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Displaying blog entries 11-17 of 17

How to Have a Stress-less Holiday Season

by Desi Sowers

Dear Stress…I’m Breaking Up with You!

  1. Don’t Strive for Perfection – Put down the Martha Stewart magazine and focus on what is important.  What is the point of having perfect decorations, meals and gifts if you are not enjoying yourself? Martha has a full staff to help her decorate, bake and shop.  Stop killing yourself trying to create and image of a perfect holiday and let yourself EXPERIENCE the season. Pick and choose what you want to do.  Baking with your kids, decorating the tree…whatever makes you happy.  You don’t enjoy entertaining guests? Then don’t do it. Keep it simple and enjoy! Easy and Elegant Christmas Decor

 

  1. Shop Online – Avoid traffic, parking garages and crowded malls by doing your shopping online.  If a trip to the mall during the holiday season is something you look forward to, then by all means, go for it! But if fighting the crowds is not your thing, then put on some comfy pjs, fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and shop until you drop…only you won’t actually drop because you won’t be so tired!  Shopping online will also save you a lot of time which you can use for RELAXING. Check out this site for unique gifts: Uncommon Goods

 

  1. Delegate Responsibilities – Who said you have to do it all yourself?  If you have older children, have them decorate the tree. If you have guests coming over, make it a pot luck…you provide the main course and have them bring side dishes and desserts. Have your spouse pick up what you need from the grocery store on the way home from work. With everyone chipping in, chores and events won’t feel so overwhelming.

 

  1. Find Ways to Save Time – Here are some ideas for saving time during the holiday season:
  • Don’t be afraid to say NO. Stop wasting time on activities you don’t want to do. Learn to Say No
  • Purchase pre-printed holiday cards and envelopes.
  • Keep your decorations simple.
  • Make a list of what you need at the store so that you can complete your shopping in one trip.

 

  1. Be Compassionate – The joy that comes from doing something kind for others may be all you need to relieve the stress that accompanies the holiday season. 

 

Take care of yourself and stress LESS!

Thinking about buying or selling your home this holiday season? Contact Desi Sowers at 540.320.1328 or desi@desisowers.com. 

 

Radford VA Home Sales October 2016

by Desi Sowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

Christiansburg VA Home Sales October 2016

by Desi Sowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

 

Real Estate, Safety, and You!

by Desi Sowers

 

If you’ve seen the news in the last year you have likely seen a couple very sad stories involving real estate agents meeting unknown potential clients on a whim with little known information about them.  Our policy Pre-Approval to Begin Looking at Homes assists a REALTOR® in staying safe and knowing they are assisting a qualified potential buyer. It also keeps our sellers safe knowing qualified buyers are entering their home! 

Determining how much home you can afford, or what payment you feel comfortable with, can be a trying process. Calling lenders, looking at mortgage loan programs and interest rates can be confusing, to say the least. There is an easy way to get started, and give yourself an idea of where you stand.

I can put you in touch with a mortgage originator and we can start looking today!

 

You’ve been watching the news, reading blogs, surfing the internet and you know this is the perfect time to buy a home! But is it the right time for you? How much can you afford? How do you find a REALTOR®? What can you expect at closing? The Home-Buying Process in Plain English with Elizabeth Banks is designed to help you answer these question!

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, Focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

7 Design Trends for 2015 Quartz, Stainless and Fire Pits....Oh My!

by Desi Sowers

7 Design Trends for 2015

If you have a small budget to spend on home improvement projects this year, you’ll want to make sure you use it wisely, especially if you plan to put your home on the market soon.  Redfin agents always recommend that you stay on top of basic home maintenance, but beyond that, it can be difficult to determine which features to add or update in your home. You don’t want to spend money on something that’s going to go out of style anytime soon. So where do you start?

One way to tell if a certain feature is desirable is by looking at real estate listings online. Real estate agents have a limited number of words they can use to describe a home for sale on the multiple listing service, so every word counts. Looking at what they choose to include, and what they don’t, can give you an idea of what they see as a selling feature of a home.

To find out what buyers will be looking for in 2015, we asked Redfin real estate agents which features they were starting to see more often while out on home tours. Then we looked for those keywords in real estate listings on Redfin.com to see which ones have grown in popularity over the past five years. Read on to see which home features made the cut.

1. Quartz Countertops: The New Kid on the Block

Quartz Countertops Chart

For years, granite countertops were a must-have feature in any modern kitchen. But in 2014 we started to see quartz popping up all over the place. While granite still appears in more real estate listings overall, it’s only a matter of time before we see quartz take over.

Jordan Clarke, a Redfin real estate agent in San Diego, explains: “Granite countertops have become outdated in kitchens; the new standard is quartz or other unique materials like sandstone. Quartz comes with a few benefits over granite; it is not as porous and therefore requires less maintenance, it is less prone to staining and it is better able to withstand abuses during its lifetime. Homebuyers are wowed when they see it!”

