Category archive - Curb Appeal/ Landscape Ideas

Home Improvement Before Selling

Home Improvement Before Selling

Realtor.com knows the real estate market and they seek expert advice to help sellers when it comes to putting their house on the market. In a recent article they elaborated on Must-Do Home improvements, we, Design Solutions KGP were quoted!

Jamie Wiebe wrote: “Selling your home might feel like a rush to the finish line. The market is hot right now, you think—so you should hurry up while you can still get a good price. Or perhaps your dream home was just listed, but you can’t move in until your current place sells … so you should expedite this, right?”

The problem is, if you move too fast, buyers see right through the fact that you skipped important home renovations. And this, my friends, might end up costing you time and money; lots of both, in fact.

So take the time to sell your home right. These six home improvements will make your home sell faster and for more cash. And some of them aren’t even very much work.”

Read the full article here:

6 Must-Do Home Improvement Projects to Tackle Before Selling a House

Other helpful reads:

Minimal Interior Design | Why Staging Works

Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

 


Exterior Color Amplify Your Curb Appeal

Exterior Color Amplify Your Curb Appeal

House color has a big impact on curb appeal. Have you ever looked at your house and felt that it could use a change, or that it might not be the right color? There are several factors to consider when you are choosing colors for your house.

First, take a good look at your house. Details like stone work or your roof are features that typically would not be painted. So use these as a place to get your inspiration for your new colors. Typically I suggest choosing two or three colors whereby the main color is going to be the siding color that will coordinate with your roof and stone work. Keep in mind that the color you choose due to all the light reflecting on it from the outdoors will probably appear lighter than the tiny chip so get a few sample pots to compare. Apply to the different sides of your house to see in various light.

modern monochromatic

Next consider the style of your home. For example, a Victorian style home can have earthy tones or vivid energetic colors, while a Farm house style is classic in white with black shutters, which would not necessarily complement the details on a Victorian style house. A modern style home looks good in a monochromatic color theme, whereby a craftsman style home would look best in colors relating to nature. Research different color combination on Pinterest and Instagram for images and ideas.country home

The next color to consider is for the trim. Typically trim is done in a white; but when I say white you have to pay attention to the undertone of the main color you have chosen. If you have picked a brown toned paint for your house, you will want a more cream colored trim. If you have picked a gray toned paint you will want a whiter, cool toned trim.

Last are the shutters, and/or doors. Again they need to relate to the elements that you cannot change with paint. Here I typically will suggest a dark color that relates to the undertone of the main house to give these detail a little pop. The door can be the same as the shutters or trim, or all together different but be sure to relay it to the main color of the house.

Stone wood and paint all coordinate

As for the finish of paint flat or eggshell are good choices for wood or textured siding. The more texture the more flat your finish should be, sheen enhances the lumps and bumps. Hardie board and vinyl are good looking in eggshell or satin. Trim and doors look best in satin giving the features a rich look.

Have more questions? Feel free to contact me. If you do change your exterior and love the results shoot me a picture!

Other good reads:

Try Out Your Room Colors Virtually


6 Key Ways to keep your Guest Comfortable this Summer

6 Key Ways to keep your Guest Comfortable this Summer

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

drink station

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

outdoor porch

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

bug resistant plants

 

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!

Plants that Help Us Enjoy the Outdoors

Summer time Outdoor Room Decor

 


8 Inviting Ways To Make a Grand Entrance

8 Inviting Ways To Make a Grand Entrance

The first impression your home makes to visitors is from its entrance. Because many of us enter our home through another door aside from the front, special attention sometimes has to be paid to this area because it gets forgotten. Making an impressionable entrance is essential when selling; think you need to refresh your entrance to make it inviting and grand, here are 8 simple steps:

Front Door– did you know that by replacing your front door you can reap 85%* of the cost? So the investment not only sets a great first impression, you also benefit because you can recoup some of the cost. Win/win. Consider one with glass, which will let the light shine in.

Hardware- Your door handle is like an accessory similar to jewelry for an outfit, by adding stylish hardware it convey richness to a simple door. If you have a more contemporary style home consider a slim chrome finish handset. A more traditional home you could considered a rub bronze or black handle. Selecting a handset that complements the style of door and home, although seeming minor to some, can make a great impression.

Colors- The combination of colors gives your house personality. Consider the color of your front door. A fresh coat of paint is also a win/win proposition when selling because it manifests the feeling of a well-cared for home. Adding a pop of color that complements your siding and roof color draws the eye to the front door conveying a welcoming feeling.doorLighting- The purpose of the lighting is to illuminate the entrance making it easy for guest to find their way. When selecting lighting consider proportion. Outside the lights can be larger because the area you have is more open. Also consider path lighting and up lighting to accentuate the homes beauty. Depending on the area of the country you reside, the style of house will command which lights to choose to create a cohesive look.

