Cozy Outdoor Living Spaces Top The List Of Recent Landscaping Trends

outdoor landscaping ideas 2018

Rikki Snyder/Houzz

One of the great joys of owning a home is having the space to entertain. That’s why many home shoppers pine over houses with a great backyard, picturing themselves putting in a dining table, a barbecue, and maybe some raised flower beds.

But why stop there? Recent trends show that to many homeowners, “outdoor living” means more than just setting up a GrillMaster; the ideal outdoor space now looks like an extension of your interior. In fact, a new report from Houzz found that 88% of homeowners taking on landscaping projects upgrade outdoor living elements such as furniture and heating features that make spending time outside more comfortable. In February and March, the home remodeling and design website surveyed more than 750 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are planning, are in the midst of, or recently completed a landscaping project.

“We’ve continued to see homeowners put greater priority on developing a personalized outdoor living environment,” says Matthew Breyer, president and lead designer for Breyer Construction & Landscape. “No longer are we simply ‘building boxes,’ but rather, we’re working as designers to help flesh out how our clients anticipate living in these spaces, and where their priorities are.”

Landscape architect Drew Langston agrees that homeowners are focused on outdoor living. In the past two years, Langston has quadrupled the amount of “landscape master plans” he’s working on at any given time. These include pools, patios, walls, fire pits, and extensive landscaping—and his business is based in chilly Buffalo, NY!

Even in the Northeast, where warm weather isn’t as consistent as in other parts of the country, he says people are still jumping at the chance to improve their backyards.

rustic-porch

Photo by Simmons Estate Homes

Trending features for the ultimate outdoor living area

Homeowners looking to spend more time living and entertaining in their backyards are actually outfitting them with decor pieces we’re used to seeing inside. For 43% of respondents, that means lounge furniture, while 34% bring in dining furniture. Other hot outdoor furnishings include string lights, at 35%; benches, at 27%; ceiling fans, at 15%; and rugs, at 14%—all of which make the space look like a cohesive room.

Heating sources such as fire pits are also popular, with nearly 40% of respondents saying they installed, or are thinking of installing, one. Outdoor heating overall is valuable as it can extend the season for outdoor entertaining.

Of course, tricking out your backyard in 2018 also means bringing in some shiny new devices such as TVs, chosen by 59% of respondents; wireless speakers, at 42%; and wired charging hubs, at 11%. Breyer also mentions that accessories such as fans and LED lighting have taken priority among clients.

“We have been working with a number of customers that have amazing lighting, full outdoor sound systems, and other outdoor amenities, all that work in conjunction with the indoor sound systems,” says Patrick Harders, a contractor in Northern Virginia specializing in outdoor lighting. “These allow people to entertain as if they are in their own private resort.”

Speaking of privacy, it’s also one of the biggest requests from homeowners undergoing a landscaping project.

“Due to the increase in time spent entertaining outdoors, people are realizing just how close the neighbors are. We do more construction with mini pergolas, decorative feature walls, outdoor blinds, and tiered landscaping to address these concerns,” says Breyer. Privacy fences and noise-canceling barriers are also popular choices for folks who don’t want to end the party at 10 p.m.

How much are people spending?

Outdoor renovations can be expensive, but it’s a cost that a majority of homeowners are willing to pay. According to the survey, 56% of homeowners spent more than $10,000 on their outdoor renovations. Almost a third, 32%, reportedly spent less than $5,000.

“In my experience, the average landscape (planting and beds only) is about $3,500 to $5,000, and the average project involving hardscaping (walls, patios, fire pits) as well is about $15,000,” Langston says. “This being said, we execute several jobs a year between $25,000 and $50,000, and usually one to three jobs a year that can be between $80,000 and $100,000. I truly believe an enjoyable landscape is achievable at any budget.”

contemporary-patio

Photo by MTLA- Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture

Why homeowners are shifting their focus outdoors

The biggest reason for starting a landscaping project is to improve elements of the outdoor space that have deteriorated. But once those updates are made, 67% of homeowners said they spend more time outside once they completed a landscaping project, with 62% of those spending their time relaxing and 44% gardening. So when it comes down to it, people just want to have an outdoor place to unwind that’s as comfortable, accommodating, and private as their living or dining room, no matter if they live in Boca Raton, FL, or Buffalo.

