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Staging a House with No Furniture: Little Things Mean a Lot

When you’re selling a home, you want to make the best impression on buyers possible. About 49% of buyers are going to be influenced by how your home is staged.

You want to make sure that you present your home in the best possible light. What if you already moved out and you don’t have any furniture left to stage the home?

You actually have more options available and this could work in your favor. Read on to find out how to stage a house with no furniture.

Should You Stage a Home with No Furniture?

One of the biggest booms in real estate is in home staging. It’s common for real estate agents and sellers to hire a home staging company to

There are some disadvantages to staging your home with no furniture.

The first thing that’s a major disadvantage is that you can’t hide anything. For example, a stain on the floor can’t be covered with an area rug. Cracks and chipped paint can’t be covered up, either.

As a seller, you don’t want to look desperate to sell your home. A completely empty home could send off signals that you need to sell your home quickly.

If you don’t stage an empty home, it can feel empty. Buyers will pick up on that. Homes are places with soul. A home that’s empty and not staged can feel unwelcoming and uninviting.

An empty home can pose safety risks and you could experience break-ins.

One of the biggest advantages is that buyers aren’t influenced by the style of furniture already in the home. For example, you may love a rustic look and decorated your home that way. You may have potential buyers who are fans of mid-century modern or modern furniture.

They won’t be able to fully envision the possibilities of the space without looking past the furniture that doesn’t fit their style.

With an empty space that’s staged well, buyers can take measurements and then decide where they can fit their modern furniture.

How to Stage a House with No Furniture

As you can see, there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to staging a home with no furniture. The key is that you have to put in the effort, no matter how much furniture you have and make it enticing for buyers.

Ready to learn how to stage a house with no furniture? Check out these insightful tips.

Curb Appeal Matters Even More

Do you know what curb appeal is? It’s how people view your home from the curb. Buyers will often form a first impression based on the exterior of the home and then they tour the home hoping to find more evidence of what they found outside.

For example, let’s say that your home looks exquisite from the outside. The landscaping is perfect and your walkway is welcoming and inviting.

Buyers will get a positive first impression. When they walk inside, they’ll look for other reasons to love the home. They may love the spacious rooms, open kitchen or natural lighting. If they don’t like the walkway, they’re likely to notice every single thing wrong with your home.

What you can do is add colorful plants and small lights to the walkway or update the driveway design. You want to give your landscaping a cheery look and feel while the colors add some pop to the landscape.

Of course, make sure that the grass isn’t growing too long, and your landscape isn’t full of weeds. That can turn off buyers.

Rely on Color and Lighting

Once you have buyers walk in the door, you want to wow them with color and light. Buyers respond to bright and cheerful homes, and you can use them to your advantage.

You can change all of the light bulbs in your home to brighter bulbs. You can also strategically use lighting to highlight features of the home and keep potentially negative aspects in the dark.

Using floor lamps, table lamps, and overhead lighting can create a big, bright space, even in small rooms.

Natural light is a big seller and something that can draw buyers to your home. Trim the foliage outside to make sure you’re getting the most natural light in the room. You’ll also need to clean the windows as light coming in through dirty windows will be noticeable.

Color can be used simply in your home without furniture. You may not require a full coat of paint on your walls. A simple color update to your trim can create a bright and bold feel in your home.

If You’re Really in a Hurry to Sell Your Home…

Are you on a time crunch and really need to sell your home? If that’s the case, then you do have a few options available to you.

The first option is to rent furniture or to hire a home staging company to handle this part of the process. This isn’t ideal if you’re in a hurry and on a tight budget.

The other option is to sell your home for cash through a company like Cornerstone Homebuyers. It’s a quick process and removes the headaches of selling your home.

Staging a Home Can Sell It Fast

Home sellers want to get their house off the market as soon as possible. When you’re selling a home, you want to get the most value you possibly can out of the sale. A higher sales price means more money in your pocket.

Yet, if you don’t know how to stage a house with no furniture, your home could be sitting on the market for a long time, forcing you to lower the asking price.

Focus on the appearance of the entire home, both exterior and interior to create a warm, welcoming and bright home. That will help buyers see themselves living there.

Do you want more great real estate tips? Read this article that tells you when it’s time to replace your home windows.

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Everything You Need to Know About Apartment Security Camera Laws

Today’s economic conditions are perfect for investing in rental properties. While becoming a landlord offers a ton of financial benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks you’ll want to avoid.

Perhaps one of the worst things that can happen as a landlord is getting stuck with nightmare tenants. These people can refuse to pay their rent, or even worse, cause expensive damage to your property!

You might think that adding some surveillance cameras will help you keep your property safe, but you have to do it right. Keep reading to learn about the most important apartment security camera laws you’ll need to follow.

Apartment Security Laws for Property Owners

First things first. Although we’re discussing apartment security camera laws, the following information applies to all types of rental properties. Whether you’re purchasing a condo, apartment building, or single-family home to rent out, you’ll need to follow the same laws regarding the use of surveillance cameras.

To answer the question that’s certainly on the top of your mind, yes, you can install security cameras on your rental property. The laws vary from state to state, so you’ll definitely want to check on your specific state’s laws before moving forward. However, there are some important points that apply across the board.

Camera Location

In most states, it’s illegal to install surveillance cameras anywhere that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This means you’ll need to keep cameras out of places like bathrooms, bedrooms, and anywhere a person might get undressed.

Many states will take this a step further and say that tenants have a reasonable expectation of privacy inside their home. To avoid breaking any laws, you should not install cameras anywhere inside.

