Home Trends for 2017

As a new year rolls in, so do some new home trends. Here is a look at what you may expect to see at an open house near you in 2017.

It is easy being green. The Pantone 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery, has been called the world’s brightest neutral. This color represents rejuvenation according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

While on the topic of color, in 2017, navy is expected to be the new black. A sophisticated color, navy is making its way into homes in a big way to open up spaces, whereas black, which tends to minimize space, is scaling back.

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Say hello to faux. Experts predict that faux materials are going to be strong in 2017. The Wall Street Journal reported that even luxury homeowners were warming to faux materials such as faux marble and barn wood. Aside from being used as a reliable, budget-friendly alternative, additional faux materials like indoor foliage offer instant gratification with zero upkeep. Winter staging just got a lot easier!

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Fluttering design with butterflies. These fairytale-like creatures are not just for children’s rooms anymore. Butterflies, which symbolize optimism and grace, are showing up in large numbers on walls, pillows and home accents.
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Cork it. Cork is back with its multitude of purposes, natural qualities, sustainability and color tones.
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Other notable home trends to look for in 2017 include white kitchens with wood countertops, full kitchen walls of tile, modern-style bar stools, and fully decked-out laundry rooms with natural light and maximum space.

What home trends have you read about or noticed?

Making It Rain – Utilize Rain Water All Year Long

Real Estate Trends

Water supply is an ongoing concern for many, especially those living in drought-stricken areas. This is one reason why the conversation about collecting and utilizing rainwater as a means for battling supply challenges is ongoing. Real estate agents can use this information to help their clients better understand this trend in real estate.  Why Homeowners Are Collecting Rainwater

By collecting rain and storing it in a barrel or tank, homeowners can create a supply of water to use that doesn’t increase water bills or overwork groundwater resources.

An additional benefit of rainwater collection is that rain doesn’t contain the minerals found in wells or the chlorine in municipal supplies. Rain collection is ideal for large water usages such as watering the lawn, washing the car, doing the laundry and showering/bathing. It is generally not used for drinking; however, it can be if properly filtered.

Understanding Rainwater Collection Systems

Collection systems range from a single rain barrel placed at the end of a gutter downspout to an elaborate system that can hold enough water to supply your entire home.

A house with a sloped roof, gutters and/or downspouts is perfect for rainwater collection intended for lawn irrigation or other nonpotable uses. All that is needed is a tank, a wire/mesh gutter screen to keep debris out, and a way to remove the water from the tank.

Your tank (or cistern) can be made from a range of materials including metal, wood, stone, cement or fiberglass. Garden and home supply stores offer rain collection systems complete with your barrel, leaf screens and spouts. The costs vary but expect to pay from $50 – $300 for a complete barrel system. Depending on how you plan to use it will determine the type, cost and complexity.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to remove water from your collection tank is by gravity. If you want a more elaborate use for your water, you’ll need a pump. Pumps provide about 8 gallons of water a minute up to 500 feet away.

Regulations

Homeowners should check with their homeowners association to ensure they comply with such rules as placement, color and aize of the rain barrel.

If using collected rainwater for the entire home, homeowners should check local codes and ordinances.

Concerns

It’s a good idea to use a roof washer to remove leaves, debris and droppings to create a clean line for the water entering the storage tank.

Mosquitoes are a natural concern for any collection of standing water, so be sure that your tank is screened and covered. If you live in areas that freeze, allow your barrel to only fill three fourths full to allow water expansion in freezing temperatures.

Aesthetics of rain barrels were once a concern, but not as much anymore. With the wide variety of collection tanks available, your cistern doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Many agree that the wooden tanks meant to resemble wine casks are actually quite charming. A carefully, yet strategically, placed tank can be hidden so as not to detract from your homes beautiful landscape.

Cleaner Water For Your Home

Water Quality  for the Home

From appliances to paint colors to even water quality enhancements, your clients have a lot of decisions to make when they purchase their home. In particular, having clean, clear and safe running water is very important. And, thanks to advances in technology, determining what is in a home’s water and applying an appropriate filtration is easy. This article will help you inform your clients about those home water quality options.Here are the most common water problems and corresponding solutions:

The first step to improving the water quality in a home is to determine what type of water the home has and what contaminants are in it. Home kits or a water professional can determine this. Home kits are available at most hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive.

