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August
3

Improve Your Home's Hardscaping With These Tips

Hardscaping Tips

A functional and beautiful outdoor space can help make your summers more enjoyable, and when it comes to creating the perfect outdoor oasis, hardscaping has a big role to play. Our real estate agents always make it a point to invest in new outdoor elements that enhance the outdoor experience. New hardscaping not only helps to improve your home value, but it can also be aesthetically pleasing.

Below, we'll discuss the importance of hardscaping and how you can use it to make the most out of your yard this summer.

What Is Hardscaping?
Hardscaping is a term that describes any man-made outdoor elements, such as sidewalks, stairs, patios, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, and more. It's basically a term used to describe landscaping elements that are not plants. Hardscaping can be used to expand your living space, guide outdoor traffic, or increase the overall functionality of your yard. It's also very low maintenance!

Hardscaping Tip
Good hardscaping requires a lot of time and planning, but the end result is often well worth the investment. Here are some hardscaping tips to make your project a success:

  1. Always Evaluate The Space
    Before starting any hardscaping project, you'll want to make sure the space can support your vision. Therefore,  it's important to conduct a thorough analysis of the space. You'll want to consider the type of soil, the quality of the drainage, and the shape of the terrain before you begin building. Make sure you always measure the space.

  2. Supplement With Greenery
    It's easy to get carried away with hardscaping, but man-made elements shouldn't be the dominant theme of your outdoor space. Make sure you're keeping greenery in the picture. Whether it's flowers, shrubs, or potted plants, make sure there is plenty of plant life around.

  3. Stick To A Consistent Theme
    When hardscaping, you'll want to choose colors that match your home's exterior to create a seamless transition from indoors to the outdoors. Also, be sure not to go overboard. Try to keep it simple and stick to one or two textures across all your hardscape elements. For inspiration on beautiful hardscaping themes, take a look at a few of these Raleigh homes for sale.

  4. Keep Things Balanced
    Humans find real beauty in balance and symmetry, so keep this in mind when you're planning new outdoor elements. Use repetition when adding rocks, boulders, decor, or other elements. Make sure your items fit nicely within the natural space of your yard. Don't be afraid to add curves to your sidewalk or build a non-traditionally shaped patio.

  5. Consult A Professional
    Great hardscaping can be difficult to create. While it can make for a fun summer DIY project, you shouldn't be afraid to consult with a professional. If you're really looking to boost your home value, hiring a professional can really pay off.

Whether you're looking to create a new space for entertaining guests or your own private oasis, hardscaping is a great investment. Contact us today for more ideas about how to improve your outdoor space.

July
27

7 Tips for Adding Built-In Bookshelves

Bookshelf Tips

Part of making your house a home is getting to customize it with your interests. Put your personality and hobbies on display when you design a built-in bookshelf.

Built-in bookshelves complement your home, and you can use them as a focal point instead of furniture. Additionally, built-in bookshelves are customizable, easy to organize and make the space look bigger. Our real estate agents put together this guide to help you add built-in bookshelves after buying our Raleigh homes for sale to customize them to your taste.

  1. Take Measurements
    Where would you like your bookshelf to be? Measure the room's height and width. Just like with any home improvement project, measuring multiple times is a good way to ensure a successful project. Most people prefer their built-in bookshelves to be by the window. So, check the window placement as well. If the room has no windows, you can place the bookshelf by the center. Next, come up with the bookcase details. How many columns and rows do you need on the shelf? What will be the width between partitions?


  2. Gather Materials
    Pick out the materials you'd like to use for this home improvement project. Cut your wood to the dimensions of the bookcase details. Assemble the wood and use the glue sets to assemble the partitions.


  3. Cut and Assemble the Shelves
    After assembling the partitions, let the glue dry as you cut the shelves. From the measurement of the first step, you have an idea of shelf length. You can make them an inch longer and trim them to ensure the perfect fit. Lengthening the shelves a little more makes it easy to align them perfectly.


  4. Trim the Brackets
    Using a jigsaw, carefully cut out the brackets. You can use sandpaper to smoothen the carve. Mark any intersections, and use a pencil to draw a smooth line that will connect the dots. Then, cut out the shape using a jigsaw.


  5. Build the Partition
    Since built-in bookshelves don't have enough weight to support them as other cabinet face frames do, nail the frame parts together. Nailing makes the bookshelf more stable.


  6. Add Wall Cleats
    Use wall anchors and reliable construction adhesives to fasten wall cleats on your drywall. If you have carpeting on your floor, roll it back to avoid making a mess. If you don't have drywall, you can also check the right anchor to attach your wall cleats. The cleat helps support the partition and acts as a cleat for the bookshelf's fascia.


  7. Fasten the Brackets, Fix the Nails, Sand, and Finish Off
    Tip the partitions carefully and one at a time to avoid scaring the ceiling. Then add the brackets by gluing them to the partition sides. Next, nail them to the partition and filet. Once you fix the nails, sand the wood and finish the bookcase. You can paint it in your desired color.

Are you ready to find your next home and customize it? Contact us with your needs and preference, and let us help make your search easier.

June
29

Hosting Tips for Your Housewarming Party

housewarming hosting

You've looked at countless Raleigh homes for sale, and you've finally found the one. Is it too early to start planning your housewarming party? Not at all! A housewarming party is a perfect opportunity to show off your new home to your friends, celebrate with those you care about most, and just relax in your own space. The following are some hosting tips that may come in handy as you plan and hold your housewarming.

  • Plan on Giving House Tours
    Your guests are going to want to see your home. So, make sure it is tidied up and ready for visitors. It's okay to close off a bedroom or two if there are things you want to keep private, but for the most part, you want the whole of your home to be clean and ready for visitors. If you're still holding on to empty boxes and bubble wrap from your move, this is great motivation to get rid of it.

  • Serve Appetizers and Finger Foods
    Serving a sit-down meal at a housewarming party is more work than it's worth. Plus, with all of your guests roaming around and checking out the house, gathering everyone to eat at the same time will be tough. Serve a variety of finger foods and appetizers instead. This way, you and your guests can nibble as you wish.

  • Invite Guests to Drop By
    Having everyone arrive at once can be a little overwhelming when you're giving tours of the home and showing off your favorite decor. When you send out invitations, use the words "stop by between the hours of ___ and ___" so guests know they don't have to be there as soon as the party starts. Some guests will stay for a half-hour, and others may stay the whole time. Building in this flexibility also makes it easy for busy guests to attend.

  • Set Aside a Spot for Gifts
    It's customary for guests to bring a small gift when they attend a housewarming party. Set aside a designated space for these gifts before the party. An end table in the living room is a good choice. Don't use your kitchen counter or island, as you'll need those spots for food and drinks.

  • Open Up the Yard, if Possible
    It's nice to hold a housewarming party in the summer so guests can also mingle in and enjoy your yard. Tidy up your landscaping prior to the party. Also, make sure it's clear that guests are welcome to go outside and enjoy the yard. This may mean propping a door open or barbecuing outside where others can gather around the grill. 

A housewarming party is a great opportunity to show off your new space and welcome others into it as well. With the hosting tips above, you'll be set for success. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect home, feel free to contact us soon. Our real estate agents will be happy to guide you through the house-hunting process, working with you closely every step of the way.

June
22

Plants to Boost Indoor Air Quality

Indoor Plants

Want to purify the air while improving the appearance of your home? Add a few indoor plants to improve your indoor air quality, reduce your stress levels, and enhance your home's aesthetic.

Our real estate agents also know that indoor plants effectively make any space look more inviting. Here are a few plants that will boost your indoor air quality and help your home look its best.

  • Spider Plants
    Spider plants are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular option for homeowners who want to add plants that don't require a lot of time and attention. A spider plant removes formaldehyde, a chemical commonly found in fingernail polish, cigarette smoke, dry cleaning solutions, and other synthetic chemicals. To help your spider plant thrive, you'll want to keep the soil moist and place it in a spot that's semi-sunny or even shady. 
  • Philodendrons
    Philodendrons are another plant that's efficient at purifying your air while being relatively easy to grow. Many homeowners like philodendrons thanks to the lovely heart-shaped leaves. Another benefit of philodendrons is that they're versatile regarding their ideal placement in your home. You can keep philodendrons in a shady spot, or you can house them in a sunnier area as long as you're willing to water them more frequently. 
  • Peace Lilies
    Peace lilies have gorgeous white flowers and remove acetone, alcohols, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. They need a semi-shady spot in your home, and you'll want to keep the soil moist. 
  • Snake Plants
    When adding your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale, consider adding snake plants to your entryway or living room. Snake plants are perfect for busy homeowners thanks to their blase watering requirements; water the plant until the soil is moist, then allow the soil to completely dry out before you water it again. This means that you may only need to water your snake plant every two to four weeks. 
  • Bromeliads
    Bromeliads boast a beautifully colored bloom and are effective at removing a number of air pollutants. They do best in a spot with a lot of direct lighting. Make sure that your bromeliad has a pot that allows for ample water drainage, as they are prone to developing root rot. If you notice water gathering in the pot, promptly empty it out. A bromeliad will only live for a year or two; after they flower, they start to die off. They do produce baby bromeliads at their base that you can remove and propagate. 
  • English Ivy
    While English ivy is a popular addition in many gardens, it's also an excellent addition to your collection of indoor plants, offering a classic look and strong pollutant-removing properties. It can grow in full shade or full sun, and over time, you can even direct its growth so that it compliments your home. 
  • Gerbera Daisies
    If you prefer a flowering plant or a species that will add color to your home, gerbera daisies are a terrific selection. They're a little tricky to grow inside because they need a lot of bright light and relatively warm temperatures. A location by a window offers these growing conditions, but too much heat can scorch the leaves. One option is to place your daisies by the window during the morning and then move them before the strong afternoon sun hits. 

Want a home with more space for indoor plants? Contact us to start your search!

April
27

What to Plant in Your Garden This Year

Garden Tips

Spring is here at last! Our real estate agents have been looking forward to another year of beautiful, thriving plants at our Raleigh and Durham homes for sale. In their time working on local properties, they have seen some incredible examples of gardening prowess and learned which plants grow best in this area of North Carolina. Here are some of the plants they are most excited to recommend to local gardeners this year. 

  • Rosemary 
    Rosemary is a common herb used to add an earthy flavor to soups, stews, and bread, but that doesn't mean it can't be an attractive part of a garden arrangement as well. This herb's distinctive tall shoots covered in short, straight leaves can look great in the right surroundings.  

    Like most herbs, rosemary is hardy and doesn't need too much water or attention. It does best in full sun, so try to find it a sunny spot near the middle of your plots to help it grow. 

  • Wood Geraniums 
    Wood geraniums are modest, cheerful-looking flowers that grow natively in North Carolina. They make an excellent addition to any Raleigh resident's garden, but those with lots of nearby wildlife may appreciate them even more. Their strong smell has sometimes been shown to have a mild repellent effect against deer, rabbits, and other woodland creatures.  

    These flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer, so plant them soon to enjoy their beauty for several months. They need neutral soil but can survive in either sun or partial shade.  

  • Carolina Silverbell 
    If you want to make your garden feel like a magical respite, look no further than the Carolina Silverbell tree. This plant's dainty white blossoms look like something out of a fairy tale.  

    This tree needs neutral or mildly acidic soil and lots of sun but can handle periods of shade. Expect to see it bloom each year in late spring or early summer and develop stunning yellow foliage in the fall.  

  • Sandhills Fire Lily 
    Looking for a striking centerpiece for your garden? The Sandhills Fire Lily might be just the plant you need. With their exotic orange blossoms and their rippling downward-pointing petals, these lilies bring dramatic flair to any outdoor space.  

    Fire lilies bloom in mid-summer and need lots of sun to thrive. They also do best in mildly acidic soil. They'll do great in spots near the middle of your garden where they can enjoy both the sunshine and the spotlight. 

