Your Anti-To-Do List: 7 Summer Chores You Can Skip

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Summertime brings not only booze-enhanced barbecues in the backyard and frenzied bocce tournaments on the lawn, but also a slew of home maintenance and housekeeping tasks. Buzzkill! But here’s some good news: You might be overdoing it. Experts say that certain tasks you might have assumed you have to do during the warm-weather months might not be as critical—or onerous—as you think. In case you’re looking to let certain items on your long to-do list slide, consider rethinking these tasks below so you can spend more of your summer having fun than slaving away.

1. Cleaning your grill

Now that barbecue weather is in full swing, many roll up their sleeves and set out to scour gunk off their grill. But watch out—doing so is not only unnecessary, but also potentially dangerous. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans against wire grill-cleaning brushes because the bristles can come loose and get lodged in your food.

A far easier and safer alternative? Pop the grates in the oven and set it on the self-cleaning mode, then pop them in the dishwasher to rinse them off. And rub the grates with a little cooking oil to keep stuff from sticking. Here’s more on how to clean a grill.

2. Washing your windows

With all that bright sunlight streaming through your panes, it is suddenly a lot easier to see all the grime that accumulated through the winter. But here’s a little secret: Most of that gunk is on the outside—so there’s no need to clean both inside and out. Target the dirtier side, and you’ll be amazed by the difference you can make in half the time.

As for the screens, Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert says not to worry about removing and washing them.

“Just wipe them with a large, looped microfiber cloth. The microfiber will capture the dust on the screen and make it look as clean as if you washed it.”

3. Dusting your drapes and curtains

Simply toss your curtains and (machine-washable) drapes into the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes on low.

“That will knock the dust off, and you won’t have to go through washing, drying, and ironing,” Reichert says.

4. Scrubbing your deck and outdoor furniture

“Get yourself an electric blower and power washer,” Reichert recommends. These two tools will do all the scrubbing for you.

“Use the blower to remove dirt and debris from your patio, deck, driveway, walkways, and even the sides of your house,” she says. Then, “the power washer will clean off all of the above.”

If you can’t afford to buy this equipment, you can rent a pressure washer or a blower from stores such as Home Depot.

5. Weeding your garden

Mulch your garden instead! Start by covering the ground around your plants with light-blocking biodegradable fabric. Then cover with two inches of mulch. This will keep weeds from taking over and will help your garden retain more water, resulting in a break on another summer chore: watering.

6. Laundering winter bedding

If you prefer lighter bedding when it gets hot, don’t worry about laundering it before putting it away.

“Place blankets in a vacuum-sealed bag and put them away until fall,” says Reichert. She says you can wait to launder them in the fall, when that freshly laundered bedding will feel nicer.

But realistically, there’s actually no need to swap out winter bedding for summer. The reason: All-season duvets are available that can cover you comfortably all year round.

7. Transitioning from your winter to summer wardrobe

Reality check: There’s no reason to store our winter sweaters under the bed to make room for T-shirts and shorts, provided you’ve purged your wardrobe of all the things you don’t wear. And rather than pulling out each item and hemming and hawing over whether it should stay or go, Reichert says there’s a much easier way: Weed it out in reverse.

Start by putting all your cold-weather clothes in a plastic bin and set it aside for the season. Next, put all your warm-weather clothes in another bin. As you use those clothes, launder and replace them in your closet and drawers.

“Anything that doesn’t come out of the summer container by the end of the summer gets given away,” Reichert says.

Plus, postpurge you’ve likely got tons of room in your closet and drawers, so you can keep everything where it is; just rearrange so your summer stuff is more easily within reach.

Now relax and enjoy the season. And save an emu burger for us.

 

Posted by Adriana Velez on realtor.com

8 Dream Homes Serving Up a Slice of Island Life

From Hawaii to Nantucket, see a few gems currently on the market.

Island living means coffee on a balcony overlooking the ocean, or al fresco dining after a long day on the sand and the surf. With prime locations, beautiful architecture and idyllic temperatures nearly year-round, it’s easy to see why people pay a premium to live on an island.

