Articles Tagged "Home Staging"

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September
21

Buy or Remodel? What's Right for You

Buy or Remodel

If you've grown dissatisfied with the home you live in, you may wonder if buying a new home or remodeling your current one is your best option. Each has its pros and cons, and the right answer depends on your particular circumstances as well as the real estate market in your area and in the one you might move to.

Our real estate agents recommend taking the following steps to determine whether buying or remodeling is best for you:

  • Determine the Cost of Each
    Buying a new home means you'll have to pay costs such as moving expenses and making sufficient repairs to your current home before putting it on the market. In addition, if you're upsizing, you may have a larger monthly mortgage payment, higher property taxes, and a larger utility bill. On the other hand, remodeling means you'll pay for materials, labor, and possibly a permit and architectural plan. In addition, if you finance the cost of your remodel, the interest you'll pay on the loan will also add to your eventual cost.

  • Consider Your Neighborhood
    Do the changes you'd like to make generally line up with what other homes in your neighborhood have? Neighborhoods generally have an upper limit of what homebuyers will pay for a home there, even if it comes with more amenities. If you exceed the top of the market for your neighborhood, you may find that in the future, your home sells for less than you would expect. So if your planned improvements would effectively price your home out of your neighborhood, moving may be your better option.

  • What Would You Change?
    If you're dissatisfied with your current home, take the time to figure out exactly what you're not happy with. There are some things you can change fairly easily, while others are more difficult or impossible. For example, if your home is too small to suit your needs, you may be able to expand your living space by converting a garage into a family room or bedroom. But this kind of renovation can be costly. If you don't like your home's location, that obviously can't be changed. But if you're tired of the decor, your kitchen appliances, layout, or other similar issues, a remodel can probably address the problems.

  • Consider Possible Lifestyle Changes
    If you're making a move that takes you out of the neighborhood you currently live in, moving into a new home may involve some lifestyle changes. You may have a shorter or longer commute, and if you have kids, they may be attending different schools. In addition, you may have attachments to the community and neighbors or family that lives nearby. If you already live in a community you know and love, renovating or moving within the same area may be the best option.

  • Research the Real Estate Market
    Our real estate agents can help you gauge the current state of your local real estate market. For example, they can let you know what comparable homes in your area are selling for and how long they're usually on the market. Would your home be appealing to buyers with just a little sprucing up, or would it require more extensive improvements? This information can help guide you in determining whether buying a new home or remodeling is the best choice.

Contact us today if you'd like to see Raleigh properties for sale. Our full-service real estate agency is locally owned and operated, and we take pride in putting people first. 

August
3

Improve Your Home's Hardscaping With These Tips

Hardscaping Tips

A functional and beautiful outdoor space can help make your summers more enjoyable, and when it comes to creating the perfect outdoor oasis, hardscaping has a big role to play. Our real estate agents always make it a point to invest in new outdoor elements that enhance the outdoor experience. New hardscaping not only helps to improve your home value, but it can also be aesthetically pleasing.

Below, we'll discuss the importance of hardscaping and how you can use it to make the most out of your yard this summer.

What Is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping is a term that describes any man-made outdoor elements, such as sidewalks, stairs, patios, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, and more. It's basically a term used to describe landscaping elements that are not plants. Hardscaping can be used to expand your living space, guide outdoor traffic, or increase the overall functionality of your yard. It's also very low maintenance!

Hardscaping Tip
Good hardscaping requires a lot of time and planning, but the end result is often well worth the investment. Here are some hardscaping tips to make your project a success:

  1. Always Evaluate The Space
    Before starting any hardscaping project, you'll want to make sure the space can support your vision. Therefore,  it's important to conduct a thorough analysis of the space. You'll want to consider the type of soil, the quality of the drainage, and the shape of the terrain before you begin building. Make sure you always measure the space.

  2. Supplement With Greenery
    It's easy to get carried away with hardscaping, but man-made elements shouldn't be the dominant theme of your outdoor space. Make sure you're keeping greenery in the picture. Whether it's flowers, shrubs, or potted plants, make sure there is plenty of plant life around.

  3. Stick To A Consistent Theme
    When hardscaping, you'll want to choose colors that match your home's exterior to create a seamless transition from indoors to the outdoors. Also, be sure not to go overboard. Try to keep it simple and stick to one or two textures across all your hardscape elements. For inspiration on beautiful hardscaping themes, take a look at a few of these Raleigh homes for sale.

  4. Keep Things Balanced
    Humans find real beauty in balance and symmetry, so keep this in mind when you're planning new outdoor elements. Use repetition when adding rocks, boulders, decor, or other elements. Make sure your items fit nicely within the natural space of your yard. Don't be afraid to add curves to your sidewalk or build a non-traditionally shaped patio.

  5. Consult A Professional
    Great hardscaping can be difficult to create. While it can make for a fun summer DIY project, you shouldn't be afraid to consult with a professional. If you're really looking to boost your home value, hiring a professional can really pay off.

Whether you're looking to create a new space for entertaining guests or your own private oasis, hardscaping is a great investment. Contact us today for more ideas about how to improve your outdoor space.

July
27

7 Tips for Adding Built-In Bookshelves

Bookshelf Tips

Part of making your house a home is getting to customize it with your interests. Put your personality and hobbies on display when you design a built-in bookshelf.

Built-in bookshelves complement your home, and you can use them as a focal point instead of furniture. Additionally, built-in bookshelves are customizable, easy to organize and make the space look bigger. Our real estate agents put together this guide to help you add built-in bookshelves after buying our Raleigh homes for sale to customize them to your taste.

  1. Take Measurements
    Where would you like your bookshelf to be? Measure the room's height and width. Just like with any home improvement project, measuring multiple times is a good way to ensure a successful project. Most people prefer their built-in bookshelves to be by the window. So, check the window placement as well. If the room has no windows, you can place the bookshelf by the center. Next, come up with the bookcase details. How many columns and rows do you need on the shelf? What will be the width between partitions?


  2. Gather Materials
    Pick out the materials you'd like to use for this home improvement project. Cut your wood to the dimensions of the bookcase details. Assemble the wood and use the glue sets to assemble the partitions.


  3. Cut and Assemble the Shelves
    After assembling the partitions, let the glue dry as you cut the shelves. From the measurement of the first step, you have an idea of shelf length. You can make them an inch longer and trim them to ensure the perfect fit. Lengthening the shelves a little more makes it easy to align them perfectly.


  4. Trim the Brackets
    Using a jigsaw, carefully cut out the brackets. You can use sandpaper to smoothen the carve. Mark any intersections, and use a pencil to draw a smooth line that will connect the dots. Then, cut out the shape using a jigsaw.


  5. Build the Partition
    Since built-in bookshelves don't have enough weight to support them as other cabinet face frames do, nail the frame parts together. Nailing makes the bookshelf more stable.


  6. Add Wall Cleats
    Use wall anchors and reliable construction adhesives to fasten wall cleats on your drywall. If you have carpeting on your floor, roll it back to avoid making a mess. If you don't have drywall, you can also check the right anchor to attach your wall cleats. The cleat helps support the partition and acts as a cleat for the bookshelf's fascia.


  7. Fasten the Brackets, Fix the Nails, Sand, and Finish Off
    Tip the partitions carefully and one at a time to avoid scaring the ceiling. Then add the brackets by gluing them to the partition sides. Next, nail them to the partition and filet. Once you fix the nails, sand the wood and finish the bookcase. You can paint it in your desired color.

Are you ready to find your next home and customize it? Contact us with your needs and preference, and let us help make your search easier.

July
14

HPW Luxury | 6 Desirable Features Found in HPW Luxury Homes

In and around the Triangle area, there are several beautiful luxury listings available for sale. What exactly differentiates these properties from the standard market? Is it the square footage, the features, or the technology? Some would say it is all of the above. Ultimately, luxury buyers are not looking at the price tag in their search for their next dream home but the amazing amenities that come with the property. Here are the top 6 must-have features in luxury homes!

1. Indoor / Outdoor living

Indoor/outdoor living seamlessly extends your home's great room or dining quarters. This trend tends to keep cohesion in design from the interior to the exterior of your home. Typically indoor/ outdoor living has always been a primal commodity when searching for a new home. With the new normal consisting of being at your humble abode more these days, the amenity has become a necessity. What makes an outdoor living space luxurious is the ability to provide comfort through all seasons while also allotting multiple entertainment options. High-end features include retracting screened porches, outdoor kitchens, cabanas, and sometimes a type of water feature. This CBHPW luxury listing checks off each box on the list! With its large covered porch and a wood fireplace, the immaculate outdoor kitchen has a top-of-the-line grill station, jacuzzi, and extensive acreage for sporting events or games. One thing for sure is that you may yearn to host any occasion with this property as your next home. To view more of this listing, click here.  

2. Theatre Room 

Entertainment becomes the next level when a luxury property contains an in-home theater. The ability to bring the ultimate cinematic experience to your fingertips is a sought amenity many buyers search for when hunting for their next home. What makes an in-home theater top-notch is its ability to incorporate features similar to an actual movie theater. This includes a top-of-the-line av-system, projector, large screens, recessed lighting, and comfortable loungers. The goal of the theater room is to immerse yourself in what's on the screen, whether that be the newest megahit movie or the exciting rival sports game. The cinema room pictured above is from none other than one of our CBHPW luxury listings. This glorious in-home theater offers stadium seating, a high-tech projector, and even mimics the groovy movie theater carpet. To view more of this property, click here. 

3. Large Garages

The standard two-car garage does not cut it for luxury properties. Buyers are looking for substantial space when envisioning the housing of their precious automobiles. Typically, luxury properties have at least a 3-car garage! To any car buff, the garage is not just a space for storing your vehicle. This part of the property could be turned into a luxurious showroom, man cave, or workshop. This beautiful CBHPW luxury property comes with a three-car garage with gorgeous rustic wood garage doors. To view more of this property, click here.  

4. Intricate Ceiling Designs

Raised ceilings and other intricate ceiling styles are quite the fanbase for luxury homes. A room turns from basic to compelling when there is a ceiling feature that adds depth, sophistication, and style. In most luxury dwellings, at least one space must contain a styled ceiling. One of these rooms can be the living room, sitting room, primary bedrooms, and or dining rooms. What exactly are some styles of these ceilings? They are cathedral, tray, beamed, suspended, and coffered. One would love to have any of these exquisite designs in their home!  For example, in this CBHPW luxury listing above. The sitting room contains a beautiful coffered ceiling. The coffered ceiling consists of sunken panels accented by molding, creating a waffle-like appearance. What works well in this room is the brilliant addition of recessed lighting. For more on this property click here

5. Massive Walk-In Closets

Typically an owner of a luxury home tends to live a complete life of luxury. Meaning everything about them is high-end, like their fashion sense. Closets in a luxury home are an extension of the main room and need to boast space and means of organization. Closets these days are not just for hanging clothes. They can be an area to lounge in after using the spa bathroom or a place to put on that fashion show after shopping in the streets of London. For sure, luxury home buyers are looking for closets that encompass organization and can show off their beautiful wardrobe. In this CBHPW luxury home, the primary closet is genuinely massive. This closet incorporates different levels of custom built-in shelving and an island dresser to accommodate all buyers' attire needs. To view more of this property, click here.

