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October
13

Budget-Friendly Bathroom Vanity Updates

Bathroom Vanity Updates

Updating your bathroom vanity can instantly give your entire bathroom a new look that reflects your sense of style. From using paint to switching out the countertop, you can transform the entire room without breaking the bank. Whether you're planning to stay in your current home for a while and would like an update or are selling in the near future and want your home to sell as quickly and for as much as possible, a vanity makeover can help.

Our real estate agents suggest the following inexpensive bathroom vanity updates:

  • Create a Weathered Look
    You can create an appealing weathered gray look for your vanity quickly and easily. You'll need just four materials - chalk paint, chalk paint wax, a wax brush, and a dry lint-free rag - to achieve the look. First, apply two coats of the chalk paint to your vanity and wait for the paint to dry after each coat. Then rub the chalk paint wax on in small sections and use the wax brush to work it into crevices and grooves. Any excess can be then wiped away with a rag, and you'll have transformed your bathroom vanity with just a couple of hours of work and a few supplies.

  • Use Stencils or Wallpaper
    In addition to a coat of paint, you can easily transform your bathroom vanity by adding painted stencils for more color and personality. Add two coats of paint to your bathroom vanity, letting each coat dry. Then choose some stencils in a pattern you like and use them to paint a design on your vanity to give it an extra pop. Stencils are particularly budget-friendly since not only are they inexpensive, but you can also reuse them on other projects, including furniture, fabric, and walls.

  • Swap in Some New Hardware
    Adding new hardware is an inexpensive DIY upgrade for all types of cabinets and furniture, and the bathroom vanity is no different. Brushed brass or sleek chrome are often good choices for vanity knobs and drawer pulls, and you'll also want to look at matching them with other bathroom hardware updates, such as the toilet paper holder and towel racks.

  • Update Your Countertop
    If your vanity countertop looks dated or simply doesn't add anything positive to your bathroom's appearance, consider swapping it out for a new one. Granite, quartz, and marble are popular options that are attractive and long-lasting. Or, for a more inexpensive option, use a spray paint like Krylon Make It Stone to give your existing bathroom vanity countertop a fresher, more modern look.

  • Create a Mesh Tile Countertop
    Covering the top of your vanity with mesh tile squares can achieve a dramatic change in appearance. They come in a wide variety of textures, colors, and styles, so they can be used to achieve a wide variety of different looks. 

Contact us for help with your buying and selling needs throughout Florida and southeastern Georgia. And if you're interested in selling your home, we can recommend inexpensive updates and improvements that will help make your home more marketable. 

August
2

Florida Architecture: Popular Home Types

Florida Architecture

If you're planning on buying a Florida home or upgrading to a different Florida property, you'll find that there are a lot of architectural styles to choose from. Our real estate agents understand that having so many options can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren't sure exactly what you're searching for in a home.

We recommend learning about the different architectural options so that you feel more comfortable when you're shopping for a home. Here are some of the most popular Florida home styles. 

  • Mediterranean Architecture
    Mediterranean architecture is known for its stucco walls, arched doorways and windows, and tiled roofs. On the interior, this style usually incorporates arches and vaults into the design, giving the home a light, airy feel. Stone walls and floors, along with wrought iron fixtures, are also common. This home design is similar to that of coastal villas found throughout Europe. It's a popular option among homeowners who are searching for a luxurious style that compliments Florida's tropical atmosphere. 
  • Spanish Style Architecture
    Spanish style architecture is similar to Mediterranean style architecture, but there are a few key differences. The Spanish design usually has red tile roofing, a white stucco exterior, and wooden support beams. Its design also includes a lot of curves, such as arched windows and curving entryways and exterior features. Wrought iron elements are also associated with this home design. 
  • Coastal Contemporary Architecture
    The coastal contemporary home design is designed to bring the relaxing tranquility associated with a day at the shore into your own home(even if you live hundreds of miles away from the nearest beach). While this style is popular on the Florida coastline, it's also a hit with anyone looking for a tranquil home. This style doesn't necessarily include a lot of nautical elements to give it a beachy, laidback vibe. Instead, it utilizes soothing, neutral colors that may include a bright hue or two to add a pop of color to the home. There are often a lot of wooden or woven elements incorporated into the home to give it the texture differences associated with the beach. These homes often have high ceilings, lots of windows, and an open floor plan to help you maximize airflow throughout the interior rooms and take advantage of gorgeous exterior views. 
  • Victorian Architecture
    Victorian architecture often has smaller windows, a tall, narrow design, and a lot of exterior embellishment, like a fancy porch railing. This design style is also synonymous with steeply pitched roofs and asymmetrical design. Homes with Victorian architecture are usually located in historic areas of Florida alongside other Victorian homes. While these homes are older, the design is considered timeless and full of old-world charm. 
  • Ranch-Style Architecture
    Ranch-style homes are common in many states, including Florida. This design is one-story and spreads the home out across the property's land. A home with ranch-style architecture is a great fit for anyone with mobility limitations; the lack of stairs makes it easier to "age at home." Sliding glass doors are common in ranch-style homes to allow more natural light into the home and to help connect the home to its backyard. This design usually has an "L" or U" shape and includes a garage. 

