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Crystal Halley

Associate Broker, CRS

Crystal's Blog Corner

Selling Your Home? Consider These Five Landscaping Ideas

7/20/2018

You've probably heard how important curb appeal is when you're trying to sell your home. The first thing buyers look at when they pull up to your home is the big picture -- the house, the yard, the trees, the flowers. It's the impression that counts, and all it takes is one thing to ruin the effect -- a cracked walkway, dead branches in the trees, leggy bushes.

As you look around at all the things you need to fix or update to sell your home, it can be overwhelming. Many sellers struggle with the costs, the decisions, and the time it takes to market their homes. Since most landscaping isn't permanent, you may think it's not as important as other projects that need to be done, but you should strongly consider putting it in the marketing budget.

You can do some of the work yourself or you can get help. But here are five jobs you can do that help you make the most of your home's drive-up appeal.

1. Get rid of anything dead. Dead leaves, flowers, and trees do nothing for your curb appeal. Snip it, rake it and bag it. As you finish, you'll see blank areas. Fill these in with fresh flowers, small bushes, potted plants or yard art. No Gnomes or flamingoes need apply.

2. Cut and weed the grass. If you mow your own lawn, make sure it's freshly mowed every week. Pull or spray weeds so the texture of the grass will be more pleasing.

3. Replace or hide leggy bushes. Nothing makes a front entry look more dated than bushes with longer legs than torsos. Pull them out and replace them, or if it's more expedient, plant boxwoods or other small bushes in front. You can also cover a lot of blank areas with mulch, wood chips or gravel.

 

4. Improve both hardscapes and softscapes. Decorative stone, tile, brick, concrete or wood can add a lot of appeal to the softer elements such as flowers, plants, grasses and ground cover. Landscaping doesn't have to end at the porch. Bring color and vitality to the entry with potted plants and flowers.

5. Light the way. Landscape lighting doesn't have to be expensive. Lanterns to line the walk, or the occasional uplight for the trees can have a glamorous effect on the exterior of your home. Lighting provides security as well as spotlights what you want to call attention to -- a beautiful tree, a flower bed or an architectural element of the house.

If you're not sure where to begin, go to your local supply with a sketch or photo of your home and ask for ideas. Explain that you're selling your home and you need help with curb appeal. You may get a lot of free advice that's really helpful.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES

Preparing to Buy Your New Home | 5 Things You Must Know

7/20/2018

Buying a new home is an investment in your future. But is it right for you right now? There are a few things to consider before taking the real estate plunge. This is a large investment, and it should never be rash.

Location! Location! Location!

Be sure to look into the local school district. If you have children, it goes without saying that the quality of the school is key to your child's educational experience. The school evaluation; however, also includes the quality of the grounds and facilities. This is a major structure in the neighborhood and its condition can affect the surrounding property values. For childless homeowners, the school districts are still a factor. Because the school quality influences home buying decisions, it has a direct effect on resale and property value.

Proximity is not just about schools. Consider how close you need to be from modern conveniences like the grocery store, freeway entrance, the mall or a local watering hole. For prospective homeowners that prefer a rural lifestyle, this might not be important. However, urban and suburban areas have a lot of consumer choices for all markets, and it is a factor.

 

Financial Commitment

Purchasing a home is one of the largest decisions that most people make. It was once expected that nearly every individual buy a home, but today, that isn't necessarily financially feasible. Real estate is a long-term investment and your timeline must be considered. If you are moving within a few years, you might want to rent. Although real estate is a great investment, it is not a short-term investment. Having your money tied to property might affect your liquidity when you need to move.

If you are moving into an unfamiliar area, you might not want to buy immediately. Taking the time to look round, gives you the opportunity to learn about neighborhoods and community points of interest that will drive your property decisions.

 

Running the Well Dry

Most spend every penny to get into a new house, especially first-time buyers. This is not the best practice. Be sure to have a contingency fund for all of the unexpected costs. Although the home warranty covers most of the house, most operate on a pre-payment reimbursement plan. But warrant aside, other costs will arise. Most power companies require a deposit and something else is sure to happen. If you have money set aside in your home fund right from the beginning, you can add to it as you go for post-warranty work.