But for those of us who are stuck in the city or suburbs for most of the year: mix up a Mai Tai, put on The Beach Boys and get in the spirit of summer by looking at these 8 exquisite island homes.

Freeland, WA

1924 Shore Ave, Freeland, WA
For sale: $2.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This home on Whidbey island has no shortage of scenic views — with the ability to see Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline and ocean from the comfort of the living room. Blue shaker siding on the outside of the house, close proximity to the water and elegant interior finishes, like wide-plank wood flooring and charming built-ins, make this an extraordinary and comfortable island home.

See more homes for sale in Freeland.

Nantucket, MA

222 Eel Point Rd, Nantucket, MA
For sale: $12.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Nantucket home takes the classic image of an East Coast beach house and turns it on its head. With clean lines, modern design and the use of solar and geothermal power, this home is anything but cookie cutter. The property spans nearly 5 acres with waterfront access, making it easy to explore the beautiful coastline.

Find more Nantucket homes for sale.

Tybee Island, GA

3 6th Ter, Tybee Island, GA
For sale: $3.175 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Located within a few steps of the water, this Tybee Island home has sweeping ocean views and a private walkway down to the beach. Inside, the home is just as exquisite with elegant details such as Spanish ironwork on the front doors, trace ceilings in the master bedroom, an elevator, and an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean.

See more homes in Tybee Island.

Key West, FL

311 Elizabeth St, Key West, FL
For sale: $3.95 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This historic Key West home is a relaxing place to come back to at the end of a long day playing on the beach. With an inviting porch on the first and second floors, a spacious guesthouse, beautiful hardwood floors, a pool in the backyard and 4 total kitchens throughout the house, it’s the perfect space to find comfort in paradise.

Check out more homes in Key West.

Johns Island, SC

140 Flyway Dr, Johns Island, SC
For sale: $11.95 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This unique Southern coastal home has all the hallmarks of a perfect island home: great access to the beach, unbelievable views from the large balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room that let in ample natural light. But, what sets this home apart are its interesting architectural details. This home has many rounded walls, curved windows and a circular foyer that almost make it feel like an observatory deck overlooking the ocean.

Check out more Johns Island homes.

Lahaina, HI

704 Mokuleia Pl, Lahaina, HI
For sale: $9.4 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Lahaina home is the quintessential picture of island living. Beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean combined with luxurious finishes such as intricately carved kitchen cabinets, paneling in the office and coffered ceilings in the master suite. The home includes over 2 acres of land as well as a pool and spa. It also comes with a private chipping and putting green.

Find more homes in Lahaina for sale.

Quogue, NY

216 Dune Rd, Quogue, NY
For sale: $19.7 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Nicknamed The Sandcastle, this Quogue home is made for beach royalty. A heated infinity pool overlooking the ocean, wrought-iron staircase railing, box wainscoting and folding glass doors letting in the ocean breeze are just a few of the dreamy details that make up this island home.

See more Quogue homes for sale.

Hilton Head Island, SC

121 Dune Ln, Hilton Head Island, SC
For sale: $3.995 million

Photo from Zillow listing.

Traditional meets modern in this charming island home. Classic Southern details like painted shutters, an apron sink in the kitchen, and dark wood used throughout the home are juxtaposed with a state-of-the-art media room upstairs, creating the perfect beach getaway for the modern family. Enjoy private beach access and beautiful views from the covered porch that’s complete with a cozy fireplace.

Check out more Hilton Head Island listings.

 

Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Branson on Zillow

5 Reasons You Should Sell This Summer

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this summer makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is currently at a 4.2-month supply, well under the 6-months needed for a normal housing market. This means, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market this summer.

Also, builder’s confidence in the market has hit its highest mark in over 11 years. Experts are predicting that new construction of single-family homes will ramp up this summer.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Fannie Mae anticipates an acceleration in home sales that will surpass 2007’s pace. As the market continues to strengthen, banks will be inundated with loan inquiries causing closing-time lines to lengthen. Selling now will make the process quicker & simpler. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to a new low of 42 days, after seeing a 12-month high of 48 days in January.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.9% over the next year, according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

You can also lock in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate around 4% right now. Rates are projected to increase in the next 12 months.

5. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. That is what is truly important!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Talk with one of our agents today to get started!

3 Outdoor Parties to Plan This Spring

Now that spring has officially sprung, and we’re busy looking ahead to the warmer days to come, it’s also time to start thinking about seasonal party plans. Spring is, in my opinion, the ultimate time of year for outdoor entertaining — it’s warm and sunny, but not so hot that your guests will be uncomfortable, and it’s cool enough at night to light up a fire or throw on a cozy sweatshirt.

And sure, simple barbecues and backyard gatherings are great, but when it comes to outdoor parties, getting a little creative can really pay off. So this year, throw a fete your friends and family will never forget with one of these fabulous (and simple!) ideas.

1. Homegrown Music Festival

iStock/wundervisuals

Instead of dropping hundreds of dollars and having to deal with hundreds (or thousands) of sweaty strangers, host your own low-key music festival. Create a Spotify playlist and invite your guests to add a few of their favorite tunes, that way you’ll have a personalized soundtrack to score the event. Set up a dedicated dance area in your yard’s sunniest spot to truly capture that festival feel (just make sure to stock up on sunscreen first).

2. Personalized Wine Tasting

iStock/courtneyk

Hitting up wineries is a popular spring activity, but actually finding a vineyard and getting your crew on the road can be an ordeal. So instead, have each of your guests commit to bringing a few of their favorite budget bottles, and let each person lead of tasting of their picks. Ask for the bottle names before if you can, that way you can prep a list of wines for each guest to take home.

3. Flower Crown Crafternoon

Kendall Peters

Fresh flowers are one of the best parts of spring, so why not get your best buddies together to craft flower crowns out of some beautiful blooms? Make sure to set up a selfie station too, because we all know flower crowns make the best Instagram bait.

 

Posted by Bridget Mallon on hgtv.com

 

Spectacular Solariums and Sun Rooms Let in the Light

Summon the sun indoors with these gorgeous light-filled spaces.

Sun rooms, solariums, skylights — oh my! While the terminology can be confusing, these rooms designed to offer indoor sunbathing have similar qualities, and are great for any type of home environment.

If your climate doesn’t offer year-round sun, you can still enjoy the outdoors by adding a sun room or solarium addition to your space.

What’s the difference?

A sun room is a home addition made completely of windows, which offer a 360-degree view of the outdoor scenery without stepping foot outside.

The term “sun room” usually means a room made of glass, and it’s commonly interchanged with conservatory, solarium, greenhouse, and atrium, among others. Technically, a sun room is any large room that allows the light to pour in through large windows or glass walls.

A solarium, on the other hand, is a more specifically designed room. To be considered a solarium, the space must also have a glass roof in addition to a wall of windows or glass.

Traditionally, solariums were built as part of hospitals to allow patients to soak up the sun without being exposed to the outdoor elements. Solariums can be attached to the home or stand as a separate structure altogether.

Check out these gorgeous sun rooms and solariums, and get inspired for a sunny space of your own.

Bright meets sunlight

This bright and spacious sun room lets the light pour in while still maintaining a homey charm. The woven furniture and floral-patterned cushions add a touch of whimsy, while the serene outdoor views provide a tranquil environment for afternoon tea or family game night.

Photo from Zillow listing

Safely sunbathing

This sunny haven in Pensacola, FL is a modern solarium structure that offers privacy between spaces while letting in plenty of light. The iron frame and tinted glass allow the homeowners to enjoy the sun but avoid harmful rays and heat.

Photo from Zillow listing

Eclectic outdoor living

Upbeat and contemporary, this sun room features French doors, exposed brick, and bright lime-green paint to add an eclectic touch to a traditional space. Palm Beach-inspired furniture and natural elements, like stone and grass, are sprinkled throughout to bring the outdoors in.