6. Relaxing Spa baths

When buyers search for their next home, kitchens and bathrooms are the most focused rooms, which is why main bathrooms in luxury homes are genuinely upping the ante in their need to give that spa-like aura. Features include a jacuzzi bathtub fit for a king, a large walk-in shower that doubles as a steam room, neutral colors, beautiful stone or tile, and lots of space for minimal clutter. In this CBHPW luxury listing, this bathroom truly exuberates comfort and relaxation. The large window allows natural light to encase the room, making the white pop against the darker grays. The unity in neutral colors creates a calming sensation. One can relax in the free-standing tub or use the shower with multi-shower heads in this bathroom. To view more, click here

When buying or selling in the luxury market, we are sure you have seen one or more of these features within the properties. To view, all of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walstons' luxury homes for sale, visit our website at https://www.hpwluxury.com













June
29

Hosting Tips for Your Housewarming Party

housewarming hosting

You've looked at countless Raleigh homes for sale, and you've finally found the one. Is it too early to start planning your housewarming party? Not at all! A housewarming party is a perfect opportunity to show off your new home to your friends, celebrate with those you care about most, and just relax in your own space. The following are some hosting tips that may come in handy as you plan and hold your housewarming.

  • Plan on Giving House Tours
    Your guests are going to want to see your home. So, make sure it is tidied up and ready for visitors. It's okay to close off a bedroom or two if there are things you want to keep private, but for the most part, you want the whole of your home to be clean and ready for visitors. If you're still holding on to empty boxes and bubble wrap from your move, this is great motivation to get rid of it.

  • Serve Appetizers and Finger Foods
    Serving a sit-down meal at a housewarming party is more work than it's worth. Plus, with all of your guests roaming around and checking out the house, gathering everyone to eat at the same time will be tough. Serve a variety of finger foods and appetizers instead. This way, you and your guests can nibble as you wish.

  • Invite Guests to Drop By
    Having everyone arrive at once can be a little overwhelming when you're giving tours of the home and showing off your favorite decor. When you send out invitations, use the words "stop by between the hours of ___ and ___" so guests know they don't have to be there as soon as the party starts. Some guests will stay for a half-hour, and others may stay the whole time. Building in this flexibility also makes it easy for busy guests to attend.

  • Set Aside a Spot for Gifts
    It's customary for guests to bring a small gift when they attend a housewarming party. Set aside a designated space for these gifts before the party. An end table in the living room is a good choice. Don't use your kitchen counter or island, as you'll need those spots for food and drinks.

  • Open Up the Yard, if Possible
    It's nice to hold a housewarming party in the summer so guests can also mingle in and enjoy your yard. Tidy up your landscaping prior to the party. Also, make sure it's clear that guests are welcome to go outside and enjoy the yard. This may mean propping a door open or barbecuing outside where others can gather around the grill. 

A housewarming party is a great opportunity to show off your new space and welcome others into it as well. With the hosting tips above, you'll be set for success. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect home, feel free to contact us soon. Our real estate agents will be happy to guide you through the house-hunting process, working with you closely every step of the way.

June
22

Plants to Boost Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Plants

Want to purify the air while improving the appearance of your home? Add a few indoor plants to improve your indoor air quality, reduce your stress levels, and enhance your home's aesthetic.

Our real estate agents also know that indoor plants effectively make any space look more inviting. Here are a few plants that will boost your indoor air quality and help your home look its best.

  • Spider Plants
    Spider plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular option for homeowners who want to add plants that don't require a lot of time and attention. A spider plant removes formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in fingernail polish, cigarette smoke, dry cleaning solutions, and other synthetic chemicals. To help your spider plant thrive, you'll want to keep the soil moist and place it in a spot that's semi-sunny or even shady. 
  • Philodendrons
    Philodendrons are another plant that's efficient at purifying your air while being relatively easy to grow. Many homeowners like philodendrons thanks to the lovely heart-shaped leaves. Another benefit of philodendrons is that they're versatile regarding their ideal placement in your home. You can keep philodendrons in a shady spot, or you can house them in a sunnier area as long as you're willing to water them more frequently. 
  • Peace Lilies
    Peace lilies have gorgeous white flowers and remove acetone, alcohols, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. They need a semi-shady spot in your home, and you'll want to keep the soil moist. 
  • Snake Plants
    When adding your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale, consider adding snake plants to your entryway or living room. Snake plants are perfect for busy homeowners thanks to their blase watering requirements; water the plant until the soil is moist, then allow the soil to completely dry out before you water it again. This means that you may only need to water your snake plant every two to four weeks. 
  • Bromeliads
    Bromeliads boast a beautifully colored bloom and are effective at removing a number of air pollutants. They do best in a spot with a lot of direct lighting. Make sure that your bromeliad has a pot that allows for ample water drainage, as they are prone to developing root rot. If you notice water gathering in the pot, promptly empty it out. A bromeliad will only live for a year or two; after they flower, they start to die off. They do produce baby bromeliads at their base that you can remove and propagate. 
  • English Ivy
    While English ivy is a popular addition in many gardens, it's also an excellent addition to your collection of indoor plants, offering a classic look and strong pollutant-removing properties. It can grow in full shade or full sun, and over time, you can even direct its growth so that it compliments your home. 
  • Gerbera Daisies
    If you prefer a flowering plant or a species that will add color to your home, gerbera daisies are a terrific selection. They're a little tricky to grow inside because they need a lot of bright light and relatively warm temperatures. A location by a window offers these growing conditions, but too much heat can scorch the leaves. One option is to place your daisies by the window during the morning and then move them before the strong afternoon sun hits. 

Want a home with more space for indoor plants? Contact us to start your search!

April
27

What to Plant in Your Garden This Year

Garden Tips

Spring is here at last! Our real estate agents have been looking forward to another year of beautiful, thriving plants at our Raleigh and Durham homes for sale. In their time working on local properties, they have seen some incredible examples of gardening prowess and learned which plants grow best in this area of North Carolina. Here are some of the plants they are most excited to recommend to local gardeners this year. 

  • Rosemary 
    Rosemary is a common herb used to add an earthy flavor to soups, stews, and bread, but that doesn't mean it can't be an attractive part of a garden arrangement as well. This herb's distinctive tall shoots covered in short, straight leaves can look great in the right surroundings.  

    Like most herbs, rosemary is hardy and doesn't need too much water or attention. It does best in full sun, so try to find it a sunny spot near the middle of your plots to help it grow. 

  • Wood Geraniums 
    Wood geraniums are modest, cheerful-looking flowers that grow natively in North Carolina. They make an excellent addition to any Raleigh resident's garden, but those with lots of nearby wildlife may appreciate them even more. Their strong smell has sometimes been shown to have a mild repellent effect against deer, rabbits, and other woodland creatures.  

    These flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer, so plant them soon to enjoy their beauty for several months. They need neutral soil but can survive in either sun or partial shade.  

  • Carolina Silverbell 
    If you want to make your garden feel like a magical respite, look no further than the Carolina Silverbell tree. This plant's dainty white blossoms look like something out of a fairy tale.  

    This tree needs neutral or mildly acidic soil and lots of sun but can handle periods of shade. Expect to see it bloom each year in late spring or early summer and develop stunning yellow foliage in the fall.  

  • Sandhills Fire Lily 
    Looking for a striking centerpiece for your garden? The Sandhills Fire Lily might be just the plant you need. With their exotic orange blossoms and their rippling downward-pointing petals, these lilies bring dramatic flair to any outdoor space.  

    Fire lilies bloom in mid-summer and need lots of sun to thrive. They also do best in mildly acidic soil. They'll do great in spots near the middle of your garden where they can enjoy both the sunshine and the spotlight. 

  • Lavender 
    Lavender is well-known for its soft purple flowers and delicate scent. It is often used in teas, bath scents, and massage oils for its calming fragrance. Growing your own allows you to enjoy this relaxing aroma anytime.  

    This plant is hardy and can survive in most conditions, but it does best in full sun and fully-drained alkaline soil. It is prone to root rot in damp conditions, so be sure not to overwater it.  

  • Flowering Dogwood 
    The flowering dogwood's distinctive white clusters of blossoms are both eye-catching and understated, allowing them to easily fit into most Raleigh gardens. This plant's blooms also happen to be North Carolina's official state flower! 

    Dogwood trees need moist, acidic soil with partial shade. Their blossoms will appear in late spring and early summer before developing into small red fruits that give the tree a striking new look. Humans cannot eat these berry-like fruits, but many birds enjoy them and will be happy to visit your yard for a snack when you have a dogwood tree on your property. 

Eager to get started on your new garden? Contact us for more information on our roster of properties and find your perfect landscaping canvas today.  

April
18

Steam Cleaning Tips for Your Next Showing

Steam Cleaning Raleigh

Raleigh homes for sale are carefully staged for one important reason: to make them look like something a potential buyer could picture themselves living in. For most buyers, a dirty carpet is a turnoff, so you'll want to clean yours before staging and showing it to ensure your house gives a good first impression. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for getting your carpets into shape before your next showing.

  • Move the Furniture
    It may be tempting to clean around the furniture, but the result could be eyesore patches of dirty carpet if you later move the furniture for staging or if a potential buyer peeks under the furniture or rug to see what is being covered up. Before your home joins the ranks of Durham homes for sale, make sure you do what professional carpet cleaners do and move all the furniture before getting started.

  • Clean the Baseboards and Fixtures
    Before you start with the carpet, be aware of what could drop dirt onto your freshly cleaned carpets. Most people don't frequently clean their baseboards or their light fixtures, so chances are there is a buildup of dirt and dust that will fall to the carpet below if you bump the fixture or brush up against the baseboards. Clean that now, while the furniture is out of the way, and before you start on the carpet.

  • Vacuum Slowly
    This is actually good advice for anyone, at any time, vacuuming their carpets: Take it slow. A quick pass with the vacuum leaves a lot of dirt behind. Slow it down and take your time vacuuming over every square inch of carpet. Be sure to take a second (slow) pass over high traffic areas. Your goal is to pick up as much dirt out of the carpet as possible before running the steam cleaner, to minimize the amount of muddy water you produce, and let the cleaner focus on removing the soil that couldn't have been removed with a vacuum.

  • Pretreat any Stains
    Even if your carpet is clean, stains can be a real eyesore, and a steam cleaner alone may not be powerful enough to remove them. Remember, stains are just soaked-in soil. To improve your steam cleaner's chances at removing any stains, pretreat them first to loosen and dissolve the soil, making it easier for the steam cleaner to pull them up. You may need to repeat the process on that area if the stain doesn't come out with the first cycle of pretreating and steam cleaning.

  • Air it out
    Part of the advantage of steam cleaning your carpets is that it'll make your entire house smell fresher, too. Dirty carpet tends to hold odors, but a thorough cleaning will remove those, and the smell of freshly shampooed carpets will make your house smell even better. Getting a fan going afterward will help your carpets dry, but open up your windows for a little bit, too, if possible. Getting fresh air moving through your home will help to eradicate any unpleasant odors and make it smell more appealing to potential buyers.

Making good first impressions is important when selling your home, so anything you can do to spruce it up will help its chances. For more easy project ideas that can help your home sell faster and higher, contact us today.

March
2

7 Tips to Help You Prepare for Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning tips

Spring isn't here quite yet, but it's poking its head around the corner. If you're someone who looks forward to a good spring cleaning, then you probably can't wait to pull out your mops and buckets. Planning ahead for spring cleaning is a great way to stay busy and make sure you're ready to go the second the weather breaks. So, how do you plan for a successful spring cleaning? Our real estate agents have some helpful tips.