 

Loving Your Space

Your new home is more than indoor living. Your surrounding outdoor space will provide hours of entertainment fun for your friends and family. Landscaping the front yard for curb appeal is important. If you are not the hands-on type, you might want to consider a home with a functional landscape. Regardless, the front yard adds aesthetic value to the home's appeal.

But let's be real, the backyard is where the entertaining happens. If the home you are considering needs more zip, consider installing a pool or hot tub to guarantee hours of family fun. Try looking up “new pool designs Jackson MS” and customize the search to your city to find some great pool ideas that will fit your backyard. Also, having a barbeque area with dedicated conversation space, a kid play area, or fun for the dogs, are all things to consider when looking at the perimeter areas of a home.

 

Untapped Potential

Visualizing beyond today is also key. If the area has undeveloped or underdeveloped land in the surrounding areas, research the community master plan or land ownership. It would be unfortunate to by a beautiful home and have an industrial area built too close. This also goes the other way. Taking a risk on an older property with older buildings that are ripe for repurposing, might be a smart investment too.

Whatever you decide when looking for your new home, be sure to think about what works for you. This is your investment. Are you ready to invest in your future? Real estate is a great investment.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES-by Mikkie Mills

Before Your New Love Moves In

7/18/2018

When love goes wrong, real estate owners may have a lot to lose.

Don't take solo-ownership lightly no matter how you ended up owning your own condominium unit, house, or recreational property.

Inviting a new love to move in is much more complicated than asking someone to share a rental apartment or to lease a recreational property together. All the compatibility issues faced by two virtual strangers learning to live together apply in both ownership and rental situations. The difference is that the financial and legal ramifications of co-habitation can be more disruptive, expensive, and long-lasting where real estate ownership is involved.

Please search elsewhere for advice on selecting the ideal mate, when to hand out a key or key-code, or how to overcome daily challenges as you learn to live together. Here we focus on protecting your ownership advantage however the relationship ends up.

That's not heartless. That's heart-felt concern that real estate ownership offers benefits and security that are not easily recovered when lost to emotional, thoughtless, manipulative, or out-right fraudulent pressure from those we are attracted to.

What do you value most about real estate ownership?

 

  • The most obvious value lies in a proven, secure investment which will appreciate in value and that you can also live in or rent out to earn income. As a property owner, you have a louder voice with levels of government and the creative freedom to do what you like with your real estate.
  • The added advantage of being able to liquidate accumulated equity without selling, means your home becomes a financial partner in realizing dreams and achieving goals.
  • Do you place the greatest value in the fact that you always have choices and the power to do what you want?

 

Before your new love moves in or, ideally, before there's even a relationship on the horizon, consider two broad categories of relevant issues:

Financial responsibilities, including "who pays what" regarding ongoing expenses, insurance, taxes, and maintenance, should be made clear in writing to each party in both ownership and rental situations. Discussions and decisions should cover all relevant "what-if?" situations including job loss, prolonged illness, home-based business use, illegal activity on the premises, and irreconcilable incompatibility. The goal should be a reasonable financial disentanglement even if the relationship's end is not a calm, harmonious one.

Legal consequences are a bigger issue when ownership is involved, but who's name is on the lease is a significant factor in rentals. Ownership is our focus here. Seek professional advice on rentals to fully understand all that could go wrong whether your name is or is not on the lease. Forewarned is forearmed. Caution: When a rent-controlled unit is involved, you may find yourself financially-challenged if you end up out of the rental apartment and shopping for a new home in an inflated rental market.

Short-term thinking can cause problems. Be careful you don't jump into a live-in relationship solely because you need financial or emotional support. Renting out a suite, floor, or room in your home to a tenant is not the same as launching into a co-habitation relationship:

  • Tenancy laws protect tenants and landlords in rental relationships. Money changes hands in exchange for shelter—that's a business relationship and can be managed as such. Sharing your real estate as a couple is a different story.
  • If you have children, putting your real estate at risk may put their futures at risk, too.
  • Relationships are not always fair. Nor are they predictable—except to those around you who have watched you repeatedly make the same mistakes. Listen to what friends or family have observed and see whether that pattern puts your real estate and, therefore, your future at risk.
  • Consider that the "move in" could be you moving into your new love's home until you both discover how well things will work out. This would allow you to rent out your home to achieve the financial support you require while enjoying your romantic relationship at your love's home.
  • If your new love is chasing a business dream, slow down before you cash in or mortgage your real estate to support the venture. Even in this magic internet era, at least 80 percent of business ventures fail.

