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Home Maintenance - Projects You Should Start Now

by Melissa Thompson

Summer is winding down and the kids are back in school. Before you know it, crisp Fall weather will be here.   Don’t wait to start preparing your home for the colder seasons.  Take advantage of warm weather and longer days to get the jobs done now.  Here are five home projects you can do now to prepare for Fall and Winter:

  • Get your heating system serviced.  Now is the time to have a technician come out to inspect your heating system and make sure it is clean and in good repair.  You will be glad you did this when that first cold night arrives.  Try to find a heating/air conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs certified technicians.
  • Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.  Caulking is an inexpensive and simple way to save energy and improve comfort in your home. Be sure to seal any areas where water and air can slip into your home.  The prime places where this can happen are gaps between the foundation and siding, cutouts for electrical conduits and pipes and all around windows and door frames. Replace any damaged weather stripping at the base of doors and windows to make sure they are effectively sealed. 
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape. Trust me, you are not going to want to go up on the roof in cold weather.  Take the time now to inspect it and make any repairs necessary.  It will serve you well to deal with roof issues now so that you’re not scrambling to get things fixed before the first big winter storm.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good working order.  There’s nothing better on that first, cold Fall day than curling up in front of a warm fire.  And there would be nothing worse than trying to light that fire and discover that something is not right.  Make sure your fireplace is safe and ready to go.
  • Seal your driveway.  Check it for cracks and use driveway filler to repair any damage. Then coat it with a commercial sealer.  Sealing your driveway will protect it from the elements of cold-weather and extend the life of the asphalt.

Getting these projects done before the weather changes and the days get shorter will allow you to enjoy all the fun that Fall brings with it rather than spending every weekend doing chores!

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/5-Important-Things-to-Fix-Before-Putting-Your-House-on-the-Market

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

Luxurious Laundry Rooms

by Melissa Thompson

The laundry room is probably not the first space you think of when you hear the word luxurious.  But it is a room you spend a lot of time in.  Doing laundry is a necessary part of life, so why not make it more appealing by creating a comfortable, practical and pretty environment that will make it feel less like a chore and more like a pleasant task. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your laundry room a calm and soothing work space.  There are opulent touches you can add that will improve your disposition while performing the essential duties of washing, drying, folding and ironing.

 
  • Paint the room in a soft, neutral color - choose from greens, blues or yellow.
  • Hang some art on the walls.  Pick pieces that you love or are meaningful to you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money…just choose paintings or pictures that bring 
  • you joy.
  • If you lack storage in your laundry room, add some simple shelves with clean lines.  Get some clear containers for your detergent, fabric softener sheets, clothes pins etc. so you can dispose of the unsightly bags and boxes they come in. 
  • Use baskets or bins to pre-sort clothes into whites, colors, sheets, towels etc.
  • If your laundry room is spacious, create a folding area.  You can have a table or if you are using front loading machines, design a counter to go on top of them.  Add a small, wall-mounted television and a comfy chair, and folding clothes won’t seem so boring anymore.
  • Add a small vase with fresh flowers.  Being amidst the beauty of nature will make you feel better about being stuck indoors doing laundry!
  • Remember, guests are not likely to see your laundry room, so make it all about YOU.  Be funky and unique with your décor and have fun with it!  Before you know it, you will look forward to doing all that washing, drying and folding.  Ok…maybe you won’t look forward to it, but at least you won’t dread it! 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Clearing-the-Clutter

5 Important Things to Fix Before Putting Your House on the Market

by Melissa Thompson

If you want the best price for your house, you may have to do some repairs before selling it. Potential buyers will be willing to spend more for a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.  Here are 5 important things to fix before selling:

