Real Estate

It's All About the Journey ... Fireplaces - Cozy and Cost Effective

What’s more comforting than sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night? Fireplaces can instantly change the mood of a room, making it more cozy and romantic , and as a bonus may also give an extra source of heat. There are lots of choices to provide the glowing warmth of a fire, some that don’t require a chimney or flu.

Now that I’ve “sparked†your interest, let’s take a look at the broad category of indoor fireplaces.

 

WOOD BURNING

open hearth fireplace Traditional Open Hearth Typically made of stone or brick, these types of fireplaces have existed for centuries. You can feel the heat, smell the wood burning and hear it crackling. They are not as effective at heating the room as some of the more modern varieties. Also, if you don’t already have a fireplace, it will require a fair amount of construction to put in the opening and chimney for proper venting.

Enclosed Fireplaces enclosed fireplace These indoor fireplaces feature a large glass panel to view the fire as it burns. You have less heat escaping up the chimney and more entering the room. Enclosed fireplaces provide more warmth while still having the ambience of a wood burning fire.

fireplace insert Fireplace Inserts These are inserts that fit into your existing fireplace opening. They are enclosed, enabling you to easily turn an inefficient open hearth heating system in to one that is more fuel efficient.

Wood Burning Stoves wood burning stove Although not technically a fireplace, wood burning stoves are an alternative to burn wood for heating without needing a fireplace. It will, however, require a pipe to vent the smoke through the chimney to the outside. You will also need to install a noncombustible floor pad and wall surrounds.

pellet stove Pellet Stoves pellets for pellet stove

These stoves are generally small, and the bags of pellets are inexpensive and come in quantities that are about the size of a mulch bag, making them easy to store. They're also easy to operate; they on­ly require loading pellets and igniting the flame. Because the fire is contained in a heat box there is a minimum of smoke, which lessens the smell in your home and prevents the outside of the unit from heating up. Wood pellets are made from recycled materials and are heavily compressed, which reduces the moisture content. Dry fuel creates more heat, causing the pellets to burn hotter and cleaner than their wood counterparts. A word of caution - these stoves run on electricity, so if your power goes out, so does your stove.

 

GAS

direct vented gas fireplace Direct-Vented Built-in Fireplaces This gas fireplace can be vented through an existing or newly construction chimney or you can alternatively use a pipe to eliminate more costly changes in the house’s structure.

Ventless Built-in Fireplaces ventless gas fireplace Ventless built-in indoor fireplaces are the simplest to install as there is no need for a chimney or vent. However, though every effort is made to make it clean burning, it is possible that some contaminates from the gas will enter your home without a vented system.

 

ETHANOL

ethanol fireplace Fireplace Conversion If you have an existing fireplace, you can get an ethanol burning insert that will slide right in. Depending on your preference, there are options for a more traditional or modern appearance.

Wall mounted Fireplaces wall mounted fireplace 2 With this style, you can actually hang your fireplace on any wall that you choose, making it double as a heating source or a centerpiece of a room.

 

ELECTRIC

electric fireplace

Electric fireplaces are the most cost effective option on the market. They are easy to install and require no ventilation. Another added benefit - most allow you to turn the heating function on or off while maintaining the ambiance of a fireplace. Available in a traditional mantel surround or built within a media cabinet, they can be operated by remote control and some have different varieties of fire effects.

Doesn’t it sound nice to grab a glass of wine, curl up with a blanket and sit by the fire? With all the options out there, it’s possible for everyone to enjoy!

It's All About The Journey ... Choosing Kitchen Appliances – Consider the Current Cook and Potential Buyers!

What is a kitchen without it's appliances? After all, the primary function of a kitchen is for cooking and preparing meals, (unless you're my mother who once looked at an apartment in NYC and didn't realize there wasn't a kitchen!). Functionally obsolete appliances can turn the joy of cooking into the agony of defeat, they’re also one of the first things a buyer will notice about your kitchen. A little paint can refresh tired looking wood cabinets but there's no hiding that harvest gold range!

If your appliances could use an update, here are some tips on how to choose the right cooktop, fridge and more.

