Is Your Kitchen Top Chef-Worthy?  You Could Pocket a Premium When You Sell

Is Your Kitchen Top Chef-Worthy? You Could Pocket a Premium When You Sell

The heart of the home is the kitchen–and buyers are eager to fork over for a showpiece.

According to an analysis conducted recently by Zillow, adding commercial-grade features to the kitchen pays a premium.  Evaluation 4.6 million home listings in the past year, Zillow discovered that the features garnered anywhere from 24-34 percent more at sale.

Of the 10 biggest moneymakers, six are common in custom, entertainer’s kitchens–and restaurants:

Steam Oven – 34 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                Professional Appliance – 32 percent premium                                                                                                                                                              Wine Cellar – 31 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                Pot Filler – 27 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                            Waterfall Countertop – 26 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                Prep Sink – 24 percent premium

The boost comes with a caveat: longer timelines.  Because amenities appeal to specific tastes, and are common in higher-end homes–and homes in the luxury market move slower, typically–cashing in could take a while.  Against comps, homes outfitted with a steam oven, for instance, were on the market for 22 days more than others.

What about buyers at the entry level, not in luxury market?  They’re also drawn to well-appointed kitchens, and prepared to spend on them:

Pot Filler – 49 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                  Wine Cellar – 47 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                            Pizza Oven – 46 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                              Prep Sink – 39 percent premium                                                                                                                                                                                  Dual-Range Oven – 36 percent premium

“Having a steam oven, a heated floor or other luxury features in the home is a signal that there are ore than the home’s basic features at play.” says Skyler Olsen, director of Economic Research at Zillow.  “These homes are special. They likely come with an elevated design sense and the extra touches valued by home shoppers who are willing to pay.

“If you have these features, flaunt them.” Olsen says.

Source: Suzanne De Vita


5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Small Backyard

5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Small Backyard

If you wish you could spend more time in your yard but are suffering from small space syndrome, you may be in luck. Whether you want a posh patio or lush lawn, there are things you can do to get more from what you’ve got.

Pool cover manufacturer LOOP-LOC shares 5 ways to make the most out of your small backyard.

When designing a small space, it is important to hone in your ideas and make a plan. This plan should include which elements you’d like to incorporate into your yard. A small space will not be able to accommodate multiple large objects. Be selective in your design plans and decide on one large item to include in your design. Once you decide on that larger item, whether that be a small pool, fire pit or dining table, the rest of the planning will fall into place.

A backyard is going to need furniture. Utilizing built-in furniture will accomplish that need, while also saving space. You can even dress up your built-in furniture with colorful cushions that can be tied to decor inside your home, as an attempt to expand your space.

Create the vibe you are craving in your yard with well thought-out zones. This can be done with well-placed benches to create hard angles or other accent furniture pieces to give the appearance of different rooms. The strategic placement of your outdoor furniture, and in turn, outdoor rooms, will transform your small backyard into an intimate retreat.

Give your yard a focal point. A beautiful statue, a grouping of plants, a water feature, or small, in-ground pool may take the attention away from the size of your yard and allow your guests to focus on the beauty instead. Draw guest’s attention to your pool with a luxurious pool liner or wow them with your creative poolside seating arrangement. Determine the placement of your focal point based on the layout of your backyard. Typically, this will lead to the center of your yard or wherever the most natural path to a threshold occurs.

Beautify your yard with flowers and plants. Whether you have a green thumb or are just looking to incorporate a few florals, consider doing it vertically. Hanging baskets, creeping vines, and petite patio trees are all great options to add greenery to your yard. Utilizing the vertical space in your smaller yard will save you space, while also bringing the style.

Source: LOOP-LOC

Get Your Yard Ready For Summer Parties

Get Your Yard Ready For Summer Parties

Planning to host a summer soiree this year? You better start prepping your yard now.

“Spring preparation is the secret to effortless summer gatherings,” says HGTV star Chip Wade. “Take steps to get your yard in shape now, so you’re ready this summer whenever friends and family get together.”

Wade looks for practical “do it once and you’re done” solutions for homeowners upgrading outdoor spaces. Chip’s tips include:

Low Voltage Lighting. At night, landscape lights can turn even nondescript yards into appealing spaces, while making walkways safer. Yet many don’t realize how easy it is to wire safe, low voltage lighting. According to Wade, simply plug a transformer box into an outdoor outlet to convert household current to shock-free low voltage. Then wire your fixtures into the box.

One Application Lawn Care. Most homeowners want a lush, green, weed-free lawn but don’t want to spend lots of time and money, says Wade. Instead of applying different products in multiple applications, he suggests Preen One Lawncare, combining three essential treatments into one application. It prevents crabgrass and kills crabgrass seedlings, while killing broadleaf weeds down to the roots, and feeding the lawn all season. Apply it when you first see the yellow of dandelions.