  1. Exterior - When was the last time the exterior of your house was painted?  Is the paint faded and chipping?  Is wood rotting around the windows?  Is your front door dingy?  First impressions matter when it comes to selling your home and buyers will get their first impression when they see the outside of your house whether in pictures or in person.  Don’t forget the landscaping.  A well-kept lawn and simple, but clean flower beds will go a long way toward creating an enticing aesthetic for your property.
  2. Interior Paint - If the walls are looking a bit shabby and the trim a bit grimy, painting is a quick and easy fix.  The same applies if you went through a crazy color phase a few years back and decorated with hues that might not appeal to everyone.  Choose neutral colors that will allow buyers to focus on the spaces without being distracted.
  3. Kitchen - The kitchen is one of the most important rooms that buyers focus on when looking at a house.  So, if yours is looking run-down you will want to update it.  It will be worth the investment to replace appliances that are on their last legs or putting in a new granite counter.  Or it might be as simple as repainting cabinets and adding shiny, new handles.
  4. Bathroom - Nothing turns buyers off faster than an unsightly bathroom.  Sparkling, clean fixtures and a fresh coat of paint will go a long way toward impressing someone searching for their dream home.  Inexpensive touches like a decorative mirror or a lovely picture on the wall will add to the ambiance without breaking the bank.
  5. Flooring - If your carpets are stained or thread bare, it is worth your while to replace them.  Otherwise, buyers may ask for a carpet allowance when they make an offer on your house.  The same applies if your vinyl floors are in bad shape.  Hardwoods are always popular, but you may want to consider getting them refinished if they are looking old and scruffy.

It may seem counter intuitive to spend money on repairing or fixing up a house you are getting ready to sell, but at the end of the day, it will not only help you sell your house faster, but you will get a better price for it too.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/75-of-Homeowners-Think-Now-is-a-Good-Time-to-Sell

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Quick-Fix-Tricks-to-Make-Your-House-Sparkling-Clean

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Showing-Your-Home-to-Potential-Buyers

Quick Fix Tricks to Make Your House Sparkling Clean!

by Melissa Thompson

Putting your house on the market can be stressful in many ways.  Not only are you preparing to move yourself, you also need to keep your home looking as perfect as possible  for potential buyers.  Here are some quick fix tricks to help you get your house in order and ready to show:

 1. Cleaning the Microwave - No matter how dirty your microwave is, you can have it clean and shining in less than five minutes with this trick!  Slice a lemon in two.  Put it in a cup and add some cinnamon.  Place the cup in the microwave and “cook” on low power for 10 minutes.  Wipe the inside of the microwave clean with a damp cloth.  The cinnamon makes it smell nice.

2. Dusting That Lasts - The secret here is to wipe your furniture down with a little bit of cooking oil on a paper towel. This will do two things.  The first is that it will make your furniture shine nicely.  The second is that it adds an anti-static layer which repels dust.  You will need to dust again eventually, but not for a much longer time.

3. Getting Kids’ Artwork Off the Wall for Good - Finding that your creative child has used a wall for artwork with a pen or permanent marker is the worst! The good news is that the stain can be removed.  Try squeezing toothpaste (not the gel kind) onto a damp cloth.  Rub the toothpaste over the stain and watch it disappear. Here are some other ways to get marker off walls.

4. Keeping Window Tracks Clean - If you’re showing your house on a nice day, you’re going to want to have your windows open.  But if you do that, you want to make sure that the window tracks are super clean.  The easiest way to make sure they are, is to sprinkle the area with baking powder and then add vinegar.  Don’t worry when it starts to bubble; it’s supposed to do that!  Leave it for 15 minutes.  Then wipe it clean with a paper towel and done!

5. Shiny Bathtubs -  You won’t believe how easy it is to clean your bathtubs this way!  First, warm (don’t boil) some vinegar in the microwave.  Mix it with equal parts soap solutions in a spray bottle.  Spray all over the bath.  Leave it for about 30 minutes.  Come back and wipe clean.  The shine you get will amaze you! Don't forget to keep that toilet bowl clean and shiny as well!

6. Keeping Animal Fur off Blankets - Do you have pets that shed?  If so, you know the struggle of keeping your house fur free.  Vacuuming regularly helps, but doesn’t keep the fur off things such as blankets and throws.  Believe it or not, there is a way to do that. Wash them once in white vinegar and you will discover that the fur never sticks to them afterward!