Many send related loved-ones' money and real estate down the drain when they do. Caution: Seek professional advice to learn all your options and risks before you act.

 

  • If your new love exerts undue pressure or leaves you with an odd feeling about true motives, trust your gut and run.

    When deciding if this person is THE ONE, there are many logical issues to consider, but it often seems easier and more romantic to throw logic out the window and concentrate on passion. Do you understand that you'll benefit from exploring finances and legalities before you are in a relationship or at least before the lover moves in? Your cool-headed due diligence will serve you well when passion cools as it inevitably does.

    #1. Investigate how long a person may live with you before they are legally considered to have a claim on your real estate. Will the amount they contribute to expenses, maintenance, or renovation make a difference to their claim to ownership? If your new love knows more about this than you do, you may find yourself out-maneuvered down the road.

    #2. Explore pre-cohabitation agreements to protect your interests and allow both parties to begin living together with clear understanding of where they are starting from and where they could end up. Along with learning about how an agreement could protect your real estate, you'll discover how to explain its value to the other party without diminishing romance. If you decide to marry later, would you want this protection of your asset ownership to continue?

    While you are clear-headed and not in a brand-new relationship, build your professional support team. Search out an experienced real estate professional and a real-estate-savvy financial advisor and a lawyer. This solid backup expertise will allow you to protect your ownership and enter into a new relationship relaxed and confident.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES - By JP Wade

 

Easy Tips For Boosting Your Homes Value

7/13/2018

Are you planning on selling your house in the near future? If so, then how does boosting its value significantly sound to you? I’ll bet it sounds like a great idea, right? However, what if you do not have lots of money with which to do so? Well, fret not because I am going to provide you with a number of easy ways you can raise your home’s value without breaking the bank. Keep on reading to uncover more tips for boosting your home’s value.

A huge amount of impact can be made by taking the simple step of swapping out your old, dated fixtures for some attractive, updated ones. All of the main high street home improvement stores offer large selections of reasonably-priced fixtures that can drastically improve the overall look of your home. For example, by simply changing the lighting fixtures, chandeliers and faucets in your home, you have the ability to quickly and easily increase your home’s value and potential appeal to buyers.

Is your kitchen in dire need of an update, but you have neither the time nor the funds to replace it? Well, fortunately, there is a simple, cost-effective solution that everyone can carry out. All you need to do is sand down your existing cabinets, give them a coat or two of fresh paint or stain and add some new handles and pulls. Make sure to remove your kitchen items while doing the renovation. Search on storage unit near me to find suitable and cheaper storage facility for temporary storage solution until renovation completed. The entire room will have a fresh new look which is certain to add value and catch the eyes of most prospective purchasers.

Another terrific kitchen update that can be done in a very short period of time, and which requires a relatively small investment is that of adding an attractive tile backsplash. The array of options when it comes to backsplashes is truly dizzying, and you are sure to find something that adds just the right accent to this most important room in the house in terms of attracting buyers. Fortunately, this is a project that even a novice can tackle with a small bit of research and the right materials.

An extremely popular feature and one that many home buyers now look for are decorative mouldings. Such features add architectural depth and interest that might otherwise be lacking in newly built properties. Luckily, it is extremely cheap and simple to add crown mouldings, wainscoting or any other such decorative treatment yourself. You will certainly get a lot of bang for your buck by undertaking a moulding project before putting your house on the market.

Perhaps the cheapest, yet most effective thing you can do to boost your home’s value and make it more appealing to buyers is to spend some time seriously de-cluttering your house. Nothing makes buyers head for the hills faster than walking into a home that is overrun with excess personal belongings. Such a situation makes it difficult for a prospective purchaser to envision themselves living in the space. Therefore, you will reap major dividends by taking the time to pitch unnecessary clutter or, at the very least, store it offsite until you accept an offer. The difference in the price you will get for the home may well amaze you.

