5 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas That Will Last the Test of Time

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p: Houzz

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest design trends, but if you choose something that’s too trendy you may regret your choices a few years down the line when the fad is long gone. Chances are you’re only going to remodel your current kitchen once, so it’s important to get it right!

It’s best to stick with the classics to ensure your remodel is timeless and will retain it’s marketability and value. Here are our top 5 picks:

White never goes out of style. White is fresh, clean, and bright, a no-brainer for the kitchen. Because it is a standard color for manufacturers, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets, sinks, and appliances at any price point, making it an ideal choice for any budget. You don’t have to go all white in the kitchen – add your personal touch with wall color, colorful small appliances, or display colorful dinnerware.

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p: Houzz

Install hardwood flooring. Buyers love hardwood floors – it’s one of the most requested wish-list features when searching for a house. Hardwoods add warmth to a space and make it feel more inviting, and as the ‘heart of the home’, you want your kitchen to feel welcoming. With such a large variety of woods and stains available, hardwood flooring will pair well with any kitchen style.

Choose Shaker-style cabinets. Shaker cabinets look good in any setting thanks to their clean, simple lines – something that will never go out of style.

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p: Kindesign

Carrara marble countertops are timeless. Carrara marble has been used in homes for thousands of years – it’s white color and lacy graining look great in a white kitchen. It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end choices, such as quartz.

Subway tiles are classic. Choose a white or neutral subway tile for the backsplash to blend with any look. Ceramic subway tiles will guard against moisture, are a snap to clean, last forever, and always looks classy.

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Are you Looking for a House or a Home?

DSCN4282Are you looking for a house or a home? This question seems redundant. Is there a distinct difference between a house and a home? Houses exist everywhere, they are easy to find. Finding a home is more elusive.

Looking out my kitchen window I can see two houses across the street. Opening my KW app (download the app here) on my phone it’s easy scroll “nearby houses” with photos and prices of houses in Williston. Jumping in my truck and driving to Shaw’s at Maple Tree Place I pass village houses, neighborhood houses and a condominium community all within my four-mile drive. These are all physical places where people live.

A house is a building where people live. Location, size, bedrooms, bathrooms typically define a house. For example, a friend may call and ask me to look for a 4-bedroom house within walking distance of UVM Medical Center. Moving involves changing your physical location from one house to another. Often, when showing a house I am asked, “Why are they selling?” In all cases, it’s simply because they are moving.

DSCN4717When it’s time to change your physical location, or move to a new house, many real estate agents will engage you in a “Buyer Consultation.” Notes from this meeting include your wants, needs, and wishes for your new house. Most of the time, this involves the components or features of a house. For example, small yard, space for a garden, privacy, flat driveway, ½ bath on first level, walk-out basement, two-car garage, pool, etc. Most important, though, is your preferred location. Discussions about location involve a particular lifestyle that will, eventually, lead to finding a home. Another conversation follows involving personal questions. These are lifestyle questions, which, may sound intrusive or prying, but this is what I need to know to help you find a home. To assist in this quest for a change in location, there is a need to assess your lifestyle. Hence, the need to tell me about yourself. From parrots to parties, please “tell all.” No need to feel self-conscious as I am not judging you, just trying to help you find a home. Include your preferred forms of recreation, shopping, eating, traveling, exercising, etc.

Finding a home is more elusive than finding a house. The word “home” elicits an emotional connection to a physical place where one reads, cooks, relaxes. Your home does not need to fit the physical definition of a house. It can be an apartment, a boat, a trailer, a cabin, a room over a garage, or a yurt.

600x600bb-85If you’re still skeptical, watch one of my favorite HGTV shows, Love It or List It. A simple premise of “should we stay or should we go?” The “Love It” portion involves designer Hilary. “List It” features David a real estate agent. While it may seem counterintuitive for me to cheer for the “Love It” part of the show, let me explain. David finds them a physical house that seems to meet their expressed need to move. Yet, the physical house that he finds does not meet their lifestyle needs. Either the commute is too long, the schools have changed, they are no longer near their favorite gym, restaurant, juice bar. In the end, the talented Hilary has revamped their living space to make it truly a “love it” and the place that they call “home.” In conclusion, the perfect house may not be the perfect home.

