Updating your home? Consider Re-purposing items for a One of a Kind Find

Some of the items I love to use are old bricks, pieces of leather and steel, tools and such from days gone by that can be re-purposed into lighting, artwork, hangers, welcome signs, even furniture! If you think this sounds fun, consider a small start. My first piece was an old dresser that I refinished and made look like new. It might be grabbing an old shovel to add to your garden. Open your eyes to other uses of items that some have long since forgotten about and now they can become your favorite item that everyone likes to ask about when they visit.

I would love to hear some of your favorite items for the home or garden.

Natural Kid Zone – Creating a Backyard Nature Area for Kids

IMG_2256The back yard is the best place for children to explore.  set aside some space just for exploration and you will find your kids outdoors playing and wondering about the world, how it works and who lives here.  Sounds like a great idea, but where do you start, how hard will it be to create this oasis?

Take one small area and remove the grasses so that children can dig.  Allow them to dig and play on wet and dry days as this will create a whole new experience.  Don’t worry about the mess so long as children are dressed for mess.

Kids of course are drawn to water.  Add a hose, sprinkler, bucket and scoops, watering cans, plastic pvc pipes of varying lengths.  Oh, and don’t forget to send them out in the rain so long as it isn’t storming.  take in the senses.  What things do they notice when the weather is wet?  Since water can be dangerous, make sure to supervise, but also stay back enough to allow them to explore without our input into the activity.

Consider adding a few large rocks (large enough so that they cannot be picked up and thrown, but small enough that they can be turned over to explore underneath.  Is there a tree in this environment?  I remember playing for hours in an old lilac bush when I was a child.  So much fun moving about its branches.  It could be anything and it was!

Don’t forget to add plants and perhaps allow children to help in the planting.  In my yard I need to make sure to have shade loving plants, but you will need to choose depending on your yards unique lighting.

Lastly, allow for some building materials.  A sheet for a fort, a variety of boards or long sticks can make for some great temporary forts and doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Have a few boards that you can allow to sit for a day or two and then go back to move these to see who has moved in.  I know in my yard we find all sorts of critters and the children just love it!

If you have enjoyed these ideas, please consider sharing one of your favorite back yard ideas.  I just love adding to our back yard fun and I bet you do too!

Kim Woehl is a licensed real estate agent and early childhood educator.  Please feel free to contact her at 651-214-1459 for information.

 

That Stinks! Marketing with Fragrance – Home Selling

29108_basic_apple_pie_620As a real estate professional I hear it often.  What is that smell?  There are of course good smells and bad smells and sometimes this is up to your own personal preference.  No one wants to smell garbage, dirty laundry, pet odors, urine, mold or mildew or that wet stagnant smell.  Potential buyers need to feel comfortable and be able to think about how they might arrange their furniture or hang photos.  They do not need to be wondering how they can remove the “stink”.

We need to be careful to not mask these smells but rather eliminate them.  Once eliminated then you might find it appealing to add a bit of “good smell” to your home.  Research says that certain smells attach to our emotional self.  smells or fragrances from our past that were pleasant experiences bring back positive memories.

Have you been to the local mall lately?  Stores are using fragrances to get you to take out your card.  Its working.  Does this marketing work for home selling?  Research says yes!

My personal favorite is apple cinnamon.  It reminds me of my Grandma’s pies, piping hot coming out of the oven.  I especially love this around the holidays.  Lavender is another common fragrance that is said to be calming.  Do you want your potential buyers to feel relaxed as they tour your home?  The rage this time of year is pumpkin.  We find it in everything from candles to coffee, ice cream to snack cakes.

Now that we have covered “what stinks”, we also need to listen to this huge bit of advice.  Invite in a few friends that can be honest with you.  Ask them if they smell any smells in your home.  We grow accustomed to our own environment and often times can no longer recognize or notice an odor, but your friends will.

Kim Woehl is a real estate professional with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  Before you list your home with someone else, consider giving me a call.  It might make scents!  651-214-1459

Thinking Spring!

Kim Woehl is an agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459

Kim Woehl is an agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459

Yes, I am.  With more cold weather headed this way, I am thinking of ways to bring spring around.

Bathrooms – Add some new bright colored towels and change out that accent piece for something for the warmer weather.

Bedroom – Change the current bedding for a whole new look.  You will be amazed at how you feel when you walk into the room.  I also don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to crawl into those crisp clean sheets!  Add a few toss pillows for an inviting look.

Kitchen – Consider adding a new splash of color via towels, or a some new accents.  One of my favorites is to bring in a bouquet of live flowers.

