Category Archives: Content Ideas for Real Estate Newsletter

Make Small Spaces Bigger: 5 Ways to Show Off Space

Make Small Spaces Bigger

Size does matter when it comes to the perception of space in a home. That’s why it is important to make sure you show off every square foot of your listing so that buyers can visualize enough room for all their belongings.

However, homeowners often crowd spaces with oversized furniture, bulky accessories, and piles of clutter that makes a room look much smaller than it really is, according to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.

So how can you show off that space in your listings? Besides the obvious task of removing clutter, try these simple ideas:

1. Scale down the furniture: By having too many large pieces of furniture in a small room, space can feel more cramped. Select smaller-scale furniture over large, chunky options. A good choice: furniture with wooden legs or un-skirted chairs, so that you can see through the furniture to the floor underneath to open up a room.

2. Beware of overly busy patterns: Too many bold patterns in a room with fabrics and accent pieces can make a room feel smaller. Big prints, bold plaids, and large floral patterns can be too busy for a small space. Stick to solids and use texture in fabrics to add interest.

3. Lighten Up: Dark colors absorb the light making small rooms look even smaller. The general color rule for small spaces is lighter is better. Lighter colors on walls — such as creams, light blues, light greens, tan, and soft yellows — help expand the room. Plus, softer, cooler tones are soothing and relaxing, she adds.

4. Add height: Bring in anything that is tall to show off the height of the space. Whether it’s a piece of furniture, such as a bookcase, or an object like a tall tree, the height of the object will draw the eye upwards. Also in a house where you want to show off the height, hang the curtains above the normal window’s top level. To widen the window, tie the curtains back with a rope tieback.

5. Use the reflection: Hang mirrors on walls to help add visual space. When the room is reflected in the mirror, it can make us feel like there is more space as we see ‘another room’ in the mirror. Mirrors can also reflect light and views, which will help lighten up the room and make it feel open and airy.  xxx

Quick Cleaning Routines

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Keeping up with an ever-expanding list of cleaning chores can get overwhelming. So, what is the secret to making it more manageable? Breaking your routine down to small chunks of time, setting a timer, and staying focused until you hear the “ding!” can help. Below are your go-to plans when the time is tight. When an out-of-town friend stops by at the last minute or you only have 30 minutes before your favorite show starts, these are the routines that will get your space tidy quickly. Depending on how much time you have, choose from the 10-minute quick tidy up, a 30-minute whole-house pick-up, or the 2-hour cleaning plan.

If You Have 10 Minutes –This is not enough time to really clean your house, but for those moments when friends drop by unexpectedly or when you get home from a long day and simply cannot stand how messy your house looks, this 10-minute plan works wonders.
#1: Divide the Room: One of the biggest time-wasters when straightening up is that we tend to go back to the same spot multiple times. We find a misplaced item on one side of the room, and cross the room to put it back where it belongs, only to end up getting distracted by another out-of-place belonging, or a spill that needs cleaning, or dust that needs wiping. To make a speed-clean more efficient, visually divide the room into a clock, with the door or sink at 12 o’clock. Move around the room clockwise, guaranteeing that each area will only be visited a single time. When you arrive at each segment of the room, return any collected items that belong there, and save items that belong in another room for later.

If You Have 30 Minutes – When your parents say they are stopping by later that afternoon, use this plan. A little more than just putting things away and wiping down surfaces, this routine involves vacuuming, cleaning mirrors, and replacing bathroom towels, too. The key to this method is that it targets the areas you (and any last-minute guests) are most likely to notice and use, such as the main living area and bathroom.

If You Have 2 Hours – You do not have to set a timer for each specific task on the checklist but use the timeline as a general guide.
5 minutes: Strip the beds and put the dirty sheets into the washing machine.
5 minutes: Grab an empty laundry basket. Go through your entire house and grab anything that doesn’t belong in each room. Do not spend time organizing—just gather the misplaced items.
15 minutes: Clean up the kitchen. Collect all the dirty dishes, load the dishwasher, hand wash any pots and pans, put away clean dishes, and wipe down the sink and countertops.
10 minutes: Quickly vacuum all the floors in your home.
10 minutes: Quickly mop your hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring.
10 minutes: Grab your favorite all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the bathrooms. Start with mirrors, countertops, and faucets, then scrub the toilets. Close the shower curtain and add a fresh hand towel. Make sure the toilet paper is stocked and the hand soap is refilled.
5 minutes: Gather all dirty laundry and sort it into two piles: towels and clothes. Switch the sheets to the dryer and start a load of clothes.
10 minutes: Put away the items you’ve collected in the laundry basket at the beginning.
15 minutes: Grab some wood cleaning spray and, starting at one end of your home, quickly dust all the wooden surfaces in your home. Don’t be too picky. Remember, this is a quick clean-up plan.
10 minutes: Pick up some window cleaner and, starting at one end of your home, quickly clean all the glass surfaces.
10 minutes: Unload the sheets from the dryer and add the clothes. Start a load of towels in the washer. Go make all the beds with the clean sheets.
5 minutes: Light a candle, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy your clean home! (Just don’t forget to switch out the laundry when it finishes!)

