Counter Tops For Your Remodel

Are you thinking it is time for a remodel of your kitchen, bath or laundry? 

One of the selections that you will more than likely be making is counter tops for your remodel.  Counter tops need to be strong and durable, but we also want them to be beautiful.  Before you invest in new counter tops what is important to know about the options. When I am making home improvements, I have two things that I like to keep in mind. One is what will be the best investment for me to make and the other is what will give me the best return when it comes time to sell.  Most of us do not live in our homes forever, so return on investment is certainly something to keep in mind.  

What selections are available out there for counter tops for your remodel?  Below are a list of options and pros and cons of each.

  1. Quartzite.  Pro of this product is durability.  This is a natural stone formed from quartz.  It is very strong which can translate to higher costs for cutting and insulation.  The con of Quartzite is limited color choices.
  2. Soapstone. Pro of this product is easy daily maintenance. It is heatproof, nonporous and stain resistant. The con of Soapstone is that it is susceptible to chips. 
  3. Marble.  Is a beautiful product that is durable and can last for a long time.  That is one of the pros of the product.  The con of Marble is that it must be sealed and stains easier than other natural stones. 
  4. Concrete is durable and customizable.  It is hard wearing. The cons of Concrete are that it is porous and prone to staining. Sealants help protect from heat, scratches and stains. 
  5. Quarts.  Like quartzite quartz counters are manmade.  It does not require any sealing.  The pro of quartz is low maintenance. It is heat sensitive. 
  6. Granite the product that was the go-to for all upgraded kitchen and baths has fallen out of favor in recent years.  One of the reasons is that it requires regular sealant. It does beautifully resist scratches. It can easily withstand the wear and tear of daily use. 
  7. Butcher block. This product is known for being functional and affordable. They are strong and simple.  The con of butcher block counters is that they require regular upkeep.  Proper care calls for a coat of mineral or tung oil after installation and annually after. 

When making your selections it is important to bring samples home

This will allow you to see how the countertop will complement other design choices in your room. The lighting in your room can change the appearance of your selections.  Remember when making your selections that people typically replace countertops only once every 10 to 15 years.  Make sure your selection will be enjoyable and easy to care for many years to come. If you have any questions we are here to help and can provide recommendations for suppliers or installers should you need. Simply contact us.

1 Small Thing To Increase Home Value

We often say that the front door is your first chance to make a good impression. Therefore, a front porch refresh can be very beneficial if you are planning to put your home on the market. It is a small thing to increase home value.

Black Door, a small thing to increase home value.

Statistically speaking homes with a front door painted black sell for as much as $6,000 more than their similar counterparts. Painting the entire exterior of your home can be costly. However, painting your front door could easily be completed in a weekend on your own for about $100 dollars. If you are feeling adventurous you can even replace your door hardware to complete the fresh look. Workers at your local hardware store can even key the new hardware to match your old set at no charge.

Avoid Bold Exteriors

Let’s talk about exterior colors. Painting the body of your home’s exterior too bold of a color can be detrimental to your home’s value. A recent Zillow analysis showed that homes painted yellow sold for as much as $3,400 less than similar counterparts. While some people might appreciate it, the majority of home buyers prefer neutral homes in both decor and color. Buyers also want neutral interiors. Dark colors like browns and reds are difficult to paint over and tend to be viewed as out of style. These could cost you as much as 2,300 at time of sale vs. painting these rooms a lighter color.

Backyard Woes

Another detriment to your home’s value is having a backyard that is singularly children focused. Many people do not have children. Therefore, a built in sandbox or similar amenity simply will not appeal to their needs. In fact, it will likely cost them money to have to remove after closing. If they don’t remove it that unused sandbox typically turns into the neighborhood litter box. Homes with kid centric backyards appeal to a smaller pool of buyers. This means sellers will likely not recoup the cost of the installation of playground type infrastructure. Instead of having a kid friendly backyard makeover, invest the money elsewhere and have the kids go to the neighborhood park.

