Crystal's Blog Corner

What’s the Real Impact of the Government Shutdown on Real Estate?


National parks are a mess (literally), air travel is being jeopardized as TSA agents call out sick and air traffic controllers are asked to work for free, and the Panda Cam at the National Zoo is offline (gasp!). But how is the government shutdown impacting the real estate market? It depends which part you’re looking at.

“An NAR survey of 2,211 members found 75 percent had no impact to their contract signings or closings. However, 11 percent did report an impact on current clients and 11 percent on potential clients,” said the National Association of Realtors. Among those impacted by the shutdown, 17 percent had a closing delay because of a USDA loan.”

The most impacted areas of the market surround:

Buyer uncertainty

Consumer confidence is always a topic of conversation when it comes to real estate, and with rising interest rates and a roller coaster stock market, a government shutdown only makes the issues that much stickier. According to the NAR study, “The most common impact, at 25 percent, was the buyer decided not to buy due to general economic uncertainty, though they were not a federal government employee.”

Loan approvals/Closing delays

Whether or not your loan and/or closing is impacted by the government shutdown largely depends on the type of loan you are getting. “If you're getting a Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs loan, it's likely you can expect delays in the underwriting process, and it's possible your closing date will be pushed back as well,” said the Dallas Morning News.

HUD has said that while new FHA loans will be endorsed during the shutdown, “Some delays with FHA processing may occur due to short staffing.” In addition, new Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), more commonly referred to as reverse mortgages, are on hold for now.

While the White House has insisted that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) process tax refunds during the shutdown, it’s made no such mandate in regards to helping consumers who need info because they’re buying a home. That means that buyers won’t be able to requests tax return transcripts, which may be required by lenders, thereby delaying the purchasing process.


Bathroom Sink Faucets Come In All Types Of Different Styles


You can purchase basic ones and exceptionally elaborate and costly ones. You can buy blenders or single faucets. You can purchase wall mounted bathroom faucets or the conventional 'hot and cold' type. Anything you desire, there is by all accounts an answer. There are even faucets that you can purchase to enable you to spare water!

A standout amongst the most important exciting points when purchasing the best bathroom faucets is usefulness and toughness. They should have the capacity to withstand the steady use by your household and furthermore your visitors while as yet looking appealing. Even though the bathroom sink faucets are a need, they will, in any case, need to look great all together for your bathroom to look its best. You can likewise purchase coordinating bath faucets to improve the look of your bathroom additionally. Changing the faucets in your bathroom can give it a new look.

There are a lot of kinds of bathroom sink faucets to coordinate any style of bathroom. There are modern ones, contemporary and conventional ones, gold plated faucets and even, if you have had an ongoing lottery win, strong gold bathroom sink faucets.

You can purchase bathroom sink faucets as a feature of a set that accompanies coordinating bath faucets, towel rails, robe snares and can move holders. While picking bathroom sink faucets, there are a couple of interesting points, for example, style, completion, cost and type .

You should consider the sort of sink that you will introduce your faucets in; does the sink accommodate just a solitary opening so you require a middle faucet? These sorts of faucets are anything but difficult to use as the gush and blending handles are across the board fitting and require just a solitary opening. There are wall mounted faucets which are fitted over the sink and furthermore the customary hot and cold water faucets.

Make sure to purchase your bathroom sink and bathroom sink faucets in the meantime, so you will realize that they are perfect. If you are in any uncertainty, make sure to inquire as to whether your picked blend is reasonable for use together. It would not be incredible if you introduced the sink and when you attempted to introduce the faucets, you find that they don't fit that sort of sink!

If you are not anticipating supplanting your bathroom sink, at that point ensure that you know precisely what size of faucets you have to fit the current sink. It is a smart thought to take the faucets that you have expelled from the sink alongside you to the store when you go to buy your new bathroom sink faucets.

Purchasing bathroom sink faucets are extremely close to the home thing, not every person prefers a similar thing, so take as much time as necessary while picking because you will look at them for quite a while to come.


