Seasonal Home Maintenance

Seasonal Home Maintenance

A big part of the American dream is owning your own house. But, as the saying goes, there’s always something that needs taking care of, whether big or small. Stay on top of regular home maintenance tasks, and you’ll avoid many costly repairs. Here’s a home maintenance checklist that you can use to get the job done and keep your house in prime shape.

Fall, like spring, means it’s time to make a thorough check of much of your home’s infrastructure.

  • Install fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Test and dust all detectors
  • Check fire extinguishers
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hood and filter
  • Drain sediment from hot water heater
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Insulate exposed pipes as needed
  • Schedule furnace inspection
  • Remove or cover window air conditioners
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned
  • Remove screens and install storm windows
  • Turn off the outdoor water supply, remove and store hoses
  • Inspect the roof for damage
  • Clean gutters
  • Inspect caulk around windows and doors; recaulk as needed
  • Clean up leaves and other yard debris
  • Trim trees and shrubs away from the house
  • Inspect the deck for any nails or screws that may be popping up
  • Cover or store outdoor furniture
Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise

Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise

In the third quarter of 2019, the U.S. homeownership rate rose again, signaling another strong indicator of the current housing market.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced,

“The homeownership rate of 64.8 percent was not statistically different from the rate in the third quarter 2018 (64.4 percent), but was 0.7 percentage points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2019 (64.1 percent).”

Homeownership Rate Remains on the Rise | MyKCM

Today there is still a lack of inventory, particularly at the entry and middle-level segments of the market, but that is not stopping buyers from making every effort to pursue homeownership. The many financial and non-financial benefits continue to drive the American Dream and will likely do so for generations to come.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking of buying a home, let’s get together to make your dream a reality. This is the perfect time of the year!

Preparing for the Holidays

Preparing for the Holidays

Are you someone who starts celebrating holidays early? Do you resist playing Christmas music until December 1 and wish stores wouldn’t start their Christmas displays before Halloween?!

I feel you!! However, it’s not a bad idea to spend a little time in the fall thinking about and planning ahead for the holidays. While it might be a little early to get the holiday decorations out, still there are a few things we can do now to help make the holidays less stressful and more joyful.

Why do holidays bring stress?

We want to make the holidays special. Nothing wrong with that. But that often means a lot of events get added to the schedule. While they are fun, they can add to the stress level.

The last quarter of the year can be a stressful time for many people at work as well. One article aimed at entrepreneurs quotes survey results indicating that “65 percent of Gen Xers reported feeling stressed during the holidays. Baby Boomers came in second at 62 percent, while 61 percent of Millennials said they felt the weight of the holiday rush.”

Another report says that “65 percent of people surveyed said the financial strain associated with gift purchases is the most stressful part of the holidays.”

In addition to money, other sources of stress might be: feeling overwhelmed and overbooked, family conflict, and feeling sad when everybody else is cheerful. Let’s face it, not everyone is happy during the holidays.

What can we do now to prepare?

How can we get a head start on preparation for the holidays and make the season less stressful? Here are ten things we can do to prepare now:

1. Plan ahead.

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Sit down with a cup of something and a notebook or your computer and your calendar, and do a mind dump of all the things you usually do or need or want to do during the holidays, starting maybe from mid-October through the New Year’s celebrations. Include it all: family traditions, church or work or community events you need or want to participate in, people you want to give gifts to, food or gifts you want to make, meals you want to serve, parties you plan to host or attend, etc. After you’ve captured it all, take a look and ask yourself:

  • How realistic is your list (keeping in mind daily commitments, stage of life you’re in, etc.)?
  • What can you cut from the list and still have the kind of holiday season you want to have?
  • What can you move around or change now to set yourself up to have the time and energy you need to do the things you actually want to do?

One blogger suggests setting up a holiday planner–either a section of your current planner or a separate planner dedicated to holiday plans. (Her post includes suggests and links to various planners she’s used.)