Cooktops – Gas, Electric or Induction

gas cooktop

The choice is personal, but the preferences are fierce! Gas is very popular because there is more control of the temperature settings. With gas you can turn the heat up or down immediately & with more precision, as opposed to electric units which adjust more slowly. When shopping for gas cooktops ask about BTU’s which is an energy measurement and is short for british thermal units, and variable control which addresses how long you can maintain “simmer†without the flame going out. Burner grates made of cast iron or metal allow for better heat transfer from the burner to the pan. Choices for fuel are either natural gas or propane, so if you are not in an area with gas available, propane is the way to go.

electric cooktop

Electric is the most common option - these are flat top models which tend to be the least expensive option and what you will find in most homes.

induction cooktop

Induction heat is a flat cooktop like electric that performs like fast-heating gas stoves and is gaining popularity in todays’ kitchen. With induction cooking you lose the least amount of heat from burner to pan. It’s also a time-saver because you can bring a pan of water to boiling faster than you can on a high performing BTU gas range top.

Range Hood

range hood

Any cooktop demands a proper ventilation system that will usher exhaust out of the kitchen. Recirculating fans may take out some of the cooking steam, but they don’t move out any heat. Exterior blowers and inline blowers provide high-performance ventilation. Noise levels can vary, if you hear the sound of suction (and not the motor running) this is a good thing. No one wants to turn on the range hood and think a Cessna is about to land in their kitchen.

Ovens

double wall oven gas range

Conventional ovens can be gas or electric (there are even dual energy range options where you have a gas cooktop and an electric oven). Styles vary from an all-in-one cooktop/oven range to wall mounted double or single oven units. Interior size is an important factor when shopping - you should make sure the Thanksgiving turkey is going to fit!

Convection ovens are often an option within a conventional oven (or sometimes microwave-we'll get to that later). They circulate heat with a fan to cook food faster and more evenly and will help you get dinner on the table faster than a traditional oven. The downside is you don’t get the standard bake/roast/broil settings.

Refrigerators/Freezers

french door with water in door top freezerbottom freezerside-by-side-fridge-freezer-gorenje-nrs-85557

Freestanding models slide into a space and generally protrude 6 to 7 inches beyond counter depth (a 24 inch depth is standard). Counter-depth units will look more like built-in units but be careful not to sacrifice form for function. Check out the interior cubic feet of storage for each unit.

As for configuration, French-door refrigerators (on top) with freezer drawer (on bottom) are very popular. They allow you to store pizza boxes, sheet cakes, deli trays, etc. that are difficult to fit into a side by side refrigerator. You can also choose the traditional freezer on the top/refrigerator on the bottom or a side-by-side option.

Another consideration is if you want a water/ice in the door dispenser. If you are focused on water purification, there are units that will accomplish this. Otherwise the systems simply pass water through a copper pipe in the unit and out your refrigerator door.

Microwaves

microwave built into cabinet

Microwaves can consume a lot of counter space. Microwaves built into the cabinetry are becoming very popular as well as microwave drawers which nestle among base cabinets and are very handy. Built-in microwaves over the range can also act as a venting mechanism. As mentioned above, there are many models that also have a convection oven cooking feature.

Dishwashers

dishwasherdishwasher drawers

Traditional dishwashers with doors that pull from the top down are the most popular style and they can be paneled to blend with the cabinetry for a seamless look. Drawer dishwashers are another trend on the rise because they are easier to load and can be installed at various heights, based on your needs. Because they can handle smaller loads, they are also more efficient.

This is another appliance where noise levels can vary. If you want to have a conversation while the dishwasher is running, make sure to check out the decibel level on the spec sheet to see how quietly it will operate.

Finishes

stainless appliances smudge-proof-feature.png.w960 black stainless appliances

Now that you’ve considered your appliances, think about finish. Stainless steel is still the most popular but now comes in more varieties than the traditional polished finish. Black stainless has a more muted tone and smudge free has a more brushed appearance. Both eliminate the common “finger prints†complaint when considering stainless steel appliances. Whatever look you prefer, stainless is still the most requested finish among buyers.

Energy Efficiency

energy star rating

Last but certainly not least, consider energy ratings when purchasing appliances. The higher the rating the more you will save on your electric bill and energy consumption. A factor any home owner will appreciate!

What time is dinner?