  • Lavender 
    Lavender is well-known for its soft purple flowers and delicate scent. It is often used in teas, bath scents, and massage oils for its calming fragrance. Growing your own allows you to enjoy this relaxing aroma anytime.  

    This plant is hardy and can survive in most conditions, but it does best in full sun and fully-drained alkaline soil. It is prone to root rot in damp conditions, so be sure not to overwater it.  

  • Flowering Dogwood 
    The flowering dogwood's distinctive white clusters of blossoms are both eye-catching and understated, allowing them to easily fit into most Raleigh gardens. This plant's blooms also happen to be North Carolina's official state flower! 

    Dogwood trees need moist, acidic soil with partial shade. Their blossoms will appear in late spring and early summer before developing into small red fruits that give the tree a striking new look. Humans cannot eat these berry-like fruits, but many birds enjoy them and will be happy to visit your yard for a snack when you have a dogwood tree on your property. 

Eager to get started on your new garden? Contact us for more information on our roster of properties and find your perfect landscaping canvas today.  

March
2

7 Tips to Help You Prepare for Spring Cleaning

spring cleaning tips

Spring isn't here quite yet, but it's poking its head around the corner. If you're someone who looks forward to a good spring cleaning, then you probably can't wait to pull out your mops and buckets. Planning ahead for spring cleaning is a great way to stay busy and make sure you're ready to go the second the weather breaks. So, how do you plan for a successful spring cleaning? Our real estate agents have some helpful tips.

  1. Organize Your Cleaning Products
    Knowing where your cleaning products are will help your spring cleaning routine go more smoothly. Take the time to sort through your cleaning products, throw away old ones, and gather everything into one area. You can also make a list of new cleaning products you need and shop for them.

  2. Make a List
    Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming and a bit daunting. You might keep mulling over different tasks and plans in your mind. It can be really helpful to make a list of tasks on paper. This gets you out of your head and reassures you that you won't forget anything. As you think of new cleaning tasks you'd like to tackle, just add them to the list. By the time spring arrives, you'll have a thorough record of everything you plan to do.

  3. Donate Obvious Extras
    You may want to wait for spring to do a serious audit of your drawers and collections. But if there are items sitting around your home that you obviously no longer want or need, start donating and selling them now. When spring comes, you'll have fewer things to clean and less to do.

  4. Use Up Pantry Extras
    Spring cleaning in the kitchen is a lot easier with a nearly empty pantry. So, start planning ahead by using up your open food, along with food items you've been storing for a while. 

    Some people like to do a one-week pantry cooking challenge. During this week, you do not go grocery shopping at all. You can only eat and cook with what's already in your pantry. This requires some creativity, but it's an excellent way to clear the clutter.

  5. Contact Contractors
    There are some spring cleaning and maintenance tasks you simply should not do on your own. Servicing your air conditioner is one of them. Hydro-jetting your drains is another. Make a list of all the spring cleaning tasks you want to have done professionally. Then, start contacting those contractors and making appointments. It's nice to get on their schedule before the springtime rush.

  6. Set Some Cleaning Goals
    Another way to plan for spring cleaning is to set some specific cleaning goals for the year ahead. Maybe your goal is to clean for 30 minutes, twice a week. Or perhaps you want to get rid of 10 unneeded items each month. Write down your goals and post them on your refrigerator. When spring does come, you'll be ready to buckle down and work to achieve them.

  7. Make Your Own Cleaners
    If you prefer to use homemade cleaners, now is the time to start preparing them. Make a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to use on your surfaces. Stock up on baking soda to use on your carpets. Look up recipes for new homemade cleaning products and follow them. By the time spring comes, you'll be stocked up.

Getting your house clean so you can list it this spring? If you're thinking of moving, don't hesitate to contact us. Our real estate agents can help you find incredible Raleigh homes for sale, and they can guide you through the buying process. 

February
2

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule for Your Home

Cleaning Schedule

Not everyone loves cleaning, but everyone will agree a clean home shows the best! One of the best ways to keep your house clean is to create a cleaning schedule. This is especially important if you'll be selling your house soon, as Raleigh homes for sale need to be showing-ready at all times. Here are a few tips for creating a cleaning schedule you can stick to.

  • Make a List
    First things first: Making a list is a great way to get organized. Whether it's a deep cleaning that's long overdue or just regular cleaning tasks, put it all on your list, and be sure to note how often it needs to be done. For instance, basic cleanup in the kitchen usually needs to happen nightly, but other things like laundry and cleaning the bathrooms may not need to happen more often than once a week. Whether it's once a day, once a week, or once a month, putting it all on your list will help you get an idea of how much work cleaning your house is going to require.

  • Do a Little Each Day
    Are you the sort of person who prefers to clean a little each day so that you don't have to spend your time deep cleaning? If so, make a list of tasks to do each day, and then when you're done with those, you can do other things that need doing. For instance, you might clean up the kitchen and wipe down the counters every night after dinner, and when time permits, add in less frequent cleaning tasks, such as cleaning the oven. Our real estate agents recommend the daily clean approach if you're selling your home, as you can easily wrangle it back into show-ready shape even with a short notice.

  • Pick a Cleaning Day
    If you don't have the time or the energy to clean every day, you might prefer to pick a day when you can devote a large chunk of time to cleaning. This might be on the weekends or even every other week if you do a little maintenance between cleaning days. Devoting one or two big days to cleaning is perfect for catching up on your deep cleaning or even getting your home ready to sell. This is also when your list comes in handy: You can keep tabs on everything you have to do and make sure you're moving quickly from one task to the next.

  • Prioritize
    Whether you clean a little every day or hit it hard on one big long cleaning day, it's important to make sure you've prioritized your list. Note first the tasks that need doing the most, either because it's something that needs to be cleaned frequently or because it's just really bad. After you get those done, you can move on to less frequent or less pressing tasks, and so on down your list.

Keeping your house clean might not be much fun (at least not for most of us), but with these tips, it can at least become a little easier. If you're getting ready to sell your home and are interested in learning more about cleaning and staging a house for sale, contact us today.

November
10

6 Eco-Friendly Home Tips for National Recycling Day

Recycling Tips

Home sustainability plays an important role in keeping our planet and our community healthy and clean. From recycling to energy efficiency, eco-friendly best practices can help reduce pollution, diminish dependence on raw materials, and ultimately helps prevent garbage from filling up landfills.

With National Recycling Day coming up on November 15, our real estate agents thought we'd take a moment to reflect on the importance of green living. Here are some everyday sustainability tips to incorporate into your home and life.

  1. Start With A Recycling Bin
    Investing in a recycling bin is an easy first step towards sustainability. Recycling is significantly easier when you have a dedicated container conveniently placed near your garbage can. When throwing things away, you can sort your glass, paper, aluminum, and plastics into your bin. Be sure to rinse your materials thoroughly and check with your local recycling company on what they'll accept.

  2. Create A Compost Bin
    A compost bin is an excellent way to reduce the amount of trash you produce, and it can have great benefits for your garden too. A compost bin is a place you can toss your decomposing food, plant, or organic materials. Over time, they'll transform into compost, which can be used to fertilize your soil. Vegetable and fruit scraps, dry pet food, newspaper, or cardboard are some examples of the hundreds of items that can be placed in a compost bin.

  3. Use A Water Filter
    Plastic bottles can be very harmful to the environment, especially when continually placed in a landfill. Instead of buying bottled water, install a water filter on your faucet or under your sink. You can also buy a filtered water pitcher, which can be fairly inexpensive.

  4. Wash Your Clothes With Cold Water
    Your washing machine consumes a significant amount of power and over 90% of that energy is used to heat the water. Therefore, you can save a significant amount of energy and reduce carbon emissions by getting in the habit of running all your loads with cold water instead

  5. Adopt LED Lighting
    Lighting typically accounts for 15% of your home's energy usage. You can significantly decrease this number by switching to LED lighting. LED stands for light-emitting diode, are these bulbs are 90% more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. They're also brighter and last significantly longer too. Beautiful LED lighting is frequently used in many of these modern Raleigh homes for sale

  6. Install A Programmable Thermostat
    Programmable thermostats have helped to revolutionize energy-efficient heating and cooling. These thermostats allow you to schedule temperatures based on the time of day. Many of them also allow you to adjust your home's temperature from your smartphone, which makes it easy to turn down the heat or air conditioning when you're not at home. This functionality not only reduces your utility bills, but it is also incredibly eco-friendly.

Energy efficiency, sustainability, and green-living play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions and reducing utility bills. For assistance finding a home with eco-friendly features, contact us today.

October
13

8 Household Items and When to Replace Them

Household Items

If you're preparing to add your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale, it's essential to replace worn-out items. Worn-out items give the appearance that your home isn't properly maintained, and in some cases, can harbor germs and make it more cumbersome to maintain a clean living space. Here are some guidelines for replacing these common household items. 

  1. Your Fridge's Water Filter: Every 6 to 8 Months
    Refrigerators with water and ice dispensers have a filter that removes impurities. If you neglect to change the filter, you'll notice a change in the taste and quality of your water and ice. Old, dirty filters create a perfect environment for the growth of bacteria. 
  1. Hand Towels and Bath Mats: Every Couple of Years
    Even when laundered regularly, hand towels and bath mats can accumulate bacteria. They're frequently located in moist environments that contribute to the growth of mildew and mold. 
  1. Mop Heads and Pads: Every Month
    When you neglect to replace your mop head or mop pads, your mop doesn't work as well. You might notice that it doesn't clean the nooks and crevices in your home as effectively as it used to. Old mop heads and pads also harbor bacteria that you may inadvertently spread throughout your home. 
  1. Air Conditioner Filter: Every 3 Months
    An old air conditioner filter is bad for your home's HVAC system. Your system has to work harder than necessary to heat or cool your home due to the dirty filter; this means that it runs more often and for longer periods of time, shortening the life of your unit. If your HVAC system operates with a dirty filter, all of the dirt and allergens on the filter are disbursed throughout your home. This harms your home's air quality and spreads unpleasant odors throughout your property.
  1. Vacuum Cleaner Filters: Every 3 to 6 Months
    When you vacuum your floors, the filter traps dirt and dust from your floors. Our real estate agents know that a clean vacuum filter enables you to get the most from your vacuuming session, ensuring that your home looks its best for showings and open houses. Dirty filters may also leak dirt and particles back into your home's air when you run your vacuum. This can aggravate your allergies and make the air in your home smell stale and dirty. 
  1. Doormats: Every 2 Years
    Your doormats serve multiple functions: not only do they reduce the amount of dirt that enters your home, but they improve the aesthetics of your porch or deck. Over time, the materials of your doormats will degrade, removing less mud and dirt from your shoes. Bacteria, mold, and mildew will also begin to accumulate. 
  1. Smoke Alarms: Every 10 Years
    Replace your smoke alarms every ten years to ensure they will continue to detect smoke in your home. Test your smoke alarms monthly to confirm that they're working correctly. 
  1. Sponges: Every 2 to 3 Weeks
    A clean sponge is key for a clean home! After all, if a sponge is past its prime, it might be spreading bacteria instead of cleaning it up. Make sure to replace them at least every 2 to 3 weeks or sooner if they are beginning to look weathered.

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!

September
15

National Happy Cat Month: 5 Tips for a Pet-Friendly Home

Raleigh CatsYour pets are a part of the family. Our real estate agents are well aware of that and, since September is National Happy Cat Month, we want to share with you some of the many ways you can make your home more comfortable for them. Make your home the purr-fect place for your feline friends by following these tips. 

  1. Give Them Space
    If you provide a convenient space for your cat with fresh water and food close to the litter box, your cat is going to hate it. That may seem ungrateful, but there are actually good reasons for their reactions. First, their very sensitive noses can locate their litter box when it is quite far away. If it is too close to the food, the odor will overwhelm the scent of their dinner. They are also unhappy if the scent of their food overwhelms the scent of their water. They like to eat in quiet, out-of-the-way places. If this describes your kitchen, it may be a good kitty dining room, but if not, you may want to find a more appropriate location. 