Living and Family – Gotta have some seasonal toss pillows and take a look at the walls.  You would be amazed what happens when you change out some of the wall art seasonally.

If I take a moment or two today and find these items I will be ready to bring spring on full force when the time arrives.

Stay warm everyone and enjoy shopping those warm malls while you wait as patiently as possible for spring to arrive.

Do we Need a New Light Bulb?

lightbulbI have been an environmentalist for a long time. I do my best to be green.  I recycle religiously.  I cringe when I see wasteful persons and yes, I might be that person you have seen taking a recyclable item back out of the trash.

I make sure never to allow fertilizers to leave the lawn and when needed am careful about its application and run off potential.  We mow into the lawn, not onto the street.  Well, you get the picture.

I have slowly filled the house with flourescent bulbs only to find that in general we don’t like them.  They are slow to brighten, sometimes are too white, or have a fake yellow hue.   The biggest bummer is that sometimes they do not last nearly as long as the packaging had claimed.  Did you know these are hazardous and cannot be tossed into the trash when done?  They need to be recycled in a safe way.

All this said, I just am unclear how I feel about these new LED lightbulb‘s that have come out.  They are supposed to last 25 years!  That’s a long time.  They also have a rather large price tag at about $25.00 a piece.  I just bought a 4 pack of regular old 40 watt bulbs for a buck at Christmas time so its going to be a bit of a tough sell to give these a try when the budget has so many other options to be spent.  On the upside these new bulbs promise to ony cost $1.63 a day when used 3 hours per day over the 25 year stand.

Where do you sit on the great light bulb debate.  Will you be giving the LED a try, sticking with flourescents or crying over the soon to be lost low cost incandescent?

Mom and Dad Spaces – Dealing with Aging Parents

rocking chairMore and more families are going back to years gone by and making spaces for aging parents.  Some are adding additions so that parents can have separate living quarters and yet have their family very near by.  Others opt for a shared space with a bedroom devoted to mom, dad or both.

When my husband and I were young we built our first home.  While we were in the construction phase we bought a camper and moved it to my parent’s farm.  This worked pretty well as we hooked up to their sewer and used their water.  We had our own space and this worked for us even though it was cramped and did not allow for a lot of storage.  It was a short term living space.

As fall came and then the snow, it became too difficult to keep the little camper heated and we had to refill the fuel tank daily.  My parents let us move into their home for the last month of construction.  We made it work.  We were all a bit more cramped and my hubby and I shared a place on a pull out couch that had to be cleaned up and put away daily in their living room.  We were both allergic to cats and my parents had several.  It worked, but wasn’t the best living arrangements.  Let’s say we were happy to finally move into our new home and they were happy to see us move out and into our new space.

There are certainly things to consider when having your parents or your spouses move into your home.  Will it be separate, will you plan to hang out during the day, will noise be a factor, will you be sharing meals, will you have them sign a lease or will they be allowed to occupy the space for free?  Planning for success will bring success and many families are doing it already.  What a great way to save on rent, lower housing expenses and keep your parents near as they age.  I would love to hear success and horror stories and of course any tips you might have.

Kim is a real estate agent working in the north metro area with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  Let her find you your next home.  Perhaps a home large enough to support your family and a space for mom or dad!

Here is a you tube clip that will give additional considerations to shared space living.  http://youtu.be/XDZdMAJ7KOA

 

 

Letting Go of the Stuff

Removing the Clutter

Empower yourself by reducing the amount of stuff in your environment!

This week was the week I decided to remove more unnecessary items from the basement.  I am not planning on moving, or painting or doing any other large project.  I am just tired of all of the stuff.

We are fortunate to live in an area that has a variety of services that will swing right by the house and collect clothing, household items and in some cases even furniture.  I simply have to have my items on my porch by 8 PM and they pick up my items, leave me a tax slip and I win by having less to get rid of.   When they call I never turn them down.

With all of the items I have removed why does the house still seem full? Perhaps I need to do this room by room, removing all but the necessary items that I still need and love. If I can categorize it in any other fashion perhaps its time to go.

I am one of those persons who makes emotional connections to stuff, much like my own parents did and for that matter, my husband and one of my own boys.  I am not certain how to clean up, de-clutter and remove.  I need one of those organizer guru persons to shape me up.

Moving is a great time to reduce so that you can move in and let go of the past.  Have a garage sale, post items on Craig’s list or Ebay.  Donate, donate, donate.

Its tough to get rid of the stuff, but once it is picked up and gone I feel empowered, good about my accomplishment, frustrated when I look around and still find items that are cluttering my life.

What gets you in the mood to reduce?