Comments

  1. Lillian Schaeffer on

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that convection ovens cook things faster and more evenly. My husband and I are going to be renovating our kitchen, so I'm trying to choose new appliances so we can plan around their sizes. I would love to have a convection oven for faster cooking, so I'll definitely look into that. Thanks for the great post!
    • James Bergman on

      I appreciate you going through the different cooktops. I personally think that it is a toss up between gas and induction heated units.They both heat up and cool fast. If anything induction cooktops would have an edge because they would be easier to use for simmering. However, gas does tend to be a little cheaper to use. In the end it all comes down to personal preference and the availability of gas.

      It’s All About The Journey … The Gang’s All Here!

      Family rooms are an integral part of any home whether the living room acts a multi-function space in a small home or apartment, or you have a separate family room in a sprawling abode, these are the spaces where everyone can gather and enjoy each other’s company. There are a few key elements every family room should have: ample and comfortable seating, attractive storage, somewhere to put your feet up - such as an ottoman, (which has a dual purpose for extra seating if space is tight and can provide possible storage) and great lighting - overhead lighting illuminates the space, but you will also need task lighting for reading, playing games, etc.

      The three main categories that will create a warm and welcoming family room are: a successful design plan, inexpensive updates and unique decorating ideas. By incorporating some of these elements into your space, everyone will want to kick their shoes off and stay awhile!

      Designing Your Family Room

      Open Family Room columns family rooms

      • Opening your family room to adjoining spaces so the room is visible, ultimately invites everyone in.

      • Define the open spaces by introducing some architectural elements such as arches, columns or you can use furniture as a divider.

      • Plan your home entertainment system early on in the design phase to ensure that all electrical wiring and any integrated systems meet your needs.

      • Create one major focal point within this space. Whether you install your large screen plasma TV on the fireplace wall or have windows overlooking a pretty outdoor space.

      • The furniture layout should be oriented toward the focal point of the space and feel cozy. Try to ignore the impulse to line your furniture pieces up against the wall thinking it creates more space. It doesn’t.

      • Keep traffic patterns in mind when planning a furniture layout. The ability to walk through the room without navigating through a maze of furniture is essential.

      Easy & Inexpensive Updates for Your Family Room

      winter family room summer family room

      • Swap out throw pillows. Add deep velvet fabric pillows, tapestry and rich colors in fall and winter, then you can swap these out for bright colored, cotton or canvas pillows in spring and summer.

      • Freshen up old furniture by adding cozy, beautiful throws and blankets in colder months. This not only gives color and texture but can hide rips and stains!

      • Let the sun shine in! Clean windows inside and out, add new curtains, swags or drapes. If privacy isn’t an issue, lose the blinds and sheers and let light pour in!

      Clever & Unique Family Room Ideas

      ottoman black frames hanging window rods

      • Get rid of clutter by adding multi-functional storage pieces. Think ottomans with hinged lids, coffee tables with drawers, photo boxes to hold odds and ends, which will fit beautifully in a bookcase.

      • Create the illusion of space and light by grouping a collection of mirrors with decorative frames.

      • Spray paint is your best friend! Take old, mismatched picture frames and give them a new life with a coat of flat black spray paint. The texture of each frame gives dimension while the monochromatic color gives your items the look of a collection, not clutter!

      • Swap out those energy draining bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs that create a soft light from your lamps without breaking your budget.

      • Raise your curtain rods, and extend them well past the windows! The illusion of huge windows is created by adding additional ‘framing’ around the ones you have

        Inviting, comfortable and relaxing!

        No wonder the gang’s all here -

        Is it Super Bowl Sunday already?

      It's All About the Journey ... Retreat to the Master Bedroom

      The chaos of the day has ended, all the your chores are finished and you’ve watched just enough TV to put you to sleep. It’s time to retreat to your private sanctuary, the Master Bedroom. Ah, the thought of a perfect, serene haven with everything just so, sounds enticing doesn’t it? You walk down the hall ready to snuggle up in your cozy lair, and the reality smacks you in the face. Where is my serene sanctuary?

      You’re not alone, Master Bedroom updates often take a back seat to other rooms, which becomes evident when it’s time to prepare your home to sell (kitchens and bathrooms usually get the most attention). The fact is buyers scrutinize the Master more so than any of the other bedrooms. “Does the closet have enough storage space? Will it fit my bed? Is there room for my double dressers? etc.â€

      Taking some time to make the most of this space will help create a restful environment your buyers will appreciate.