“In Western New York we only have a few months of great weather that we can actually be outside,” says Langston. “People want to spend more money to create an amazing space outdoors so they can enjoy the nice weather as much as possible.”

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Smart Devices: How Home Automation Is Taking Over The Remodeling Industry

Smart Devices & Home Automation 2018

From smartphones to smart TVs, everyday devices are becoming more and more sophisticated and autonomous. The devices being integrated into our homes allow the house to respond automatically to the environment, preset schedules and even spoken commands. Today, systems like Amazon Echo and Google Home provide a central base for automating almost any conceivable aspect of a home, all controllable by phone, computer or voice.

What Can Be Automated?

Most home automation projects begin with heating and lighting, which offer clear benefits in energy savings and convenience. Rather than relying purely on preset timings to control your heating or air conditioning, intelligent automation allows more flexibility. For example, you can keep your heating on a minimum setting during the day to reduce energy bills, but turn up the heat from your smartphone as you head home from work.

Take the concept further and you have intelligent window treatments. Shades or drapes can be set to automatically lower, creating shade from direct sun and reducing the need for air conditioning. This can be managed either on a schedule or by intelligent response to light levels. Alternatively, window shades can be set to operate automatically at sundown, providing increased privacy even when the blinds are in difficult-to-reach locations.

Combining automated motorized shades with smart lighting can improve home security by giving the impression the property is occupied. This can be done either to a set schedule, or in response to external factors such as movement outside the home, changes in day length or changes in ambient lighting. Add automatic locking of code-operated doors and windows, controllable cameras, intelligent smoke alarms and reactive alarm systems, and the security of a home can be controlled and monitored remotely with ease.

In the kitchen, automation offers a combination of energy savings and convenience. You can start up your slow cooker while at work to have a hot meal ready the moment you return. Appliances from dishwashers to freezers can coordinate their operation to minimize their combined energy consumption, making the best use of home-generated energy from solar or other sources. The long-predicted smart fridge, which keeps track of its own contents and simplifies grocery shopping, is now also a reality.

The Future of Intelligent Home Automation

As useful as current automation technology is, it’s set to go much further in the near future. Already, controllers such as Echo and Home can automate devices from many different manufacturers, but there are still several competing protocols making cross functionality difficult. As the technology matures, communication methods are becoming more standardized, and the “internet of things” means that everything from your TV to your refrigerator will be connected into a single, adaptable, intelligent system.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Remodeling 101: 4 Rock-Solid Reasons To Remodel Your Home In 2018

remodeling in 2018

As 2018 begins, there’s no question the real estate market is, well, a little crazy. Home values are surging, money is relatively cheap, and inventory is tighter than tight.

That’s all downright welcome news for owners who’ve been considering remodeling.

“Remodeling remains a very attractive option to increase your home’s value,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. And that can be a smart move whether you’re prepping your place for sale, or giving it a refresh for the long haul.

“The big variable here is location,” says Vivas. “If you’re happy with your neighborhood and your place has some value, there’s an advantage over trying to move—because there may not be somewhere else for you to move to in your price range, or you may have to make a bigger cost jump than you would if you were simply remodeling.”

Still wondering whether to grab a sledgehammer and get swinging? Here’s the thing: The longer you wait, the more expensive renovating or remodeling gets. If you’ve been on the fence, this may be the year to get off it. Better yet, rebuild it! Here’s why you should get moving now.

1. You (likely) have more cash
Consumer confidence is high, unemployment is low, and incomes are growing—which means you likely have more money in your pocket. Plus, if you’re a homeowner, chances are good that your home equity has increased along with skyrocketing home prices over the past few years.

So when it comes to spending cash on all those get-to-it-later home projects, you’re probably in good standing.

In fact, the remodeling market is expected to grow 7% this year, saysRobert Dietz, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders.

“This market should be sustained by the fact that homeowners are remaining in their homes longer,” Dietz says.

2. Interest rates for building loans are low
Interest rates for home equity lines of credit—which offer a flexible way of obtaining funds to pay for things such as home improvements—are still historically low. And even though interest paid on HELOCs is no longer deductible under the new tax reform legislation, experts say the building loans remain a good deal.

