It is that time of year again, when everyone starts decorating their porches! These are some of our favorite porches decorated for Fall!
The home buying and selling process can be stressful. We have several tips to help make your experience go a little smoother. You'll also find lots of information about the Wilmington North Carolina area, straight from a local :)
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It is that time of year again, when everyone starts decorating their porches! These are some of our favorite porches decorated for Fall!
Regular house-hunting isn't always easy, but adding distance into the mix can present challenges you don't have when looking a few neighborhoods over for a new home. While it may not be a walk in the park to buy a home from far away, it is possible. If you find a great agent and follow these steps, you can take away some of the stress that comes with moving long-distance.
1. Start Your Research
Knowing what is in your neighborhood is something we tend to take for granted. You know where the best sushi place is and exactly what grocery store is closest to your home for those last minute runs. When moving to a new neighborhood, especially in a new state, it is key to decide what is important to you when it comes to proximity. Does your new house need to be near a park for your kids? Do you need to be 5 minutes from the closest Starbucks? You'll also want to look into crime rates and school ratings if you have children. Researching your potential neighborhoods will help you feel better about choosing a new home that may be far away.
2. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Google Maps may not be constantly updated, but checking out an aerial view can give you an idea of what your neighborhood looks like if you don't have the opportunity to travel right away. Getting the lay of the land is just another way to feel comfortable about your new neighborhood.
3. Have a Travel Budget
Even if you have a great agent showing you as many homes as possible, you need to plan for the possibility of making more than one trip to your future home state if you want to see it in person. While you may have adjusted your budget already to purchase a home, consider factoring in travel costs so you aren't stressed about eating out or gas money during your trips - that way you can focus on finding your dream home.
4. Decide Your Non-Negotiables
Choosing a home from out of town already comes with challenges. If you're heading in to check out houses and have a weekend filled to the brink with potential home tours, it will make your life easier if all of those homes meet your requirements. Instead of seeing all homes that 'might' fit, have your agent remove any houses that have a non-negotiable feature - whether that is no backyard or not enough bathrooms. It will make the most of your time and remove some of the stress of seeing homes that aren't for you.
Homeownership has plenty of perks. You can make changes whenever you want, but that also means you are responsible for making any fixes that you want (or need)! Instead of calling the local handyman every time something small goes awry, you can try out these quick fixes for common bathroom issues that arise while saving yourself some money along the way.
1. Shifting Toilet Seat
Is your toilet seat wobbling every time you sit down? Sometimes, there are visible bolts to tighten, but that just doesn't fix the issue. Many are unaware that you can actually purchase a toilet seat tightening kit. Most home improvement stores will carry an inexpensive kit, usually around $10. Rather than investing in a new toilet seat, you can save time and money by picking up a kit the next time you're out.
2. Slippery Shower
There are two main options to remedy a slippery shower. If you have a geriatric family member, a shower chair may be the best option to provide security. These chairs can be as affordable as $20 and can offer peace of mind when it comes to the safety of your loved ones. If chairs aren't for you, a non-slip bath mat will keep you from falling in the shower and cost as much as a few coffees.
3. Clogged Shower Head
Do you normally have great water pressure, but now your shower feels like a slow leak? Your shower head is likely clogged from a build up of minerals in your water. Instead of calling the plumber or heading to the store to buy toxic chemicals, you can use ingredients already in your home to fix your problem. All you need to do is fill a sandwich bag halfway full with white vinegar, submerge the shower head into the vinegar in the bag, and tie the bag to the piping and allow the head to soak overnight. When you remove the bag, you should wipe the head to remove any excess and then your shower should be back to normal pressure.
4. Slow Drain
Before calling a professional, consider trying a Zip-It tool. You can find one at your local hardware store for around $5, but you have to be willing to deal with a little bit of gunk. The tool is placed in the drain and pulls out whatever is clogging it, usually hair and soap. If you can get past that, you'll save yourself the price of a plumber.
5. Leaking Water Valve
Instead of heading to the store for a replacement water supply valve, try tightening the packing nut on the valve. A quick video search online will show you which nut to tighten, and it will only take a few minutes. Now you've saved time and money!
