Painted Kitchen Cabinets - Indoor DIY ProjectsWith spring right around the corner, you might be thinking about sprucing up your Richmond home.

However, it may not yet be time to work in the garden or on other outside endeavors.

If cabin fever has been setting in, this is a great time for indoor improvements to brighten your living space and get you warmed up to work outside when the seasons change.

Whether it’s over-stuffed closets or cluttered garages, everyone has a problem area or two on their property that has not been touched in a while.

Below are a 5 simple ideas to get you started. Maybe you can even get the kids to lend a hand!

Organize That Closet

Clear out the things you don’t need and make it easier to find the things you do.

You can build a closet system in just a couple hours for ranging from $100 – $500 to put everything at your fingertips.

Create An Indoor Garden

Check out these fun indoor gardening ideas, using recycled materials from around your home.

Get the kids involved and spend an afternoon creating a work of art – and memories!

Paint An Accent Wall

Or, you could choose to do an entire room! The room you spend the most time in should probably be your starting point.

Choose a color that will set the mood you want to foster, such as an energizing red or soothing blue.

Add Shelves Or A Bookcase To A Room

If your house has papers and books stacked up on counters or in cabinets, you may need some additional shelving.

Built-in bookcases or shelves can help a cluttered area feel more spacious.

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

A bright coat of paint can do wonders for your kitchen and is an inexpensive option that may increase the value of your home.

Obviously this is more than a one-afternoon project, but it is definitely a low-cost way to give your kitchen a new, fresh look.

Whatever your vision, now is a fantastic time to tackle an indoor project which can keep the whole family busy and ward off the winter doldrums at the same time.

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Packing Tips For Moving HomesMoving everything in your house to your new |**CITY & CITY**| home can be an overwhelming task.

You never realize how much stuff you actually own until you try to fit it all into boxes and move it somewhere new.

When you are packing up your things to relocate, here are some helpful tips to make your moving experience much easier:

Start Packing In Advance

You don’t have to wait until the day before you move to start packing everything in your house!

As soon as you find out that you are moving, you can start packing the items you don’t often use, such as your seasonal decorations, photo albums and family keepsakes.

If you pack a few items per week, you’ll have almost everything packed by the time you are ready to go except for the essentials you use every day.

Establish A System

Rather than randomly throwing every item you see into a box, think ahead and create a logical plan for your packing.

Before you start, develop a simple record-keeping system.

Give every box you pack a number and write a corresponding list detailing the items in that box.

This way, when you arrive you will know exactly where to find each item.

Stay Organized

You will want to keep all of the items from each area of the house together so they can be unpacked easily.

For example, keep all of the boxes of kitchen supplies together and then put them straight into the kitchen when you arrive at your new home.

You could even designate a color for each room in the house and put colored stickers on the boxes so that the movers or anyone helping you can easily determine in which room a box belongs.

Bonus Tip: Sometimes Less Is More

One final consideration that can make your move easier is to use your move as an opportunity to pare down your unused belongings.

Plus, you won’t be left wondering why you decided to move things from one home to another once you start unpacking.

As with many things, the more organized you are when packing, the less stressful it will be when you arrive and at your new house. 

 

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Energy Saving IdeasHow to Save Money on Energy Costs in Your Home

Many communities in Virginia and around the US are seeing their energy costs increase; sometimes dramatically.

Whether you are energy conscious or just trying to save money, there are many steps you can take to lower your Richmond home bills while helping the environment at the same time.

Below are several energy-saving measures to help you save money either in your current house or future residence. 

Heating and cooling

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature uses more energy than anything else.

To save energy, install a programmable thermostat to adjust the inside temperature when you are not there for long periods of time.

Seal windows and doors to prevent air leaks, and close doors and air vents to rooms that are not often used.

Changing filters in your heating system monthly can also help it run more efficiently, with the added bonus of increasing the air quality in your home.

Water heaters

Heating water is usually the second highest energy expense. To cut costs, set the hot water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Wrap older hot water heaters with an insulation jacket and insulate the piping leaving the water heater to prevent heat loss.