  2. Don't Forget Playtime
    Your first reaction may be that the entire house is a cat playground, and to a degree, you would be correct. But remember that cats love to climb, jump and look down from on high. Fortunately, cat trees come in all shapes and sizes that can fit in any size home, from a small condo to a mansion. Often covered with carpet, it can blend into the decor and serve double duty as cat scratch poles. 

  3. Build a Cat Cave
    Cats love the safety and security of a confined space. Even big cats like lions and tigers will climb into any box they can and curl up in comfort. Some of the most popular cat toys are miniature houses and fabric retreats. They are also more than happy to curl up on your clean laundry, so why not give them a basket with a baby blanket? Whatever you choose, do keep in mind that cats can be like toddlers. No matter how much you spend on the toy, they may prefer to play in the box it came in!

  4. Give the Cat a View
    Indoor cats are prone to sitting for hours staring out of the window. Whether they are watching the birds in the trees or just relaxing in the sun, a special cat should have a special space, much as you might enjoy a reading nook in a bay window. You can make it special with a well-placed shelf or even just a chair. Be sure the cat has easy access to the window itself by opening the drapes or blinds sufficiently. 

  5. Keep the Litter Box Odor-Free
    Ammonia and cat feces carry foul odors that your cat hates even more than you do. Fortunately, modern technology has made the most despised chore facing cat owners a little easier to tackle. An expensive self-cleaning litter box is well worth the investment. Keep in mind that multi-cat homes require multiple litter boxes. 

If you think one of the exquisite Raleigh homes for sale might be a great new place for you and your cat, our real estate professionals would like to help you find it. Contact us today to get started.

September
8

5 Backyard Composting Tips

Composting Tips

Looking for an easy, affordable way to improve your garden and reduce your waste output? Create your own backyard compost pile!

Composting is the natural process of recycling garden, yard, and kitchen waste into fertile garden soil. When you add compost material to your soil, you improve its health, help it retain moisture, and provide protection against disease and pests. 

Our real estate agents know that a property with attractive landscaping appeals to prospective buyers. Here are some tips to follow for optimal backyard composting. 

  1. Select the Right Area for Your Compost Bin
    For the best results, your compost pile needs to be located in a suitable environment. Look for a spot that's dry and shady but has access to a water source. If your home is lacking in outside space, it's possible to set up a small compost bin inside your home. 
  1. Know What to Add to Your Compost Pile
    Every compost pile should have water, browns, and greens. These ingredients are all necessary to produce nutrient-rich compost. Browns include yard and garden waste, like twigs, dead leaves, and branches. Greens consist of grass clippings, fruit and vegetable waste, and old coffee grounds. Your compost pile needs an equal amount of browns and greens. Water keeps the compost pile moist so that it breaks down more rapidly. 
  1. Understand What NOT to Add to Your Compost Pile
    A few items should not be composted. These items may harm plants or produce an odor that attracts insects. When you put your home on the market, it's essential to confirm that your compost pile is odor-free so that it doesn't deter homebuyers. Never add plants with disease or pests to your compost pile, as both disease and pests can be transmitted to other plants when you add the compost to your garden. Avoid adding fats, meats, bones, and dairy products, as all these items will make your compost pile smell and attract rodents and insects. Any yard or garden waste that's been treated with chemical pesticides should stay out of your compost pile. Pesticides can kill the organisms necessary to break down organic material. 
  1. Cover Your Compost Pile
    It can take between a couple of months and a couple of years for organic materials to turn into compost. Hasten the process by covering your compost pile. Covering your compost helps it retain moisture that assists with the degradation of your food and yard waste. You can opt for a compost bin with a lid or use a tarp to cover your compost pile. 
  1. Be Picky with How You Layer Your Compost
    Always put a layer of browns as the top layer on your compost pile. This will minimize any odors associated with your compost, and it helps the materials retain moisture. A brown top layer also decreases the number of pests and insects attracted to your compost pile. When you add new waste to your compost pile, alternate brown and green layers, check that the brown layers are two to three times thicker than your green layers.

A compost pile is a great way to supply your garden with nutrients. Ready to add your home to the list of Raleigh homes for sale? Contact us today to get started!

July
14

Kitchen Updates You'll Enjoy Using

Kitchen Updates

Once you've found your perfect home, the next step is to make it your own - starting with the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you can up your culinary game with a few simple design ideas. There are plenty of Raleigh homes for sale with amazing kitchens to suit your needs. Here's how to take those kitchens even further.

Appliances

The right tools can help in a myriad of ways. An induction cooktop, for instance, regulates heat much more accurately than a regular stovetop, allowing for more precise temperature measurements. The appliance itself never gets hot, reducing the risk of accidental burning. Plus, it's more energy-efficient than electric or gas stoves.

You might also consider a high-speed oven. Using both convection and microwave heating, it heats better and more accurately, cutting cook times in half.

Finally, if you don't have a stand mixer, it will change your life. A good quality mixer will last for many years, providing thorough, even mixing. You can do everything from whip cream to beat meringue to knead bread dough quickly and easily without wearing out your arms. Plus, with extra attachments, you can roll out and cut your own fresh pasta, grind your own meat, and much more.

Organization

A few simple organizational improvements can help you tremendously. Install some sturdy hooks above the stovetop, on which to hang your pots and pans. This will make them easier to find and access when you need them. You can do the same for mixing spoons, spatulae, and other basic tools. For knives, consider installing a long, magnetic strip that the knives can stick to. That way, you can simply remove one when you need it and put it back in its place when it's clean.

In your cluttered cabinets, try putting in a Lazy Susan. They design them for all different purposes, from organizing herbs and spices to storing empty containers. Whatever you're using it for, a Lazy Susan lets you keep everything organized and view it at a glance, so you don't have to rummage through a lot of extra clutter to find what you need.

Also, consider installing tension rods in your cabinets. They make great customizable barriers that you can prop things like pans and cookie sheets against, rather than stacking them up. By storing things vertically, you can create more space in your cabinets and keep things more organized.

Renovation

If you're really committed to updating your kitchen, consider some renovations and remodels. Start with more shelves. A single shelf that stretches across an entire kitchen wall can provide a tremendous amount of storage for various things without taking up much extra space.

If your home doesn't have a kitchen island, you should put one in. It provides extra space for everything you need: a counter for prep work, a table for seating, plus storage beneath for pots and pans, appliances, etc.

To make cleanup simpler, cut a small hole in the kitchen island countertop, and store a trash can in the cabinet underneath. Now you have a quick and easy way to eliminate everything from eggshells to empty packaging as you cook.

These are just a few of the kitchen updates you can make in your home to make cooking easier and better. Get creative and see what other improvements you can make to help you when you cook.

If you want to find your perfect home with your dream kitchen, contact us. Our real estate agents can help you find the right space for you and ensure every room will meet your needs.

June
9

5 Things to Consider Before Buying Patio Furniture

Raleigh Patio

What's so hard about buying patio furniture? Why not just go online or to a store and pick something pretty and buy it? You can do that, but you may not be happy with how that plays out in the patio area of the dream home you chose among homes for sale in the Triangle. A little planning will help you make the most of your outdoor living space. If you're not sure what questions to ask about a patio furniture purchase, follow the guidelines our real estate agents have put together. 

  1. Determine the Space
    This sounds so obvious, but you'll be surprised to learn that some folks just close their eyes, make a purchase, and hope it fits. Don't do that. Measure your space. Decide what you want. Bar stools? A dining table and chairs? Chairs for relaxing and lounging? You may get a good deal ordering online, but when buying furniture, it's always nice to look at it in person. Buying patio furniture in the brick-and-mortar store can show you how big it is, so you can calculate if it will nicely fill the space you have.

  2. How Comfortable is it?
    There's not much point in buying patio furniture just to look at. You'll want people to sit in it and enjoy it. It's important to sit on the furniture to see if it's comfortable. Do you intend to improve the experience by providing comfy cushions? That's helpful, but you also want to see if the chairs, table, or whatever, are the right dimensions.

  3. Are the Materials Weather Resistant?
    These days patio furniture is manufactured from many different materials: wicker, iron, resin, steel, plastic, wood, and others. If you're going to leave your furniture in an uncovered location during the warm season, you may want to choose something weather-resistant and resilient. Leaving the furniture in the heat and humidity will shorten its usefulness. If you're going to keep your furniture in a protected location, you might have better luck with patio furniture made of wood or wicker. Regardless of where you leave it, you may need to do a bit of maintenance every season: painting, replacing cushions, or with wood, even refinishing. 

    It's always a good idea to put the furniture up when the season for entertaining is over; at the very least, cover it up and protect it from the elements. Also, think about where you're going to place the furniture: on solid ground or on the patio. If it's going to make contact with the earth. you need to choose materials that can handle being on soggy ground, such as plastic or resin. 

  4. Invest in Quality
    Be aware that plastic, resin, wood, or wicker furniture may look good when you buy it, but if it's used extensively outdoors, UV rays and weather will make it fade so that it loses its looks. If you can afford it, invest in good quality furniture that will stand up to the elements and last a few years. If possible, set it in a protected location.

  5. Shop Colors
    You can have some fun when shopping for the right color of patio furniture. It doesn't have to be neutral, black, or brown. Match colors in your landscape or with your house, or go a little wild selecting pillows and cushions that pop.

Need more tips to improve your outdoor living space? Contact us today. 

May
19

Interior Design Mistakes You Might be Making

Interior Design Mistakes

When you find furniture, artwork, or a decor scheme that you love, it's natural to want to incorporate it into your own home. However, our real estate agents know that some stylistic components aren't a good fit for every home; they may make the room appear small, cluttered, or unattractive. Your space will then be unappealing to you and potential buyers. Here are some common interior design mistakes you might be making and some simple solutions for fixing them. 

  1. Choosing the Wrong Area Rug Size
    Your area rug is intended to help you frame the furniture in a room. This means that your furniture should be touching or resting on the rug, with some of the rugs still showing. For example, in a bedroom, your bed will rest on the rug, and the rug should still be visible.  In your living room, you want the legs of your furniture to touch the perimeter of the rug. If your rug is too small for your space, you have a few options. In a bedroom, you can place the rug on the side of your bed and use it to anchor your nightstand and sitting chair. For a living room rug that's a tad small, you can try putting just the front legs of your couch and end tables on the rug. The effect should be similar, even with a small rug. Or, you might choose to use the rug in another room and replace it with one that's better suited to the size and layout of the room. 
  1. Buying Cheap Linens
    Cheap linens and bedding can detract from a beautifully designed bedroom. You don't have to spend a fortune on your bedding, but you should invest in quality linens in a classic style and colors that compliment the room. This ensures that they'll enhance your bedroom while providing you with a relaxing haven to get an amazing night of slumber. 
  1. Thinking All Your Furniture Has to Match
    It's a misconception that you have to use all the pieces from a matching set of furniture. While there's nothing inherently wrong with a set of furniture, it can make the room feel generic and impersonal. Instead, incorporate a few pieces in a complementary hue or with different textures. This will add depth and visual appeal to the room. 
  1. Neglecting to Incorporate Enough Lighting
    Raleigh homes for sale that lack ample lighting aren't as appealing to potential buyers as their well-illuminated counterparts. A well-lit room is inviting and shows off your gorgeous pieces. In addition to a central source of lighting (like a chandelier or overhead lighting), add floor lights, table lamps, and desk lamps to integrate additional layers of light. Your lighting should be functional (making it possible for you to accomplish all the tasks you do in the room) and visually appealing (lending a cozy touch to the space, like wall sconces do in the dining room). 

Now that you've addressed these interior design mistakes, are you ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to start the process!

April
14

Paint Color Psychology: What Colors You Should Use Before Listing Your Home?