      Here are some ideas to help get you started:

      Paint the Walls

      gray paint master bedroom creamy master bedroom

      A cool and soothing color palette creates a relaxing atmosphere. Soft blues, greens and creamy whites give the bedroom a fresh and airy feel.

      Add Wall Decor

      wall art master bedroom

      Once you’ve got your walls painted, add some decorative accessories. Things like mirrors, wall accents and photos can add more character to your bedroom.

      Arrange Furniture

      When you walk into a bedroom, especially the Master, the bed should be one of the 1st things you see.

      Start with learning standard bed sizes, and which one will work in your plan. Other bedroom furniture comes in all kinds of sizes. Once you determine your room and bed dimensions, you can make good decisions about dressers, chests, nightstands and so on. Pay attention to scale and avoid over sized furniture that doesn’t fit the space. You want to make the bedroom feel airy and comfortable.

      The ancient Chinese method of Feng Shui helps to balance our homes. Following some simple feng shui strategies can turn your chaotic and uninspiring bedroom into the serene sanctuary of your dreams.

      feng shui bed

      If you have a large Bedroom or a Master Suite

      Benches and/or chairs

      bench at bottom of bed

      Add a bench at the foot of your bed; it’s a perfect spot for putting on your shoes and socks without disturbing a freshly made bed.

      Small, comfortable upholstered chairs provide an added dimension to a bedroom. It is easy to overlook this element, but it shows the bedroom can become a nice retreat from the rest of the household.

      Whatever the size, make sure you don't overcrowd the space - as in all rooms, less is more.

      Lighting

      chandelier in master bedroom

      As with any space, lighting plays an important role in delivering the desired atmosphere. After all, it’s hard to have a romantic environment with a fluorescent light flickering overhead. Consider adding a ceiling fan as well. Despite the fact that some people say ceiling fans are unfashionable, many home buyers appreciate their energy savings.

      Upgraded Electronics

      wall mounted tv

      Wall mounted TV’s are a popular feature, and can help your space to appear larger, especially if your bedroom is on the smaller side.

      Luxury

      luxurious pillows

      A touch of luxury gives the master bedroom refined elegance that can bring a soothing note to the space. Sumptuous bedding, plush pillows and a beautiful chandelier all add luxury, which can be quite serene.

      Combine Masculine and Feminine Details

      clean line master bedroom

      Neutral palettes and clean lines are appealing to all. Stay away from window coverings and bed coverings that scream “I am woman hear me roar†or “It’s a man’s worldâ€! Both individuals need to feel comfortable and that the environment suits them.

      Closets

      organized closet

      A master Bedroom with a walk-in closet is always the most preferred option but organizing a smaller closet can also have a dramatic effect. Good wall closets include: Spaces for long and short hanging items, several open shelves of varying heights, a bank of drawers (optional), a spot for shoes, places to hang ties and belts, and to stow handkerchiefs and scarfs. The most important thing to remember on closets is that your buyer will remember what they see. Try to keep hangers all the same with space in between and floors free of clutter. A general rule is that you should only have shelves filled to approximately 1/3 of their height.

      These tips can transform your Master Bedroom into the oasis you’ve always envisioned and create a retreat buyers will remember.

      Sweet dreams!

       

       

       

       

      It's All About the Journey ... Treat Yourself to a Spa Day!

      With downtime at a premium, it’s no surprise that people are investing in luxurious amenities to enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Perhaps the most common of these upgrades is the inclusion of a spa-like master bath.

      Hydrotherapy, steam, light, heat, and aroma can create an experience at home that can compete with the world’s best spas. However, with so many options, it can be hard to decide where to start and what to pick. Here are a few ideas for creating your own spa Master Bath.

      LUXURY SHOWER

      spa steam shower

      A Steam Shower is one of the most enjoyable ways to de-stress and can be partnered with aromatherapy, chromatherapy (the science of the light spectrum’s improvements and positive effects on tissue and body systems). Additional massage elements can be incorporated into the shower through body sprays and jets that can be added to shower walls and operated independently or in conjunction with other shower heads. Overhead rainfall showers are also a popular additional to a luxury shower.

