For Sale By Owner (FSBO) is the process of selling real estate without the representation of a real estate broker or real estate agent.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, 35% of homeowners who decided to FSBO last year did so to avoid paying a commission or fee. But, homes sold with an agent net 6% more than those sold as a FSBO according to Collateral Analytics.
Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s connect to discuss your options.
From the food you serve to the songs you play, we’re sharing the best ideas for making sure your backyard party goes as smoothly as a summer breeze.
Backyard parties are essential to summer. They’ve got a built-in, laid-back vibe that makes it easy to slow down, fill up your plate with easy summer party food, join in a game and kick back in the sunshine. But there’s still plenty to plan for when it comes to these outdoor soirees. From the setup to the food served and what to do when the sun sets, make sure you’ve got every step covered so you can host the ultimate backyard (or patio, or deck, or porch…) bash that’s the stuff of summer dreams.
Plan the menu around your guest list.
Once you’ve made your guest list, send out an invitation (for casual get-togethers, a simple email or private Facebook event is just fine). Make it clear what you plan to serve, make requests for anything specific you’d like guests to bring, and be sure to ask if any guests have dietary restrictions. To make everyone feel happy (and well-fed), make sure you have enough food options for partygoers who want vegetarian, dairy-free or gluten-free fare. Need some ideas? Here are our favorite barbecue dishes, some easygoing vegetarian options, unbelievable dairy-free recipes and gluten-free winners everyone can enjoy.
Making food ahead of time can alleviate stress. Here’s one brilliant tip if you’re serving ice cream: scoop it ahead of time, freeze single scoops on a cookie sheet, then set out the scoops just before serving. You’ll save yourself so much time (and stress) when dessert rolls around! (Buying ice cream for the party? Check out our staffers’ favorite chocolate ice cream pick.)
Add extra seating.
Plan to have enough seating for everyone—they may not all be sitting down at the same time, but it’s always best to have the option. If you don’t have enough chairs for everyone, bring out stools, benches, blankets or even that old beanbag. Don’t be afraid to mix and match what you have! You can always rent folding chairs, too—they’ll only set you back about $2 per chair for the day.
Summertime soirees equal fun in the sun, but that means they can also get pretty sweltering. Help guests beat the heat by setting out baskets of homemade hand fans (make your own by accordion-folding scrapbook paper, then cinching and fastening the bottom with colored washi masking tape). Or if things get really steamy, set out small spritz bottles filled with water and a drop or two of peppermint oil for guests to mist themselves as needed.
Cool drinks are a must at any summer shindig. To add a laid-back summer vibe to your party, fill water balloons with water, tie them off and place in the freezer until frozen solid. At party time, add the frozen water balloons to a small kiddie pool (we can’t get enough of this watermelon one), and nestle in your bottled beverages to chill until sipping time. If you do go the conventional cooler route, tie bottle openers to the handles so guests never have to go on a quest to find a way to crack open a cold one.
You can also keep food chilled throughout the party by filling a kiddie pool with ice and placing dishes like potluck salads, crowd-pleasing dips and icebox desserts on top. Just make sure to set it on top of a table so it’s off the ground and easy for people, not critters, to reach.
Serve with speed.
When eatin’ time rolls around, speed up the buffet line by leaving enough room on either side so two lines can go through at once. (This means you may want to set out additional serving utensils for each dish, too.) Make it easy to see what’s being served by making little labels you can set beside each dish (bonus points for labeling whether something is gluten- or dairy-free!). And keep a small basket or box filled with bundled silverware and napkins so guests can grab, go and grub in a flash.
If you’ve got a platter of incredible grilled burgers or hot dogs set up, corral toppings and condiments nearby in a standard muffin tin. Each cup can hold the ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, mayo and more. Serve with small spoons for each.
Say “bye-bye” to bugs.
Shoo bugs from the scene by setting a pretty pot of herbs on your table. Plants like lavender, mint, rue and tansy are natural insect repellents. You can also add a bundle of sage to your fire pit to ward away pests.
Keep kids entertained.
If you’re expecting young partygoers, keep them from feeling bored (and asking to leave) by ensuring there are lots of fun activities throughout the day. Try this simple trick: Fill a kiddie pool with water and stir in a few cups of gentle dish soap, then let kids take turns dipping in giant bubble wands. Or even better, place a plastic hula hoop in the soapy kiddie pool and let a child stand in the middle. Slowly pull up the hula hoop around the kiddo and they’ll be blissfully surrounded by one humongous bubble! Lawn games like giant Jenga, croquet and cornhole are fun for kids, too.
