TIP OF THE WEEK
Whether you plan to live in your home for years to come, or have an upcoming listing on your mind, now could be a great time to create an outdoor living space.
Today more than ever, homeowners are seeking ways to maximize the footprint of their home - both inside the four walls and out. Outdoor environments can serve many purposes and are a perfect way to customize a space that is right for you.
Outdoor kitchens are in demand. Whether you keep it simple with a built-in grill, some counter space and a sink, or go grand with a brick pizza oven and abundant seating at a granite-topped counter, an outdoor kitchen is becoming a must. In fact, according to Realtor.com, home buyers will pay a premium of more than 26 percent for a home with an outdoor kitchen.
Media makes it way outdoors. Many of the technology wonders you enjoy indoors are making their way into outdoor environments. From built-in flatscreen TVs that can stream video, to video gaming systems, Wi-Fi and surround sound, outdoor entertainment has gone high tech. Whenever you're incorporating electronics and electricity in an outdoor environment, weather proofing and proper wiring are essential. Keep these critical aspects in mind while planning your outdoor space, and deciding what media you'll incorporate and where it will be placed.
Bars are big. Outdoor bars, like traditional tikki bars, may increase your home value by nearly 14 percent, according to Realtor.com. Whether you're thinking of adding a bar in tandem with your outdoor kitchen space, or want to simply expand your entertaining area, an outdoor bar requires a few basic elements, like storage for beverages and glassware, a drink chiller, ice storage and seating.
Room for relaxation. While plenty of comfortable, attractive seating tend to be a significant part of outdoor living spaces, modern outdoor spaces are re-defining relaxation and entertainment. In addition to seating and dining areas, homeowners are incorporating recreational elements such as ping pong and billiards tables, putting greens, hot tubs and infinity pools. Firepits and fireplaces are also popular for adding ambiance, and deliver the added bonus of extending the outdoor living season well into cooler months. Whether you choose to build a full-wall fireplace that doubles as a brick pizza oven, or stick with a more modest, portable firepit, adding heat and comfort to your outdoor space can also add value (upwards of 21 percent according to Realtor.com).
One of the easiest ways to attract buyers to your home is first setting your selling price at a reasonable level. Although the bottom line is what most buyers care about the most, once you have an interested buyer, you can seal the deal by offering incentives with your home. A couple of realistic ways to keep a buyer interested is by offering to pay some of the closing costs and to offer to leave some home furnishings behind. Some of the closing costs you can offer to pay are the title insurance and title search fees; escrow fees, inspection fees, homeowner's insurance, home warranty, property taxes, the buyer's first mortgage payment or moving expenses. Some home furnishings that serve as an incentive to a potential buyer are leaving behind fixtures (parts of the property that are affixed to the property and can't be easily moved), washer and dryer, a patio set, gardening equipment or exercise equipment.
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Make your dining area feel special for the holidays
However big your dining space is, keeping it simple and special touches will make the space feel elevated. Start with your serving pieces -- using real (non-paper or plastic) plates, silverware and glasses will bring a polish to your meal. Then, keep it simple with the decor and serving presentation. If your guests are eating in the living room, try setting up the food buffet-style in the kitchen to allow more space for your favorite holiday decorations in the living room.
-- Brandpoint/Marie Callender's
Don't overlook the little things
Things as simple as a forgotten window left cracked in summer months or neglecting to close the flue in your wood-burning fireplace can all affect the amount of heat and comfort that escape your home in the winter. Windows: Are all your windows closed? If you've recently sealed around windows, you probably opened them for ventilation. Double check to be sure you remembered to close them. Thermostat: Is yours properly programmed to optimize energy use by adjusting the temperature when you're out of the house? Proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut energy bills by nearly $200 per year. Ceiling fans: you can use ceiling fans to supplement your furnace during the winter, but you have to remember to reverse the air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down from the ceiling during winter.
-- Brandpoint/Energy Star