How To Keep From Going House Poor


The only thing worse than not being able to buy a home when you want to is owning a home and not being able to do anything but sit inside because after your house payment, HOA fee, taxes, and household bills, there's nothing left.

A few smart strategies can help you avoid becoming house poor.

Think hard about that preapproval amount

Just because the bank tells you that you can buy a $400,000 home doesn't mean you have to spend all $400,000. It might be that you're not comfortable with a payment that high if it means you won't have a cushion and can't continue to contribute to your savings.

Things you'll want to consider:

Can you continue to invest the way you want to?

Will you be able to keep up (or build) your emergency fund - "A savings account stuffed with six months expenses or more is a vital part of financial stability," said Money Under 30.

Are you going to have enough money left over to establish a bank account buffer? "Whether you're 15, 25 or 65, if you're having trouble with your money and want to improve, the very first step you should take is to build a bank account buffer," said Money Under 30. "A bank account buffer is my name for what other people may call a cash cushion, mini emergency fund, rainy day fund or back-up savings. When you have a bank account buffer in place, you don't have to worry that a poorly timed Starbucks break you charged to your debit card will overdraw your account and trigger a $35 overdraft fee."

Calculate your ENTIRE payment

Principle and interest will only tell you part of the story. Same with principle, interest, taxes, and insurance. If you're not also taking into account any Private Mortgage Insurance you need to pay, your Homeowner's Association fee, and any special assessments, you're not looking at the whole picture.

Budget for additional expenses

This is not the place for that buffer referenced above, but, rather, a way to make sure you can really handle the home you want without living paycheck to paycheck or, even worse, going into even more debt just so you don't sink. If you don't currently have a yard or are renting, you may not be accustomed to paying landscaping fees. If your new home has a pool, don't forget to budget for that pool cleaner. If you're moving to a larger home, you may also have an increase in costs for your house cleaning service and utilities, and if your commute is longer, you may be paying more in gas and tolls. They are the little things that can creep up and affect your bottom line.

Don't do improvements right away

You might want to wait a few months to see how your expenses pan out before you empty your savings on a new kitchen. Ditto for buying a houseful of new furniture. The desire to fix up the house to your standards or pack it with all-new everything is strong. But a little patience can go a long way. Spreading out your purchases while you increase your savings and waiting for sales and zero interest credit offers can help keep your budget in check.

Be careful with an equity line

Having equity in your home is great if it means you made a smart investment. But using it irresponsibly can quickly make your budget spin out of control. The good news is that, according to CoreLogic's MarketPulse, the number of homeowners who are under water is dropping - now about a third of the 2010 total. The bad news is that equity can be tempting, and stripping your home of it—and making not-so-smart decisions with the money - can create an underwater situation. If you take out a line with the intent on doing some updates or renovations, you'll want to make sure that you can comfortably afford the new payment and that the renovations you're making will provide a return on investment.

Get a home warranty

Experts are on the fence about this—some say you absolutely have to have one while others find it a waste of money. But if you're the type for whom coming up with thousands of dollars to replace the faulty air conditioner that's no longer conditioning anything or a refrigerator that's stopped refrigerating will be a hardship, the minimal monthly output is far outweighed by the peace of mind of knowing most of your large repairs will be covered.

Claim a homestead exemption

In some states, you can file a homestead exemption to lower your property taxes. Savings can add up to hundreds of dollars per year or more. You can get more information and learn who's eligible here.

Change your tax withholding

One of the great benefits of homeownership is the tax writeoff. If you leave your withholdings alone, you may expect to get a big chunk of money back at the end of the year, as long as nothing else has changed. But by adjusting your withholdings, you can hold on to more of your money every month to help offset higher expenses.

After you buy a home, "payroll withholdings should also be reexamined and, perhaps, reduced to account for the reduction in net tax liability," said HGTV. "Talk to your tax preparer or use the IRS withholding calculator, to get the numbers right."


