Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod



Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 4/19/2018

If plans for selling your home are in the near future, youíre going to want to start strategizing the most cost- and time-effective ways to make your home irresistible to potential buyers. One of the most proven ways of giving your home the edge it needs to stand out from the competition is good photography and attractive staging.

In todayís post, Iím going to share my tips on home staging that can be achieved on a budget and in a short period of time. That way you can focus more time on finding a new home and stop worrying about selling your current one.

Tip 1: Start packing

Before you start worrying about arranging furniture, itís important to make sure you have a clean slate to work with. Start by packing personal effects into boxes and labeling them accordingly.

Staged homes are homes that look appealing to the widest audience as possible. Having personal reminders, like family photos, trophies, etc., makes it harder for viewers to picture themselves living in the home.

Most of us keep our homes arranged in a way that is convenient to our lives. And. letís face it--life can be messy. But, when it comes to staging, less is usually more.

Not only will this cleaning process help you reduce clutter and make the home look better for staging, but it will also make your moving process easier since many of your boxes will already be organized and sealed.

Tip 2: Color scheming

Expertly staged homes tend to have one thing in common--a cohesive color scheme. Think of choosing your color scheme like creating an artistís palette. You want a few colors that compliment one another and that will work together to brighten up your home.

If you have any furniture that appears worn, dated, or that clashes with the scheme of the room, itís a good idea to place them in storage while you prepare for photographs and visitors.

Tip 3: Decorate sparingly

Now that youíve packed away your family photos, you might be wondering what to put on the walls in their place. The best answer is often nothing. However, that doesnít mean the walls need to be completely bare.

For smaller rooms, you can make them appear more spacious with the use of hanging mirrors (just make sure you canít see yourself in any of those mirrors when you take your photos!).

Tip 4: Donít forget the outside of your home

The value of curb appeal canít be overemphasized. The exterior of our homes, along with our yard and driveway, are essentially what we show the world about our lives. Since most home buyers want their house to look nice, fit in with the neighborhood, but have its own unique flair all at the same time. They want to know that your house has that potential.

Furthermore, the driveway and yard are two of the first things people see when they visit. Youíll want to take advantage of this moment by making a good impression.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 4/12/2018

House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, itís important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.

Fortunately, in todayís digital world, itís possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you some advice on researching the homes youíre thinking about making an offer on. Weíll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.

Putting together all the stats on the home

Letís start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are youíre already on this page. However, thereís a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the homeís description.

Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.

Once youíve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessorís website to look at records of the homeís ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. Thereís much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.

Snooping around the neighborhood

If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.

However, it isnít always practical to take the time to visit a house that you arenít sure youíre interested in. So, whatís the next best thing? Google Maps.

Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see whatís in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.

Next, use Googleís ďstreet viewĒ feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.

Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.

If youíre having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 4/5/2018

Houseplants are a great way to make your home feel more comfortable, colorful, and--in the winter--to bring a bit of living nature back into your life until spring arrives.

There are houseplants that will thrive in just about any location of your home. Plus, you can find houseplants that are low-maintenance or ones that are a bit more rewarding as you care for them and watch them grow.

In todayís post, Iím going to list the best houseplants for each room of your home. Iíll cover ďimpossible to killĒ low-maintenance plants and some that require a bit more work. Iíll also cover large and small plants, as the size will often depend on the available space in the rooms of your home.

Read on for the list of the best houseplants for each room of your home.

Bedroom

The bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation. You donít want anything too high maintenance or too big and bright. Lavender gives off a calming scent that is perfect for your cozy sleeping space.

Lavender is relatively low-maintenance, just be sure to water sparsely in the winter time, and only when the soil has dried out completely to avoid root rot.

Lavender works in other rooms as well, such as on a kitchen windowsill where it can be used for cooking.

Bathroom

The bathroom tends to be a humid place without much spare room. A single aloe vera plant near a light source can be a great accent.

Extremely low maintenance and useful after a day out in the sun, the bathroom is a perfect home for aloe vera. Simply snap off a leaf and use the gel inside for your burn.

Office

There are a few choice places for plants in the home office. A large snake plant in the corner of the room is a great way to add some life and color. Similarly, a money tree is easy to care for and fun to watch grow as you braid its stem (and whatís a more fitting place for a money tree than the place where you make your money!?).

For the desk, a small cactus or succulent will do the trick, as you donít want it to take up too much room.

Living room

For the living room, we can finally start talking about some of the bigger houseplants on the list. A Norfolk Island Pine looks like a small pine tree (though it technically isnít one) and it can grow several feet high indoors. This is a great choice for homeowners in colder climates who donít want to fill their house with unfitting tropical looking plants.