2. Develop a budget for the holidays.

Think about how much money you’re willing to set aside for each person you want to give a gift to. Having a budget written down now might help you resist the urge to overspend as the holidays get closer.

If the budget is an issue, take steps now to avoid uncomfortable situations during the holidays. Talk to extended family about skipping gifts, or giving gifts only to the children, or drawing names and setting a cap on the amount (so nobody feels embarrassed because somebody else gave a more extravagant gift).

3. Shop ahead.

The steps above will help make it easier for you to get your holiday shopping sooner rather than later. If you have the list of people you want to give gifts to and then brainstorm ideas for gifts for each, you’ll have it top-of-mind when you’re out and can be watching for those perfect gifts and watch for sales on the things you want to give. Also, shopping the smaller local stores and markets is also much easier to do if you plan ahead and start early.

4. Start decluttering.

Cluttered space contributes to anxiety and to a lack of focus. On the other hand, a clean, clutter-free space helps lead to a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.

In addition to the pleasure that comes from having a peaceful, decluttered home, getting rid of the “extra” stuff will also make space for the new stuff that invariably comes at the holidays.

Starting now you can:

  • Clean out refrigerator and pantry well before it’s time to do holiday cooking; non-perishables that you won’t use could be donated to a food pantry.
  • Declutter kids rooms and find things to discard or donate. This might be a new holiday tradition of choosing gently used toys to donate to a shelter. Get the kids involved.
  • Declutter and refresh bathrooms that might be used by guests during holiday parties (same with guest room).
  • Declutter master bedroom and make it a refuge for you during the busy holiday season.
  • Clean out coat closet and make space for guest coats. (Can you donate any coats that have been outgrown or replaced to a shelter?)
  • Clean out a closet or space for gifts, wrapping paper, etc., as you buy them. If you have the space for it, you could even set up a gift-wrapping station where you have everything you need at hand to wrap gifts.

5. Cook/bake ahead.

If you think about holiday meals ahead of time, are there any dishes or treats you traditionally serve that can be made ahead and frozen? Or things you can have in the freezer and pull out to take to a party or serve unexpected guests?

Baking can be a gift choice as well. Why not do some baking and put together pretty boxes filled with homemade treats? You could start doing some of that now.

6. Make reservations for holiday travel.

Book your travel now! Prices are increasing daily!

7. Plan some fun events for yourself and your family.

Plan some fun holiday activities/outings. Check all the surrounding areas and compile a list of festivals/parades, attractions we can enjoy to really get the most out of the season.

Now might be a great time to start investigating the options for memory-making family activities during the holiday season. What does your community offer? What special sights are available near where you live?

Make a little Christmastime bucket list of fun things you can do or places to go, for example: go to a tree lighting ceremony, go ice skating, watch certain movies, have a sugar cookie decorating night, etc. Schedule the must-dos and leave the rest as a list to refer to when deciding what to do with your down time.

8. Get a jump on your holiday cards or letter.

Take a family photo now; assemble/update addresses and begin addressing cards. Start now!

9. Make it meaningful.

Be intentional about keeping your priorities in mind, and think about what’s important to you and your family. Deciding what is really important, especially as kids get older, is key to a happy season and to creating traditions that will last.

One secret to a joyful, lower-stress holiday season might be giving a little thought now so you can plan to manage expectations. If there is something you’ve always historically done, but you decide not to do it, you can start to let others know you are going to do things a little differently. It’s better to talk about it now than to drop a bomb and not meet expectations.

10. Make personal time and self-care a priority, even during the holiday season.

Include some time for self-care–schedule your holiday-time appointments (hair? nails? massage? brunch with a beloved friend?) now.

Leave some white space on your calendar. Filling up every second of the holiday season with events and activity and go-go-go might result in happy memories . . . or it might result in exhaustion and emotional meltdowns. Focus on what’s most meaningful, and carve out time to relax and rest and savor the season’s most special times.