Home Upgrades: 4 Areas You Should Think about Enhancing


Updating your home can do a lot for its curb appeal and value. It can do a lot for its convenience and functionality as well. If you’re pondering how to overhaul your residence, these enhancements may be optimal for you. They may benefit your entire household as well. Remember, a beautiful home can contribute to happy residents.

Roofing System

A brand new roofing system can make your home look a lot more appealing. It can make it a lot more comfortable, too. A roof that’s covered in streaking and mildew is hardly easy on the eyes. A new one that’s fresh and bright, however, can make the rest of your property look a lot more polished.


If you flooring has taken on a tired and drab appearance, it may be time to update it. Changing your flooring can make your home look a lot more radiant. It can boost comfort significantly as well. Consider the installation of hardwood floors. These floors are durable, simple to maintain and eye-catching. They also blend in with all kinds of interior design schemes.

Window Treatments

New window treatments can do a lot to enhance your property. Think about investing in window treatments that are simultaneously attractive and functional. Shutters are accessible in a dizzying array of attractive and memorable colors. They can stop harsh sunlight from getting into your home as well. If you want your home to look fantastic from the outside, external shutters can work like a charm.

Plumbing System

Updates to your plumbing system can make your daily lifestyle a lot more pleasant. If you want to avoid the annoyances of nonstop leaks, overflowing toilets, slow drains and beyond, then you should think about hiring a professional plumber to update and strengthen your existing system. A little bit of plumbing work can keep many headache-inducing hassles out of your life. Think about investing in brand new bathroom and kitchen fixtures of all kinds. Search for options that combine visual appeal and pure functionality.

Updating your home can take a lot of effort and time. It’s always more than worth it, though. Home upgrades can make your property a lot more comfortable and enjoyable. They can give its overall value a major boost as well. If you haven’t ruled out selling your home in the future, you should prioritize its appearance and efficiency. Don’t forget that home upgrades can sometimes be extremely fun.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Rachelle Wilber

House For Sale: Tips To Make Your House More Attractive


We tend to think that houses are sold alone, that either the buyer likes it or does not like it. However, there are many things we can do to make our property more attractive.

The real estate market is very competitive and if you want to have real options to sell your home, you must differentiate yourself from the rest. Unfortunately, putting the sign for SALE and uploading photos to a free real estate portal is not enough. Once the potential buyer has found your home and has been attracted by the images you have seen about it, the next step is to know the house in person.

When it comes to selling a house or a chalet, the garden is the first thing you will see. It will, therefore, be necessary to remove the weeds and keep it organized to provide the best image of it. In case of a villa with a swimming pool, if it is clean with crystal clear water it can be enormously striking, or it can be a setback in case it looks green and dirty.

At the time of selling an apartment, the entrance or the portal will be the first stay through which the potential buyers pass. Make sure there is no garbage, dirt or any negative element that can be fixed quickly.

Prior to the entrance of the house, a new doormat is an economical and easy-to-change option, and the doorbell should be in good condition since it will be the first thing to check. The entrance door of the house must be clean, bright and without marks or damages of any kind.

What should you keep in mind if you decide to choose a real estate agency?

First, the service: If you want quality, you must work with people with whom you feel comfortable, who defend your interests, who are professionals with proven experience and who know the market perfectly.

Secondly, the Marketing Plan: These are all those actions that are going to be carried out to sell your home and it is as important as fixing the price concerning the buyers who are eager for Buying NM Homes. It is important that it be in writing, that there is a commitment and that they keep you informed.

Third, the opinions of other clients: Knowing the experiences of other clients, how they lived the process, what they do about it ... is fundamental and will give us an external view of the professionalism of the real estate agency.

When entering a real estate property, what does the buyer perceive?


To be able to fully appreciate the space of the house, remove or move unnecessary furniture, those older or that do not contribute anything for the sale of the house. Clear the passage areas is necessary to be able to be located in the maximum possible space of the property. An orderly and collected house will make potential buyers feel comfortable in that space and establish the idea that this may be their future home.