Paint Color Tips

Have you ever noticed how some rooms entice you into settling back and relaxing, and others make you feel energetic and ready for fun? Understanding the effects of your choice of colors will help you send the correct message to potential buyers. Our real estate agents can tell you that painting your home will probably bring the greatest return on investment of any upgrades you make when selling your home. Keep in mind the psychological effects of these colors before starting to paint. 

  1. Classic white
    Not only does white evoke calming effects, but it also opens up the space, making it appear larger. We often equate white with cleanliness. These are the primary reasons that white has been the most common choice of sellers for decades. Potential buyers also see white as the easiest color to paint over later.

  2. Black
    Often regarded as sophisticated and elegant, too much black can be somber and depressing. It's best used as an accent to bring drama to a classic white interior without interfering with the expansive visual effects. Consider black rugs or small accessories to add interest to what might otherwise be a boring environment.

  3. Gray
    Eliciting the same feelings of calm serenity white brings to the table, it adds versatility, matching any color scheme. gray lends a comforting feeling of warmth to a cool room. This adaptability has made gray the new "go-to" color of many interior decorators, edging white off the pedestal as number one. 

  4. Blue
    From the sky above to the deep blue sea, this color brings a cool calm, making it a good choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. Psychologists tell us it actually lowers blood pressure, and who doesn't need that after a busy day? Available in so many shades, blue can accent a home's architectural style, such as slate blue for a Craftsman or light shades for a beach house. 

  5. Green
    Another cool color, green, also reduces stress and provides a restful environment appropriate for bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. Like blue, green is soothing and harmonious, reminiscent of the beauties of nature. Think of how a lush lawn calls to us to take off our shoes and walk across it with bare feet. 

  6. Red
    Of all the warmer colors, red is the most intense, creating energy and stimulating emotions. That can be either good or bad, depending upon where it is used. Increasing energy is great for a recreation room but can be uncomfortable when you are trying to relax in the living room. When painting, consider where you want a stimulating space.

  7. Orange 
    Like red, orange increases tension and excitement, great when you're watching a football game, but not conducive to settling back with a good book. Used carefully, it can encourage enthusiasm, but too much of it can create a feeling of chaos. Used carefully, it can make a dining area feel lively and fun but might be more appropriate to a breakfast bar than a formal dining room.

The most important thing to remember when you are preparing your house for sale is that you want to make it attractive to buyers, not make it a personal statement. You may find it better to stick with neutral colors of paint and, if you are showing it with furniture, add colors with pillows, bedspreads, and other accessories that can be easily removed. 

Looking at other Raleigh homes for sale will help you see how a fresh coat of paint can make a difference! Contact us for assistance listing your house. 

March
31

Movie Night: Try These Home Theater Improvements

Raleigh Home Theater

Whether you enjoy binge-watching your favorite shows or like to host at-home movie nights, a home theater system is an excellent addition to your home. Our real estate agents find that a home theater system is also appealing to potential homebuyers and helps define your home's unused spaces. Here are a few ways you can take your home theater to the next level.

  1. Select the Right Space
    When deciding where to place your home theater, opt for a room that's removed from the hustle and bustle of your household. This should be a space that's used only for viewing media. Ideally, you should be able to close the room off from the rest of the household when it's time to catch a movie to minimize noise and light pollution. 
  1. Place Your TV or Screen the Correct Distance from Your Seating
    For the best viewing experience, your TV or screen should be the proper distance from your home theater's seating. If your space has a TV, multiply the length of the screen's diagonal size by 1.5 to 2.5 to know where to place the seats. For example, assume you have a 60-inch TV. This means that you'll place your seats anywhere from 90 inches to 150 inches from the screen. However, if you have a projector in your home theater, multiply the width of the screen by 2 to 5 to figure out your seat placement. This makes it comfortable for you to see the whole screen. 
  1. Paint Your Walls a Dark Hue
    Your home theater is the perfect place to embrace a dark color for your walls. Lighter colors can reflect light in the room and cause a glare. Dark hues will absorb light and help you better control the lighting conditions in the room. Raleigh homes for sale with a fresh coat of paint will also show better with prospective buyers. 
  1. Invest in a Home Audio System
    Even top-notch TVs frequently have less than stellar sound quality. Add to your viewing experience by investing in a home audio system. This will ensure that the sound tones are crisp and clear. For a smaller space, a soundbar may be sufficient. You don't want to overwhelm the room with too much sound. If you have a larger home theater room, a surround sound system is an excellent choice for an immersive viewing experience.
  1. Keep Decorative Items Away from Your Screen
    Movie posters and souvenirs are cool, but they can distract you or your guests when you're watching a movie. Instead, position them so that they're behind your seating. 
  1. Opt for Tiered Seating
    Tiered seating is the gold standard for home theaters because it prevents someone from inadvertently obscuring the view of the person behind them. Fortunately, tiered seating doesn't have to be expensive. You can add platforms to your seats to raise them a few inches. Or, you might opt to add a few cozy floor seats; these are often popular with kids who like a little extra space to fidget during a movie. 

Want a home with more space for your home theater? Contact us today to explore your options!

March
24

5 Helpful Tips for Introducing a Pet to Your Home

Raleigh New Pet

If you feel your home isn't complete without a four-legged friend, you're not alone. Many homeowners have at least one pet. Whether you're thinking about getting your first pet or adding yet another to your pack, introducing a new pet requires some planning and finesse. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for bringing a new fur-buddy into your home.

  1. Get your home ready.
    Before your new four-legged friend comes home with you for the first time, make sure you have everything you need and that your home is ready for their arrival. Get all the pet supplies you need, such as food, bowls, a kennel or carrier for a larger pet or a cage if it's a small animal, and a collar and a leash if necessary. Also, be sure your home is ready to receive a new pet. Pet-proof and put anything away that could be hazardous for your new pet.

  2. Make new introductions slowly.
    Keep introductions stress-free for your pet by slowly introducing them to other household members. For a dog, meeting on a leash in a neutral area, such as outside instead of in the house, can take some of the pressure off. A new cat may need to be kept confined to a single room for a few days while getting used to the new home.

  3. Plan a quiet few days at home.
    The last thing you want is a lot of activity while you're letting a new pet adjust to unfamiliar surroundings, so keep introductions to just the immediate household for now. Remember, this is a new member of your household, so friends and family will have plenty of time to get to know them later on. For now, plan to spend a few days at home while they get to know you and their new home.

  4. Establish routines.
    These first few days at home are a good time to start establishing routines with your new pet: when mealtimes are when bedtime is, and if it's a dog, walk schedules and outdoor routines.

  5. Plan for the future.
    As you and your new pet settle in together, remember to plan for the future. For instance, if you plan to move soon, maybe you don't want to cut through that exterior wall to make a doggy door. House training is important at this point so that you keep your home in good shape, minimize repairs, and maintain the value for when you sell one day. Keep in mind things that you notice would be nice, such as a larger yard for your dog, so that you know what to look for when you start browsing Raleigh homes for sale.

Adding a pet to the family is exciting, but it may also remind you of the features you want in your next home, such as more space, a larger yard, and close proximity to parks or walking trails. If you're ready to start looking for a new home for you and your family, both two-legged and four-legged family members included, contact us today.

December
2

How to Take Care of Indoor Plants This Winter

Indoor Plants Raleigh

Indoor plants are a good way to liven up your living space, but taking care of them can be tricky in the wintertime. Changing temperatures, humidity, and exposure to sunlight all play a role in your plant's overall health. If you recently bought some new indoor plants or are simply bringing your outdoor plants inside to escape the cold, our real estate agents have some recommendations that can help you keep them healthy and vibrant this winter:

  • Prepare Them For The Indoors
    Before bringing your plants inside, you'll want to take the time to clean and trim them. If you're buying new indoor plants, it's also a good idea to at least give them a good rinse after bringing them home. Your plant may play host to insects or pests that you probably don't want to bring inside.
  • Water Them Less
    Some people are surprised to hear that plants actually require less water in the winter. Outdoor conditions are conducive to rapid growth, but inside, plants grow much more slowly, and in some cases, they remain completely dormant. As a result, they don't need too much water to survive. To determine if your plant is ready for some hydration, try to stick your finger in the soil as a test. If the soil is dry one to two inches beneath the surface, then it's likely time to add a little bit of water.
  • Limit Fertilizer
    Since your plants aren't going to grow much in the winter,  you really don't need to add any fertilizer. The only exception is if your plant appears to be browning or dying, in which case, it's a good idea to add a small amount. You can resume regular fertilizing in the springtime once you start to see some signs of growth.
  • Increase Humidity
    A dry home is going to present numerous problems for indoor plants. Once the furnace is on, make sure you have your plants situated near a good humidifier. If you don't have one, there are a few other things you can do: Plants naturally release moisture, so try to group all of your plants in the same location, so they're able to benefit mutually. You can also try placing your plants near or on a tray of water.
  • Maximize Light Exposure
    Since sunlight decreases in the winter, you may need to put in a little extra work to help your plant capture some rays. Move your plants as close to windows that receive a good bit of direct sunlight. Consider cleaning both your plant and the windows to maximize light accessibility. 
  • Maintain Consistent Temperatures
    Plants do not like changing temperatures, so keep them away from any areas of the home that are susceptible to cold air drafts. An ideal daytime temperature for your plants is around 70 degrees, while an adequate nighttime temperature is above 55.

Many owners of these beautiful Raleigh homes for sale use indoor plants as a way to revitalize their interior during the winter months. However, taking care of them often requires a bit of planning and preparation. For more tips on how to decorate your home, contact us today!

October
29

5 Ways to Improve Your Fall Landscaping

Fall Landscaping in Raleigh

Autumn is here, and Mother Nature is ready to put on a show with colorful leaves, crisp cool nights, and the bounty of the harvest. The vibrant fall season is the perfect time to make your home stand out and prepare for what lies ahead. Our REALTORS® know that a home with curb appeal is much more attractive to buyers, so it's important for those with Raleigh homes for sale to give their landscaping some extra love. These tips and fabulous fall landscaping ideas can help you make the most out of your outdoor spaces this autumn.

  1. Give Your Lawn Some TLC
    Taking proper care of your lawn in the fall can help your grass survive the cold winter weather to look lush and healthy in the spring. Use an aerator spike or pitchfork to create small holes in your lawn before fertilizing. These holes enable water, oxygen, and fertilizer to seep in, which is great for your grass. Fall is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn and plant new grass seed in any areas that need shoring up. 
  2. Clear Leaves from the Ground
    Speaking of raking, those pretty leaves will eventually fall to the ground. Raking the leaves on your property not only makes it look neat and tidy, but it's also good exercise and keeps your grass healthy. Mildew can easily grow under a blanket of leaves and damage your lawn. If you have a compost pile, put dead leaves in it, and you'll enjoy rich fertilizer for your yard in the spring. While you're at it, you might as well pull any weeds and throw them on the pile, too.
  3. Do Your Fall Planting
    Autumn is the perfect time to plan ahead and plant bulbs for vibrant flowers in the spring. Make sure to plant deep enough in the ground to prevent freezing.  If you're unsure of what types of bulbs thrive in your area and the best time to plant them, ask your local nursery for recommendations. When they pop up in the spring, you'll be in for a colorful surprise! It's also an excellent time to transplant any perennials you want to move. If you're planting any new bushes or trees, putting them in this time of year gives them months to get rooted before the hot North Carolina summer arrives.
  4. Decorate
    Letting the beauty of nature's bounty showcase your home and yard is super easy to do in the fall. Visit a local farmers market and pick up some pumpkins, gourds, hay, and any other outdoor fall décor you like. Colorful mums in planters or boxes on a porch or along walkways also add a nice touch of color. Putting an eye-catching fall wreath with red, orange, yellow, and brown hues on your front door can really make your house stand out from the crowd. 
  5. Keep Watering
    Unless it's a very rainy fall season, it's important to keep watering your lawn, trees, plants, and flowers. Even though the weather is starting to cool down, roots need to stay hydrated into the winter. An easy way to keep track of how much water you're getting is by using a rain gauge. Unless your lawn is getting more than an inch of water a week, keep sprinklers and irrigation systems going. When it's time to close up shop, make sure to disconnect hoses, shut off water sources to outdoor faucets, and flush sprinkler or irrigation systems.