  1. Organize Your Cleaning Products
    Knowing where your cleaning products are will help your spring cleaning routine go more smoothly. Take the time to sort through your cleaning products, throw away old ones, and gather everything into one area. You can also make a list of new cleaning products you need and shop for them.

  2. Make a List
    Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming and a bit daunting. You might keep mulling over different tasks and plans in your mind. It can be really helpful to make a list of tasks on paper. This gets you out of your head and reassures you that you won't forget anything. As you think of new cleaning tasks you'd like to tackle, just add them to the list. By the time spring arrives, you'll have a thorough record of everything you plan to do.

  3. Donate Obvious Extras
    You may want to wait for spring to do a serious audit of your drawers and collections. But if there are items sitting around your home that you obviously no longer want or need, start donating and selling them now. When spring comes, you'll have fewer things to clean and less to do.

  4. Use Up Pantry Extras
    Spring cleaning in the kitchen is a lot easier with a nearly empty pantry. So, start planning ahead by using up your open food, along with food items you've been storing for a while. 

    Some people like to do a one-week pantry cooking challenge. During this week, you do not go grocery shopping at all. You can only eat and cook with what's already in your pantry. This requires some creativity, but it's an excellent way to clear the clutter.

  5. Contact Contractors
    There are some spring cleaning and maintenance tasks you simply should not do on your own. Servicing your air conditioner is one of them. Hydro-jetting your drains is another. Make a list of all the spring cleaning tasks you want to have done professionally. Then, start contacting those contractors and making appointments. It's nice to get on their schedule before the springtime rush.

  6. Set Some Cleaning Goals
    Another way to plan for spring cleaning is to set some specific cleaning goals for the year ahead. Maybe your goal is to clean for 30 minutes, twice a week. Or perhaps you want to get rid of 10 unneeded items each month. Write down your goals and post them on your refrigerator. When spring does come, you'll be ready to buckle down and work to achieve them.

  7. Make Your Own Cleaners
    If you prefer to use homemade cleaners, now is the time to start preparing them. Make a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to use on your surfaces. Stock up on baking soda to use on your carpets. Look up recipes for new homemade cleaning products and follow them. By the time spring comes, you'll be stocked up.

Getting your house clean so you can list it this spring? If you're thinking of moving, don't hesitate to contact us. Our real estate agents can help you find incredible Raleigh homes for sale, and they can guide you through the buying process. 

February
2

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule for Your Home

Cleaning Schedule

Not everyone loves cleaning, but everyone will agree a clean home shows the best! One of the best ways to keep your house clean is to create a cleaning schedule. This is especially important if you'll be selling your house soon, as Raleigh homes for sale need to be showing-ready at all times. Here are a few tips for creating a cleaning schedule you can stick to.

  • Make a List
    First things first: Making a list is a great way to get organized. Whether it's a deep cleaning that's long overdue or just regular cleaning tasks, put it all on your list, and be sure to note how often it needs to be done. For instance, basic cleanup in the kitchen usually needs to happen nightly, but other things like laundry and cleaning the bathrooms may not need to happen more often than once a week. Whether it's once a day, once a week, or once a month, putting it all on your list will help you get an idea of how much work cleaning your house is going to require.

  • Do a Little Each Day
    Are you the sort of person who prefers to clean a little each day so that you don't have to spend your time deep cleaning? If so, make a list of tasks to do each day, and then when you're done with those, you can do other things that need doing. For instance, you might clean up the kitchen and wipe down the counters every night after dinner, and when time permits, add in less frequent cleaning tasks, such as cleaning the oven. Our real estate agents recommend the daily clean approach if you're selling your home, as you can easily wrangle it back into show-ready shape even with a short notice.

  • Pick a Cleaning Day
    If you don't have the time or the energy to clean every day, you might prefer to pick a day when you can devote a large chunk of time to cleaning. This might be on the weekends or even every other week if you do a little maintenance between cleaning days. Devoting one or two big days to cleaning is perfect for catching up on your deep cleaning or even getting your home ready to sell. This is also when your list comes in handy: You can keep tabs on everything you have to do and make sure you're moving quickly from one task to the next.

  • Prioritize
    Whether you clean a little every day or hit it hard on one big long cleaning day, it's important to make sure you've prioritized your list. Note first the tasks that need doing the most, either because it's something that needs to be cleaned frequently or because it's just really bad. After you get those done, you can move on to less frequent or less pressing tasks, and so on down your list.

Keeping your house clean might not be much fun (at least not for most of us), but with these tips, it can at least become a little easier. If you're getting ready to sell your home and are interested in learning more about cleaning and staging a house for sale, contact us today.

December
29

What Appliances to Upgrade in 2022

HPW Appliances

Many buyers looking into Raleigh homes for sale are attracted by updated appliances that make life more convenient. Upgrading your home's appliances before selling is a great way to increase your home's value and spark interest among potential buyers. Our real estate agents have reviewed the most exciting appliance upgrades for 2022 and listed them below.

  • Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliances
    Stainless steel refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, and stoves create a modern and hygienic look in the kitchen. Stainless steel is timeless and will help your home appeal to buyers for years to come. You might want to upgrade all the appliances simultaneously for a uniform and attractive finish.

    If you want a different look from the traditional shiny silver, Samsung, LG, and KitchenAid feature black stainless-steel appliances. Pair the updated kitchen appliances with quartz countertops for a luxurious appeal.


  • Built-in Stoves
    Homebuyers love the streamlined look of built-in stoves. In addition to the seamless design, built-in stoves allow easy access as they are built at waist height. Homebuyers can envision a much simpler cooking process as they tour a kitchen with these kinds of stoves. Look out for self-cleaning functions, flat tops, and other features that simplify kitchen activities.


  • Tankless Water Heater
    Tankless water heaters don't have tanks because they heat water on demand. A tankless water heater is an excellent way to boost your home's efficiency and resale value. In homes that use up to 41 gallons of hot water daily, these heaters are 24-34% more energy efficient in comparison to traditional water heaters.

    A longer lifespan is another benefit of tankless water heaters. Mineral-laden water corrodes conventional heaters, which homeowners have to replace every several years.


  • Smart Thermostat
    Smart renovations are on the rise among homeowners, thanks to the conveniences offered by smart appliances. A Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat lets people remotely adjust their cooling and heating needs. You can control your desired settings via a phone or tablet, no matter where you are.

    Over time, the smart thermostat learns your schedule and adjusts the temperature as needed. Many homeowners appreciate smart thermostats for improved energy efficiency and reduced energy bills.

  • Energy-Efficient Washers
    Your old washing machine may be the culprit for those puzzling high utility bills. In contrast, an energy-efficient washer uses less energy and water and even less detergent. Rather than filling up the machine with water, efficient washers only use a small amount of water that sits at the tub's bottom.

    Then, the machine tumbles clothes horizontally for cleaning and rinsing. This motion also preserves your delicates from damage. Seek out the EnergyStar logo in potential models when upgrading your old washer. To appeal to buyers, even more, consider upgrading your washer and dryer at the same time in a matching set. 

These appliance updates will help make your home more comfortable in 2022 or help you appeal to buyers looking in the Raleigh area. Kitchen appliances are the most important to buyers, while energy-efficient equipment draws crowds of eager buyers. Contact us to discover the upgrades that interest homebuyers and learn more about the real estate market.

November
17

Your Guide to Holiday Home Staging

Staging Tips

Are you thinking of selling your home during the holiday season? While this is a busy time of year, it can actually be a great time to sell. If you stage your home appropriately for the holidays, the cozy, celebratory vibe can really appeal to potential buyers. Our real estate agents have plenty of tips for staging a home at the most wonderful time of the year.

  • Keep Exterior Decorations Minimal
    Curb appeal is important when selling a home. So while you do want to decorate your home for the holidays, you don't want to go overboard. Stay away from giant inflatables and other dramatic holiday decorations this year. Keep it simple with a few lights to accentuate the best element of your landscape, a festive wreath on the door, and maybe some garland on the porch. 

  • Accentuate the Fireplace
    If your home has a fireplace, make it the focal point of your holiday decor. Fireplaces make people feel warm and welcome, especially around the holidays. Some snowmen on the mantel, a garland, and some simple white lights paint a stunning scene.

  • Don't Let Decorations Take Over
    When decorating the inside of your home, make sure your decorations accentuate what's there rather than overwhelming it. For example, choose a smaller tree that fits next to the living room sofa rather than a huge one that forces you to rearrange the furniture. Add a couple of holiday figurines to your dining room table, rather than replacing the whole table with a red and green one. You want potential buyers to be able to imagine what the home looks like outside of the holiday season, too.

  • Don't Change the Color Palette
    Try to choose holiday decorations that coordinate with the room's existing color palette. If red and green decorations clash with a room, use silver or blue ones instead. Use muted burgundy instead of red in rooms with more natural color schemes. Use brighter colors in brighter rooms. A cohesive color scheme makes people feel more comfortable in a space.

  • Go Easy on the Scents
    Scents are a common element of home staging. And the holiday season is the perfect occasion to use scents like pine and fresh-baked cookies to your advantage. However, you don't want to go overboard and overwhelm your buyers. Some people are susceptible to scents. To avoid making your space too smelly, opt for potpourri over spray air fresheners and essential oil diffusers. A nice, pine-scented, or cinnamon-scented potpourri will add a gentle, holiday-inspired scent that's not headache-inducing.

  • Keep Things Less Personal
    When you typically decorate for the holidays, you might display family photos from previous years or personalized ornaments that your kids made in school. But making a home feel too personal can turn off buyers. It makes it harder for them to picture themselves living in your home. Stick to non-personalized decorations when staging a home for the holidays. 

  • Don't Block the View
    Potential buyers want to look through windows and see what view they get to enjoy. So, make sure your holiday decorations don't block that view. Don't put any decorations on your windows. A few lights around the window frame or a bow at the top is more than enough.

There are plenty of buyers looking for Raleigh homes for sale around the holidays. If you're thinking about selling your home this season, keep the staging tips above in mind. Contact us to learn more about our real estate services and how our agents can make selling easier.

November
10

6 Eco-Friendly Home Tips for National Recycling Day

Recycling Tips

Home sustainability plays an important role in keeping our planet and our community healthy and clean. From recycling to energy efficiency, eco-friendly best practices can help reduce pollution, diminish dependence on raw materials, and ultimately helps prevent garbage from filling up landfills.

With National Recycling Day coming up on November 15, our real estate agents thought we'd take a moment to reflect on the importance of green living. Here are some everyday sustainability tips to incorporate into your home and life.

  1. Start With A Recycling Bin
    Investing in a recycling bin is an easy first step towards sustainability. Recycling is significantly easier when you have a dedicated container conveniently placed near your garbage can. When throwing things away, you can sort your glass, paper, aluminum, and plastics into your bin. Be sure to rinse your materials thoroughly and check with your local recycling company on what they'll accept.

  2. Create A Compost Bin
    A compost bin is an excellent way to reduce the amount of trash you produce, and it can have great benefits for your garden too. A compost bin is a place you can toss your decomposing food, plant, or organic materials. Over time, they'll transform into compost, which can be used to fertilize your soil. Vegetable and fruit scraps, dry pet food, newspaper, or cardboard are some examples of the hundreds of items that can be placed in a compost bin.