4 DIY Projects Under $500

It seems there is always something that could use a little sprucing up, and with HGTV, DIY Network, and Pinterest, it’s hard not to catch the renovation bug. Luckily, there are some budget-friendly projects that you can handle yourself on a weekend! Here are our top 4 DIY projects under $500:

076a1834479ec7782ee48b24169cebd7--fern-on-front-porch-front-door-patio-ideasHit the refresh button on your entry. If your front entry is looking a little tired and offers no curb appeal, it’s time to freshen things up. A welcoming entrance will improve the whole house and it’s easy to create. Add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware to your front door – switch out old brass hardware for oil-rubbed bronze. Choose some sleek house numbers to add to the door or next to the door. A few brightly colored plants and a new welcome mat will add some life to the entry.

Update lighting. Changing out dated light fixtures is a quick project that will make a huge impact. Consider swapping any brass fixtures with brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze. Select fixtures that complement each other and your home’s overall style.

Replace kitchen hardware. It’s amazing the difference upgrading your kitchen cabinet and drawer pulls will make! Hardware comes in a huge array of styles and price points. Look at the finishes that already exist in your home – if you have stainless appliances, brushed nickel hardware will match well. If you’ve gone the route of black stainless appliances or have oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures, flat black hardware will blend nicely.

small-bathroom-makeover-ideas-astonishing-on-pertaining-to-best-25-makeovers-pinterest-11Upgrade the bathroom. Since it’s typically one of the smaller rooms in your home, the bath is a great area to upgrade, and a little will go a long way. You can choose some more expensive finishes in this space because it is so small. If you’ve had your eye on some marble tile, splurge on the small bathroom floor. Replacing the vanity will completely change the look of the room – you can find simple, single sink vanities for under $500, but will likely have to spend more for double vanities. Upgrade your shower head for a touch of luxury that will make you want to get out of bed.

These improvements will make your home more stylish and will help you to enjoy your home more every day. If you’re thinking of selling, these projects will add value by making your home ‘show ready’ to garner that all important positive first impression.

5 Steps to an Organized Closet

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P: stayinelpaso.com

Closets have doors to hide your secret mess. You accumulate things and stuff them in every possible inch of your closet, so where do you begin to dig out? If the task seems overwhelming, follow these 5 steps to organize the closet of your dreams:

Start with a clean slate. Pull everything out of your closet and set it aside. Now you can give the space a good dusting, wipe down any shelves, and vacuum the floor – don’t forget the corners!

Maximize your space. If you have the resources, investing in a closet system like elfa with custom shelving and drawers is a great long-term fix. If that’s not in the budget, there are some inexpensive options you can implement to make the most of your storage space. Hanging shelves are great for folded items like sweaters and sweatshirts, or even organizing accessories like hats, scarves, and purses. When using hangers, choose all the same color for a sleek look and slim non-slip hangers will maximize the space.

Keep only what you wear. This is always the most difficult task, getting rid of the items you no longer like or wear. Maybe you’ve been holding on to that pair of jeans that is 2 sizes too small, because one day you will fit in them. Let them go! Weed out the unnecessary items by asking the following questions:

  • Have I worn this in the past year?
  • Does it have holes or stains?
  • Does it fit well? Ahem, jeans!
  • Does it look outdated?
  • Do I still like this?

Separate everything into 3 piles: keep, sell/donate/toss, not sure. If the items in your sell/donate pile are still on trend and in good condition, you can take them to a place like Plato’s Closet or Style Encore and make some money off of your unworn threads. Try on the items in your ‘not sure’ pile and either keep or toss. If you still can’t decide, place the items in a box and store it in the attic, basement, or garage. If you don’t feel compelled to find the box in 6 months, toss it.

