Latest Event Updates
House hunting is a little like speed dating. You only get a few minutes to make a great impression. That’s why curb appeal is so important.
“When potential buyers pull up to your house, they’re asking themselves: Is this place worth getting out of the car to look at?” says Kevin Kieffer, a real estate agent based in California’s East Bay area. “Your house needs to be framed up: It needs to look like a picture when people pull up. They expect to see tasteful paint colors, well-trimmed grass, new bark, fresh flowers — the whole deal.”
Real estate agents participating in Zillow’s 2014 Home-Selling Season Survey identified curb appeal as a key way to make a property more attractive to buyers. Kieffer says that, while it’s hard to quantify return on investment, curb appeal is the best way to get quick action and top dollar for your property.
“In a market like ours, if people can see that a property is turn-key and they’re not going to have to spend time resodding or painting, you’re more likely to get more interest,” he said. “If you end up with amultiple-offer situation, it’s typical for the price to go up by 3 percent per bidder — that can add up to $10,000 over asking price really quickly.”
The great news is that you don’t have to spend a lot to make big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start the makeover by cutting the grass, power washing the porch and walkway, and getting rid of clutter. Then, tackle one or all five of these perk-up projects to enhance your home’s curb appeal.
House numbers, a wall-mounted mailbox and a porch light can add interest to your home’s exterior — unless they’re dated or dinged up. Ideally, all this hardware should match, both in style and finish. You’ll also want to choose hardware that coordinates with the style of your home. Sleek, brushed nickel house numbers, for instance, might look great on a contemporary home, but they’d probably be out of place on a log cabin.
Add a splash of color
You can buy a gallon of quality exterior paint for about $25. That should be enough to add new color to — or simple freshen up — your front door, shutters and trim. Don’t be afraid of bold colors; just make sure they complement the other shades on your house and in your landscape. Of course, if the rest of the house is peeling, you may need to outlay more cash and paint the whole thing — or, at the very least, the side that faces the street.
Plant some flowers along your front walkway or add planters by your front door to give your home a welcoming feel. You can purchase pre-planted containers from your local garden center or create your own with your favorite plants. Window boxes are another great way to add color and interest to your home’s exterior. Just be sure you tend to your flowers after you plant them. Dying geraniums will not enhance your curb appeal.
Manicure trees and shrubs
Your house may be gorgeous, but that won’t matter if no one can see it. When your home’s best features are obscured by overgrown branches and shrubs, it can make the house seem uninviting and unkempt. In addition to looking unappealing, trees that rub against your house can damage your siding and provide a direct pathway for squirrels and other rodents that want to get onto your roof or under your siding. Tame bushes and branches or hire someone to do the job for you.
Bring the indoors out
If your outdoor space allows it, add a comfortable place to sit. Use an outdoor rug to visually anchor a seating area and then add a loveseat or chair and small table. Colorful cushions and pillows in outdoor fabrics will add punch to the space; select cushions with removable covers so you can wash them or swap them out as seasons change. Choose all-weather art to add the finishing touches to your outdoor space. If you already have outdoor furniture, make sure it’s clean and cared for. Create a setting that’s so attractive prospective buyers can’t resist it.
Photos courtesy of Zillow Digs
This article was originally published by Mary Boone on Zillow Blog. To see the original article, click here.
Looking for a hot medieval property to stage your own “Game of Thrones”? You won’t have to travel the plains of Westeros to find such a keep, but rather the blue grass of Kentucky, where this fortified castle lists for the Lannister price of $30 million.
Occupying 55 acres in Versailles, KY, the baronial fortress has been primarily used as an event facility but still presents itself as a formidable stronghold for any king-in-training. Lined in solid stone, the castle comes lined in soaring conical spires and battlements perfect for guarding the outer wall against an onslaught of enemy invaders.
Inside, the castle is prime for entertaining families of the Seven Kingdoms. Of its 50 rooms, there are 16 bedroom suites and 19 full bathrooms, a great hall with massive ceilings and authentic period chandeliers, and an expansive dining room equipped to handle the largest of royal weddings.
