Ann Bennett - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan



Posted by Ann Bennett on 2/7/2019

Not all home improvements cost thousands of dollars. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the most impact. So, if you’re avoiding putting your house on the market because you know it needs work, or if you’re passing over the house in your budget’s sweet spot because you think it might be a money pit, check out these inexpensive options for adding to your property’s value.

$999 and under

  • Give your appliance package an overhaul: Upgrading appliances to modern, energy-efficient versions gives your kitchen an instant update. Wait for the next holiday sale (New Years, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Black Friday) to hit up the big box appliance and DIY stores for deals on appliance packages. Stainless steel remains on-trend and complements any kitchen style.
  • Trick out your turf: Re-sod your lawn to replace the weed-prone mixtures to give your property instant curb appeal. Consult with a landscape professional to make certain the sod you choose is best for your property's soil, drainage, and sun/shade requirements.
  • Deal with the door: After all, your entry is the first impression of your home. Replace the outdated one with an architecturally advanced solid core beauty or give your home a needed decorative leaded window version. Then, stain or paint it with an eye-catching splash of color.
  • Lighten up: Change out all existing light bulbs for high-efficiency LED replacements. Not only will your utility bill go down, but if you choose “daylight” or “warm” bulb versions, your home will feel light and bright.
  • Add a fan: Replacing ceiling light fixtures for fans gives your room an instant upgrade. Choose from sleek metallic models for a modern look or beautifully detailed versions to match your home's authentic vibe. If you happen to live in a temperate climate, a whole-house fan is an excellent investment. These fans, installed in a hallway ceiling or at the top of the stairs, pull cold air from lower levels throughout the home reducing your need for air conditioning.
  • Fix the fixture: Okay, so sometimes they aren't fixable. But faucets and light fixtures are easy to replace. Check your local hardware store for sales, closeouts, and other discounts on lighting or faucets and you will give your home a whole new look for less.
  • Pitch the popcorn: If your home still has those outdated popcorn ceilings, invest a little elbow-grease into scraping them off. Over a weekend, using a softening solution available from your favorite DIY store (and some drop cloths), spray and scrape those ceilings smooth. Once your ceiling is clear of the texture, paint it a lovely flat white or complementary color to your walls. Trim them out with crown molding for an added touch of luxe. Paintable polyurethane versions become indistinguishable from wood when installed and brushed with a lovely glossy white.

Over time, a little change here, a little upgrade there and your home's value magically improves without breaking the bank. If you'd like a professional opinion about which updates and upgrades could add the most value to your home, schedule a consultation with a real estate professional.




Categories: Home Improvements   DIY   home value  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 1/3/2019

If you've spent much time online seeking ways to sell your home, you've probably run across "professional home staging" options. While many of these are a great choice, they can be cost-prohibitive if your agent doesn't include those services with your sale. You aren't left in the lurch though, you can do a variety of things with your existing furnishings to clean up your home and make it more appealing to buyers. The hardest part of this process is to take yourself out of the house. It no longer matters what you love or what each room means to you, its now about creating a blank but appealing canvas that your potential buyers can see ways to make their own.

Properly staged homes, and that usually means neutrally staged, often sell up to 50% faster and for up to 10% or more over the asking price. Want in on this extra profit?

It’s easy as 123…

1. Clean and Neutral Colors: give your rooms a fresh coat of paint in neutral tones. Creams, warm grays and sand tones can brighten up your rooms without going all the way to white which creates an inviting look. It's not just the paint though, apply the same rules to your furniture and window coverings. Try to get as much natural sunlight into each room as possible and use bright and light tones to reflect that light around the room. Don't forget the bathrooms here, going for brighter neutral patterns on shower curtains, rugs and towels as well.

2. No More Hoarding (at least not in public): Yes, those pictures of your wedding or your kids are incredibly important to you, but this is about your buyers. Too much clutter or too many personal items in a design can make it difficult for potential buyers to decorate in their mind. You want your buyer to see themselves in the space, not you. That means removing family photos, trophies, kids' art and basically anything that speaks to your family life in the home. If you’re living in the home and showing at the same time, try going through your belongings and packing up things you don’t need into a storage unit. Keeping your closets only comfortably full and storage spaces empty of holiday decorations makes them more appealing to buyers.

3. Simple Spaces for Anyone: Remember that storage unit? Use it again for extra furniture. Keep only the items that work best in the space. Remove over-sized or extra-personal items to help your buyers see the house and what they can do with it. Stick with furniture that goes with the home itself, rather than the pieces you have for sentimental value. Also, remember to remove all or the majority of items that make a space age-specific where possible. Unless you're explicitly showing off a nursery, make the rest of the home design work regardless of children or buyers' ages. 

Your real estate professional can give you specific advice based on your particular possessions and home layout.




Categories: DIY   home staging   home selling  


Posted by Ann Bennett on 10/19/2017

Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.

Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.

Chandlery

In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.

Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.

Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.

The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.

Gather your supplies

Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.

When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.

In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.

Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.

Making your candle

Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.

Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.

Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.

Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.

Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.




Tags: DIY   candles   fragrance  
Categories: DIY   candles   fragrance  




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