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P: Pinterest

Sort your clothes by color. Now that you have weeded out the garbage, hang your keepers up by color. It will make getting dressed in the morning easier and seeing your closet so beautifully organized will encourage you to keep everything neat and tidy.

Keep it clutter free. Don’t let unwanted items pile up and crowd your closet again! Learn from Oprah – After you wear something, hang it in the closet in the opposite direction from everything else. After six months, anything that hasn’t been hung in the opposite direction gets donated.

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Isn’t it Too Cold to Live in Vermont?

Roberts WinterBundle up! It’s that time of the year again. Many people move to Vermont every year for our quality of life. We are fortunate to live here, in Northern New England, as our weather and seasons are perpetually changing. If you have lived here for a while then you are familiar with an old New England adage, “If you don’t like the weather then wait a minute and it will change.”

After an unseasonably warm fall (we didn’t take our window unit air conditioner out until November 3rd) we are now experiencing cold temperatures. One question that newcomers to Vermont ask is “How do you live here? It’s so cold!”

Over the years, Realtors, in particular, have adapted to the cold weather in Vermont as we spend a good deal of time getting in and out of our vehicles and running in and out of houses in all weather. If you follow my blog you will remember the family from Connecticut that drove here in a blizzard after Christmas one year as they were going to move to Vermont for a change of lifestyle. We looked at vacant houses that hadn’t had their driveways plowed often tromping through three feet of snow.

Here are our 5 tips for getting through our coldest months:

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p: Darn Tough

Throw out all of your socks. Yes, that’s right. When you wear regular, everyday socks your feet experience sweating and cooling throughout the day, not the best thing in the winter. We recommend Darn Tough socks, made in Vermont, lifetime guarantee. Wear wool socks.

Layer the “right way.” Of course everyone knows you need layers. Again, your best “base layer” should be wool. Focus on your “core” with an insulated vest and invest in a warm scarf that matches all of your outerwear. Be ready to pull off the layers when you get inside a store, restaurant, movie theater. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being too warm.

Invest in seat heaters for your vehicle. In Vermont this is not a luxury item. If your car does not have them we recommend having them installed with a local auto accessory shop. While you’re there you might as well get a remote car starter. There is nothing more jolting than getting into a cold car. While “warming up” your vehicle may not be recommended by others, trust us on this one.

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p: crystalinmarie.com

Wear a hat. You can see this for yourself. On your morning commute look around at the other drivers. Real Vermonters wear hats, winter hats. I have resisted this for years (pure vanity, afraid of “hat head/hair”) but now it is a necessity. Once it’s on you won’t want to take it off.

Electric blankets and throws really work. Many of us live in older homes that were built prior to the energy efficiency days. There is nothing better than sitting on your couch after a long day and putting a heated throw on your lap.

5 Ways to Stage a Home on the Cheap

At The Weaver Team, we wholeheartedly believe in the power of staging. Staging will create a more buyer-friendly space that will help your home sell faster and for a higher price. Here are 5 staging tricks you can implement that cost little to no money:

Langlais SummerCurb appeal – The exterior appearance of your home should entice buyers to come in and see more, so keep it neat and tidy. Make sure to mow the lawn, trim the bushes, weed the flower beds, and add a new layer of mulch to really freshen up the landscape. Add some flowers or plants in colorful pots to the porch and dress up the front door with a seasonal wreath to add warmth and a ‘welcome’ vibe.

Declutter – If there is only one thing you do before putting your home on the market, get rid of the clutter! Buyers cannot see past your personal items. Use the 90 day rule – remove anything that you will not need for 90 days. This applies to every area of the home, even closets and cabinets. Think of it as preparing for your move, you won’t have to pack these items again when your house sells! If you do not have storage space in a basement and garage for the boxes, rent a small storage unit.