A barrel-vaulted ballroom has a wood-burning fireplace and a dance floor, and a stately library is stocked with a collection of leather-bound books. There’s even a music room equipped with a grand piano and standing harp.
For the sportsmen in your clan, a rooftop deck with shuffleboard, sports courts and a large swimming pool offers sufficient outlet; while a horse farm and two additional residences can be found outside the walls of this southern kingdom.
This article was originally published by Neal J. Leitereg on Realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.
Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there’s too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.
Open shelving — whether it’s set on the backsplash, mounted on a painted wall, or even free-hanging from the ceiling — can greatly increase your kitchen storage capabilities. Although you’ll want to choose eye-pleasing items to house there, the net result will be an increase in space down below.
Roll me away
If you’re striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.
Get some hang time
Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.
Climbing the ceiling
Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy to spot. Even better, the cabinet they used to occupy gets freed up, making room for items that used to live on your counter.
When you’re chopping, you can’t be washing, so why not use your kitchen sink as a prep area? Any cutting board slightly wider than your sink will do the trick.
Slide into home
If you’re lucky enough to be in the design stages, why not sneak a few pull-out surfaces into the mix? It’s a great way to gain extra space that appears only when you need it.
Beyond the block
Let’s face it, traditional knife blocks are counter hogs. A simple solution is to store knives on the wall with a magnetic holder, but make sure you dry your knives thoroughly before storing and place them carefully on the strip.
Made famous by Rachael Ray, the “garbage bowl” can help keep peels and trimmings under control as you cook. Scraps go in the bowl until they’re all ready for the trash or composting, and the counters stay free of debris.
Another way to look at it
Having a limited amount of kitchen real estate can inspire creative, and at times beautiful, solutions.Mounting a few shelves inside a window not only gains surface area for storage, but also captures a stunning backdrop for anything placed there.
Make your kitchen island work a bit harder for you by adding shelves for books, or bars for hanging towels or utensils.
Hole in the wall
Even if your kitchen’s footprint is small, you may uncover a treasure trove of storage possibilities between the studs. In many cases, reclaiming this hidden wall space requires remodeling only this one area instead of the whole kitchen.
Freestanding shelves like these from Beyond the Rack give you a clever, efficient way to use that often-neglected corner space.
Have your cake and eat it too
Use a simple cake stand to hold high-use items like salt, pepper and olive oil. If you need more room, you can easily transfer the stand to another spot in the kitchen.
Ah, the all-purpose Mason jar. What a great idea: Affix the metal lids to the underside of a cabinet, and screw the jars on and off as you need them.
This article is by Tracy Anderson of Bobvila.com, and was originally published on Zillow Blog. To see the original article, click here.
Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.
This house perched on a wine-country hillside gives away little when you approach it from the driveway — just a bold wall that reveals the owners’ favorite color.
Swing open the large, pivoting front door, though, and you’re hit by a giant view beyond a wall of windows.
The home, designed and built for a local family in the wine business, is Casa Cielo Azul — the “Blue Sky Home.”
“He designed the house to create a sense of surprise,” said Cyd Greer, the listing agent with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley. “You don’t really have a sense of what you’re in for when you get there.”
Mexico-trained architect Juan Carlos Fernandez designed the modern home, which was built by contractor Mark Grassi. The owners, who recently sold a Napa Valley winery, asked for an easy-living space that incorporated the color blue.
The sophisticated and private home combines indoor and outdoor living with walls of windows that fold away to access an outdoor terrace with a fireplace and infinity-edge pool.
Touches of blue carry through the home’s design, such as blue tile in the master bathroom. It also has an outdoor shower, a spa, and a kitchen that centers on a very large marble island.
Also included on the property: a separate 1-bedroom, 1-bath guest house, a barn-style 1,255-square-foot 2-bedroom, 2-bath second home with a cathedral ceiling and rustic modern kitchen.
“When you’re in this house, it is very hard to take your eyes off this view,” said Greer. “It’s a very easy-living house. It just feels right.”
660 Linda Falls Ter, Angwin, CA
For Sale: $4,500,000
This article was originally published by Emily Heffter on Zillow Blog. To see the original article, click here.