Ready to buy or sell a home in Raleigh this fall? Our experienced real estate professionals can help. Contact us to get started.

October
14

5 Packing Tips to Make Your Move Less Stressful

Packing for Raleigh Move

Moving is a major life event, and an unorganized packing process can add stress to what is already a stressful situation. Organizing a move can present challenges for even the most experienced of planners, but crafting effective packing and unpacking strategies can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. If you're in the market for one of these beautiful Raleigh homes for sale, consider these packing tips from our real estate agents when planning your move:

  1. Declutter Ahead of Time
    The golden rule of packing: the less you have, the easier it will be to move. Start the decluttering process a good 2 or 3 months before your actual move date. Go through all of your belongings and determine what can go. Many people struggle when it comes to parting with their stuff, so it can be helpful to consider how frequently you use an item and whether or not it brings you joy. Once you've determined what you can part with, consider donating your items to a local thrift store, have a garage sale, or you can even try selling them online for a little extra cash.

  2. Pack A Little Bit Each Day
    Waiting until the last minute to pack can add a lot of extra stress. However, packing too soon may leave you without some things you need in your day to day life. The trick is to pack a little bit each day leading up to your move. Consider setting aside 1 to 2 hours per day to work on the packing process. This strategy will help you to feel like you're making good progress over time. 

  3. Labels Are Key
    Labeling your boxes will make the moving and unpacking process significantly easier. Make sure each box has a labeled with the contents of the box and the room it belongs in. This will help inform the movers where to place the boxes in your new home. Using color-coded labels will make the process even easier.

  4. Save Room For Your Clothes
    Clothing always takes up more room than you'd expect, so if you're using a moving truck or have limited space, keep this in mind when packing. Any clothing you hang in the closet cut a hole in a garbage bag and place it over a group of hangers. If your dresser is light enough to move, you may be able to get away with leaving clothes in the drawers; however, be careful your dresser isn't too heavy.

  5. Don't Leave Empty Spaces in Boxes
    Avoid half-packed boxes when possible. If your items have room to move around, they can easily become damaged during the move. Pack your boxes, so they are full, but not too heavy. If you do end up with extra space, consider adding newspaper or packing peanuts to keep items secure. Also, don't forget to add extra padding to any boxes that contain fragile items.

Moving doesn't need to be a stressful process. With a bit of planning, you'll be into your new home in no time. Contact us for more tips on how to make your move less stressful.

September
23

6 Things You Need to do After Buying a Home

Buying a Home

Once you close on your new home, it might feel like the hard work is over. However, there are still a lot of tasks you need to add to your to-do list to get your new home set up so that it's safe and comfortable for your family. Here are some things you need to do after buying your home. 

  1. Change Your Address
    Now that your new address is official, you need to update it with anyone that you conduct personal or official business with. Update your address with your:
  • Friends and family
  • Employer
  • Financial institutions
  • Lenders and credit card companies
  • Schools and afterschool programs
  • Doctor and dental offices
  1. Clean Your New Home
    Make sure that your new space is ready for your family by giving it a thorough scrubbing before you move in. Our real estate agents know that it's much easier to clean an empty home that one that's filled with moving boxes and furniture. Work from the top of the room to the bottom of the room so that you don't have to backtrack with your cleaning efforts. Worried you won't have time to clean before your moving date? Hire a pro to come in and deep clean your new home for you. 
  1. Connect Your Utilities
    Ideally, you should start the process of connecting your utilities prior to your closing date. It can take 2-3 weeks for everything to get connected and set up, and some utility companies may not have an immediate opening. 
  1. Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Even if your home inspector examined all of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors during your home inspection, you want to ensure that they're still in good working order. Check the batteries, and determine if you need to add any additional detectors based on the size and layout of your new home. While you're at it, see that your home has ample fire extinguishers. 
  1. Change the Security Codes and Locks
    Make sure that you're the only one who has access to your home by changing the security codes and the locks. Change all your gate, door, and garage codes. As long as your door locks are in good condition and you're pleased with their appearance, you can save money by having them rekeyed (versus replacing them entirely). Remember to also replace locks on exterior buildings and doors.

  2. Get Started on Your Home Maintenance
    While some Raleigh homes for sale may have minimal must-dos on their home inspections, others may have a more extensive list of items that need to be completed. Examine your home inspection report, and decide which items you want to get started with. Prioritize any items that are safety concerns (such as clogged dryer vents) or that are simply long overdue (like changing dirty filters). 

Want to start exploring properties that might be right for you? Contact us today to get started!

September
9

What Sellers Need to Know About Home Inspections

Home Inspection Tips

You've prepared your home for the market, attracted a buyer, received an offer, the finish line is in sight... but a home inspection still stands between you and closing the deal. Handling the home inspection process is easier when you know exactly what to expect, how to prepare, and how the results of the home inspection can impact your transaction. Our real estate agents are here to help you prepare with our guide for what to expect from your home inspection.

  • Why a Home Inspection Is Crucial to Closing the Deal
    When a buyer is shopping for Raleigh homes for sale and decides to make an offer, their offer will typically be made with a "home inspection contingency" to protect them if there are issues with the inspection. This contingency allows the buyer to revise their offer based on the inspection, or withdraw the offer entirely if the inspection reveals serious issues. A smooth inspection can pave the way for the final steps of your transaction.

  • What the Inspector Will Be Looking for Outdoors
    The inspector will generally start by checking the outside of your home, including the siding, roof, foundation, patios, and the land around your home. They will look for landscaping issues like overgrown trees that may affect the home, and check for proper drainage to see whether the home is susceptible to water damage. They will also look for any areas where inside meets outside, like vents, pipes, and other openings.

  • Key Areas the Inspector Will Check Indoors
    Inside of the home, the inspector will check key home systems like plumbing, HVAC systems, electrical systems, and your water heater. They will check the water pressure of the home, and look for signs of leaks. In areas like the kitchen and bathroom where water damage is common, the inspector will check ventilation. They will also look for any building code violations, and check for fire safety.

  • What a Home Inspection Won't Reveal
    While the inspector may spot signs of serious issues like foundation damage, septic system problems, or issues with your well, their report won't be the final word on those problems. Instead, if the general inspection reveals issues in those areas, a specialized inspector will need to come for a thorough review.

  • How to Prepare for a Home Inspection
    The most important thing you can do to prepare for a home inspection is to address any maintenance issues – major or minor – before your inspection. This is especially important if there are issues with key systems like plumbing and electricity, or high-priority areas like the foundation or roof. To make the inspector's life easier when they arrive, make sure that the interior of your home is clean, the inspector has easy access to key systems, and outdoor areas are clear of debris.

  • What to Expect After Your Home Inspection Is Finished
    If the home inspection doesn't reveal any serious issues, then you're one big step nearer to closing the deal. If there are issues with the inspection that the buyer wasn't aware of previously, then they may want to renegotiate the deal to account for the cost of repairs.

Still searching for the right buyer to make an attractive offer for your home? The right real estate team makes all the difference. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Raleigh, NC area.

July
22

Home Maintenance Issues You Shouldn't Wait to Fix

Home Maintenance Issues

Taking care of regular maintenance is an important part of being a homeowner. This ensures that your home stays in good repair and that smaller issues don't turn into larger, more expensive ones. While some projects can be delayed, others require immediate attention.

Our real estate agents point out the following home maintenance issues you shouldn't wait to fix:

  1. Leaky Plumbing
    You might have a plumbing leak if you've noticed things like unusually high water bills, low water pressure, or stains on your walls or ceilings. Even a small leak with get worse over time, and you could be faced with much more expensive and extensive repairs for warped floors, swollen drywall, and mold growth.

  2. Roofing Problems
    Your roof helps keep your home and belongings safe from rain and other elements, so it needs to be well maintained. Look for signs of a problem such as missing shingles, loose flashing, or leaks on the inside of your home and have them fixed as quickly as possible.

  3. Loose Caulk
    Over time, caulk can start to become loose and peel away from around bathtubs, sinks, backsplashes, windows, and doors. If it's allowed to continue, peeling caulk not only mars the appearance of your home but also allows water to make its way inside your home where it can cause rotting or mold.

  4. Pests
    A variety of pests - including termites, carpenter ants, or roaches - can work their way into your home. Pest control treatments are essential to get rid of the creatures before they can wreak havoc on your home.

  5. Clogged Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts help funnel water away from your roof and home. When they become clogged with leaves and other debris, your yard, as well as the exterior of your home and even its foundation, can suffer damage.

  6. A Rotting Deck
    If you have a deck that's made of wood, it may develop rotten boards over the years. This is especially true if your deck doesn't receive much sunlight. Once you notice signs of rot, have the boards repaired or replaced quickly since the situation can be dangerous for anyone who uses your deck.

  7. Electrical Problems
    Electrical issues can be very serious and jeopardize the safety of your family as well as your home. Look for signs of problems such as fraying wires, circuit breakers that trip repeatedly, flickering lights, or buzzing sockets. These problems should be taken care of quickly by a professional.

  8. Dirty AC Filter
    A dirty AC filter makes your air conditioner work harder to cool your home. If it's not checked monthly, it could cause your air conditioning unit to work less efficiently than it normally would. This can result in higher power bills, a less comfortable home, and an air conditioner that needs repairs or stops working before it should.

  9. Chimney Maintenance
    If your home has a chimney, it should be inspected and cleaned annually. This will help ensure it operates safely and that excess build up inside the chimney and bird or bug nests don't become a fire hazard.

Have more home improvement questions? Our team is here to help! 

Contact us today to learn about the best ways to improve your home before listing it among the other Raleigh homes for sale

June
24

6 Maintenance Tips for Your Summer Garden

Garden Maintenance Tips

Summer is the most difficult time of the year on plants. Our gardens take the brunt of the harsh sunlight and temperatures. To keep your garden looking healthy and beautiful all season long, here are summer garden maintenance tips our real estate agents recommend.

  1. Water Properly
    Watering is undoubtedly the most important aspect of summer garden maintenance, but how you go about it makes a big difference. There are many pathogens in the air and soil that need water to reproduce, grow, and move. So, be sure to apply water directly to the ground using drip irrigation or soaker hoses to limit moisture on a plant's foliage. Water sitting on the leaves can lead to mold formation and disease infestation.

    When giving your plants a drink, you want to make sure that the water goes down to the deep roots. 

  2. Pull Out Weeds
    Many weeds love summer heat and grow incredibly fast when it's warm. If you neglect your garden and allow weeds to thrive, they will steal moisture and nutrients from your plants. They can also encourage diseases and insect pests to pop up in your garden. 

  3. Prune Your Plants
    Whether they died of insect damage, disease, or natural causes, dead plants have to go. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also attract damaging insects. Trimming and cleaning off dead leaves, flowers, and branches are key to keeping your plants healthy, thicker, and fuller for as long as possible. Since plants may require pruning at different times, do your research before snipping anything. Pruning with a good pair of garden shears will give you a clean cut and keep your plants healthier. You may also want to enrich your soil with compost if you notice yellowing leaves or general plant failure.

  4. Watch for Insect Damage
    Insects build nests in and around gardens and landscaping so that they can have a ready food supply. Damage caused by insects and diseases is much more than cosmetic. Bacteria and viruses can only enter a plant through an opening, and insect damage provides that. And if you're growing fruits and vegetables, bugs can ruin your harvest. So, be vigilant and take proactive measures to get rid of bugs.