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P: Houzz

Stage rooms with a purpose – If you’ve been using your dining room as an office, it’s time to get rid of the desk and bring in your dining table. If you’ve got a spare bedroom that you’ve been using for storage, remove the boxes and bring in a bed and side table, or stage it as an office with a desk and chair. Make sure each room has a single purpose, if it’s not clear to the buyer they may be confused as to how they could use the space themselves.

It’s all in the details – Go beyond your every day cleaning routine and really make your home sparkle. Detail each room – dust every surface, wipe down all baseboards and trim, and shine any fixtures. Replace any broken or worn outlet covers and switch plates with contractor grade plates that are inexpensive, but will make a world of difference. Fix any dripping faucets, squeaky hinges, or loose fixtures.

bright-living-room-on-living-room-pertaining-to-bright-colored-design-ideas-9Light it up – Clean all of the windows to let the light shine in! If you have heavy drapery that blocks the light, opt for a lighter or sheer curtain to ensure light fills the room, or remove the drapery all together. Make sure all of the light fixtures have working bulbs, and all at a similar wattage so that they all glow evenly.

5  Inconvenient Truths About Finding a Good Real Estate Agent

Finding a good real estate agent may not be as easy as searching Google or Yelp, read on to learn why you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet when it comes to real estate.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.05.40 PM1.     The “Premiere Agent” on Zillow has paid to be in that #1 position. Many agents pay third party search engines to pop up at the top of the list of real estate agents in your area. This truth extends to Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Yelp.com. Many times, your top local real estate experts who provide exceptional service and results stay in business through repeat clients, past client referrals, and general “word-of-mouth” networks. Ask your colleagues, friends and family who they recommend before jumping on the internet to look for an agent.

2.     All “public” websites that provide house searches include “for sale by owner” properties. Many buyers are thrown off guard when they find out that the house listed on Realtor.com and other real estate websites may not necessarily be offered through a real estate agency. Buyer beware as dealing directly with the owner may result in a “lopsided” transaction where the buyer is not aware of traditional real estate practices in their local area and many times is at a disadvantage dealing with the seller.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.34.09 PM3.     Internet sites that promote “We will match you with a Top Agent” usually send your information to several agents that have signed up for that websites services. These agents scramble to be the “first” to contact you and the agents pay a hefty “finder” fee to the service.

4.     Reviews may not tell the whole story about an agent. While it’s interesting to read the 5 star reviews, sometimes when you see a “plethora” of them you may need to ask “Why are there so many reviews for this one agent?” There are no rules or regulations governing the procurement of these reviews from previous customers. Let that sink in.

5.     Sometimes your “marquee agents” burn and churn their clients. Again, the agents that pay to show up on searches may not be the type of agent that you are looking for. Many so-called “top” producing agents are working with multiple agents on their team who are doing most of the work with the buyers and sellers. You may not have access to the “top agent” at all.

 

Hurricane Season in Vermont?

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P: Mashable

This year, as Texas and Florida recover from Harvey and Irma, respectively, we are reminded how the weather effects the real estate industry. Yes, occasionally there is a rogue hurricane that whips through Vermont and causes flooding havoc like Hurricane Irene in 2011. But, for the most part, Vermont’s weather tends to be best known for cool autumn evenings and long, cold winters.

If you’ve lived in New England you know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather wait a minute and it will change.” Now, more than ever this seems to be the case. On the heels of a few weeks of cool, fall weather early in September many of us removed our window air conditioner units. Now, since the air conditioners are safely tucked away until next season, we are experiencing high humidity and summer-like temperatures that reach 80+ degrees during the day. It’s tough to think about mums and pumpkins when your annuals are still blazing with color.

What does this mean for Vermont real estate? It means that our local market is sensitive to changes in the weather. When it’s hot and humid few people find it appealing to look at houses. When it’s raining and snowing buyers like to look on-line rather than “in person.”

Roberts FallBut, does the real estate market slow down in the fall? How about winter? Years ago, real estate was more of a “seasonal” business, and, in some parts of the country it still is. Real estate market statistics are useless unless you see a “seasonally adjusted” number along with the monthly charts.

