position realty

Position Yourself For Success

Making Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Your home is your place to rest, play, and spend time with your family. It should be a place of comfort, and this comfort need not come at a high cost. Many homes, however, waste a lot of energy in ways that can be prevented. Here are five ways to make your home more energy-efficient.

Replace or Weatherize All Windows

Windows are one of the biggest sources of heat gain and heat loss in a home. Both heat gain and heat loss rob you of comfort and keep your energy bills higher than they have to be, whether during the summer or winter months.

Windows rank high on the list because of air leakage around the frame and the heat that transfers through windowpanes. Old single-pane windows provide little protection against heat transference. If you replace these windows with energy-efficient windows you should see immediate savings and improved climate control in your home.

When choosing windows, consider the frame and not just glass. Frame material and frame design matters. Hinged windows allow less air leakage than sliding, single-hung or double-hung do. Avoid metal because these conduct heat. Choose insulated vinyl frames or insulated fiberglass frames for the most efficiency and durability.

Pay attention to glass efficiency ratings such as the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. The right windows to choose depend largely upon regional climate. If you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, you want glass that blocks out as much solar heat gain as possible.

Low-emissivity coatings on windowpanes reduce heat conduction through the glass, which benefits you by keeping hot air inside in winter and hot air outside in summer. There are other coatings and tints available, but you should still look for the Energy Star label. Only products that have met strict requirements by the EPA qualify for this special certification.

Seal the Home’s Thermal Envelope

Air leakage through your home’s exterior is another source of energy waste. Air infiltration makes your heating and cooling system work harder to maintain climate control. In order to find all of the hidden leaks, schedule an energy audit with an HVAC company. Until you do, seal the noticeable leaks. These can usually be found in the following areas:

  • Around window frames and doors
  • Beneath baseboards
  • Around flues and chimneys

When sealing leaks in most areas, you can use caulk, weather-stripping or expandable spray foam insulation. Another method to control air leaks is to replace poorly fitting doors or other features and to use hardware with a type that creates a better seal. One example is barn door hardware. This kind of hardware can create a better air seal in some cases because the door slides into place instead of swinging open. This creates fewer opportunities for gaps between the door and the frame.

Upgrade Your Home HVAC System

If your home’s HVAC system is older than ten years, consider replacing it with a new energy-efficient system that is Energy Star certified. Improvements in design make these systems far more energy-efficient than any in the past. If they are sized correctly and installed correctly, you should see lower bills and improved comfort and improved air quality.

Upgrade Insulation

Most homes have only the minimum required insulation. Older homes might even fall far short of the minimum simply because the insulation has become too wet, or it has become compressed or it has shifted.

Adding insulation to the attic will have the largest effects. It doesn’t matter which kind of insulation you use as much as it matters that it is properly installed, with no gaps, and that you use the recommended quantity for your region.

Adding insulation to exterior walls doesn’t have to be a big remodeling project. Much of the time, it can be blown into walls by a contractor.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

These thermostats make a home more energy efficient in the following ways:

  • You won’t have to remember to set the temperature lower or higher before you run out of the house each the morning, because you can program the thermostat to do it for you each day.
  • You can program different energy-saving temperature settings for special occasions, such as vacations, and you can still come home to a comfortable house.
  • Some new thermostats even allow you to check them remotely, sparing you from worrying about whether the home is getting too hot or cold while you are away.

By implementing these ideas, you have little to lose and a lot to gain in terms of comfort and savings. If it feels overwhelming or it is hard on your budget to make all of these changes at once, try to do them in steps. Each time you take even one step towards more energy efficiency, you will start saving money on energy bills.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

10 Totally Free Tips For Getting Your Home Sold Quickly

Staging your home is a critical step in getting it sold, but all the recommended updates and upgrades can get pricey. Thankfully, there are tricks you can use to make your home look bigger, better, and brighter, without spending a dime.

1. Fix up your floors

Don’t want to pay to replace or refinish your floors? No prob. Grab a brown crayon to fill in divots. A one-to-one mix of olive oil and vinegar rubbed directly on scratched areas will also help make it look new. You can also use canola if you don’t have olive, but then use a one-part vinegar, three-part oil mixture. Or, try this hack that uses walnuts to fix scratches. No, seriously.

Floors look great but don’t sound so hot? “Fix creaky wood floors with a generous dusting of baby powder,” said One Crazy House. “Work it into the cracks until the floor is no longer noisy.”

2. Make it sparkle

Presumably, you already have cleaning supplies, sponges, and paper towels in the house. Now all you need is some elbow grease to make your home look shiny and new.

