similarly installed and can change the look and feel of a room in an instant.

Ceiling Fan Installation

9. Insulation

Although most beginner DIYers like to look at their new improvements with pride and joy when they finish installing them, insulation is one improvement that your brain will enjoy more than your heart.

You won’t be able to see the fruits of your labor when you’re done installing new blown or rolled insulation into your attic and walls. But, your wallet will be reaping the rewards of your efforts once your heating and cooling bills are reduced.

10. Carpeting

If you can wrap a present in wrapping paper, you are one step away from installing new carpets in your home.

Like wrapping a present, carpeting simply involves measuring, cutting, rolling and adhering.

Carpets can be worn out in less than five years. Replacing your carpet (and carpet padding underneath) will certainly add value to your home. Plus, nothing feels better on your toes than fresh, new carpets!

As with any renovation or improvement project to your home, make sure you consult with your community homeowner’s association (if you have one) to make sure the changes are in line with the community restrictions.

And acquire any permits necessary to be in compliance with your local ordinances.

And finally, when in doubt, there’s nothing wrong with throwing in the towel and hiring a professional. The easiest home improvement project you can do is sit on your couch and watch other people do the work for you!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Buying A New Home? These 4 Upgrades Are A Must!

For new-home buyers, they have some tough decisions to make: Which extra features are worth the extra money and which ones aren’t? Some upgrades buyers can easily put off without breaking the bank. But for others, buyers may be wise to get them done right away.

Read more: Cementing Partnerships in New Construction
Realtor.com® recently featured an article on some of the easiest upgrades to add to a new home now that could save time, money, and headaches later on. Among the upgrades to do now:

1. Cable conduits: This can be one way to future-proof a home. “Yes, smart home features are increasingly going wireless, but that doesn’t mean you should skip running cable conduits throughout the house—especially if you see a big home theater or full-home sound system in your future, both of which work best plugged in directly,” the realtor.com® article notes. “Adding an extensive system of cable conduits can make hooking up entertainment much simpler.”

Cable Conduets

2. Radiant heating: This is integrated into the floor, which makes doing it during the construction phase a lot easier than after. Buyers likely will pay at least $6 per foot for their system in new construction. Those adding it later will likely pay double that – or more. Also, consider confining radiant heating into one room because it “actually can be a limiting factor in future design changes, since the contractor will need to work around it or replace it by zones,” says Ken Streiff, a Minnesota contractor and builder with 20 years of industry experience.

Radiant floor heating

3. Outdoor outlets: Adding outlets later on can cost upward of $250 each. Adding them during construction when the walls are still open can be much cheaper.

Outdoor Outlets

4. Accessibility: You never know what the future holds. Consider making hallways and doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Reinforce bathroom walls to make adding grab bars later on easier — and with no need to open up the walls. Also, consider the location of switches and outlets and don’t make them too high or too low.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

10 WAYS TO QUICKLY UP YOUR HOME VALUE FOR A SUMMER SALE

Planning to sell your home this summer? You may have a little – or a lot – to do in order to get your home market ready. But you don’t need a huge budget. These 10 tips can help you get it looking great with little effort, and cash.

1. Paint

Crisp white walls are great in a 1920s Spanish. For most other homes, a splash of color is an easy way to warm up the space, make it look more updated, and banish fingerprints and stains. Use a soft neutral like one of these favorite gray shades for a modern look.

2. Address your front door

A fresh coat of paint on your front door is a quick fix that pops with potential. Use a bright color like red or yellow to differentiate your home from others and make it shine from the street.

If your door really can’t be salvaged by painting it, you’ll be happy to know that replacing it with a new steel door has been shown to return between 75% and 100%+ of your investment. “It’s also a relatively low-cost project,” said Houselogic. “According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report,” a new steel front entry door has a national median cost of $2,000 installed.”

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3. Quick curb appeal

Aside from your door, a few easy tasks can make the front of your home look great – important when you’re looking to sell your home since poor curb appeal can keep potential buyers from even coming inside. A new layer of mulch has been called the easiest and quickest way to add curb appeal. Pulling noticeable weeds, giving the lawn a quick mow, and bringing in fresh flowers – if you can’t plant, put a few pots near the front door—can make all the difference.