The variety of architecture in Florida makes it easy to find a home that fits your needs and aesthetic preferences. Ready to begin shopping for your next home? Contact us today to get started!

September
2

Happy Cat Month: Tips for Hiding Your Cat's Litter Box

Litter Box Tips

September is officially Happy Cat Month, so take some extra time to appreciate your feline friend. Cats make wonderful pets, but there's one part of cat ownership that everyone dislikes - the litter box. Its appearance isn't attractive, and no one wants to have its odor or the sounds of a cat scratching away in the box invading your home's common areas.
  
With a few tools, some time, and a little bit of effort, you can hide your cat's litter box while still leaving it easily accessible for them. Check out these tips to help make your cat's litter box out of sight and out of mind.

Drape Fabric Around an End Table 
Hiding your cat's litter box by draping fabric around an end table is a relatively simple project that requires just a few supplies as shown on the Dimples and Tangles blog. You'll need a small end table that easily fits over the litter box. Sew a hem into your fabric, but if you don't sew, you can use fusible hem tape. By using hot glue to make the fabric adhere to the table, you can create a nice, private spot for your cat's litter box.

Transform a Bench  
A bench can be used not only as a handy place to sit as you put your shoes on, but it can also help hide a litter box, according to Offbeat Home & Life. Start by cutting a hole at each end of the bench and sanding the edges. Cover the box with wallpaper if you'd like to change its look, and add black bar mats to the inside of this area to help your kitties clean litter off of their paws before venturing out into your home.

Conceal it in a Cabinet
The Homebody House explains how to stash your cat's litter box in an IKEA cabinet or one that's similarly inexpensive. Use a cabinet that fits your allotted space and has plenty of room inside for a litter box as well as other essential items. You'll need a drill and jigsaw to cut a hole for a cat door on one side of the cabinet's panels.

After installing the cat door, use an upper shelf inside the cabinet to store cat food and some plastic trash bags for scooping and disposing of litter. Hang a clear suction hook on the door to hold the pooper scooper, and you've not only got a great place to hide the litter box, but also a place to store your cat's essentials.

Make Use of Extra Space
After rejecting spaces such as the laundry room when they were trying to figure out a place to put their cat's litter box, Mary Olstyn of Owlhaven and her husband John found the perfect solution in their home. Her husband cut a small door in the wall under the stairs that led to an under-the-stairs closet. This served as an entrance and exit for their cat, who not only had a spot for a litter box but also a quiet haven and place to escape.

Especially consider these tips if you're planning on listing your home! 

Looking for a new home that's the cat's meow? Contact us  and we'll help you find the ideal home for you as well as your pets! 

July
30

Paint Color Options for Your Front Door

Front Door Paint

Once you have your dream house, the next step is to make it your own. And the best place to start is with the front door. It's the first thing people see before they walk in; it should make a decorative statement about who you are and what kind of home this is. Here are some paint options to consider.

  • Bright, Vibrant Colors
    Think about what color you want the rest of the house's exterior to be. If it's white, a nice cobalt blue or lime green can really pop for a door color. Red is a good complement for most house colors - though if the exterior is red brick, you might consider a lemon yellow or a cyan. Also, remember, opposite colors on the color wheel make good complements.

  • Lighter Pastels
    Instead of something that pops, you may want a more subdued feel. Orange, for instance, can be overwhelming, but a light peach or apricot provides a much cheerier feel. Bright purple is another color that may be a bit bombastic, but a nice lavender or lilac instead can add just the right amount of personality. Likewise, if you don't want an overpowering blue or green, consider a light sky or baby blue, or mint or seafoam green. 

  • Borders and Trim
    Remember, there's more than just the house and the door. There's also the door frame. By painting in a different color from the door itself, you can get that extra pop of color. For instance, if your door is red, you could paint the frame black. Or, if you'd rather go with less of a contrast, think about indigo and avocado green. If you have a screen door, you can paint around the edge of that too. Many screen doors have a pattern or design on the bottom half of the door. You can paint that another color yet - or several different colors! Use your imagination.

  • Staining
    Instead of painting your door a specific color, you could just stain the wood. The wooden aesthetic can fit with any number of decors, from homey and rustic to classy and elegant. Even with staining, though, there are still multiple shades to choose from. You could go with a dark mahogany feel or a light, honey-colored vibe. As with any color, think about what looks good with the surrounding house color and what fits with your decor, both inside and out.