When selling your home, you need to take the cleaning beyond your typical weekly run-through. Think “Spring cleaning” turned up a notch or two. Remember that potential buyers will be looking everywhere, including inside drawers and cabinets. Make sure they’re crumb-free and well organized. They may also open your refrigerator. While this can seem intrusive, you don’t want to give them a reason to walk away, so make sure to tidy up the inside, wipe up any spills, throw away rotten food, and put a nice big box of Baking Soda in there to absorb any leftover smells.

3. Let the light in

Everyone is looking for “natural light,” so show off what you’ve got by opening up those blinds and drapes. Did you just reveal a bunch of dirty windows and sills? Ewww. Grab that cleaning spray and make them shine. An old toothbrush is a great way to get gunk out of corners and in window tracks.

If your place isn’t light and bright, even with all the blinds and drapes drawn, you’ll need to depend on artificial lighting. This is no time to have lightbulbs out. Go hit that stash in your laundry room cabinet and switch out for fresh bulbs.

4. Declutter

Home stagers will tell you there is no more important step when preparing your home for sale. “If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story,” said Houzz. “It’s not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative’s garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble.”

Do a walk-through with an outsider’s eye, or ask a friend or family member to help since they’ll be more objective. Anything that isn’t used regularly or is taking away from the open feel of the house can be packed away. Small appliances and anything else hanging out on countertops can be put in a cabinet if you’re not ready to stick it in a box. You want people to see the bones of the house, not your blender.

5. Depersonalize

While, you’re decluttering, keep personalization in mind. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves living in the home, and they might not be able to do so if they can’t take their eyes off your wall of taxidermy.

6. Create closet space

Even if you have the world’s largest walk-in closet in the master bedroom, you can give buyers the impression that there isn’t enough space by overfilling it. Stagers recommend taking half of your clothes and shoes out and packing them away to create some airiness. Does the idea of packing up your stuff freak you out? You’re going to have to do it when you move, anyway. This is just giving you a head start.

7. Remove the stink

Does your home greet guests with a big whiff of cat box? Potential home buyers might just turn right back around and get in the car. You also want to make sure your animals aren’t irritating those who are touring or impeding them from entering certain rooms. Don’t want to board them? Surely you have a friend or family member who’d love to watch your pets during showings, right?

8. Pull those weeds

You really can’t overestimate the importance of curb appeal today. Even if you don’t want to spring for a few bags of mulch and some colorful flowers to frame your door, there are easy and free steps you can take to give buyers a great first impression. Dispose of any visible weeds, leaves, and other unwanted stuff hanging out in the yard. Give your bushes a trim and mow the yard. If you can’t power wash your home, at least wash the outside of the exterior windows that are within eye level.

And don’t forget about the area closest to your front door. Sweep that stoop and make sure your welcome mat is actually welcoming, instead of dusty and dirty.

9. Address your furniture

Some of the most common problems in homes when it comes to furniture: 1) It’s ugly; 2) It’s old; There’s too much of it; The arrangement is uninviting. Ugly and old might be hard to overcome when you’re trying not to spend money, but the rest you can do something about.

“Sometimes when sellers are trying to make a small room seem like it’s more spacious, they have a tendency to push all of their furniture against the walls to leave a big open space in the middle. This type of arrangement may leave a lot of open space, but ultimately leaves the interior design looking unfinished — a big turn off for buyers. In this situation, it’s better to create furniture groupings. First, envision the way the space should be used,” said Freshome. “Do you have a huge flatscreen TV that requires a lot of seating? Is there a corner in your living room that would serve perfectly as a reading nook? Group the furniture in ways that would make sense for the intended use. Then, make sure that there are clean and direct pathways through the room. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home and one of the quickest ways to do that is by creating a cozy seating area that’s fit for conversation.”

If the problem is that you’ve created a crowded space by using too much furniture, ditch a few pieces in a friend’s garage for the time being (or, even better, donate them!) to create an intimate seating area. You can always bring those pieces back into your new home.

10. Borrow stuff

If, at the end of the day, your home still isn’t looking show-ready, maybe it’s time to raid a friend’s house. Have a loved one who has an extra couch that’s more neutral than yours or a couple of great accessories? It’s time to test their love for you.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Top 5 New Bathroom Tech to Consider

Installing bathroom tech is a great way to take your remodel or addition to the next level. Aside from adding extra comfort, bathroom tech will also improve the efficiency of your home. Here’s a look at five high-tech gadgets that will turn your bathroom into the ultra-modern — and ultra-convenient — space of your dreams.