4. New appliances

Even if the rest of your kitchen needs work, new stainless steel appliances can tempt buyers. This package from US Appliance is just $1,749.

Applicance

If you end up with a fancy new fridge you don’t want to leave behind, make sure to let your real estate agent know so it’s stipulated in the contract.

5. Quickie bathroom updates

A new or painted vanity, hardware, fixtures, and lighting can make a tired bathroom look fresh again. Don’t forget the little things – a fluffy set of towels, a nice rug, a modern shower curtain, and sleek accessories can make the space look good, even if it’s really in need of a gut job.

6. New bedding

You’d be surprised how new bedding can transform the look of your bedroom for next to nothing. There are two schools of thought here: get a cheap bed-in-a-bag set that looks nice but probably doesn’t have the thread count you want for everyday use, or spend a little more for something that has the looks and the luxe.

7. Create a guest room

Have a room that’s currently an undefined space? A blowup bed covered in some chic bedding can help buyers envision how they’ll use the room. This is a top tip from stagers, who say that “multipurpose” rooms can confuse buyers, leaving them unsure if a home will work for them.

8. Set the scene outdoors

Everybody is into indoor-outdoor living the days. A few tricks outside can make your place look inviting.

Create a seating area with some inexpensive outdoor furniture. Scour garage sales or catch a sale at Home Depot or Target. Put up an umbrella for shade and use inexpensive pavers or deck tiles to define the space. Stage it for outdoor dining and you’ve just created valuable, usable space buyers can see themselves enjoying.

Outdoor Furniture

9. Steal a few staging tips

Hire a professional stager and it can set you back a couple thousand dollars. But you can steal a few of their most important tricks for free. Cleaning like you’ve never cleaned before, decluttering, and paring down your furniture to create inviting seating areas will allow buyers to see the space instead of your stuff (or your mess).

10. Window coverings

If your window coverings are ugly, old, and not doing your house justice, or if they’re keeping too much light from streaming into the home, consider taking them down. Natural light is high on almost every buyer’s must-have list. You can purchase inexpensive drapes at any big box store that you can use to frame the windows – but remember to keep them open at showings, and to clean your windows first!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

8 EASY AND CHEAP THINGS YOU CAN DO TO TRANSFORM YOUR BATHROOM

Cringing every time you walk into your bathroom? You don’t need to rip the whole thing out. “Reviving a tired washroom needn’t require a total overhaul,” said This Old House.

Indeed, small changes can help make it feel new again, and many of them are easy enough for you to do by yourself. Careful attention to the right materials can also keep these updates super affordable.

1. Paint

Choose a neutral color if you want a soothing backdrop for pops of color in your accessories, or a bolder shade that can create a glam space.

Or, “Create a striking monochromatic effect by painting walls to match your floors, as was done in this sunny space,” said This Old House.

This Old House

This Old House

2. Forget the walls; paint your vanity instead!

A painted vanity can take your bathroom from blah to beautiful in an instant. Adding some bold hardware and matching fixtures is the extra touch that your bathroom needs to really shine. Here, the golden hues play beautifully off of the turquoise and white, but chrome would work equally well.

Decor Pad
décor pad

3. Replace your vanity

If your vanity’s not worth salvaging, it might be time for a new one. The DIY Network calls a vanity replacement an “easy bathroom makeover” and provides step-by-step instructions. When it comes to what to replace the old one with, you can scour stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot for sales or check out places like Second and Surplus. This 24-inch, soft close vanity with undermount sink is only $299.

Seconds and Surplus
Seconds and Surplus

4. Address your floors

If your bathroom floors are grungy or grimy, a good scrubbing with a heavy-duty product is step one. But if your tile is old and ugly or you have vinyl that’s seen better days, it might just be time to replace it. Laying new flooring might not be a DIY job depending what you have (We tried to do our own tile once, and we won’t be repeating that mistake anytime soon.).

Our easy answer for ugly floors we’re not ready to replace: a good throw rug. It’s an easy and cheap, albeit temporary solution that can help distract you from a poor floor. Tip: get the biggest size you can find, which may mean buying a rug that’s not necessarily intended for the bathroom. Be sure to ask the sales associate if the material is water resistant or you could end up with a mold problem.

