Blog :: 05-2014

May is National Home Remodeling Month!

mlss_luigi-hammerIt's that time of year again. Spring is a time for fresh ideas, new beginnings and home remodeling. Don't wait until summer to start thinking about making changes to your home. Whether it is updating appliances in the kitchen or installing new tile in the bathroom, to something more time intensive like taking down a wall or adding on a new room, remodeling is on the rise.

Some things to keep in mind:

Know why you’re remodeling. Are you selling? Addressing changing family and lifestyle needs? Wanting more efficient appliances and lighting? Your reasons for remodeling can impact your decisions-for example, if you’re selling, your choices may be more about buyer appeal than personal taste. On the other hand, if you’re building your dream kitchen, you may not want to compromise on certain features. Evaluate your project in light of your property value and return on investment and look for options that meet your overall needs.

home remodeling graphic

Make a wish list/scrapbook. Use the Internet to peruse pictures and articles. Get brochures, color samples, and fabric swatches, and cut out or print pictures that show features or details of work that you like. Take pictures of other homes, and keep a scrapbook of ideas.

Know your budget. A realistic budget can help you prioritize options. In your bathroom upgrade, will you really use that expensive spa tub, or are luxury shower heads, bath fixtures, and a towel warmer more important? If you want a contemporary, industrial look in your kitchen, can you compromise elsewhere so that you can afford concrete or stainless-steel countertops?

Remember that “form follows function.†Look at your existing space critically. Evaluate how you use it. Assess high-traffic areas, kitchen work triangles, and overall flow. Define what already works and what doesn’t. Get input from all family members, even children. The “look†of your new space should be secondary to layout and function. You can work on achieving that “magazine†look after you have the basics.

Research products. Research your options for features like countertops and flooring. Manufacturers’ Websites are a great place to start, and most companies have an 800 number for product questions. Evaluate the pros and cons for each product type to determine which options suit your budget, lifestyle, and taste the best. For example, cork flooring is quite popular but soft, so it’s not suitable in high traffic areas. Consider something more durable, like tile. If you have children or elderly family members, marble or polished tile could be slippery and hard on the joints and may not be suitable-laminate wood flooring or vinyl may be safer.

Some up-front planning and research can make your remodeling project go a lot smoother and help ensure that you’re satisfied with the end results. Above all else – remember to have fun!

Call me today to find out what home improvements today's buyers are looking for.
















  1. Larue on

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    • Geri Guzinski on

      Thank you, hope you continue to enjoy the posts!

      A Day Dedicated to Gratitude & Remembrance

      Memorial Day

      Did you know it is traditional to fly the United States flag at half mast from dawn until noon and then raise it briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation's battle heroes on Memorial Day?

      Until 1971, this holiday honoring men and women who died while serving in the US military was known as Decoration Day, which originated three years after the Civil War ended in 1868, by an organization of Union veterans. The traditional date was May 30th. Today, cities in the North and the South still claim to be the birthplace of Decoration Day. However the North wins this argument with Waterloo, NY being declared the official "birthplace" in 1966 by Congress and President Johnson - a southerner! In 1971, by an act of Congress, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was moved to the last Monday of May.

      To some, Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day - fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.

      "The National Moment of Remembrance Act" was passed in 2000. This is to encourage all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

      To quote Gen. Logan from 1868 "with the choicest flowers of springtime we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.â€








      Memorial Day, however, has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.



      Top 10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Spring after The Severe Winter We Just Had!

      What a Winter!!!

      As we recover from one of the harshest winters in recent history, it is important to inspect your home for damage and plan for home maintenance, repair and remodeling projects. Winter weather can damage homes in ways that aren't easily visible. You should protect your investment and if necessary, hire a professional to repair or replace damaged components now, before Spring storms create more problems (and the way the wet weather has been , these are important things to check out) .

      Here are 10 tips to follow when checking your home for damage in order to make sure your home is ready for Spring from top to bottom:

      roof repairclogged gutters1. Inspect roof - Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.