Create a summer soundtrack.
What’s a party without fun tunes to go with it? Make a sunny-day playlist and have it softly playing through speakers as the day goes on. Make sure it’s upbeat and filled with songs all ages can enjoy. Here are a few of our favorites:
“Summer of ’69,” Bryan Adams
“Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Jimmy Buffett
“In the Summertime,” Mungo Jerry
“California Girls,” The Beach Boys
“Hot Fun in the Summertime,” Sly and the Family Stone
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding
“Summertime Blues,” Eddie Cochran
“Wipe Out,” The Surfaris
“Walking on Sunshine,” Katrina and the Waves
“Sunny Afternoon,” The Kinks
Light it up.
Chances are everyone’s going to be having so much fun the get-together will run into the night. Plan to party past sundown and set up lights to illuminate your backyard—and make things look magical under the stars. Simple string lights hung on a fence, around the deck, or over the yard keep everything in plain sight. Lanterns are also a fun way to add light and ambiance outside. You can hang them from shepherd’s hooks around the yard, or place them in clusters on the ground.
Keep guests comfy.
As the party rolls into the night, remember that it may get chilly outside. Keep a basket of blankets or cozy pashminas outside, and let guests know they can snuggle up with one when they start feeling a chill.
But our biggest tip when it comes to planning an outdoor party this summer: Have fun! As long as the weather’s in your favor, the drinks are flowing, there’s plenty of food and everyone’s smiling, you’re pretty much guaranteed a great time. So pour yourself a glass of lemonade, put on your shades and have a blast while the sun’s shining bright.
People, especially those in urban areas, don’t own anything close to the 2,500 square foot homes that are common in the suburban parts of the country. All you small home dwellers—from minimalists to empty-nesters to downsizers, and everything in between—know that decorating “small” has its own challenges. Regardless of the size of your home, here are some tips to help make it look bigger while you’re making it more beautiful.
1. Keep furniture profiles simple and low: In other words, try to avoid seating that is high-backed or ornate. More ornate pieces tend to make a space feel busy, which works against your goal with a smaller space to make it feel clean and uncluttered. Lower-backed furnishings create better sight lines, which in turn help make the space feel as big and open as possible.
2. Choose round or oval tables over square or rectangular: Rounded tables in general are easier to navigate around and take less visual space as their counterparts. Open-bottomed or glass tables add dimension and a feeling of openness to your room, making them a great choice if you find some with a look and style you like.
3. Choose cool colors for your walls, window treatments and bigger furniture pieces: Cool colors (light blues, greens, whites, etc.) recede from your eyes making walls appear further away, which in turn, can make your space feel bigger than it actually is. Choosing lighter color window treatments helps in a similar manner and also lets in more light that will help create an open, airy feel. Choosing lighter shades for the big furniture in your lighter room creates a less segmented visual approach. You want less segmentation so your eyes will be able to travel across the whole space easily, again providing the illusion of size.
4. Create good flow from one area to the next: Chances are if you are in a condo or townhouse, you will have some type of open plan with a living room, dining room, and kitchen combo. If possible, you’ll want the same flooring running throughout this whole space. Visually, unified flooring makes your space feel as expansive as possible. Also, try to keep overall styles and color choices similar from one space to the next. This will ward off segmentation and invite flow with the feel of a single larger, cohesive space. To help define individual spaces, you can use variety in your furniture, area rugs and lighting choices.
5. Plan good storage: Clutter is the enemy in a small space. Make sure you maximize your storage options wherever you can. Open shelving with baskets or other containers works well rather than just shoving things onto shelves. An ottoman with built-in storage can be a life saver to help keep things picked up. Corner shelves are another great, space-saving option. You’ll find a wide range of nifty kitchen or bathroom storage options available, many that store inside your cabinets and literally double your storage capacity. Keeping your countertops free of clutter isn’t always easy, but also makes a big difference. Put away small appliances you don’t use every day. The cleaner the countertops, the bigger your space will seem.
Illusion works! Apply these tips and you can convert your small, cozy space into a bigger feeling beautiful retreat you enjoy spending time in.
Now, what will you do next to “love where you live”?