Timberline Custom Homes
Timberline Custom Homes

5. Create a spa shower

You don’t need thousands to create a shower that feels like you’re in a resort. The Dreamspa Temperature Sensitive LED Combination Shower Head is under $80, and gives you a three-way water diverter, 30 water flow patterns, and even changes colors depending on the water temperature.

Prefer a rainhead? “They’re softer and less grating, making each shower feel like a special occasion, not an obligation,” said Elle Decor. “It doesn’t have to be a big investment, either: This highly-rated rainfall-style showerhead costs less than $40.

6. Add shelving

Whether you lack storage or just want to add a focal point to your walls, open shelving may be your answer.

Care2
Care2

7. Cover up problem walls

Walls not looking so great? In many older homes, the texture can be uneven or problematic, and paint may not do the trick. Installing beadboard is an easy solution you can do on your own.

“Thriftier than most wall tile and less maintenance than wood, beadboard paneling made from cellular PVC stands up to sloshing and never needs to be painted,” said This Old House. If white is too traditional for you, that’s nothing a can of paint can’t fix.

Pinterest
Pinterest

8. Change out your lighting

You’d be surprised how big an impact a new light fixture can make in your bathroom. Not only will it bring a fresh, new focal point, but the light it gives off may also improve the entire look of the room. This easy DIY job can be done in a jif- the hardest part will probably picking out your new fixture!

Decoist
Decoist

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Top 10 Home Apps to Download Now

With smartphones, wireless technology, and nearly continuous connectivity, the options to help you manage and upgrade your home are just a click away. Dozens of free or low-cost home apps can help with every project and chore – ranging from starting a budget-friendly luxury home design project to managing your smart home technology.

But which ones are the best to download? There are literally millions of apps available—including 1.6 million for Android devices and over 1.5 million apps for Apple devices—and it can be challenging to even stumble upon the ones that are useful. Here, we’ve gathered 10 of our favorites that are both easy to use and helpful for managing, maintaining and upgrading your home.

SnapGuide
snapguide

Snapguide app for DIY projects

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS
Category: DIY Home projects

This how-to app is a crowd-sourced guide of home design projects. It contains everything from refreshing furniture with colorful paint and homemade throw pillows to more complex projects like building a stone fireplace with a wood-burning stove or a barn door. There are also snap guides for gardening, cooking, entertaining, and more. You can show off your own handiwork by creating your own guide to share through the app.

TapPainter

tappainter-ipad-header
Tappainter app for home decor

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS
Category: Home design – painting

Adding paint in the right color can make your space feel vibrant and fresh. But it can feel intimidating to add interior color other than a new shade of white or beige. TapPainter is a home app that lets you try out new hues before shelling out for the gallons of custom-mixed color. Take a photo of your space and TapPainter will analyze the change in interior lighting and adjust the color brightness based on the lighting in the photo. You’ll instantly see if that rich red will make the room too dark, or if that bright yellow looks sickly fluorescent. And you won’t have to fear adding color on your walls.

ColorSnap Visualizer

colorsnap-visualizer
ColorSnap Visualizer from Sherwin-Williams

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Category: Home design – painting

Some of the most harmonious color combinations are found in nature—think of a beautiful mountain landscape, a beach scene, the desert, or an open field of wildflowers. With this Sherwin-Williams branded home app, you can take any one of your favorite photos and use it for paint color inspiration. The app will let you match colors in the photo into a coordinating Sherwin-Williams paint palette that will give your space a warm and inviting feel. Or use the tool to match paint colors to coordinate with existing furnishings, bedding, pillows, or anything else in your space.

Adornably

Adornably
Adornably furniture design app

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS
Category: Home design

Before you invest in an expensive new sofa or any upholstered furniture, snap a picture of your space and start using Adornably to virtually redecorate. The home app allows you to place furniture and customize the upholstery to find a smart new look before you buy. Once you find a piece that looks the way you want it, you can order it through the app. Instead of waiting months to get your new furniture, the custom pieces typically leave the factory within a week of ordering.