You can, however, install cameras to monitor activities in the outdoor areas including the front and back door, driveway, back yard, and garage. Essentially, any space that could be considered “public” can be monitored.

Notification Requirements

Any cameras you install must be visible, as it’s illegal to install hidden or “spy” cameras anywhere on private property. You must also notify your tenant that the cameras are in use. It’s a good idea to add this clause to your lease or rental agreement, so there’s no question about whether you’ve informed them.

Audio Recording

Since most video surveillance systems now also have audio, this creates another legal concern. Under Federal wiretapping laws, it is illegal to record someone without their knowledge and consent.

In many states, as long as you inform your tenants that both audio and video recording is taking place, you should be okay. If the tenants then elect to have a conversation in front of the cameras, it’s usually considered consent. In other states, you must have the consent of all parties involved, or you’ve broken the law.

To avoid any potential legal issues, it’s smart to just choose a system that doesn’t have an audio recording. If you’re not happy with this option, then you’ll definitely want to check your state laws in detail before installing cameras that record both video and audio.

Apartment Security Camera Laws for Tenants

Another question that’s common among landlords is whether it’s legal for tenants to install cameras in the property they’re renting from you. In general, tenants are allowed the use of the outside of their buildings and can install cameras as long as the installation doesn’t cause any damage to the building itself.

A WiFi camera system that doesn’t require any drilling or wiring is acceptable, as long as the installation doesn’t impact the expectation of privacy for neighbors or roommates. However, if the tenant wants to install a hard-wired system, purchase security cameras that are professionally installed, or contract with an alarm service, they’ll need your permission first.

Security Camera Tips and Tricks

If you are going to install security cameras on your rental property, you might as well do it right. Consider the following tips.

1. Plan Ahead

Before you get started, you need to evaluate your property. Decide what kind of system will work best for the space you need to monitor.

Decide if you want a WiFi or hard-wired system and how many cameras you’ll need. Systems like the Honeywell Vista 20P are scalable and work for most property types.

Also, take some time to decide what areas you want to monitor and determine the proper camera positioning. This will help ensure the system works the way you want it to once it’s installed.

2. Follow Installation Best Practices

When installing your cameras, avoid backlighting and lens flare. This can make your images useless!

Make sure you install the cameras so they are out of reach, otherwise it’s too easy to tamper with or disable them. On the other hand, you’ll also want to ensure that they’re not so high up that it’s impossible to get a clear image.

If you’re using WiFi cameras, always check the WiFi strength. Remember that the further your cameras get from the router, the more likely you are to have a signal problem.

3. Program and Test Your System

For best results, make sure you program your system correctly. If you’re using the Vista 20P system, these videos will help.

The last thing you want is to find out your cameras don’t work right after something happens and you need to produce a video. That’s why you should always thoroughly test your system after it’s installed. It’s also a good idea to periodically check the video quality, just to ensure that nothing has changed.

Following these tips will help keep both your property and your tenants safe and secure.

Are You Looking for a New Investment Property? We Can Help!

Now that you understand apartment security camera laws, you might feel better about expanding your investment property holdings. If you’re looking for the perfect investment property to expand your portfolio, Sky Five Properties can help!

Check out our list of homes for sale, then give us a call at 305-357-0635. Our realtors are happy to show you some of the best investment properties on the market. Don’t let an excellent opportunity pass you by, get in touch with us today!

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9 Points To Consider When Investing In Luxury Property

Luxury – the word itself evokes a sensuality, a sense of calm relaxation, a hint of enjoyment. It is the word used to denote items of intrinsic value, or perennial worth, of something that is both achievement and reward. To that end, luxury can come through many forms.

It’s in the high-quality farm-to-table food you make a habit of experiencing. It’s in the expert design of a masterfully crafted watch. It’s in the smooth driving experience offered by renowned manufacturers with a colorful history. And, on top of all that, it’s in the living situation we most seek.

Perhaps one of the crowning rewards anyone can aim for is a luxury property. The idea of retiring or relaxing in one of these beautiful and sought-after assets can be exciting in itself. For that reason, it’s important to get things right.

One misconception regarding luxury is that the person who can engage in it freely needn’t care about value-for-money. But really, while you can have your indulgences, it’s worth researching any property you hope to acquire.

Here are 9 things to consider when investing in luxury property:

Your Social Experience

Whenever we select a property, we are also selecting the community around it. Like it or not, you will likely interact with them at some point – unless you make a concerted effort not to. Considering the square meterage of your land, the property borders and how you secure them, and just how remote they are from your land is also important.

But it depends on your outlook. Some look for intense and interesting social experiences. Some do not. What matters is how you wish to experience the social scene of your local area.

Is there a thriving community? Is there a gated community? Is the environment known to be filled with those seeking residential homes, vacation homes, or perhaps are new developments coming? When you’re better able to isolate what you want, you can start to refine a location. This is because no matter how nice the home is, a location will always influence it.

For example, Exuma homes for sale will give you a fantastic middle ground. Here you can find a truly wonderful experience in the Bahamas, in property that sees the best of cultural tourism and residential appreciation.

The Value

While you may not wish to asset flip anytime soon, the value of a property does matter. How is this liable to change over time? How has the pattern risen or fallen over the last twenty years? Are there new developments?

How are local housing authorities working to bring more tourism or residential access to the area? What is the average income bracket? These questions help you not only assess if a property is worth purchasing now, but how it might inform your financial standing should you come to sell it.

