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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Stay Organized Under The Kitchen Sink

Stay Organized Under The Kitchen SinkKitchen space is a valuable commodity. If you feel stretched for storage space, you could throw away all the flatware your mother-in-law gave you, or you could keep the flatware and learn to use the space you have – more efficiently.

The number one most likely spot to find extra storage space is right under your kitchen sink. Organize your under sink area and it will free up space all over your kitchen.

Clean It Up

The cabinet below the sink has a nasty reputation. It’s home to rusty pipes, water stains, and dead ladybugs. First thing is first – clean it up. If it still looks a little dingy, give it a fresh coat of white paint. That will lighten things up. You can also get a simple cloth mat to lie down. You can find one for less than five bucks.

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

You can find a home for just about anything under the kitchen sink. It’s a good spot for pots and pans, cleaning supplies, a trash can, or dog food. (Maybe not all of those things together – yuck.)

No matter what you decide to store in this wonderful space, it will be easier to access with the help of a rolling organization shelf.

With one of these bad boys, you won’t have to stick your head in the cabinet to find the right tool. You can find some that are made specifically for this space. Be careful though. They can get a bit pricy.

Get Hooked

The key to saving space is to build vertically. Buy some plastic hooks, and hang things under the kitchen sink. It’s a great way to store things like dishwashing gloves or dishrags. One clever trick is to secure a narrow dowel rod across the opening of the cabinet. Then you can hang any cleaning sprays across the rod. They come with a built in hook – the spray trigger.

Top Shelf Storage

You can buy amazing under-sink shelving at home store. Many of them snap easily together like Legos, and you can build them around your sink’s pipes. If you fill the cabinet with shelving, then you’re more likely to keep things organized.

If you’re like me, then after a couple of weeks, you’ll let your organized cabinet go to pot. With shelves, hopefully you won’t end up just throwing everything underneath the sink.

If you’re feeling short on kitchen space, try reorganizing. It’s a lot cheaper than getting new cabinets, and you’ll be amazed by how much space you already have. The space under the sink is a whole world of storage possibilities. If you have wasted space under the kitchen sink, then use it!

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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Around The Home

 

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Why You Should Think About A Wood Burning Stove

Why You Should Think About A Wood Burning StoveNow that it’s cold again, you may want to consider a traditional wood-burning stove before you reach for the thermostat. You can install one in the center of a room, and the heat will radiate through the whole house.

It’s an elegant solution to the winter cold, and makes for a much cozier warmth than the furnace. Here’s why you should consider getting one.

Energy Bills

Save money. Stop paying each month to keep your house warm. You can do it yourself, with a wood-burning stove and a pile of wood.

One well-placed stove can heat a whole house, and pay for itself in a few months. It produces a better heat than a furnace anyway. Picture yourself with a cup of tea with your feet up next to the fire.

Be Ready For Anything

Do you want to be independent? By switching to this more traditional heat source, you’re also moving off the grid. That means if the power goes out, you won’t be stuck in the cold.

Plus, you can heat your house, and even cook on the stove. Even if the power doesn’t go out, it’s nice to have the peace of mind.

Go Green

Cranking up the furnace costs money, and burns fossil fuels. We all know we’re running out of fossil fuels, but we often don’t do our part. A wood-burning stove can you help you contribute to the environment and keep your carbon footprint small.

Burning wood releases carbon dioxide just like burning coal does, but the difference is that it only takes a few years to grow a tree. It takes so long for the Earth to make coal, that we consider it a non-renewable resource.

We’re not getting any more of it. Trees also release carbon dioxide when they rot, so burning it isn’t any worse.

But I Don’t Have A Chimney

No chimney? No problem. You can easily have a chimney installed. You’ll need a metal chimney to handle this heat, but if it doesn’t suit your tastes, you can have them covered with stone. Try to build the chimney straight up through the roof.

The less twists and bends, the better. There are no ways around getting a chimney, because you definitely don’t want that smoke to stay inside.

If you want to cut down on energy bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and heat your home no matter what the weather is like, consider a wood-burning stove.

They’re an elegant solution to the winter cold, and can make the biggest, draftiest rooms feel cozy. Keep the thermostat low, and start stocking the wood pile.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Around The Home

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 20, 2014

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 20, 2014Welcome news arrived last week as lower mortgage rates and a higher number of housing starts were reported. Other economic news was mixed:

The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book Report released last Tuesday indicated modest economic growth throughout the 12 Federal Reserve districts. Analysts predicted that this would cause the Fed to further reduce the volume of monthly asset purchases made under its quantitative easing program.