      EXTRA-LARGE BATHTUB

      built in whirlpool tubs free standing tub

      If adding space in the shower isn’t enough, adding an extra-large bathtub will surely do the trick. Serving as your own private oasis after a long day, homeowners can’t go wrong with this added feature. There are two schools of thought on this. Freestanding tubs are all the rage today and can certainly create a peaceful, quiet soaking experience but built-in Modern-day therapy tubs are also a popular option. Many luxury therapy tubs include other health enhancing features like massage, hydrotherapy, or aromatherapy.

      HEATED FLOORS AND TOWEL RACKS

      heated towel rack

      Heated towel warmers and/or heated floors are a great addition. These features ensure that the relaxation doesn’t end once you leave your shower and tub, and your comfort is never disrupted by cold floors or chilly towels. Both add a luxury touch to a spa bath.

      CALMING COLOR PALETTE

      paint palette

      Since the master bath is a space that is supposed to offer serenity and calming factors, a soft neutral color palette will surely set the tone. Warm or cool neutrals are both popular. Warm palettes provide a more zen, organic feel, while cool palettes enhance light and airy spaces.

      DOUBLE SINKS

      double vanities with square sinksvessel sinks two pedestal sinks separate vanities

      This can be accomplished with a double vanity or two separate sink areas. Quartz or stone surrounds and the sleek appearance of an under mount sink in square or rectangular shapes add a modern touch. Vessel sinks or large pedestal sinks are other popular options.

      RAISE THE HEIGHT

      Newer toilet and vanities are a little taller now for added comfort. Be sure to check out the difference when you visit your local home supply store.

      LUXURY CAN COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

      shower spa

      plush bath towels bath accessories

      Not every house has room for a sprawling master bath, but luxury can come in small packages, too. Glass fixed shower panels, floating vanities, and larger, light colored tile floors can open up a smaller bath. Adding pampering shower features such as: hand held plumbing fixtures, built in niches or a shower bench can elevate the spa experience.

      Plush towels, specialty bath soaps and salts, and a large candle are quick, inexpensive accessories that add a feeling of luxury.

      By incorporating some of these elements in your own Master Bath, the spa bath of your dreams could be the one you wake up to every day!

      It's All About the Journey ... A Bedroom or A Spare Room for Spare Time?

      One of the first thing buyers’ mention when purchasing a home is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they want. No matter what the preference, when considering auxilliary bedrooms, certain things remain constant. Buyers usually hope to find bedrooms that will fit a double bed, dresser, possibly a desk and as much storage space as possible!

      If your bedrooms satisfy those requirements, that's great...but what if your current living situation doesn't require one of the bedrooms to be used on a daily basis? Without changing structural elements, you could use that square footage to pursue personal interests or activities. Here are some easy ideas to turn that spare bedroom into a space you can enjoy until you’re ready to sell.

      Media Room

      small media room

      A big flat screen TV, a comfortable couch and a nice stereo system can be just the beginning of a place to get comfortable and read or watch a movie. It can become a private space that allows you to get the television out of the living room and turns that space into a conversation and entertaining room.

      Quiet Room or Library

      small reading room

      If you've collected too many books over the years and have no place to put them, a library can be a good use for a spare bedroom. It can also be used as a designated "quiet room" to meditate and relax in.

      Home Office

      home office

      One of the most popular uses for a spare bedroom is a home office. Adding lights, furniture and desks can convert the space into a practical home office with privacy. Make sure you have a reliable internet or WiFi connection.

      Home Gym

      small home gym

      No excuses! It’s right next door. Your workout routine can be personalized with any equipment you prefer. Medicine balls, treadmills, weights, or video workout routines can all be accomplished in the square footage of a spare bedroom.

      Yoga Studio

      yoga room

      Another variation on the home gym could be turning a spare room into a yoga studio and save money by not going to someone else's studio. Find a large mirror, bring in a fan, your favorite yoga mat and you're ready to go. If you want to take your home studio to the next level, add hardwood flooring, a small TV to follow along with yoga instruction videos, and a radio.

      Craft Room

      portable storage for craft room

      Whether you're knitting, painting, working on a stamp collection or want more room to work on your favorite hobby, a spare bedroom can easily be converted into a craft room.

      Guest Room/Den

      small guest room

      It’s always great to have a dual purpose room. A daybed or sleep sofa will easily accommodate the occasional overnight guest. When you don’t have guests, it becomes a room to get away from it all and curl up with a good book or watch a TV show your significant other wants no part of!