There’s rarely a ‘right answer’ here. Of course buying low and selling high is fundamental wisdom. But it might be that you care less for what you receive at the end of your residency, but how the property could be upgraded or passed down. Perhaps you’re willing to lose a little, considering it the cost of those fantastic memories.

Hire A Consultant

If you have the means to invest in luxury property, you likely wish to do it right. To that end, hiring a consultant to help you organize matters can help. They might help you research said properties history. They’ll help you acquire the best title insurance. They’ll allow you to see the widest array of properties necessary, and to do so factoring in your particular needs.

Perhaps they’ll find properties outside and above your needs by building a profile about you. They can liaise with lawyers, property owners and insurance companies to help the process remain comfortable from start to finish. If hoping to own luxurious property – why not make the searching process luxurious in itself? To us, that will grant you a dreamlike journey.

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Many luxury properties are not to be found online, or if they are, they’re in gated access ‘buying clubs’ for discerning clients. If you’re simply looking for public properties, you may not be expanding your search wide enough. Many properties are hidden from public view for matters of privacy and security. To that extent, connecting with a property agent, or consulting with more than one can be a fantastic idea.

Choose A Lifestyle

At a certain bracket of price, all of your needs are taken care of, and almost all of your desires too. This is why location is so important. At a certain point, it’s not how many rooms or how much space you have – but what you intend to do with it. It’s not to say that you need to have a perfect idea of your future life to enjoy a property like this. But you do need some clue as to your tastes and interests. Your familial interests count, too.

Perhaps both you and your son are very interested in sailing. A waterfront location with smooth waters and an adequate docking space can be important. Perhaps you wish to be in closer proximity to historical culture, or the art scene. To this end, selecting an inner-city penthouse or living in a listed historical building could be your best option.
Remember, there are two costs involved with selecting a luxury property – at least put in its simplest terms. The first is your capital and investment reach. The second is your time. This second consideration is even more valuable than the first, because it is limited. Choosing a lifestyle can often help you choose the house, and the easier the choice for you, often the more natural it actually is.

Visit Repeatedly

Often, most luxurious properties will be marketed well. Realtors at this price range will offer crisp, realistic photographs of the property during the day and night. They will show HD video walkarounds. They may even offer virtual tours, or 360 degree panoramic photos you can view at your own leisure. But none of this can equal the need to visit. This is especially true for larger properties.

It might take you three or more visits to truly understand if this is the property for you. Due to the size of the grounds and the construction of the home, it might take you multiple hours to view it all.

On top of that, viewing the local area and potentially meeting some of your would-be neighbors is worthwhile. All of this will help you gain a better idea of your circumstances, and what to expect when moving in. A marketing brochure is great – but it can never top your presence itself.

Work With A Local Realtor

It can also be essential to work with a realtor who knows the area. This way, insight you may not have been given access to can flourish. They might help you learn about cultural trends, or relevant local news. They will help you connect to the people and the place.

They will help you understand the flow of property law and the investment process, as it can change from country to country. They can be the bridge between helping a foreign environment seem both exciting and familiar enough to enjoy. Their experience and knowledge is often worth its  weight in gold.

Remain Patient

It might seem like having the backing to invest in luxury property is easy. It might be more freeing than having to be as shrewd as you once were, of course. But that doesn’t mean the process is a smooth one. Luxury properties are in high demand, and that means competition is fierce. The best you can hope for is keeping your patience tuned.

There will be a time where you are outbid for a property. It could be that despite willing to invest in one, the house inspector has flagged up several issues relating to the property lines and the validity of the deed.

Sometimes, you may find a better property, and wish to reverse the process of application for another. The world of luxury property can both move at breakneck speed and a snail’s pace. You just have to weather whatever situation you are going through right now, and surround yourself with professionals to help you through it.

Security

Security matters, especially in a luxurious home. You must always be prepared for the fact that your home may be targeted. Even if this never happens, it’s essential to remain prepared. Consider the sight lines of your property, and it’s visual privacy.

Consider the local community and if it’s been gated or not. Consider access and how you might limit it. How might you make use of the home apparatus to provide better security? Could you install your own security system, or does the listed nature of the building make that more difficult? When you ask these questions, you provide a more secure household for you and your family.

With this advice, we hope you’re better equipped in finding the luxury property of your dreams.

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Why You Should Invest In Land Now

Vacant land is one of the most overlooked opportunities going. It is a misconception that they aren’t worth anything once purchased. There is a whole business dedicated to buying and selling vacant spaces. The more building developments that have appeared in recent years, the more that land becomes a tasty investment

Buy land, they aren’t making anymore of it. – Mark Twain

Mark Twain, has a point. What is left in terms of land in certain areas will never be there again, so if you have the opportunity to buy. Do it.

So why should you invest in land?

Lazy People

With vacant land, you have a choice. You can build something great asap. Or you can leave it alone to add to the local landscape. In fact, one of the easiest ways to make money is to buy vacant land cheaply, and sell it on when there is an increase in popularity in housing in those areas. Developers love to get their hands on these spaces. It is a ‘hands-off’ investment.

Building

If you purchase land at a reasonable price, you can build on it. If you need planning permission and permits, then get them. The value of the area will rise significantly just because there is the ability to build on it. If you choose to, you can build homes or simply build on there too. And then rent or sell them. Sherman Pole Buildings have great examples of what can be done.

Orchards & Vineyards

If you would prefer to add something more natural to the landscape, then plant an orchard. You can make a steady income from what is produced. If you happen to be very community-minded, you can give all of the produce to food banks and churches in the local area.