Hopefully these brilliant, time-saving tips will help you keep your house ready to show!

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Top-Home-Renovations-for-Maximum-ROI

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Tips-for-Showing-Your-Home-to-Potential-Buyers

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/3-Charts-That-Shout-List-Your-Home-Today

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI

by Melissa Thompson

Top Home Renovations for Maximum ROI [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).
  • While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.
  • For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, you can check out the complete list here.

Thinking about buying or selling a Memphis TN home, Call your local expert’s The Melissa Thompson Team 901-729-9526.

 

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Clearing the Clutter

by Melissa Thompson

Does your home suffer from “flat surface syndrome” (if there is a flat surface, it has something on it)? Is the “stuff” in your house ruling your life?  I’ve heard it said that a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind.  Now is the time to declutter and simplify your life.  Here are some tips to help you minimize the clutter in your home and maximize your peace of mind!

  1. Stop the flow of stuff coming in.   Decluttering doesn’t work if you simply replace old stuff with new stuff. As you begin to simplify, you will need to slow the flow of things coming into your house.  Make a conscious decision today to buy less.  You won’t regret it. The freedom from the desire to acquire is a wonderful thing!
  2. Declutter at least one item a day. Decluttering doesn’t have to be done all at once.  You don’t have to disrupt your whole household with a frenzy of “cleaning out”.  Making it a gradual process will give you time to process what you are doing and to change the way you think about stuff.  That way it becomes a lifestyle change and not just a crash diet of decluttering.
  3. Declutter the easy stuff first. There is no reason to torture yourself by trying to declutter the hardest stuff first. Doing that would likely make you feel overwhelmed and deter you from completing the task all together.  Start with the easy stuff, and as your will to reduce strengthens, it will be easier to get rid of the harder stuff.
  4. Have a disposal plan in place. Do your research.  Investigate your options for selling, donating and/or recycling items you choose to get rid of. The more you prepare for the task, the easier it will be and the more likely you will follow through with it.  Check out Freecycle and Ebay and local thrift stores for disposal options.
  5. Decide not to keep things out of guilt or obligation. Only keep things that you love and use.  Don’t let other people determine what you should keep or get rid of.  If something is not meaningful or useful to you, get rid of it!
  6. Don’t be afraid to let go.  If you are hanging on to something because you might use it someday, don’t.  Be realistic.  If you haven’t used it in years, chances are you will never use it.  Let. It. Go.
  7. Gifts do not have to be material. There are many gifts that end up as clutter. Encourage people to follow the concept of giving alternative gifts such as experiences and time spent together.  Check out these Clutter Free Gift Guides for ideas.
  8. Do not over-equip your home.  Be realistic about your true needs.  When deciding what to keep, think about the number of people that live in your home.  If you buy new dishes or linens, make sure to get rid of the old ones.
  9. Only declutter what is yours.  Allow your other family members to decide which of their own belongings they want to keep and dispose of.
  10. Do not waste your life on clutter! Every item that you own takes time out of your life: time to manage it, repair it, take care of it, clean it and maintain it.  That’s in addition to the time you spent shopping for it or the time spent earning the money to pay for it in the first place.  Make the decision today to stop living for things.  Simplify and be happy!

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at YourKeyToMemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Living-on-a-Budget

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-New-House-a-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-Home-More-Desirable-in-2017-Home-Improvement-Projects

Happiness is…the Right Paint Colors!

by Melissa Thompson

Have you been thinking about painting some rooms in your home?  You may want to keep in mind that the colors in your home can have a huge impact on your moods!    The shade of your walls has been known to affect emotions.  For example, there are certain colors that will bring you down, ones that will help you relax, and even some that will suppress your appetite. 

Here are some color ideas for you that will promote positivity:

Yellow for HAPPINESS.

Yellow is a natural source of positive energy and sparks feelings of happiness. Shades of yellow can also activate metabolism and boost thinking.

Sky Blue for RENEWAL

Pale blues are calming and help to restore natural rhythms.  Sleeping well contributes to productivity and overall well-being.  Calming blues have soothing and restorative qualities that help you rest better.