Home Depot

home-depot
Home depot home remodeling app

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Category: Home design

Start any DIY home design project, or get ideas for refreshing your space, from the comfort of your couch. This shopping and remodeling home app will help you get ideas for renovating your kitchen or bathroom, improving your outdoor space, upgrading to better lighting, installing ceiling fans, adding hardwood flooring, and more. You can make and save shopping lists, find item quickly in your local store and even check on inventory to make sure it’s in stock. Purchase items right through the app and pick them up in your local store, or have them shipped directly to your front door.

iScape

iscape
iscape landscaping app

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Category: Outdoor landscaping

A beautifully landscaped yard can give your home instant curb appeal. But before you start digging up the yard or buy several flats of flowers, you can pre-plan your gardening and landscaping with iScape. The intuitive, visual planning tool lets you snap a photo of your yard and start dragging and dropping new landscape features. You can change out the grass, add in flowerbeds, trees, planters, and lawn ornaments into your design. Once you’ve created your virtual landscape design, you can use your finished image as a guide for your own DIY project or to clearly communicate your design ideas to a hired landscaper.

SmartThings

smartthings_app
SmartThings app

App cost: Free + SmartThings kit ($300)
Platform: iOS
Category: Smart home control

SmartThings turns your iPhone into a remote control for all of your devices. You will need to add the SmartThings kit—which comes with a hub and variety of sensors—to network all of your appliances and convert them into smart devices. The system can add security with motion sensors and capture activity in your home via video. It allows you to control and automate lighting and energy settings to maximize efficiency and savings. And you can have your appliances automatically brew your coffee, start cooking dinner, or play your wakeup music on your pre-programmed schedule. And in case you leave the TV on after leaving the house, you can easily turn it off remotely via the app.

Ninja Blocks

Ninja_blocks_app
Ninja blocks smart home app

App cost: Free + Ninja Block hardware ($200)
Platform: iOS and Android
Category: Smart home control

Fully connect your home to your smartphone through Ninja Blocks. The hardware and app combination allow you to seamlessly merge the controls of your smart lights, power, media, monitors and motion sensors without complicated wiring and configuration. The difference with Ninja Blocks is that it’s the ultimate device for technology enthusiasts who like to tinker. The open source platform allows anyone to code for their own Ninja Blocks. You’re encouraged to customize and hack your hardware and design the controls to work the way you want them to work.

Handy

handy_app
Handy home cleaning and repair services app

App cost: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Category: Home maintenance

Don’t have time to clean your house, or need a little extra help to get the job done regularly? Use the Handy app to find a vetted cleaner who can take care of those chores. Their roster of experienced professionals who have been background-checked and insured, are available as soon as the next day for cleaning services. Handy’s cleaning services are currently in 35 cities, and some locations also have home repair and handyman services, such as furniture assembly, TV and shelf mounting, interior painting, and moving help.

HomeSpot HQ

HomeSpot-HQ
HomeSpot HQ home maintenance app

App cost: Free
Platform: Web-based app – all platform
Category: Home maintenance

HomeSpot HQ will help you keep track of all of your home’s maintenance and improvement projects all in one place. It delivers any reminders that you set – for example, changing the A/C filters or the smoke detector batteries, cleaning out the gutters—so that you never forget to take care of routine chores. Make to-do task lists and shopping lists and use the weekend planner to get bigger improvement projects done. The app also allows you to organize user manuals, paint colors, and part numbers in your account so you never misplace important repair information.

Do you have any favorite home apps not included in this list? Let us know about them in the comments.

Are you planning a home improvement project to prepare your home for resale? If so, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional for advice on how to list and price your property to maximize your profit.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

HOME IMPROVEMENTS THAT REALLY INCREASE YOUR ROI

Now, most of us know that there are plenty of things we can do in a home to bring an improvement, as far as our preferences go. But how many of these improvements actually bring in a return on investment (ROI) if or when an actual selling time approaches?

As our likes may not be the likes of others, improving according to our preferences doesn’t necessarily give us more bang for our bucks, as some commonly say.

That said, our article below centers on what are some of the areas of improvement that stand a better chance of a high ROI once they get done. Let’s start with the two most important and used rooms in average homes: the bathroom and kitchen area.