“Interest rates are still quite friendly but will likely go up this year—and lenders are competing for loan business,” says Tom Miller, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, who also owns a remodeling company in the Pacific Northwest.

Simply put: Take advantage of those low rates now before more increases hit.

3. It could be cheaper than buying a new home
If you live in a high-cost metro area and already have a foothold in the real estate market, remodeling your existing place could be cheaper than buying a new one. Maybe a lot cheaper (unless, of course, you were planning on downsizing).

There are a lot of factors to consider, however: How much equity you have in your place, what your current mortgage rate is, and whether major renovations are even feasible. But experts agree that, in many cases, the current seller’s market makes renovating a more palatable option than buying.

“We think remodeling will be a major trend in 2018, because we’ve seen prices grow so much that a lot of potential buyers are being priced out of their own markets,” Vivas says. “And that’s where you see a turn toward giving up on trading up and buying again and considering other options like renovating.”

This is especially true in expensive markets such as New York and California. Plus, these high-cost areas are expected to feel the heaviest burden of the tax reform provisions that limit mortgage interest deductions and eliminate the deduction for state and local property taxes.

“Some of the tax benefits linked with purchasing will be sidelined or diluted,” Dietz says.

4. Costs will go up the longer you wait
The construction industry is facing a major shortage of skilled laborers and rising materials costs, and there’s little indication this trend will reverse anytime in the future. This higher demand translates into higher pay scales for available, qualified workers—and those costs ultimately get passed along to you, the consumer. The situation is expected to get worse over time.

“Labor costs will continue to escalate as remodelers pay up to get and keep construction trades on the jobs,” says Fred Ulreich, chief executive officer of the NARI.

Furthermore, the multibillion-dollar cleanups of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma drove materials prices even higher—and the effects are expected to last into 2018. The NARI predicts materials costs will rise about 5% this year, especially for supplies such as lumber, drywall, and concrete.

What’s more? Labor shortages will not be resolved overnight, Miller says. For the would-be remodeler, that means your costs will likely go up the longer you wait.

“There are no signs that remodeling demand or costs will taper off over the next several years, but will continue to rise,” Miller says. “Holding off on a project—if you can find a reputable remodeler available now— will only cost you more next year.”

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Best Financial Investments You Can Make For Your Home

best financial investments to your home

The Best Home Investments To Increase Value

Over the last couple of years, rehabbing TV shows have become increasingly popular. In these shows, people fix or introduce new features to their homes while adding substantial market value to the house in the process. If you own a home, you can make many of these types of fixes or additions to increase the value of your home, too. You can also enjoy these changes for as long as you live there. Some of the best financial investments you can make to your home include:

Major Problem Fixes

The first high-return investment you should make in your home is to correct all major problems. If your home has serious issues, such as a broken air conditioner or a pipe leak, fixing those issues should be priority No. 1. Repairing or replacing the roof and siding can be a great investment, and potential buyers will generally factor in both the time and cost of having to fix it. Problems like these are always easier to fix when they’re small than later after having put them off.

Exterior Improvements

Investing in the facade of a home can also bring great returns. Replacing garage doors is one of these investments. If your garage door looks new, your house will look new, as well. Painting the outside of your home is another good investment in the exterior. If you don’t want to take the time and money to fully repaint your home, pressure-washing can be a quick way to make the outside of your home look much more presentable.

Entryway Improvements

Another good investment is to invest in a new entryway door. Like the garage door, the front door is important in making a good first impression on a potential buyer. Replacing your front door with a steel door can also make your home safer; increasing the safety of your home can be another great selling point for a potential buyer. Replacing windows is another way to make the outside of your home look better, as well as improve the home’s energy efficiency.

Fixes and additions to the inside of your home can be a great financial investment. A fresh coat of paint to the interior can add value by making the home look cleaner and brighter.

Update Bathroom, Kitchen and Appliances

Improving your home’s bathroom, particularly visible elements such as vanities, lighting, toilets and tubs, can create a high return. For bathroom improvements, you may obtain a better return on investment by spending your money on items in the bathroom that a potential buyer would see, instead of completely gutting the bathroom.

Kitchen remodels can be another way to significantly improve the value of your home. For kitchen remodels, you’ll want to spend money on functional items such as cabinets, drawers, pantry doors and appliances. Appliances such as refrigerators don’t have to be completely new, but they should keep up with current trends. Kitchen remodels should also suit the home. A kitchen that looks like it belongs in a $300,000 home will feel out of place in a $150,000 home.