The bathroom is one of the most disruptive rooms to decorate and yet it’s the one that adds so much value, not only to the actual price of your house, but to the quality of your life while you are there. And these days many buyers expect at least two bathrooms in a family home, if not an en suite. The fact that they may very well rip them out and redo them to their own taste is irrelevant. A well designed, practical and clean bathroom will increase your chances of a sale and a good price.
Having left the bathroom to last in three of the four properties I have owned, I have come to the conclusion that the bathroom is absolutely the first room you should do when you move in. Not least because it’s so important to your own well-being to be able to have somewhere where you can get clean at the end of the day. Somewhere you can wash the dishes when the kitchen is being done. Somewhere you can lock the door and hide from the builders while all around is chaos and mud.
Now I am going to talk about designing a bathroom that will last a long time, but firstly, while wandering the corridors of the internet looking for information on how much value a well-designed bathroom can add to a property, I found a whole feature about the value of a second bathroom on On The Market, which was posted yesterday so it’s up to date and relevant and you can click the link to read it. In short though, the site said that a study by Direct Line Home Insurance, broadly consistent with other findings, found that an additional bathroom could increase the value of a property by an average of £12,000 (or around five per cent) to the value of a home.
Elsewhere, I read that one of the key things to address if you want to sell your house is making the grout clean and white again. But what about designing a bathroom that will last? Sophie and I addressed this on our last podcast as she is currently planning her bathroom decor and we spoke to our sponsor Geberit for their advice.
They say a bathroom should last for 25 years which feels like a really long time. I would say that you must consider at least the next five to 10 years. And not just because it’s expensive and disruptive. If you have a baby when you move in, think about what that child will need from a bathroom in ten years. It’s likely you will go from needing a bath to that bath being unused for weeks on end as they move to taking regular showers.
Holly Aspinal, Geberit’s marketing manager, says that as more homes shift towards multi-generation living, the need to future proof the bathroom is increasing: “More homeowners are also making sure their bathroom is ready for the growing family over the years. Incorporating wet rooms or shower toilets, for example, are great ways to future-proof the bathroom and cleverly designed storage solutions can be a simple way to meet the demands of larger households.”
If you have teenagers, then prepare to wish for a second bathroom as some of them will spend hours in there. If you do have only one bathroom it might be worth installing or keeping the loo separate. In our last house we had a tiny loo on the first floor landing and a bathroom right next door that was big enough for a second loo. When we moved it we thought it was slightly odd. Shortly afterwards with a two and a four-year-old we realised it was invaluable. Victorian houses often have a loo and a bathroom (without a loo) next door to each other and the temptation is to create one larger bathroom with everything together. Just pause a moment before you do that, especially if you have no loo downstairs or other bathroom in the house.
At the other end of the scale, if you are older and have a shower over the bath, you need to think about how long that is going to work for you. It’s a big old step climbing over the side of the bath to access the shower. Would you rather get rid of the bath and install a walk-in shower? And yes I know some estate agents disagree with this but a) the plumbing doesn’t go away so any future buyer can put a bath back and b) it’s about making your house right for you and your needs, not some mythical buyer who you haven’t met yet.
Back to the shower – if you are older and thinking of a walk-in shower then look for a shower tray that is flush with the floor.That removes a trip hazard and makes it easier to walk in and out. Yes it may be more expensive to install, but you may be glad of it in time.
One last point on this – and of course if you love baths and are a “bath person” then you will be future-proofing your own design by keeping it – if you have a large shower you can always fill a baby bath full of water when they are tiny.
Another Geberit product is the shower toilet. These are gaining in popularity and while I’m not going to get into that in detail here ( I know many of you read over breakfast), I will say that this is a product that has been increasingly mentioned in chat about post pandemic design when you might not want to touch anything. So if you’re doing a bathroom that might be something to consider putting your design ahead of the curve and making sure it lasts even longer. That may well become a selling point over the next few years who knows?
Other design elements you might want to consider are two basins if there is room. Or one long one. If you need to get four people in and out in a hurry in the morning, then the option of two people being able to clean their teeth at once may help. This also adds to the spa notion in the evening when you might want the whole room to look more relaxed and luxurious.
Learn from my mistakes and install underfloor heating wherever possible. We didn’t because we thought it was a luxury that we couldn’t afford and didn’t need. However, what we hadn’t understood in the walk-in shower area was that warm tiles make the water evaporate and dry up more quickly after the shower. We have black tiles in the boys’ shower room and there is no underfloor heating. The water sits there – pooled in the grout – for ages and the limescale that has gathered is horrible. And this is despite a decent fall and good drainage. If you have a wet room/corner then put underfloor heating – at least under the shower if not the whole floor.