Hard water is one of the most common concerns for homeowners. Hard water – water that has a high mineral content – is most recognizable by heavy spotting on dishes, glasses, sinks, bathtubs and toilet bowls. This mineral buildup can also reduce the operating efficiency of any water-driven items and appliances and, worst of all, cause long-term pipe damage.

Once the water contaminant has been determined, the next step is choosing the best solution to remove it. It’s important to consider both operating and maintenance costs. Some solutions are as easy as choosing the appropriate filter and model, while others may require a chemical pump.

Filter systems come in various types of installation models such as:

• Faucet-mounted filters which are attached directly to the faucet.
• In-line filters that are located under the sink on the water supply line.
• Line bypass models that use a separate faucet at the sink which supplies only filtered      water when engaged.
• Point of entry (POE) systems are the most comprehensive as they treat all of the water entering the home. A POE system ties into the main water line and filters the water at every sink, shower and appliance in the home.

While faucet and in-line systems are easy to install, POE systems are the most complex and usually require professional installation.

Depending on the specific contaminant and the type of system chosen, improving the quality of water in the home is always a good idea. And what better time to do so than in August, which is Water Quality Month.

2016 Top Kitchen Design Trend

Real Estate Trends

One of the top design trends for 2016 is farmhouse kitchens. Whether your client is buying or selling, these tips for converting any kitchen into a farmhouse kitchen can bring a lot of attention to the focal point of the home.

Kitchens are the focal point of the home. They are where families gather and memories are made. When a buyer walks into a home, they imagine themselves in that spot with their own family, making them one of the strongest selling points of a home. One popular trend in kitchens attracting many buyers is the classic farmhouse kitchen.There is a reason they are so popular. Farmhouse kitchens combine functionality with style and a down-home good feeling. Inviting, warm and comfortable, they whisper of a simpler time. Although the farmhouse style is considered very American, it combines elements of the English and French country styles as well.

      THIS                                                                            NOT THIS

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Homeowner Tips for Farmhouse Kitchen Renovations


There are a few key decor elements that make up the ultimate farmhouse kitchen.

  • Apron front sink
  • White painted cabinets
  •  Open shelving
  •  Rustic, contrasting colored hardware
  1. Wood, soapstone or marble countertops
  2. Glass canisters and accessories
  3. Islands and stools

Updating a kitchen can be a costly endeavor. Styling a kitchen doesn’t have to be. If you are looking to give your drab kitchen a farmhouse facelift, here are a few ideas to get you there.
1. Feature contrasting colors with a coat of paint.  A fresh coat of paint goes a long way to make walls “pop.” This means that your cupboards cannot go neglected. So they will need either a fresh coat as well, or a new finish altogether. Once you’ve decided on your color palatte invest in your hardware.

2. Freestanding pieces of furniture are often key elements in a farmhouse styled kitchen. A hutch can double as an island or a sideboard.

3. The flooring is most often wood, but black and white tiles in a checkered pattern or terracotta tiles are popular as well.

4. Open shelving is a must. To keep your kitchen from looking cluttered by open shelving, use a few marquis pieces to showcase, and leave storage areas for the items that are quick to clutter.

5. Vintage decorations such as stoneware crocks, aprons, cast iron skillets and glass milk jars are just a few ideas.

6. Mason jars, whether used as every day glasses, vases for wildflowers or storage containers, are a staple in every farmhouse kitchen.

Grow Your Own Food & Property Value

Turn your backyard into the farm of your dreams with raised garden beds!

Raised garden beds are the hottest trend in horticulture right now. Also called “garden boxes,” these gardens are great for growing small rows of vegetables and flowers right in one’s backyard. Because they are customizable depending on gardening desires, they can be made to suit any size of land. And best of all, since they are not permanent, when the home is sold, if the new owners don’t want to keep the garden bed up, they are easy to remove.

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Raised beds have numerous benefits for homeowners such as:

They reduce pathway weeds.

They prevent soil compaction.

They provide good drainage.

The sides of the beds keep soil from being eroded or washed away.

They offer ease of accessibility to reach each plant.