Adding high-efficiency appliances to a home can modernize it and also save you money on electricity. Some states and cities have tax programs that could reduce your taxes if you buy and use high-efficiency appliances that require less electricity.

Overall, you should research the investment potential of your home before making any purchase. If you are trying to increase the value of your home, you need to make sure your fix or addition will increase the value of the home not only for you, but also to potential buyers.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Master Bathroom Trends: Homeowners Are Splurging To Scrub Up

Master Bath Trends

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da!

Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom (after tearing out the tub), and many added on deluxe features, like a body sprayer or rainfall showerhead, for an improved, spa-like space.

Master Bathroom Remodel

The average cost for a large-scale remodel of a master bath (sized over 100 square feet) was $21,000, shows the study. Master bath renovations cost more in pricey markets, however. In San Francisco, Calif., for example, a major remodel averages $34,100.

Accompanying a luxury shower is a soothing gray and white color palette, according to the study. Nineteen percent of homeowners installed white countertops in the master bath, and 40 percent painted its walls white. Fourteen percent added gray cabinets, as well, to complete the tone-on-tone look. The majority of homeowners (90 percent) changed the overall style of the room, some to contemporary (25 percent), some to transitional (17 percent), and some, still, to modern (15 percent).

Master Bathroom Accents

As with other areas at home, homeowners are also integrating technology into their master baths. Atmospheric lighting, digital controls and smart toilets are all popular upgrades, shows the study.

Bathrooms—master bathrooms, especially—are key at resale. The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine estimates the resale value of a “mid-range” bath renovation at $12,024 (a 64.8 percent return on investment), and the resale value of an “upscale” bath renovation at $35,456 (a 59.1 percent return on investment).

Beyond a master bath overhaul, another bathroom anywhere in the home can make homeowners happier with their house, a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed. A bathroom earned a perfect 10 “Joy Score” in the report.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

The 8 Top Upgrades To Personalize Your New Home

Top Upgrades For Home

Before you move into your new house, you may want to make upgrades. These add value to your investment, improve your home’s function and allow you to express your personality. Plus, making upgrades before you move in reduces inconvenience later. Consider the following upgrades to make your new house feel like home.

1- Enhance the Kitchen
Quality kitchen upgrades ensure the room meets your family’s needs, and add value to your home. Consider several changes that improve the quality and function of your kitchen:

  • Get high-end, energy- or water-saving appliances.
  • Lower the bar counter from 42 to 36 inches so it’s more accessible.
  • Install quartz countertops.
  • Add lighting under the counters.
  • Choose matching fixtures and hardware.

Worried about staying on budget while renovating the most expensive room in the house? According to HomeAdvisor’s Kitchen Cost Guide, it costs the average homeowner between $12,500 and $33,500 for a full kitchen remodel.

2- Redo the Flooring
It’s definitely easier and more affordable to upgrade a house’s flooring before you arrange all the furniture. Consider stain-resistant carpeting in high-traffic areas, or install hardwood in connected rooms for a sleek appearance.

3- Update the Bathroom
Spruce up a bathroom already in the house or add an additional bathroom before your move. When renovating a bathroom, consider your current and future needs, such as your family size or entertaining habits. Several possible changes include:

  • Install a double sink.
  • Install a walk-in shower or Jacuzzi tub.
  • Choose decorative shower, floor or wall tile.
  • Customize the lighting or fixtures.
  • Hang extra shelves for storage.

4- Bring in New Cabinetry
Before you unpack all your possessions, install new cabinetry that helps you get and stay organized. The kitchen and bathroom cabinets have a big effect on your home’s function and appearance. Choose cabinet finishes and designs that match your personal style and color scheme. You can hang the old cabinets in the garage or attic to expand your storage space.

5- Update Electrical Wiring
Older houses may have outdated wiring, or you may find that you need additional outlets in certain rooms. Walk through your house, visualize how you will use each room and plan any electrical wiring updates. With help from an electrician, you can add outlets in the living room to accommodate your gaming systems or wire the den ceiling for a new fan.