Spacious 4 bedroom 3 full bathroom brick home available!
The kitchen has tons of counter space & cabinetry with pull out shelves, a built-in microwave, glass top stove, pantry,& bar top for gathering around.
Enjoy a casual meal in the sunny breakfast nook or entertain in the formal dining room (current music room).
Big living room w/ gas fireplace plus a bright sunroom/theater room/den wired for surround sound.
1st master suite w/ walk-in closet, full bathroom w/ 2 sinks, long tub,& walk-in shower.
Handicap accessible 2nd master w/ full bathroom & walk-in closet. 4th bedroom is upstairs.
Cathedral ceilings, ceiling fans,& blinds throughout. 2 car garage w/ 3 car wide driveway. Low maintenance composite back deck. Roof installed in Dec 2018 & Trane HVAC installed in 2014 w/ smart thermostat
Temperatures are rising which means that your utility bills are likely on the rise too. With the average American spending around $200 a month on energy, most are looking for a way to decrease those prices in any way they can. Just not using air conditioning is an unrealistic option, so there are other updates and changes you can make to save money and still stay cool this summer.
FIND AN ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME
If you are on the hunt for a new home this summer, think ahead and make energy efficiency a priority in your home search. Keep square footage to the minimum you think you will need - the more unnecessary space, the more space you'll be cooling (or heating this winter). Certain home features, like sun rooms and high ceilings, also contribute to unnecessary space or space that heats quicker than normal.
CHECK YOUR APPLIANCES
While newer appliances are easily labeled with their estimated yearly cost by Energy Guide, older appliances aren't as easy to determine. Using the Department of Energy's online appliance energy calculator, you can decide if investing in newer appliances with a lower operating cost could save you money in the long run. You can also have an HVAC professional check your equipment to ensure it is the appropriate size for your home. Having a system that is too large or too small can create unnecessary costs.
Replacing appliances and equipment can be a large up-front cost, so if you're looking to start saving now, even small amounts, quick fixes are your best choice. Some options include using cold water for laundry, changing the direction of your ceiling fan, and using energy-efficient light bulbs. Check your doors for sealing issues and replace weather stripping if necessary to prevent drafts.
FIND AN EXPERT
If you want more guidance on how to save energy, you can contact your local utility company. Many provide free energy audits and can offer professional advice on ways to lower your energy use and save you money.
So you’re ready to put your home on the market and to you, everything looks great. Unfortunately, much of the wear and tear on your home becomes unnoticeable when it is something you see everyday. While you may not think about the one light switch that doesn’t work or the chipping paint in the guest bedroom, now is the time to take a step back and look at your home with fresh eyes. When you decide to sell your home, the first thing you should do is make any repairs you can to save yourself money in the long run. Here are a few repairs to cross off so you can get the best deal for your home!
1. Paint Your Walls
Re-painting the rooms that need a fresh face is the cheapest way to update the appearance of your home. Consider using light, neutral colors to appeal to a broader group of buyers. If the room is too dark or has chipped or dirty paint, make it look brand new with a coat of paint.
2. Make Minor Kitchen Repairs
Even if your kitchen isn’t large and spacious, a full renovation might not make sense financially. If your agent doesn’t advise you towards a renovation, consider making minor repairs instead. Paint what needs painted and install new fixtures where necessary. If your appliances aren’t operating properly or are in awful shape, you will need to replace them.
3. Update Your Bathroom
The first priority is making sure your bathroom looks clean. If the toilet looks old, replace the seat to give it a fresh new appearance. Replace any tiles that may be missing, clean the grout, and remove old wallpaper that may still remain. This is a room you should consider painting if need be to make it appear bright and clean.
4. Fix The Exterior
The outside of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so it is important that it looks good. Touch up the yard with sod as needed, remove any junk that may be in the yard, and make sure your fencing doesn’t have any missing parts or boards. Mow your grass and consider renting a power washer to make your siding look brand new.
5. Maximize Lighting
The goal is to maximize light so you can maximize the appearance of space. Light does a great job of making rooms look larger than they are. Update your fixtures, ensure that your windows appear clean and new, and add mirrors across from light sources to reflect even more light.