If you are one for a nice glass of white wine at the weekend, you can plant and dabble in growing your own grapes and producing small batches of wine. They look beautiful, are ideal for people with a little bit of time on their hands. And, they will make an income every year that the wine is ready.

Community Garden

If you are community minded, and wish to give back and provide, then here is your opportunity. Create a space that people in your local community can come and contribute to. Planting vegetable gardens, learning about wildlife and making friends will happen here. You can raise funds to enable you to make some significant changes in the space, and be a place for people to unwind and relax too.

Of course, what you do with the land will make a difference to the local area. If you introduce new breeds of flowers, new insects and animals will follow. Building houses for people to rent or purchase will likely bring the most significant return on your initial investment. Once you have the land, there is no rush to decide what you want to do with it.

Everyone wants a piece of land. It’s the only sure investment. It can never depreciate like a car or washing machine. Land will only double its value in ten years.Sam Shepard

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9 Tips to Help Choose Kitchen Cabinets That Fit Your Style

Since your kitchen cabinets are at eye-level, they’re one of the first things you’ll see when you enter your kitchen.

Because of this, your cabinets can either make or break your kitchen.

Old cabinets or cabinets that are out of style will make your kitchen look shabby or out-dated. So how do you pick the right cabinets for your kitchen?

We’ve put together these nine tips to help you choose kitchen cabinets that’ll fit your style.

So let’s dive in!

1. Set a Budget

Before you start looking at cabinets, you should come up with a budget. Otherwise, you might fall in love with a cabinet you can’t afford. The cost of any cabinet, even if it seems small, can add up fast.

2. Think About What You Do/Don’t Like About Your Current Cabinets

Once you have your budget set, the next step is to look at your current cabinets and come up with a list of things you do/don’t like.

Do your current cabinets have features you must have? Do you have how they look? Do you need more storage? Do you want to change the design?

Write these things down so you can have them in front of you when you start shopping. Without a hard list, you might forget something or get distracted by all the available choices.

3. Pick a Style

There are a few things you should consider when it comes to picking a style for your new kitchen cabinets.

First, you should consider the style of your home. You wouldn’t want to buy sleek, modern cabinets if you live in a rustic barn house. Go with something that will match your house’s design aesthetic.

The next choice you have to make is whether you want closed or open shelving.

Open shelve cabinets have been growing in popularity over the last few years, but they aren’t a good fit for every kitchen. You should only consider open shelving if you’re always an organized person.

Messy stacks of dishes in open shelve cabinets will detract from the rest of your kitchen.

4. Consider Any Extra Features

Extra features can make the price of your kitchen cabinets go up, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Many extra features can maximize your kitchen storage space or make your cooking easier.

Here’s a quick look at some additional kitchen cabinet features you might want:

  • Spice drawers
  • Pull-out trash cans
  • Pull-out tables
  • Pull-out cutting boards
  • Roll-out drawer trays
  • Appliance garage
  • Swing-out shelving
  • Lazy Susan

If you do want extra kitchen cabinet features, make sure you account for them in your budget.

5. Take Current Trends into Account

You should be aware of the current kitchen cabinet trends as you’re shopping.

For example, white is still a popular color for kitchens, but there are other colors rising in popularity. Grey is one of those colors, and many homeowners are choosing their appliances in reds, blues, purples, greens, and more.

And while displaying some of your kitchen appliances, such as a blender or coffee maker, used to be the “look”, now the trend is to keep those items out of the way and out of sight.

Buying cabinets that are out of trend can leave you with a kitchen that looks out of date and somewhat boring. It’s always a good idea to research the current trends before you make your final cabinet choice.

6. Choose the Material

Wood isn’t the only type of kitchen cabinet material out there.

You can choose from a number of materials, including the following:

  • Metal
  • Melamine
  • Thermo foil
  • Stainless steel
  • Wood

Out of all these choices, wood is still the most popular. But even if you decide to stick with solid wood, you have to choose the type of wood you want.

Here’s a list of some of the wood types you might have to pick from:

  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Alder
  • Hickory
  • Birch
  • Walnut

You can even choose to design your kitchen cabinets out of exotic woods like mahogany, teak, or tigerwood.

If you aren’t sure what type of wood will look good in your kitchen, you can always talk to a kitchen designer to get a few suggestions.

7. Think About the Construction

There are three main types of kitchen cabinets: custom, semi-custom, and stock.

Custom cabinets are the most expensive. They are designed specifically for your kitchen. On the other hand, stock cabinets come in basic shapes and are much cheaper. Semi-custom are a mix of both.

Unless you have an unusually shaped kitchen, stock cabinets are a good choice for most homeowners. They cost less than custom cabinets, but they’re still high quality.

Make sure you research and read more about these types of cabinets before you make your final choice.

8. Pick a Color

Your preferred color might determine the type of material or wood you need. However, you can always stain or paint your favorite wood into different shades.

There aren’t many limitations when it comes to color.

But to make sure it fits in with the rest of your home, make sure you think about the overall style of your house and pick a color that matches the design.

9. Use All the Available Space

Many kitchens don’t have enough storage space. Because of this, you should do your best to use all the available space in your kitchen.

Think outside the box.

Come up with clever storage hacks that fit in areas you would have normally overlooked.

How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets That’ll Fit Your Style

Before you choose kitchen cabinets for your remodel, you’ll need to set a clear budget. After that, consider things like the style of your home, kitchen trends, your favorite material, and—of course—your personal preference guide you through the shopping process.

Would you rather move into a new home than renovate?

Make sure you click here to take a look at some of our available properties.