Small or Larger Bathroom Remodel or Renovation Project

Now, we’re speaking about an upgrade or remodel job and not a full bathroom addition. Even small changes such as replacing or tearing down old, mildew stained wallpaper and using a fresh coat of paint will go a long way.

Replacing older lighting with a system that you can actually see better with, usually can be done without emptying your checking account. Adding a new vanity, a new tile floor and even something as minor as changing the hardware or fixtures can all be done today for less than $700.

Converting a walk-in closet into a powder-room with toilet and sink can really bring in about 15 percent for an updated bathroom area–not including plumbing expenses.

home improvements

Concerning kitchens, you don’t need to start by a massive overhaul–simply do one item at a time. For instance, removing a stained sink or old microwave or refrigerator for newer, energy-efficient models add big value to your home at selling time. Later, if needed, move on to new cabinets, back splashes or counter-tops. Generally speaking, you can expect to get back about 25 percent of a home’s value for a new kitchen or a remodel project.

Floor Coverings

After a bathroom and kitchen remodel, nothing makes or breaks the ROI more than miserable looking flooring. Smelly, stained or torn carpets being the worst offenders.

Laminated floors, simulated wood flooring or even a tile job may do the trick. If you have budget constraints, then consider replacing the carpet and re-doing the floor covering–one room at a time, whichever is worse.

“Going Green” and Curb Appeal

Nothing is as attractive as a carefully sculpted shrub and colorful plants to present a certain curb appeal to buyers. However, if you’re not thinking in terms of “green” or sustainable plantings, you’ve defeated your purpose in these green-oriented times.

Planning for the future is vitally important as you really don’t know when or if you’ll be selling in the foreseeable future. Planting shade trees can actually reduce your overall cooling expense by up to 30 percent, so be sure to buy greenery suitable to your region soil or weather requirements.

Replacing A Garage Door or Front Door

Replacing an older, two-car, steel garage door may give you a healthy ROI of 87 percent on a $2,500 investment. That being said, if you convert your garage into in-law living quarters or even an efficiency, expect an even higher ROI. Without having to add a ceiling, floor or walls, you’ll be gaining valuable space that can further result in both a higher ROI and additional income–barring zoning regulations of course.

Your front door, especially if it has factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel and etched glass windows, will further blend well with your curb appeal and ROI as well.

Which Brings In The Highest Returns?

  • Front door replacement: 96.6 percent
  • Efficiency garage conversion: 84.3 percent
  • Garage door replacement: 83.7 percent
  • Minor kitchen remodel: 82.7 percent

Which Brings In The Lowest Returns?

  • Home office remodel: 48.9 percent
  • Sun-room addition: 51.7 percent
  • Bathroom addition: 60.1 to 85 percent
  • Backup power generation: 67.5 percent
  • Master suite addition: 67.5 percent

The list of high ROI renovation options is almost limitless. Moreover, if you make the upgrades intentionally, and don’t allow yourself to do them on impulse or under coercion, you can expect rewarding returns every time. That said, choose wisely.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

CREATE A BEAUTIFUL OUTDOOR SPACE ON A BUDGET

The lawn and landscape outside your home can be your own personalized creation, and it does not have to be expensive. It is through the effort of creating what you want within your limitations – both financial and physical – that you come to love the space you craft. By learning frugal methods to care for your lawn and landscape, you can have the lawn you want within the budget you can afford.

Xeriscaping

By installing native plants, mulching appropriately and minimizing the size of your actual lawn, you can save a lot of money on maintenance and watering. Your local Master Gardener group, or the local city government, will likely have information on xeriscaping for your area. Lush green lawns are certainly beautiful and pleasant to play on, but they are also resource intensive. Unless you are one of the lucky few that live in an area with heavy rainfall, you will spend large amounts of money keeping a large lawn alive. According to Bankrate.com, a 4,000 square foot lawn takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water a week to stay green, or about $400 a year in water costs.