  • Painting Tips
    Be sure to get a paint specifically rated for outdoors that's weather-resistant to keep it from peeling. If you have a metal door, get one that's rust-resistant, too. You also need to choose between glossy or matte paint. Glossy paint will reflect the light and give your door a nice sheen. Plus, it's durable and easy to clean and maintain. Unfortunately, it also tends to draw attention to any flaws or blemishes on the door itself - or in the paint job. Matte paint is the opposite. It covers up flaws nicely but isn't as shiny and eye-catching. If you want, you could take the middle ground with a semi-gloss paint. Think about what will look good on your door and against the rest of the house, especially if you plan on listing your home among the Saint Augustine Beach homes for sale.

Your door may seem like a simple thing, but there are all sorts of color and design options to choose from. Our real estate agents can help you find the perfect house to meet your needs - but choosing your colors and aesthetics is up to you. Contact us to help you find your new home today.

April
1

7 Things to Avoid When Getting Ready to List Your Home

Watson List Your Home

Listing your home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. One of the best ways to sell your home quickly and increase your sale price is through proper home staging. Home staging is both an art and a science and often takes a good bit of experience to pull it off just right. Our real estate agents are experts at home staging and are always willing to offer tips to help you through the process.

If you're planning to put your home on the market in the near future, you'll want to make sure to avoid these mistakes.

Personalization
When it comes to getting your home ready for the market, the goal is to create an environment that enables potential buyers to see themselves living in the home. This means keeping things as neutral as possible. Remove pictures, abstract art, bright colors, knick-knacks, or anything that reminds your potential buyer that you're currently living in the space.

Keeping Pets Around 
Who doesn't love pets? Many potential homebuyers don't. Whether it's allergies or just personal preference, pets aren't for everyone, so be sure to keep their presence to a minimum during showings or open houses. Be sure to vacuum up any fur and keep all bowls and toys out of sight. 

Forgetting To Clean
An essential part of the home staging process is deep cleaning. This type of cleaning goes far beyond sweeping the floors and dusting. You'll need to make every corner of your home ready to impress! This includes the ceiling, windows, baseboards, blinds, carpets, and furniture. First impressions are everything, so you want to be sure potential buyers are walking into a spotless home. 

Dark Spaces
The golden rule of home staging: let there be light! Light exposure makes rooms look bigger and brighter. If a particular room doesn't have a lot of windows or doesn't receive much sunlight, buy extra lamps or artificial lighting. You want every room of your house to be bright and welcoming. 

Ignoring The Bedrooms
Many sellers make kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms a priority during the home-selling process, but it's important not to forget about the bedrooms. The bedroom is where homeowners spend a lot of their time, so it's important to create a clean, relaxing look. Make sure bedding is fresh and clean. Adding some decorative pillows and throw blankets doesn't hurt either. 

Stuffing Your Closets
Cramming everything into your closets might make rooms look less cluttered, but this strategy can actually backfire. Jam-packed closets can actually make your storage space appear smaller. The key to making closet space appear larger is to keep them about half full.

Outdated Appliances
If your kitchen is living in the past, you may want to consider upgrading your appliances. Replacing an old refrigerator or dishwasher will not only help make your kitchen stand out among other Jacksonville homes for sale, but it will also be a major selling point for potential buyers. Because the kitchen is the most important room of the house, you may even be able to recoup your costs at the sale price.

Selling a home can be a challenge, which is why you need an experienced real estate agent in your corner. Contact us today for more tips!

January
20

New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

Ready to reimagine your kitchen? Or tackle that backyard project? Or maybe you're just finally ready to declutter and reorganize. Perhaps you don't even know what it is you want to do with your house; you just know you want change. Never fear! We've got New Year's resolutions for your home to inspire you.

Give Your Stuff a Home

Over the course of a year, we tend to accumulate lots of stuff. If you don't keep a handle on it, you can find your drawers, cabinets, closets, and counters overflowing with heaps of stuff that maybe doesn't belong there. Make it a resolution to give all that homeless stuff a place where it can live comfortably – preferably somewhere neat, tidy, and out of the way. Decluttering in this way not only frees up useful space, it'll make your home feel even roomier than before.

You'll likely have a lot of stuff that doesn't make the cut after this process. Instead of just tossing it, consider donating it to a local organization that will give it to those in need.

Restock & Organize Your Pantry & Fridge

Unless you're hyper-diligent when putting away groceries, chances are you've got a lot of clutter in your pantry, cabinets, fridge, and freezer. Dedicate some time to reorganizing theses pivotal kitchen spaces: sort out the items you'll use/eat from the things you won't, store frequently used items like flour and sugar in airtight containers to minimize the amount of unwieldy bags taking up space, and reorganize what remains in a clean, sensible fashion. It'll make cooking feel like much less of a chore when everything you need is where it should be.