Appliances

Invest in appliances with the ENERGY STAR® rating. These appliances use less energy to run and will save money.

Cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator will help it run more efficiently.

Washing full loads of clothes on cooler settings and keeping your dryer vent clean will also save on energy costs.

Lighting

Besides turning lights out when leaving a room, use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). These bulbs use less energy and can last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Insulation

Improperly insulated houses mean high energy costs. If the attic is easily accessible, check and replace insufficient insulation to keep your living space at a more comfortable temperature.

By making energy-efficient choices you can save electricity without giving up the comforts of home.  Plus, with a little extra effort these simple tips might add more money to your month as well!

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by | Categories: Around The Home | Tagged: , , | No Comments

Home officeWith telecommuting continuing to rise, and with more jobs requiring after-hours attention, showcasing your home’s “home office” can help it show better with a prospective home buyer. 

It’s wise to have your kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms show well, but a great-looking home office can make a huge impact and help you sell your home more quickly.

Here are a few tips to helping your home office shine :

Designate The Right Space
Whether it’s a spare bedroom or a computer nook, specify a separate place at which business is done. Make sure the area has enough room to set up a desk, a chair, a computer and a printer without making it look messy or cramped. 

Clean The Area
A clean and orderly home office shows better than a messy one. To help your home office look its best to potential buyers, get rid of clutter and only retain the essentials. Use drawers and shelves effectively.

Don’t Waste Money
Don’t break the bank in furnishing your home office. Consider ready-to-assemble furniture as an inexpensive, good-looking option. Buy the necessities, then use leftover, budgeted funds for office supplies such as computer paper, pens, and a cork board, for example.

Add A Decorative Touch
Once your home office is properly outfitted, add some decorative style. Hang artwork. Add a few plants. But, remember to keep it simple and neutral so that potential buyers can easily imagine the space as their own home office.

Few people think of the importance of a home office when preparing their Midlothian home for sale. But, because so many people work from home these days, a dedicated home office space can be a great selling point.

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According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® rated exterior projects among the most valuable home improvement projects.“REALTORS® know that curb appeal projects offer great bang for your buck, because a home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see,” says National Association of REALTORS® President Gary Thomas.

Paint your home's exterior to improve its curb appealWhen preparing to sell a home, few things improve its curb appeal more than a fresh coat of exterior paint.

Many people are intimidated by the thought of painting their home’s exterior, and choose to hire a third-party to handle the work. But, you can do it yourself, with these easy steps.

First, before starting, you’ll want to inspect your home. Examine all walls, look under the eaves, and pay attention to door frames and windows.  Be on the lookout for peeling paint, mildew and rough surfaces and make a note of them.

Next, gather the tools you’ll need to do the job. These include :

  • A power washer
  • A 2-3” inch putty knife
  • A 2-3” inch pull scraper
  • A wire brush
  • A sander
  • Chlorine bleach

Then, to create a clean surface on which to paint, power-wash the walls with plain water. Detergents are not needed, and may not work as well as plain water, anyway.

Follow-up your wash with the putty knife and wire brush to remove the remaining paint. Note where paint has peeled, blistered or wrinkled. Avoid gouging the surface by holding the putty knife perpendicular to the wall, and by using moderate force.

For areas that won’t easily clean, use your pull scraper. It’s used the same way as the putty knife, but it has a sharp blade attached that quickly works through old paint.

Next, sand your home’s exterior smooth using a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block. An electric sander may be more effective for large areas; it’ll save you time and energy.

If during the cleaning process, you find mildew, be sure to remove it. A simple mix of chlorine bleach will do the job. Mildew will show through the new coat(s) of paint, so be sure to be rid of it before beginning.

Lastly, with your home cleaned and primed for paint, wait for “good painting weather” and get started. Soon you’ll be ready to list your Henrico home for sale.

According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® rated exterior projects among the most valuable home improvement projects.“REALTORS® know that curb appeal projects offer great bang for your buck, because a home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers see,” says National Association of REALTORS® President Gary Thomas.