Consider the Neighbors

Finally, any substantial alteration to your home that is outside of the realm of comparable properties will not benefit your homes value. Installing big time amenities like a sauna or an elevator in homes that are in the middle of the market will not appeal to that type of buyer and simply not drive up your homes valuation. That type of buyer is interested in much larger more lavish homes and will pay the extra money to purchase that one, with a long list of amenities included. Middle of the market buyers are not willing to pay substantially more for your home because of a sauna when the one down the street is just as nice but lacking that amenity. Moral of the story, spend wisely based on your location in the local real estate market.

If you have any questions about small things to increase home value don’t hesitate to reach out to your top real estate expert in Fort Collins, Colorado, Lestel Meade.

Bike Storage Solutions

Bikes, we all have at least one. Yet, bikes are one of the stranger shaped items one can have in their home. They are tricky because they are long like skis. However, they can’t just lean against a wall because of their tenancy to roll away. They pivot endlessly but always seem to take up the same amount of space. Unfortunately nothing looks worse than a house with a bunch of bikes strewn in the front yard, or preventing you from parking in your own garage. While it would seem that we are at peak technology in a lot of other areas, bike storage techniques still leave a lot to be desired however we have compiled a list of a few of the best methods for storing bikes at your home.

Bike Storage Solutions: Clug

ClugMy personal favorite, they come in a variety of colors, a number of sizes to match up to your bikes tire size and they can be anchored into drywall. These work really well for interior storage of bikes perfect for apartment dwellers or condo owners who don’t want to gamble their bikes safety on the communal outdoor bike rack. With a minimalist design you might be hard pressed to notice them in the wall if your bike isn’t hanging inside of it. Installation is easy.

The box the Clug arrives in doubles as a template for drilling mounting holes. Simply tape the flattened box to the wall, drill where it says drill, install the drywall anchors, screw in the screws and snap the clug into place. The downside with these seems to be the need to keep your bike’s tire pressure up. Super long term storage of bikes is probably not ideal with the Clug. I can speak from personal experience as one of our lesser utilized bikes lost enough tire pressure over 10 plus months that it fell out of the Clug and damaged one of our blinds. The solution is simple enough, ride your bike, keep the tire pressures up, and pump up the tires every so often on the bikes you don’t ride as much. These can be purchased here.

Hardware Hooks

Otherwise known as ole reliable, this is the cheapest and probably easiest of the bike storage solutions. This storage technique is one that works well if you have a garage or a basement and some unused vertical space. Tire size also plays a large role here as road bikes, multi use bikes and cruisers will all likely fit. However, when you push the dimensions of the tire into plus size territory hooks may not be large enough to accommodate this added tire plushness. Here is how you do it. Pick up 2 utility hooks from your local hardware store for each bike you want to store. They look like this:

Utility Hooks

Then measure the distance from the center of your front and back tires (The area where the tire would be in contact with the road) and mark it on the exposed wood beams in your garage or basement. Take your trusty drill and a wood drill bit in a diameter slightly smaller than the threads on the hook and drill to a depth the same as the length of the threaded portion of the hook. A piece of painters tape on the drill bit can help you to ensure proper depth. Thread in the hooks into the wood, then hang your bikes upside down and revel in your handy capabilities.

Bike Hand

Bike HandThese are newer to the market at least to my knowledge. They seem like they might very well be the Goldilocks zone of bike storage techniques. Not as invasive or tacky looking as the hardware hook. Yet more robust than the Clug. This added level of robustness comes from the fact that they are larger heavier and mount with three bolts. They may do more damage to an interior wall when removed. This is something to keep in mind, and may relegate their usefulness to the garage. That being said the design works with a wide number of tire sizes. Your bike will likely fit unless you are wandering into fat bike territory.

You can also alternate the orientation of your bikes. Use the Bike Hand hanging them front tire up or back tire up. With the Clug you are limited to the front tire only. John Watson posted a write up of his experience and some tips on his website. This was where I originally found out about the Bike Hand. Should you choose this method, Bike Hand can be purchased from Amazon here.

Hopefully this helps make your quest for bike storage solutions a little bit clearer. Time to get those bikes up off the floor and hanging proudly from your ceiling or wall. You’ll be glad that you did. Contact us for any bike storage or other home related questions.

Top 20 Home Improvements

Here are the Top 20 Home Improvements to do to get More Money for Your Home when it comes time to sell your property.

First, Deep clean your home.  The cleaner your home the more a buyer thinks that it is effortless to keep the home clean.  You can hire this done.  Ask Lestel for recommendations.