6. Ensure Functionality
Potential buyers are going to want everything to work. Do a full walk through of your home, checking all light switches, doorknobs, and locks. Repair or replace anything that doesn't work as it should. The less issues that arise during the buyer's home inspection, the better chance of you maximizing your profit during the sale.
Even if you have a beautiful headboard, the space above your bed can seem empty if left untouched. This space can be tricky to decorate, but that doesn’t mean you should leave it blank. There are plenty of ways to spruce up that space without much work. Here are 5 ways to make the best of that negative space!
1. Add a Set of Shelves
Even if you don’t need the extra storage space, you can use shelves to add small decor that is unique to you. Your favorite books, small planters, or even picture frames are a great way to personalize the shelves.
2. Wallpaper the Wall
If you're worried about adding anything above your bed, consider creating an accent wall with floral wallpaper. Many places sell peel and stick paper so if you decide you don't love the style or you're renting and cannot make a permanent change, you can still try out wallpaper.
3. Make the Room Look Bigger With Mirrors
The best way to make a room look bigger is to strategically place mirrors across from open windows or sources of light. You can also place 2 small mirrors alongside a large central mirror if your bed isn't across from a light source. This will also make your room appear larger while filling empty space.
4. Consider a Tasteful Tapestry or Wall Hanging
Tapestries aren't just for college dorm rooms. If you aren't ready to add shelving fixtures but want something a little more than wallpaper, consider adding a pop of color with a tapestry or a statement yarn wall hanging.
5. Create a Gallery Wall
Whether it is gridded and organized or statement and staggered, a gallery wall is the perfect way to add a little more 'you' to your bedroom. Frame your favorite family photos or the landscape photos from your favorite vacation.
Artificial plants may never die, but having live plants in your home will make your home look and feel better. Nothing brings life into a home better than well-maintained greenery. Most indoor trees are easy to take care of and only need adequate water and a spot where they'll get enough light. You can fill your home with trees or just add enough to a room to beautify empty space. Here are the best indoor plants to add life and coziness to your home.
1. Fiddle Leaf Fig
You probably have a friend who has a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree in their home right now, and for good reason. They only need regular watering and indirect light, and are the perfect size to add a touch of greenery to a room. Be sure not to overwater this tree, as it will drop leaves quickly.
2. Weeping Fig
This tree is one of the most popular indoor trees. It has slightly arching branches and can fill out quite well if taken care of. Like the Fiddle Leaf, it prefers indirect light but it doesn't like cold drafts or hot, dry air. This tree is best kept away from doors and A/C vents. The Weeping Fig is known to shed less than a quarter of its leaves in the fall and sprout them again in the spring, so keep that in mind when buying one.
3. Areca Palm
If you want to add a beachy vibe to your home, this feathery palm will do just that. It thrives in bright spaces and can grow up to 10 inches in a year, reaching 6-7 feet indoors. In the spring and summer, the Areca Palm likes light, constant moisture. During the winter months, it works best to let it dry out a bit between waterings.
4. Rubber Tree
The Rubber Tree is one of the easiest to grow indoors. If you want a darker-colored plant, consider this tree that only requires moderate light. Occasional pruning will help the tree look its best, but be sure to wear gardening gloves to keep the sap off of your fingers.
5. Ponytail Palm
If remembering to water plants isn't your forte, this is the plant for you. The Ponytail Palm stores moisture in its base so it will be just fine if you forget a week or two of watering. The plant has long, strappy leaves that add the perfect touch to a contemporary room. It prefers indirect, bright light and is slow-growing.
6. Lacy Leaf Philodendron
If you're looking for an easy plant that will live long, this is the one for you. With massive glossy leaves, this philodendron can grow up to 6 feet wide, so keep this one in mind if you have a large space to fill. This plant only needs watered when the soil becomes dry and requires moderate light.
Laundry doesn't exactly make the top of the list when it comes to enjoyable chores. Unfortunately, it is one of the chores that we can't really get rid of. Instead of dreading laundry day, try these tips to help you manage your load and make the most of your time. Before you know it, you may even look forward to laundry - or at least be able to enjoy the extra time you'll save!