6- Wire for Internet Service
Improve security and speed in your new home with wired internet throughout the house. It allows you to install and use a variety of electronics, including security cameras, in any room. Full-house wired internet also prevents outside users and hackers from accessing your network and potentially harming your family.

7- Add Lots of Storage
Getting extra storage throughout your house before you move helps you completely unpack and organize your home the way you want. The price of installing a new closet is about $1,800, as found on HomeAdvisor. Choose from a variety of cabinet types, shelving, and overhead storage designs and materials that match your needs and preferences.

8- Transform the Laundry Room
While you probably plan to use your laundry room primarily for laundry, you may wish to transform it into a functioning pantry, drop zone or mud room. Rearrange the washing machine and dryer hookup to make room for pantry storage. Consider adding a bench and hooks for shoes, backpacks and umbrellas, too.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Outdoor Space: 9 Clever Tricks To Make Your Outdoor Areas Turn Heads

outdoor space upgrades 1

The best outdoor spaces—whether they’re 100 square feet or 10,000—are carefully curated, thoughtfully designed, and, most importantly, inviting. A winner could be an oasis, a party zone, a sales lure, or just a slice of (semi) natural beauty.

Too bad, then, that so many homeowners view their high-potential outdoor spaces as an afterthought. They put off improving them because they assume they’ll need to spend a waterfall of cash on extravagant features. Au contraire! A luxe-looking outdoor oasis doesn’t require infinity pools and marble statues. In fact, you can create a relaxing, resort feel in the great outdoors in no time—and on a budget.

We consulted with landscape designers from coast to coast to grab some of their best tips for making your outdoor space look luxe for less. So mix up a batch of dirty mojitos and take a look at these tips—we’ll meet you outside.

1. Use the 5 “key components”

A haphazard outdoor area will scream “cheap.” Or messy. So before you dive into creating your space, make sure you have a plan.

“Know what you want to achieve—how you want to feel in you space, what functions you want to carry on and what image you want to project,” says artist and designer Pablo Solomon. “Study what you like about luxurious landscapes that you have seen, and then try to incorporate those elements into your space.”

According to Solomon, good landscaping is based on five key components:

  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Color
  • Textures
  • Shape

He advises clients to imagine they’re creating postcards as they frame views to and from their home.

“We usually think of landscaping as having some basic zones—the central focus (usually your house), the spaces surrounding your focus, the perimeter of your property and the lines of sight/paths connecting those elements,” he says.

Consider these zones as you map out your dream space (seriously, put good old-fashioned pen to paper on this one) and incorporate Solomon’s five elements into your plan.

2. Focus on the entry
focus on entry

To get the most luxe bang for your buck, spend your dollars where they’ll make the most impact: the front entryway.

“Lay a pathway using brick, cobblestone, or even concrete—and if you choose the latter, take it a step further by painting it in contrasting colors,” says Brian Rhoden of Daniels Lawn Service in Orlando.. “Two contrasting colors, such as black and gold, give an air of luxury without breaking the bank.”

Then line your fancy new pathway with inexpensive greenery and voila! Solid first impression.

3. Create “spaces with purpose”
tropical-patio

According to San Francisco-based design pro Gina Gutierrez, “sections” are key to creating spaces with purpose.

“If you have a larger outdoor space, I always recommend divvying up the yard so your space doesn’t feel too much like one large square,” she says. “Within your space, section off an area for perhaps a kitchen or grill, a place to dine with family and friends, a bar area where you can curate drinks over conversation, a comfy and intimate seating area, or a peaceful space for gardening.”

Create flow and continuity among these sections with similar colors, textures, patterns, and lighting concepts.

“Otherwise, the space will become too noisy or busy,” she says. “Stick to a color scheme or style theme, and you can’t go wrong.”

And when in doubt, think minimal.

“Often the key to an expensive look is not excess,” Rhoden says. “The key is in accentuating details.”

Stumped for ideas? Solomon recommends a well-placed sculpture or interesting planter to give your space a luxe look for less.

4. Place a priority on seating
mediterranean-patio

“Seating arrangements are key to a purposeful patio,” Gutierrez says. “You want to create a space for friends and family to gather, no matter how tiny or large the space is.”

For smaller patio spaces, Gutierrez likes seating options that come in a set—”then create the style and ambiance by bringing in accent tables and decor with different colors and texture.”