By contributing a bit of elbow grease and tackling certain projects yourself, it really is possible to considerably raise the value of your home. Even though the tips found above cost surprisingly little, they can add substantial value to your abode. If you are willing to do the work, you will surely be amazed by the results and your house will sell faster than you ever dreamed possible.

One of the biggest trends that we see these days is the desire of many homeowners to “go green.” Of course, as well as saving the planet, which is something we all want to do – going ‘eco-friendly’ when remodelling your home also has some serious cost benefits as well – so you really should check it out! 

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Douglas Brooks

30 or 15 Year? You Have More Choices, You Know

7/11/2018

If you're brand new to the wonderful world of home loans, you might be a bit overwhelmed at how many different types of financing options are really out there. There's a fixed rate loan and there's an adjustable rate loan. There's also what is referred to as a "hybrid" loan, which in essence is an adjustable rate mortgage but has an initial period where the rate is fixed for say three or five years before turning into a loan that can adjust once very six months or a year.

If you decide you want a hybrid loan, then you'll need to decide which rate you want to take. Do you want a lower rate and pay a discount point to get that rate or will you opt for the no-point option and take a slightly higher rate? Do you want to lock in that rate right away or wait for a while until you get closer to the closing date? If you want to lock now, how long do you want your lock period to be?

These questions and more will be presented to you by your loan officer and we must admit it can get confusing at times due to the many decisions you have to make. One of the decisions will be how long you want the loan term to be. Is a 30 year fixed rate better or is the 15 year program the wiser choice?

The most popular loan in today's marketplace is the 30-year fixed. Every mortgage company offers it and it's the one most heavily advertised. But what's the attraction with the 15 year term? A 15 year loan will have slightly lower rates compared to a similarly priced 30 year loan. It's just that the payments will be much higher.

Let's look at a $200,000 loan amount and take a sample rate of say 4.25%. A 30 year loan at 4.25% and $200,000 yields a payment of $983. A 15 year loan at 4.125% gives us a $1,491 payment. That's quite a difference and one of the reasons borrowers select the longer term due to the lower payment. Yet the 15 year allure isn't the lower payment, but the lower interest paid.

Over the life of the 30 year loan, there will be $154,196 in interest paid. That's way more than half the original loan amount. With the 15 year, the amount of interest paid falls dramatically to $68,548 and that's why some borrowers choose the 15.

Sometimes however borrowers want the 15 year term but the payments can be so high they no longer qualify. But it's not an "either, or" proposition. Did you know there are other terms? There is a 20 year and a 25 year term. These two choices provide a "middle of the road" option and results in a lower payment than a 15 year but still saves on long term interest.

When speaking with your loan officer about your financing options, if you're just getting quotes for a 30 and a 15 year loan, ask about the 20 and 25 year term. You just might find the perfect balance between payment and long term interest.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- David Reed

Five Solutions For Creating An Eat-In Kitchen

7/10/2018

Eat-in kitchens are one of today's most popular design elements, but we don't all have room for a giant island with bar seating. You can still create an ideal dining space, even if your kitchen is on the small size - and without massive renovation. Here's how.

Commandeer a corner

If you have an unused a corner in your kitchen, you potentially have the perfect spot for a banquette. Relocate the dog bowls and buy a bench and a small table, and you have a charming eat-in area perfect for family meals.

Take advantage of a blank wall

"Sometimes you can fit a banquette into your kitchen by adding it to an unused wall," said HGTV. A "small, floating banquette adds extra seating and creates an additional spot for kids to do their homework or enjoy an afternoon snack." You can also give this a built-in look by using the same finish as your cabinetry and framing it in cabinet panels.

Go to IKEA

Building your own banquette is easier than you think. Start with a bank of lower cabinets from IKEA and customize with the cushioned top and pillows of your choosing. Check out this tutorial for inspiration. You can get a similar effect from a couple of entry benches butted up against each other; You can find many at Target, and some might already be cushioned. Just make sure the height is right so your knees don't hit the table or you feel like you're in a ditch when you're eating.