Selling? How to Create that Welcoming Feel

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459  kwoehl.kwrealty.com

It’s about the details!

I walk into homes all of the time with clients and I cannot tell you what a difference it makes when a home is staged to sell.  Potential buyers want to think of themselves living in this home.  They need to get that feeling that your home is their new home.  When buyers feel welcome and comfortable in your home they are much more apt to pick your home over the cold, cluttered or even empty home down the street.  How will you create that welcome feel?  Let me share a few tips.

1.  Clean up that clutter.  This means piles of mail or other paper, anything not necessary while you sell your home should be removed if possible to create an illusion of plenty of space.  Be selective in what items are out, put away personal items like family photos and instead opt for items that will again create that welcoming feel so that potential buyers can see themselves living here.

2.  Consider baking or having a snack available for showings.  Something that smells wonderful can’t hurt.  🙂  Cookies or a couple of bars with a note that this is for the tour is a wonderful gesture.

3.  Have you cleaned those carpets lately?  Homes often times have smells that are not considered fresh.  How about that basement?  Does is smell musty, closed up?  Get some windows open, do a bit of cleaning and step through the front door a few times.  If you smell anything so will potential buyers.

4.  Paint – Neutral colors are best as it allows others to see a blank slate.  A fresh coat of paint is an economical way to clean the place and create a fresh feel.  While you may love those tangarine walls, others will find it hideous.   I know, tough to believe but many a buyer has elected to buy the home down the street with fresh paint and neutral colors.

One last recommendation, invite a few friends over and ask what they recommend you change up to make the home more inviting.  ask for honestly, and don’t be offended if they tell you the truth.  Ask them for a list of 3 things each and I bet you will find similarities.  Make these changes if you can as these are buyers perspectives and are valuable!

Looking to buy or sell give me a call!

Kim Woehl – Keller Williams Premier Realty

651-214-1459

kwoehl.kwrealty.com

 

 

Should you Buy a Fixer Upper? – Making a Sound Decision

Fixer Upper or Money Pit?

When considering whether to purchase a home as a fixer upper it is important to consider several key points.  First of all is time and money.  Fixer uppers typically need lots of both.  The other thing that is important to consider is how you will live while you making improvements.

If you have a lack of funds it would probably not be in your best interest to purchase a home that needs lots of love and attention otherwise you will see it continue its downward spiral into the money pit.  If you will be living in the same home that you will be making improvements on, consider where you will store furniture and such while you are remodeling.  It can get messy, crowded, dusty, etc and often you will live without modern conveniences for periods of time as you work on projects.

Who will do the work?  If its not you, you will need a budget the cost of having a professional come in to do the work and more time in selecting the contractor to help with that task.  Oh and by the way, they will be a lot less flexible if you have items in the work area.  They prefer to have a clean slate to work in/on.

As a family who does lots of do it yourself projects and yes on a fixer upper my advice is to start small if you haven’t done much of this to see if its for you.  Fixing a small plumbing problem might lead to a total redo of the old existing plumbing.  I am speaking from experience here and the water was shut off for days as we reworked and brought the existing plumbing up to today’s codes.

Looking for that fixer upper or that move in ready place, be sure to give me a call so I can help you to find that perfect home and get you moved in!

Let Paint Change your Style and Mood

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459  kwoehl.kwrealty.com

Ah – What color can do!

Tired of looking at the same wall?  Is your room not giving you that happy to be in feel anymore?  Maybe its time to head to your favorite paint store to grab a new color.  Paint is one of the most cost effective ways to change up your room.  As a Realtor I show homes all of the time where a potential buyer walks into a room and just can’t get over the color of the room.  In fact, it is such a turn off that they talk about it for days and share their experience with others in conversation.  When they talk about that particular house it isn’t about the house on Green street, but rather they call it the purple house (meaning the one with the vibrant purple bedroom that glowed you you stepped in).  Do you suppose they pick this home to purchase or do they look at the next one?  When paint can make this much of a difference, it makes sense to notice how you feel while in these spaces.

Are you one of those persons who struggles in choosing the proper color?  As a visual person I too sometimes have a hard time picturing a whole room of that color.  I have learned that I start with a favorite piece from that room.  If I am painting a bedroom I might look at the colors in my favorite comforter and choose a color in that same family to paint the walls.  There are lots of sites online where you can grab suggestions as well.  Here are a few of them.

Take a moment to walk around your home today and see how you feel as you enter each room.  If it doesn’t make you feel happy, relaxed, etc but rather stressed, upset, etc.  Then perhaps now is the time to spend a little on paint and put a smile on your face.