1. High-Tech Toilet Fixtures

High-tech toilet fixtures may not sound too exciting, but they’re an important part of creating a clean and modern bathroom. Here’s a look at several high-tech fixtures and their benefits:

LED-lighted toilet seats. Seat illumination will allow you to find your toilet at night without turning on lights or walking in the dark.

Temperature-controlled seats. Temperature-controlled seats ensure your toilet is comfortable no matter the temperature inside your home.

Self-cleaning toilets. Self-cleaning toilets eliminate bacteria buildup in and on your toilet. These models also prevent unsightly mineral staining with automated cleaning.

2. Chromotherapy Showers

These showers use color-changing LCD panels to create a restorative bathing experience. This can help you wake up in the morning or relax at night. Many chromotherapy showers come with lighting presets that will help you achieve your desired effect.

3. Soaking Tubs

Smaller, more efficient soaking tubs are replacing larger Jacuzzi tubs. Soaking tubs come in unique shapes and offer air-based massage jets. You can purchase soaking tubs in stone, copper and even some man-made materials. Some also employ energy-efficient technology that will help you reduce your utility costs. This is particularly helpful if you have a large family.

4. Waterproof Televisions

Having a TV nearby can make bath time a lot more fun. Waterproof televisions are common in many renovation projects and come in a variety of price points. Some waterproof TVs also have internet connectability. This will allow you to check emails, stream your favorite shows or stay up to date with the news while taking a bath.

Waterproof Tolite

5. Refrigerated Cabinets

Refrigerated bathroom cabinets are popular in many renovations. Cooled cabinets will allow you to keep medicine and temperature-sensitive cosmetics close by without having to worry about spoiling. You can also use refrigerated cabinets to keep beverages and snacks cool. Temperature-controlled cabinets are relatively cost-friendly and much more efficient than mini-fridges.

Conclusion

Heated toilet seats, soaking tubs, chromotherapy showers and refrigerated cabinets can add value and comfort to your home. For many homeowners, that’s worth more than the additional cost.

5 Home Improvements That Pay Off

There are several improvements that offer a high return on investment (ROI) for homeowners looking to sell. Per the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, some investments are still worthwhile, while there are others you might reconsider. Keep reading to learn about five cheap home improvements that are worth the investment.

Update Your Entry Door

A new entry door is a cost-effective improvement that will offer substantial returns during a sale. To get the most from your investment, look for a steel entry door. Steel doors have the most safety features and highest ROI of all entry door options.

Install Insulation

Adding Insulation isn’t a flashy renovation, but it will improve the value of your home. In fact, due to low installation costs, many homeowners get a 100 percent return on their investment. You’ll also be saving money while you’re in your home since you won’t have to use the heat or air conditioning quite as much.

Replace Your Garage Door

Old garage doors, even if they’re hidden from street view, don’t do much for a home’s visual appeal. They also create an ideal entry point for intruders. Updating your garage door isn’t particularly costly. In fact, most installations recoup 75 percent of the cost.

garage

Install New Siding

Replacing your siding will improve the look of your home and prevent any water- or weather-related damage. Siding updates also boast a high ROI. Many homeowners get a return of more than 80 percent on their investments.

Improve Your Kitchen

Upgrading the dated features in your kitchen is a great way to bring extra value to your home. Flooring, countertop and fixture updates provide a reasonable ROI. Adding treatments to your kitchen windows is another way to modernize the look of your home without breaking the bank.

kitchen_remodel

Always avoid over investing in your kitchen. Embarking on a $40,000 remodel could price you out of your neighborhood and hurt your chances of selling.

Conclusion

Improving your home can be a little scary. But with the right planning, you can improve the looks and functionality of your home without overspending. Smart investments also mean you’ll see a greater return when you decide to sell.

SELLING YOUR HOME THIS YEAR? 6 REASONS TO RENOVATE NOW!

Face it. Your home’s not perfect. You may keep up with general maintenance, and perhaps you’re meticulously clean. But how old is your kitchen? Do your paint colors reflect current trends? Could your living room use some updating?

When it comes to selling your home today, it’s got to be perfect, or buyers will simply move on to the next option. Doing some renovations, whether that means overhauling areas that are long overdue for a facelift or making some simple changes that freshen up the place, is typical. But if you’re thinking they can wait until you’re ready to list your home, these 6 reasons may make you rethink that plan.

1. You get to enjoy the new stuff

“A worthy update can either serve to reduce your cost of living while you remain in the home or add significant value to the home’s sale price when you decide to put it on the market,” said Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor and host of the HGTV show Income Property to US News.

