Charlotte NC Real Estate Blog by Brandon Raley, Realtor

Buying an Eco-Friendly Home

Buying an Eco-Friendly Home

More and more homebuyers are searching for homes that offer better energy efficiency and use sustainable materials. Eco-friendly homes not only help the environment but can mean significant savings in energy and maintenance costs. As more home builders consider the environmental impact of their housing developments, finding an eco-friendly home is easier than ever before. Here are a few things to look for when searching for a greener home

Nature Use – When searching for an eco-friendly home, notice the use of trees and other landscaping to save energy by blocking sun and wind—lowering air conditioning and heating costs by adding a natural barrier.

Window Quality – Homebuyers should notice not only the quality of the windows but the placement as well. Are they placed to take advantage of the sun during the winter yet glazed to prevent summer heat?

Building Materials – Natural materials are not only beautiful but also offer sustainability and lower maintenance costs. For example, cedar-plank siding is resistant to both water and pests, which makes it stronger and longer-lasting than other options; natural stone for counters and floors adds a modern touch, is easy to clean and lasts for years.

Floorplan – Recent changes in home design trends are turning floorplans upside down— literally. Look for homes with living spaces on the top floor, which can take better advantage of natural light while keeping the lower-level bedrooms cooler and more peaceful.

Sustainable building designs and materials are becoming more common. Homebuyers can find newer homes, as well...

Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately

Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately

If you are selling your home, no doubt you’re getting lots of advice about how to stage your home to appeal to potential buyers. Maybe you’ve spent time online reading about curb appeal, maybe your friends have given you advice about how to make your home brighter, or maybe the advice has even come from your listing agent; regardless of the source, here are a few outdated staging tricks you should NOT be using.

Baking – While it’s a nice idea to have treats available, buyers know that the smell of freshly baked bread is a trick, and they may be suspicious of any odors you’re trying to mask.

Fresh Scents – Of course, it’s important that the home smells fresh; however, using overpowering candles or room fresheners can be overwhelming. It’s better to open windows to allow a crisp breeze to enter the space, or perhaps place freshly cut flowers.

Elevator Music – It might seem like a home filled with smooth jazz would lend a relaxing feel, but it could have the opposite effect. Not only is it difficult to gauge the right volume, but it’s outdated and corny.

Matchy-Matchy – Matched sets and uniform color palettes will make a home feel dated. Mix up the colors and patterns of pillows, bedspreads, and window treatments.

Holiday Decorations – If your home is listed during a holiday, keep decorations to a minimum. Less is more for decorations of any kind; keep the home clean and as much of a blank slate as possible.

Staging a home is an art. The...

Consider Upgrading before You List

Consider Upgrading before You List

Most people have wandered through new home developments and wished their own home looked as modern and chic. Model homes showcase the latest upgrades and decorating trends; for home sellers these homes are their competition, and it can feel daunting to offer an older floorplan and design.

While it might seem like a smart idea to simply offer a buyer credit and list, there are downsides to this plan, and taking the time to update a bit on your own first could mean thousands of dollars in your pocket. Here are a few reasons why offering a credit might not be the best strategy:

Buyer Impression – A dated home looks old and not all buyers can see the potential.

Lower Offers – Offering a credit could be viewed as high seller motivation, resulting in lower offers.

Value Differences – You and your buyer might disagree on the value of needed upgrades. For example, you might feel $7,500 is a fair cost for a new countertop whereas your buyers might expect considerably more; this can lead to more negotiations and lower sales price.

Home Condition – A property that shows its age can prompt the buyer to worry about the overall condition.

Loan Approval – Lenders are wary of buyer credits; in fact, upgrade credits are no longer possible. You might have a buyer unable to take advantage of the credit at all and you could lose the buyer.

Home design trends change quickly. If you’re ready to sell, it could be tempting just to list your home in its current condition. Before you just add a credit to...

5 Pool Design Trends in 2020

5 Pool Design Trends in 2020

Now that warmer weather is upon us, the focus turns to the outdoor space of our home. As Americans spend more and more of their time at home, this might be the perfect time to invest in a new pool or pool remodel. Here are 5 trends in pool design for 2020.

1. Natural Pools – As more of us consider the effect of chemicals on our health, more pool owners are installing natural pools. These pools are built to resemble a natural pond with boulders, waterfalls, and plants which filter the water naturally. The pool is filled with filtered water and maintained in an organic filtration process using gravel and plants.

2. Saltwater Pools – Another way to avoid chlorine is by installing a saltwater pool. These pools use a salt-chlorine generator to provide residue-free water and this process has been growing in popularity for over a decade.

3. Tanning Ledges – Also known as a Baja shelf, or sun shelf, a tanning ledge is a shallow shelf that allows you to stay cool while still enjoying the sun.

4. Rimless Infinity Pools – Infinity pools have been enjoyed at expensive resorts and spas for years, and more homeowners are now opting to include these beauties in their own yards. 

5. Custom Fit Pools – As yards get smaller, the pre-formed pools are no longer practical. Almost any yard can fit a pool by having a custom pool designed to fit the space. Summertime is pool time.