Second and this is so important. The less things around the bigger the home appears and the less things to distract the buyer from loving your home.  Give away, sell everything you will not be taking with you.  Pre-pack everything you don’t use daily, but are taking.

Third, remove personal items like family photos and things that show this house is yours. The buyer needs to imagine the home as theirs, this is hard to do when it looks like yours everywhere.

Fourth, add a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
The Top 20 Things to do to get More Money for Your Home

Fifth, if you have rooms that are painted strong colors, now is the time to consider a more neutral color.  Asked Lestel for the contact information for her painter.

Additionally, replace dated light fixtures. This can cost so little and make such a huge impact.

You should also open drapes and blinds and let the light shine in.

Improve curb appeal. Trim bushes, plant flowers, power wash the front, remove old leaves make the house look ready for company. Make sure the lawn has been mowed.

Additionally, have carpets professional hot water extraction, deep cleaned. This makes the oldest carpets look newer.

Take the time to clean windows.

Another idea is to change out switch plates and outlets so that they match throughout the house.

Always replace burned out light bulbs. When you have multiple bulbs in a fixture make sure that they match.

In the spring use Restore-a-finish on your wood work. Asked Lestel for more information.  Top tip that makes such a difference.

Additionally, make repairs of those small things that you know are broken or need repair. The buyer will notice and it will make a difference in how much the buyer is willing to pay for your home.

Change the furnace filter every season. This will make a difference at time of inspection.

Take the time to wipe off the top of your water heater. Having this clean can make it look well cared for and less concerning for the buyer.

Moreover, develop a plan for showing. What do you need to do when you get the call that you have a showing to insure that your home looks its best every time that it is shown.  Lestel can help with this.

Finally, Check tub and shower caulk in bathrooms. Re-caulk if discolored or missing.

You don’t need to stage the home. Lestel does this for you.  It make such a difference. No cost to you!

You also don’t need to worry about Professional photos. Lestel takes care of this too.  When a home looks good in pictures, you will get more showings.

We hope you enjoyed those Top 20 Home Improvements. Contact us for more recommendations.

Ways To Update Your Small Space

With everything going on right now many of you are stuck at home and may be working on some home improvement projects that have been put on the back burner indefinitely.  If you go on a walk you will see plenty of people working on their yards in expectation of warm sunny days. But what about the folks who live in smaller spaces without yards.

Certainly living in limited square footage is beginning to take its toll as we all stay home these days. Maybe you have gotten tired of looking at the same four walls ceiling and a floor but there are a few things you can do to switch things up, and a lot of these you can probably do without a ordering from Amazon, or having something curb delivered at your local hardware store. So without further ado here are some ways to update your small space, and don’t worry if you live in a larger space you can do these things as well.

Embrace minimalism 

The minimalist aesthetic has been popular for many years now and has other benefits beyond good looks especially when living in a small space. First of all minimalism makes finding things easier. It also means you don’t have to worry about organizing your thinks, or worry about their upkeep (think dusting).  You will also probably save money, as any one thing often leads to the need to purchase something new. For example buying a new phone means buying a new case, this is referred to as the Diderot Effect. So why not give a bit of minimalism a try. While thrift stores are not currently taking donations this is a perfect time to clean out your space and box up items that aren’t bringing value to you or your space. Set these aside to donate later.

Rearrange your furniture

As the days turn into weeks perhaps you are getting bored with your small space. There is no better way to freshen things up than to look into some new furniture orientations. One great option is to utilize Feng Shui in your home decor designs. If you are not familiar with Feng Shui now is a great time to give it a shot. If you hate it moving your furniture back the old way will give you something else to do later.

A Gallon of Paint Can Go A Long Wa

If you’re like us you probably have at least one gallon of paint collecting dust in the linen closet. Why not refresh your laundry room or another room in the house. Local home improvement stores are also still open in many places allowing you to buy a can of cheap oops paint for less than $15 and freshen up part or even all of your home. Painting is probably the cheapest and easiest home improvement task you could embark on and the results are almost instantaneous.
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There are just a few ideas of ways to update your small space. However, updating your space in any manner is a great use of time while you are stuck at home. Contact us for more recommendations.