Palm and Yucca, on the other hand, are perfect for homes in warmer climates. They can grow several feet high and fill up empty spaces in a large living room with ease. Thereís a reason these are used in so many hotel and office building lobbies--theyíre easy to care for and can grow large enough to fill the void in a big building.

Windowless rooms

Most plants will need at least indirect sunlight to stay healthy through the year. But, if you have a windowless room in your home that you want to brighten up with a houseplant you have options.

Dracaena, snake plants, and creeping fig all grow well in little to no light and are easy to take care of.  




Tags: decorating   houseplants  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/29/2018

New England is infamous for its old homes and with old homes comes gorgeous, original hardwood floors. Maybe homebuyers have original flooring at the top of their wishlist when home shopping. While you may know how much you adore your hardwood floors, you may not know how to properly care for them. Keep reading for tips on how to keep your new to you hardwood floors in boast-worthy shape. Preemptively prevent scratches and tough to clean buildup by adding mats to any doors leading outside. Not only do they add a nice visual touch, but more importantly they help prevent dirt and outdoor grime from being tracked over your hardwood floors. You will make daily clean up easier on yourself while saving your floors from potential scratches. Institute a no-shoes in the house policy to further prevent any debris from finding their way throughout your home. You will especially want to avoid wearing high heels and cleats in any rooms with hardwood flooring. These types of shoes can put dents and scratches in to the floor that will require a professional to help resuscitate your floors back to their former glory. Create a mudroom area in your home with a bench and shoe rack. This will make it easy for your family members to follow the no shoe rule. Investing in a mat that catches water and slush run off from shoes on bad weather days is also a great way to prevent water damage to your floors. Sweep your floors daily to catch any dirt they may have found itís way into your home and onto your hardwood floors. Vacuum once a week for a more thorough clean. Once a month you will want to clean your floors with a microfiber cloth and light mist of water. Ensure that you do not soak your floors as water can cause them to swell and become damaged with time. Avoid cleaners for tile or vinyl surfaces and never steam clean your hardwood floors. Install felt pads to the bottoms of any furniture you have in rooms with hardwood flooring. This will help prevent scratches from everyday furniture use. You will want to regularly replace these pads however since dirt can build up on the bottoms and create a sandpaper-like surface that can lead to damage. When rearranging furniture lift the piece off the floor to carry it over to where you would like it placed and then carefully set it down instead of pushing it across your hardwood floors. While this may entail extra help from a family member to do, it will prevent unsightly gashes along your floors from dragging your furniture across the room. Original flooring in an old New England home is a major selling point for many homebuyers. Restoring old hardwood floors to their original condition can be pricey, however, by taking preliminary measures to prevent damage you can avoid bringing an expert in to fix your mistakes. And when all it takes to maintain your floors is a few minutes each day itís a win-win situation!





Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 3/22/2018

Once you have moved into a new home the first thing you might want to do is paint the walls. After the paint dries, however, youíre left with bare walls. Youíll need to find some great pieces to fill up that wall space. You donít want to choose just anything to hang on your walls. Hereís some tips to help you find the perfect artwork for your home. 



Find What You Love


You shouldnít base your art purchases solely on value. If you like something and it inspires you, you should buy it! Anything that you will enjoy looking at in your home each day should be a part of it.  


Thereís More Than One Kind Of Art


You donít need to fill wall space with all pictures or paintings. You can choose from a variety of types of artwork. From sculptures to photographs to canvas art, by using a variety of pieces, youíll add layers of depth to every room of your home.


Shop Around


Thereís so many places to buy art. From local shops and vendors to wider selections in common retail stores, thereís plenty of art to choose from. Find pieces to help you express yourself and keep good vibes flowing throughout your home. 


Find The Right Size


Youíll need to measure the dimensions of your walls and bring a photo of the room youíre trying to decorate with you to the art stores. This will make it easier to help you envision what the art will look like in your home.  


Keyword: Focal Point


The most important thing to determine in decorating any room is to find the focal point. You will either need to find a central piece for the room, or find some pieces to complement whatís already there. The design elements of the room need to be spaced accordingly in order to help you avoid a cluttered room.  


Whatís Your Color Scheme? 


You may want to choose your art based on its ďwowĒ factor. Everything has a color within a room, and this will be one element in choosing your artwork as well. Youíll need to think of everything from the wall color to the throw pillows. Art that is within the same shades of the room can work well, but sometimes you need something that gives the room a bit more ďpop.Ē 


Whatís In The Picture?


You donít want to buy a picture of a palm tree if the room has a country theme! Consider the theme and mood of a piece of art in order to have it complement your room.


Most of all, shopping for art should be fun! Find pieces you love. You can even use what you already have. As long as it inspires you and wonít add clutter, you should keep the art in your home.