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10 Driveway Design Ideas That Will Make You Excited to Arrive Home

Last year US homeowners spent nearly 400 billion US dollars on home renovation projects. If you’re looking to add value to your home, consider renovating your driveway into a beautiful and functional design.

How do you design a driveway and what materials will you need? Designing a new driveway is a great opportunity to get creative and add character to your home. You can make it visually enjoyable for your guests or practical for your home’s drivers.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new materials and layouts. Today’s homeowners are adding unique twists to their driveways for extra curbside appeal. You can opt for environmentally-friendly options or a classic and timeless design. Read on to discover ten driveway design ideas that you’re sure to love.

How to Design a Driveway

Driveway renovations are one of the most planned home improvement projects for today’s homeowners. You might have a cracked driveway that needs repairs or want to refresh the curb appeal of your home. Whatever the reason for giving your driveway a makeover, there are factors you need to consider before starting on your project.

Consider the Layout

Homes with large front lawns offer more room for renovated driveways, but any driveway can be made into a stunning design. As you design your remodeled drive, you need to figure out how you want your car to get from the street to the garage.

You’ll also need to consider the direction your driveway faces before beginning the project. Consider how many cars will need to be parked and if other cars will need to pass the parked cars.

Do you need space for a turn-around? How much street parking is available? These are questions you’ll need to ask yourself as you plan out the layout of your new driveway.

Choose the Shape

Smaller homes may look better with a straight driveway, but large homes may have space for long, curved driveways. Circular or horseshoe driveways are great for homeowners who want to be able to get to the street without backing out. If you’ve already converted your garage into a living space, a horseshoe driveway makes a convenient option.

If you have any trees or obstructions, you might consider a curved driveway to accommodate the layout of your lawn. Don’t be afraid to stick to a straight design though, because a straight driveway is often easier to build and offers a nice line of vision to your home.

Select Paving Materials

Once you know the shape of your new driveway, it’s time to select the paving materials that you want to use. Concrete and asphalt are traditional choices, but they may not offer much room for creativity.

Today’s homeowners enjoy building their new driveways with brick, stone, or concrete pavers. You can select a variety of shapes and colors to get creative with your design.

Consider Permits

Before you begin your project, check with any permits that need to be followed in your city. For example, if your project requires cutting down a tree you may need to get a permit.

Decorate and Enhance

Even after installing paving materials, you can add creativity by adding hedges or lights along your drive. Simple decorations can enhance the design of your driveway and have practical purposes.

You might also consider adding a modern driveway gate to finish off your new driveway. This will add a safety feature to your home and boost the visual appearance of your design. You can meet with design companies like JDR Metal Art who will work with you to design a custom and handmade metal gate for your home.

Ten Driveway Design Ideas

Are you hoping to add a modern touch to your home? Do you want to find a driveway design that adds character to your lawn? Here are ten driveway entrance landscape ideas to consider.

1. Brick and Grass Intermixed

If you still want to keep some vegetation in your driveway, you can try using both pavers and ground covers intermixed. This gives your driveway a gentle appearance that easily blends into the rest of your lawn.

This design might make a cheaper alternative too. It requires a less expensive brick and the ground covers are easy to maintain.

2. Concentric Circles

If you’re opting for brick or concrete pavers but aren’t sure how to lay them out, try designing them into concentric circles. This design style adds a unique touch to an otherwise simple driveway layout.

3. Porous Pavers

Porous pavers are blocks designed with holes in the middle to allow for grass to grow inside. They’re made of plastic or concrete and make a great option for environmental-friendly homes.

They’re also practical because they allow water to run through the block and down into the ground. This is a helpful option if your area gets a lot of rain and you want to avoid a soggy yard.

4. Imitation Brick

If you want the appearance of a brick-lined drive but can’t afford the cost, try opting for asphalt that’s stamped to look like brick. Going for this option will cost you half the price of real brick while still adding that classic touch to your home.

5. Flagstone

The appearance and texture of real stone can add a classy touch to your driveway. You can check local stone dealers near you for regional varieties to use in your project.

6. Stamped Borders

There are some cool driveways designed by homeowners who added stamped borders to their driveway. You can find a wide variety of stamped concrete in patterns that add a unique twist to your design.

7. Striped Minimalist Concrete

Homeowners looking for a modern design can try renovating their driveway with strips of concrete laid out in a minimalist design. You can alternate concrete with vegetation to add some greenery or combine different types of stone.

8. Circular Driveway with Hedges

If you’re paving a circular driveway, try lining it with brick and hedges to add elegance. This style complements any home and provides an easy way to add vegetation to your driveway.

9. Irregularly Shaped Pavers

For a driveway with a unique and simple design, try using slate tiles cut with irregular shapes. This material is a great option for straight driveways in areas that don’t get much rain.

10. Stones Around a Tree

Before you cut down any trees, consider keeping them incorporated into your driveway design. You can lay brick pavers that go around the tree and add a border around it so that no cars run into it. This will add a unique appearance to your home and can also make the project easier because it won’t call for tree services.

Benefits of a Renovated Driveway

Nice driveways aren’t only about appearance. Choosing to renovate your old driveway can offer major long-term benefits.

Better First Impressions

Curbside appeal is important because it’s the first impression you give guests and potential buyers. If you’ve only focused on giving the exterior of your home a makeover, it might be a good idea to spend some time enhancing your driveway.

When you design it well, it can enhance the layout of your lawn or garden. Even a simple driveway renovation improves the neatness of your home.

Improved Functionality

Renovated driveways not only improve curb appeal, but they’ll also perform better in terms of functionality. Improving your drive will give you more room to park and put less stress on your tires.