No Weeds, No Weeding. Tidy landscape beds upgrade any property. “You want crisp edges, fresh mulch and no weeds,” says Wade. To keep beds weed-free for six months, guaranteed, sprinkle weed control granules on top of mulch. Water it in to form a protective barrier that stops weed seeds from rooting, so they never grow. No weeds means no weeding!

Green Walls Create a Party Mood. Green walls are trending. “A wall or fence covered with panels of succulents or ferns adds charm and feels cooling in outdoor seating areas,” says Wade. However, many find live green walls difficult to maintain. Wade chooses new realistic, artificial options. “Quality faux green wall panels made of UV protected materials are natural-looking and can last 10 years,” says Wade.

With a bit of spring preparation, your backyard can be the place to be this summer, making every day a special occasion for you, your family and friends.

5 Ways to Add Temporary Color to Your Home

5 Ways to Add Temporary Color to Your Home

A bold, bright color in your home can feel fresh and inviting. However, large color commitments like paint or wallpaper can create a headache if you outgrow the hue six months into it. If you’re itching to add more color to your space, but are nervous about outgrowing the shade, consider one of these easy-to-swap design elements. You can even incorporate new colors seasonally.

Flowers and plants. Bright flowers or plants are the easiest and least expensive way to add a pop of color to your space. If possible, check out a local farmers market for discounted bouquets and planted pots and stock up.

Art. Hang those bright colors on the wall by supporting a local artist. Browse local craft fairs and galleries, or commission someone for a piece created just for you.

Rugs. You can get a great rug for just a few hundred dollars, and they can be a fun way to brighten your space.

Curtains. Brightly colored curtains can help frame your room. Consider a cheery yellow or green.

Pillows. Throw pillows are another easy, low-cost way to toss a vibrant orange or magenta into a space without making a large commitment.

4 Things Home Inspectors Look for During an Inspection

4 Things Home Inspectors Look for During an Inspection

Selling a home often means getting a home inspection; in fact, only 5 percent of home purchases go through without a thorough check. This is typically paid for by the buyer, but if you’re the one selling, you’re going to want to ensure that the home inspection goes well.

If your home doesn’t meet the mark, the door is open for the buyer to negotiate for a lower price, making it especially important to know what the home inspector will be looking for and what will ultimately impact your home’s market value.

Here are four common parts of the home an inspector checks when performing a home inspection:

Range Fans for Outdoor Venting
Most houses have a fan over the stove to vent fumes to the outside. This vent pulls harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) out of the air when the food you’re cooking begins to burn or when you’re using the self-clean function on the oven. The inspector will check for proper vent seals and fan operation, in addition to making sure there are no vents going into the attic where mold can grow. Some new technologies have ventless hoods. These products do not need a vent to the outside; however, it’s important that you know which you have, because if your model requires a vent and you don’t have one, that will be a mark against you in the inspection.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters for Wet Areas
Building codes in many communities dictate that homes for sale must have GFCIs in kitchens and bathrooms. These outlets go in areas within six feet of water sources. These receptacles have a safety feature built in that turns off the electricity when the panel gets exposed to moisture. These outlets prevent fires and electrical shock, keeping you and the family safe. If you’re not sure which you have, then it’s important to consult with a professional electrician. Have them examine your kitchen outlets and ensure that they and their safety features are functional.

Proper Garage Door Operation
Showing prospective buyers that your home is in excellent shape includes checking the garage. Inspectors look at garage doors to make sure there’s no crush risk, in addition to making sure the door operates safely. They look to see if the door has all mechanical parts, reverses when it comes down and hits something, and opens smoothly. Updating your garage door with a more modern model can provide a greater marketing edge. Make sure that all of your remotes and your garage door are working properly, because home inspectors will bring it up in the report if anything is out of order.

Number of Outlets Per Room
Another item inspectors check for is how many outlets are on each wall. Building codes differ from city to city, but each town requires a minimum amount of electrical outlets in the house. For example, many houses must have at least one receptacle on each wall or within a certain length. If you live in an older home, chances are that you have fewer or even outdated outlets. If you own an older home, your best option is to have an electrician come and replace the outlets, or add more to the system. You may also need to have the electrical system reworked if it’s outdated, as it may not be able to handle the electrical needs of a modern home.

The home inspection can help show the value of your house, especially if you make improvements. Whether you’re looking to sell or even refinance, it’s important to know what home inspectors look at to determine your home’s value. Having a successful inspection can also give you greater bargaining power with buyers so that you can get the full value that your home deserves.

SOURCE: Meghan Belnap

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