Violet Black for MINDFULNESS

While it may appear dark and moody, a hidden undertone of violet in a dark background draws you in and provides a sense of escape and relaxation.  This color also creates a space for focus and reflection.

Yellow-Green for OPTIMISM

This combination of green and yellow captures the essence of spring’s first bloom and the anticipation of renewal.  These colors bring positive energy into a space and stimulate personal growth.

Silver-Sage for BALANCE

The blend of sage green and silvery gray provides balance and harmony.  These are the perfect colors for a peaceful, refreshing and tranquil living space.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-New-House-a-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/5-Design-Trends-to-Avoid-When-Selling-Your-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/The-Top-Ten-Home-Décor-Trends-of-2016

Spring Fever Already?

by Melissa Thompson

Three Home Maintenance Projects You Can Do to Chase Away the Winter Blues!

March is here and chances are the winter doldrums are getting to you.  Now is a good time to start tackling some home maintenance tasks that will remind you that spring is right around the corner!

Clean Your Gutters
Once the last frost of winter has passed, it is important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and, if necessary, repaired.  Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause wood trim in the eaves to rot and that can leave and opening for all kinds of critters to invade your house.  If you’re not sure what to look for, you can have a home inspector come and look for you. 

Another benefit to cleaning out your gutters and downspouts early in the season is that it can help to prevent damage from spring rains. If they are installed and cleaned properly, they will divert water away from the house and keep it from collecting around your foundation.

Prep Your Yard

Your lawn may be looking sad as the winter months have taken their toll, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Giving your lawn a little attention toward the end of winter will make for a lush, green lawn this spring and summer.

The first step is to aerate your soil.  When soil is compacted, it is too hard for water, air and roots to penetrate.  That makes it hard on grass.  You can rent a core aerator from a local equipment rental store. A half day’s rental generally costs about $40.  This machine, which resembles a large rotary tiller, uses steel tubes to take plugs of soil from the lawn and deposit them on the ground.  You can reduce compaction by aerating once a year and this will increase the vitality of your lawn.

 

The second step is to mow the old grass low.  If you have cool-season grass such as bluegrass, fescue, or perennial ryegrass, you can skip this part.  But if you have warm-season grass such as Bermuda, buffalo grass centipede, St. Augustine or Zoysia, you will want to mow that old, brown grass low at the end of winter to remove the accumulation of thatch, an accumulation of dead stems and leaves.  If you leave the thatch, it will prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots and will encourage disease.  Cut Bermuda lawns to ½ inch and leave the clippings in place to decompose.  Mow other types to 1 inch.  If you use a regular mower, bag the clippings; then compost or discard them.  Mowing low allows more sun to reach and warm the soil which helps the grass to green up.

The final step is to stop weeds.  As the temperatures rise and reach 70 degrees, the seeds of lawn weeds begin to sprout.  Late winter is a good time to stop them by applying a pre-emergence lawn weed preventer.  When used properly, it creates a barrier atop the soil to keep weeds from sprouting.  Make sure not to aerate after using the weed preventer or you will break the barrier.  Do not use this type of product if you are planting new grass though, because it will keep grass seeds from coming up as well.

Caulk Windows and Doors

Winter can be hard on your home.  Now is the time to inspect the caulking around your windows and doors and to repair any damage left behind by old man winter. Check around your windows, doors, and corner trim to prevent water infiltration and avoid costly repairs.

Using high-quality siliconized acrylic latex caulk that is rated for exterior use will cut down on the amount of caulking you will have to do.  It has good adhesion and flexibility, cleans up easily with water, and is paintable as well.  Make sure you know what you are doing and avoid common mistakes in caulking.