They can also improve the way water drains from your lawn, which means you’ll lower your chances of a soggy lawn. Well-designed driveways make it easier for guests to come and go, and for your teen who might be learning how to back out. Depending on the material you choose, a new driveway can also be safer for your kids to play on.

Boost Your Property Value

Redesigning your driveway will boost the appearance of your home and lawn. If you plan on selling, you’ll want to get rid of that cracked concrete or crumbling brick.

Potential buyers may not choose your home if they see that the driveway is in need of serious repair. Buyers often want a home that’s move-in ready, and a driveway repair can add an expense they didn’t plan on. When you upgrade your driveway, you’ll boost the value of your property and make it more desirable for buyers.

Get Excited to Arrive Home

Renovating your driveway is a fun and easy way to boost your home’s value and add curbside appeal. It’s a great project to invest in if you plan on selling in the future. For homeowners still settling in, redesigning your driveway can add ease of living.

Be sure to check with your city’s permit requirements before starting your project. Get creative with your materials, and consider a driveway layout that enhances your home’s architecture.

You can try one of these driveway design ideas to improve your home’s chances of making a great first impression. If you’re currently searching for your next dream home, contact us to explore some of our stunning properties.

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6 Eye-opening Reasons To Upgrade To Ductless A/C System

There’s no getting around having air conditioning in this climate. Especially considering that local summer temperatures can hit an average of 89F.

But what if your central air conditioning unit or your window a/c just isn’t cutting it anymore? You could stand by the open fridge all day (not recommended), or you could consider the benefits of a ductless a/c system.

What’s ductless a/c, and what’s so good about it? Read on to find out 6 ways it can benefit your home or beach condo

What is Ductless A/C?

As the name (also called mini-split system) suggests, ductless a/c systems don’t rely on ductwork to distribute cooled air like other HVAC options.

One component of the ductless system is installed in the rooms you want to be cool, while the condenser is placed outside. The indoor unit can cool one space or multiple areas. You can control the temperature of each space independently.

The indoor unit sucks in a room’s air and cools it while spitting out condensation to the outside. However, the outdoor unit is the real workhouse that circulates the refrigerant with a compressor through insulated tubing to the house.

It’s up to you where you place the air handlers. You can mount the indoor components on a wall or ceiling, while the outdoor unit can be mounted above the ground to save outdoor space.

Ductless units are becoming more popular in the area, and this company is one that knows the advantages of using one.

1. Reducing Indoor Noise

While window a/c units can be effective, one of the chief complaints about them is that they are noisy. That’s because the motor is contained within the unit, rather than outside.

With a ductless a/c system, the compressor is mounted outside, so the noise doesn’t fill the home as cool air does. It’s also quieter than a central air system because there’s no air being forced through ducts.

2. The Outside Stays Outside

When you have a window a/c unit, if the seal around it isn’t tight, it can invite indoor air inside. Not only will that make the unit less efficient (especially when it’s very hot outside), it also means allergens can get in.

Ductless a/c does not leave any gaps for outside air to come in uninvited. With a ductless unit, only a small hall needs to be drilled in the wall during installation. Many of the units can clean the air with built-in filtration.

Also, consider that central air and heating requires duct cleaning from time to time to ensure impurities aren’t distributed around the house. Because ductless units don’t rely on ductwork, there’s much less chance of this happening.

3. Saving You Utility Costs

Running an a/c compressor requires power. However, statistics show that running a ductless a/c system can be up to 25 percent more efficient than central air units.

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) for ductless systems is relatively high. SEER measures how much electricity is used to run the equipment properly. Ductless units run around 13 to 33 SEER (the higher the better), while older a/c units can rate less than 10.

While ductless can cost a bit more initially than central air, you can expect energy savings down the road.

4. Custom Climate Control

With a central air unit, the temperature in your home can still be inconsistent. There are factors such as quality of ductwork and insulation that can affect the climate from one room to the next. Also, while warm air rises, sometimes cool air through ducts doesn’t reach the upper floors as well as lower ones. This is especially true for aging a/c units.

With a ductless a/c, you can place the air handler in the room where you want to be cool. That means the cooled air will be delivered directly to that space. So if you spend a lot of time in the living room, for example, you could put it there. Other popular places for ductless systems are bedrooms and sunrooms. Another place to consider ductless air is for an office in the attic.

At the same time, you won’t be cooling spaces in your home that you don’t use or are already relatively cool. That will make the unit more efficient and easier on the environment.

5. They Can Double as Heaters

Surprise! Ductless a/c units can also act as heaters for those cooler nights in January. That means you’ll not only save money from air conditioning, but you can cut your heating costs from electric baseboards as well with one system.

You may not need heating nearly as often as air conditioning year round, but there have been some record low temperatures reported in the area that will definitely benefit from a reliable heating solution.

6. Useful For Older Homes

Many older homes with limited ductwork (or no ductwork) are fine in the winter time. That’s because you can use a baseboard electric heater, space heater or a radiator to keep each room comfortable if needed.

But what about when the warmer temperatures come around?

Obviously, in this case, investing in central air would not be a good option due to the lack of air flow through the house. You could try ceiling fans, but those can only do so much when it’s sweltering out.

In this case, a ductless a/c may be your best bet. You won’t have to worry about retrofitting ductwork into your home, which often is not possible due to space and budget.

Older homes may have ductwork that is damaged or leaking. However, you won’t lose any efficiency through poor ductwork with a ductless a/c.