When it comes to setting up visits for a real estate property for sale, it is important to know in which time slot it offers a better image for its luminosity and orientation. In the face of the visit, it is necessary to open the blinds so that maximum natural light enters. In the afternoon, at sunset, the lights will compensate for the lack of light in case the visit is fixed at that moment. Accessories such as lamps will provide, in addition to a modern design easy to implement, light focused on the spaces you want to highlight. Led bulbs of low consumption will provide good light at any time of day and are an element that can greatly change the image when selling your house.

Clean and neat

The main objective of a visit to a property is that the buyers confirm the feeling that the house they are seeing may be the space in which they want to spend the next years of their lives. Nothing better to eliminate that feeling than a dirty and messy space so that it is difficult to transmit positivity and to sell the house.

The bathrooms and the kitchen are areas to which maximum attention must be paid. For the buyer, it represents the food and hygiene of the family, basic pillars of life. Essential to show these rooms clean, bright and fully collected so that the buyer sees that a great change is not essential for its use.

If you cannot clean it, paint it

Nothing brings a better look to a house for sale than impeccable and freshly painted walls. If the house is not painted in several years, giving it a neutral color and feeling new and clean can be the best investment to sell a house at a higher price and in less time.

Home feeling

As we have said before, a buyer seeks to know how the space that today is your home for sale can improve and make your life more comfortable. With small details, we will make it easier to see him enjoying himself in that house as if he lived there.

A table set makes the dining room more pleasant, which represents family moments around it. A pleasant temperature will make any space cozier. We will have to store personal photos and more intimate objects so that the buyer feels at home and does not have the feeling of invading other people's space or being an intruder.


What you should know before buying a house


If you have decided to buy a house, there are certain details that you must consider to make sure that you are making the best investment in the short, medium and long term, and that you will live in a safe, protected place, with a good construction, without legal or cadastral problems and that will be a heritage that can be passed from one generation to another with due care and maintenance.

It is, however, difficult not to let some things pass between the rush and the excitement of acquiring your home, especially if it is the first time you do it. Therefore we have given the task of mentioning some of these points before Buying NM Homes, things that you should observe and you should not overlook. Take note of them and think more than once about each decision you are going to make in this process.

A house that you fall in love with

This point may seem too obvious, but we do not always respect it. Although we do not realize, many times we make our decisions based on practical things that have little or nothing to do with our emotions and taste. Maybe you will find a house that meets all your needs: location, budget, surface, materials, documentation, etc. But if you do not like it at all, if from the first moment you did not fall in love and it does not finish convincing you the energy that you feel inside and outside of it, maybe it is not for you. Do not forget this point that you feel comfortable in it depends on the tranquility of your whole life.

New house or third parties

If you have a mortgage loan it is common to offer a thousand and one options of new housing and housing developments of all levels, styles and costs, but do not forget that there is also the option to buy from third parties, i.e. a house already built, inhabited and with some antiquity. It is important to consider this point because, in the case of a new one, you will decorate it and enable it to your full taste but you will need a large investment to adapt it, such as floors, finishes, furniture, air conditioners, alarms, etc. And in the case of a used one, it already has practically everything except the reforms and arrangements that must be made.

If it is to third parties, why is it sold?

Every construction has a history, and it is essential to know the conditions that have led the owners of a residence to want to sell it. You can openly ask the seller or the owners why the sale: make sure you know about the documentation, if there is a legal problem, if you need signatures impossible to find, if there are constructive problems, even if it is easy prey of crime. All this will influence your decision and ignoring it can mean many problems.

State of the building

This point is important both for the homes used and for those newly built, as these also have hidden defects and problems that could be ignored in the construction process. Check that there are no significant cracks in the walls, that the ceiling material has no moisture, that there is no mold, that the walls are resistant, that the columns and beams have not burst or that the floors are not raised or broken.

