Real Estate News

    • Kitchen Remodeling Guide

      10 March 2023

      Remodeling your kitchen is one of the wisest home upgrades, considering the financial return on your investment and the livability factor. As a space that is typically the hub of the home and gets the most use, having a kitchen that functions as efficiently as possible and aligns with your aesthetic results in a space that you will crave spending time in. If you have a kitchen remodel in your short-term plans, use this kitchen remodeling guide to know what to expect.

      Spend the Most Time Planning
      Planning, and even over planning, every detail will result in a space that achieves your must-have list of features and design elements and will be the best way to stay within budget. Every change you make during a renovation requires a change order, which is a subsequent fee and will cause the overall costs to rise very quickly. 

      Factors to Consider During Planning

      • How you currently use the space and assess what works and what doesn’t work. Perhaps you love your existing layout and want to keep that, or maybe you despise appliances sitting on the counter and want an appliance garage to keep these hidden.
      • Your existing traffic patterns. Pathways in the kitchen should be between three and four feet wide, to be able to comfortably maneuver around, especially when there are multiple cooks in the kitchen.
      • Be familiar with your home’s entry points. If you purchase an extra wide refrigerator or oven range, ensure that you have a doorway large enough for it to enter the home.
      • Think beyond the standard kitchen cabinet functionality. Incorporating pull-out shelves that adjust up and down can make the kitchen more comfortable to navigate.
      Have Selections Made Before Beginning the Project
      Knowing the materials you want to include in the project will enable your builder or contractor to give you the most accurate estimate. This will ensure your project stays on budget and allow the most time for items on backorder to arrive when it’s time for the installation.

      Plan for Going Over Budget and Past the Timeline
      No matter how meticulously planned the kitchen is, you may slightly exceed your budget. To avoid any surprises, plan for overage costs of approximately 20%. Additionally, your project will likely extend past the promised completion date. If you are determined to be in the home before the holidays, plan on starting the project several months earlier than you originally intended.

      Don’t Skimp on Storage
      When in doubt, add more storage instead of more space. Taking the cabinets to the ceiling will offer more storage throughout the kitchen, and customizing the cabinets and drawers to maximize storage solutions will ensure you take advantage of every square inch.

      Consistently Communicate
      Your builder or contractor should be proactively communicating with you during your renovation, but if they aren't, stay on top of regular communication. Check in on the project daily, maintain regular email or texting updates and communicate any concerns before they evolve into more significant issues.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Select a Color Scheme for Your Home

      10 March 2023

      Selecting a color scheme for your home can be an overwhelming undertaking. With so many color choices available, choosing the shade that will work best with the lighting and decor in your home can be a difficult task. However, by following a few guidelines, you can select a color scheme for your home that is cohesive and results in a visually soothing environment. Read on for tips on choosing a color scheme for your home.

      60-30-10 Rule
      The 60-30-10 rule is a decorating guideline that has stood the test of time. This means that 60% of a room should be a dominant color, 30% should be a secondary color and 10% should be an accent color.

      Selecting Color for an Open Floor Plan
      An open floor plan can feel challenging to select a color scheme since the area may feel like one large room. The whole space doesn’t have to be the same shade of paint, but the colors should flow together. Staying within the colors on the paint sample card is one way to ensure that the colors all have the same undertones, which is the best way to create a visually cohesive space. Bringing color to the trim and ceiling is another way to infuse additional color selections into a large space. If the open floor plan has shelving or bookcases, you can also paint or wallpaper the back to add different coordinating colors.

      Determine the Feeling You Want the Home to Have
      Knowing the color tones you gravitate to will help you establish a color direction. For example, if you prefer warm neutrals, select various shades of white, cream and greige. In addition, incorporate plenty of textures and elements that add dimension, such as wainscoting or other molding to give the space depth. Alternatively, if you crave bold, saturated colors, select a palette that is all jewel tones or all bright coastal colors to prevent it from feeling too overwhelming.

      Test the Colors in Various Lighting
      Once you’ve narrowed in on your ideal palette, test several variations of the colors on the wall and assess it during different times of the day. The color on the paint sample doesn’t always transfer to the wall, and the paint may also appear different in the morning sun than it does during the evening.

      Create Contrast
      To prevent all the rooms from looking the same, reverse the color order. For example, you may paint your entryway walls a pale color and the trim a darker color. Then, in the connecting living room, you can apply that dark trim color to the wall, with the pale color on the trim. This will create a different look that is also cohesive.

      The ideal color palette for your home makes you feel the most relaxed at home and works best with your home’s lighting and design. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Benefits of Houseplants

      10 March 2023

      Spending time outdoors surrounded by nature can improve your physical and mental health in a variety of ways. Bringing nature inside can also be beneficial. Here are several reasons why you might want to add some plants to your home.

      Plants Can Improve Indoor Air Quality
      Pet dander, cleaning products, and other contaminants can create poor indoor air quality that can aggravate allergies, trigger asthma attacks, and have other negative impacts on your family’s health. You might not be able to eliminate all the things that are polluting the air inside your home, but houseplants, plus the soil they grow in and microorganisms in the soil, can help filter the air so you can breathe easier. 

      Houseplants Can Improve Your Mental Health 
      Stress is a fact of life, but raising plants can make it easier for you to cope with daily ups and downs. Studies have found that people who care for plants tend to experience declines in blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and lower levels of stress hormones. 

      Taking care of plants can help you temporarily forget about whatever challenges you’re facing. Watching plants grow and thrive can give you a sense of accomplishment that can spill over and positively impact other aspects of your life.