Ductless For Any Type of Dwelling

Whether you have a one-bedroom apartment or an oceanside home that has many rooms to cool, you can consider a ductless a/c system. Not only is the unit easy to install (by a professional), you can also reap the benefits of lower long-term costs and improved comfort.

If your current a/c isn’t performing the way it once did or your ducts are failing, then a ductless unit is definitely something to consider.

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When Is It Time to Replace Your Home Windows? Here Are the Common Signs!

As of April 25th, 2019, home ownership in the United States is seeing new highs with a staggering 64.2% of people living in spaces that belong to them.

That heightened number likely comes thanks to the rapidly improving economy and consequential bullishness on the part of buyers and lenders.

While owning a home can be a lot of fun, it exposes you to a number of things that you’ll need to think about that you may have never considered as a renter. Among those things are deciding when it’s time to replace home windows.

If you’re not sure if your windows are due for a swap, below, we’ve compiled a list of signs to watch out for that can help you better understand when it’s time to pull the trigger.

1. Your Windows Are Damaged

The easiest sign that you’ll want to watch out for is if your windows are clearly damaged. Damage isn’t always as obvious as an outright shattered piece of glass. Damage can come in a variety of more discreet forms.

For example, if your window’s panes seem warped, meaning bent due to moisture absorption, you’ll want to think about getting them replaced.

Warped windows shatter easily and can pose a serious safety hazard.

Also, windows sporting small cracks should be swapped out. We get that the last thing you want to do is reinstall windows and read another “how shutters are installed” guide to get everything back to normal—but keep in mind that cracks grow… fast.

A small crack today could end up being a big one tomorrow, which could then lead to an outright shatter.

2. Your Energy Bill Is Mysteriously Climbing

A good window lets you peek out at what’s going on outside, but doesn’t actually let things in or out.

Unfortunately, as windows grow older, they tend to get lazy when it comes to securing their boundaries. They begin letting your hot and cold air escape. That results in your HVAC system needing to work overtime to compensate.

If you’re noticing that your electricity seems to be going up each month with no explanation, lack of insulation caused by old windows could be at fault.

3. You’re Remodeling Your Broader Home

If you’ve just secured a loan for a home remodel, we recommend putting your windows on your to-do list. Sure, if your windows seem okay, it’s tempting to just remodel around them.

The truth is though that old windows in a newly remodeled home can stand out like a sore thumb. You may have not noticed your window’s age when your home was equally-aged—but when you give your living space a facelift, you’re going to see the contrast.

Avoid the eyesore and give your windows the attention that they need.

4. A Storm Is Coming

When a storm is rolling into town, replacing your windows beforehand seems a little counter-intuitive… Right?

That depends.

If your home does not have storm-ready windows, you can expect that they’re going to shatter when high winds hit them, which can be a real problem. Because of that, it’s always worth being proactive and getting windows that are built to withstand pressure before that pressure blows into your neighborhood.

5. There Are Streaks Between Your Panes

Double and even triple glass pane windows are becoming insanely popular due to how great they are at keeping noise out and hot or cold air in. The big downside with these kinds of windows is that they’re prone to internal leaks.

Multi-pane glass is literally multiple sheets of glass sealed together. When that seal breaks, water can slip between panes, which creates streaks that you can’t clean and that look downright bad.

Are you noticing annoying streaks that you can’t get to in your multi-pane windows? If so, your best course of action is to swap them out.

6. Your Home Is Hitting the Market Soon

Curb appeal is among the top factors that help homes sell. After all, it’s the very first thing that prospective buyers will see when they’re passing by your house. First impressions are everything!

Consequently, if your house is hitting the market soon, you should consider replacing your windows—at the very least, the ones facing your curb.

It might not seem like a window swap will do too much for your selling prospects, but once you have new windows in place, you and buyers will both be blown away by how much staging “oomph” those sparkling sheets of glass will add to your home’s facade.

7. There Have Been Break-ins Locally

Newer windows come with higher standards of safety in the way of increased strength. That should be important to you if you’re noticing that your neighborhood wasn’t what it once was.

Remember, windows represent an excellent opportunity for bad actors to rob you, or worse. Don’t make those intruders’ negative intentions easy to carry out by sporting windows that won’t put up a fight.

So, When Is It Time to Replace Home Windows? It Could Be Now

We get the question, “when is it time to replace home windows?”, all the time. The truth is, there are a vast array of reasons why you might want to take a look at getting your windows swapped out.

Hopefully, our reasons above have given you things to think about. If you find yourself looking for more information on how to best manage your home, or want to move into a new one, check out more content here.

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How to Know What Size House is Best for You

One of the top reasons families sell their homes is because they’re too small.

If you’re one of these families, it might be time to think about moving. But if you don’t know what size house you need, you might move into a house that’s too big.

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you figure out the best size home for your family.

So let’s dive in!

Think About Your Family Situation

Before you can pick the right size house for you and your family, you have to spend some time thinking about your circumstances.

To start, think about how many people will be living in the house. Is your family growing? Shrinking? Staying the same?

Parents getting ready to have kids might want to buy a home more space than they need right now so they can grow into it. Parents with kids moving off to college might be ready to downsize.

But you also have to consider other personal needs. If you work from home, you might want a house with an office. You might need extra storage space for Christmas decorations or keepsakes.

How long do you plan to live in the house? Just because you want kids in the future doesn’t mean you should move into a large house right away. It might be worth buying a smaller house first and upgrading when you’re ready.

Don’t start shopping around until you’ve thought about these things.

