Steven Palatt's Blog
An outdoor living room gives you a place to enjoy fresh air while spending time with family and friends, gathering around a fire or watching a movie. When you have this type of outdoor living space, you can make it as comfortable as possible with the right design. Use the following tips to help you come up with the ideal outdoor living room for your home.
Consider the Layout
One of the first decisions to make about your outdoor living room is the kind of layout it should have. This depends in part on the size of this space and the layout of your yard. For example, you might want to consider a rectangular outdoor living room, which offers a more spacious feel overall if you plan on having guests over often or if you have a large family. However, a square layout or even a rounded one might work better if you’re aiming for a cozier atmosphere.
Select a Style
The style you choose for your outdoor living room should go with the rest of your home’s overall style. A vintage-style outdoor living room might look out of place next to your modern or contemporary home, for example. A rustic outdoor living room might work just fine if your home has a more naturalistic or eco-friendly design.
Choose the Right Furniture
The furniture for your outdoor living room should provide comfortable seating while adding visual appeal. Look for upscale couches, loveseats, armchairs and side tables that match the style you’ve decided on for this area. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get furniture made specifically for outdoor use to protect it from rain and other outdoor elements, especially if your outdoor living space is uncovered.
Decide on a Fireplace
Adding a fireplace or a fire pit to your outdoor living room means you can enjoy it more often, even on cooler evenings and nights. You can have an outdoor stone or brick fireplace installed at one end of your outdoor living room, or have one built in the middle of it. A central fireplace or fire pit can have built-in seating around it on all sides where you and your family and friends can gather.
Weigh Your Entertainment Options
You can add entertainment to your outdoor living room with a state-of-the-art sound system for music and movies. Whether you simply add a big-screen TV to one wall or invest in an outdoor theater setup, your outdoor living room can provide you and your family or friends with hours of enjoyment.
If you're selling a home, hiring a real estate agent who acts as a comprehensive marketer is essential – and perhaps it is easy to understand why.
For home sellers, an ineffective marketer may struggle to promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers. This may cause you to miss out on opportunities to highlight your house to potential property buyers, resulting in a prolonged home selling cycle.
Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent understands what it takes to market your residence effectively, including:
1. A real estate agent is ready to host home showings and open houses.
Home showings and open houses enable property buyers to get an up-close look at your residence. That way, property buyers can envision what life would be like if they purchase your house.
Typically, a real estate agent will want to host as many home showings and open houses as possible This housing market professional will be available to set up home showings at property buyers' convenience. Meanwhile, he or she also will promote open houses via social media and other channels to stir up plenty of interest from potential property buyers.
2. A real estate agent knows how to showcase your residence online.
A real estate agent may insist on hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your home's interior or exterior. This ensures you can provide homebuyers with crisp, clear images via myriad online channels to show the true beauty of your house.
Moreover, a real estate agent may use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to promote your residence. Social media enables this housing market professional to reach thousands of potential property buyers and may help you generate significant interest in your home quickly.
3. A real estate agent allocates the necessary time and resources to track his or her marketing efforts.
What good is a marketing campaign if a marketer is unable to define its success? A real estate agent who is a great marketer understands the importance of metrics and will measure his or her marketing successes and failures.
A real estate agent should be able to keep you informed at each stage of the home selling cycle. He or she can provide updates about whether homebuyers are interested in checking out your home and any feedback from homebuyers as well.
In addition, a real estate agent is unafraid to adjust the way that he or she promotes your home. With the right metrics in place, this housing market professional will be able to find out whether homebuyers are interested in your property and modify his or her marketing efforts accordingly.
When it comes to selling your home, working with a real estate agent who knows the importance of effective marketing can make a world of difference. With a successful marketer at your disposal, you can boost your chances of speeding up the home selling process and getting the best price for your house.
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Homeowners looking to get top dollar for their house often invest in improvements to make their home more appealing to prospective buyers. Sure, they can slap up a coat of paint and make other minor cosmetic improvements, but these won’t necessarily increase their home’s value.