As 2020 requires more of us to stay home, a new or remodeled swimming pool is a great way to enjoy our own backyards.

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Things to Consider before Buying a Rustic Hot Tub

Things to Consider before Buying a Rustic Hot Tub

The popularity of rustic décor has shifted the way we view home improvement and enhancements. The charm of reclaimed wood and cool natural stone adds a modern flair to the home without compromising warmth. Over the past few years, wooden hot tubs have reemerged as a cost-effective, sustainable option for backyard soaking that adds that rustic feel to the outdoor space.

Before taking the plunge, here are a few things to consider when buying a wooden hot tub.

• Size and Location – The size of the tub depends on one’s preference, of course. Smaller tubs are more intimate and easier to place than larger ones. Choose a location with a firm foundation, as a fully-filled tub will be heavy. Remember to consider the view and any privacy needs when picking the location.

• Wood Type – Wood options include Spruce, Oak, Larch, and Red Cedar, each with advantages regarding durability, color and lifespan.

• Heating System – The heating stove can be exterior, interior, or integrated. Interior stoves take space within the tub while exterior or integrated heaters are placed outside. An interior stove needs more protection and maintenance, but tends to be the least expensive.

• Maintenance – Unlike its in-ground counterparts, wooden hot tubs require careful maintenance. The wood needs proper care, and the stove and water area should be covered and insulated when not in use.

Wooden hot tubs have made a comeback as more and more homeowners search for design elements that add a classic look to their homes. Combining modern efficiency and rustic design, choosing the right tub will bring enjoyment to your outdoor space.

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How to decide between public or private school

Public vs. Private Schools

Homebuyers know that the quality of the local schools is a critical component of their home search. Nothing is more important to parents than making sure their children receive quality education. Competition for college admission has increased to a fevered pitch over the past few decades, and parents want to set their children up early with the best opportunity for their future success. More and more, homebuyers are not simply looking at the public school system when choosing a new home, but the private school options as well.

Making the important decision about where to send your children to school requires some thought; here are a few of the benefits of each that can help you the right choice.

Benefits of Public Schools

• Higher Qualified Teachers – On average, public school teachers have higher educational qualifications than those of private schools, many having Master’s degrees.

• Strong Focus on Core Subjects – Public schools focus on the basics with an emphasis on mastery.

• Wider Extracurricular Activities – Public schools tend to have a larger population and can offer a vast array of sports teams, theater, arts, and music programs. • Diversity – Public schools have students from all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Benefits of Private Schools

• Smaller Classrooms – On average, private schools have a smaller student-to-teacher ratio than public schools.

• Strong Parent Involvement – Private schools not only encourage but rely on parent involvement.

• Less Red Tape – Private schools are not required to follow the strict state guidelines, which allows them to make quick decisions and adjustments based on each child’s needs.

Both public and private schools can offer students a solid education and school...

How to Set Up Your First Home Office

How to Set Up Your First Home Office 

Working from home is not a new concept, but recent events have created a mass shift in the American workforce and more people than ever before are working from home. While simply placing a laptop on the kitchen table is one way to work from home, having a designated home office offers a better environment for productivity and is easier to set up than you might think. 

• The first step is to find the right location for your home office. Although it’s great if you have a spare room to use, not everyone has this luxury. A corner of a master bedroom or living room, a loft area, or even a section of a well-insulated garage can work just as well. 

• Once you find the right space, create a list of the materials you’ll need to be productive. A formal desk is best, but if you don’t own one, then any table will work. Use bookshelves or storage cubes to keep paper, pens, and other useful items within easy reach. 

• Pay attention to the lighting – both natural light and lighting fixtures. Cool light, such as sunlight, is best for productivity. Make sure you have a desk lamp or floor lamp if the room doesn’t have proper natural lighting.

• Once you have the essentials set up, it’s time to add some personal touches. Add a plant or decorate a wall with pictures you enjoy, to bring the space to life. Consider the storage elements as well, such as pen holders or file folders. 

A home office doesn’t need to be fancy to be an effective and enjoyable space. The most important consideration is to ensure you can work in peace; it should also offer a pleasant place to be productive that is separate from your living space so you can unplug at the end of the workday.

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Tips to Quickly Make Your Home Show-Ready

Tips to Quickly Make Your Home Show-Ready

Everyone dreams of living in a model home – a beautiful modern room with the perfect vase of flowers sitting decoratively on a glass side table. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work this way. Our homes tend to look more “lived in” with a pile of shoes by the front door, school books on the kitchen table, and cat hair on the sofa. 

If you have your home listed for sale, then you also know the stress of looking around your home after a phone call requesting a showing with a few minutes’ notice. You want your home to show well so the buyers can see the beauty of the home you love, but with such short notice, how can you convert the lived-in look to a show-ready property?  Fortunately, there are a few tricks for helping you keep your home show-ready at any time. 

Plan in Advance – Before you even list your house, consider the adjustment you’ll need to make in your lifestyle. Move non-essential items to a storage unit, to not only create visual appeal but make it easier to clean quickly. 