A dimmer switch is also a must. This will allow you to go from bright morning rush to quiet relaxed evening mood at the twist of a, er, switch. And if you are installing, or want to install, wall lights, then one either side of a mirror is better than one over the mirror. Side light is more flattering than overhead. And on that note a soft pink is always a good colour for a bathroom – it flatters everyone no matter what colour your skin.
In short: five ways to future-proof your bathroom:
1 Decide if you really need need or want the bath or is a shower better?
2 Would a floor flush shower be better than a threshold or a shower over the bath?
3 Consider the type of look you want and if it’s better to have it separate from the main bathroom
5 Install underfloor heating even if it’s only under the shower
5 Add a dimmer switch to make the room function as both practical and pretty
When you’ve thought about that you are ready to start looking at paint colours.
If you would like to listen to the whole podcast episode you will find it here. We also discuss post-pandemic design in relation to bathrooms, which is where the shower toilet comes in. Thank you as always to Geberit for sponsoring the show and providing these images. I leave you with this fascinating excerpt from a piece on post-pandemic design from Curbed: It’s a fascinating piece do read if you have a moment. This relates to the history of bathroom design.
Certain furnishings were perceived to collect germs so it became popular to get rid of them. An 1887 manual urged women to break with the Victorian style of home furnishings and opt for items that wouldn’t collect dust, which was believed to carry disease-causing microorganisms: “To propitiate the goddess of health, we can well afford to sacrifice on her altar the superfluous draperies, carpets, and ornaments of our living and sleeping rooms,” it said.
“Before the 1880s, bathrooms were decorated similarly to other rooms in affluent homes, complete with carpet, drapes, and wooden cabinetry. Removing those items became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the dawn of the 20th century, companies selling flooring and wallcoverings capitalised on the assumption that smooth, impervious surfaces were healthier than carpet and textiles. Materials like porcelain, tile, and linoleum became coveted for the spaces that were most closely associated with germs, like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.”
More than ever, our homes have become an integral part of our lives. Today they are much more than the houses we live in. They’re evolving into our workplaces, schools for our children, and safe havens that provide shelter, stability, and protection for our families through the evolving health crisis. Today, 65.3% of Americans are able to call their homes their own, a rate that has risen to its highest point in 8 years.
June is National Homeownership Month, and it’s a great time to reflect on the benefits of owning your own home. Below are some highlights and quotes recently shared by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). From non-financial to financial, and even including how owning a home benefits your local economy, these items may give you reason to think homeownership stretches well beyond a sound dollars and cents investment alone.
Owning a home brings families a sense of happiness, satisfaction, and pride.
Pride of Ownership: It feels good to have a place that’s truly your own, especially since you can customize it to your liking. “The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment achieved through homeownership can enhance psychological health, happiness and well-being for homeowners and those around them.”
Property Maintenance and Improvement: Your home is your stake in the community, and a way to give back by driving value into your neighborhood.
Civic Participation: Homeownership creates stability, a sense of community, and increases civic engagement. It’s a way to add to the strength of your local area.
Buying a home is also an investment in your family’s financial future.
Net Worth: Homeownership builds your family’s net worth. “The median family net worth for all homeowners ($231,400) increased by nearly 15% since 2013, while net worth ($5,000) actually declined by approximately 9% since 2013 for renter families.”
Financial Security: Equity, appreciation, and predictable monthly housing expenses are huge financial benefits of homeownership. Homeownership is truly the best way to improve your long-term net worth.
Homeownership is even a local economic driver.
Housing-Related Spending: An economic force throughout our nation, housing-related expenses accounted for more than one-sixth of the country’s economic activity over the past three decades.
GDP Growth: Homeownership also helps drive GDP growth as the country aims to make an economic rebound. “Every 10% increase in total housing market wealth would translate to approximately $147 billion in additional consumer spending, or 0.8% of GDP, as well as billions of dollars in new federal tax revenue.”
Entrepreneurship: Homeownership is even a form of forced savings that provides entrepreneurial opportunities as well. “Owning a home enables new entrepreneurs to obtain access to credit to start or expand a business and generate new jobs by using their home as collateral for small business loans.”
