Tag Archive: selling a home


PatioAround mid-winter, most of us begin pining for that casual, outdoor lifestyle that comes back with the sunshine and warm temperatures. While that’s not a reality many of us can enjoy quite yet, this is a great time to start planning those patio upgrades that will make lounging in the sunshine as cool and comfortable as we imagine.

Start by doing everything you can to bring the outdoors in with upgrades like larger windows, French doors, and window coverings such as Roman shades or plantation shutters that allow you to maximize light and sight lines. Then start planning how to bring the indoors out with patio furniture that’s sturdy and stylish enough to entice you out to the patio.

One of the most effective ways to add the perception of square footage to your home is to form an outdoor living space. To create that illusion, a patio cover is key. It adds months of access to your new outdoor space, and really helps to protect that new furniture.

There are many patio-cover options these days, and the right choice for you is dependent on what your outdoor lifestyle is really like.

Here are six great options to get you daydreaming about the sunny days to come:

Solid Shingles: This solid choice is just that-solid. Solid patio covers built as a simple addition over the patio use the same shingles the roof does and deliver a polished version of an outdoor living space. Gabled construction adds an architectural element to the home’s exterior, lending style and value. Solid patio covers are ideal if you entertain outdoors often or take family meals on the patio fairly regularly. If winter storage of your patio furniture is an issue, a solid patio cover is a great choice.

Solid Metal: All the same benefits apply here, but where the solid shingle look is great for more traditional architecture, we love the sophisticated look that a painted metal top can bring to a more contemporary or transitional home. It creates a real opportunity to expand square footage using fabrics, rugs and furnishings that look like they may belong inside. Thanks to the advancements in indoor/outdoor furnishings and materials, you can maintain the same palette on the patio that you have going on in your interior space.

Black and White PatioSolar Panels: Trending these days are eco-chic solar panel patio covers that let in a little light, but also collect energy. This obviously offers the most tangible return on your investment from the energy savings alone, but the forward thinking and contemporary styling are a definite upgrade when it comes time to sell your home.

Lattice: The open lattice look doesn’t offer all the cover of some other options, but the filtered sunshine and the chance to add a little green to the architecture with a climbing vine are almost instantly soothing. You can actually purchase open lattice patio covers already constructed in wood or aluminum. Make sure to opt for the aluminum if you’re considering that climbing vine. Otherwise, prepare for a bit more maintenance or to embrace a “weathered wood” aesthetic.

Wooden PatioRetractable: Our current favorite, retractable patio covers bring all the casual style of the open-lattice or pergola look along with some of the comfort and protection of a solid cover. The option to choose the fabric, pattern and color lets you take a little more control over the styling. A quick pull lets the sunshine in, and another gives you a little shade when the temperature climbs-versatility at your fingertips.

Shade sails: These are another great choice for more casual and contemporary outdoor spaces. They also let you bring in a playful splash of color to brighten up the garden area. Best of all, they’re super flexible-you can easily move them with the path of the sun, or to different areas of your outdoor space. It all depends on your mood, livability and entertaining needs.

Patio By WaterAre you considering one of these patio cover options? What are your top priorities in an outdoor living space?

Kerrie Kelly is the author of the DIY design book Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide. Kerrie is an award-winning interior designer who writes on outdoor décor for Home Depot. Home Depot’s large selection of windows, including those for a patio, can be found at www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Windows/N-5yc1vZaqih.

Kerrie Kelly, ASID, Realty Times Feature Writer 01/22/2015

Staging in Spring

Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principles remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But each season comes with its own brand of staging magic!

For spring, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor “and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two rooms staged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Smell of Success

Home sellers do everything they can to make their house look as beautiful as possible, yet appealing to home buyers’ other senses can be just as important —  especially when it comes to the sense of smell.

While you may not think your home has a smell to it, freshening the air and filling the home with sweet aromas can do wonders in making a favorable impression.

Most people know the old trick of baking bread or cookies to entice the noses of those looking around a home. That fresh bread smell is achieved by slicing open a large loaf of bread, dropping in vanilla essence and popping the loaf into the oven at medium heat for a half-hour before the showing.

REALTORS® also recommend the smell of cinnamon, French vanilla, butter cream or coffee filling the air to perk up those looking around.

“Scent impacts the atmosphere,” said Michelle Bardwell, an aroma therapist in Dallas, Texas. “You can create a delightful but subtle, aromatic space by using therapeutic grade essential oils.”

Bardwell recommends using cardamom essential oil in the kitchen to create a sense of warmth, lavender essential oil for the bedroom to evoke thoughts of relaxation, and a combination of eucalyptus and ravintsara for the bathroom.

“This will give the bathroom a fresh, clean aroma, and simultaneously kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air,” she said. “Put several drops directly on surfaces and wipe down, and you can even put a few drops on the shower floor and in the toilet.”

Scented candles are another way to achieve a fragrant aroma in the air, but there’s not always time to let them burn before a home showing. Electrical plug-in products with fragrance and potpourri pots also are effective.

Of course, pets odors must be addressed and be sure to check for smells coming from your refrigerator and garbage cans.

“You want to send a positive image about every aspect of your home,” Bardwell said. “Kitchen trash does not send a positive message.”

Scents register in our brain and frequently remind us of our own experiences. Create pleasant aromas throughout the house to help the homebuyer make a positive connection and a faster sale.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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