Interior spaces

One thing is the external image and another one the interiors, the distribution and the general conditions of the space. Note that the rooms are spacious and well lit, that has natural ventilation from side to side, that the sunlight is preferably received in the mornings and midday and that the west is protected to not overheat the house. The corridors must be wide and the social area shared, preferably, in this way you will have the freedom to close if in the future you want to divide the area.

Documentation in order

Either through a real estate agent or requesting this information yourself, make sure that all the documentation is in order: that the property is duly registered, that the construction has started and completed the construction license process, that is up to date in the payment of services such as water, electricity, property, urbanization, and all the urban or suburban rights that correspond to it, and that the name of the owner coincides in each document.

Consider the arrangements

Whether new or used, a house will always require some adjustment: if it is used, fix the stairs or some water leak or, if new, install finishes, expand a room or build the garage. In this case it is advisable to hire a professional to prepare a budget and know how much more you will have to invest in addition to the amount of the purchase.


How to Choose the Best Kitchen Countertop Based 0n 6 Key Variables


When installing a new kitchen, there are many choices to be made that will affect its aesthetics, functionality and durability. One of the most important choices is that of the countertops, as they are one of the most used elements in the room. Today, there are many options available and things like variety, price and even green rating have made choosing the ‘best’ option quite tricky.

6 variables to consider

When planning your kitchen, you need to be aware of certain factors when it comes to the type of your countertop. To streamline the selection process, Fixr created the below two graphics using 6 key variables. The same 6 variables were considered in both graphics, however, the focus changes depending on the graphic which will be explained further in each section.

Installation is one of the first factors; can the contractor access your house with the delivery vehicle and is there space to work the material on site as necessary?

Cost refers to the cost implications relating to either the material itself or the installation process.

Maintenance looks at the day to day care that is required to ensure the countertop does not wear excessively or get damaged.

Durability focuses on how well the countertop stands up to use, including nicks or dents and water or heat damage.

Options available refers to the range of options in terms of color or finish that are available for that material or counter type.

Stain resistance is the last variable and it considers the surface resistance of the countertop. A marble material or the grout in a tiled countertop may be more susceptible to staining than other options, especially in a kitchen where various acidic or alkali foodstuffs may spill onto the surface.

Working with the scores, based on their own countertop installation cost indicator, it is possible to simplify the selection process using a numeric score. The better the product performs with regard to cost, installation, maintenance, stain resistance, durability and options available, the higher the score it has.


The top choices for the type of countertop

Here, the focus is on the type of countertop only, without looking at how the material of the countertop affects the outcome.

Tiling wins with a score of 22, thanks to the range of options available, its durability and stain resistance and fair overall scores for the other variables.

As the next three options have a shared score of 18, they get second, third and fourth place equally:

Slab countertops offer a good variety of options, however, have low scores for cost and installation which bring the total score down.

Cast in place countertops have an even, mid-range score across all factors, so are a good option where all variables are equally important.

Precast countertops can be costly and tricky to install, however, the other variables, especially durability and the range of available options, help to increase the overall score.

The top three choices for countertop material

Material options have improved in recent years and the list includes traditional options like marble, granite and wood as well as more contemporary options like solid surface, concrete, glass slab, stainless steel, recycled glass, ceramic and quartz.

Using the same numeric scoring system as the first graphic, the focus in the second graphic was on how the material scored without consideration of the countertop type. In this instance, quartz, ceramic and recycled glass come out as the best scoring options for material choice.

Quartz has most of the aesthetic attractions of natural stone, however, its stain resistance, durability and range of options beat almost all other finishes, leading to a total score of 23. Though cost and installation are relatively high, it pays for itself in the long run.

Ceramic comes next with a score of 22, it offers the widest range of options of all and has good durability and stain resistance, but installation, cost and maintenance bring its average score down.

Recycled glass follows in third place matching ceramic’s 22, but its main strong points are durability, stain resistance and maintenance, so, once again the choice comes down to your priorities.

Making The Final Choice

In order to make your final decision, it is best to identify your top three priorities in terms of the six variables used. Then, simply find the countertop type and material that have the highest scores for those three variables and compare them against each other to establish the best choice for your kitchen.