The Atlanta, Cleveland and Kansas City districts reported slower home sales, which supported recent expectations of slowing gains in home prices. 

Mortgage Rates Dip, Housing Starts Up

According to Freddie Mac, average mortgage rates fell last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 4.51 to 4.41 percent with discount points unchanged at 0.70 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.45 percent as compared to the prior week’s reading of 3.56 percent.

Discount points rose from 0.60 to 0.70 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped from 3.15 to 3.10 percent; discount points rose from 0.40 to 0.50 percent.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Home Builders Confidence Index dropped slightly in January. Although expectations were for a reading of 59, January’s reading was 56 and lower than December’s revised reading of 57.

The NAHB Index has increased by 19 percent year-over-year and is expected to continue rising in 2014 due to relatively lower mortgage rates, and pent-up demand for homes.

Housing starts for December came in at 999,000 against expectations of 985,000 and November’s revised reading of 1.11 million. Cold weather and concerns over rising mortgage rates in 2014 were cited as causing fewer housing starts. As the Fed tapers its QE program, mortgage rates are expected to rise.

Consumer sentiment toward the economy was lower than expected according to the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for January. The confidence index was expected to rise to 84.0 based on December’s reading of 82.5, but only achieved a reading of 80.4.

Higher gasoline prices and a slower labor market likely contributed to wavering consumer sentiment; rising inflationary expectations were also considered a cause.

This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news includes an action-packed Thursday as today is Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and no economic reports are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday.

Thursday’s reports include Weekly Jobless Claims, Freddie Mac’s PMMS, along with Existing Home Prices, FHFA Home Prices and Leading Economic Indicators.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Mortgage Rates

 

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The Simplest Ways To Lower Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

The Simplest Ways To Lower Your Home Heating Bill This WinterWhen the holiday season starts and the winter chill comes around, the heating bill at your property will naturally increase as you keep yourself warm and cosy. However, if your home is not being heated efficiently, you are essentially letting your hard earned dollars escape into the air as wasted energy.

What are some simple and inexpensive ways that you can cut down your heating expenses this winter and save yourself some money?

Only Heat The Rooms You Are Using

If you work from home and are spending eight hours of the day sitting in your home office, there is no need to keep the rest of the house toasty warm. If you have heaters that you can turn on and off for each room, you can direct the heat to the room that you are using.

0If you have a spare bedroom, you don’t even have to heat it at all unless a guest is coming to stay over.

Change The Air Filter On Your Furnace

If the air filter on your furnace is getting old and clogged up, it will block the airflow from the furnace itself which is a huge waste of energy. This will mean that your furnace works less effectively and it will also reduce its lifespan. It will only cost you $20 to change the air filter, but this little fix will make a big difference in the long run.

Turn On Your Ceiling Fan

You might think that turning on your ceiling fans in order to save money on heating makes no sense, but hear me out on this one. When you turn on your fans in reverse, they will actually draw the warm air throughout the house – helping to circulate it and keep it warmer.

Dress Warm At Home

If you live in a cold climate and you can walk around in your house in a t-shirt and shorts comfortably, you’re wasting money! If you wear warm clothing indoors during the winter, you will be able to keep your thermostat several degrees cooler and you will save yourself a lot of money over the winter.

These are just a few simple ways that you can reduce the heating costs for your property this winter. For more helpful tips and advice, feel free to contact your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Around The Home

 

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Why January Is The Best Month For House Hunting

Why January Is The Best Month For House HuntingHave you made it your New Year’s resolution to find that perfect home for you and your family? You might have thought that you needed to wait until spring to start house shopping, but the fact is that January is a great time to begin.

Put on your winter jacket and get out there while the leftovers from the New Year’s party are still in the fridge – you’ll have the upper hand.

House hunting in January offers a number of advantages that will work in your favor. Here are some of the main reasons:

Busy Social Calendars

First of all, most other people will be busy with parties, holidays and getting back to work after Christmas and they won’t want to venture out in the cold weather to go look at houses – so there will be less competition when bidding on homes.

This means that you can get in there and put in an offer that the seller can’t refuse.