*Article Source: theproductivewoman.com

How to Determine If You Can Afford to Buy a Home

How to Determine If You Can Afford to Buy a Home

The gap between the increase in personal income and residential real estate prices has been used to defend the concept that we are experiencing an affordability crisis in housing today.

It is true that home prices and wages are two key elements in any affordability equation. There is, however, an extremely important third component to that equation: mortgage interest rates.

Mortgage interest rates have fallen by more than a full percentage point from this time last year. Today’s rate is 3.75%; it was 4.86% at this time last year. This has dramatically increased a purchaser’s ability to afford a home.

Here are three reports validating that purchasing a home is in fact more affordable today than it was a year ago:

CoreLogic’s Typical Mortgage Payment

“Falling mortgage rates and slower home-price growth mean that many buyers this year are committing to lower mortgage payments than they would have faced for the same home last year. After rising at a double-digit annual pace in 2018, the principal-and-interest payment on the nation’s median-priced home – what we call the “typical mortgage payment”– fell year-over-year again.”  

The National Association of Realtors’ Affordability Index

“At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month and up from a year ago…All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago…Payment as a percentage of income was down from a year ago.”

First American’s Real House Price Index (RHPI)

“In 2019, the dynamic duo of lower mortgage rates and rising incomes overcame the negative impact of rising house price appreciation on affordability. Indeed, affordability reached its highest point since January 2018. Focusing on nominal house price changes alone as an indication of changing affordability, or even the relationship between nominal house price growth and income growth, overlooks what matters more to potential buyers – surging house-buying power driven by the dynamic duo of mortgage rates and income growth. And, we all know from experience, you buy what you can afford to pay per month.”

Bottom Line

Though the price of homes may still be rising, the cost of purchasing a home is actually falling. If you’re thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, let’s connect so you can better understand the difference between the two.

The Barbie Malibu House is for Real!

The Barbie Malibu House is for Real!

At first I thought, no way, this is too silly, then I read on to find out how this $30 million home has been transformed for a weekend to celebrate Barbie’s 60 years with Mattel! Who would have thought?!

The Barbie Malibu DreamHouse isn’t just a dollhouse—it’s real! And it will soon be up for rent for a very limited time on Airbnb.

In celebration of the Barbie brand’s 60th anniversary, toy company Mattel has made over a house in Malibu to mimic Barbie’s digs. It’ll be rented out for a mere $60 per night, for just one weekend, Oct. 27–29. The listing will go live at 11 a.m. PDT on Wednesday—so set your clocks, Barbie fans, because this opportunity will get snapped up fast!

What it took to turn this house into the DreamHouse

At first glance, this house truly does look like the Barbie Malibu DreamHouse to a T, with its pink furniture and even a second-story slide connected to the pool.

But the house also has a lot of differences, making it more comfortable for real-life guests. For instance, while Barbie, Ken, and friends may have been happy with just one toilet, these lucky renters will appreciate the house’s two bathrooms and two bedrooms, which can comfortably accommodate four guests.

If you’re worried that your odds are slim of being the one to kick back in this mansion, don’t worry: Once Mattel’s celebration is over, the house will go back on Airbnb, just without the Barbie garb. And let’s face it—even without that epic purple slide, this Malibu house is still a fantastic getaway.

How much does this real-life DreamHouse actually cost?

So without the Barbie trimmings, how much is this Malibu house actually worth? According to Los Angeles real estate agent Beatrice de Jong, a house of this size in Malibu with its ocean views and infinity pool would be pricey even without Mattel pulling such a stunt.

“Being so close to Malibu Pier means this house is in a prime beach real estate market and likely worth $30 million,” de Jong says.

And this recent Barbie makeover will likely only add to its value.