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Shovel snow on the walkwaysReal estate agents in |**CITY**| will tell you that it can be harder to sell a home in the winter. The days are colder and shorter, leaving less time to show a home to potential buyers.

The good news, though, is that most buyers looking at houses in the winter aren’t just killing time. They’re serious enough about finding a new home to house hunt at a time when most people might rather stay inside.

There are a several steps you can take to make a good impression on home buyers this winter.

First, if there’s snow or ice on the ground, make sure walkways are safe. Spread out ice melt or sand to provide traction during snowy weather. Shovel the snow on the driveway and sidewalks to make your home more inviting. Be sure to place a mat on which for visitors to wipe their feet.

Second, warm up the house. Buyers will remember the house that was pleasantly warm on a frigid day. This also demonstrates to buyers that your furnace is in good working order.

Next, to make a “welcoming scent”, bake cookies the day of the showing. Some people are sensitive to the fragrances in air fresheners and perfumes, so skip spraying those when expecting someone to look at your house.

You can also serve snacks in the kitchen. Give the buyer a reason to linger in your home by leaving a light snack in the kitchen. If the weather is cold, consider providing chili or soup in a crock-pot to keep it warm with festive disposable bowls. Or, to keep it simple, you can provide coffee or hot chocolate and cookies.

Lastly, to make your house appear warm and inviting during cold winter months, turn all the lights in the house on; place warm-toned throws and decorator pillows around the living room. Play soothing classical or jazz music; keep the volume low enough that buyers can talk quietly to each other.

These techniques each can help your home seem more inviting this winter.

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For sale signIf one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to sell your Henrico home, there are a few simple steps you can take to help prepare it for showings.

With a prospective buyer in mind, take a tour of your home, making a list of the good, the bad, and the not-so-bad. You may spot areas in need of major renovation; and areas which could benefit from just a basic touch-up.

It’s these latter areas which will likely yield the biggest return on your investment so, in preparation for making your home “buyer ready”, consider these steps.

Landscaping
The first thing a buyer will notice is the outside of your home. Sometimes called “curb appeal”, first impressions are very important to the sale of your home. Therefore, be sure to trim bushes, rake leaves, and clean up the yard in order to make your house seem more inviting. Clear unnecessary clutter from the yard and walkway to your home.

Bedrooms
Paint the walls of the room a light, neutral color to “open up” the space. Replace old light fixtures with new modern ones; replace all old bulbs; and consider adding a ceiling fan to each bedroom. This can increase the room’s appeal. 

Bathrooms 
If your tub has seen better days, have it resurfaced. Remove mildew stains in, or around, baths and showers. Replace stained silicone seal and grout, where needed. Check all light fixtures for burned out bulbs. Add lighting, if necessary, to make the bathroom brighter.

Kitchen
Your kitchen might also benefit from sprucing up. Do not gut-renovate your kitchen. Rather, refinish or paint its cabinets. Install new, clean-looking handles. Add a new back splash, if you think it will help. 

You’ll spend a small sum to make these improvements but the rewards can be more home showings, which can lead to more home offers, which can help you get the price you want for your property.

Your home may also sell more quickly.

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Bathroom remodel tipsFull-scale bathroom remodeling can be expensive and, in today’s Midlothian housing market, you won’t likely get all of the money back that you put into it at the time of sale.

Knowing that bathroom projects tend to have a low return on investment, therefore, here are a few inexpensive changes which you can make to spruce up bathrooms in a home for sale.

Fixtures
Most sellers will notice if the fixtures in a bathroom are old, and it can have a negative effect on their view of your home. Buy a new set of bathroom fixtures at a home improvement store. Most stores have matching towel racks and bathroom tissue holders, too. There is a wide selection of stainless steel, wood or ceramic fixtures available at most stores, too.

Paint
A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to improve the overall look of a bathroom. Choose paints with a light, neutral color to make the room seem more spacious.