Five tips for staying on budget and keeping the holidays jolly

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Candy cane cache: Maintain your holiday budget through these 5 tips

(BPT) – If you’re one of those savvy consumers already strategizing how to best fund gifts and other expenses this holiday season, you’re not alone. Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults who give holiday presents establish a budget for these purchases, according to a recent Coinstar survey. Yet 85 percent admit they still tend to go over budget when it comes to gift buying, entertainment, travel, decorating and other holiday expenses.

Fortunately, planning ahead can reduce the risk of overspending. Consider how implementing the following ideas can help you stay on task and on budget when it comes to this year’s holiday expenses.

1. Estimate all of your anticipated holiday expenses, not just gift purchases. Consider costs for decorations, food/alcohol, travel and special events to gain a realistic idea of your projected cash output. If the total is out of reach, consciously decide where to cut back so you’re less likely to spend impulsively. You may have to acknowledge that you’re not able to host a lavish party or buy generous presents for everyone on your list.

2. Reduce your stress by starting your shopping early and taking advantage of sales throughout the year. These strategies will help spread your costs so they don’t all hit at once and reduce your overall holiday spending budget. A full one-third of U.S. adults shop throughout the year, according to Coinstar’s survey, and 27 percent buy the majority of their presents on sale. Only 14 percent are last-minute shoppers. Looking for bargains and unique gift items at stores, at special events, and on websites can even be fun when you’re not in a panic.

3. Think of ways to boost your spending power. One method is turning to the spare change you’ve stashed away in a coin jar, in vehicles, and around your home. It’s easy to take your change to one of about 20,000 Coinstar kiosks located at grocery stores throughout the country. For many, that’s found money that can be converted into cash or transformed (at no fee) into e-gift cards from popular vendors such as Amazon, Best Buy, Sephora, Lowe’s and Starbucks.

4. Draw names and set gift-spending limits for family gift exchanges. As families grow through marriage or children added to the brood, it’s easy to allow spending and gift giving to get out of control. White elephant exchanges can be great for the kids in the family. Have them gift one of their toys or possessions to another child in the family. That will not only be softer on the wallet but will teach them the power of gifting and reusing.

5. Consider gifts big on thoughtfulness and small in cost. Perhaps a handcrafted work of art, homemade baked goods or a meaningful service, such as childcare, would mean more to some recipients than a store-bought knickknack, electronic gadget, or sweater.

Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you go over budget despite your best efforts. You can always make up for it by cutting expenses outside the holiday season when you may face less temptation and pressure to buy.

For more information on how Coinstar works, visit www.coinstar.com.

5 DIY home upgrades anyone can do in a day

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(BPT) – Do-it-yourself home projects are sweeping the nation, and it’s easy to see why. DIY is typically budget-friendly and fulfilling to complete; simply find the right project to match your skill set and needs.

To get started, here are five inexpensive projects that can be tackled by any DIYer, each of which will have an impact on the entire home.

* Make a hardware swap. Replacing your kitchen cabinets changes the entire look of your kitchen — but it’s expensive and requires considerable skill. For a simpler, smaller project that can still have a big impact, replace the hardware on your cabinets instead. Select the hardware type first — knobs for doors and pulls for drawers, for example — then move on to style. Crisp, sleek hardware goes best with a modern kitchen, while more detailed offerings work well with classic, traditional kitchens.

* Refresh your space with a fresh coat of paint. Repainting a wall or room is the perfect way to showcase your style, without breaking the bank. The Unity palette from Sherwin-Williams® 2018 Colormix Forecast offers unique color choices that pair together perfectly, making it easy for homeowners to create a cohesive look in their space. Try going bold with pops of a peacock on an accent wall, such as Sherwin-Williams 2018 Color of the Year, Oceanside SW 6496, or you use the palette’s grounded browns to put a new spin on traditional hues. It’s easy to recreate a space that reflects who you are, without making expensive renovations.

* Illuminate a simple change. It doesn’t always take a huge change to reinvent a room; it can be as easy as changing the light fixture. You could choose to repaint your existing chandelier, or you could give your ceiling fan a new look by replacing the blades. If you’re on the crafty side, try making your own shade for an existing lamp with some of your favorite fabric.

* Invite people to your gallery. Can’t decide on the one perfect image for your wall? Then why not go for several? Gallery walls are a great way to show your favorite prints and photos artistically. Pick the wall and apply a fresh coat of paint before building your gallery — after all, this wall will now be part of the exhibit. Once the wall is ready, pick your photos or prints and set them in frames you love. Now the fun part lay your works of art on an open floor space and rearrange them until you find the perfect layout. Once you’ve found it, grab your hammer and nails and bring your gallery wall to life.

* Bring a new vibe to your existing furniture. If a chair or loveseat is starting to show its age, reupholstering it is a great way to give the piece fresh life. Remove the current fabric and replace it with a new fabric of your choosing. Apply staples or stitching to hold the new fabric in place, and that old piece of furniture will have a distinctive new look.