Re-posted from https://www.moneytips.com/top-5-reasons-to-buy-a-home-during-the-holidays Why it Makes Sense to Buy a Home at Year’s End Few people like to uproot their family and go through the stresses of home buying and moving during the holidays, but for those who do not mind, the holiday season may provide home buying bargains. Here are a few of the reasons why. Less Market Activity – Lots of family, school, and work activities, combined with the weather in many locations, lead to fewer real estate transactions over the holidays. Since fewer people overall are looking to buy houses, you will have less competition for your preferred house – and this gives you leverage. Holiday home sellers often have to adjust their price downward or make other concessions if they want to sell. Keep this in mind as you search for homes. Bargains may be available, and listed prices may be more open to negotiation. Motivated Sellers – People who are selling their homes over the holidays often have great incentive to sell, such as an upcoming job relocation. If a house has already been on the market for some time, that incentive is multiplied. You may be able to use this urgency to your advantage (assuming you are not in a similarly urgent need to buy). Negotiate fairly but firmly with sellers and you should be able to extract a lower price and/or other concessions like paying part of the closing costs. Potential Tax Advantages – If you itemize your taxes, you can deduct any points you paid upon closing, as well as property taxes and mortgage interest. Whether it is to your advantage to buy before or after year’s end depends on factors such as how many other deductions you have this year and expect to have next year. It is best to consult with a tax professional before purchase. Even though you do not want to make a decision on a home purchase strictly for tax reasons, it could be to your benefit to close before the end of the year. Better Interest Rates – Within the general trend of interest rates, there is often a cyclical trend of lower interest rates during the holidays – not from the generosity of lenders but due to limited demand forcing greater competition among lenders. There are plenty of factors that can obscure or swamp this cycle, but in general, you should see preferable interest rates around the holidays compared to the times immediately before or after. Faster Closings – Generally, all parties involved have incentive to complete transactions toward the end of the year. Lenders want to close their books, real estate agents want to receive their commissions before the year closes, sellers want to move on to their...

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Re-posted from http://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/30-cant-miss-home-staging-tips Designed to Sell designer Lisa LaPorta shares some of her best home staging tips. Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your grimy bathroom will go from red flag to red-hot. Don’t replace a yucky shower door: Just scour it. A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door and you’ll have a shower that’ll help you clean up at the open house. Avoid dated tile by painting. Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn’t. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks. Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have dramatic appeal that brings in big bucks. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has. A master bedroom should appeal to both sexes. When you are selling, your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes. Get rid of features that seem too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral color, and choose bedding that matches. Then accessorize with items that complement the overall color scheme. Do you have an overpowering brick fireplace that sticks out like a sore thumb? Here’s an easy way to tone it down with paint. Use a rag or brush to rub a light coat of paint on the bricks, one at a time. This will give them a new tone without covering them completely. And, if you use a paint color that matches the walls, your fireplace will go from sticking out to standing out. Updating an old fireplace screen is a cheap (and quick) fix. After removing the screen and wiping it down to get rid of the dust, mask off the windows so you won’t get paint on them. Then, using a can of heat-resistant spray paint, give the screen a facelift. Hold the can about 18 inches away, and use long, even strokes....

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Originally posted on http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/03/21/designing-for-an-open-floor-plan/ Walls are vanishing from newer homes and the open-plan layouts are showing off multi-purpose areas, such as kitchens and dining rooms and living rooms that seamlessly flow into one another. But how do you decorate one large space – to make it comfortable and beautiful for eating, entertaining, relaxing and more? “The key is continuity,” says Kim Kiner, Vice President of Textile & Material Design and The Alustra® Collection for Hunter Douglas. Here are some ways: Color To keep an open-plan interior open, the No. 1 element for achieving continuity is wall color, says New York designer Glenn Lawson says. Whether “warm” or “cool,” you can use the same one throughout or paint such architectural elements as pilasters, soffits and chair rails variations of the main color, from light to dark, Lawson says. Large furnishings such as sofas and area rugs are most successful when they are, color-wise, “cousins” of the walls, three shades of blue, for example, Lawson adds. “This way the eye keeps travelling throughout the space and is not interrupted by large disparate areas,” Lawson says. Also, consider using pops of the same color, such as a grey sofa in the living room and then a grey chair-seat fabric at the dining table and a grey lamp shade in the library, suggests Shea Soucie of Soucie Horner in Chicago. “Thread a single color – or varying shades of a color – throughout an open space, and you’ll have a comforting sense of continuity as you move from one end of your home to the other,” she says. Flooring “When you have an open-concept living space, it’s important to keep the flooring material consistent so you don’t chop up the flow of the space,” Soucie says. “You can make it interesting by laying wood planks on the diagonal, for instance, or by setting reclaimed European tiles in a herringbone pattern. Whatever you choose, make it the same throughout the space.” Rugs can then be layered on top to soften the look and add warmth. It can also help in identifying the rooms within too. “Rugs are amazingly versatile,” Soucie says. “No matter what kind you choose, they add personality, color, texture and style. And you don’t have to restrict them to your floor by the way – you can hang a beautiful rug on the wall just like you would a piece of art!”   Art and accessories Use art or pillows to enhance the space, such as by repeating or contrasting with an existing color in the room. Add texture with the frame. Don’t just hang the artwork to the wall, though,...