  3. Use A Water Filter
    Plastic bottles can be very harmful to the environment, especially when continually placed in a landfill. Instead of buying bottled water, install a water filter on your faucet or under your sink. You can also buy a filtered water pitcher, which can be fairly inexpensive.

  4. Wash Your Clothes With Cold Water
    Your washing machine consumes a significant amount of power and over 90% of that energy is used to heat the water. Therefore, you can save a significant amount of energy and reduce carbon emissions by getting in the habit of running all your loads with cold water instead

  5. Adopt LED Lighting
    Lighting typically accounts for 15% of your home's energy usage. You can significantly decrease this number by switching to LED lighting. LED stands for light-emitting diode, are these bulbs are 90% more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They're also brighter and last significantly longer too. Beautiful LED lighting is frequently used in many of these modern Raleigh homes for sale

  6. Install A Programmable Thermostat
    Programmable thermostats have helped to revolutionize energy-efficient heating and cooling. These thermostats allow you to schedule temperatures based on the time of day. Many of them also allow you to adjust your home's temperature from your smartphone, which makes it easy to turn down the heat or air conditioning when you're not at home. This functionality not only reduces your utility bills, but it is also incredibly eco-friendly.

Energy efficiency, sustainability, and green-living play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions and reducing utility bills. For assistance finding a home with eco-friendly features, contact us today.

October
13

8 Household Items and When to Replace Them

Household Items

If you're preparing to add your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale, it's essential to replace worn-out items. Worn-out items give the appearance that your home isn't properly maintained, and in some cases, can harbor germs and make it more cumbersome to maintain a clean living space. Here are some guidelines for replacing these common household items. 

  1. Your Fridge's Water Filter: Every 6 to 8 Months
    Refrigerators with water and ice dispensers have a filter that removes impurities. If you neglect to change the filter, you'll notice a change in the taste and quality of your water and ice. Old, dirty filters create a perfect environment for the growth of bacteria. 
  1. Hand Towels and Bath Mats: Every Couple of Years
    Even when laundered regularly, hand towels and bath mats can accumulate bacteria. They're frequently located in moist environments that contribute to the growth of mildew and mold. 
  1. Mop Heads and Pads: Every Month
    When you neglect to replace your mop head or mop pads, your mop doesn't work as well. You might notice that it doesn't clean the nooks and crevices in your home as effectively as it used to. Old mop heads and pads also harbor bacteria that you may inadvertently spread throughout your home. 
  1. Air Conditioner Filter: Every 3 Months
    An old air conditioner filter is bad for your home's HVAC system. Your system has to work harder than necessary to heat or cool your home due to the dirty filter; this means that it runs more often and for longer periods of time, shortening the life of your unit. If your HVAC system operates with a dirty filter, all of the dirt and allergens on the filter are disbursed throughout your home. This harms your home's air quality and spreads unpleasant odors throughout your property.
  1. Vacuum Cleaner Filters: Every 3 to 6 Months
    When you vacuum your floors, the filter traps dirt and dust from your floors. Our real estate agents know that a clean vacuum filter enables you to get the most from your vacuuming session, ensuring that your home looks its best for showings and open houses. Dirty filters may also leak dirt and particles back into your home's air when you run your vacuum. This can aggravate your allergies and make the air in your home smell stale and dirty. 
  1. Doormats: Every 2 Years
    Your doormats serve multiple functions: not only do they reduce the amount of dirt that enters your home, but they improve the aesthetics of your porch or deck. Over time, the materials of your doormats will degrade, removing less mud and dirt from your shoes. Bacteria, mold, and mildew will also begin to accumulate. 
  1. Smoke Alarms: Every 10 Years
    Replace your smoke alarms every ten years to ensure they will continue to detect smoke in your home. Test your smoke alarms monthly to confirm that they're working correctly. 
  1. Sponges: Every 2 to 3 Weeks
    A clean sponge is key for a clean home! After all, if a sponge is past its prime, it might be spreading bacteria instead of cleaning it up. Make sure to replace them at least every 2 to 3 weeks or sooner if they are beginning to look weathered.

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!

June
9

5 Things to Consider Before Buying Patio Furniture

Raleigh Patio

What's so hard about buying patio furniture? Why not just go online or to a store and pick something pretty and buy it? You can do that, but you may not be happy with how that plays out in the patio area of the dream home you chose among homes for sale in the Triangle. A little planning will help you make the most of your outdoor living space. If you're not sure what questions to ask about a patio furniture purchase, follow the guidelines our real estate agents have put together. 

  1. Determine the Space
    This sounds so obvious, but you'll be surprised to learn that some folks just close their eyes, make a purchase, and hope it fits. Don't do that. Measure your space. Decide what you want. Bar stools? A dining table and chairs? Chairs for relaxing and lounging? You may get a good deal ordering online, but when buying furniture, it's always nice to look at it in person. Buying patio furniture in the brick-and-mortar store can show you how big it is, so you can calculate if it will nicely fill the space you have.

  2. How Comfortable is it?
    There's not much point in buying patio furniture just to look at. You'll want people to sit in it and enjoy it. It's important to sit on the furniture to see if it's comfortable. Do you intend to improve the experience by providing comfy cushions? That's helpful, but you also want to see if the chairs, table, or whatever, are the right dimensions.

  3. Are the Materials Weather Resistant?
    These days patio furniture is manufactured from many different materials: wicker, iron, resin, steel, plastic, wood, and others. If you're going to leave your furniture in an uncovered location during the warm season, you may want to choose something weather-resistant and resilient. Leaving the furniture in the heat and humidity will shorten its usefulness. If you're going to keep your furniture in a protected location, you might have better luck with patio furniture made of wood or wicker. Regardless of where you leave it, you may need to do a bit of maintenance every season: painting, replacing cushions, or with wood, even refinishing. 

    It's always a good idea to put the furniture up when the season for entertaining is over; at the very least, cover it up and protect it from the elements. Also, think about where you're going to place the furniture: on solid ground or on the patio. If it's going to make contact with the earth. you need to choose materials that can handle being on soggy ground, such as plastic or resin. 

  4. Invest in Quality
    Be aware that plastic, resin, wood, or wicker furniture may look good when you buy it, but if it's used extensively outdoors, UV rays and weather will make it fade so that it loses its looks. If you can afford it, invest in good quality furniture that will stand up to the elements and last a few years. If possible, set it in a protected location.

  5. Shop Colors
    You can have some fun when shopping for the right color of patio furniture. It doesn't have to be neutral, black, or brown. Match colors in your landscape or with your house, or go a little wild selecting pillows and cushions that pop.

Need more tips to improve your outdoor living space? Contact us today. 

May
19

Interior Design Mistakes You Might be Making

Interior Design Mistakes

When you find furniture, artwork, or a decor scheme that you love, it's natural to want to incorporate it into your own home. However, our real estate agents know that some stylistic components aren't a good fit for every home; they may make the room appear small, cluttered, or unattractive. Your space will then be unappealing to you and potential buyers. Here are some common interior design mistakes you might be making and some simple solutions for fixing them. 

  1. Choosing the Wrong Area Rug Size
    Your area rug is intended to help you frame the furniture in a room. This means that your furniture should be touching or resting on the rug, with some of the rugs still showing. For example, in a bedroom, your bed will rest on the rug, and the rug should still be visible.  In your living room, you want the legs of your furniture to touch the perimeter of the rug. If your rug is too small for your space, you have a few options. In a bedroom, you can place the rug on the side of your bed and use it to anchor your nightstand and sitting chair. For a living room rug that's a tad small, you can try putting just the front legs of your couch and end tables on the rug. The effect should be similar, even with a small rug. Or, you might choose to use the rug in another room and replace it with one that's better suited to the size and layout of the room. 
  1. Buying Cheap Linens
    Cheap linens and bedding can detract from a beautifully designed bedroom. You don't have to spend a fortune on your bedding, but you should invest in quality linens in a classic style and colors that compliment the room. This ensures that they'll enhance your bedroom while providing you with a relaxing haven to get an amazing night of slumber. 
  1. Thinking All Your Furniture Has to Match
    It's a misconception that you have to use all the pieces from a matching set of furniture. While there's nothing inherently wrong with a set of furniture, it can make the room feel generic and impersonal. Instead, incorporate a few pieces in a complementary hue or with different textures. This will add depth and visual appeal to the room. 
  1. Neglecting to Incorporate Enough Lighting
    Raleigh homes for sale that lack ample lighting aren't as appealing to potential buyers as their well-illuminated counterparts. A well-lit room is inviting and shows off your gorgeous pieces. In addition to a central source of lighting (like a chandelier or overhead lighting), add floor lights, table lamps, and desk lamps to integrate additional layers of light. Your lighting should be functional (making it possible for you to accomplish all the tasks you do in the room) and visually appealing (lending a cozy touch to the space, like wall sconces do in the dining room). 

Now that you've addressed these interior design mistakes, are you ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to start the process!

April
14

Paint Color Psychology: What Colors You Should Use Before Listing Your Home?

Paint Color Tips

Have you ever noticed how some rooms entice you into settling back and relaxing, and others make you feel energetic and ready for fun? Understanding the effects of your choice of colors will help you send the correct message to potential buyers. Our real estate agents can tell you that painting your home will probably bring the greatest return on investment of any upgrades you make when selling your home. Keep in mind the psychological effects of these colors before starting to paint. 

  1. Classic white
    Not only does white evoke calming effects, but it also opens up the space, making it appear larger. We often equate white with cleanliness. These are the primary reasons that white has been the most common choice of sellers for decades. Potential buyers also see white as the easiest color to paint over later.

  2. Black
    Often regarded as sophisticated and elegant, too much black can be somber and depressing. It's best used as an accent to bring drama to a classic white interior without interfering with the expansive visual effects. Consider black rugs or small accessories to add interest to what might otherwise be a boring environment.

  3. Gray
    Eliciting the same feelings of calm serenity white brings to the table, it adds versatility, matching any color scheme. gray lends a comforting feeling of warmth to a cool room. This adaptability has made gray the new "go-to" color of many interior decorators, edging white off the pedestal as number one. 

  4. Blue
    From the sky above to the deep blue sea, this color brings a cool calm, making it a good choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. Psychologists tell us it actually lowers blood pressure, and who doesn't need that after a busy day? Available in so many shades, blue can accent a home's architectural style, such as slate blue for a Craftsman or light shades for a beach house. 

  5. Green
    Another cool color, green, also reduces stress and provides a restful environment appropriate for bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. Like blue, green is soothing and harmonious, reminiscent of the beauties of nature. Think of how a lush lawn calls to us to take off our shoes and walk across it with bare feet. 

  6. Red
    Of all the warmer colors, red is the most intense, creating energy and stimulating emotions. That can be either good or bad, depending upon where it is used. Increasing energy is great for a recreation room but can be uncomfortable when you are trying to relax in the living room. When painting, consider where you want a stimulating space.

  7. Orange 
    Like red, orange increases tension and excitement, great when you're watching a football game, but not conducive to settling back with a good book. Used carefully, it can encourage enthusiasm, but too much of it can create a feeling of chaos. Used carefully, it can make a dining area feel lively and fun but might be more appropriate to a breakfast bar than a formal dining room.