House numbers- If your door is visible from the road, house numbers help visitors find you. Consider selecting a metal that complements the door handle, ensure the numbers are large enough to be able to be read from a distance.

Landscaping- This not only includes the foundation plantings leading up to the front door that enhance the curb appeal but also consider the material your walkway is done in. Brick, slate, crushed stone are a few of the materials that can be used to creating the path leading to your grand entrance.

Plants- Potted and hanging plants in decorative containers also enhance and entrance that says “Welcome.” If you choose flowering plants pick colors that complement the outdoor color scheme.

Furniture- If you have a front porch select a few pieces of furniture that will fit the area. A couple of chairs or bench say “come on by and sit a while.” The color of the cushions can add a pop of color also.

Of course not all these items may work for your style home, but taking a few of the ideas can greatly increase the inviting factor that impresses visitors coming to your home.

*according to NAR Exterior Replacement Projects Provide Biggest Return on Investment

Stepping Up Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal Key Components 

Curb Appeal How to Impress


Bring the Outdoors In

Bring the Outdoors In

The summer turns to fall, and the warmer air becomes cooler. The one thing everyone loves about the summer months is being outdoors. So how do you bring the outdoors inside when the temperatures may not allow you to be outside?

Having large windows definitely helps transition the two spaces. I always suggest to clients open drapery or remove the drapery to let the light flood into a room. With daylight savings time the days are shorter also, by opening the window coverings allows light to pour into your indoor spaces. The bright light coming in warms a room but also lifts the spirits. Having energy efficient windows is the best way to go to keep the heat in a room.

open doors and windows to outdoor spaces

If you are considering putting in more windows, possibly a sliding door, French door or folding glass wall are great options to open up the walls to add light. By doing so you are opening the walls to allow a view of the outdoors inside. Landscaping outdoors surrounding the building can add interest to indoor spaces, if the view is expansive it can complement the interior décor.

Can’t add windows or doors to your rooms, keep it a little simpler by thinking about bringing the outdoors in with potted or container plants to your space. Plants are one of the elements in designing a room that can add warmth instantly. Using them to fill an empty corner or add to a few to coffee table, add to break up all those books on a shelf or maybe add one to your desk. Plants have health benefits helping purifying the air but also aesthetically are pleasing.

plants in containers

Another great way to bring the outdoors in is to consider using a color scheme that you see outdoors that you love. When vacationing on Cape Cod this summer the colors of the ocean, sky and sand were breath taking. Why not consider decorating a room in array of blues, and beige’s similar. I also noticed the combination of colors in the hydrangeas were also stunning.  Look around your yard, parks, or outdoor spaces to find inspiration and go with it. Take a picture and use an app like ColorSnap to find a color palette to work with. You will be amazed at the results and how the room easily comes together.

hydrangea

Bringing the outdoors in is easier than you might think. With sunshine pouring through the windows, adding a new color palette that reminds you of a great trip you took during the summer, and bringing outdoor elements in your spaces all will be a welcome feeling when dealing with the colder months.

Send me pictures as to how your brought your outdoor spaces in.


It’s All In the Packaging

It’s All In the Packaging

Have you ever wondered why a product sells so successfully over another one? Usually we as consumers purchase because we either need the item, fall in love with the packaging, it is unique that we know we will never be able to find something like it again, or that the price is so great that you feel the value of the product is worth the price tag.

In the housing market buyers purchase a little the same way. Buyers look for homes that have certain criteria; as we all know sometimes their are compromises and we need to weigh what features are the most important. They might need a new home because their family is growing, decreasing, or possibly being relocated. When they are looking they are making decisions based on price, location and emotion to fulfill their requirements or must haves. They want to see the home as to how they could live, not how it is lived in.

b4 and after kitchen

If you are putting your home on the market lets say it has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and the house down the road is identical how are you going to gain the edge to attract the buyer to make an offer on your home? It’s all in the packaging. An agent can show a buyer two identical homes, but the home that has been merchandised/staged will typically be the one that will get the offer if it is meeting the requirements the buyer has. According to a recent study done with Agents they found that staging a home had a big impact over one that was not packaged to buyers.  Although two similar homes may both meet the “criteria” that the buyer is looking for, it is the home that speaks to them – the one they can relate to and see themselves in, that will get the offer.  That means neutralizing your personal decor and style, and emphasizing the features of the property in a way that buyers make decisions to purchase, the “package” affects that decision. A Professional Stager knows buyers will make an offer on a home that they can connect to. We merchandise the house in a way that a buyer can relate to, creating value, and allowing the buyer to see a house as theirs, not the current owners.