      Simply being around plants can be beneficial. A home filled with beautiful houseplants feels calm and relaxing. Being in that type of environment can help you unwind and recharge after a stressful day. 

      Plants Can Help You Focus and Be More Productive and Creative
      Being in a room with plants can provide several cognitive benefits. Studies have found that just having a plant nearby can help people focus on work and other tasks and get things done faster and with less stress. The presence of plants has also been linked to increased creativity.

      Do Some Research before You Get a Houseplant
      It’s important to choose a houseplant carefully. Figure out how much time you can devote to raising a plant and find a species that you know you will be able to care for properly. Think about how much sunlight your house gets and select a species that will be able to thrive in that amount of light.

      If you have kids or pets, be particularly diligent when selecting houseplants. Some common species can be poisonous to children, dogs, and cats.

      You can find a lot of helpful information related to houseplants online. If you need help selecting a species or advice on how to care for it, you can visit a local nursery or garden center and speak with an employee.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is Cork Flooring Right for Your Home?

      9 March 2023

      If you’re thinking about changing the flooring in your house, you might want to consider cork. Cork flooring offers several benefits, but it’s not a good choice for every home.

      How Cork Flooring Is Produced and Installed
      Cork flooring is made using the bark of the cork oak tree. It’s popular, in part, because it’s a renewable resource and a biodegradable material. 

      Boards can consist of solid cork, or they can have a fiberboard or plywood core and be laminated with cork. Cork flooring can be manufactured to resemble other materials, such as hardwood, concrete, and marble.

      The edges of planks generally lock together to create a floating floor. After cork flooring is installed, it has to be sealed to protect it from water damage. 

      Cork flooring costs less than hardwood. If you enjoy taking on DIY projects, you can install cork flooring yourself without too much trouble and keep the total cost down. 

      How to Care for Cork Flooring
      Maintenance is simple and straightforward. All you have to do is sweep or vacuum cork flooring and occasionally wash it with a damp mop. You’ll have to clean up spills right away to prevent stains. 

      Cork flooring must be protected from the sun. If it’s exposed to direct sunlight on a regular basis, it can become discolored, and you can wind up with flooring that’s different colors in different parts of a room. 

      Like hardwood flooring, cork flooring can be sanded and refinished multiple times to get rid of scratches, dents, and other damage to the top layer. The thickness of cork flooring determines how many times it can be refinished. Some engineered cork flooring can’t be refinished because the top layer of cork is too thin.

      How to Figure out If Cork Flooring Is Right for You
      Cork is filled with tiny air pockets that give it a soft surface. That softness can make cork flooring a good choice for a place where you stand a lot, such as in the kitchen. You might want to install cork flooring in a room where someone might fall, such as a young child’s bedroom or the home of a senior citizen who has trouble walking. 

      The softness of cork flooring makes it susceptible to damage from furniture and pets’ nails. Cork might not be the best choice for a home with a dog or cat.

      The air pockets in cork flooring make it an effective insulator. It can keep both the noise level and your utility costs down.

      Cork is fire retardant, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and insect repellent. It can be an excellent choice if a member of your family suffers from allergies. 

      High humidity can cause cork flooring to pop out of place or buckle. Some types of cork flooring are more water resistant than others. 

      Learn More before You Decide
      Cork flooring can be a great choice, but it’s not suitable for every home. If you’re thinking about installing cork flooring, research different brands and their specific properties. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Are You Taking Advantage of All Your Work-Related Benefits?

      9 March 2023

      Companies offer a wide range of benefits to attract and retain qualified employees, but American workers often don’t take advantage of all the perks that are available to them. Some don’t even realize all the benefits that their employer offers. If you’re not taking advantage of your benefits, you might be leaving thousands of dollars per year on the table. 

      Health insurance is expensive, and costs keep going up. If your employer offers medical insurance, it’s probably a lot cheaper than a policy that you could buy on your own since large companies can negotiate lower rates than those available to individuals. 

      In addition to medical insurance, your company might offer vision and dental coverage. Those types of insurance are typically inexpensive, and they can come in handy if you need routine care or if you break a tooth or experience some other type of dental emergency.

      It’s important to have life insurance, especially if you have a family relying on your income to cover a mortgage and other living expenses. Many companies offer life insurance to their employees at little or no cost.

      Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account
      Even if you have health insurance, it won’t cover everything. An HSA or FSA can allow you to set aside pre-tax funds to use for out-of-pocket medical costs that your insurance policy doesn’t cover. Putting money into an HSA or FSA can also reduce the amount you’ll have to pay in income taxes.

      Retirement Account and Match
      If your employer offers a 401(k) or another type of retirement account, take advantage of it. Many businesses offer to match an employee’s contributions, up to a specified percentage of the worker’s annual income. 

      If you contribute that percentage and your company matches it, you can get thousands of dollars per year in extra money to fund your retirement. That can make your retirement account balance grow faster and help you reach your savings goal sooner.

      Vacation Time
      Even when employees have vacation time available, many don’t use it because they think they can’t afford to be away from work for too long or they feel pressure to keep grinding week after week without taking a break. That can lead to burnout, low morale, and reduced productivity. 

      If you have vacation time, use it. You don’t necessarily have to take two weeks off all at once. A long weekend here and there can be enough for you to recharge.

      Education Benefits
      Many companies will pay for their workers to pursue a degree or certification. If you’re interested in furthering your education, find out if your employer will cover some or all of the cost. That can dramatically reduce the financial burden on you and help you move forward in your career.

      Use Your Employee Benefits
      You work hard, and you’ve earned your benefits. Take advantage of the perks that your company offers. If you need information about your benefits package, consult your human resources department or employee handbook.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.