But if you’re going to spend some cash on updating and renovating your place, you should at least be able to get some enjoyment out of the updates before turning the house over to someone else, right? If you’ve been waiting for 10 years for new appliances, it would be a shame to not have the opportunity to at least cook a few meals and throw a dinner party or two.

f6ac396a8b48e7a3af03fbfc8f0332fd

2. They always take longer than expected

It’s a fact of renovation. If your timeline is six weeks, it’ll take 12. At least. Giving yourself plenty of time before you’re ready to list your home will help you avoid a stressful scramble at the end when you’re trying to get it on the market.

3. There may be issues you’re unaware of

Your Realtor will point out areas that need to be addressed and recommend changes to make your home more saleable. But, getting your home ready to sell might be harder than you expect if problems like mold or termites are uncovered. Getting a jump on any big issues or anything that goes beyond the cosmetic will give you the time you need to fix the problems and hold onto your sanity.

4. They don’t have to be huge

No one said you have to take your home down to the studs. Sometimes, a light touch is all that is needed. “Start by thinking small,” said Realtor.com. “Minor cosmetic upgrades go a long way in getting more buyers through the door for a quicker sale – and time on market is key to determining what you’ll net at closing.”

6a21f496a75425456949953a9e532429

5. You’re going to need them

You may not love the idea of having to do anything to – or spend any money on – your home, especially if you already have your eyes on a new one. But, most every home needs a little upgrading, updating, or, at least staging. You don’t want to have the one place in the neighborhood that won’t sell because potential homebuyers see a project house, without the project price.

6. You’ll get a return on your investment…if you renovate smart

Speaking of price…updated homes typically sell faster and for more money, if the updates have been done well and they’re the ones buyers are looking for. If you’re not sure which renovations to consider, take your cues from the Cost vs. Value Report, which tracks the “average cost for 29 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 99 U.S. markets.” It’s a great way to look at national trends but also break down what’s trending in individual areas. “How much work you’ll need depends on your home’s value, your market, and the comps in your neighborhood,” said Realtor.com.

US News also has a great list of “popular updates that are worth the money,” including adding a backsplash in the kitchen and updating bathroom vanities.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

THE NEW TECH PRODUCTS TO ADD TO YOUR HOME NOW

Every year at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), we marvel at all the new tech, gaze at the new cars, and generally dream about an unlimited bank account to deck our houses out with all the newest gadgets. But, the reality is that some of the things we see never come to market, some look thrilling but way over promise on a functionality scale, and some are just plain head-scratching.

So, this year we took a look at CES from the viewpoint of what’s most wanted and perhaps even most practical, for today’s consumers. Here’s the stuff we saw at CES this year that can add a little something (or a whole lot) to your house.

Appliances

When it comes to appliances showcased at CES, there are typically some big wins, and then some curious other stuff. Eater called this year’s show “a Jetsons-esque carnival of futuristic electronics, homewares, and appliances,” which would be a hilarious description if it didn’t also ring true. “For every item that shows innovation or promise, there’s at least one more that appears to be the product of a failed brainstorming session where somebody suggests, “why not make this appliance connect to the internet?”

While some experts were generally unimpressed with appliances that did little to best last year’s reveals, there were a few that shined, including the Panasonic Countertop Induction Oven. “It quickly grills, bakes, re-heats and requires little or no preheating, resulting in perfectly cooked meals,” said Panasonic. The appliance was selected as one of CES’ 2017 Innovation Award Honorees and is available now for $599.95.

Panasonic-Countertop-Induction-Oven-02

Whirlpool emerged as one of the biggest winners are CES, with several exciting advancements and enhancements that people should love. They “unveiled a new Alexa skill that’ll let you control its web-connected appliances using voice commands. That includes the new smart all-in-one washer-dryer hybrid that Whirlpool also announced this week,” said cnet (more on Alexa later). “We also got a preview of Whirlpool’s new Scan-to-Cook feature, which lets you use your phone to scan the barcode on the packaging of whatever you’re cooking. From there, you can send ingredient-specific cooking instructions straight to your connected Whirlpool appliances. All of it added up to a busy show for Whirlpool, and signaled that the venerable brand is determined not to get outsmarted.”

TVs

CES is the favorite place to roll out the biggest, fanciest, thinnest, most drool-worthy TVs of the year, and the 2017 show was no different.

The Sharp 85″ 8K TV has a picture – and a size – that people went nuts for. COOL MATERIAL called it “mind-blowing,” saying that, “No picture will do it justice, unfortunately. You could get an inch from the screen and still not believe you were looking at a picture. Due to the insane crowd around it at all times, a heist would have been extremely difficult.”