Make Your Home Safe

We mean safe in two ways: safe from intruders and safe for yourself.

First, intruders. If you don't already have one, maybe this is the year to have a security system installed. They're incredibly sophisticated these days, allowing you to control many features remotely from your phone. Pair it with a smart doorbell and cameras and you'll feel safer than ever in your home.

Speaking of feeling safer in your home, sometimes it's the unseen threats that you should worry about. Invisible invaders like radon and carbon monoxide can endanger everyone living in your home. Check for radon with an inexpensive testing kit from your local hardware store. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every bedroom floor as well to monitor this deadly gas.

While we're on the topic of unseen threats, have you cleared out your dryer lint lately? Not the relatively paltry amounts caught in the trap inside the dryer, but rather the lint in the vents and ducts behind the machine? With even just a reasonable amount of lint buildup in those areas, you could be looking at a major fire hazard.

Deep Clean

New year, fresh start – what better time to give your house a deep, deep clean? Go room to room and scrub, dust, vacuum, wipe, and just generally sanitize every nook and cranny you normally glance over during your regular cleaning sessions.

Be More Eco-Friendly

Going green at home doesn't have to mean installing solar panels (though that doesn't hurt). It can happen in smaller but just as impacting ways, like recycling more than just your soda cans. From compost to cardboard and glass to grease, organize your recyclable materials into appropriate bins and dispose of them properly – your local recycling center can help you figure out the best way to approach this.

Going green can also save you money on your power bill, and who doesn't want that? Seemingly little things like turning the lights off when you're not in the room or cutting off your AC when you're gone can help the environment and your wallet. Installing LED bulbs and low-flow showerheads that use less electricity and water, respectively, are other beneficial ways to save money and the planet.

July
8

Your Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

You're probably familiar with the concept of winter home maintenance. Floridians don't exactly have a lot to worry about in winter, but summer? The brutal heat and humidity summer brings can affect your home in unsuspecting ways. Keep your house protected during the hot months with this inclusive summer home maintenance checklist.

Inspect Air Conditioners

Start your summer home maintenance checklist by tending to your home's biggest ally against the sweltering sun: the air conditioner. If you have a central AC unit, a professional servicing may be in order. Check, clean, or replace filters for both central units and window units. Be proactive to ensure your AC doesn't fail mid-summer.

Clean Fans

Airflow is crucial in keeping your home cool during summer months, so give your ceiling and room fans some love. Use a damp rag to wipe down the blades. For room fans, remove the casing and dust away the detritus that blocks airflow.

Treat Your Windows

Applying a sun-blocking window screen or cover keeps your home cooler in an energy-efficient way. They also help to keep summertime bugs and dirt outside where they belong. While you're at it, re-caulk the seals on your windows and doors to boost your energy efficiency.

Inspect Your Home's Exterior

Keep an eye out for rotting or loose siding – it can be a haven for dust, sap, dirt, bird droppings, and any number of things that can spell trouble in the long run. If you have brick or concrete, give it a good power wash. Heat can also do a number on paint, so check for peeling, fading, or chipping in your exterior paint. Refreshing with a new coat not only protects your home, it also pumps up your curb value!

Give the Grill a Bath

Summertime is grilling season! To clean charcoal grills, empty all charcoal and ash, then wash it with hot water, a scrubber, and soap. Let it dry fully before using again. For a gas grill, turn the heat up high and let it cook with the lid closed for half an hour. Once it cools, scrape the grill with a sturdy brush. Wipe down the exterior with a damp sponge and cleanser and empty the drip pans.

Vacuum Vents

Clogged exhaust fans annoy with their loud wheezing, but they can also reduce airflow. Simply remove the covering and use an attachment to vacuum out the dust.

Check the Roof

Summer in Florida also means lots of thunderstorms. Give your roof a thorough inspection for any missing shingles, cracks, sags, or other structural concerns to prevent a much larger accident.

Refinish Your Deck/Patio

Just like the sun's damaging effects on your home's paint, your deck and/or patio can take a lot of hurt from the heat of summer – not to mention the wear and tear of near-daily thunderstorms. And since you'll likely be using your deck more in the summer, it's a good time to give it a good power wash and maybe a new finish.

Take Care of Your Yard

Regular landscaping can help your yard stay strong and healthy even in the punishing summer heat. Pull out weeds and mow regularly to reduce potential infestations and encourage healthy growth. Adding new layers of mulch can also help choke out weeds and retain moisture.

Clean Out the Gutters

Summer storms can put a lot of strain on your gutters with lots of water and debris. Make a point to regularly clean them out to prevent leaks and further damage.

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