Merchandised Home

If the home seller is motivated, and wants to sell quickly they need to take a few steps in ensuring the buyer to purchase their “product”.  The merchandising (staging) can be the deciding factor that gets the buyer to move forward. The key architectural elements are highlighted, and the look through the house is harmonized to make the rooms flow and give the property value so it stands out. The success has been seen in the numbers. Well packaged products, like a well staged property sells in shorter period of time, and in some markets for more money.

You may like:

Advantage of Home Staging

Is Staging Worth the Cost When Selling?

The Tale of a Property Long on The Market


Summer time Outdoor Room Decor

Summer time Outdoor Room Decor

Outdoor space is a great extension of living space, so why not make the most of it? By adding elements similar to any room in the house can make for a comfortable inviting area to entertain and relax.

Planters with bright burst of colors, vines trailing over like waterfalls are just the beginning of enhancing your outdoor spaces. Consider elements of indoor living and bring them out.

Lighting– You have is lighting to brighten the entrance ways into your home, and are important for safety, but also consider lighting to create a mood or the ambiance outdoors. Having soft lights in trees, candle lights and even pathway lights create a relaxed feeling and the bright house lights will not be needed allowing you to view the evening sky.

outdoor lighting

Furniture– I suggest seriously considering what you are purchasing. If you cannot afford that fantastic outdoor furniture set just yet, start saving and maybe when it goes on sale at the end of the season it might just be the right price. Outdoor furniture should be an investment that will last for years. Measure your area and plan what pieces will work for you.

seating outdoors

Rugs– there are so many options of bright colorful rugs, tone on tone prints and solids that can anchor your outdoor furniture and turn the space into a welcoming retreat. These are made of fibers that can endure the elements and have come a long way from that green outdoor carpeting we might remember from our childhood.

Curtains– What? You say. Using curtains is a great way to make an outdoor space feel cozier and bring the indoor elements out. Sunbrella makes fabric that is durable, and these can also help with sun control creating shade as the day fades to night.

Art– does not have to be as you would imagine inside your home, why not do a piece of art with succulents on your wall? Also using wire art, wood, or glass are all possibilities to add some interest in your outdoor spaces too.

Accessories– well why not? Pillows in bold colors to complement your furniture will add cozy element. Maybe a whimsical sculpture peeking out from your planters or among your pots might be just the thing. Use your imagination to enhance your outdoor living spaces to make them refreshing and relaxing during the hot summer months.outdoor pillows


Plants that Help Us Enjoy the Outdoors

Plants that Help Us Enjoy the Outdoors

When doing consults for clients helping them improve their curb appeal I am asked what plants will enhance their curb appeal best. Plants are an investment so you want them to work for you and in your environment. So which are best?

Mosquitoes can be problematic in some areas. Why not use plants that are considered to repel them in the areas where you sit at dusk.

 Scented geraniums are known to repel insects because of their sent, but also have textural leaves that can add interest to the landscape.

Citronella grass when the leaves are crushed release oil that repels mosquitoes.

Catnip is known to be even stronger than DEETcatmint

Marigold the flowers keep mosquitoes away and add a little color too.

Rosemary, lemon balm and basil are both scented herb used for cooking but can also repel mosquitoes

These are just a few but if you look through the list those plants that have an obvious scent are usually great at repelling mosquitoes, but also other critters in your yard.

Consider the bunnies, chipmunks, ground hogs, and deer that can all wreck havoc on your landscape. Some of the plants listed above critters typically do not like either, or will not be immediately attracted to them. Although no plant is completely deer resistant, if they are hungry enough they will eat anything. Some plants are considered “deer resistant” and can make an impact through your landscape.

Consider Fountain grass, or other ornamental grasses. They give textural interest in the landscape through the seasons. Yucca is another plant that can make a big impact with sword shaped leaves and flowers.yucca

If you are looking for color consider foxglove. It is a biennial that blooms the second year with flowers that rang in color from purple to white.

Heliotrope has a beautiful bushy habit with large flowers. Heather can be breathtaking in swaths, depending on the type you could have flowers blooming at different times through the summer.

Bee balm, marigolds and zinnia similar to mosquito repelling, are not desirable to critters so they are fantastic “go to” plants throughout the landscape giving color and foliage interest.

With a little planning you can work with nature to make your landscape shine through the seasons. Textures, as well as color combined make for an interesting landscape. What plants have you found have staying power in your garden and landscape that work for you?