  5. Continue to Mulch
    Providing a 2-inch-deep layer of organic mulch will help control weeds, insulate the soil from the heat, and retain moisture. It's important to continue mulching on garden and landscaping planting through summer. There are many different types of mulch you can choose from depending on the needs of the plants. And to prevent the mulch from doing more harm than good, it's a good idea to leave a gap of several inches between the stems and make sure the layer can allow water to penetrate through it.

  6. Raise Your Mower
    Mowing is necessary in almost every season, but it's especially more important in the summer. Grass tends to grow quickly in warm weather, so some lawns will require more frequent mowing to keep them kempt. When mowing, don't cut your grass too short. Taller grass helps prevent the soil from drying out and promotes quicker root growth. As a good rule of thumb, leave your lawn standing at about five centimeters.

If your home will soon be listed among Raleigh homes for sale, beautiful landscaping and gardening features can make your home more appealing to buyers. Contact us today for your homeownership needs.

May
27

Spring Cleaning: Don't Forget to Clean Your Washing Machine

Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Spring is traditionally the time when we do a thorough cleaning of our homes, undertaking tasks that we don't normally include in our cleaning regimen -- such as cleaning the washing machine.

Why does the washing machine need cleaning? After all, it's continuously washing itself with soap and sometimes hot water. Isn't it clean enough? Not really.

Soap leaves scum. Detergent residue can build up. There are also crevices in the washing machine's interior where dampness prevails, and where mold and dirt can take hold. Though you regularly wipe down the washing machine's exterior, and you often give the inner tub a wipe with a sponge, your machine may need a more thorough cleaning.

Front or top load, your washing machine could use a thorough cleaning at least once every year. It wouldn't hurt to clean it more often. 

  1. Clean Filters and Dispensers
    Depending on the type of washer you have, look at your manual to locate filters and dispensers. If the washer has them, remove them and soak them in a solution of vinegar or bleach and water while you're cleaning the drum. If you have dispensers that aren't removable, clean them with a sponge dipped in a cleaning solution.

  2. Clean the Gasket
    Mold and mildew can grow behind your front-loading washer's gasket. Clean under the gasket, using hot soapy water and a rag. You may even find one of those socks that went inexplicably missing last time you washed. Among other locations (under the agitator or wash plate, or in the washer's filter), socks are sometimes found under the gasket. 

  3. Wash the Drum 
    Clean a top-loading washer with 4 cups of vinegar and 1 cup baking soda; for a front loader, use 2 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup baking soda, or some kind of washer cleaner tablets.

    To thoroughly clean a top loader, fill it with hot water and add a cup of bleach. Let it sit for an hour, then run a long cleaning cycle. Then run another cycle with vinegar, followed by another hot water cycle to clean it out. Remember the next time you are ready to wash clothes to wash whites first, just in case there are traces of bleach in the machine.

    For top loaders, set the control to hot and on the large setting. Once the drum is full, add vinegar and baking soda and turn the washer on full cycle. For a front loader, put vinegar in the dispenser and baking soda in the drum. Set controls at highest heat and largest load and turn it on for the whole cycle.

    Once the cycle is over, wipe out the drum with a clean cloth.

  4. Leave the Door Open 
    After cleaning the washer, leave the door open so the machine can air out and dry. Always leave the door open once you've completed a wash cycle, to air out the washer.

If you're anticipating putting your home on the market, a substantial spring cleaning is one way to ensure it stands out among other Raleigh homes for sale. Looking for more tips from our real estate agents to get your Raleigh home ready to show? Contact us today.

May
20

DIY Ideas for a Summer Fire Pit

DIY Fire Pit

Is it summer yet? Maybe not quite, but it's finally starting to feel like it, and our real estate agents are more than ready. The warmer weather has us thinking about sitting outside at night, looking up at the stars while a crackling campfire blazes. 

After all, summer is campfire season, and these DIY backyard fire pit ideas will ensure that you're ready to take advantage of those warm summer nights! Summer will be here before you know it, so why not go ahead and get started today?

Buy or DIY

A lot of homeowners debate between building their own fire pit and buying one. Sure, you could pick one up at your local Walmart or Home Depot, but there are a lot of advantages to going the DIY route:

  • The design options are endless. The types of fire pit you can buy at a store are fairly limited. When you build a DIY fire pit, you can choose among countless styles and building materials. 
  • You can save money. Sure, it's possible to sink a lot of cash into building an elaborate outdoor fire area, but a basic DIY fire pit can cost less than a store-bought model. 
  • It's fun! There's nothing quite like the satisfaction you get from building something yourself! 

DIY Fire Pit Ideas

You have endless options when you build a DIY fire pit. The blank slate your backyard offers can be intimidating, but remember that there's no such thing as a "bad" fire pit design, as long as it's safe and functional! Make sure to do the following:

  • Choose building materials. You can use anything from natural stones to man-made materials like bricks, concrete pavers, and blocks. Kiln-fired bricks will withstand heat better and last longer. 
  • Integrate your landscaping. Take your surroundings into account so that your fire pit feels like an integral part of your landscaping. A stone "patio" surrounding the fire pit can help tie the whole yard together. 
  • Avoid standing water. Water can accumulate inside your fire pit if it's in a low-lying site. Lining the bottom with sand or gravel can help. 
  • Make it functional. Want to cook over your fire pit in addition to enjoying a crackling campfire? Include a cooking grate in the design. 

A Note on Fire Pit Safety

Once you've dreamed up the backyard fire pit you've always wanted, it's time to start building! And when you're done, you can gather your friends for a fun summertime hangout. But before you do any of that, keep a few safety tips in mind: 

  • Build your fire pit on a level site. This is especially important if your fire pit is completely above-ground.
  • Make sure the site you've chosen is at least 20 feet from your house, and at least 10 feet from trees, plants, fences, and other structures. 
  • Don't operate a fire pit under any overhanging branches or trees. 
  • Only burn firewood that's been seasoned at least six months. Avoid burning composite wood and other construction materials. 
  • Have a bucket or garden hose handy while burning.
  • Use a screen to keep sparks from escaping the fire pit, or surround it with a non-combustible ground covering like sand or gravel. 

Contact us today for more ideas. Our team has helped countless families find beautiful Raleigh homes for sale, and we're committed to helping you live life to the fullest in the Triangle this summer!

June
9

6 Apps to Help With Your Home Improvement Projects

Home Improvement Apps

Tackling DIY home improvement projects is a great way to pass the time at home and make your house a more pleasant place to call your own. And you don't need to be a construction expert to improve your home! Our real estate agents are happy to report that there are a ton of apps available to help with your home improvement projects, whether you're looking for guides, inspiration, or a community of like-minded DIY enthusiasts. Get a leg up on your next project, with our guide to the best home improvement apps for your devices.

  1. Pinterest
    Whether you're looking for inspiration for your projects, dreaming about Raleigh homes for sale, or seeking helpful tips from DIY experts, there's no doubt that Pinterest is an excellent resource. The Pinterest app makes it easy to browse all of the content on this popular social channel, and even share progress on your projects to help inspire others. Search for specific home improvement projects, or browse away until you find a project that inspires.

  2. iFixIt
    Need to repair household electronics, appliances, or just about any other device around the house? Then the iFixIt app will be an invaluable resource. The app draws on the power of an extensive community of people who love to help each other fix things and contains guides on fixing, improving, or adjusting just about anything under the sun. 

  3. Handyman Calculator
    Making the right calculations is key to saving both time and money on home improvement projects. The Handyman Calculator app makes it easy to get all of your calculations and measurements just right. It features more than 100 different calculators, geared toward every trade and field of construction. The app also helps you calculate the materials you'll need, manage your to-do list, and keep track of your time spent on each project.

  4. Houzz
    If you're looking for an app that blends social media, DIY tips, and expert advice, then the Houzz app is the perfect place to start. Save your project ideas, share your successful projects with others, and ask for advice from a knowledgeable, dedicated community. And if you decide that you need a little assistance from the pros to complete a project, the app makes it easy to find contractors, architects, and interior designers wherever you're located.

  5. iHandy Carpenter
    Wouldn't it be nice to have all of the measurement tools that you need in your pocket whenever you need them for a project? The iHandy Carpenter app allows you to do just that, turning your smartphone into a measurement tool. You can use it to calculate angles, check surface levels, measure distances, verify the verticality of walls, and much more.

  6. TapPainter
    Thinking of repainting a room, but unsure which colors would work best? The TapPainter app has you covered, allowing you to upload photos of a room and preview how it would look if you painted the walls a different color. The lighting conditions, shadows, and furniture in the room are all preserved in the preview, providing an extremely accurate simulation of how the repainted room would look. 

Searching for the perfect home that you can improve to your heart's content? We're here to help. Contact us today.

May
13

6 Bathroom Remodel Ideas You'll be Inspired to Try

Bathroom Remodel Raleigh

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the bathroom is the sanctuary. The master bathroom, guest bathroom, and even the downstairs half-bath should all feel comfortable and clean. Our REALTORS® know that a little renovating in these important spaces can go a long way. Here are six bathroom remodeling ideas that will inspire you to refresh the room where your family and guests freshen up.

  1. Bathe Yourself in Beauty
    Aside from larger master bathrooms that may feature a tub and a shower, most bathrooms contain one or the other. A great way to refresh this space is to swap out a tub for a shower or vice versa. You can remove your tub to create a walk-in shower with dual showerheads or a waterfall shower head. Alternatively, you could scrub the shower from the plans and instead install a lovely stand-alone tub for maximum relaxation.

  2. Give Each Other Space
    If you have a single sink built into a long countertop with significant underneath cabinetry space available, you may have the opportunity to trade this excess storage space for a more practical solution. Measure your countertops, and if you have adequate space, you can install his and her sinks to give you and your partner able space to get ready without investing in a large remodeling budget.

  3. Talk About Tile
    If you're looking for a hands-on project, look to the floors and walls for an opportunity. Bathrooms are excellent spaces to let your creativity flow freely, which is why many homeowners choose to replace their flooring and wall paint with gorgeous tiles. From large limestone or marble slabs to smaller subway tiles or a mosaic of mini shapes, your opportunities are nearly endless.

  4. Save Space
    For those with small bathrooms, you need all the space you can get. Make the bathroom seem larger without adding on square-footage by discovering space-savers. For instance, you can replace your sink and cabinet with a floating sink or vanity with a thin base. You can also install a larger mirror to make the space seem visually larger.

  5. Let Light In
    Light plays a vital role in the appeal of a bathroom, which is why you should never settle for harsh or yellow lighting. Replace old fluorescent bulbs with tunable bulbs that can be temperature adjusted to control the brightness and color of the light. Let natural light in by enlarging your window or adding a skylight. To control the heat, glare, and light streaming through the space throughout the day, install motorized window shades that can eliminate intrusive exterior light with the flip of a switch.

  6. Improve By Improvising
    When we think about remodeling, the first thought that comes to mind is to take on a large-scale home improvement project. However, there are plenty of ways that you can affordably refresh this space with minimal effort. Replacing fixtures like the lights, cabinetry hardware, faucets, and even towel racks can make a big difference. Cleaning dirty grout and recaulking around the bathroom fixtures can also breathe new life into the space without the need for serious renovations. Even a new paint color on the walls with new complementary-colored décor will make your bathroom feel brand new.

Are you searching for Raleigh homes for sale that have bathrooms ready for inspiring renovations? Contact us today to begin your search!

April
15

5 Tips for Starting a Garden in Raleigh

Raleigh Gardening

Scientific studies show that gardening burns calories lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and elevates your mood. Our real estate agents love to unwind working on their gardens. Plus, it's a great way to enjoy the North Carolina sunshine while practicing social distancing.

Starting a garden of your own is super easy. Use these five tips to start a thriving vegetable garden in your own Raleigh backyard.