“The Barbie Malibu DreamHouse was the first home I coveted, and likely responsible for inspiring many little girls to grow up with a love for real estate,” says de Jong. And besides, she jokes, “Barbie is a true entrepreneur, having career experience working as a doctor, fashion model, an astronaut, and virtually everything else. I am excited to see that she is adding Airbnb host to her resume.”

*Article Source: Realtor.com.

Be on the Lookout for Gen Z: The Next Generation of Homebuyers

Be on the Lookout for Gen Z: The Next Generation of Homebuyers

You’ve likely heard a ton about Millennials, but what about Gen Z? In the next 5 years, this generation will be between the ages of 23 and 28, and they’re eager to become homeowners faster than you may think.

According to realtor.com, “Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z members say they want to own a home before age 30,” and Concentrix Analytics said, “52% of prospective Gen Z buyers are already saving to buy a home.”

Wikipedia defines Generation Z (Gen Z) as “the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”

The report from Concentrix goes a little deeper on Gen Z, identifying the main reasons this cohort wants to own homes:

  • 55% want to own a home because they want to start a family
  • 47% want to build wealth over time
  • 33% want to make their family proud

Although they’re eager to buy, this generation also perceives a few challenges ahead:

  • 66% believe saving for a down payment and closing costs will be challenging
  • 58% feel covering the monthly costs of owning may be difficult
  • 52% perceive a lack of knowledge about where to start

It is also interesting to note that 21% of Gen Zers think their parents will provide financial help, 17% will use a down payment assistance program, and 15% believe other family members will help them. One of the highlights of the report mentioned,

“More than half of Gen Zers who think they’ll receive help also think they will need to pay their parents back, compared to 40 percent of millennials.”

Bottom Line

It is never too early to start saving for your own home, whether you are part of Gen Z or a different generation. If you would like to know where to start and how much you need to save to reach your goal of buying a home, let’s get together so you can better understand the process.

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa.

You Need More Than a Guide. You Need a Sherpa.

We are in anything but a “normal market” right now. The media is full of stories about an impending recession, a trade war with China, and constant political upheaval. Each of these potential situations could dramatically impact the real estate market. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’

A Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.

They are much more than just guides.

This is much more than a normal real estate market.

The average guide just won’t do. You need a ‘Sherpa.’ You need an expert who understands what is happening in the market and why it is happening. You need someone who can simply and effectively explain it to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, even in these challenging times.

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” 

Bottom Line

Hiring an agent who has a finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one.

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids

Top Priorities When Moving with Kids

According to the Pew Research Center, around 37% of U.S students will be going back to school soon and the rest have already started the new academic year. With school-aged children in your home, buying or selling a house can take on a whole different approach when it comes to finding the right size, location, school district, and more.

Recently, the 2019 Moving with Kids Report from the National Association of Realtors®(NAR) studied “the different purchasing habits as well as seller preferences during the home buying and selling process.” This is what they found:

When Purchasing a Home

The major difference between the homebuyers who have children and those who do not is the importance of the neighborhood. In fact, 53% said the quality of the school district is an important factor when purchasing a home, and 50% select neighborhoods by the convenience to the schools.

Buyers with children also purchase larger, detached single-family homes with 4 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms at approximately 2,110 square feet.

Furthermore, 26% noted how childcare expenses delayed the home-buying process and forced additional compromises: 31% in the size of the home, 24% in the price, and 18% in the distance from work.

When Selling a Home

Of those polled, 23% of buyers with children sold their home “very urgently,” and 46% indicated “somewhat urgently, within a reasonable time frame.” Selling with urgency can pressure sellers to accept offers that are not in their favor. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR explains,

“When buying or selling a home, exercising patience is beneficial, but in some cases – such as facing an upcoming school year or the outgrowing of a home – sellers find themselves rushed and forced to accept a less than ideal offer.”

For sellers with children, 21% want a real estate professional to help them sell the home within a specific time frame, 20% at a competitive price, and 19% to market their home to potential buyers.