Floors
If your bathroom floor has tiles, it’s a good idea to add fresh grout to brighten up the bathroom’s overall look, or, at least, to clean the grout so that it looks like new. Scratched linoleum should also be replaced. There is plenty of inexpensive flooring which is easy to install, in a variety of patterns and colors at your local hardware or flooring store.

De-Clutter
Prospective buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home. It’s easier for them to do that when your home is free of clutter. This is even true in the bathroom. Clear out your medicine cabinet. (Yes, many buyers will look in there.) Leave only the essentials such as toothpaste and hairbrushes.

Making a good impression on your prospective buyers can be easier when you’ve redone a bathroom.  It doesn’t require much money, and it may increase the final sale price of home.

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Help pets adjust to a new homeMoving to a new home can be a difficult transition for everyone in the family, including the furry, four-legged members.

Dogs and cats develop a strong bond with their environment so when they are relocated from their territory it can cause them stress.

Here are some tips to ease your pets’ transition to a new home :

Keep Your Mood Calm
Pets are very tuned-in to your emotions and will sense your mood. If you are stressed throughout the moving process, your cat or dog will pick up on this and it will make him anxious. Try to remain calm and give your pet plenty of attention and reassurance during the process of moving.

Transporting Your Pet
A few weeks before the move, introduce your pet to his pet carrier so that he becomes familiar with it. It will be much less scary for him to be transported in a carrier, which already has recognizable smells and perhaps a favorite chew toy or blanket inside. When you are moving your pets to your new home, it is a good idea not to feed them for about three hours before setting off, as this can help to prevent accidents while in transit.

Upon Arrival
When you get to your new residence, place your pets in one room of the house and provide them with water, food, and a few familiar possessions. Keep them in a closed room while you move things in, as the process of moving boxes and furniture can be chaotic and doors can be left open. Once everything has been moved in, you can take the time to give your pet some one-on-one attention.

Dogs find routines comforting, so try to stick to the same schedule of feeding and walking in your new home. Cats will want to explore and rub their scent all over the house to claim it as their territory. A cat might attempt to return to its old home after a move, so keep it indoors for a few weeks at first.

These are just a few ways that you can make moving to a new home a better experience for your beloved pets. If you’d like more suggestions for helping your pets and family adjust to a move, call or email me with your questions.

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by | Categories: Around The Home | Tagged: , , | No Comments

Home Emergency KitSome natural disasters can be forecast — hurricanes, snow storms and, in some cases, flooding. Other disasters occur unexpectedly, such as tornadoes and earthquakes. 

As a homeowner or renter in Richmond , it’s a safe idea to prepare for disaster or unexpected emergency. Every home should maintain a ready, working emergency kit for such a time.

Here are some items to include in your home’s emergency kit :

  • Waterproof Container : Store items in a locking, plastic container
  • Battery-Powered Radio : A small radio can receive weather updates and emergency broadcasts. Pack extra batteries, or use a hand-crank radio, instead.
  • Light Source : Pack multiple flashlights and many spare batteries. LED flashlights are more expensive than “older” flashlights, but won’t lose battery power as quickly. Pack candles and matches, as well.
  • Water : Pack bottled water, storing larger bottles in a cool, separate place. Add several bottles of sport drink for variety, if desired.
  • Food : Pack non-perishable food such as canned fruits and vegetables; protein sources such as peanut butter or canned tuna; crackers and cookies; nuts and dried fruits. Remember to pack a can-opener, if needed. Include plastic utensils, if necessary.
  • Blankets : At least two blankets should be packed. Consider packing multiple sets of clothes, for different temperatures and seasons.
  • First-Aid Kit : A proper first-aid kit should include antiseptic, bandages, aspirin, an ace bandage, and allergy medicine for allergic reactions.
  • Emergency Contact List : Include a list of your local utility companies; phone numbers at which to contact friends and loved ones; and, your primary care physician’s number.

After packing your emergency kit, make sure to store it in an easy-to-reach location away from power lines, power sources, and any place that may be “extra dangerous” during a crisis. For example, storing an emergency kit in a garage or a shed may be safer than storing it in a basement or in a bedroom closet.

In an emergency, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Be prepared and be safe.

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