  1. Decide on a Location
    First, look for a spot where the garden will receive at least eight hours of daily sunlight. Plants also need plenty of moisture, so make sure the garden will be close to a ready source of water, such as a faucet or hose. Stick with areas away from trees, shrubs, and other large growth that may steal valuable resources from the plants.

  2. Select a Garden Type
    Planting seeds directly in the ground isn't the only way to create a garden. Depending on the type of soil and other factors, that method may not even be the best way. Container gardens and raised beds are two options that allow you to control the type of soil used. They're also good choices if you're dealing with limited space.

    According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the biggest mistake made by beginning gardeners is being overenthusiastic. It's better to start small and expand later rather than bite off more than you can chew (no pun intended).

  3. Choose Your Crops
    Deciding what to plant is the fun part. Fortunately, the Raleigh area is well-suited for growing most fruits and vegetables, so the main factors are your taste and the appropriate growing seasons, which are either spring or fall. Some of the fruits and vegetables that do well in Raleigh include asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, onions and peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and watermelon. If you have the space, include herbs such as basil, cilantro, dill, and parsley that add color and flavor to cooking.

  4. Plan and Design the Garden
    In the legend of Johnny Appleseed, he scattered seeds randomly wherever he went, but that technique doesn't work in real life. Elements to consider include when to plant when to harvest, which plants will go in which section and how the garden will be organized (for instance, will be using intensive planting where rows are spaced close together). Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea of the quantities required of seeds and other supplies.

    It's a good idea to keep a gardening journal where you can document the entire process. With future gardens, you can refer back to the journal and see what worked and what didn't. Also, crops should be rotated regularly for best results, and a journal will help you keep track of what was planted when and where.

  5. Plant the Seeds
    Even if you're using intensive planting, be sure to allow enough room for the seeds to grow freely with sufficient airflow. Stagger planting dates in one- to two-week intervals, so you have a continual harvest. Keep the soil damp until plants are well-established, then water as needed. A layer of mulch improves water retention while reducing weeds and soil erosion. Fertilize based on recommendations for the type of soil, but be careful not to overdo it, which could inhibit production.

Raleigh homes for sale should look as good outside as they do inside. For more effective tips on buying or selling a home, contact us today.

March
18

Beginning of Spring: Greenhouses in Raleigh

Greenhouses in Raleigh

Is it just us, or does it finally feel like spring might be just around the corner? As always, our real estate agents are excited about the idea of warmer weather and greener lawns. If you're looking to spruce up the landscape around your North Carolina home this spring, we'd like to recommend some of our favorite local greenhouses and plant stores!

  1. Homewood Nursery & Garden Center - 10809 Honeycutt Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614

    A long-running favorite source for gardening supplies and specialty plants, Homewood Nursery and Garden Center is the perfect place to find some new additions to your spring landscape. Located just minutes from many Raleigh homes for sale, the nursery offers an incredible selection of trees, shrubs, and other plants, along with a knowledgeable staff. 

  2. Taylor's Nursery - 3705 New Bern Ave, Raleigh, NC 27610

    Founded in 1950, Taylor's Nursery is proudly entering its 70th year serving the Raleigh community. That's no small feat for a farm and nursery that has grown to encompass 1,500 acres at its field operation in Louisburg, along with 80 acres at the main location in Raleigh. Taylor's Nursery grows hundreds of different plant species, with unique featured varieties that change with the seasons, so you'll always find something new and exciting to add to your landscape. 

  3. Gunters Greenhouse - 4618 Angier Ave, Durham, NC 27703

    Anyone with a green thumb will find something to get excited about at Gunters Greenhouse. Located close to Durham homes for sale, the greenhouse is offering an incredible variety of annual flowering plants for lawn and gardens this spring. They're also a great place to find unique and hard-to-find plants, from cacti and succulents to vegetables and herbs.

  4. Garden Supply Co. - 1421 Old Apex Rd, Cary, NC 27513

    Nestled in the cozy community of Cary, NC, Garden Supply Co. provides top of the line garden plants and supplies, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff who are always dedicated to helping you find exactly what you're looking for. Located near these Cary homes for sale, Garden Supply Co. offers an incredible variety of landscape plants, with a strong focus on all things local. 

  5. Plant Delights Nursery - 9241 Sauls Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

    Raleigh's Plant Delights Nursery has been a leading local source for native, rare, and unique perennial plants in North Carolina since they opened their doors in 1988. A small, family-owned nursery, Plant Delights offers mail-order plant delivery as well as "open nursery" and garden days throughout the year, with special events like their annual Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction every June. 

  6. Kiefer Landscaping & Nursery - 2450 S Alston Ave, Durham, NC 27713

    Amazing selection and excellent customer service makes Kiefer Landscaping & Nursery one of the top sources in Durham for all things garden-related. The folks at Kiefer are committed to finding the right plant for every landscaping situation. Still, they also go above and beyond plant selection, offering a full range of landscaping services, from design and installation of beds and hardscapes to unique water garden features like pondless waterfalls and streams. 

Spring is the time to make sure your home and garden look their best! Contact us today to learn more about life in the Triangle of North Carolina. We've helped countless families find their dream homes in Raleigh, Durham, and the surrounding areas, and we can't wait to help you find yours!

February
26

7 Ways to Reclaim Your Unfinished Space

Unfinished Attic Ideas

When our real estate agents help sellers price their homes, the amount of usable space is always an important factor. While some of the best Raleigh homes for sale make great use of all the available space, most do not. 

If you have an unfinished attic or basement, you're missing out on the opportunity to increase the value of your home. Even better, you'll also create a new space that you and your family can enjoy. Not sure how to get started? Here are seven of the best ways to reclaim your unfinished space.

  1. Create a Cozy Sleeping Nook
    Taking advantage of your attic brings some challenges, like limited space and awkwardly angled ceilings. However, despite (or maybe because of) this, it's the ideal location for a cozy sleeping nook. Most attics are the perfect size for two twin-sized beds with a small bedside table in between. Create a clean and cozy feel by painting the walls a stark white and adding brightly colored bedspreads and a matching throw rug. 
  2. Make a Fun and Bright Playroom
    Turning your attic into a playroom gives kids a space to call their own. Make the space whimsical and fun by choosing brightly colored carpeting and comfortable seating that's low to the ground. Don't forget to add some storage space to help keep toys and games organized when they're not in use. 
  3. Turn Your Basement Into a Man Cave
    A finished basement is a perfect place to create a "man cave" or entertainment room. Make sure you take steps to get rid of moisture and odors and fully insulate the space before you start your remodeling project. Add wood or laminate flooring, comfortable furniture, and whatever amenities best suit your preferences. Once the basics are taken care of, you may want to add a home bar, gaming area, or surround-sound speakers.
  4. Create a Quiet Writer's Retreat
    The coziness you can create in an attic also makes it ideal for a quiet writer's retreat. Not only can you get away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house, but you can also turn it into a distraction-free zone where you can spend hours honing your craft. Add a small desk, a comfortable loveseat, and even cushions on the floor that will allow you to sprawl out whenever the mood strikes. 
  5. Or a Reading Nook 
    You don't have to be a writer to enjoy a quiet getaway. Consider turning your attic space into a comfortable book nook instead! Add a mattress or custom cushions under the angled ceiling to create a unique space perfect for curling up and enjoying your favorite books. Decorate the bulk of the room with soft lighting and add some strategically angled bright lights to illuminate your reading space. 
  6. Turn Your Space Into a Spa
    A completely innovative idea is to turn your basement into a home spa. Add a luxurious soaking tub and a frameless shower. Decorate the space with natural materials, marble, glass tiles, and maybe even a chandelier! 
  7. Create a Comfy TV Viewing Room
    Last but not least, both attics and basements make excellent home theaters or simple television viewing rooms. Choose a large screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and don't forget to add plenty of comfortable seating. 

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in the Raleigh area, we can help! Contact us today. 

February
19

How to Stay Sane During a Move

Moving Tips

After our REALTORS® have helped you find the perfect home among the Raleigh homes for sale, it's time to pack your boxes and plan for moving day! Moving into a new home can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful especially if you don't plan it well.

Streamline your move with this list of actionable steps you can follow to make your move more bearable.

  1. Decide if You Will DIY or Hire Relocation Services
    The dynamics of moving and the decisions you make from now on will depend on whether you will be in charge or you will hire a moving company. Getting movers could be costlier but more convenient. You will have experts on your case and won't have to worry about packing, the actual transportation, and unpacking. DIY moving lets you stay in control of the entire process. It will be tiresome and time-consuming but it is, in most cases, cheaper for shorter distances or if you have most of the resources you need to relocate.
  2. Identify the Moving Date
    If possible, set a moving date that gives you at least a month to organize. Choosing the date in advance gives you time to do the rest of the preparations in a countdown mode, making the final moving day less stressful.
  3. Create a Budget and Fund it
    Let's face it. You can't move without spending money. The cost to move locally in the US ranges from $800 and $2000 for a four-bedroom household. This figure varies depending on your possessions, who is handling the process, and the distance you are moving. Acknowledging and funding this bill in advance will avoid nasty surprises when you run out of money. A good way to get the budget right is getting quotes on your move from local contractors. You can then decide to trim down the budget by:
    • Selling, donating or disposing of some of your possessions
    • Bargaining or getting better rates from other contractors
    • Supplementing what the mover does by providing things like packaging, getting friends to offer free labor or getting a private truck to carry your belongings
    • Going full DIY
  1. Prepare and Start Packing for the Grand Day
    Get the boxes and accessories you need to pack your valuables safely in advance. If possible, start packing what you can long before the last week. This will cut down on the time the movers spend on your premises, making your moving costs lower while making your experience better.
  2. Don't Forget to Think About Unpacking
    The last thing people forget is the unpacking at the end of the move. You will need help moving all that heavy furniture and placing your belongings into the right rooms. Taking this into account will ensure that you settle into your new home faster and start feeling at home.

Don't let your move add unnecessary stress! Contact us today for help finding your new home in the Triangle.

January
22

Smart Home Features Buyers are Looking for in 2020

Smart Home Features

For many buyers, smart home features are not just the wave of the future. They are a very real priority for the present. Popular tech solutions are transforming homes, providing homeowners with better security, easier access to entertainment, and more convenience than ever before. But not every smart home feature will have buyers swooning, so it's important to direct your efforts in all the right places. Our real estate agents are here to help, with our guide to the smart home features that buyers are looking for in 2020.

  • Smart Security Is the Perfect Place to Start
    If you want to pick one smart home feature that will help your property stand out from other Raleigh homes for sale, then security is a great place to start. Smart security systems provide an unparalleled level of peace of mind for homeowners, making it easier to monitor your home even when you're away. Video doorbells have become a popular solution in many homes, while smart security cameras are perfect for keeping an eye on a vacation home. Wireless security systems make it easy to bundle a variety of security features into one convenient package.

  • Going Green
    Going green is a priority for so many shoppers, and smart home features make green living easier than ever. Perhaps the single most popular smart home technology is the smart thermostat, which allows you to program the temperature in your home no matter where you are and ensure that your home is always comfortable when you return. Adjust the temperature while you're on the road, or set it to be at just the right level when you get home from work. Many smart appliances and lighting systems can also offer significant energy savings.

  • Smart Appliances in All the Right Places
    Smart appliances in the kitchen are a popular feature for buyers because nearly every buyer wants an excellent kitchen. A smart fridge can be a great way to catch the eye of buyers in the kitchen, but don't forget about the laundry room! A smart washer and dryer can make life much easier at home, and laundry rooms, in general, have become a key area that many buyers are prioritizing in their next home.

  • Home Automation for Convenience
    Connectivity is a huge selling point for smart home features, and home automation allows you to control much of the technology in the home from one convenient app or device. With the power to control the home in the palm of your hand, it's easier to have your home ready for entertaining, safe when you leave, and comfortable when you return.