Miami Beach-based landscape designer Fernando Wong, who recently designed the gardens for the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club in Surfside, FL, recommends grouping white chaise lounges by a pool or water element to “instantly elevate” your outdoor setting.

5. Repurpose vintage materials
modern-deck

That worn-in look can actually give off a very expensive vibe. Give your outdoor space an air of vintage luxe by using old bricks or reclaimed wood when building patios, decks, doors, and furniture. Or try upcycling some of your old furniture into something brand-new for the outdoors.

“Beams and doors used in old barns that are being torn down can be salvaged for cheap or free,” says Andy Knutsen, president and owner of Knutsen Landscaping in Lancaster, PA. “Old kitchen furniture can be fixed up or repurposed to create a fresh new piece, and stones from a garden or driftwood from a river or beach work great to add character to a backyard space.”

6. Anchor seating with an inexpensive outdoor rug
traditional-deck

As recently as a few years ago, mass-market outdoor rugs were scratchy and cheap. But these days, you can find luxurious, comfortable options that can withstand the elements (and icky mold) while pleasing the eye. Just be sure to vacuum your rug on a regular basis and roll it up to store inside at summer’s end.

7. Go bold with colors
mediterranean-patio

You’d be surprised what a fresh coat of paint or stain can do in the great outdoors. Move beyond boring grays and browns and channel a luxurious feel with pops of contrasting color—”smoky charcoals, sharp black, and even a pop of a saturated red or blue,” according to Ostap Bosak, manager at Marquis Gardens, a water feature and pond supply retailer in Toronto.

Think sleek, dark planters, black or charcoal garage doors and trim, and boldly hued rugs, lanterns, and fireplaces.

8. Add a water feature
water feature

Contrary to popular belief, “a water feature doesn’t have to be some large investment that only a professional can install,” Bosak says.

A simple water feature can start at several hundred dollars and can take less than hour to install yourself. Bosak recommends something low-maintenance and easy to set up, such as a bubbling urn or patio fountain kit.

9. Hang string lights
contemporary-patio

Experts agree on this one: String lights are one of the most affordable forms of lighting for an outdoor space and are well worth the outlay.

“They have a nice clean look, are easy to install, and are built to withstand the elements while living outdoors,” Knutsen says.

What’s more, they introduce an overhead element that designers covet to bring scale to the space. To make your lights as energy efficient (and bright) as possible, use LED bulbs.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

10 Impressive Home Improvements You Can Make This Weekend

weekend home improvement projects

Want to transform the look and function of your home? It doesn’t need to cost a fortune or even require much time. There are hundreds of home improvements you can make to update your home over a weekend, from upgrading home security to giving your bathroom a much-needed makeover.

Here are 10 impressive home improvement projects you can wrap up this weekend:

1- Add halogen track lighting
Need more task lighting in the kitchen or bathroom? Track lighting is practical and easy to install on your own. Most track lighting systems work on household voltage so you can connect it directly to an existing junction box in your ceiling. It can take as little as one hour to install track lighting with kits that start at around $150.

2- Minor bathroom update
Does your bathroom show its age? Give your bathroom a breath of fresh air with a few easy renovations. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way, especially if you have a vanity that’s in good shape but not your taste. Easy ideas for updating your bathroom include:

  • Paint an old vanity to freshen it up
  • Replace cabinet hardware
  • Replace old fixtures
  • Update the mirror by adding a frame
  • Add wallpaper to one wall as an accent
  • Install a new granite countertop

3- Improve kitchen storage with rollouts
A rollout is an easy upgrade you can make to your kitchen storage and something you will appreciate every day. A rollout maximizes space in your cabinets by allowing you to quickly access items in the back of your cabinets. Make sure you measure your opening and cabinets carefully and order the right size of rollout for a fast, simple installation. Most rollout kits can be mounted to existing shelves with a few screws.

4- Freshen your front door
Your front door is your home’s smile, so make sure it’s looking its best. A fresh coat of bright paint can do wonders for cheering up a gloomy entry while new hardware can give your front door an easy facelift. You can also improve the approach to the entry by adding a border of bricks along the walkway that are set in a trench with sand.