They are aesthetically pleasing.

How to Enhance Your Backyard with a Raised Garden Bed

It’s relatively easy to build your own garden bed and can even be completed in one weekend, especially when using a kit from a home improvement store.

Materials such as corrugated metal and cinder blocks have been used, but wood is the most highly recommended. Cedar wood is the top choice because it is naturally rot-resistant. You can expect a well-constructed cedar bed to last roughly 10 years.
The height of your bed can be up to 36 inches with the most common height being 11 inches (the height of two stacked boards). Keep in mind that the higher you build, the more soil you will need and the more weight will bow your sides. For this reason, cross supports are recommended for beds taller than 18 inches and/or longer than 6 feet.

4-foot-wide bed is the most common because it’s easy to reach the center of the bed from either side. By keeping the width narrow, you avoid having to step on the bed and compress the soil. The bed can be any length, with cross supports at every four to six feet along the length of the bed to prevent bowing.

Soil depth should be considered for the roots of the vegetables you are planting. Depending on the soil conditions in your yard, you may want to build the sides of your bed higher for crops that need more root space.

Tips for a Thriving Garden

Build your beds to lay facing south on the horizontal.
Turn your ground before building on it.

Clear any roots.
Lay hardware cloth if you have burrowing pests.
Spread soil evenly.

Mulched pathways between beds should be wide enough for a wheelbarrow.

Well-built and maintained garden beds are aesthetically pleasing and can even attract potential buyers. Whether in full flourish or between seasons, cleanly tilled and maintained garden beds are attractive all year long.

Tips for Apartment Dwellers – You Can Have a Garden Too!

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Raised garden planters bring the garden to your balcony or porch.

Garden boxes come in various sizes, types and styles. Unlike garden beds, planters have slatted bottoms and are generally smaller in size.

They are especially useful for flowers, herbs and vine vegetables.

Growing Value – Tips For Curb Appeal

Spring rains have saturated most of the U.S. this April and now is the time for homeowners to get outside and enhance their lawn, flowers and gardens, especially if planning to sell a home this summer.

Landscaping curb appeal is a known added value for home sellers, serving as a first impression of a home. Agents and buyers agree that a lush lawn and tidy landscape add to a home’s value and reflects positively on the overall care and condition of the property.

The four most common areas of landscaping that have the biggest impact on buyers are:

Lawn and landscaping 

Outdoor lighting

Fencing

                                     Front entrance including the driveway and walkway

Home owners don’t have to take on a massive landscape transformation to benefit from a curb appeal spruce up. To instantly add curb appeal without making a large investment, homeowners should:

  1. Keep a trim and healthy lawn with weekly mowing and line trimming. Clean up outdoor light fixtures from dust, cobwebs and dirt.
  2. Add solar lights along walkways and in flowerbeds to add nighttime appeal and effect. If the home has a wood fence, paint the ‘showing’ side and repair loose boards, holes and worn areas.
  3. Weed and clean the driveway area and walkway.
  4. The front entry is a home’s welcome sign. A freshly painted front door, a potted plant, a rocking chair and a welcome mat go a long way to a great looking entry.

LAWN CARE

Know your lawns
Before throwing down any seed or sod, homeowners should know what lawns do best in their location. Grass types are classified as “Warm Season” grass or “Cool Season” grass. This is determined by the grasses’ active growth period. For example, areas in the middle of the country are known as the transition zone. Mixtures of cool- and warm-season grasses are often necessary there, but cool-season varieties are the most successful.
Test your soil
Existing soil needs to have the proper pH value and nutrients to support a healthy lawn. Soil can be tested at any time. However, if you test in the fall or early spring, you have time to make adjustments before you start planting and tending to your lawn.
Fertilize
Different types of grass require different fertilizers. As previously mentioned, know what type of grass your have in your yard and fertilize appropriately and at the right time. If you have pets or children, be sure to purchase a fertilizer that is safe for them.

Mowing a Lawn 101

Stick to the 1/3 rule try not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length in a mowing.

Mow when the grass is dry. This is when grass blades are upright, and less clumping.

Mow in the morning or night. Mowing in the heat of the day stresses the grass.

Aim mower clippings (unless you bag them) towards the area you have already cut.