In a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, eco-friendly homes and energy-efficient products are in high demand with 59% of realtors® responding homeowners were “very” or “somewhat” interested in sustainability. Agents also indicate promoting energy efficiency in their listings increases buyer response.
Adding Energy-Star rated appliances is a great start—here are other top green features you can consider adding to your home.
1. New Windows and Doors
Older windows and doors allow drafts, burning extra fuel and electricity for heating and cooling. Installing Energy-Star rated (or triple-pane, glass, insulated) windows and a high-quality door promote energy efficiency. As a bonus, they boost a home’s resale value. Homeowners who install windows see a return of investment (ROI) of roughly 70% and steel doors about 75%. They also save 7% to 15% on their energy bill after the installation. Not a bad ROI!
2. Add a Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters cost between $6,000 and $17,000, so it’s not a cheap upgrade, but you might want to consider this investment. Solar heaters increase the value and marketability of your home and can add a 4% to 4.5% resale value. Plus, you’ll save on your energy bills while you’re still in your home.
3. Replace Bathroom Fixtures
Toilets, sinks, and shower heads installed prior to the mid-1990s are water hogs and don’t meet current federal, water-saving standards for fixtures. The U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners buy fixtures with the “WaterSense” labels. With these upgrades, you can save big on water and on utility bills. Some statistics suggest even minor bathroom upgrades will bring you a 102% ROI. A renovated kitchen and bathroom definitely perk a buyer’s interest, but these days energy-efficient upgrades will get you a better ROI than the usual remodels.
4. Upgrade Insulation
The quality of home insulation matters because it has a direct impact on your heating and cooling bills. Angie’s List reports two-thirds of homes in the U.S. aren’t properly insulated. Homes over 10 years old are likely not insulated to current standards. If you want to upgrade your insulation, a good place to start is in the attic because you can recoup 116% of your costs.
By adding green features, you’ll increase your home’s appeal and better solidify your asking price. If you want to learn more about Energy Star appliances or how green features add value to a home, feel free to reach out!
Aromatic oils have been used for millennia by cultures like the ancient Greeks and Egyptians for use in medicines and ointments. And, to this day, many of us use products containing essential oils, such as perfumes, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and even the food we eat.
More recently, essential oils have become a popular DIY ingredient for household items. In this post, I’m going to share with you some of the many household uses for essential oils and break down which oils are suited for each purpose.
Read on for tips on using essential oils in your home.
Perhaps the most common use for essential oils is in an oil diffuser that emits an aromatic steam into the air of your home. Oil diffusers are great for a desktop that you work by, particularly in the winter time when the air tends to be dry. This mist can help mitigate the effects of dry air on your throat and nasal passage, and emit a pleasant air freshening odor into the room.
There are several oils and oil blends that are used in oil diffusers. Some of the most common oils used are lavender, peppermint, and several citrus-scents like lemon, bergamot, and wild orange.
When using an oil diffuser, be sure to use only a few drops of the oil--using too much can become easily overpowering and even irritating to the skin, nose, and eyes.
Many top-brand air fresheners use essential oils as part of their ingredients. However, they also contain a number of other additives that you might not enjoy. Essential oils give you the ability to create a blend that works for you.
Combine water with a few drops of essential oils into a spray bottle for a refreshing room mist. This solution can even be used on most fabrics--however, just like with an oil diffuser, make sure you don’t put too many drops of essential oils in your solution to protect your fabrics.
Cleaning supplies can get expensive very quickly. Fortunately, the ingredients to make a simple all-purpose cleaner are cheap and can make over a gallon of solution that you can keep refilling as needed.
Vinegar and water-based cleaning solutions often incorporate a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, lemon, and other fresh, “clean” smelling scents.
The best part? These solutions are made from non-toxic ingredients that can typically be used on your countertops, inside microwaves, and on other surfaces that food may come into contact with.
A quick warning: essential oils are made by distilling vast amounts of plant material into very concentrated oils. This means that the oils are exponentially more potent than their plant counterparts. Overuse can easily cause rashes and irritation, so use sparingly, avoid contact with your eyes when working with oils, and always read instructions before use.