Add to your island

If you have enough space for an eat-in area at the edge of your island but don't have a countertop overhang for chairs, you can still create an eating space. One option is to see if you can add to your countertop. If you have a material like quartz, a good installer should be able to add a piece and make it look seamless. Or, simply move your table directly up to the edge of the counter. Numerous options for counter-height tables are available, with the added benefit that being up higher means dogs have less opportunity to table surf.

Remove a cabinet (or two)

If you can spare a cabinet, you can create a place to pull up a couple of chairs for a casual eating space. This easy job is also super inexpensive since the counter top is already in place. This can also be a great answer for those who have a peninsula but no counter top overhang because you can create eating space on either side—and at the corner, if need be.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- Jaymi Naciri

 

 

Will Building A Pool Pay Off In Your Return on Investment?

7/6/2018

It's sweltering. Who can blame you if you're looking for ways to cool down?! But if that means you're thinking about building a pool, you'll want to consider the financial ramifications first.

And we're not just talking about the cost of building one, properly maintaining it, and adding it to your insurance, all of which is pricey. "The average cost in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000," said Houselogic. "Add in details like safety fences (most states require them), waterfalls, lighting, landscaping, and perhaps a spa, and you're easily looking at totals approaching $100,000."

If value and return on investment are on your mind (and they definitely should be), crunching some numbers before you start digging out your yard is prudent - even if you think you're going to live in your home forever. Talking to your real estate agent, even if you have no plans of selling your home anytime soon (or ever), is also a good idea. While opinions differ - some REALTORS® will tell you that pools pay off, while others will tell you not to expect good ROI—having some knowledge of what to expect, especially in your market, will help you to make a more informed decision.

Build that pool!

Do you live in a warm-weather state, like Florida, Texas, or California? If your answer is yes, you typically have a much better chance of a decent return than, say, somewhere like Alaska. Now take a look at the type of neighborhood you live in. Does every backyard on your street have a pool but yours? You could be penalized when you go to sell by being the only home without a pool.

Architectural Digest talked to Jill Penman, an associate at One Sotheby's International Realty in Coral Gables, Florida, to get her take on must-have outdoor features that add value. "Adding a swimming pool is a 100 percent sure way to increase a home's value," she said of the Coral Gables area.

If you've decided you're going to go ahead and build it, you still have a few key decisions ahead of you, like what type of pool makes the most sense, what size it should be, what materials to use, etc.

"The biggest demand today is for pools that incorporate natural elements and appear to be part of the landscape," she added. "A free-form pool is generally more desirable than the traditional rectangular shape. And a dark interior finish, such as Diamond Brite French Gray, is preferred to cookie-cutter bright blue. Coral stone, a quarried rock that incorporates marine fossils, is a favorite for pool surrounds, copings, and tanning ledges or wet decks—wide, shallow in-pool shelves that let you cool off without venturing all the way into the water. They're very popular, as are waterfalls, fountains, and other water features."

Keep in mind, though, that, even "if all circumstances are right when it comes time to sell," said Houselogic, "that's no guarantee you'll get a return on your investment. At most, your home's value might increase 7%."

Give it a bit more thought

Are pools a novelty in your neighborhood? Will you be over-improving for your neighborhood if you build one? Will you be eating up every square inch of available outdoor space? These are just a few of the considerations before you build a pool.

What kind of neighborhood do you live in? If your neighborhood tends to attract mainly young families, you may think that having a pool could entice them…but just the opposite may be true.

"Swimming pools are nice to enjoy at a friend's or neighbor's house, but can be a hassle to have at your own home," said Investopedia. "Many potential homebuyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and a lawsuit waiting to happen. Families with young children in particular may turn down an otherwise perfect house because of the pool (and the fear of a child going in the pool unsupervised)."

There are ways to increase the probability that you'll see a good return on your investment with a pool - but you won't know for sure how it will be embraced until you list your home. "Will adding a pool increase the value of your home when you decide to sell it? That's a great question, and the best answer is maybe - if you're lucky," said Dave Ramsey. Between the cost of building and the ongoing costs to keep it looking nice and functioning well, "you've got a large price tag to try to recoup when you're ready to sell your home. It won't be easy since a swimming pool can actually make your home harder to sell. Many buyers consider it a liability rather than a luxury."