Not big enough? How about the Hisense 100 Inch Laser TV, which “uses a short throw projector underneath it to achieve that maximum size” and project a clear 4K HDR picture. “The $13,000(!) package even comes with a nice pair of speakers (and subwoofer),” said Paste Magazine.

tv

LG’s objective this year was to continue to showcase their ultra-thin TVs, and this year’s version, The LG Wallpaper OLED TV, was a huge hit. “This new television from LG was by far the most impressive new piece of technology at CES this year,” said Paste. Essentially, the display is as thin as a credit card and sticks to your wall without any cords or anything. It’s like shooting a projection on your wall, except that it’s bright and beautiful like any modern OLED TV. The brains and port access to the TV are all stuffed in the large Soundbar, which sits at the bottom of your setup.”

Random cool stuff

Sometimes, the smallest stuff makes the biggest difference. Stick-N-Find is a bunch of Bluetooth-enabled buttons that you can stick to anything you fear losing – your car keys, your remote control, even your dog. You then use your app to find your missing stuff. A former Indiegogo project that raised more than 1000% of its goal, Stick-N-Find is available now.

It wasn’t the slickest thing we saw at CVS this year. In fact, cnet said it looks “like Roku mated with Fisher Price.” But AirTV Play might just be the most life-changing. From Sling’s parent company Dish, AirTV Play allows enhanced live TV streaming that just may make you cut the cord this year.

Alexa everything

Alexa was absolutely everywhere at CES, and the domination has only begun. “There was hardly a smart-home product, let alone any product, at CES this year that wasn’t advertising its compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem,” said The Wire Cutter. “Now that Amazon (as well as Apple and Google, to a lesser extent) has convinced millions of people of the usefulness of voice control in their homes, manufacturers are in a mad rush to add the feature to their own products.”

If you’re looking for a place to start integrating the smart home stuff into your world, look to the Lenovo’s Smart Assistant, “which launched its own Echo-like speaker using the Alexa natural-language processing system,” they said. “To differentiate the Smart Assistant from the original Echo, Lenovo is making its model available in three colors (gray, green, or orange); the unit comes in a budget $130 version and an upgrade $180 version that replaces the standard speaker with a Harman Kardon system for better sound.”

In addition, “First Alert is working on an Alexa version of its Onelink smart smoke alarm, though that won’t be out until late 2017 or even 2018. Even lamps are coming out with Alexa support. Dish announced that its Hopper super DVR will soon work with Alexa; so too will the ADT Pulse security platform, plus a few Whirlpool appliances that let you preheat your oven or check how much time is left on your dryer’s cycle, and a Samsung robo vacuum.”

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Smart Homes: The New Frontier For Cyber Crimes

For years, research has highlighted various security flaws in millions of internet-enabled “smart” gadgets. But it wasn’t until recently, when “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices like DVRs and webcams sustained a massive breach, that these security flaws became a pernicious reality.

The hackers were able to corrupt and co-opt these ordinary smart devices into a colossal botnet army, where they levelled a deluge of junk messages at Dyn, an internet management company that routes web traffic for popular websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Reddit and Amazon. The sheer volume of bogus messages caused Dyn to crash, and as a result, users were cut off from many of those sites. The hacker remains unknown, but their weapon of choice, at least in part, has been identified.

Mirai, an easy-to-use software, infiltrates household devices, harnessing them for their own exploits unbeknownst to the owner. The cameras that were hacked and manipulated had low-end security features – and users had largely neglected to update factory-default usernames and passwords.

While this attack may conjure up large-scale cyberwarfare scenarios, it also underlines a very real and growing need to beef up security around the smart home, which has been severely lacking since the beginning. And if the problem isn’t dealt with, it’ll only continue to grow: Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group projects smart devices will reach 50 billion by 2020, a significant jump from 15 billion today. Intel estimates the number to be around a whopping 200 billion devices.

Why are smart home devices so easy to hack into?

In the face of economic demand, smart devices’ security has largely fallen by the wayside, as they’re perceived as a time-consuming expense. Many of the DVRs and webcams involved in the Dyn attack were shipped with factory-default settings and didn’t require consumers to create a new username or password. Consequently, these users unwittingly became a target for Mirai, which enlisted their devices in a campaign against specific websites.