Of course, there are many other more subtle variables to consider. Environmental implications have become important and even legislated in some countries, so it may be worth considering each material in this light as well. You may find your chosen countertop’s green rating brings down or improves its final score.

At the end of the day, you want to feel satisfied with your choice and have a countertop that is both beautiful and durable. Hopefully, this scoring system will make that choice a little easier.

And remember, beautiful countertops won’t necessarily add value but they will make your home more attractive to potential buyers should you want to sell.


The Best Landscaping Ideas for Spring


The snow outside can be relentless, but at least you get to visualize a nice-looking lawn. You’re probably thinking of a few great ideas to make it stand out. Right now, you have ample time to plan out your spring landscaping projects.

So, while you’re inside cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate in your hands, think about these great landscaping ideas that will get you started.

1. Plant ornamental shrubs and flowers

Springtime is all about the first blooms of the year, and what better way to welcome the first few weeks than to plant flowers and shrubs. After all, they are a great aesthetic feature to include in your home improvement plan for the first few months of the year. Crocuses, for one, are a great addition to your garden since they provide living color to your home’s surroundings. Pansies are also great to plant in bulk since they tend to bloom with a nice cherry tinge. If you’re more into fragrance, then lilacs should be your best bet.

2. Dig up a small pond

Want to convert your front lawn into a makeshift park? Consider digging up a small pond where you can grow fish like koi. It may take a lot of work to pull it together, but you won’t downplay the results. For one, having a pond with some plants surrounding it gives your front lawn a therapeutic purpose. After all, if you want to create landscaping that’s ideal for rest and relaxation, a garden pond adds a much needed Zen element to achieve that effect.

3. Consider outdoor fixtures

Does you landscaping look too empty? One solution to this is to build fixtures such as an outdoor dining set, benches, and birdhouses. If you want something you can use for anything, you can consider building a garden shed. Designer Sheds has everything you need to build attractive and functional garden sheds for your needs. Aside from sheds, you may want to erect lamp posts that will beautifully illuminate your property.

4. Update your pathways

Visitors are bound to tour your landscaping to see its many wonders, but they will also be impressed by the stepping stones and the pathways you lay out. That being said, you may want to revamp your paths. For a rustic, old-country feel, you can place varnished wood planks that should course through your garden. If you want to achieve a consistent Zen motif, you can fill up your paths with pebbles and lay large white tiles. This will give a cleaner and relaxing look. Finally, you can also use cobblestone for your pathways to accomplish a fantasy-inspired theme.

With these landscaping ideas in mind, you’re probably eager for winter time to end!


4 Essentials for Building a Home Office


With more jobs moving outside of traditional offices — it’s been said that 50% of the American workforce will work remotely by 2020 — many career-minded individuals are facing the new reality of having to create their own workspaces. For some, this situation is an exciting possibility; cutting out a commute and staying close to home adds a lot of convenience. However, working remotely introduces new challenges too, especially when it comes to staying productive during those long days without an office space.

The key to staying efficient and on-task is to set up your own dedicated workspace. If you’ll be working at home, building a home office helps create an environment of productivity and replicate a traditional office feeling within your own home. Of course, you should consider a few essentials when setting up an office of your own.


According to some sources, the fluorescent lights many traditional office buildings use can be damaging to your eyes. When designing your own office space, you have control over the types of lighting you choose, as well as how bright or dim they are while you work. Choosing options that fit the projects you work on will help you create the perfect lighting system. You should also consider factors like what can protect your eyes and adjust to outside conditions if your home office has a window.

Desk and chair

Getting a desk and chair for your office may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s more to it than picking out something to write on and something to sit on. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your office chair,you should make sure it provides adequate support and comfort for the long haul.

You should also make sure your desk is well-suited for long days of work. Set up a system of organization for paperwork and any knickknacks you have lying around. In addition, try to use your desk only for work as much as possible. Training your brain to have a dedicated space during work hours can help you stay on-task when you’re working at home.