Photo from Zillow listing

Room with a view

Boasting sky-high views and traditional architecture, this solarium in Friday Harbor, WA shows how outside structures can flow seamlessly to the indoor space. With area rugs and overhead lighting, the solarium feels like a light and bright living room that’s ideal for entertaining.

Photo from Zillow listing

 

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow

5 Steps to a More Organized Home for Back to School

This A+ plan will have your family ready to greet the first day of school with a smile.

As if summer isn’t crazy enough, the transition to school can make home life even busier and messier. Schedules are a mix of school activities and the last-hurrah-of-summer, and the house is strewn with important school papers and wet beach towels. Here are a few tips to help you organize the chaos this year.

Clean the fridge out (and off) and restock

Shutterstock ID 266450780;
Shutterstock ID 266450780;

Clearing the front of the fridge of summer camp art projects and already-happened wedding invitations will signal a new season and leave room for important phone numbers and all those A+ papers your young scholars bring home.

Then, clean out the refrigerator, tossing all those picnic leftovers, and get it ready for quick breakfasts, packed lunches and after-school snacks. Anything grab-and-go is sure to be appreciated, especially during the first few weeks of school while your family is still getting used to the new schedule. A basket of fresh fruit by the door is also handy.

Take stock of closets and clothes

Courtesy of California Closets.

A new first-day-of-school outfit is a childhood ritual. But before you add to your child’s wardrobe, take stock of what they’ve outgrown during the summer months. And don’t forget the weather will probably be changing soon. See if your kids will be needing any new warmer clothes for the coming season.

A clean and organized closet and dresser will make getting out the door in the morning easier for everyone.

Similarly, catching up with laundry and creating a laundry system if you don’t already have one will keep your life running more smoothly.

Create a scheduling center

This is Mission Control for the family, so it should be in a central place in your home, such as the kitchen or entryway. You’ll want to keep a calendar, filing system, address book, notepads for taking phone messages, and plenty of pens, since they always seem to go missing.

This is also where paperwork should go to be sorted and put away, or signed and sent back to school. Create a system for paperwork and scheduling the family so Dad isn’t slated to tee off with his co-workers at the same time he’s supposed to chaperone a field trip.

Make mealtime easy

Meal-planning will save you time and money — not to mention protect your sanity when you’re running home from work and PTA meetings.

To keep the grownups fueled, set up a coffee station in your kitchen where they can grab a to-go mug easily.

Create a menu, and make a master shopping list to prep for the week. That way, you’ll know exactly what to make when everyone’s hungry, and you won’t waste ingredients.

Shutterstock ID 117974122
Shutterstock ID 117974122

Keep a list on your fridge to remind you of the week’s menu. And when inquiring minds ask what’s for dinner, you can direct them to the menu.

Prepping a few extra meals to throw in the freezer now will ease the busy first few weeks of school, too.

Tackle the mudroom and entryway

School brings with it a lot of paraphernalia: backpacks, lunch bags, gym bags, artwork, and library books. The mudroom or entryway will be the drop-off point and can quickly become a disaster without a system.

Courtesy of California Closets.

Are shoes taken off here? If so, make sure everyone has a designated spot for their shoes. Same with coats and backpacks.

Lunch bags should go in a specific place, or back to the kitchen to be cleaned out for the next day.

Establishing these routines at the beginning of the school year will help them become engrained so by the time winter, with its extra layers, and spring, with its muddy boots, come along, you won’t be pulling your hair out.

While the transition will take some getting used to, having solid systems in place in your home can help you ease the stress, and focus on the enjoyment of an exciting new school year.

Get more home design ideas to keep you inspired.

Posted by Natalie Wise on Zillow

Home Sales Accelerate During The “Dog Days of Summer” [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • Existing home sales have accelerated to the highest pace since February 2007 at an annual pace of 5.57 million.
  • Inventory of homes for sale remains below the historically normal 6-month mark at a 4.6-month supply, down 5.8% year-over-year.
  • Median home sales prices rose to $247,700, 4.8% higher than a year ago and replaced the previous peak in May of $238,900.

Posted by The KCM Crew