Bottom Line

Buying or selling a home can be driven by different priorities when you are also raising a family. If you’re a seller with children and looking to relocate, let’s get together to navigate the process in the most reasonable time frame for you and your family.

Get ready for Fall with these 7 home maintenance tips

Get ready for Fall with these 7 home maintenance tips

1. Fertilize Your Lawn

According to experts, fertilizing your lawn in autumn protects it over the winter and helps it green up faster come springtime. Fall feeding is especially important in areas with dry summers.

Dosing your lawn with fertilizer in autumn will trigger the renewed growth of both blades and roots, so your grass will be thick and healthy again before winter’s colder temperatures set in.

2. Get Your HVAC Serviced

Your AC has been faithfully chugging along all summer. Now it’s time to give it a rest. Before you tuck it away for the winter, be sure to clean the coils. You can find YouTube videos showing how to do this safely.

If you’re done using the AC for the year, cover the outdoor unit to keep debris and ice from damaging your system. Then move indoors and switch your thermostat from cooling to heating. Change the filter, too. You should also make sure all indoor vents are uncovered, and maybe clean your own air ducts while you’re at it.

3. Clean The Gutters

Clogged gutters will channel water down the side of your home where it eventually damages the foundation and can flood your basement. So get a ladder and pull debris out of the gutters by hand. If you have a one-story house, you can use this leaf-blower attachment to blast the stuff. Still too much work? Hire a gutter cleaning company — they’re worth it.

4. Drain And Store Your Lawn Equipment

Over time, unused fuel goes through chemical changes that create deposits and destroy your lawn equipment. So drain the tanks of your lawn mower, leaf blower, and weed eater before storing them. Fall is also an excellent time to get your lawn mower blades sharpened so they’ll be ready for next Spring.

5. Turn Off And Drain Outdoor Faucets And Sprinklers

Outdoor hoses and pipes will burst if they’re full of water when the temperatures plunge below freezing. While replacing a garden hose isn’t that difficult, it’s incredibly expensive to dig up your lawn’s sprinkler system to deal with burst pipes. So, disconnect your outdoor hoses and turn off the outdoor water supply. Open outdoor faucets and run your sprinkler system to drain any remaining water.

6. Inspect And Clean Your Chimney

When I think of chimney cleaning, I always picture Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins singing “Chim-chim-e-ny, chim-chim-e-ney, chim, chim, cheroo.” It’s a charming song!

Nothing is charming about filling your home with soot, smoke, and carbon monoxide because your chimney isn’t working correctly. Even gas fireplaces need an inspection to ensure the pipe is free of cracks that can allow smoke to enter your home. This job is best left to pros. The cost runs around $100-200.

7. Get Your Ice Melt And Snow Blower Ready

By the time winter arrives, it’s often too late to find snow gear. Stock up on such things in autumn when they’re plentiful and lower-priced. Even if you think you’ve got enough left from last year, or that your snow blower or shovel are in good shape, take a few moments to check. You don’t want to get caught out in the cold finding out you’re wrong.

Don’t Delay

As with most home maintenance tasks, preparing your home for fall isn’t tricky, just time-consuming. Putting it off causes problems that can wind up costing you an enormous amount of money, though, so set aside time on the next couple of months to get these jobs done. Texas heat will last a while longer, but fall will come in early October, and you never know the weather it brings!

Got Mold? Removal and Prevention Tips

Got Mold? Removal and Prevention Tips

Mold is a primary concern for many homeowners. The main reason for this is it can arise abruptly and for a variety of reasons: A damp bathroom, leaky pipe or the dreaded flooded basement.

Generally, there are two types of issues you can encounter with mold: Minor issues like mildew in your bathroom or major issues like drywall saturated with water from a flooded basement. In either case, the goal is to tackle and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. A failure to do so could result in significant property damage.