      Lounge/Study Area

      study area

      Setting up a spare bedroom as a lounge or study area eliminates overcrowding when both these spaces are allocated to individual bedrooms. The rooms are also dedicated for specific purposes making clean-up and organization a lot easier.

      Music Room

      music space

      If you’ve ever wanted space in your home that’s devoted to music, turning a spare bedroom into a music room is a good idea. It can serve as an individual’s private space to spend time practicing or enjoying their own personal musical interests.

      A spare bedroom doesn’t need to become a warehouse of stuff you don’t know where else to put. The good news is you don’t need a mansion to incorporate any of these ideas.

      Every room can be a place to relax, rewind, and enjoy!

      It's All About the Journey ... Finishing off - In the Basement!

      Finishing a basement can bring you a double bonus. It provides additional living space for a fraction of the cost of an addition to the house - the walls are already there, electrical and plumbing lines are easily accessible, and no additional foundation supports are necessary to start construction. Also, a well-finished basement can add value to your house when you go to sell it – just don’t expect to get back all the money that went into it.

      finished basement

      The average basement remodel recoups about 69% of the original cost, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report†from the National Association of Realtors. As with most remodeling projects, rarely does anyone get a 100% return on their investment. Improvements should be done to both enhance your lifestyle and to increase your homes’ selling potential.

      Finished basements are particularly conducive for use as media rooms, music rooms, a home office or a recreation room. In all of these spaces, separation from the main living areas can be a plus!

      Before you get started on your renovation, here are several things you need to know:

      Know the Code

      code book

      It would be great to convert unused space to additional living space, but does your basement meet the building code requirements for livable space? You must be in compliance with codes for ceiling height, and egress windows and/or doors. It's also time to check with your local municipality to see if you'll be required to get any permits. This is particularly important if you're planning plumbing, heating and electrical work, which most likely will need to be inspected.

      Keep It Dry

      02lg-basement-waterproofing-pump

      Check for any water issues in your basement before beginning the planning process. Obvious signs are pools of water or drips coming through the below-grade walls or around windows and the bilco door. Check outside to make sure the ground is graded away from your foundation. Also look for cracks in your foundation walls and repair that damage if necessary. If there is a continuing water issue, there are a number of remedies available - from sump pumps to perimeter French drainage systems.

      Ceiling Heights/Options

      drop ceiling Drywall_ceiling_basement

      As mentioned above, ALWAYS get necessary permits and know the building codes before you start a basement renovation (even if your contractor says it might not be necessary - it will become necessary when it's time to sell). If you have concerns about ceiling height, consider installing a drywall ceiling rather than a drop ceiling. Drywall ceilings will give you a few more inches of headroom. Costs are comparable. Inserting plastic access panels into a drywall ceiling will provide easier access to valves in the pipes above.

      A drop or suspended ceiling offers a way to both conceal and provide access to electrical and plumbing lines via the removable tiles. These ceilings will reduce the amount of overhead space available, so keep that in mind when planning.

       

      Egress Windows and Doors

      basement egress window basement egress door

      Basement living space requires emergency escape and rescue openings. Whether it is an egress window or an egress door, it has to open to the outside and open easily without the use of keys or tools. It must also follow code requirements for the height and width of basement egress windows.

      Keep Out the Cold

      basement-insulation-fiberglass-foam

      Even after taking care of any moisture issues, your basement can become a damp place. Check with your contractor to see if you'll need to add a vapor barrier to the walls and/or floors prior to framing and finishing off these surfaces. You may also choose an insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides. Adding insulation will not only help control the temperature inside your basement, it may also add another layer of moisture control. Other options include a spray foam insulation. Be sure to check code requirements for this type.

       

      Recessed Lighting

      recessed_soffit_lighting

      Recessed lighting in a basement is a good option because it doesn’t take up valuable overhead space that a light fixture would. It’s also easy to install if you decide to opt for a drop ceiling.

       

      The Utility Room is Not for Finishing

      mechanical room basement

      Any space housing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) unit or units and water heaters need to remain clear, open, unfinished and ventilated. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you'll need access for inspection and/or repairs.

      A finished basement can be terrific “found space†but before you start daydreaming about all its’ potential, make sure your basement is a good candidate for renovation - if not, there’s nothing wrong with extra storage!