The most important thing to remember when you are preparing your house for sale is that you want to make it attractive to buyers, not make it a personal statement. You may find it better to stick with neutral colors of paint and, if you are showing it with furniture, add colors with pillows, bedspreads, and other accessories that can be easily removed. 

Looking at other Raleigh homes for sale will help you see how a fresh coat of paint can make a difference! Contact us for assistance listing your house. 

March
31

Movie Night: Try These Home Theater Improvements

Raleigh Home Theater

Whether you enjoy binge-watching your favorite shows or like to host at-home movie nights, a home theater system is an excellent addition to your home. Our real estate agents find that a home theater system is also appealing to potential homebuyers and helps define your home's unused spaces. Here are a few ways you can take your home theater to the next level.

  1. Select the Right Space
    When deciding where to place your home theater, opt for a room that's removed from the hustle and bustle of your household. This should be a space that's used only for viewing media. Ideally, you should be able to close the room off from the rest of the household when it's time to catch a movie to minimize noise and light pollution. 
  1. Place Your TV or Screen the Correct Distance from Your Seating
    For the best viewing experience, your TV or screen should be the proper distance from your home theater's seating. If your space has a TV, multiply the length of the screen's diagonal size by 1.5 to 2.5 to know where to place the seats. For example, assume you have a 60-inch TV. This means that you'll place your seats anywhere from 90 inches to 150 inches from the screen. However, if you have a projector in your home theater, multiply the width of the screen by 2 to 5 to figure out your seat placement. This makes it comfortable for you to see the whole screen. 
  1. Paint Your Walls a Dark Hue
    Your home theater is the perfect place to embrace a dark color for your walls. Lighter colors can reflect light in the room and cause a glare. Dark hues will absorb light and help you better control the lighting conditions in the room. Raleigh homes for sale with a fresh coat of paint will also show better with prospective buyers. 
  1. Invest in a Home Audio System
    Even top-notch TVs frequently have less than stellar sound quality. Add to your viewing experience by investing in a home audio system. This will ensure that the sound tones are crisp and clear. For a smaller space, a soundbar may be sufficient. You don't want to overwhelm the room with too much sound. If you have a larger home theater room, a surround sound system is an excellent choice for an immersive viewing experience.
  1. Keep Decorative Items Away from Your Screen
    Movie posters and souvenirs are cool, but they can distract you or your guests when you're watching a movie. Instead, position them so that they're behind your seating. 
  1. Opt for Tiered Seating
    Tiered seating is the gold standard for home theaters because it prevents someone from inadvertently obscuring the view of the person behind them. Fortunately, tiered seating doesn't have to be expensive. You can add platforms to your seats to raise them a few inches. Or, you might opt to add a few cozy floor seats; these are often popular with kids who like a little extra space to fidget during a movie. 

Want a home with more space for your home theater? Contact us today to explore your options!

December
2

How to Take Care of Indoor Plants This Winter

Indoor Plants Raleigh

Indoor plants are a good way to liven up your living space, but taking care of them can be tricky in the wintertime. Changing temperatures, humidity, and exposure to sunlight all play a role in your plant's overall health. If you recently bought some new indoor plants or are simply bringing your outdoor plants inside to escape the cold, our real estate agents have some recommendations that can help you keep them healthy and vibrant this winter:

  • Prepare Them For The Indoors
    Before bringing your plants inside, you'll want to take the time to clean and trim them. If you're buying new indoor plants, it's also a good idea to at least give them a good rinse after bringing them home. Your plant may play host to insects or pests that you probably don't want to bring inside.
  • Water Them Less
    Some people are surprised to hear that plants actually require less water in the winter. Outdoor conditions are conducive to rapid growth, but inside, plants grow much more slowly, and in some cases, they remain completely dormant. As a result, they don't need too much water to survive. To determine if your plant is ready for some hydration, try to stick your finger in the soil as a test. If the soil is dry one to two inches beneath the surface, then it's likely time to add a little bit of water.
  • Limit Fertilizer
    Since your plants aren't going to grow much in the winter,  you really don't need to add any fertilizer. The only exception is if your plant appears to be browning or dying, in which case, it's a good idea to add a small amount. You can resume regular fertilizing in the springtime once you start to see some signs of growth.
  • Increase Humidity
    A dry home is going to present numerous problems for indoor plants. Once the furnace is on, make sure you have your plants situated near a good humidifier. If you don't have one, there are a few other things you can do: Plants naturally release moisture, so try to group all of your plants in the same location, so they're able to benefit mutually. You can also try placing your plants near or on a tray of water.
  • Maximize Light Exposure
    Since sunlight decreases in the winter, you may need to put in a little extra work to help your plant capture some rays. Move your plants as close to windows that receive a good bit of direct sunlight. Consider cleaning both your plant and the windows to maximize light accessibility. 
  • Maintain Consistent Temperatures
    Plants do not like changing temperatures, so keep them away from any areas of the home that are susceptible to cold air drafts. An ideal daytime temperature for your plants is around 70 degrees, while an adequate nighttime temperature is above 55.

Many owners of these beautiful Raleigh homes for sale use indoor plants as a way to revitalize their interior during the winter months. However, taking care of them often requires a bit of planning and preparation. For more tips on how to decorate your home, contact us today!

October
29

5 Ways to Improve Your Fall Landscaping

Fall Landscaping in Raleigh

Autumn is here, and Mother Nature is ready to put on a show with colorful leaves, crisp cool nights, and the bounty of the harvest. The vibrant fall season is the perfect time to make your home stand out and prepare for what lies ahead. Our REALTORS® know that a home with curb appeal is much more attractive to buyers, so it's important for those with Raleigh homes for sale to give their landscaping some extra love. These tips and fabulous fall landscaping ideas can help you make the most out of your outdoor spaces this autumn.

  1. Give Your Lawn Some TLC
    Taking proper care of your lawn in the fall can help your grass survive the cold winter weather to look lush and healthy in the spring. Use an aerator spike or pitchfork to create small holes in your lawn before fertilizing. These holes enable water, oxygen, and fertilizer to seep in, which is great for your grass. Fall is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn and plant new grass seed in any areas that need shoring up. 
  2. Clear Leaves from the Ground
    Speaking of raking, those pretty leaves will eventually fall to the ground. Raking the leaves on your property not only makes it look neat and tidy, but it's also good exercise and keeps your grass healthy. Mildew can easily grow under a blanket of leaves and damage your lawn. If you have a compost pile, put dead leaves in it, and you'll enjoy rich fertilizer for your yard in the spring. While you're at it, you might as well pull any weeds and throw them on the pile, too.
  3. Do Your Fall Planting
    Autumn is the perfect time to plan ahead and plant bulbs for vibrant flowers in the spring. Make sure to plant deep enough in the ground to prevent freezing.  If you're unsure of what types of bulbs thrive in your area and the best time to plant them, ask your local nursery for recommendations. When they pop up in the spring, you'll be in for a colorful surprise! It's also an excellent time to transplant any perennials you want to move. If you're planting any new bushes or trees, putting them in this time of year gives them months to get rooted before the hot North Carolina summer arrives.
  4. Decorate
    Letting the beauty of nature's bounty showcase your home and yard is super easy to do in the fall. Visit a local farmers market and pick up some pumpkins, gourds, hay, and any other outdoor fall décor you like. Colorful mums in planters or boxes on a porch or along walkways also add a nice touch of color. Putting an eye-catching fall wreath with red, orange, yellow, and brown hues on your front door can really make your house stand out from the crowd. 
  5. Keep Watering
    Unless it's a very rainy fall season, it's important to keep watering your lawn, trees, plants, and flowers. Even though the weather is starting to cool down, roots need to stay hydrated into the winter. An easy way to keep track of how much water you're getting is by using a rain gauge. Unless your lawn is getting more than an inch of water a week, keep sprinklers and irrigation systems going. When it's time to close up shop, make sure to disconnect hoses, shut off water sources to outdoor faucets, and flush sprinkler or irrigation systems.

Ready to buy or sell a home in Raleigh this fall? Our experienced real estate professionals can help. Contact us to get started.

September
9

What Sellers Need to Know About Home Inspections

Home Inspection Tips

You've prepared your home for the market, attracted a buyer, received an offer, the finish line is in sight... but a home inspection still stands between you and closing the deal. Handling the home inspection process is easier when you know exactly what to expect, how to prepare, and how the results of the home inspection can impact your transaction. Our real estate agents are here to help you prepare with our guide for what to expect from your home inspection.

  • Why a Home Inspection Is Crucial to Closing the Deal
    When a buyer is shopping for Raleigh homes for sale and decides to make an offer, their offer will typically be made with a "home inspection contingency" to protect them if there are issues with the inspection. This contingency allows the buyer to revise their offer based on the inspection, or withdraw the offer entirely if the inspection reveals serious issues. A smooth inspection can pave the way for the final steps of your transaction.

  • What the Inspector Will Be Looking for Outdoors
    The inspector will generally start by checking the outside of your home, including the siding, roof, foundation, patios, and the land around your home. They will look for landscaping issues like overgrown trees that may affect the home, and check for proper drainage to see whether the home is susceptible to water damage. They will also look for any areas where inside meets outside, like vents, pipes, and other openings.

  • Key Areas the Inspector Will Check Indoors
    Inside of the home, the inspector will check key home systems like plumbing, HVAC systems, electrical systems, and your water heater. They will check the water pressure of the home, and look for signs of leaks. In areas like the kitchen and bathroom where water damage is common, the inspector will check ventilation. They will also look for any building code violations, and check for fire safety.

  • What a Home Inspection Won't Reveal
    While the inspector may spot signs of serious issues like foundation damage, septic system problems, or issues with your well, their report won't be the final word on those problems. Instead, if the general inspection reveals issues in those areas, a specialized inspector will need to come for a thorough review.

  • How to Prepare for a Home Inspection
    The most important thing you can do to prepare for a home inspection is to address any maintenance issues – major or minor – before your inspection. This is especially important if there are issues with key systems like plumbing and electricity, or high-priority areas like the foundation or roof. To make the inspector's life easier when they arrive, make sure that the interior of your home is clean, the inspector has easy access to key systems, and outdoor areas are clear of debris.

  • What to Expect After Your Home Inspection Is Finished
    If the home inspection doesn't reveal any serious issues, then you're one big step nearer to closing the deal. If there are issues with the inspection that the buyer wasn't aware of previously, then they may want to renegotiate the deal to account for the cost of repairs.

Still searching for the right buyer to make an attractive offer for your home? The right real estate team makes all the difference. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Raleigh, NC area.

September
2

7 Ways to Put a Spare Bedroom to Use

Spare Bedroom Ideas

A spare bedroom can come in handy for overnight guests, but if this is a rare occurrence in your home, the space is often better utilized for everyday use. The extra room can be transformed in many different ways to suit your family's needs.

Our real estate agents suggest the following 7 ways to put a spare bedroom to use and to make it your favorite space in your home:

  1. Mudroom
    A spare bedroom that's near the front door can be utilized as a mudroom-like storage space. You'll need shelving and cubbies to store shoes, kids' backpacks, and other items. Hooks for coats and jackets will also be needed, and you can finish off the space with bench topped with a padded cushion so you can sit on it to take your shoes on or off.

  2. Reading Area
    A quiet room where you can get away from it all and curl up with a good book may be just the thing if you like to read. Add some shelving, a few comfortable chairs, some artwork, and cozy accessories like throw pillows or blankets, and you'll have the basics taken care of. You can also choose appropriate artwork if you'd like to spruce up the room, and good lighting is a must so you can see to read without any difficulty.