Given all this, the biggest concern with mold reaches much farther than unsightly mildew or even extensive property damage. The biggest fear is the health risks associated with mold that can affect you and our loved ones: Mainly allergies, infections, and upper respiratory issues. For these reasons, it’s important not to drag feet and tackle the issue head on.

As soon as you notice the onset of mold, follow these steps to mitigate any property damage that may be caused and more importantly, to protect the health of you and your loved ones.

1) Bathroom
Ground zero for mold is generally the bathroom, making it the most important room to monitor. The grout lines in your shower are the most common place to find mildew. For this reason, it’s important to keep your shower clean; you will find that mildew accumulates in this area weekly.

Mildew can be easily removed by scrubbing it with diluted bleach (6 parts water, 1 part bleach). It should come off generally easy, but be meticulous and remove all visible mildew. Once you are confident it has been removed, rinse and dry.

A good strategy to greatly reduce the presence of mildew in your shower is to keep a squeegee handy. Anytime you take a shower squeegee all the water off of your walls. Coupled with a good bathroom fan, this strategy can greatly reduce the presence of mold and mildew in your shower.

2) Walls
If you have mold in your drywalls, the good news is, like in the bathroom, it’s generally easy to eliminate. The bad news is it may be part of a larger issue like a leaking pipe.

First thing’s first, identifying the problem. If dark circles are forming on your wall, the odds are almost certain that it’s mold. Once you have identified the problem area, it’s important to tackle it immediately to prevent it from spreading.

Always protect yourself when removing mold. Since mold is generally detrimental through inhalation, the most important first line of protection is a safety mask. A pair of gloves and safety goggles to boot will ensure you’re fully protected.

Once you’re protected, make a diluted bleach solution (6 parts water, 1 part bleach) and use a stiff brush to scrub the mold off. Once you are confident you have removed all the mold, rinse the affected areas thoroughly and dry the area as best as possible.

If you notice mold recurring in the same areas after thoroughly removing it, then your problem is deeper and it’s important to seek professionals to diagnose and eliminate the problem. Remember, time is of the essence.

Busting the Myth About a Housing Affordability Crisis

Busting the Myth About a Housing Affordability Crisis

It seems you can’t find a headline with the term “housing affordability” without the word “crisis” attached to it. That’s because some only consider the fact that residential real estate prices have continued to appreciate. However, we must realize it’s not just the price of a home that matters, but the price relative to a purchaser’s buying power.

Homes, in most cases, are purchased with a mortgage. The current mortgage rate is a major component of the affordability equation. Mortgage rates have fallen by over a full percentage point since December 2018. Another major piece of the affordability equation is a buyer’s income. The median family income has risen by 3.5% over the last year.

Let’s look at three different reports issued recently that reveal how homes are very affordable in comparison to historic numbers, and how they have become even more affordable over the past several months.

1. National Association of Realtors’ (NAR)Housing Affordability Index:

Busting the Myth About a Housing Affordability Crisis | MyKCM

Here is a graph showing the index going all the way back to 1990. The higher the column, the more affordable homes are:We can see that homes are less affordable today (the green bar) than they were during the housing crash (the red bars). This was when distressed properties like foreclosures and short sales saturated the market and sold for massive discounts. However, homes are more affordable today than at any time from 1990 to 2008.

Busting the Myth About a Housing Affordability Crisis | MyKCM

NAR’s report on the index also shows that the percentage of a family’s income needed for a mortgage payment (16.5%) is dramatically lower than last year and is well below the historic norm of 21.2%.

2. Black Knight’s Mortgage Monitor:

This report reveals that as a result of falling interest rates and slowing home price appreciation, affordability is the best it has been in 18 months. Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske explains:

“For much of the past year and a half, affordability pressures have put a damper on home price appreciation. Indeed, the rate of annual home price growth has declined for 15 consecutive months. More recently, declining 30-year fixed interest rates have helped to ease some of those pressures, improving the affordability outlook considerably…And despite the average home price rising by more than $12K since November, today’s lower fixed interest rates have worked out to a $108 lower monthly payment…Lower rates have also increased the buying power for prospective homebuyers looking to purchase the average-priced home by the equivalent of 15%.”