       

      It's All About The Journey ... Spring Market 4-1-1

      Are you thinking of becoming a

      Spring Success Story?

       

      lack of inventory

      The 2016 spring market's biggest challenge for the real estate industry seems to be the lack of available housing inventory for sale. Here are a few experts and their thoughts on the subject:

      David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders:

      “Many sellers may not have an absolute decision as to whether to buy an existing home or a new home. So the low inventory of existing homes is locking them in place.â€

      Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist with Trulia:

      “We are in a time of short supply, which is great news for sellers because they will likely be faced with multiple offers due to the little inventory out there…Buyers will be up against a lot of other people and against a short supply of existing homes.â€

      Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist with NAR:

      “First-time buyers in high demand areas continue to encounter instances where their offer is trumped by cash buyers and investors. Without a much-needed boost in new and existing-homes for sale in their price range, their path to homeownership will remain an uphill climb.â€

      Fitch Ratings:

      “One important issue that has restrained sales and starts is inventory. On an absolute basis, inventory has not expanded as much as in past recoveries, leading to less selection for buyers. This is especially true for existing home sales but is evident for new home construction as well. When it comes to U.S. housing inventory, more is better."

      Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for Realtor.com:

      “The increase in sales is resulting in continued tighter-than-tight supply-measured by NAR to be four months in January. For you non-economists out there, that metric measures the number of months it would take to sell the current inventory of available homes, at the current pace. Got it? Six to seven months’ worth of homes on the market is considered normal; four months is cray-cray.â€

      It could be the perfect time for you to get in on the action-Spring market is in full swing now-don't wait too long!

      Courtesy of KCM

      It's All About The Journey ... 30 Mind-Blowing Sceneries That Totally Define Connecticut

      Connecticut scenery is arguably some of the best in the United States. From mountains, to rivers, to rolling plains, Connecticut has a little bit of everything. In fact, we are known for having back roads so lush with greenery that you forget you’re on your way to work! See the beauty come to life on screen in these gorgeous photos captured by photographers during their travels through the Constitution State.

       

       

      1. Mystic River

      peasap/Flickr

       

      2. Wadsworth Falls, Middlefield

      Patrick Franzis/Flickr

      3. Litchfield

      Christopher Wisker/Flickr

       

      4. Short Beach, Branford

      Michael Levine-Clark/Flickr

       

      5. Fairfield Country Club

      Alexander Rabb/Flickr

       

      6. Hartford

      ilirjan rrumbullaku/Flickr

       

      7. Farmington River Valley

      ilirjan rrumbullaku/Flickr

       

      8. Southport Beach

      Alexander Rabb/Flickr

       

      9. Pine Creek

      Alexander Rabb/Flickr

       

      10. Indian Well State Park

      Trenten Kelley/Flickr

       

      11. Buttonwood Farm, Griswold

      susteph/Flickr

       

      12. Old Saybrook

      a.has/Flickr

       

      13. Collinsville

      Patrick Franzis/Flickr

       

      14. Kent

      Jaine/Flickr

       

      15. Lighthouse Point

      Alexander Rabb/Flickr

      16. East Granby

      Doug Kerr/Flickr

       

      17. Pine Orchard Pier, Branford

      slack12/Flickr

       

       

      18. Rocky Neck State Park

      Jay McAnally/Flickr

       

      19. New Haven

      Chris Lewis/Flickr

       

      20. Tod’s Point, Greenwich

      Vin Crosbie/Flickr

       

      21. Talcott Village

      Jill /Blue Moonbeam Studio

       

      22. Pequonnock River Rail Trail

      kenneth casper/Flickr

       

      23. The view from Cobble Mountain

      criana/Flickr

       

      24. Sleeping Giant State Park

      Michael Shaheen/Flickr

       

      25. East Rock Park

      Jack Says Relax/Flickr

       

      26. Quinnipiac River

      Chris Lewis/Flickr

       

      27. Avon

      Patrick/Flickr

       

      28. Compo Beach, Westport

      Matt Hintsa/Flickr

       

      29. West Cornwall Bridge

      Jay McAnally/Flickr

      30. Hamden

      Kyle Garrity/Flickr

      Connecticut’s beauty is definitely worth talking about. Is it as pretty as you remember?