But even for users savvy enough to update their defaults, hackers still have more obscure means of infiltrating their smart devices. Not-so-user-friendly services like SSH and telnet offer an advanced access point for hackers, since the password hardcoded in the device isn’t the same as the password on its web app. And unfortunately, the task of changing the password hardcoded into the firmware is likely too ambitious for the average consumer.

smarthome

What are the security risks involved?

Smart home devices “learn” by gathering and exchanging data to tailor their operations around the unique habits of the household. For instance, a smart thermostat’s data-gathering sensors can detect when people are home and learn the temperature settings of the home’s occupants. The more integrated smart technology becomes, the more sensitive data they can accrue and use for optimal customization.

However, increased connectivity also means a single access point could easily provide cybercriminals a terminal to the home’s central hub, where they can pirate other smart devices using the same Wi-Fi network. From there, hackers have access to all sensitive data, including when people are home, banking information, credit information, sensitive documents and more.

As opposed to a home break-in, which typically involve obvious signs of forced entry, these types of attacks are far more insidious and create a new form of anxiety for homeowners. A smart door lock could be furtively manipulated remotely, and connected home monitoring systems could be corrupted and used to spy on the home’s inhabitants without their knowledge. The risks abound, and smart home security currently relies too heavily on the end user.

So what can users do to better protect their smart devices and themselves?

While it’s clearly not the be-all and end-all remedy, changing default settings should be your first order of business. Make sure passwords are updated at least once a year and never use names, addresses or birthdays; and while it should go without saying, passwords like “admin,” “1234,” and “password” should never, under any circumstances, be used.

On top of effective password management, though, consumers should implement an extra authentication protocol, such as a one-time pin you’d receive by text to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access. Biometric authentications are another method gaining popularity, which rely on a unique thumbprint, eye-scan or the user’s unique keystrokes, making it difficult for hackers to bypass.

Unlike your smartphone, most IoT devices don’t automatically prompt you to run a software update. So about once a month, open your smart gadget’s corresponding web app and check for firmware updates. It’s even a good measure to check for updates that might’ve been released between the time the device was manufactured and the time it arrives on your doorstep.

In the event of a security breach to your home, immediately update passwords, notify credit card companies and file a police report. Always avoid public Wi-Fi networks, and don’t keep gadgets on the same network as your PC. By segmenting Wi-Fi connection, you can at least minimize hacking across different devices.

Although the onus is on smart-home-device manufacturers to escalate built-in security, users should nonetheless be as vigilant about their usage as they are with credit cards, computers, sensitive documents and locking the front door.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Less Is Always More When Staging Your Home

Embrace your inner minimalist when prepping your home for sale. Here’s a room-by-room guide:

Declutter. Edit your space. Get organized. You’ve probably heard all sorts of classic advice like this for getting your home sale-ready. But it’s helpful to know the goal behind these tips.

By paring down and minimizing distracting elements in your home, you give potential buyers the ability to imagine themselves living inside it. A clutter-free environment allows the space, beauty and intrinsic value of your home to shine. Beautiful wood floor details might be concealed with too much furniture, or pleasant natural light might be obscured by heavy drapery. So edit your home by replacing and eliminating unnecessary, distracting and cumbersome items. Below, we break down this less-is-more approach for each room.

When It Comes to Living Rooms

Keep only essential furniture. The living room is often the most used room of the house, and it may collect extra furniture that isn’t typically categorized as living room furniture. The key to staging this space is to stick to just the essential pieces: typically a sofa, coffee table, rug, accent chair and media console.

That corner desk with a computer on it may be essential for the way you live – but it’s not great for the room. While your home is on the market, perhaps find an alternate workspace or use a laptop. Similarly, if you need that end table to hold a much-needed table lamp, then leave it. But if you have two end tables, perhaps you don’t need both. Having fewer pieces will help the space feel larger.

modern-living-room

Use only proportional pieces. Once you’ve edited, ask yourself if the living room feels spacious or cramped. If the living room still feels crowded, consider the size of your furniture. Are any pieces overwhelming for the size of the room? If so, try replacing that oversized piece with something smaller and compact. You might find substitute pieces in other rooms. Or, if the problem is a large sectional sofa, perhaps remove a section. Don’t worry about reducing seating. The goal is for the room to read larger so that it appears as a desirable living space.

Place furniture strategically. Next, bring your editing eye to the furniture placement. Are pieces placed in a way that makes the room spacious and bright? For example, if an item is sitting in front of a window, you’re likely blocking light. Rearrange to showcase the room’s best natural light. Play with the placement, angling pieces, using corners of the room to open up the space.

modern-living-room-1

Pare down accessories. Next move on to your decorative accessories, including wall art. Do these items detract from the positive features of the room? Try removing all accessories and wall art, then adding back one piece at a time. Stop when the room looks simple, with just a touch of personality. Throw pillows are a good example: While four coordinating ones may make a lovely design statement, using just one or two allows visitors to pull back the focus to the entire room.