5- Step up your home security
Technology has come a long way. Home security cameras are no longer the ugly gray blocks mounted to your wall that you may envision; instead, a home security system can be aesthetic and understated while incorporating wireless technology to keep an eye on what matters most, even from your smartphone on vacation or while you’re at work. A home security camera at your front door allows you to make sure the kids got home safely, check who is knocking on the door, and monitor activity outside of your home. While some security systems can be installed yourself, professional security system installation is typically cost-effective.

6- Install a backsplash
A backsplash can make a big statement in your kitchen while protecting your walls and making cleanup a bit easier. You don’t need to opt for an expensive and time-consuming tile blacksplash: try easy, DIY options like wallpaper, tin tiles, or peel-and-stick subway tiles.

7- Add a flagstone outdoor patio
Wish you had more outdoor living space? With flagstone, you can build an outdoor patio in a weekend without mortar. Excavate the area to at least six inches for drainage then add a base material like crushed limestone or gravel to keep the patio from shifting. Tamp down the base then add two inches of builder’s sand with a rake. Install some edging and add your flagstones over the sand, keeping the pieces close together for a cohesive look or farther apart if you want to add ground cover. Fill spaces with sand and enjoy!

8- Replace your kitchen faucet
A beautiful faucet can be the centerpiece of your kitchen. You spend a lot of time at your kitchen sink, so why not make it a more enjoyable task with a gorgeous wall-mounted sink, a commercial-style faucet to make a statement, or a touchless faucet to make life cleaner and easier.

9- Create a hidden charging station
Want to declutter your home? Turn a drawer into a simple but effective charging station. Outfit a drawer with a divided drawer organizer and a power strip to serve as a charging dock and organizer. Drill a hole in the back of the drawer for cords and you’re all set.

10- Upgrade your laundry station
Doing the laundry doesn’t need to be an unpleasant chore if you have the right setup. If your laundry room is lacking storage and workspace, a quick trip to a home improvement store and a few hours is all you need to fix the problem. Purchase a stock countertop and caps then assemble do-it-yourself shelving to support it. Hang utility wall cabinets over your counters to store your cleaning supplies and add an adjustable rod for hanging clothes. For better lighting, go with 90-plus CRI fluorescent bulbs and a four-bulb fixture to better see what you’re doing.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Upgrade Your Home: 5 Ways To Renovate Without Blowing Your Budget

upgrade-remodel-home

Upgrade Without Blowing Your Budget

Everyone wants to turn their house into their dream home, but that’s often easier said than done. Whether you’re upgrading your space or gearing up to sell, renovating your home is a big financial decision. After all, it’s not only the place you live—it’s most likely your largest investment.

“So how much does a home remodel cost?” you ask. If you have a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, you have a higher degree of flexibility. That’s because when you choose a HELOC to finance your upgrade, you’re embracing the financial fluidity of borrowing against your home’s available equity.

“With a home equity line, you have the access to the money you need to finance a remodel, plus the flexibility to re-utilize the line for other needs as they arise,” says Jon Giles, senior vice president in the home equity division at a major bank.

Clearly, it’s a popular option. According to a recent survey by the bank, 64 percent of people said they have or would use a HELOC for home renovations or improvements. You can borrow multiple times if you need to, or borrow any amount you want on a secured credit line with interest that’s typically tax deductible.

Here’s a tour of potential home improvements:

Liven Up the Landscape
Landscaping is among the three most effective home improvements you can do to generate the biggest return on your money. It creates curb appeal in spades, and also helps prevent expensive potential damage, like fallen tree limbs and mold. Think of it as a safety net mixed with some green marketing that can increase your house’s value by up to 5 percent.

Average Cost: You can put in some attractive curbing for a little over $1,000, or invest in the whole front-lawn package for about $3,400.

Revive the Driveway
Assessing your driveway nets you a double benefit. One, it’s a utilitarian feature that just about everyone needs to protect that other big investment: the car. Two, a cracked driveway tanks your curb appeal, and can even make way for unsightly weeds.

Average Cost: To repair a driveway, you’re looking at about $1,500, or a little over $3,800 for a new one.

Freshen Up Your Exterior Paint
If you’re like the 41 percent of survey respondents whose property value has stagnated over the last year, giving the exterior of your home a fresh look could make a world of difference.

You just can’t beat the cost effectiveness of exterior paint. Plus, it has a leg up on the limited color and texture options of siding—if you can imagine a paint color, it exists.