3. First American’s Real House Price Index:

While affordability has increased recently, Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist explains:

“If the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declines just a fraction more, consumer house-buying power would reach its highest level in almost 20 years.”

Fleming goes on to say that the gains in affordability are about mortgage rates and the increase in family incomes:

“Average nominal household incomes are nearly 57 percent higher today than in January 2000. Record income levels combined with mortgage rates near historic lows mean consumer house-buying power is more than 150 percent greater today than it was in January 2000.”

Bottom Line

If you’ve put off the purchase of a first home or a move-up home because of affordability concerns, you should take another look at your ability to purchase in today’s market. You may be pleasantly surprised!

6 Smart Tricks to Make Your Bathroom Look Luxurious

6 Smart Tricks to Make Your Bathroom Look Luxurious

The kitchen takes first place in expenses, as renovations can take quite a bite out of our budget. The runner-up is the bathroom. Marble tile, whirlpool baths, and rain showers are just a few examples of why bathroom renovations can often take a lot of money to go through. Apart from upgrades, is there any other way of achieving that luxurious, high-class image? There are several things you can do to make your bathroom more comfortable, and give it a touch of personality along the way.

Color
One of the easiest ways to transform a home is to repaint the walls. This simple trick works with your bathroom as well. A black and white contrast does wonders, making the room seem more spacious than it is. Whether it is a smaller bathroom or a large one, this simple combination will help smaller details stand out. If this isn’t to your taste, there really is a huge variety of combinations.

Why not try out a wallpaper? Even though it may be time-consuming and costly, you might like the style. This type of change can easily be undone and is a good decision if you’re not thinking of a full renovation any time soon.

Tiling
If nothing else is to your liking, you could take the more expensive route and tile your bathroom. Whether you’re going for a playful tone or a classy marble tile, there truly is a wide variety of choices. Some recommend neutral colors and simple designs for bathroom tiles, as they’ll always be trendy. On the other hand, if you find single-color tiling boring, feel free to express yourself. Whether you choose glass tiles or simply play with colors to create patterns, there’s enough room to have some fun. Another option is simply tiling halfway up the wall; this creates a sense of space and saves some money along the way.

Lighting
If you can get the right combination of lighting and color, you’re more than halfway there. First of all, if you have a skylight, it is obvious how much of a luxurious lighting setting you could have. Natural lighting always makes the strongest impact, but sadly, not everyone has natural lighting as an option. Apart from bringing in some light, do some thinking on the source. For instance, instead of a traditional light bar above your bathroom mirror, try placing a sconce or two on the sides of the mirror. Overhead lighting is also a good choice, as the atmosphere it creates is often overlooked. If you’ve spent a lot of time gathering the right accessories, mats, and jars for your bathroom you want to shed the proper light on them.

A Custom Touch
What most people don’t realize is that they can achieve the luxurious look they’re after without much advice in the first place. In most cases, it’s about self-expression. In high-end bathrooms, you’ll find a stool or an ottoman, for instance. You won’t have trouble finding a use for them, and they’ll personalize your bathroom somehow. Also, art is second to none in creating a grandiose setting. If you like a certain artist, why not decorate a wall with one of his pieces? If you like being classy, a vintage record player might be right up your alley. Jars are also an increasingly popular way of storing your bathroom supplies. Another way to use these jars is to fill them with potpourri, to create an enjoyable aroma.

Do you have a bathmat? Apart from keeping you safe from slippery tiles, they help a bathroom look complete. You’d be surprised at the wide variety of rugs and custom linoleum mats you can buy to fill up that space. Keep them clean, and they’ll keep your bathroom looking fancy with beautiful colors and patterns.