You also may want to edit your bookcases, displaying select books with a mixture of neutral accessories. You’ll want to remove most framed photos, though it’s OK to keep one or two images that are more vintage, such as snapshots of grandparents or an old baby photo. This gives a little life and personality to the room without showcasing your entire family album – a definite “no” in home staging.

Time to Tidy the Kitchen

Keep surfaces clear. Think about those fabulous kitchen showrooms: gleaming counters and stove-tops, organized refrigerators. That’s how you want to present your kitchen. Make sure the surfaces are as clear as possible and that every nook and cranny is clean. Keep smaller accessories such as coffee makers to a minimum, and make sure they, too, are spotless.

Organize your cabinets and pantry. People considering purchasing your home will likely look behind closed doors, so give your kitchen cabinets and pantry a good edit. Organize, discard or give away anything messy or that hasn’t been used in a while. Make everything in your pantry look more appealing by storing items in inexpensive Mason jars or canisters.

transitional-kitchen

Next, pare down and organize the contents of your refrigerator. Buyers will be paying a lot for your appliances, so make them look appealing. As with the pantry, you might try placing smaller foods such as vegetables in plastic bins. This will not only organize your fridge, but be visually appealing.

Spiff Up the Bedrooms

Remove excess furniture. Furniture in the bedroom adheres to the same principles as the living room. Do you have extra furniture in the room that suits your storage needs but makes the room feel smaller? Keep in mind that what’s practical to you might scream “No space!” to someone else. See if you can eliminate any extraneous furniture and storage pieces, finding alternative storage solutions for the items they contain. One option is to use large plastic storage bags under the bed for off-season items. If under the bed isn’t possible, perhaps a concealed space such as a closet or the garage will do the trick.

modern-bedroom

Replace oversized beds. Another important guideline is to look at the size of the bed in the room. Specifically, is the bed too large for the space? A common staging faux pas is leaving a king-size bed in a small bedroom. This makes the room feel small, when it might in fact look spacious with a queen-size bed. Another mistake is to leave a queen or full-size bed in a minuscule guest room that’s better suited for a pullout sofa.

Edit your accessories. Similar to elsewhere in the house, keep the accessories and knickknacks in bedrooms to a minimum. Try storing everyday sundries in decorative boxes placed on a dresser. To open up the space with wall art, use only minimal coordinating pieces or a mirror.

Show your closet some love. As a final step in the bedrooms, spend some time making closets look, at the very least, neat. Jumbled messes won’t make potential buyers want to move in. Quite the opposite. They may feel the mess shows that there isn’t enough room in your home to live well. Take the time to edit your closet and be realistic about keeping each and every item. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll get rid of.

Closet Organizing

contemporary-closet

Don’t forget the kids’ rooms. While kids may have many more smaller items like toys, books and school gear, editing their toy chest, closets and shelves ahead of time will prove helpful for your move. Similarly, organizing the items in their rooms in visually appealing containers will present a happy environment to a prospective buyer.

The Final Step: Styling the Bathrooms

Less is definitely more when it comes to staging a bathroom. Buyers don’t want to see anything personal. Surfaces should be clear of toiletries. Showers should only show the bare minimum. Opt for a pretty liquid soap dispenser in the shower while you sell your home. Remove any extraneous artwork or knickknacks on shelves. In fact, pare down the bathroom to its bare minimum fixtures and hardware, and, most importantly, clean it until it’s gleaming.

contemporary-bathroom

Tell us: What have you done to present a home successfully to potential buyers? Share your experiences and advice in the Comments.

HOW LANDSCAPING INCREASES YOUR HOME’S VALUE

After spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on landscaping, how do you know if you’ll recoup your investment? Homeowners may wonder if their efforts are worthwhile compared to interior projects. In actuality, landscaping comes back in resale value more than you may think.

According to a publication from Virginia Tech, a home landscape has been valued at around 15 percent of a home’s total value. Furthermore, certain landscape aspects add more to the home than others, including:

Design: 42%
Plant size: 36%
Diversity of plants: 22%

The study cited that a $150,000 home could go from $8,300 in worth to almost $19,000 more with the addition of a landscape. That’s a lot for just adding a front yard to your home. Here is more information about these elements and how to increase the value of your home.