The benefits of homeownership are vast and go well beyond the surface level. Homeownership is truly a way to build financial freedom, find greater satisfaction and happiness, and make a substantial impact on your local economy. If owning a home is part of your dream, let’s connect today so you can begin the homebuying process.
It can be tricky business selecting the right light fixture for a room. Thousands of options make the process overwhelming. A plethora of styles and sizes in various metals, fabrics, bulb counts and glass—tinted, etched, frosted or clear—make you second guess yourself, sometimes even after the purchase has been made.
Is the one from the big box store good enough, or should you splurge on the special order creation that caught your eye?
While many of us would lean toward playing it safe, it appears that those who have the courage to power things up and make a statement with lighting are setting the stage for a show-stopping look. Like a great piece of art, a standout fixture can really draw the eye and set off a space.
We’ve collected some striking entries from past issues of Housetrends, as well as some of our favorite manufacturers. We hope they’ll help you narrow down the field when you are selecting your own finishing touch. And if you are hankering for even more choices, go to housetrends.com and search: statement lighting.
With so many of us abiding by stay-at-home orders, we’re probably not the only ones who have gotten more than a little bored with our home decor. Staring at the same artwork, armchair, or rug day in and day out might have you thinking it’s time to a major change-up.
Bu there’s good news: An interior overhaul doesn’t mean you have to buy brand-new stuff! There’s plenty you can do with the furnishings you already own.
Take an afternoon to assess your space and put some of the following ideas into practice. You can get creative on your own or enlist your family to help you with the brainstorming. Because they’re around, right?
That box full of papers you’ve been meaning to go through isn’t doing your decor—or mindset—any favors. Take some time out of your day to get rid of any extraneous clutter that’s lingering in your home.
“The most important and budget-friendly way to revamp your space is to get rid of unused or overused objects,” says Daniele Busca, creative director and brand ambassador of Scavolini USA in New York.
Experiment with a different layout
Put your spacial reasoning skills to the test and rearrange your furniture. If your sofa and love seat combo has been in the same L shape for as long as you can remember, consider having the two pieces face each other. Add an armchair and fun coffee table, and you have a whole new living space.
“I’d recommend buying furniture sliders so you can move things around without too much effort and no damage to your floors” says Joel Moss, broker with Warburg Realty Partnership in New York.
Let natural light in
Natural lighting can help you feel happier, healthier, and more productive. And who doesn’t need that right now?
Look at the room you spend the most time in. If the drapes are heavy, try swapping them out for ones in your house that are lighter in color and texture.
Busca also suggests removing the window treatment altogether if you have an interesting window frame that can stand on its own.
Moss says having natural light in her house is very important. With her former dining room receiving very little natural light, they rarely used it.
“We moved our dining table to an unused space by our sliding glass door. Now it overlooks our gardens and frog pond, gets great light, and we use it for everything,” says Moss.
Switch up your indoor lighting
While nothing beats natural lighting, having strategically placed lamps in a room can also do wonders for the look of your decor.
Swap out the table lamps throughout your home, or move a floor lamp to the other side of the sofa. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you come up with an exciting new layout.
Restyle your bookshelves
An organized bookshelf is one of our favorite decor updates. It doesn’t require any heavy lifting, it gives you time to admire and rediscover your collection—and it makes an impact without costing a dime.
Color coordinate your books, and alternate stacks of vertical and horizontal books. If you have some candles, picture frames, or other decorative objects, try interspersing them throughout.
“Placing lamps on shelves between books can give a space a more stylish look,” says Busca.
Create a nook to read or relax in
During uncertain times, getting lost in a book can be a welcome escape, so make that reading space a serene one. Make sure you have good lighting—either next to a window or from a lamp—pillows, a blanket, and a side table to place a hot cup of tea on.
By now you might be rethinking some of your art choices, like that abstract painting you picked up at a flea market. But there’s a fix for that.
Busca suggests switching up your artwork by hanging it on different walls and even in different rooms.
The same sort of swap can be done with wall mirrors, too.
Find new uses for a room
There are no rules that say the family room must serve only as the TV room. Maximize your space to do double or triple duty.
“We start each day with yoga and have the living room furniture arranged so we can easily push it back and have our own little yoga studio in front of the fire,” says Moss.
She says the bonus is being able to do yoga in front of the fireplace during the winter.
“The double bonus is that morning light floods that room,” Moss says. “What could be more perfect for sun salutations?”