  3. Dressing Room
    Converting a spare bedroom into a dressing room gives you the space to store your clothing, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories neatly, as well as giving you a roomy space to get dressed. Best of all, you can emphasize the type of storage you need the most. So if you're into shoes, for example, pull out shoe racks may be a priority for you. Also include features like shelving, seating, a mirror that reflects you from head to toe, and closet accessories to store belts, scarves, and more.

  4. Yoga Room
    If you're into yoga but usually end up pulling your mat out into a family living area, a spare bedroom can be converted into a quiet, soothing space to practice some moves. Decorate it in soothing tones with warm lighting and create your own yoga studio with just a mat or add some extras like yoga straps or bolsters. And to practice moves safely, make sure the room is large enough to keep you safely away from any walls or furniture.

  5. Study Room
    If you have school-age kids, why not provide them with a quiet space to work in? This also frees up space in their bedrooms and keeps the kitchen table cleared off. Good lighting is key when you're creating a study room, as are plenty of desk space and all the tools and supplies they'll need.

  6. Home Theater
    Home theaters are popular spots to gather and spend time with your family at home while watching a movie. Invest in comfortable seating and a projector or large TV, and if you'd like, add some touches like a popcorn machine or framed movie posters.

  7. Sewing or Craft Room
    Sewing and crafts can take up a lot of space and leave you struggling to take your supplies out and put them away each time you want to use them. A dedicated sewing or craft studio lets you have storage units and boxes or baskets that suit your individual needs and large tables, bolts of fabric, or other supplies ready to use when you need them.

Contact us to look at Raleigh homes for sale. We'll help you find a home that has extra features you'd love to have, such as a spare bedroom. 

August
12

Interior Design Trends You Should Avoid When Selling Your Home

Interior Design TrendsOne of the best parts of moving into a new place is adding the touches that make it a home. Homebuyers look at houses imagining that the south-facing window will be perfect for their favorite houseplants and trying to decide which cozy spot is the right one for a pair of armchairs. The process of selling your home requires that you leave room in buyers' imaginations for their aspirations, and there are some interior design trends that can crowd other ideas out. Our estate agents love seeing the personality a home can show, but we also love seeing a home ready for its next act. When getting your home ready to list, here are some interior design trends you should consider avoiding. 

  1. Bold Wallpaper
    Bold patterns in wallpaper are a perennial trend; they've cycled through interior design trends since the Victorian era. But whether you have classic cabbage roses or geometric figures, bold wallpaper can overpower a home buyer's attempt to see the potential in a place. If said wallpaper is new, it can prompt concerns about what lay behind the bright colors and bold designs. Removing wallpaper and applying paint can be a great DIY job for a long weekend, but if your wallpaper dates from before 1970, ask a pro about what may lay under the surface. 

  2. Fixing Your Fixtures 
    Brass fixtures have been on trend recently, but like many quirky retro looks, their moment is brief. Oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel are coming into vogue. Chrome finishes are a practical option for high-contact surfaces, as chrome is easy to clean. You can swap out most fixtures in an afternoon with a few basic tools. Your fixture finishes don't have to be uniform throughout your home but try to keep to no more than three finishes. 

  3. Tired of Tile 
    Tiled countertops are no longer as popular as they used to be, as they can be tough to clean and make for less than ideal work surfaces. Tile flooring for kitchens and bathrooms is a classic and practical choice, but if you're installing new tile, keep to solid neutrals. Bold patterns in tile flooring can look great, but leave home buyers wondering where to look. 

  4. Overly Cold White Interiors 
    Rooms awash in white can look impressive in photos. But for someone seeking warmth and comfort, all-white interiors can look cold and clinical. White interiors also show scuffs and stains readily. If you're not ready to paint or change the flooring, break up an expanse of white with wall hangings, plants, or pillows to add texture and color. 

Homebuyers deserve the chance to make their own artistic statement once they choose one of the Raleigh homes for sale to make their own. You can help them visualize themselves calling your place home when you stage your home as a canvas for them to embrace their favorite interior design trends. If you have any questions about staging and preparing your home for sale, please contact us

June
24

6 Maintenance Tips for Your Summer Garden

Garden Maintenance Tips

Summer is the most difficult time of the year on plants. Our gardens take the brunt of the harsh sunlight and temperatures. To keep your garden looking healthy and beautiful all season long, here are summer garden maintenance tips our real estate agents recommend.

  1. Water Properly
    Watering is undoubtedly the most important aspect of summer garden maintenance, but how you go about it makes a big difference. There are many pathogens in the air and soil that need water to reproduce, grow, and move. So, be sure to apply water directly to the ground using drip irrigation or soaker hoses to limit moisture on a plant's foliage. Water sitting on the leaves can lead to mold formation and disease infestation.

    When giving your plants a drink, you want to make sure that the water goes down to the deep roots. 

  2. Pull Out Weeds
    Many weeds love summer heat and grow incredibly fast when it's warm. If you neglect your garden and allow weeds to thrive, they will steal moisture and nutrients from your plants. They can also encourage diseases and insect pests to pop up in your garden. 

  3. Prune Your Plants
    Whether they died of insect damage, disease, or natural causes, dead plants have to go. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also attract damaging insects. Trimming and cleaning off dead leaves, flowers, and branches are key to keeping your plants healthy, thicker, and fuller for as long as possible. Since plants may require pruning at different times, do your research before snipping anything. Pruning with a good pair of garden shears will give you a clean cut and keep your plants healthier. You may also want to enrich your soil with compost if you notice yellowing leaves or general plant failure.

  4. Watch for Insect Damage
    Insects build nests in and around gardens and landscaping so that they can have a ready food supply. Damage caused by insects and diseases is much more than cosmetic. Bacteria and viruses can only enter a plant through an opening, and insect damage provides that. And if you're growing fruits and vegetables, bugs can ruin your harvest. So, be vigilant and take proactive measures to get rid of bugs.

  5. Continue to Mulch
    Providing a 2-inch-deep layer of organic mulch will help control weeds, insulate the soil from the heat, and retain moisture. It's important to continue mulching on garden and landscaping planting through summer. There are many different types of mulch you can choose from depending on the needs of the plants. And to prevent the mulch from doing more harm than good, it's a good idea to leave a gap of several inches between the stems and make sure the layer can allow water to penetrate through it.

  6. Raise Your Mower
    Mowing is necessary in almost every season, but it's especially more important in the summer. Grass tends to grow quickly in warm weather, so some lawns will require more frequent mowing to keep them kempt. When mowing, don't cut your grass too short. Taller grass helps prevent the soil from drying out and promotes quicker root growth. As a good rule of thumb, leave your lawn standing at about five centimeters.

If your home will soon be listed among Raleigh homes for sale, beautiful landscaping and gardening features can make your home more appealing to buyers. Contact us today for your homeownership needs.

May
27

Spring Cleaning: Don't Forget to Clean Your Washing Machine

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Spring is traditionally the time when we do a thorough cleaning of our homes, undertaking tasks that we don't normally include in our cleaning regimen -- such as cleaning the washing machine.

Why does the washing machine need cleaning? After all, it's continuously washing itself with soap and sometimes hot water. Isn't it clean enough? Not really.

Soap leaves scum. Detergent residue can build up. There are also crevices in the washing machine's interior where dampness prevails, and where mold and dirt can take hold. Though you regularly wipe down the washing machine's exterior, and you often give the inner tub a wipe with a sponge, your machine may need a more thorough cleaning.

Front or top load, your washing machine could use a thorough cleaning at least once every year. It wouldn't hurt to clean it more often. 

  1. Clean Filters and Dispensers
    Depending on the type of washer you have, look at your manual to locate filters and dispensers. If the washer has them, remove them and soak them in a solution of vinegar or bleach and water while you're cleaning the drum. If you have dispensers that aren't removable, clean them with a sponge dipped in a cleaning solution.

  2. Clean the Gasket
    Mold and mildew can grow behind your front-loading washer's gasket. Clean under the gasket, using hot soapy water and a rag. You may even find one of those socks that went inexplicably missing last time you washed. Among other locations (under the agitator or wash plate, or in the washer's filter), socks are sometimes found under the gasket. 

  3. Wash the Drum 
    Clean a top-loading washer with 4 cups of vinegar and 1 cup baking soda; for a front loader, use 2 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda, or some kind of washer cleaner tablets.

    To thoroughly clean a top loader, fill it with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Let it sit for an hour, then run a long cleaning cycle. Then run another cycle with vinegar, followed by another hot water cycle to clean it out. Remember the next time you are ready to wash clothes to wash whites first, just in case there are traces of bleach in the machine.

    For top loaders, set the control to hot and on the large setting. Once the drum is full, add vinegar and baking soda and turn the washer on full cycle. For a front loader, put vinegar in the dispenser and baking soda in the drum. Set controls at highest heat and largest load and turn it on for the whole cycle.

    Once the cycle is over, wipe out the drum with a clean cloth.

  4. Leave the Door Open 
    After cleaning the washer, leave the door open so the machine can air out and dry. Always leave the door open once you've completed a wash cycle, to air out the washer.

If you're anticipating putting your home on the market, a substantial spring cleaning is one way to ensure it stands out among other Raleigh homes for sale. Looking for more tips from our real estate agents to get your Raleigh home ready to show? Contact us today.

May
20

DIY Ideas for a Summer Fire Pit

DIY Fire Pit

Is it summer yet? Maybe not quite, but it's finally starting to feel like it, and our real estate agents are more than ready. The warmer weather has us thinking about sitting outside at night, looking up at the stars while a crackling campfire blazes. 

After all, summer is campfire season, and these DIY backyard fire pit ideas will ensure that you're ready to take advantage of those warm summer nights! Summer will be here before you know it, so why not go ahead and get started today?

Buy or DIY

A lot of homeowners debate between building their own fire pit and buying one. Sure, you could pick one up at your local Walmart or Home Depot, but there are a lot of advantages to going the DIY route:

  • The design options are endless. The types of fire pit you can buy at a store are fairly limited. When you build a DIY fire pit, you can choose among countless styles and building materials. 
  • You can save money. Sure, it's possible to sink a lot of cash into building an elaborate outdoor fire area, but a basic DIY fire pit can cost less than a store-bought model. 
  • It's fun! There's nothing quite like the satisfaction you get from building something yourself! 

DIY Fire Pit Ideas

You have endless options when you build a DIY fire pit. The blank slate your backyard offers can be intimidating, but remember that there's no such thing as a "bad" fire pit design, as long as it's safe and functional! Make sure to do the following:

  • Choose building materials. You can use anything from natural stones to man-made materials like bricks, concrete pavers, and blocks. Kiln-fired bricks will withstand heat better and last longer. 
  • Integrate your landscaping. Take your surroundings into account so that your fire pit feels like an integral part of your landscaping. A stone "patio" surrounding the fire pit can help tie the whole yard together. 
  • Avoid standing water. Water can accumulate inside your fire pit if it's in a low-lying site. Lining the bottom with sand or gravel can help. 
  • Make it functional. Want to cook over your fire pit in addition to enjoying a crackling campfire? Include a cooking grate in the design. 