Landscape Design

design

Photo courtesy of Jardin Passion Landscape Con
How you design the landscape is the first step in creating a beautiful and valuable front yard. If you plant shrubs, flowers and trees without a design in mind, you could run into maintenance issues down the road. This is why you might call in a landscape designer to help. Landscape designers have the knowledge when it comes to creating landscapes to match homes and climate conditions. They know which trees, shrubs and flowers mix versus which ones might be troublesome. The end result will be a manageable, uncluttered and beautiful landscape that you can enjoy for little to no hassle.

Plant Size

size

Photo courtesy of Applegate Landscape Co.
On a visual level, adding different plant sizes will make your front yard look more appealing. Adding different shapes and colors complements your home and the lawn. On a maintenance level, mixing small and big plants will cut down on clutter in your yard. If you have too many bushy plants, their roots and branches could get mixed together and cause maintenance issues. So plant different trees, shrubs and flowers to make your landscape colorful and varied to add onto your home’s appeal and save on trouble.

Diverse Plants

diverse

Photo courtesy of M&M Garden Designs
Intertwined with the plant sizes you choose are how diverse they should be. You don’t want to plant only shrubs and trees with leaves. Vary it up with fruit trees or shrubs that have flowers to add color to the front yard. You also might choose annual and perennial flowers to sprinkle across your yard. You will need to replace annuals every year, but that gives you the chance to try out different flowers. Perennials, on the other hand, will last for many years and can endure harsh winter conditions.

Conclusion

Whether you hire a landscape designer or decide to tackle the front yard landscape yourself, be sure to include these three elements. Adding them to your front yard will pay back dividends in your home resale value, and it will make your home more attractive to buyers.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

6 SMART UPDATES TO MAKE TO YOUR BATHROOM

The idea of renovating your bathroom can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to knock down walls or gut the whole thing to make it feel new again. Making smart updates can get you closer to the look you want without the big budget, or the big hassle.

“You dream about a bathroom that’s high on comfort and personal style, but you also want materials, fixtures, and amenities with lasting value,” said houselogic. “Wake up! You can have both.”

Here are a few places to start.

1. A new showerhead

This is one of our favorite ways to freshen up a bathroom because a new showerhead is: A) inexpensive, even for one that provides multiple heads and functions; B) an easy way to make your shower more enjoyable if you’ve been dealing with an old showerhead that doesn’t provide massage or handheld options; and C) also a money saver since new showerheads are more energy-efficient.

2. Soaker tub

Soaker tubs are the hottest trend in bathrooms right now, and it’s getting to the point where anything else makes your bathroom look outdated. Have one of those giant Jacuzzi tubs in your bathroom? It’s probably time to yank it out, especially if your jets stopped working long ago. The bonus of a freestanding tub is it can also make your bathroom feel airier and more spacious.

Bathroom Update

3. Walk-in shower

Your dinky shower with the tired tile and the metal trim isn’t fooling anyone. You don’t have to tear the whole thing down (but, if you can, by all means!) Removing the tile and replacing it with something more current can do wonders, especially if you’re going from something dark and cave-like to a choice that’s light, bright, and reflective. A seamless glass enclosure can give the shower a more expansive and current look with minimal work.

b34c380754e9

4. A smaller mirror

Sounds funny to be think about replacing your large mirror with something smaller, right? After all, it’s a bathroom. But if you’ve toured a model home lately or watched a bathroom be remodeled on HGTV, you’ve probably seen this swap. Taking down your full-width mirror and replacing it with something more tailored to the size of your vanity will instantly give the bathroom a lift. Have two sinks? Get two smaller mirrors. And make sure they’re framed out. A plain slab of mirror is just…plain.

gray-vanity-marble-chevron-floor_thumb

5. New lighting

Those cheap builder lights are making your bathroom look DATED! Some of them are so bad they can make an otherwise stylish bathroom look not so great. Replacing the lights is easy (and inexpensive!). Just make sure to get your mirror situation figured out first so you know what width your lighting should be. A light fixture that’s wider that the mirror is going to make everything look off.

image

6. Vanity overhaul

There are several ways to make an old vanity/sink combo look more customized and more updated. Changing out the faucets, painting the cabinets, and adding hardware can work wonders. But if the cabinet door or drawers aren’t in good shape, if the sink shape is just too dated, or if you just want to rip the whole thing out and dump it on the lawn, it might be time for something new.

Simple-Mirror-above-Floating-Bathroom-Vanity-and-Fresh-Flower-Decor-beside-Double-Sink

If you are going to replace your vanity, take a look at floating versions—a hot look today that that’s also great for a smaller space because it keeps the eye moving.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Info