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- Jaymi Naciri

4 Reasons To Redo Your Master Bath

7/5/2018

Many of us hold off on doing any renovations or updates to our home because we don't want to spend the money. Oftentimes, those updates don't happen until we're getting ready to sell our house - which is sad, because it means you don't get to enjoy the updates yourself. When it comes to the master bath, it's often the last place that gets done, period, because we so often focus on kitchens and spaces that guests more commonly see. But, you deserve to luxuriate in that sparkling new tub and gaze at those pretty countertops now - not just on your way out the door to another home. And that's only one reason to start updating your master bath right away.

Because it gives good ROI

Like any other renovation, your return on investment will depend on how good of a job you do. Make poor choices or do shoddy work and your reno likely won't pay off. But make smart updates and you could see an average of a 70.1 percent return - one of the higher returns for reno project, according to the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine, which takes the pulse of renovations nationwide every year. That potential ROI is based on a spend of $19,134 for a "non-upscale" remodel. (Their upscale remodel of $61,662 yields an average return of 56.2%.)

Do some of the work yourself, get great deals on materials, and find other cost-cutting measures, and your ROI will be even greater. Also, if you're turning a tiny shower into a large, luxurious one, adding a soaker tub to a bathroom that was missing a tub altogether, or turning a one-vanity space into a two-fer, you could be creating a space that will help attract buyers instead of turning them off. A bad master bath can make your home sale a bust.

Because you can do a lot of it yourself

Speaking of DIY, how handy are you? If your answer is, "not very," you can still have a hand in doing some of your own updates, which will give you an added dose of pride and save you some cash. While plumbing and electrical are probably not going to be on your agenda if you're not skilled in those areas, perhaps you can lay some new tile or at least do some demolition of the old, ugly stuff you've been wanting to get rid of forever.

Because you deserve to enjoy it before someone else does

Like we said…getting in there and updating your bathroom means you get first crack at the gorgeous new walk-in shower instead of turning the house over to somebody else as soon as the updates are done. It's just not fair that you finally have the bathroom of your dreams, and you won't get a chance to use it.

Because it's easier than redoing your kitchen

We're not saying you shouldn't redo your kitchen. Especially if you're going to sell your home sometime soon, you're going to want to look into that. But your home (presumably) only has one kitchen, which can make renovations a huge hassle if you're planning to live there while they're being made. If you have more than one bathroom, you'll still have a place to shower, shave, and shampoo, even if your master bath is a construction zone for a while. The dust is also typically less intrusive with a master bath reno because it's not an open space like the kitchen, which makes it easier to stay put while the work is being done.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- by Jaymi Naciri

Kitchen Countertop Trend: The Return Of Terrazzo

7/2/2018

With the preponderance of mid-century modern furniture and furnishings dominating the design scene over the past few years, it would make sense that other trends from that era would else come back around. And while everyone was falling in love with quartz countertops and subway tile backsplashes, terrazzo has been rising from underfoot, today dressing some of the chicest countertops around.

"Terrazzo is made from a concrete base with decorative aggregates added to the mix," said Houzz. "After the mix cures, it's polished to a high sheen with a grinding wheel. The polishing is what makes terrazzo. Terrazzo's been used as a flooring material for the last 100 or so years; its leap up onto the counters is still relatively new."

If you're ready for something new in your kitchen, consider these pros and cons of terrazzo.

Cost

According to Improvenet, terrazzo countertops will cost you between $47–98 per square foot. "Although terrazzo looks fantastic, it can sometimes cost more than entire marble slabs," they said. "Plus, buying an entire slab or half-slab of terrazzo for countertops is exceptionally heavy, which can increase shipping costs in certain areas."

Sustainability

Terrazzo typically uses recycled materials mixed into the concrete, so it's potentially a greener product than many other countertop materials. Companies like The Venice Art Terrazzo Company make terrazzo flooring and countertops, creating custom options with a "variety of colored resin or marble aggregate blends" and allowing customers "to incorporate glass, mirror, or mother of pearl in your selected mix. Many of these glass products are sourced from either post-industrial or post-consumer recycled materials."