Upgrades
When it comes to upgrades, people often fear that it’s going to be a costly endeavor, but this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. What’s most important is that you don’t forget any part of your bathroom, as you want the pieces to work together. For example: if you want to exchange your shower heads for an overhead rain shower, you may want to upgrade your shower screen along the way. There is a wide variety of luxurious shower screens which won’t take a large bite of your funds, and will only add to the luxury.

A Green Touch
We’ve already mentioned potpourri, but how about another natural decoration to fill that empty corner? A vase with your favorite flowers shows you have taste, and makes the room itself seem larger. It’s no wonder that people decorate their homes with flowers wherever they can. While it is true that less is more, when it comes to these types of decorations, you won’t make a mistake.

Final thoughts
The bathroom, alongside your kitchen, will consume the most money when it comes to renovation and improvement. Spending a lot of money isn’t necessarily the way to go if you want to create an image of luxury. People are often surprised at the results they get after playing with colors for a bit. Let your personality spill, and put up a few flowers or bring an accessory or two into the bathroom. If wallpapers aren’t your taste, tiling is still an option, although a costly one. Remember that you want all of the pieces to fall in perfectly with each other. Lastly, don’t forget that light can only help with the image you’re aiming for.

*Article first published on https://tourwizard.net/.

Why All the Chicken Littles Should Calm Down

Why All the Chicken Littles Should Calm Down

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released their 2019 Q2 Homeownership Report. Some began to see the sky falling, believing the report showed Americans may be stepping back from their belief in homeownership.

The national homeownership rate (Americans who owned vs. rented their primary residence) increased significantly during the housing boom, reaching its peak of 69.2% in 2004. The Census Bureau reported that the second quarter of 2019 ended with a homeownership rate of 64.1%, which is down from the 64.8% rate for the fourth quarter of 2018. Based on this news, some started to question the consumer’s belief in the idea of homeownership as a major part of the American Dream.

Everyone Calm Down…

It is true the homeownership rate did fall. However, if you look at the national rate over the last 35 years (1984-2019), you can see that the current homeownership rate has returned to historical norms. The 64.1% rate is equivalent to the rates in 1984 and 1994.

What Will the Future Bring?

Part of the reason the homeownership rate slipped is a lack of inventory available for purchase for first-time home buyers. The demand is there, but currently, the supply is not. It seems, however, that is about to change.

In a recent report, Ivy Zelman explained that builders have finally started to increase the number of homes they’re constructing at the lower-end price points:

“Robust growth in the entry-level price point of late should translate to a reacceleration in homeownership rates moving forward.”

Bottom Line

Today, the homeownership rate sits at historic norms. In all probability, it will increase as more inventory becomes available. There is no reason for concern.

Will Generation Z Revolutionize The Housing Market?

Will Generation Z Revolutionize The Housing Market?

More Optimistic Than Millennials, Generation Z Is Here to Revolutionize the Housing Market

To better understand the difference in attitude between Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X towards homeownership, intergenerational living and saving for a down payment, PropertyShark conducted a generational survey on their preferences.

Key takeaways:

  • Generation Z has its eye on homeownership, with 83% planning on buying a home within the next 5 years
  • College debt is the #1 obstacle towards homeownership for Millennials and Generation Z
  • Generation X chooses intergenerational living to care for relatives more often than any other generation
  • Generation Z is willing to compromise on almost anything to keep costs down – but dreams of lots of space and amenities
  • Generation Z to pose serious competition to Millennials on the real estate market
  • Millennials are more realistic about their means, and the most pessimistic about the prospect of homeownership

College debt remains the #1 obstacle for Generation Z and Millennials

Generation Z’s aspirational lifestyle spurs amenities arms race

Living at home is all about practicality for Generation Z

  • Gen X as those born before 1980, Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1994, and Gen Z as those born between 1995 and 2010. All survey respondents were over the age of 18. As such Gen Z respondents only include those born between 1995 and 1999.