      2. Clean and repair gutters - Clear winter storm debris from gutters and downspouts, and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutter can allow water into your home and damage trim.

      3. Look for leaks - Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics, crawl spaces and washing machine hoses. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.

      4. Clear exterior drains - Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups.

      5. Inspect siding or shingles - Inspect siding or shingles for pieces that have come loose during winter storms.

      6. Check window and door seals - Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.

      7. Patch cracks - Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps to keep water out and prevent further expansion.

      8. Inspect HVAC - Hire a qualified technician to service your home's HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.

      house being painted

      9. Paint the exterior - Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements.

      10. Check your home's grading - Ensure the grading of your yard slopes away from your home's foundation to keep excess moisture at bay.

      Call me today to find out more ways you can get your home ready for the warmer weather!

      Mother's Day - The Meaning is More Than Just a "Hallmark Holiday"!

      home is where the heart is

      The origin of Mother's Day goes back to the ancient Greeks and Romans and can then be traced to Mothering Sunday in the UK - way before it made an appearance in the US!

      The early Greeks and Romans celebrated a spring festival dedicated to the maternal goddesses (aren't we all goddesses?) which began 250 B.C. Early Christians later celebrated a Mother's Day on the 4th Sunday of Lent to honor the Virgin Mary. In the 1600's England expanded the holiday to include all mothers and called it "Mothering Sunday" where children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers. The tradition faded by the 19th century, however it came back to be celebrated after World War II when American servicemen brought the custom back with them to the US . Retailers loved the idea and, that's when it became more commercialized.

      Today Mother's Day is celebrated in 46 countries where people take the opportunity to pay tribute to their mothers and thank them for all their love and support.

      I know I am so thankful for my Mom and hope you enjoy celebrating your mothers on their special day, whether you can be together or cherish the memories!

      Thinking of Putting Your Home For-Sale-by-Owner? Here's Why You Might Want to Think Twice.

      Homeowners obviously know their homes better than anyone, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best salespersons for their properties.

      Some sellers are tempted to try a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transaction because their local community is in the midst of a sellers’ market and they think they can sell easily without help. Others try the FSBO route because they want to maximize their profits and avoid paying a commission to a Realtor.

      However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100, (obviously not the Stamford area but the numbers are still meaningful).

      Why to Sell With a Realtor

      Choosing to sell with a professional rather than on your own makes sense for a variety of reasons:

      • A Realtor has access to market data about recent sales and other homes on the market that can be used to price your home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced right when they’re first listed sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that linger on the market.
      • A Realtor can have your home available to be shown when you aren’t available (see the next bullet point), can respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents, and can get valuable feedback from visitors – all things that save you time.
      • Buyers typically prefer to look at a home without the seller present so they can feel more comfortable exploring the rooms and visualizing themselves in the property. At an FSBO sale, the seller must be present.
      • A Realtor can look at your home objectively and suggest ways to improve its appearance – by staging and minor repairs - so it appeals to more buyers.
      • A Realtor can screen visitors to your home, which provides a measure of safety that FSBO sellers don’t have. In addition, by checking to see if the buyers are legitimate and can afford to purchase your home, a Realtor can help you avoid wasting time showing your home to unrealistic buyers.
      • Realtors have professional marketing expertise, contacts with other Realtors who work with buyers (the Greater Fairfield County MLS has approx. 8,000 members!), and the support of a brokerage that can market your home more widely than you can as an individual.
      • A Realtor can help you negotiate a contract that not only garners you an appropriate price for your home, but that meets your needs for a settlement date.

      FSBO Dangers

      Most buyers today work with a buyers’ agent to represent their interests. If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract. Not only could you end up selling your home for less money, you could leave yourself open to potential legal problems.

      FSBO transactions can be successful, of course, but 90 percent of homeowners prefer to work with a professional rather than risk an unsatisfactory home selling experience.

      Call me and let's discuss what could work for you.