Options

There are more color choices than ever for terrazzo countertops, which means you can go as subtle or bold as you want. You can also choose to go more traditional with small pieces or chunkier, which is the current trend. "Terrazzo countertops are not much different than terrazzo floors in how they are made," said Terrazco. "Designers and owners have the option of choosing any terrazzo mix design by selecting any matrix color and picking a chip formula from our wide array of terrazzo aggregates. Terrazzo is the only material that allows for this level of design flexibility when choosing a counter or bar top."

Another way terrazzo can look different is by trading out the cement that typically houses the chunks for resin. An advantage to using resin it that it's not porous like cement, so it doesn't need to be sealed, but it may end up being a more expensive process.

Availability

You can't go to Home Depot and order terrazzo the way you can quartz or granite. They may be more widely available someday, but, for now, you'll have to visit a company who offers the product and works with qualified artisans - and the more experience they have, the better. You want to make sure the person creating your terrazzo is familiar with the product for the best results. The last thing you want is cracking or aggregate that doesn't meet your expectations.

Distinction

"The biggest advantage of installing terrazzo countertops in the home is their beauty and unique appearance," said Improvenet. "Because there is not one solid color throughout the material, it can look beautiful in a variety of different settings. While terrazzo has historic roots and has been used as far back as neolithic times in Asia, it is associated both with mid-century modern design and contemporary styles."

Maintenance

If you're turned off by the maintenance involved in caring for marble, you probably won't be keen on taking care of terrazzo. While it's extremely durable, terrazzo requires regular maintenance Without proper cleaning and sealing, they can become damaged, get scratched or have their color fade in certain spots.

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- Jaymi Naciri

How to Create a Garden That Adds Value to Your Home

6/30/2018

When preparing to put your house on the market there are many things you’ll probably consider doing to get the best price possible. Updating the kitchen, repainting some walls and cleaning the carpets are all popular choices, but you need to think from the position of someone viewing your home.

According to research, around two fifths of people refuse to even consider buying a house if it doesn’t have a sufficient garden. But while making sure your garden is in good condition should improve its chances of being bought, what can you do to really add value to your home?

Focus on Privacy

You might not have to do much if your garden already has high hedges or fences, but privacy is important for most people. It can be as simple as erecting a wooden fence around the edge (as growing or planting a hedge is unlikely to be a timely solution). Although adding a couple of individual tall plants could work as well. Just try not to add anything too high that will block out the sun or make it too reclusive.

Keep it Low Maintenance

Unless the person looking at your property is a keen gardener, then they’ll probably value low maintenance for looking after the garden more than anything. Keep it simple by removing any complicated plants to deal with if necessary. If you have a pond, try and tidy it up and even consider including any pond supplies from www.bradshawsdirect.co.uk with the house to show how easy it is to look after. Just keep any features to a minimum.

Add Plenty of Lighting

Lighting means that the garden will be easy to use for any potential buyers, providing space for BBQs and other forms of entertaining. Plus, if they have a dog then it makes it a lot easier to let their pet outside at night. This could be done through installing a home security light on the wall that reacts to movement, or simply adding some decorative lights along the garden path. Such improvements are relatively inexpensive considering the value they can add by swinging potential buyers’ decisions.

Clear the Shed

To some people a decent sized shed can add plenty of value as it almost acts as another room. Clear it out first before the viewing and it should appear like there’s plenty of space inside to appeal to potential buyers. They are sought after by some, whether to be used as storage, a garden house or any other purpose, so in some instances it might even be worth buying a shed to add value yourself.

Scrub the Patio

Patios and any area that can be used for al fresco dining are also important. If your garden already has such a space then it’s vital that you thoroughly clean it and get it looking its best. Make sure none of the slabs are cracked and put out any garden furniture to complete the effect. This is also another element of low maintenance that will appeal to many homeowners.

These ideas can all add value to your garden and home before putting it on the market.    

SOURCE: REALTY TIMES- Nresrealestate

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