Containers – A simple way to quickly eliminate toys, clothes, shoes, sports equipment, and other items is storage bins. Keep some handy to throw excess items into before a buyer shows up, and move them to the garage or basement, or even the back of a vehicle. 

Establish a Routine – Get everyone in the family involved in establishing a daily routine. The less clutter that accumulates, the easier it is to move out of sight quickly. All family members should have morning and evening duties to keep the home tidy. If things are kept up on a daily basis, it will make the clutter and mess less overwhelming.

Unfortunately, your life doesn’t stop just because you’ve listed your home for sale. Keep it show-ready by preparing...

7 Cool Ways to Repurpose Old Furniture

7 Cool Ways to Repurpose Old Furniture 

Are you looking for a fun project that will add some pizzazz to your home – that doesn’t require a degree in carpentry? Before you leave your old furniture on the curb with a sign that says, “free to good owner,” here are 7 creative ideas that will revitalize that furniture and leave anyone feeling handy. 

1. Rustic Planter – Enhance any backyard space by painting an old bedroom side table with a fun color, pull out the drawer, and use it as a planter. 

2. Kitchen Island – No built-in island? Transform an old dresser by adding a custom countertop. The drawers will come in handy also. 

3. Crib Appeal – We all need more storage. Take off one of the side rails of that old crib and add a piece of glass or butcher block on top to make a cool bookcase or craft table.

4. Cabinet Door Headboard – Reuse those old cabinet doors by creating a custom headboard for a guest bedroom. Paint white or multi-colors for a country chic look. 

5. Vanity Transformation – Remove the backing from an old dresser, add a sink, and you have a cool vanity for your bathroom.

6. Bedspring Bottle Holders – No wine rack? No problem. Remove old mattress bedsprings, attach to a wood panel, and store your wine bottles with this cool rack. 

7. Pet Bed – Every pampered pet needs a bed. A drawer from an old dresser makes a cool pet bed. Attach some short furniture legs and add a cushion for indoor or outdoor use. 

If you have some time on your hands and old furniture to get rid of, maybe you can repurpose them and spruce up your décor at the same time with these fun ideas. 

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7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home While Sheltering at Home

7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home While Sheltering at Home

Everyone is spending more time at home right now. With so much time on our hands, it’s natural to want to spruce up our homes. While furniture stores and other retailers are closed, the good news is there are home improvement stores and online delivery to help us make the best use of this time and make some easy changes to freshen up our homes. 

7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home

      1. Outdoors – Big box home improvement stores are open and full of spring blooms;               this is a great time to add color to your yard. 

      2. Update Your Kitchen – Kitchen trends have changed.  Add some color to your                     space with modern paint or even a colorful appliance. 

      3. Reimagine Your Living Room – With a little time to kill, try moving your living                   room furniture around for a fresh look. Visit a local big box store for decorative                 pillows, area rugs, frames, vases, and other décor details. 

      4. Change Your Walls – An accent wall is an easy way to liven up your space. Invest               a couple of hours to paint one of your walls a fresh color. Build a gallery wall with               family or vacation pictures – anything that draws attention to the wall and  ...

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All Categories 7 Cool Ways to Repurpose Old Furniture (1) 3 Must Do's Before Listing Your Home (1) 4 Reasons To Sell This Fall (1) 5 Pool Design Trends in 2020 (1) 5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered (1) 5 Questions Sellers Have about the Market during the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered (1) 5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search (1) 7 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home While Sheltering at Home (1) Appraisals-Expalined (1) At-Home Family Night Activities (1) Benefits of Holding an Open House (1) Buying an Eco-Friendly Home (1) Changes in the Mortgage Market (1) Consider Upgrading before You List (1) Down Payment (1) Foreclosures (1) Home Buying Lingo You Should Know (1) How to Decide Between Public or Private School (1) How to Set Up Your First Home Office (1) HUMAN REAL ESTATE AGENT (1) Is Flipping Houses For (1) Is Your New Neighborhood Safe? How to Research Your New Community (1) keeping the homeownership dream alive (1) Maximizing Home's Value (1) Maximizing Space In A Small Kitchen (1) New Construction: Is It Right for You? (1) Organize and Declutter while you are home (1) Outdated Staging Tricks You Need to Stop Using Immediately (1) Preparing Your Home For A Virtual Tour (1) Preparing Your Home For The Colder Months (1) Qualifying for a Home Loan (1) Real Estate Home Inspections and Appraisals in the New Normal (1) Real Estate Investment 101 (1) Selling Your Home (2) Should Sellers Offer Home Warranties (1) Should You Get an Appraisal Before Listing Your Home For Sale? (1) Things to Consider before Buying a Rustic Hot Tu (1) Tips For House Hunting Online (1) Tips To Buying A Home Unseen (1) Tips to Quickly Make Your Home Show-Ready (1) Top 3 Inexpensive Hardwoods (1) Top 5 Ways To Make Your Offer Stand Out (1) Vacation Home Ownership (1) What Buyers Can Expect in 2020 (1) Your Starter Home vs. Your Forever Home (1) Your Tax Refund Can Get You One Step Closer to Homeownership (1)

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