A Note on Fire Pit Safety

Once you've dreamed up the backyard fire pit you've always wanted, it's time to start building! And when you're done, you can gather your friends for a fun summertime hangout. But before you do any of that, keep a few safety tips in mind: 

  • Build your fire pit on a level site. This is especially important if your fire pit is completely above-ground.
  • Make sure the site you've chosen is at least 20 feet from your house, and at least 10 feet from trees, plants, fences, and other structures. 
  • Don't operate a fire pit under any overhanging branches or trees. 
  • Only burn firewood that's been seasoned at least six months. Avoid burning composite wood and other construction materials. 
  • Have a bucket or garden hose handy while burning.
  • Use a screen to keep sparks from escaping the fire pit, or surround it with a non-combustible ground covering like sand or gravel. 

Contact us today for more ideas. Our team has helped countless families find beautiful Raleigh homes for sale, and we're committed to helping you live life to the fullest in the Triangle this summer!

June
9

6 Apps to Help With Your Home Improvement Projects

Home Improvement Apps

Tackling DIY home improvement projects is a great way to pass the time at home and make your house a more pleasant place to call your own. And you don't need to be a construction expert to improve your home! Our real estate agents are happy to report that there are a ton of apps available to help with your home improvement projects, whether you're looking for guides, inspiration, or a community of like-minded DIY enthusiasts. Get a leg up on your next project, with our guide to the best home improvement apps for your devices.

  1. Pinterest
    Whether you're looking for inspiration for your projects, dreaming about Raleigh homes for sale, or seeking helpful tips from DIY experts, there's no doubt that Pinterest is an excellent resource. The Pinterest app makes it easy to browse all of the content on this popular social channel, and even share progress on your projects to help inspire others. Search for specific home improvement projects, or browse away until you find a project that inspires.

  2. iFixIt
    Need to repair household electronics, appliances, or just about any other device around the house? Then the iFixIt app will be an invaluable resource. The app draws on the power of an extensive community of people who love to help each other fix things and contains guides on fixing, improving, or adjusting just about anything under the sun. 

  3. Handyman Calculator
    Making the right calculations is key to saving both time and money on home improvement projects. The Handyman Calculator app makes it easy to get all of your calculations and measurements just right. It features more than 100 different calculators, geared toward every trade and field of construction. The app also helps you calculate the materials you'll need, manage your to-do list, and keep track of your time spent on each project.

  4. Houzz
    If you're looking for an app that blends social media, DIY tips, and expert advice, then the Houzz app is the perfect place to start. Save your project ideas, share your successful projects with others, and ask for advice from a knowledgeable, dedicated community. And if you decide that you need a little assistance from the pros to complete a project, the app makes it easy to find contractors, architects, and interior designers wherever you're located.

  5. iHandy Carpenter
    Wouldn't it be nice to have all of the measurement tools that you need in your pocket whenever you need them for a project? The iHandy Carpenter app allows you to do just that, turning your smartphone into a measurement tool. You can use it to calculate angles, check surface levels, measure distances, verify the verticality of walls, and much more.

  6. TapPainter
    Thinking of repainting a room, but unsure which colors would work best? The TapPainter app has you covered, allowing you to upload photos of a room and preview how it would look if you painted the walls a different color. The lighting conditions, shadows, and furniture in the room are all preserved in the preview, providing an extremely accurate simulation of how the repainted room would look. 

Searching for the perfect home that you can improve to your heart's content? We're here to help. Contact us today.

May
13

6 Bathroom Remodel Ideas You'll be Inspired to Try

Bathroom Remodel Raleigh

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the bathroom is the sanctuary. The master bathroom, guest bathroom, and even the downstairs half-bath should all feel comfortable and clean. Our REALTORS® know that a little renovating in these important spaces can go a long way. Here are six bathroom remodeling ideas that will inspire you to refresh the room where your family and guests freshen up.

  1. Bathe Yourself in Beauty
    Aside from larger master bathrooms that may feature a tub and a shower, most bathrooms contain one or the other. A great way to refresh this space is to swap out a tub for a shower or vice versa. You can remove your tub to create a walk-in shower with dual showerheads or a waterfall shower head. Alternatively, you could scrub the shower from the plans and instead install a lovely stand-alone tub for maximum relaxation.

  2. Give Each Other Space
    If you have a single sink built into a long countertop with significant underneath cabinetry space available, you may have the opportunity to trade this excess storage space for a more practical solution. Measure your countertops, and if you have adequate space, you can install his and her sinks to give you and your partner able space to get ready without investing in a large remodeling budget.

  3. Talk About Tile
    If you're looking for a hands-on project, look to the floors and walls for an opportunity. Bathrooms are excellent spaces to let your creativity flow freely, which is why many homeowners choose to replace their flooring and wall paint with gorgeous tiles. From large limestone or marble slabs to smaller subway tiles or a mosaic of mini shapes, your opportunities are nearly endless.

  4. Save Space
    For those with small bathrooms, you need all the space you can get. Make the bathroom seem larger without adding on square-footage by discovering space-savers. For instance, you can replace your sink and cabinet with a floating sink or vanity with a thin base. You can also install a larger mirror to make the space seem visually larger.

  5. Let Light In
    Light plays a vital role in the appeal of a bathroom, which is why you should never settle for harsh or yellow lighting. Replace old fluorescent bulbs with tunable bulbs that can be temperature adjusted to control the brightness and color of the light. Let natural light in by enlarging your window or adding a skylight. To control the heat, glare, and light streaming through the space throughout the day, install motorized window shades that can eliminate intrusive exterior light with the flip of a switch.

  6. Improve By Improvising
    When we think about remodeling, the first thought that comes to mind is to take on a large-scale home improvement project. However, there are plenty of ways that you can affordably refresh this space with minimal effort. Replacing fixtures like the lights, cabinetry hardware, faucets, and even towel racks can make a big difference. Cleaning dirty grout and recaulking around the bathroom fixtures can also breathe new life into the space without the need for serious renovations. Even a new paint color on the walls with new complementary-colored décor will make your bathroom feel brand new.

Are you searching for Raleigh homes for sale that have bathrooms ready for inspiring renovations? Contact us today to begin your search!

April
15

5 Tips for Starting a Garden in Raleigh

Raleigh Gardening

Scientific studies show that gardening burns calories lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and elevates your mood. Our real estate agents love to unwind working on their gardens. Plus, it's a great way to enjoy the North Carolina sunshine while practicing social distancing.

Starting a garden of your own is super easy. Use these five tips to start a thriving vegetable garden in your own Raleigh backyard.

  1. Decide on a Location
    First, look for a spot where the garden will receive at least eight hours of daily sunlight. Plants also need plenty of moisture, so make sure the garden will be close to a ready source of water, such as a faucet or hose. Stick with areas away from trees, shrubs, and other large growth that may steal valuable resources from the plants.

  2. Select a Garden Type
    Planting seeds directly in the ground isn't the only way to create a garden. Depending on the type of soil and other factors, that method may not even be the best way. Container gardens and raised beds are two options that allow you to control the type of soil used. They're also good choices if you're dealing with limited space.

    According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the biggest mistake made by beginning gardeners is being overenthusiastic. It's better to start small and expand later rather than bite off more than you can chew (no pun intended).

  3. Choose Your Crops
    Deciding what to plant is the fun part. Fortunately, the Raleigh area is well-suited for growing most fruits and vegetables, so the main factors are your taste and the appropriate growing seasons, which are either spring or fall. Some of the fruits and vegetables that do well in Raleigh include asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, onions and peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and watermelon. If you have the space, include herbs such as basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley that add color and flavor to cooking.

  4. Plan and Design the Garden
    In the legend of Johnny Appleseed, he scattered seeds randomly wherever he went, but that technique doesn't work in real life. Elements to consider include when to plant when to harvest, which plants will go in which section and how the garden will be organized (for instance, will be using intensive planting where rows are spaced close together). Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea of the quantities required of seeds and other supplies.

    It's a good idea to keep a gardening journal where you can document the entire process. With future gardens, you can refer back to the journal and see what worked and what didn't. Also, crops should be rotated regularly for best results, and a journal will help you keep track of what was planted when and where.

  5. Plant the Seeds
    Even if you're using intensive planting, be sure to allow enough room for the seeds to grow freely with sufficient airflow. Stagger planting dates in one- to two-week intervals, so you have a continual harvest. Keep the soil damp until plants are well-established, then water as needed. A layer of mulch improves water retention while reducing weeds and soil erosion. Fertilize based on recommendations for the type of soil, but be careful not to overdo it, which could inhibit production.

Raleigh homes for sale should look as good outside as they do inside. For more effective tips on buying or selling a home, contact us today.

January
29

How to Improve Your Credit Score Before a Home Purchase

Improve Your Credit Score

When you're looking to buy a home, your credit score has a significant effect on whether you're able to get a mortgage loan. And if you're able to obtain a loan, your score helps determine the interest rate you'll pay.

Your three-digit score represents your credit history and helps lenders determine whether you're likely to be able to pay back your mortgage loan. The higher your score, the better. Lenders generally like to see a score of at least 660 for a mortgage loan, and a score of 740 or higher will usually help you get the best interest rates for a home mortgage loan.

Our real estate agents suggest the following ways to improve your credit score before buying a home:

  1. Check Your Credit Score
    Check your credit history and score online through each of the three major credit bureaus - TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This lets you see whether any incorrect information on file is affecting your credit score, and if so, you can follow each credit bureau's process for having them corrected. You'll also find out whether your credit score is high enough to let you get a mortgage at a low-interest rate.

  2. Pay Your Bills on Time
    Paying every bill on time will raise your credit score over time. This helps demonstrate your creditworthiness to potential lenders.

  3. Reduce Debt 
    Your credit utilization, which is the amount of debt you have compared to your available credit, should be low. Work to lower your balances on credit cards, and don't open any new credit cards or finance a car when you're about to look for a home.

  4. Don't Close Unused Credit Cards 
    You may have heard that closing unused credit cards can boost your credit score, but this isn't true. It may even lower your score since this will raise the percentage of available credit that you're utilizing.

  5. Establish a Credit History
    If you're a young home buyer, you may not have enough credit history. You may need to establish more history with strategies such as applying for a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on a responsible family member's credit card. Even if you've already established credit, becoming an authorized user can help you add an older, established account to your credit history.

  6. Make a Large Down Payment 
    Even though it won't improve your credit score, making a large down payment can make it easier for you to get a home loan. That's because a large down payment reduces the amount you'll need to borrow. This creates a lower risk for the lender.

Contact us today to find out more how to raise your credit score to buy one of the many Raleigh homes for sale. We can suggest ways to boost your score and other tips for buying a home. 

January
22

Smart Home Features Buyers are Looking for in 2020

Smart Home Features

For many buyers, smart home features are not just the wave of the future. They are a very real priority for the present. Popular tech solutions are transforming homes, providing homeowners with better security, easier access to entertainment, and more convenience than ever before. But not every smart home feature will have buyers swooning, so it's important to direct your efforts in all the right places. Our real estate agents are here to help, with our guide to the smart home features that buyers are looking for in 2020.

  • Smart Security Is the Perfect Place to Start
    If you want to pick one smart home feature that will help your property stand out from other Raleigh homes for sale, then security is a great place to start. Smart security systems provide an unparalleled level of peace of mind for homeowners, making it easier to monitor your home even when you're away. Video doorbells have become a popular solution in many homes, while smart security cameras are perfect for keeping an eye on a vacation home. Wireless security systems make it easy to bundle a variety of security features into one convenient package.