On the Weaver Team we have experienced the ups and downs of the years and the seasons, though none of our “trends” seem to hold from one year to the next. On one year we can have a record breaking December and the next year, not so much. A “January thaw” can jump start the next year’s sales. Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather and the market, it seems like real estate is turning into a year-round business, no longer dependent on the infamous “spring market.”

Many of our sellers decide to keep their houses listed and on the market through the holidays and winter months as the competition tends to drop off. We have sold houses right after major Nor’easter storms. You never know when a family will make a decision to make their home here, Home Sweet Vermont.

Specialist or General Practitioner?

19437377_1440448489379498_3950650927319035020_nDo you need to hire a “specialist” or do you need a “general practitioner” when assessing the best real estate agent when you are looking to jump into the real estate market as a buyer or seller?

If you come across a real estate agent that is touting themselves as a “specialist” here’s what you need to ask:

“I see you are a ‘Listing Specialist’ do you ever take buyers out to look at homes?”

“I see you are a ‘Buyer Specialist’ do you ever list homes and meet sellers?”

If the answer is no, then proceed with caution. The only way you can “specialize” in today’s real estate market is to understand the market from the buyer’s and seller’s unique perspectives, rarely do these overlap.

As a “general practitioner” I work with both buyers and sellers. The combination of meeting with sellers for listings and taking buyers on home buying tours invites a unique perspective on the whole marketplace, not just a segment.

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P: msrealtors.org

If you don’t take buyers to see houses, how do you know how houses compare to each other in your local market? Likewise, if you don’t counsel sellers on pre-marketing strategies, how do you know the best way to position their house in the market compared to other houses you have taken buyers to see? The short answer is – you don’t! You don’t know how houses compare in your local market place unless you are “all over” the market in terms of buyers and sellers.

Instead of a “specialist” you need a general real estate practitioner. Much like a family doctor who sees a wide range of maladies, your general real estate practitioner deals with the whole market, buyers and sellers. At the core of a general real estate practitioner, one who deals with buyers and sellers, is a true “specialist.”

 

6 Low-Cost Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades

If your kitchen cabinets look a little shabby, your whole kitchen will look outdated. No need to break the bank and completely replace the cabinets, just give them a simple facelift with one (or all) of our inexpensive kitchen cabinet updates:

fanofugifts.com

P: fanofugifts.com

Paint – Nothing will create a bigger impact than a fresh coat of paint. This is a project you can take on yourself, but the key is in the prep. Start with a thorough cleaning to remove any grease or dried on gunk. Fill holes and nicks with putty and sand to create a smooth, even surface. Lay cabinet doors flat to paint, and wait until completely dry before painting the other side. Create some visual interest by mixing up colors on upper and lower cabinets, or on cabinets and islands.

Hardware – Installing new hardware is probably the easiest way to dress up tired cabinets, but you need to be careful here as cabinet hardware can get very fancy and expensive. You can find simple, contemporary hardware in packs of 10 or 12 at Lowes or Home Depot.

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P: BHG

Ditch the Doors – Remove outdated cabinet doors and go for the open-shelf concept. They will make any kitchen look larger and you can accessorize the shelves to reflect your personal style.

Molding – Adding crown molding to the top of cabinets will add height and create a more high-end look. This added touch of luxury isn’t as pricey as you may think – three-inch, primed composite crown molding with a dentil design costs as little as $20 for 8 feet.

Glass Inserts – Changing or adding a decorative glass insert will give stock cabinets a custom look. Not all cabinet doors can accommodate a glass insert – check the backs of your doors to see if the center panel can be taken out. Glass inserts typically cost between $7 – $9 per square foot.

Task Lighting – You can easily add lighting under and inside cabinets with battery powered peel-and-stick LED lights. At about $8 each, you can afford to buy several and scatter them around. Under cabinet lighting is not only practical, it will also make the room feel much brighter and bigger as the dark shadows under the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.