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Posted in Home Trends, by Melissa Tracey on August 15, 2016 The model homes of builders are known for showcasing the latest interior design trends in trying to appeal to home shoppers. So what’s trending when it comes to the kitchen? PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team is merchandising about 425 model homes in 2016. The kitchen is a big area that gets a lot of the design team’s focus too. “Today’s home buyers are willing to spend more in the kitchen – from energy-efficient appliances to quartz countertops,” says Janice Jones, PulteGroup’s national vice president of interior design. “We continuously conduct consumer focus groups to best understand what they want in their kitchens and are constantly refining our kitchen designs and its elements to ensure it delivers on functionality, creative design and easy maintenance across all our buyer groups.” Jones cites five kitchen trends in 2016 that they are reflecting in many PulteGroup model homes lately. These trends also can serve as inspiration for home owners planning renovation projects or wanting ideas for easy updates, Jones notes. 1. Contrasting materials Materials are getting mixed in the kitchen. Contrasting colors and styles are combined to create a more unique space. For example, mixed marbles and metals in a space can help highlight gray wood tones. 2. Decorative lighting Bold and oversized lighting choices are popular choices. “Decorative lighting is key in the kitchen and adds dramatic flair as well as functionality to the kitchen, especially over the kitchen island,” according to PulteGroup’s Interior Designs Team. 3. Transparency Switch out some cabinet doors with glass doors. It can help you extend visual boundaries while also allowing home owners to display some of their favorite things and add more personalization to a space. 4. Storage Home owners are always looking for more storage, especially in the kitchen. Double-stacked cabinets that extend to the ceiling can help maximize storage space. 5. More drawers, less doors Having plenty of kitchen drawers can add more functionality in storage. Home owners are showing preferences toward more drawers over extra cabinets. Bold hardware can then added to the drawers to add more design appeal, PulteGroup says....

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Home owners are increasingly investing to create luxurious, modernized master baths, according to the 2016 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Survey of more than 2,100 home owners who are planning or recently completed a bathroom renovation project. Of those surveyed, 20 percent say they are updating the toilet; 12 percent are updating a tub; and 9 percent are updating a shower with high-tech features. High-tech toilet features home owners say they’re incorporating include self-cleaning functions, motion-activated seats, or built-in nightlights. Popular high-tech bathtub features are built-in lighting, heated backrests, and scented mist dispensers. The survey also showed the most popular high-tech shower updates are mood lighting, digital controls, and built-in sound. Other popular luxury features that home owners say they’re spending on are rainfall showerheads (among 54 percent of those updating showers); bathtubs with room for two (20 percent of those upgrading tubs); adding chandeliers (17 percent of upgraded light fixtures); and bidet-equipped commodes (6percent of upgraded toilets). Photo by ART Design Build – Discover contemporary bathroom design ideas Photo by dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA – Look for contemporary bathroom pictures Home owners surveyed who recently completed a project say they most wish they had installed radiant heating, towel warmers, and super-sized showers during their bathroom renovations. Of the remodeling home owners surveyed, two in five say they spent between $10,000 to $25,000 on master bathroom renovations. Another one-third surveyed said they spent more than...

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Posted in Home Trends, Uncategorized, by Melissa Tracey on August 8, 2016 Sliding barn doors can add a modern twist to an interior space. Malte Strauss, broker and owner of Trust International Real Estate LLC in Deltona, Fla., says the barn door trend has caught on in central Florida. “They are great for locations where a swinging door would infringe on the space and where there is not a conventional doorway,” Strauss says. “We use them all the time in master bathrooms where there is a vanity area that is separate from the tub commode area.” They can also be a great solution in modernizing the vanity area of homes from the 1970s and 1980s, which tended to have the vanity in the master bedroom rather than in the bathroom. “Now we just close those off with a barn door and buyers love that solution,” Strauss says. Photo by Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs – More farmhouse bedroom ideas http://st.hzcdn.com/simgs/c6c1eee70221faa2_8-9111/transitional-kitchen.jpg...

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