Determined Seller

Also, if the home is on the market at this time of year, there is a chance that the home sale is somewhat urgent.

If they were not as determined, they might pull their home out of the market and wait until spring to try again. With a motivated seller you are more likely to get a better price.

A Dedicated Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will have more time on their hands at this time of the year, because they will be less busy. This means that they will be able to dedicate more attention to you and help you move through the closing and moving process faster.

Cheap Deals On Furniture

Also, during the month of January, retailers will sell off their excess inventory from over Christmas in order to make room for the new models. This means that when you move into your new home you will be able to furnish it at a great discount.

These are just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider getting out this January and searching for your new home. House hunting during this time of year can offer you a number of advantages and you could possibly find that dream home you have been looking for at a great price.

For more helpful tips, contact your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in Home Selling Tips

 

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Dine In Style, Kitchen Design Dos And Don’ts For 2014

Dine In Style, Kitchen Design Dos And Don’ts For 2014The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of your home. It is where you prepare all of your meals and it is often a hub of family activity. When you host a party, the action often ends up in the kitchen.

Where drinks and snacks are enjoyed into the early hours of the morning. It’s crucial that your kitchen functions well because you will use it every day, but you also want to make it beautiful and stylish.

Renovating and decorating your kitchen can also be one of the best ways to increase the resale value of your home. If you are planning on a kitchen makeover:

Here Are Some Dos And Don’ts To Keep In Mind:

  • Don’t forget to consider the proportions of everyone who will use the kitchen. Don’t choose kitchen stools that are too high for your kids to sit on, or cabinets that your wife cannot reach.
  • Think carefully about storage space. What do you need to store and how much room do you need? You might want to store away your blender and toaster and other small appliances as well, so that they don’t have to clutter up the counter all the time.
  • One of the hottest trends of 2014 is a simple and elegant white and cream kitchen. A neutral color like this can be accented with vibrant splashes of color, such as a bright fruit bowl or a wall hanging. If you are selling your home, a neutral tone will appeal more to the majority of buyers.
  • Another popular trend is green and environmentally sustainable elements within the kitchen. Recycled, renewable and energy-efficient products are in abundance at the moment and these options will not only save you money, they will be much better for the environment.
  • Instead of placing your microwave on the counter, it makes a lot more sense to fit it in seamlessly with your cabinets. This will allow you to free up counter space in your kitchen.
  • Be careful not to over design – it’s a common decorating mistake. Keep things simple and know when to stop, so that you don’t have a kitchen that looks overwhelming and cluttered.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind if you are giving the kitchen of your home a makeover for 2014. For more helpful tips and information, contact your trusted real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Around The Home

 

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Improve Your Curb Appeal This Winter

Improve Your Curb Appeal This WinterAfter all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the overstimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season.

Spruce up your curb appeal with the tips below and inspire your neighbors to create well-groomed street that will make driver’s passing through smile.

Tend The Plants

If you’re currently located in a winter wonderland, then dig up any dead plants that won’t grow back. Replace them with cold-loving flowers, such as snowberry or lambs ear.

In warmer climates, this is the time for any landscaping changes you’d like to make. It will give your plants a chance to flourish by spring and have solid roots before the harsh heat of summer.

Light The Way

With daylight hours dwindling, well-placed outdoor lighting will help highlight your home’s best features in the evening.

Not only do they make your home look warm and cozy, but they also provide much-needed walkway lighting so that your guests arrive safely.

For a festive New Year’s sparkle, wrap white lights around the porch and in the trees.

Create A Custom Mailbox

Reclaim a vintage mailbox or get creative with paint to let the neighborhood know your family’s favorite sports team. A personalized letterbox says a lot about your household, so make it something special that doesn’t look like every other box on the street.

Also, visitors trying to find your home always appreciate large, easy-to-read address numbers visible from both directions.

Place Pots Strategically

Create focal points with terra cotta or colorful pots. Place them around your door to make a cozy entrance. Use evergreens and holly to give the curb appeal of your home a wintry feeling or brighten up a dark doorstep with cheerful pansies.

Paint Your Front Door

Perk up your curb appeal when the weather is dreary by painting your front door in a color that packs a punch. Try a vibrant red, bright blue or sage green. These colors will make your home feel warm and cheerful. However, don’t apply paint if the weather is below 40 degrees, because it will dry brittle and crack.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Home Selling Tips

 

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