Necessary technology

Remote workers often lean on technology to connect to others they work with and complete tasks. It’s important to invest in good equipment, from keyboards to storage. In addition, because you’ll most likely be working online, it’s important to have a strong internet connection. Keeping up-to-date on all the technology you’ll need will help prevent tech-based headaches, especially because you won’t have an in-house IT department to fix any issues.


Since you’ll be spending a good chunk of each week in this one room, it needs to be a place you find aesthetically appealing. Adding a few decorations can personalize your office and make it a place where you feel comfortable and happy. A word of caution: it can be easy to go overboard on decorations and end up creating visual distractions for yourself. With this in mind, be thoughtful about the items you choose to put in your space. Plants and simple wall art can help your space feel inviting without catching your eye every time you sit down.


Once you’ve got your home office set up and ready to go, you’ll be able to promote a productive and enjoyable workday in the comfort of your own home. Fostering the perfect space to foster productivity and creativity is key to a successful remote working experience.


7 Model Home Ideas to Steal for Your Home


You don't have to be in the market for a new home to tour model homes. In fact, model home complexes are a great place to get a few ideas for your existing home. Whether you're looking for ideas to renovate your kitchen and want to see the most current trends, are having a hard time deciding on paint colors and want to see how others are incorporating color into the home, or are simply looking for a little inspiration, you can find it here.

Getting color ideas

Model homes are rarely tame when it comes to color, but there are two main takeaways:

1) The color is (by and large) not used large scale, meaning, all the walls of every room won't typically be painted in bold or bright colors;

2) The main color scheme generally flows from room to room. The shades and placement of color may be different, but there is a coherent look and feel throughout the home that makes it feel finished.

If you want to introduce color without covering every surface, consider these tips from Lennar: "You can add color to a space without painting walls. Pop color with pillows, rugs flowers and artwork. If you do add color to walls, use it sparingly. A painted feature wall can be a great backdrop for a bed or built-in cabinets."

General design inspiration

You may not have thought about putting certain colors together or layering a bunch of patterns in one room or choosing tile that looks like wood instead of real wood... but you will once you see what they've done in model homes. If you're in a design rut or you're not sure how to take the first step toward modernizing your space, walk through the models. Consider not just what you see, but how you feel in the space. Starting to feel relaxed or anxious or at home in a particular room? Take note of the color scheme, the organization of the furniture, and the accessories. And then take lots of pictures so you can start trying to replicate the look and feel in your home.

Incorporating the newest trends

Looking to redo your kitchen? Touring a model will give you some great ideas about how to handle the layout and materials. It may not have occurred to you to take down your double-height island and continue the counter height the full length, but this is a hot kitchen trend intended to capture the open space feel. Seeing all-white cabinets may inspire you to have your dark wood cabinetry painted, and the quartz counters are sure to inspire you to start researching new countertop options.

Treating small spaces

In general, the less crowded a room is, the more airy it will feel. But that doesn't mean leaving it empty. Furniture placement is key to creating a space with form and function. Notice how the office in the room above has just the right amount of furniture. And instead of placing the desk up against the wall, it's been floated, which allows the eye to more easily move around and makes the space feel larger.

Getting space planning tips

Model home designers are great at disguising awkward spaces with creative solutions and showcasing spaces with furniture that's to the perfect scale and placed in such a way that it shows the room in its best light. If you've got a weird spot in your home that you don't know what to do with or are having trouble figuring out what furniture to buy or where to put it, studying what they've done in a few models might help you figure it out.

Styling a guest room

Go stand in the guest room in the model down the street. Simple, clean, and elegant, right? Excited to go home and redo your guest room? Remember three key things: lighting, pared-down accessories, and crisp bedding.

Getting your kids' rooms just right

Kids rooms are often some of the most challenging spaces to design, because it's a slippery slope between a creative space and a circus room. Model home designers love to theme these spaces or give them some pizazz, and they often get the balance just right.


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