  • Going Green
    Going green is a priority for so many shoppers, and smart home features make green living easier than ever. Perhaps the single most popular smart home technology is the smart thermostat, which allows you to program the temperature in your home no matter where you are and ensure that your home is always comfortable when you return. Adjust the temperature while you're on the road, or set it to be at just the right level when you get home from work. Many smart appliances and lighting systems can also offer significant energy savings.

  • Smart Appliances in All the Right Places
    Smart appliances in the kitchen are a popular feature for buyers because nearly every buyer wants an excellent kitchen. A smart fridge can be a great way to catch the eye of buyers in the kitchen, but don't forget about the laundry room! A smart washer and dryer can make life much easier at home, and laundry rooms, in general, have become a key area that many buyers are prioritizing in their next home.

  • Home Automation for Convenience
    Connectivity is a huge selling point for smart home features, and home automation allows you to control much of the technology in the home from one convenient app or device. With the power to control the home in the palm of your hand, it's easier to have your home ready for entertaining, safe when you leave, and comfortable when you return.

  • Smart Lighting to Make Life Easier
    Smart lighting combines a variety of the perks of other items on our list, including security and green living. With smart lights, you always have light when you need it, without wasting energy when you don't. Turn on the lights when you're away for extra security, and turn on the lights on the way home from work so that you're ready to relax as soon as you arrive. Some smart systems will even turn the lights on automatically when you get out of bed.

Whether you're looking to choose the best smart home features to market your home or shopping for a home with all the right tech touches, our team is here to help. Contact us today.

December
26

6 New Years Resolution's for Your Home

Resolutions for Your Home

New Year's is the perfect time to make home-related resolutions and improvements. This is true whether you're planning to stay in your home or would like to move into one of the Raleigh homes for sale. Either way, you'll be improving the appearance of your home and making it more comfortable to live in.

Our REALTORS® suggest making the following improvements to your home in the upcoming year:

  1. Install a programmable thermostat
    Installing a programmable thermostat can help you save between 5% and 15% on your monthly heating and cooling costs throughout the winter and summer. It allows you to program a heating and cooling cycle that fits your lifestyle, so you can set it and forget it. For example, you can set the heat to turn down after you go to work and set it to heat up again shortly before you return. And if you're going out of town or need to make another change, you can update its programming accordingly.
  2. Seal the leaks
    Air leaks in your home can allow heat to escape outside during the winter and let cold outside air make its way in. This not only wastes money by raising your energy bill, but it also makes your home more uncomfortable. Use caulk, waterproof sealant, or weather stripping to seal around windows and doors as well as pipes and vents.
  3. Add insulation
    Check your attic, basement, and crawl space to make sure they have the recommended amount of insulation for your area. A professional can help inspect these areas of your home to determine whether more insulation is needed. They can then recommend an appropriate type and level of insulation and install as needed.
  4. Spruce up your doors
    Your front door can have a big impact on your home's appearance and curb appeal, so New Year's is the perfect time to spruce up your door. If your door is stained or painted wood, paint it to make it more attractive and install new decorative hardware like doorknobs and house numbers. After you've improved the look of your front door, move on to your bedroom or master bathroom and give these doors a refresher.
  5. Add crown molding
    Crown molding can give your home a boost of visual interest and a more finished appearance as it forms a transition between the walls and ceiling. If your home doesn't already have these decorative enhancements, consider adding them. Installation can be somewhat tricky, so you may want to call in a professional. And while you're at it, check out your baseboards and other trimmings, and go ahead and take care of any updates that are needed.
  6. Take care of seasonal yardwork
    Just because it's colder doesn't mean you can neglect your yard. Thoroughly rake your yard to open up the ground and then level it and reseed as needed. Then add fertilizer to your grass as well as your trees and shrubs to make sure they're nourished in the winter.

Contact us to find out more about which updates can make your Raleigh home more comfortable and marketable. We can suggest New Year's projects that make the most impact for the least amount of money and effort.

November
27

Why Living Room Staging Could Help Sell Your House

Benefits of Living Room Staging

In 2018, the average property was on the market for approximately 68 days. Back in 2010, this number was a whopping 140 days. Though the exact length of time a property remains for sale varies based on the current housing market and existing financial climate, one thing you can do to help your property sell as quickly as possible is stage your living room. 

On average, homes with staging sell 73 percent faster than their unstaged counterparts. Plus, the sooner you sell your current home, the sooner you can start browsing other Raleigh homes for sale

Home staging is the act of setting up a room or space so that it appeals to potential buyers. Staging helps buyers envision how they will utilize a room in a potential home; it also creates a comforting, inviting mood that helps enables buyers to see themselves in a new home. Check out a couple of ways that living room staging can help you make a good impression and sell your house.

Home Staging Allows Your Home to Appeal to More Buyers

Some home sellers decide to leave their living rooms as is when selling their homes. Though there's nothing inherently wrong with your existing living room set-up or decor, staging allows you to appeal to a large number of buyers. 

When you make the effort to stage your home, it will appeal to a wider range of buyers who might not see the space the same way you envisioned it. A well-staged living room enables any buyer to envision themselves living in and using that space.

You might need to move before your home sells; in this case, buyers will be met with an empty living room that doesn't maximize the potential of your home. While a vacant space shows off the amount of space a buyer can utilize, some buyers may struggle with how to use the space when it's presented as a blank canvas. Consider leaving some furniture behind or staging it so buyers aren't left with a completely blank presentation. 

Staged Homes Have a Better Online Presence

Most homebuyers use the internet to assist with their home search. The online listing, in most cases, is the first impression your home will have with a potential buyer. Unfortunately, a home that doesn't photograph well may not even make it onto a prospective buyer's radar. If a living room appears uninviting or has drab furnishings, some buyers may immediately dismiss the property as a potential option for their new home. 

Staged living rooms photograph better than empty or unstaged spaces. When the home stager stages the space, they'll make sure that your living room boasts neutral colors and styles that appeal to practically any style. They'll also make sure that the staging enhances the room's best features while minimizing any undesirable traits. The end result is a welcoming space that looks amazing both in person and in photographs. 

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to set up an appointment. Our REALTORS® will help you sell your home and get you into a new space that satisfies your criteria for the perfect home. 

January
6

Cold Weather Home Projects

Cold Weather Home Projects

With forecasted temperatures below freezing in the days ahead, it will be the perfect time to stay inside and knock out some easy-to-execute home projects. Consider these cold days your chance to get ahead of your spring sale staging plans and get to work on overlooked tasks around the house.

 

Battle the baseboards

Have your baseboards been collecting dust and dirt? It's time to tackle them. Use your vacuum to suck away loose dust and dirt in the baseboard grooves. Then bring out a sponge and soapy water to wipe away the remaining residue. A bit of elbow grease followed by a clean water rinse should leave your baseboards gleaming once more.

Raid the refrigerator and pantry

It's time to toss out expired condiments, too-old leftovers and stale foods that are taking up space in your fridge and pantry. Go shelf-by-shelf and drawer-by-drawer to toss out outdated items that are taking up space. Wipe down shelves with soapy water to remove sticky or smelly spills.

Clean the oven and microwave

Chances are your holiday cooking left your oven and microwave in need of a deep clean. Use your oven's self-cleaning option (remember to remove your baking racks) if your kitchen is well ventilated or make a paste out of baking soda and water that you can scrub on, leave for up to an hour, and then rinse off. While you wait for your oven to clean or the baking soda paste to set, you can work on your microwave.

Change air filters

When was the last time you replaced your air filters? It's time. Clean air filters will help your HVAC system run more efficiently and ensure that dust, pollen, and other contaminants don't recirculate back into your home.

Dust light fixtures and fans

Turn your attention to your light fixtures and fans. Are they donned in unwanted cobwebs and dust? Get out your extendable duster or vacuum arm extension and get to work. A microfiber cloth or fuzzy duster head will capture and contain the dirt and dust that has collected on fan blades, fixture arms and wiring.

Say goodbye to spider webs

Grab a clean broom, long-armed duster, or vacuum arm extension and go room-to-room checking corners, window crevices, and ceilings for cobwebs. If you have a textured ceiling that collects spider webs or dust bunnies, a feather duster is an ideal tool to use to avoid scraping off any speckles as you clean.

Sanitize switch plates and doorknobs

Has your family been fighting the cold-weather crud? Get out the Lysol or your preferred antibacterial cleaning spray and start sanitizing switch plates and doorknobs. Germs and grime won't stand a chance in your newly disinfected home.

December
21

Prep This Winter For A Spring Home Sale

With Christmas and New Year's just around the corner, the last thing you may be thinking about is your upcoming spring home sale. And, yet, now is the time to keep those real estate plans top of mind.

Yes, the holiday season will be filled with hustle and bustle and people and presents, but it also offers the time to begin the home sale-prepping process. It really is the ideal time to make your home merry and bright, sellers.

Here's how to get ahead of the home-selling game during your winter break.

The Three "C's"

Clear Out Clutter

No, we aren't talking about candy canes, Claus, and cookies—it's all about clutter, cleanliness and curb appeal when prepping your home for buyers.

Clear Out Clutter

One of the biggest turnoffs to home buyers is a house filled with clutter. Get rid of it now.

Start sorting through closets and drawers to seek out the stuff you no longer want or need. Make two piles—take and toss—and get to work sorting the odds and ends you've collected throughout the years.  

Hone down your holiday décor as you take down your tree and start putting away garland and bows. Chances are you'll find boxes of bobbles and holiday trinkets you no longer display that can be donated.

Tackle your kids' toy pile. Make space for the presents that Santa will bring by donating some of the toys your children have outgrown. You'll appreciate the effort you put into clearing out the toy box when it's time to pack for the move to your next home.

Purge your attic, storage space, and garage. If you find boxes you never opened from your last move, you certainly don't need to take them to your new home. Give the items away or donate them to your local thrift store.

Less clutter will make your rooms look larger and give your home a more spacious feel.

Clean Up

Forget about waiting until spring to clean, do it this winter.

Home buyers will want to tour a home that sparkles and shines, and no, we aren't referring to the glitter that fell off your holiday décor.

Try to look at your home like an interested buyer would. Give special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms. If you would be disappointed to find dust-lined baseboards, moldy grout, and sticky, spotted cabinets, you can assume a prospective buyer would be too.

Have carpeted flooring? Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner to remove old stains and pet scents to refresh your fibers. 

Wipe down mirrors and windows to let the light shine in and around your home.

Check out walls and doors to see what scuffs can be easily removed with soap and water and what may need to be repainted.

Cleaning now will give you a leg up on the home staging you'll do before you list your home to sell.

Consider Curb Appeal

You may not want to spend a lot of time outside now that the cold weather has set in, but you can still take a look at your home's curb appeal and make plans.

How do your gutters look? Are they lined with leaves and debris? It's probably time to have them cleared and cleaned.

Are your driveway and sidewalks mildewed and stained? Perhaps you should have them pressure washed on a warmer winter day.

What about your trees and plants? Do you need to have any dead limbs removed? Should you replace any diseased bushes or shrubs?

Has your siding faded over the past few years? Do your shutters and front door need a new coat of paint? Ask family and friends to recommend a few painters.

Think about your home's exterior and your landscaping now to determine what you will want to fix before a buyer pulls up to your curb—first impressions always matter, you know.

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