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According to a recent Houzz & Home survey, homeowners are investing more on bathroom renovations than in previous years, largely due to outdated designs and finishes. What types of upgrades are they spending money on? Here are some of the latest trends and tech updates being used in bathroom design.
You don’t have to tackle a full overhaul to make a big impact in the bathroom. Smaller changes can often bring big rewards, both from a resale perspective and by adding value to your daily experience.
Cosmetic favorites, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2016 bathroom trends, include polished chrome finishes and neutral colors like white and gray. And bathrooms are becoming more streamlined with floating vanities, open shelving and undermount sinks. When larger changes are made, homeowners are incorporating amenities such as no-threshold showers and higher vanity heights that allow for aging in place.
When you consider updating the appliances in your home, you may automatically think of doing so in the kitchen, living area or laundry room. Many, however, are quickly adopting technological advances in pursuit of the smart bathroom. Some of the more popular add-ons available include:
- High-tech toilets: The most basic bathroom appliance now has seat-warming options, LED lights, motion sensors and automatic dryers.
- Accessorized soaking tubs: You can take a basic bath, or you can soak in a chromotherapy tub with mood-enhanced lighting. Or enjoy an air bath, with massaging bubbles similar to a hot spring.
- Digital faucets and showers: Along with reduced flow, which conserves water and money, faucet features also include touchless technology and programmable settings like a timed shower option.
Which market trends and tech updates appeal most to your family? When done well, these upgrades can improve your quality of life and increase the value of your homeRead More
Devastating house fires can happen in an instant, and many begin due to human error. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that cooking tops the list of residential building fire causes (50 percent), followed by heating equipment (12.5 percent) and electrical malfunction (6.3 percent).
Make your fall and winter seasons merry, bright and fire-free with these essential fire safety tips.
- Schedule a chimney inspection at least once a year. Creosote, or condensed smoke, builds up on the flue and can catch fire. An annual cleaning and inspection can help prevent chimney fires.
- Keep flammable items at least three feet from heat sources. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 56 percent of fatal home heating fires ignite from items being placed too close to heating equipment. Make sure everything is a safe distance from heat sources, including the furnace, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.
- Check smoke detectors frequently. Approximately 60 percent of house fire deaths happen in structures with no working smoke alarms. Test your home’s smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries each year.
- Have a family escape plan and practice it regularly. All household members need to know all exit strategies in case a fire breaks out, as well as where to meet once they’re safely outside. Have a semiannual drill and practice at different times of the day.
- Cook safely. Never leave the room when boiling, frying or baking, keep pot holders and dish towels away from the flame, and immediately turn off appliances when not in use.
- Be mindful of holiday decorations. If you choose to decorate with strings of lights, always check their condition first. Throw out those with exposed electrical wiring, and be sure to read over the manufacturer’s instructions.
A yard or patio is the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors, whether that means playtime with your kids or quiet relaxation after a long day. And while you may like your neighbors, you may not want to see and hear them every time you venture into your backyard. If more privacy interests you, consider these options below:
Fencing — Probably the most straightforward solution, fences have long been the go-to for homeowners seeking seclusion. Be sure to check city ordinances and HOA policies before installing one.
Hedges — Shrubs like boxwood and privet are commonly planted along property lines. Choose an evergreen variety for year-long privacy. Make sure it’s suited for your climate and matures to your desired height.
Screens — Stylish and effective, folding wood-panel screens add a nice visual element while blocking unwanted views. Opt for a weather-resistant screen designed for the outdoors.
Trellis — The lattice configurations on these simple wooden structures offer an element of privacy. They’re also a perfect host for climbing vines and plants if you’d like additional coverage. Just be sure to check the sunlight and care requirements for the vegetation you plant.
Pergola — A pergola helps block views from second-story windows and balconies. It can be as simple or intricate as you’d like and will offer a degree of shade along with privacy.
Drapes — Budget-friendly and chic, panels help screen off your patio and can be moved as desired. Make sure the fabric is suitable for outdoor use or spray it with a water-resistant coating.
Vertical Garden — If you’re looking to increase privacy and also want to grow your own herbs, consider a living wall. You can buy prefabricated tower planters for easy installation.
If neighborly noise is a problem, a water fountain is a relaxing, sound-muffling solution. Consider your outdoor space and choose the privacy-adding options that work for you.Read More
Your front door is one of the first things guests notice when visiting your home. In addition to providing security and protection, your front door can make a bold statement and reflect your personal style.
But whether or not your current front door matches your home’s interior and your taste, if you feel a draft, see any cracks or hear squeaky joints or scraping sounds, it may be time to replace it. Consider your options with some of the most common front door materials and features.
- Wood: Though beautiful, solid wood doors are expensive and sensitive to the elements. Some modern wood doors come with steel cores to minimize warping and reduce cost.
- Fiberglass: A durable and cost-effective option is a fiberglass composite door. Their foam cores are good insulators, and they can withstand harsh climates.
- Steel: Strong but subject to dents, steel doors are the least expensive of the three. They have shorter life spans and aren’t well-suited for extreme climates, but depending on their core, they can be energy efficient.
There are multiple styles to choose from, including:
- Solid panel doors
- Arched doors
- Dutch or split doors
- Double doors
- Decorative doors with glass inserts
- Frosted glass doors with ornamental wrought iron overlaid for added security
You could even complement your front door with sidelights or a transom window while also letting in more outside light.
The color of your front door should depend mostly on the exterior style and colors of your house, your personal taste and the type of door chosen. If your house is mostly neutral in color, don’t be afraid to go bold with your front door.
Use these tips to help make your front door an inviting entrance that not only offers protection from the elements but also reflects your personal style.Read More
FHA is reducing their MIP payment 50 basis payments from 1.35% to 0.85%. What that means is, for every $100,000.00 owed, the MIP payment would drop $41.67/mo.
That, along with the fact that interest rates are lower than they’ve been for quite some time, you may have the ability to lower your rate as well, saving even more of your hard earned dollars.
FHA has a streamline process where no appraisal is often not necessary, and very little is needed in the way of documentation. Call/email/text me for details and to see if you qualify.
Now, some of you may qualify for a conventional loan refinance, which is almost always a better deal. If your home’s value has appreciated some, you may be able to eliminate the 1.75% added to the loan and the monthly MIP that FHA wants, regardless of your loan to value.
Again, call/email/text me, and I’ll run the numbers for you and we’ll see what we can save.