Cost Effective Lawn Care Tools

Once you have minimized your lawn space, you can determine exactly what tools you need to care for your landscape. If the lawn is small enough, a push reel mower may be enough. Push mowers can be hard to use if you have physical limitations, though. Electric push mowers are also another excellent option. Older models used to require an extension cord, but newer models are often cord-free, according to Nature’s Finest Seed. Other accessories, like leaf blowers, can also ease your cleanup and make for a nicer looking landscape. Electric models are not terribly expensive, and can offer a quick solution to sidewalk clutter.

Compost Organic Waste

Composting is a wonderful way to recycle your food scraps into valuable fertilizer or top soil. Small bags of compost can be expensive and it seems silly to pay so much when you can just make your own. Pre-made compost containers are always an option, but you do not have to spend a lot of money if you have a little out-of-the-way space to make a pile. Chicken wire and wood scraps are enough to cordon off a small area for dumping your organic waste, including lawn clippings, food scraps, leaves and anything else the naturally decays. Remember to turn the pile every month or so, and eventually you will have your own fertilizer.

Outdoor Living

Be Water Wise

Water is one of the greatest expenses for the home gardener. Water conservation is in everyone’s best interest, and local city governments will often have information on how to conserve water across your entire home. Take the time to learn about minimizing the water use in your lawn, and it will save you money for the foreseeable future.

Add Value

Going green with your yard is great, but if done well it can also add to the value of your home. SFGate.com notes that good landscaping with a coherent layout and plan can add from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent to the value of your home. On a $300,000 home, that can add up to $38,100 in value.

Beautiful lawns and landscapes do not have to be expensive. By adopting the above practices, you can begin creating the landscape you want within your budget. Not only will you save money, you will also do the environment a favor as well.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

HOW TO HAVE YEAR-ROUND HOME CURB APPEAL IN 6 EASY STEPS

Exceptional curb appeal will add to the enjoyment and value of your property and home. Maintaining your curb appeal throughout each season may pose its challenges, but with these tips, you can ensure that your home and landscaping will look their very best throughout the year.

#1 Clean It Up

A thorough power wash is essential for maintaining the cleanliness of your home, driveway and walkways. Many homeowners prefer to do this in the spring, but you might consider an additional wash in the fall as well. By keeping your landscape free of debris like broken branches and dead trees, you can better maintain the appearance of your property.

#2 Planting for Seasonal Interest

It’s helpful to plant with each season in mind to ensure that your landscape looks great year-round. Spring bulbs and flowering trees add visual interest to your landscape at the start of the growing season. A lush lawn and pots of colorful annuals can provide eye-catching appeal in the summer. Think about late summer perennials and deciduous trees or shrubs that boast spectacular fall colors. Evergreens are classic winter plants, but you might also wish to plant trees like birch or interesting shrubs to draw the eye.

#3 Vertical Interest

To avoid flat looking landscaping, be sure to include vertical interest. Arches, even when bare during the winter season, will add visual interest to your front yard. Hanging plants, vines, climbing plants, trellises and even a decorative light post will ensure that your yard has a visual balance year-round.

Ahw-house-door-step

#4 Hardscaping

Plants aren’t the only method of achieving excellent curb appeal. Consider replacing a worn-out front walkway with elegant cobblestone or brick pavers. Replace mulch with stone or encircle trees and shrubs to achieve a more formal look for your property. Boulders can be strategically placed to draw the eye and provide further visual interest for your setting.

#5 Tackle Problem Areas

If you have a slope that’s difficult to mow or a sunken section of landscaping that always seems to flood, consider a solution. A low-maintenance, terraced garden is ideal for sloping sections of land that are difficult to mow. On the other hand, there are no-mow grasses that can replace a traditional lawn. Installing adequate drainage for low-lying areas of your landscape can help reduce the flooding that occurs during stormy seasons.

#6 House Appeal

You can increase the year-round curb appeal of your home by maintaining its outward appearance. A pleasing door, elegant fixtures, contemporary railings, eye-catching shutters and stylized window boxes will go a long way to boost your curb appeal. For an additional wow factor, consider expanding your porch or replacing worn siding to improve the appearance of your home.

Conclusion

Great curb appeal begins with assessing your current setting. When you do install new features, it’s important to consider how they will appear during each season.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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