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Summer is relaxing, lazy, and enjoyable in so many ways. With the longer days we enjoy having fun with friends and family. To keep the relaxed atmosphere a little pre-planning will keep the entertaining easy and comfortable for everyone, including you!
Beverages – Keep It Cool
Set up a cart, table or area where guests can help themselves
Provide plenty of disposable cups and napkins
Set up soda, water, juices, any alcoholic beverages if serving, with lots of ice
If children will be present consider two separate beverage areas one for adults, one for children with no alcoholic beverages
Food- Simple or Elaborate
Try and make as many foods ahead of time
Keep in mind the heat during the day when serving items that are perishable; keep them cool on ice or in a cooler if needed
Entertaining outdoors can be more casual where guest enjoy being part of the cooking and perpetration as well as serving themselves. Let your guest get involved!
Set an area where disposal tableware is convenient to grab for guest. Include plates, napkins and utensils along with any condiments
Provide garbage barrels out of site but easy for guests to clean up on their own
Seating- Provide Plenty
Either lounge chairs, folding chairs, benches, or stools
Group chairs and tables for easy conversation
Small tables, big long picnic table, or patio tables are all great for gathering around and enjoying a bite of food
Clean up- Keep it Simple for Yourself
Have lots of garbage barrels available for easy disposal.
Label recycle bin and keep close to the beverages.
Use disposable items so clean up is easy.
Pool – Safety First
Ask adults to take turns supervising younger children around the pool.
Provide folding chairs if there is not enough seating around the pool area.
Ask guest to bring towels when you invite them over, but in case they forget, provide towels and have a large basket at hand so the towels can be dropped in one area- this will be easier than collecting around the yard the next day.
Provide a small metal bucket filled with sunscreen in case any of your guests forgot to bring their own.
Bugs – Keep Away
Citronella candles burning will help keep bugs away from entertaining areas.
If you have severe problems with bugs, consider fogging your yard about an hour before guest come.
Planting lemon grass in pots or throughout landscape can also help.
Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray areas where you might have ants to keep them away.
Keep lots of bug spray on hand.
Burning fires tend to help keep the bugs away also and are great for ambiance
These simple but easy to follow suggestions can make you and your guests comfortable when they come to relax at your house. Enjoy the lazy days!
9 out of 10 home buyers search internet photo’s when looking for listings. They are doing their research online, gaining their information and comparing homes. So what are those pictures worth for a residential real estate listing? If the images are well done, they can result up to a 3.9% increase in the final sale.
What is a well done image? One that enhances the scene- a photo that tells more of a story. As a stager I review a lot of listings and it still amazes me to see images of rooms that do nothing for the home.
Here are some of my ‘cringes’ and simple suggestion to correct the problems to make your home attractive to buyers
Prepare your house first, if you are unsure where to start get a professional stager in to help you set your priorities. Remember to interview your agent too, to ensure you have one that will be marketing your property correctly.
First ask yourself, when was the last time you updated your décor? Was it in 1990? Before?
Decorative fashion trends come and go but some of the choices we made then, could be the biggest selling offenders now, if you are trying to sell. I have said it before, and will say it again, you need to be objective when marketing a house for sale. Here is a list of the biggest offenders to buyers and how to correct them making your home look like it is in this century.
The biggest offenders to buyers now are:
Dense floral wallpaper and fabrics. Look at your walls, furniture, and drapery this was a big trend and nothing screams outdated more than seeing these. Remove the wallpaper and slipcover the furniture if you cannot replace to remove these offenders.
Wallpaper boarders around the ceiling or as a chair rail. These were an inexpensive way to add detail to a room because the finer details of crown moldings dissipated. Remove these and simply paint the walls one color.
Shiny brass hardware, unless high quality, do not stand up to time and start looking pitted, discolored and rusty. Today the choice is matte if you still love brass, or replace with nickel or chrome. Replace door knobs, faucets, lighting fixtures and handles on cabinets to something more desirable and with trend today.
Overstuffed furniture; I get it “it’s soooo comfortable” but 9 times out of 10 it is too large for the space it occupies and is not in style today. Buyers will see this cumbersome furniture literally as the “elephant in the room,” remove and update.
Lots of color and texture – think bright tiles all those mixed patterns, sponged walls, lots of color all very visually stimulating which is not what you want when selling. Tone it down to neutral colors, use the texture and color as accents in the room in pillows, art etc., not throughout the room as the feature.
Carpeting in bathrooms; one word, YUCK! When selling you want to create the spa like feeling in the baths. Spotless clean bathrooms are what a buyer wants, so lose the carpet and invest in a tile floor if you need to, but remove the carpet. While we are talking about carpets, remove area rugs too for photos and when you are showing. Clean fresh open space is what buyers love.
Wall to wall mirrors on slider closet doors are no longer in fashion. Remove and paint the doors or replace if needed. Mirrors do help a room look larger, but today mirrors are decorative accent pieces. Even in the bathroom the trend is to have a decorative mirror with a nice frame versus the large piece. Look at something like Mirror Mates to improve yours.
Tiffany style glass hanging lights. If the furniture, walls and overall ambiance are updated these might work, but if the furnishing through the space are from 1990’s or earlier they will look really dated. Either remove and update with a more current style light fixture, or time to purchase new furniture. The light fixture might be a little less expensive when selling.
As you can see in the picture examples these are houses did not sell quickly because the overall image they projected was dated. Buyers could not see themselves living in these dated homes and moved on to ones that were updated and felt fresh. Keep this in mind when you put your house on the market, it can make a difference of lingering or selling.
When it’s time to paint a room, do you agonize over which color will work? Have you painted a room you chose from a chip and through “this will be it!”; only to find it is not the one? Paint color can be tricky but it does not have to be.
I recently attended a conference in Toronto to learn how to make sense of it all. There are many blogs, websites and tons of information on color, but they are typically just that, information on color. When it comes to finding the right paint color it can be tricky because there are so many elements in the room to consider. If they are not being considered, you will feel like the room is not “quite right,” but not knowing why it is not “quite right.”
A great example I have, when I first moved into my house I chose fabric for drapes in my dining room because I liked it. Similarly, I found wallpaper that I thought would look lovely giving me that beautiful airy tone on tone look I was trying to achieve. Low and behold once the room was completed it was OK but not “quite right.” Yes, everyone said they “loved” the room but something was off. One day my daughter said “Mom, I think the drapes are faded or something,” they looked dirty compared to the wall paper! When choosing fabric for the drapes and the wall paper they looked ok together from the samples I had, but the beige’s were “not quite” right. That’s when I fell upon Maria Killam’s blog and discovered it’s all about the undertones.
The yellow/beige in the drapes was not working with the pink/beige in the wallpaper making the drapes look dirty. Needless to say it became a huge project (info for another blog) to remove the wallpaper and paint to make everything work together; an expense I could have avoided if I only knew then what I know now!
Through Maria’s course I learned to distinguish the difference in colors, and why they work or do not work within a room. You see you need to take all the element in the room, distinguish which undertones are going on, if the color is on the warm or cool side of the spectrum, muddy or clean and then you can start to eliminate some colors to consider others. I truly believe either you are born with this instinct or you need to learn it. Not all is lost, I mean 90% of the time I was getting it right but did not know why. Now when I have a client say “but I really love this color, can’t I use it instead?” I have the facts and ways to show why a color is the correct choice over another so that the room looks great, not that “not quite right look.”
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