  • Smart Lighting to Make Life Easier
    Smart lighting combines a variety of the perks of other items on our list, including security and green living. With smart lights, you always have light when you need it, without wasting energy when you don't. Turn on the lights when you're away for extra security, and turn on the lights on the way home from work so that you're ready to relax as soon as you arrive. Some smart systems will even turn the lights on automatically when you get out of bed.

Whether you're looking to choose the best smart home features to market your home or shopping for a home with all the right tech touches, our team is here to help. Contact us today.

December
26

6 New Years Resolution's for Your Home

Resolutions for Your Home

New Year's is the perfect time to make home-related resolutions and improvements. This is true whether you're planning to stay in your home or would like to move into one of the Raleigh homes for sale. Either way, you'll be improving the appearance of your home and making it more comfortable to live in.

Our REALTORS® suggest making the following improvements to your home in the upcoming year:

  1. Install a programmable thermostat
    Installing a programmable thermostat can help you save between 5% and 15% on your monthly heating and cooling costs throughout the winter and summer. It allows you to program a heating and cooling cycle that fits your lifestyle, so you can set it and forget it. For example, you can set the heat to turn down after you go to work and set it to heat up again shortly before you return. And if you're going out of town or need to make another change, you can update its programming accordingly.
  2. Seal the leaks
    Air leaks in your home can allow heat to escape outside during the winter and let cold outside air make its way in. This not only wastes money by raising your energy bill, but it also makes your home more uncomfortable. Use caulk, waterproof sealant, or weather stripping to seal around windows and doors as well as pipes and vents.
  3. Add insulation
    Check your attic, basement, and crawl space to make sure they have the recommended amount of insulation for your area. A professional can help inspect these areas of your home to determine whether more insulation is needed. They can then recommend an appropriate type and level of insulation and install as needed.
  4. Spruce up your doors
    Your front door can have a big impact on your home's appearance and curb appeal, so New Year's is the perfect time to spruce up your door. If your door is stained or painted wood, paint it to make it more attractive and install new decorative hardware like doorknobs and house numbers. After you've improved the look of your front door, move on to your bedroom or master bathroom and give these doors a refresher.
  5. Add crown molding
    Crown molding can give your home a boost of visual interest and a more finished appearance as it forms a transition between the walls and ceiling. If your home doesn't already have these decorative enhancements, consider adding them. Installation can be somewhat tricky, so you may want to call in a professional. And while you're at it, check out your baseboards and other trimmings, and go ahead and take care of any updates that are needed.
  6. Take care of seasonal yardwork
    Just because it's colder doesn't mean you can neglect your yard. Thoroughly rake your yard to open up the ground and then level it and reseed as needed. Then add fertilizer to your grass as well as your trees and shrubs to make sure they're nourished in the winter.

Contact us to find out more about which updates can make your Raleigh home more comfortable and marketable. We can suggest New Year's projects that make the most impact for the least amount of money and effort.

December
11

7 Kitchen Remodel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Kitchen Remodel Tips

Considering a kitchen remodel in 2020? A newly remodeled kitchen can have a big impact on your enjoyment of your home while making it more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell. However, it's easy to make mistakes that cost you time and money. 

Our REALTORS® have looked at many kitchens over the years, and they point out 7 common kitchen remodel mistakes – as well as how to avoid them.

  1. Failing to Research

    Simply hiring a general contractor without doing your research may leave you unprotected if problems arise. For example, if your contractor doesn't have a state license, you won't receive all the possible protection from the state license board.

    Avoiding this mistake: When you're choosing a general contractor, make sure they have a state license as well as insurance. Also, check their references.

  2. Neglecting Contract Specifics

    If you have a written agreement with your contractor – and you should! – know that what's in this document is what counts. A contract that isn't specific enough can quickly lead to trouble.

    Avoiding this mistake: Make sure the contract includes every possible detail, from the exact materials that will be used to the start and finish date of your kitchen remodel.

  3. Changing Your Plans

    Work that's requested after your remodel begins can cause delays and add thousands of dollars to the cost of your project. These "change orders" disrupt plans and may leave your contractor waiting on supplies before work can be resumed or completed.

    Avoiding this mistake: Think through all your choices before work begins, and make sure you and your significant other agree on everything.

  4. Impulse Decisions

    Looking at design elements such as flooring or countertop materials in a showroom may not give you an accurate picture of what they'll look like in your home. They may look different in your space, and under the type of lighting, you'll be using.

    Avoiding this mistake: Ask for samples to bring home so you can look at them in your kitchen and under the type of lighting you'll have after your remodel.

  5. Forgetting Storage Space

    Having plenty of functional storage is an important part of any kitchen remodel. Failing to plan for enough can make you quickly dislike your new kitchen.

    Avoiding this mistake: Plan for storage that accommodates items near where they're used, and don't forget items like additional drawer dividers and pantry pullouts.

  6. Not Enough Light

    Having a shortage of lighting fixtures or lacking the correct types can leave your kitchen looking dreary or sterile.

    Avoiding this mistake: Make lighting a priority in your design and consider having three types – overhead, spot, and accent.

  7. Limited Electrical Outlets

    Particularly if your home is older, your kitchen may not currently include enough electrical outlets. After all, a decade or two ago, people weren't necessarily looking at their kitchen outlets to handle lots of appliances in addition to an iPhone, tablet, and other gadgets.

    Avoiding this mistake: Plan for plenty of strategically placed electrical outlets, so they're easily available throughout your kitchen.

Contact us if you'd like to find out what's most popular in kitchens. We can suggest updates that buyers are looking for in Raleigh homes for sale, and that are most likely to let you recoup your investment.

November
27

Why Living Room Staging Could Help Sell Your House

Benefits of Living Room Staging

In 2018, the average property was on the market for approximately 68 days. Back in 2010, this number was a whopping 140 days. Though the exact length of time a property remains for sale varies based on the current housing market and existing financial climate, one thing you can do to help your property sell as quickly as possible is stage your living room. 

On average, homes with staging sell 73 percent faster than their unstaged counterparts. Plus, the sooner you sell your current home, the sooner you can start browsing other Raleigh homes for sale

Home staging is the act of setting up a room or space so that it appeals to potential buyers. Staging helps buyers envision how they will utilize a room in a potential home; it also creates a comforting, inviting mood that helps enables buyers to see themselves in a new home. Check out a couple of ways that living room staging can help you make a good impression and sell your house.

Home Staging Allows Your Home to Appeal to More Buyers

Some home sellers decide to leave their living rooms as is when selling their homes. Though there's nothing inherently wrong with your existing living room set-up or decor, staging allows you to appeal to a large number of buyers. 

When you make the effort to stage your home, it will appeal to a wider range of buyers who might not see the space the same way you envisioned it. A well-staged living room enables any buyer to envision themselves living in and using that space.

You might need to move before your home sells; in this case, buyers will be met with an empty living room that doesn't maximize the potential of your home. While a vacant space shows off the amount of space a buyer can utilize, some buyers may struggle with how to use the space when it's presented as a blank canvas. Consider leaving some furniture behind or staging it so buyers aren't left with a completely blank presentation. 

Staged Homes Have a Better Online Presence

Most homebuyers use the internet to assist with their home search. The online listing, in most cases, is the first impression your home will have with a potential buyer. Unfortunately, a home that doesn't photograph well may not even make it onto a prospective buyer's radar. If a living room appears uninviting or has drab furnishings, some buyers may immediately dismiss the property as a potential option for their new home. 

Staged living rooms photograph better than empty or unstaged spaces. When the home stager stages the space, they'll make sure that your living room boasts neutral colors and styles that appeal to practically any style. They'll also make sure that the staging enhances the room's best features while minimizing any undesirable traits. The end result is a welcoming space that looks amazing both in person and in photographs. 

Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to set up an appointment. Our REALTORS® will help you sell your home and get you into a new space that satisfies your criteria for the perfect home. 

February
28

HPW Luxury | 202 West King Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278

Old marries new in the most recent Global Luxury Listing of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston in Downtown Hillsborough. The Dr. Efland Forrest House sits one block from the center of Hillsborough's Historic District.

Construction on this Neoclassical Revival (one of the only examples of this architectural style in the Historic District) began in 1938 and was completed in 1941. The current owners of 202 West King Street spared no expense adding 21st century luxury and convenience while preserving the grandeur of the original house.

The new solid wood front door welcomes you into a generous hall with a curved second story landing. Fresh paint, refinished floors, new doors and custom lighting throughout bring a fresh look to the home. The living room's wood-burning fireplace and built-in bookcases are a gracious spot to host guests. The downstairs powder room was refinished with designer cork wallpaper, a custom-built cabinet and exquisite floor tile.

The transformation in the kitchen is swoon-worthy: the owners combined two rooms to provide the home with the grandeur and livability expected of today's modern kitchen. Locally-sourced custom cabinets are topped with quartz countertops, appliances include a Wolf 6-burner professional range, Asko dishwasher and built-in Sub-Zero with multi-case wine refrigerator. Or if you choose to dine out, stroll one block down the street to any number of delicious eating establishments, including Panciuto, (James Beard Award Finalist for several years running).

The owner's suite was reconfigured, adding a generous walk-in closet and completely renovating the bath, with heated floors, custom cabinets and stone tile. The home has a one-bay garage that fits two cars deep and sits on a generous corner lot.

The home's original windows were all restored including the portico windows flanking the front door. Hanging above the door is a hand-crafted custom copper light fixture designed to honor the home's original style. No detail was overlooked, and every detail was thoughtfully considered. 

Experience this one of a kind property for yourself to see the craftsmanship and style that makes this home unique by scheduling a private tour from listing agent Meighan Carmichael.

For more information on HPW Luxury Listings, visit our website www.hpwluxury.com

January
6

Cold Weather Home Projects

Cold Weather Home Projects

With forecasted temperatures below freezing in the days ahead, it will be the perfect time to stay inside and knock out some easy-to-execute home projects. Consider these cold days your chance to get ahead of your spring sale staging plans and get to work on overlooked tasks around the house.

 

Battle the baseboards

Have your baseboards been collecting dust and dirt? It's time to tackle them. Use your vacuum to suck away loose dust and dirt in the baseboard grooves. Then bring out a sponge and soapy water to wipe away the remaining residue. A bit of elbow grease followed by a clean water rinse should leave your baseboards gleaming once more.

Raid the refrigerator and pantry

It's time to toss out expired condiments, too-old leftovers and stale foods that are taking up space in your fridge and pantry. Go shelf-by-shelf and drawer-by-drawer to toss out outdated items that are taking up space. Wipe down shelves with soapy water to remove sticky or smelly spills.

Clean the oven and microwave

Chances are your holiday cooking left your oven and microwave in need of a deep clean. Use your oven's self-cleaning option (remember to remove your baking racks) if your kitchen is well ventilated or make a paste out of baking soda and water that you can scrub on, leave for up to an hour, and then rinse off. While you wait for your oven to clean or the baking soda paste to set, you can work on your microwave.

Change air filters

When was the last time you replaced your air filters? It's time. Clean air filters will help your HVAC system run more efficiently and ensure that dust, pollen, and other contaminants don't recirculate back into your home.

Dust light fixtures and fans

Turn your attention to your light fixtures and fans. Are they donned in unwanted cobwebs and dust? Get out your extendable duster or vacuum arm extension and get to work. A microfiber cloth or fuzzy duster head will capture and contain the dirt and dust that has collected on fan blades, fixture arms and wiring.

Say goodbye to spider webs

Grab a clean broom, long-armed duster, or vacuum arm extension and go room-to-room checking corners, window crevices, and ceilings for cobwebs. If you have a textured ceiling that collects spider webs or dust bunnies, a feather duster is an ideal tool to use to avoid scraping off any speckles as you clean.

Sanitize switch plates and doorknobs

Has your family been fighting the cold-weather crud? Get out the Lysol or your preferred antibacterial cleaning spray and start sanitizing switch plates and doorknobs. Germs and grime won't stand a chance in your newly disinfected home.

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