Leave clippings (unless you bag them, or their clumped) as it returns nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn.

If you bag your clippings, consider composting them.

Pruning
Prune away winter damage once plants have lost their leaves. Cut limbs back to live wood.

Mulching
If you’re mulching a large area, use a cheaper hardwood mulch for the ‘filler’ then top-dress it with your mulch of choice. You can also top-dress old mulch by just adding a 1-inch layer on top.  It’ll look brand new, and you’re not paying for something you don’t see.

Planting Annuals
Annuals are plants that live for only one season. Late spring is the best time to plant annuals such as Petunias, marigolds, salvia, and impatiens. Make sure roots are not too matted so they can expand into the soil.
Gardens
Flower gardens make a yard look beautiful and welcoming. Vegetable gardens give the added bonus of providing fresh vegetables to eat.

One of the best gardening tools is a monthly landscaping calendar. To download one for your area, visit The National Gardening Association’s website. Plug in your zip code and you get a specific plan for your area.

Plants, flowers and shrubbery are great ways to add allure and definition to a home’s landscape. Flowering plants are a wonderful addition, but homeowners should consider the appeal when the plants are not in season and flowering.

Planted herbs are easy to plant and maintain. They also do great in pots for entryways and backyard patios.

By investing a little time and money into the yard this spring, homeowners can increase their home’s valuable first impression and “wow” factor.

Stay. Sit. Sell. How Pet Friendly Homes Can Be A Benefit

There was a time when selling a home with a pet was a major issue for sellers and real estate agents. Great efforts went into masking odors, eliminating stains, putting up food/water bowls, closing doggy doors, removing litter pans, putting toys away and even finding a place for the pet to be during showings. Needless to say, it required a lot of extra work on top of the other tasks needed to get the home ready for showing.

In today’s market, most of this has changed, and pet-friendly homes are now considered by many to be a benefit.

With 65 percent of households currently owning a pet, having a pet is no longer a “downside” when it comes to buyers and sellers. However, even though 79 million households have at least one pet, home owners still need to present a clean, pet-stain and odor-free home when listing it for sale.

More than just having pets, an estimated 83 percent of people actually consider the pet a member of the family. This is causing home owners and agents to see pet-friendly homes in a different light.

Agents understand that people are passionate about their pets. But more than understanding that passion is delivering service that meets the client’s specific needs.

Ways Real Estate Agents Can Become More Pet-Savvy
Agents can attract more pet-friendly clients by marketing themselves as pet-savvy. To do so, agents should invest in some general education about pets and their needs. This will allow them to spot key features of a home that would attract a person with a pet.

Agents can connect with pet professionals and businesses in their area to market their services. Great places to start include training schools, rescue organizations, pet stores and boarding facilities.

Agents can join special groups and networks such as the Pet Realty Network which connects buyers and sellers with pet-savvy real estate agents. Agents can also connect with other agents for referrals.

The Buyer Agent

During the initial meeting with a buyer, agents should get information about the buyer’s pets. A separate questionnaire just for the pet needs might be beneficial. This allows the agent to see exactly what features they should look for to help make the home not only perfect for their client, but for the client’s pets as well.

For example, a buyer with two big dogs will likely appreciate a larger fenced yard over an amenity that offers little by the way of quality of life for the dogs.

If the buyer is looking for a home in an HOA-regulated community, agents should inform their clients about potential restrictions placed on pet ownership. For example, there could be a limit on the size or type of pet allowed.

The Seller Agent

Because pet ownership is so common, it makes for a natural selling point when showcasing a pet-friendly home. Aspects such as secure fencing, convenient access to the yard, easy-to-clean floors and even a pet-friendly town can all be considered added value to a home.

When selling a home with a pet currently in residence, agents should share these reminders with their clients:
• Nobody loves your pet as much as you do. For the safety and wellbeing of everyone,              including your pet, it is best if your pet is either put up safely, or is away from the home during a showing.
• Clean up toys, bones, beds, and all other pet-related items.
• Thoroughly clean all floors and carpets of dirt and stains.
• Eliminate litter boxes until the showing is over.
• Make sure the yard is picked up.

An agent who can address the specific needs of a client with a pet is extremely valuable.