 

 

 

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-Home-More-Desirable-in-2017-Home-Improvement-Projects

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/No-Matter-What-the-Groundhog-Says-Here-are-5-Reasons-to-Sell-Before-Spring

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Fixing-Up-the-House-End-of-Summer-Style

 

Making Your Home More Desirable in 2017: Home Improvement Projects

by Melissa Thompson

With new trends endlessly popping up, it can be challenging to decide what home improvement projects are worth your time and money.  It will serve you well to research what trends are timeless and what trends have gone by the wayside before investing in updating your home, especially if you are getting ready to put it on the market.  To simplify that process for you, here is a list of the hottest home improvement projects for 2017!

  1. Stainless steel appliances.  Stainless steel has been popular for many years because of its sleek look and easy to clean surface.  Many equate stainless steel with a recent remodel, meaning the appliances aren’t very old. This can be a big plus for potential home buyers who don’t to have to do any renovations after moving in.
     
  2. Smart homes. With the ever-increasing intelligence of technology, there has been a recent surge in smart home popularity. People enjoy the efficiency of controlling lights, air conditioning systems and home security with the touch of a button on their mobile device.  Best Smart Home Devices of 2017
     
  3. Quartz.  It looks like quartz is a trend that is here to stay, and for good reasons. Quartz stands the test of time, looks fabulous and is easy to maintain. Quartz countertops show well and can impress potential buyers.  All About Quartz Countertops  
  4. Marble.  Marble isn’t quite as popular as quartz, but is less expensive and is still impressive with its attractive, easy to clean surfaces.
     
  5. Built-in-bar.  This is a hot new trend for homebuyers in 2017.  Many homes currently on the market are boasting about their built-in-bars because entertaining at home is very popular. You will be ready for guests and be able to party all night with your special space just for that purpose!
     
  6. Stand-alone tubs. Separate bathtub and showering spaces are the trend for updated bathrooms.  Tubs have gotten a makeover in recent years, moving from the decked-in styles to free standing options that take up less space and make a sculptural statement in a room. 
  7. The new basement escape. No longer a dark, open space to store things, the basement has become a comfortable escape for homeowners.  Lighten and brighten the room and a space can be created for guests or for family entertainment.

These are just a few of many home improvement trends that can make your home more desirable to homebuyers this year!

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/The-Renovation-Dilemma-What-to-Fix-If-Youre-Selling

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Home-Improvements-Choosing-Paint-Colors-Made-Easy-and-Virtual

Learn more about buying or selling Memphis Real Estate at YourKeyToMemphis.com. 901.729.9526 or Melissa@YourKeyToMemphis.com.

Fixing Up the House, End of Summer Style!

by Melissa Thompson

Fall is heading our way and quick! Every time the seasons change there always seem to be something around the house that needs fixing, cleaning, or redoing. We always find projects that need tending to.

Below is a list of things most of us typically do when welcoming in the fall weather.

  • Moving items from our backyards like lawn furniture, kids’ toys, outside accessories to the shed or garage.
  • Cleaning out the garage of any unused or extra items and reorganizing the contents staying.
  • Create a more organized space in the garage (or even other areas of the house, like the attic) with plastic bins that are labeled.
  • Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
  • Check the outside lights in your front yards (especially if they are on a timer- to be sure everything works and is prepared for the many adjustments that come with earlier darkness).
  • Have your bi-annually HVAC unit maintenance taken care of, to ensure your unit is in proper working condition when the weather changes, including replacing air filters.
  • Cleaning flowerbeds now will be so helpful next spring. Many of our lovely summer flowers are no longer blooming when the wonderful weather of summer waves goodbye. Taking the time to remove the dying bulbs and applying new mulch will keep the still thriving fall flowers like mums, goldenrod and helianthus looking delightful and eye-catching. Adding in fall flowers to your flowerbed will add bursts of fall colors.
  • Repair any cracks to your paved driveway, this will prevent winter weather from eroding the surface; creating an expensive fix down the line.
  • Clean out the gutters (this should be done seasonally if possible) to keep out unwanted leaks or gutters falling at bay.
  • Trim low hanging trees near your home or gutters to reduce possible damage.

De-cluttering and maintaining the beauty of our homes is a mission we all strive for, especially those of us who are selling our homes. Now let’s get some of those projects off the to-do list!

photo credit: airconditioningverobeachfl.net

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11