1. Schedule Laundry-Type Days
Instead of saving one day to do all of your laundry, break up your laundry by type and assign a day to that type. You can have towels on Monday, bedding on Tuesday, and so on.
2. Learn to Multitask
Laundry can take up a great deal of unnecessary time if not done correctly. Rather than waiting for laundry to finish to do other tasks, use breaks between those other tasks to work on your laundry load. For example, once you’ve put dinner in the oven, start a new load. Once you’ve finished another task and a have a few free minutes, use that time to fold laundry. This way you are multitasking and using your time more efficiently.
3. Carefully Pre-Sort Your Laundry
Pre-sorting your laundry will save you the time that is often wasted digging through your baskets to find what can be washed together. Be sure to carefully pre-sort, so you can avoid ruining any clothing.
4. Service Your Dryer
Cleaning out your lint trap after each cycle will not only reduce a fire risk, but it will also help your dryer run more efficiently.
5. Avoid Machine Issues
Being proactive is much easier than dealing with the consequences of a dryer issue. Instead of having to worry about cleaning melted wax or pen stains out of your dryer, make it a routine to check pockets before every load. It is much easier to take an extra minute to double check than scrub out whatever may stain an entire load of laundry.
6. Get Rid of Wrinkles
Instead of worrying about taking the time to steam your clothing, do so while they’re in the dryer. If you add a few ice cubes into a light load of clothing while your dryer is on the highest heat setting, the ice will melt and produce steam.
7. Declutter Your Closet
While this may not be the first thing you think of when trying to make laundry day easier, decluttering your closet can make a huge difference in how much laundry you will actually need to do overall. Clothing we don't love tends to end up tossed on the floor and washed again and again without ever being worn out of the front door. Get rid of that extra clutter and make your load smaller!
You’ve probably heard about all the benefits of apple cider vinegar in the beauty department - it can be used as a toner, a deodorant, and even a conditioning hair rinse. But did you know ACV can be used as a cleaning product? If you’ve been thinking of going non-toxic, replacing your current cleaners with apple cider vinegar is the affordable, easy way to do just that. Here are some of the household items you can replace and how to do so!
1. Fabric Softener
ACV is a great way to condition your laundry if you have sensitive skin. Just add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in place of your fabric softener and stop all the itching caused by harsh chemicals.
2. Household Cleaner
Apple cider vinegar has a great deal of antibacterial properties so it works extremely well as an every day household cleaner. Mix equal parts water and ACV in a spray bottle and you’re ready to clean! While the vinegar smell will fade, you can add a few drops of citrus essential oil to leave a great smell once it dries.
3. Drain Cleaner
Instead of buying drain cleaner filled with dangerous chemicals, use safe items you probably already have! Mix 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour that down your clogged drain. Then, pour 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Let the products react for 1-2 hours and then rinse with warm water.
4. Window Cleaner
Using the same combination as the everyday household cleaner, mixing equal parts apple cider vinegar and water to create a smear-free window spray.
5. Stainless Steel Cleaner
Your typical stainless steel cleaner can get pricey. Instead, use apple cider vinegar straight out of the bottle to clean your stainless steel.
6. Sticker Remover
Sticker removal can be a giant pain. Soak the area where the sticker won’t budge with apple cider vinegar for about 20 minutes, and then scrape it off!
7. Weed Killer
We’ve all read the warning labels on weed killer found at local hardware stores, so it isn’t a surprise that we can be hesitant when it comes to using those products in the yard where our children or pets spend a great deal of time. Avoid those harsh chemicals and create an alternative, effective weed killer. Mix 1/2 gallon of ACV, 1/4 cup of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap in a large spray bottle. Be sure to spray on each set of weeds individually and avoid spraying any plants you want to keep.
8. Mildew Remover
If you’re trying to get rid of mildew in your bathroom, use apple cider vinegar! For heavy mildew, use ACV on its own. For lighter stains, use equal parts ACV and water. You can add essential oils to this mix as well for a scent booster.