Other blogs you might find helpful

Adding Color to Your Outdoor Spaces

6 Key Ways to keep your Guest Comfortable this Summer


The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

The Tale of a Property Long on the Market

Recently a Real Estate agent called me in to do a consultation for a seller. The home had been on the market for over a year. The RE Agent let me know that she just convinced the seller to drop the price to comparable properties on the market.  The  property was in a desirable family development, on a corner lot. It needed a little bit of curb appeal improvement but overall the property was appealing from the outside.

As I met the home owner she informed me that “her” taste was “outstanding, everyone loves her home and is only letting me come in because the RE Agent told me that I should have you come and take a look.” We proceeded into the front door and this is what I encountered…

dark entrance way

“Smoked” mirrors, with a dusty wreath attached, faux rocks with black grout and a brass chandelier from the from the 1990’s. Not too bright, open and cheery feeling when entering into the home. When selling a house your goal is try to make it feel as bright and appealing when someone enters in, it is their first impression. Reducing specific taste preference as much as possible helps the buyer feel at home, not intimidated that they are entering into someone else’s home that could never be theirs.

dated living room

As we continued our tour of the house I felt as though I had been teleported to another year. Although the house appeared neat, the stain on the ceiling “isn’t really noticeable, my husband had fixed it” The chandelier that was hanging, was doing just that, it was not plugged into anything nor wired, but “a beautiful addition to the room” the seller told me.

We discussed the possibility of updating lighting, removing some of the lacy curtains to allow the light to come into the room, moving and removing some of the furniture, removing the dated wall paper and giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. She felt the effort and expense would not be worth it because the “buyer can offer $1000 less and they can do the work. We are more than happy to negotiate a bit when an offer comes in”  Wishful thinking on her part, they eventually lost over $60,000 on the original listing, not to mention it took an additional 9 months to sell and the carrying costs that the seller incurred during that time.

As an Agent, bring in your stager at the beginning of the selling process, as a seller ask your Agent to have a professional consultation with a Stager. This Agent knew the importance of staging this property, but unfortunately was the third listing Agent to work with the seller because all the previous agents had not sold the property. Getting a seller on board with understanding the importance of being objective, what a buyer wants today, and how the marketing of selling properties has changed since 1990 is crucial.

  Believe in the importance of the staging consult and how it will help the seller understand how to improve a house to market it property. Make your Professional Stager your partner to ensure listings are presented in the bet possible light. It can help save everyone money in the long run.


Chi The Energy In Your Home

Chi The Energy In Your Home

The first time I heard about Feng Shui and Chi I thought… ok not so sure, tell me a little more. So I started reading and came to realize that there definitely is energy always around and surrounding us. The condition of the building, photos, art, windows and the way the sun comes in through windows, colors and how they change in different light, furnishings- imagine a chair covered in a fabric you think is horrible, but then the same chair covered in a fabric you love- objects that surround us daily whether we realize it or not are giving off energy; positive or negative that affect us.

What is Chi you ask?  Chi is the energy of life itself; it is the balance of Ying and Yang. Chi is the term for the universal energy or the energy that permeates everything around us, like the items we have in a room.  When Chi becomes unbalanced, stagnant, or depleted; emotional and physical problems can begin, you just don’t feel like yourself.

blue bedroom

Before After

 

The first step, look at your building outside with objective eyes. Does the building itself make you feel happy when you view it? The outside of a building can affect the energy in the space inside. Look at the outside of the building, is it in good repair, are their any obstacles that feel offending to you? By doing repairs, removing garbage cans, possibly repainting your front door to complement the outdoor surroundings along with adding planters with vibrant colors on either side of the door can improve the outdoor Chi of your home. The outside energy and that surrounds the front door into your home – known as the mouth of Chi is where the energy enters the home.Bagua Map

Good Feng Shui for an entire home has basic guidelines. Important factors to consider are keeping the rooms clutter free, good air quality and light are essential to creating a good foundation of positive energy in a room. Understanding the Bagua or energy map of your home for your rooms also helps. Knowing which area a room lies within the Bagua will help you determine the best colors for that room and placement of furniture within the room. Include the five feng shui elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water in each room; but be aware that they will be used in different proportions depending on the location of the room according to the Bagua.

If this seems confusing or overwhelming keep in mind when creating a room; color, form, flow and function are elements in every room that create balance. If one is not quite right you will notice it, possibly not understanding why you feel it. The key to a balanced room and life is to develop positive energy within the room. If something is amiss look objectively at the spaces you live in and surround you. I thought “like it will really make a difference”, but also thought “try it what will it hurt.” By changing a few things within the space of a room might create balance and more positive energy again.