Average Cost: Heartier exterior paints exceed the cost of interior options, but not by much—the national average cost to paint a house is a little over $2,500, though you should account for about $1,500 more if you have a two-story.

Revitalize Your Roof
Whether you’re playing catch out front or just cruising by, it’s pretty hard to miss a roof. That could be why the National Association of REALTORS® named replacing a home’s roof as the home renovation with the single greatest cost recovery in 2015—this project usually recoups about 105 percent of its price tag.

Average Cost: About $7,600

Gear Up the Garage
The garage door probably isn’t the go-to improvement when you think about upping your curb appeal, but it does take up a whole lot of exterior visual space, and for that reason alone, it’s totally worth a slice of that HELOC. Replacing the often-neglected garage door can net you a nearly 93 percent return on investment, on average.

Average Cost: This upgrade usually only runs about $730 to $1,400.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com

Home Upgrades: 10 Easiest Ways to Increase House Value

home upgrades

Home Upgrades Increase Home Value

Whether planning to sell the house, have it rented out, or simply for personal satisfaction, some renovations or home upgrades are always necessary to help increase its market value. In order to boost a house’s value in the market, it is first important to learn what prospective buyers or tenants are searching for in a house. For most homeowners, the biggest concern is usually the budget required for upgrade, renovation, and home maintenance. The great news is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars for home improvements.

Just follow these 10 tips for the best home upgrades to add home value.

  1. Knock down a wall and go for open concept. Not only will it create an illusion of a bigger space, but it is a home design trend that is very much in demand today. Just make sure to have the wall assessed for possible electrical wires housed behind it before hitting it with a sledge hammer.
  2. Make the kitchen area workable. This means making the kitchen area a functional place where you can actually cook a decent meal. Update faucets, fix leaking pipes, buff the counters and repaint cupboards and cabinets. It is not necessary to replace everything with a new kitchen system. Simply repaint worn out furniture and replace outdated knobs with modern handles to make it look more expensive.
  3. Brighten up the bath. Bathrooms are among the most important considerations for many tenants and prospective home buyers so it is pertinent to get this area of the house right. Buff up the tiles and replace the faucets, shower heads and toilet seats. There’s no need to replace all the tiles, just those that are cracked and chipped. The trick is to find the right cleaning agent that can help whiten the tiles to make it look good as new.
  4. Add more storage. If there’s an extra wall or area of the house that does not seem to have any function, add in a laminate closet system or have a carpenter install small built-in cabinets, racks or pantries. Making every extra space of the house functional will help make it look more livable.
  5. Turn that extra space into an extra room. A house with a lot of rooms will always look impressive when advertised in the market. If the house has a huge attic, a den, or extra space that can be turned into another room then by all means, fix it up to look like an additional room. Simply add in a built-in closet and a window and it should be good to accommodate.
  6. Update the lighting system. Still using an old chandelier or unflattering fluorescent lamps? Hire an electrician to place some decorative lighting fixtures or dimmers that will give the house a more modern feel and mask any unflattering curves on the walls and ceilings.
  7. Buff the floors. The moment a buyer or tenant steps inside the front door the first thing they will notice are the floors. Tiled or hardwood floors need to be buffed till it sparkles. Carpeted floors need a touch of professional carpet cleaning to make it look, smell and feel brand new. Hiring professional cleaners is a small investment compared to the big impact it will make.
  8. Apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls or replace an uncharacteristic door with a rustic barn door. Choose modern color palettes to give the house a fresh new look.
  9. Add outdoor dining furniture in the front lawn or backyard. These areas can become extended living and dining areas.
  10. Hire an electrical and plumbing service to look at the overall state of the house. It is much better to catch the problems early on than find out much later when the problem has already worsened such as replacing the entire plumbing system or rewiring the entire house.

Original Source

BONNIE ROTUNDO
Realtor/Broker NC-SC
ABR, SRES, SFR, RRS, CRSP, CBPIS
Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty
16 Causeway Drive
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Direct: 910.443.0398
Toll-Free: 800.237.4609 X206
Fax: 910.579.5877

*Search Coastal Carolina Real Estate in real time on your own. No obligation. FREE sign-up below:
http://coastalrealestateproperty.com