How To Choose The House Size That’s Right For You

Once you have a better idea of what you’ll be using your house for (kids, pets, workspace, guests, etc.), you can start figuring out the right size for your needs.

Here’s a quick list of the main things you should think about.

Number Of Bedrooms

Obviously, you’ll need enough rooms to fit everyone living in your home, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs their own rooms.

Just because you have four kids doesn’t mean you need to look for a five-bedroom house. Instead, you can have your kids double up and buy a three-bedroom home.

Once everyone has a bedroom, you should think about other rooms you might need. Do you want a guest room? A playroom for the kids? An office? A craft room?

For example, a work-from-home family with four kids might need a house with five rooms: three bedrooms, an office, and a playroom. Families that homeschool their children might need an extra room for a schoolroom.

Square Footage

No matter how many bedrooms you get, a house might still be too small for your family if those rooms are tiny. Because of this, you also have to consider the square footage.

Let’s go back to our example family of two parents and four kids.

A four bedroom house might seem like it has enough space for sleeping situations and an office, but if those bedrooms are small, two kids might not fit in one room. So even in a four bedroom house, this family would still be short one bedroom and missing an office.

You’ll also want to make sure the home has a balanced bedroom to living space ratio.

Even if a home has enough bedrooms, it won’t do much good if the living space is too tight to fit in comfortably. As a general rule, dining rooms, living rooms, and family rooms should have enough sitting space for two people per bedroom.

Number Of Bathrooms

Any home you buy should have at least two bathrooms—or at the very least one and a half. This way, there’s still a toilet available when someone’s taking a bath or a shower.

But large houses should have more than that.

For every two bedrooms in the house, there should be one bathroom. So if you plan to move into a five-bedroom house, it should have two and a half bathrooms.

Don’t settle for fewer bathrooms. A family of six trying to live with one bathroom can be a bad scene.

Amount Of Storage Space

If you have a lot of items you need to store, you might need a house with an attic or basement (or both). For other families, a garage might be all they need.

Outdoor Space

Families with young children might want plenty of backyard space for swingsets, sandboxes, or scooters. Even if you don’t have children, pets might need an outside area to exercise.

Other families may want a home with a front porch, back deck, or another area to entertain guests.

So don’t just look at the size of them home when you’re buying. Consider the size of the property as a whole.

Other Rooms/Features

You should also think about any additional features your home needs. Do you want a separate room for a gym? A media room?

If you’re having trouble finding a home that has all the features you want, you might want to turn your attention to building a custom made home instead. While this might be a bigger investment, it’ll ensure you get everything you need to live comfortably.

Spend some time doing some research an getting more info.

What Can You Afford?

Your budget is another main factor that’ll help choose the size home you end up with. You might have to squeeze into something smaller if you can’t afford the size home you want.

But you don’t have to live that way forever.

If you want to buy a bigger house, get your finances in order and come up with a plan. Living in a smaller home for a few years might help you save up enough money to move into the home of your dreams.

How To Know What Size House Is Right For Your Family

Understanding what size house is right for your family can be a challenge, especially if your family is still growing. So spend some time thinking about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need to feel comfortable in your home. And don’t forget about the square footage!

Are you getting ready to move and trying to find a new home?

Make sure you click here to take a look at some of our available properties.

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7 Essential Tips To A Better Nights Sleep

More than a third of adults don’t get enough sleep at night.

When sleep is essential for physical and mental health, that’s a problem.

If you constantly wake up with back pain, you’re likely among the third of adults who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each day.

If you’re tired (literally) of waking up with back pain, we have a few tips on how you can get a better nights sleep.

How to Stop Waking Up With Back Pain

You don’t have to accept living with back pain. There are some easy ways to alleviate it. Try a few of the following!

1. Stretch

Stretching throughout the day and before you go to bed will train your muscles to better support your spine. It will reduce tension in your back and improve your range of motion.

There are different stretches you can practice for all areas of your back, neck, and shoulders to ensure a good night’s sleep.

2. Exercise

Weak core muscles can prevent your lower back from naturally curving like it’s supposed to. Try out a few core exercises and yoga poses to strengthen your core and help alleviate your pain.

Exercising during the day can also tire you out, leaving you feeling tired enough to fall asleep quickly.

3. Get a Massage

A deep tissue massage can work out knots in your muscles that may be causing you pain. The massage can also relax you and help you release tension all over your body.

4. Try a New Pillow

Using a pillow that’s too high or too stiff can keep your neck flexed overnight, causing your neck pain in the morning. A memory foam or feather pillow conforms nicely to the shape of your neck, leaving it in a relaxed, neutral position all night.

5. Get a Custom Mattress

When you wake up with back pain, your mattress can sometimes be to blame. Sleeping on a soft or lumpy mattress made of synthetic materials can irritate your back.

Try ordering a firmer custom mattress that offers better support and keeps your spine aligned.

6. Reduce Screen Time

Looking down at your phone all day can cause your neck a lot of stress and, in extreme cases, can even pinch a cervical nerve.

Reducing screen time before bed can also help you fall asleep more quickly. Staring at a bright screen keeps you from getting relaxed.

7. Stand Up Straight

Sitting for hours while you’re at work can take its toll on your back. Instead, try standing for a few hours each day. This will strengthen your back muscles and improve your posture.

Getting a Better Nights Sleep

Sleeping in a well-ventilated room with your preferred temperature settings can help you stay asleep, but trying a few of the above tips will help you wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free.

You’ll be well on your way to a better nights sleep.

If it’s the stress of buying a home that’s keeping you awake at night, we can help you with that!

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