2. Smart Home: Smart Choice

Smart Home ChartSmart home features are still only mentioned in a small fraction of real estate listings, but we’ve seen a meteoric rise when you look at how often they’re mentioned over the past five years.

“Smart home systems that control security alarms, heating and cooling, lighting and more are starting to become more popular in homes,” said Tara Waggoner, a Redfin real estate agent in Houston. “But a word of warning; it’s best to choose a system with software that can be updated as new features come out. Otherwise, the system will be out of date within a few years.”

3. Stainless Steel Appliances: A Safe Bet

Stainless Steel ChartThe data shows that mentions of stainless steel appliances have increased every year since 2011. “White appliances used to reign supreme, but stainless steel has definitely taken over in the last five years,” said Robyn Jackson, a Redfin real estate agent in Palm Beach, California. “While new appliance finishes like slate are starting to gain traction, stainless steel is still the gold standard for kitchens these days.”

4. Fire Pits: Heating Up Since 2012

Fire Pit ChartFire pits soared in popularity from 2012 to 2013, and remained a popular feature in listings in 2014.

“One quick way to warm up after a dip in the pool is to curl up next to a fire, and now that fire is just steps away,” said Roseann Cossman, a Redfin real estate agent in Phoenix. “I’m seeing a lot of fire pits and gas fireplaces being placed right next to the pool.”

 

5. Tasting Rooms: A Smart Addition to a Wine Cellar

Tasting Room ChartIn luxury homes, it used to be that a wine cellar was sufficient. Now, those cellars come with a tasting room that has a dining table and chairs. We’ve seen the word “tasting” appear more often in listings every year since 2011, when these rooms rose from obscurity to being on the map. “Wine cellars are no longer a cold dark place in the basement,” said Paul Stone, a Redfin real estate agent in Denver. “Now, homeowners are making them into comfortable living areas, where they can host tastings with friends.”

6. Outdoor Kitchen: Elevating the Backyard Cookout

Outdoor Kitchen ChartPerhaps it’s the HGTV effect, but outdoor kitchens have gained popularity every year since 2011, though we saw a small drop in 2014. “Backyards are becoming places to lounge during the summer, with full kitchens, fireplaces and televisions,” Stone said. “Having a place to host friends for a barbecue has become important for many high-end buyers.”

 

7. Freestanding Tub: A Luxury Bathroom Must-Have

Freestanding Tub ChartHaving a combined shower and tub is an excellent space saver. But if you have a large enough bathroom, you might want to consider adding a freestanding bathtub. We’ve seen the use of “freestanding tub” rise every year since 2011. “Since most people take more showers than baths, they want to have a stand-alone shower with multiple showerheads,” said Charlie Baker, a Redfin real estate agent in San Diego. “But when they want to relax, they want a freestanding tub, which is starting to become the norm in newly constructed high-end homes.”

What About Exposed Brick? That’s Soooo 2013

Exposed Brick ChartAs reported in Bloomberg, many building managers in Boston, Chicago or Washington D.C. will use exposed brick as a selling point. Mentions of exposed brick in listings skyrocketed in 2013, but slowed down in 2014. It is still very popular in downtown urban lofts and condos, but has decreased in popularity in other types of homes. “Stylistically, I think the cool factor ship has sailed on exposed brick. Unless you are in a loft or a midcentury modern home, it can be out of place. Often, in Chicago at least, the brick gets cold and mortar often falls out and creates a lot of dust and debris,” said Nate Brecht, a Redfin real estate agent in Chicago.

Written by Christin Camacho

12 Simple Home Repairs to Lift You Out of Winter’s Funk

by Desi Sowers

home-repair-jobs-winter-talc-squeaky-floor_9d6d88a9d3591085405678a30f441441_3x2_jpg_600x400_q85Accomplishments — even little ones — go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter. For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a caddy and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.

What to Look (and Listen) For
In each room, look around and take stock of what needs fixing or improving. Focus on small, quick-hit changes, not major redos. Here are some likely suspects:

1.  Sagging towel rack or wobbly toilet tissue holder. Unscrew the fixture and look for the culprit. It’s probably a wimpy, push-in type plastic drywall anchor. Pull that out (or just poke it through the wall) and replace it with something more substantial. Toggle bolts are strongest, and threaded types such as E-Z Ancor are easy to install.

2.  Squeaky door hinges. Eliminate squeaks by squirting a puff of powdered graphite ($2.50 for a 3-gram tube) alongside the pin where the hinge turns. If the door sticks, plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery isn’t noticeable.

3.  Creaky floor boards. They’ll shush if you fasten them down better. Anti-squeak repair kits, such as Squeeeeek No More ($23), feature specially designed screws that are easy to conceal. A low-cost alternative: Dust a little talcum powder into the seam where floorboards meet — the talcum acts as a lubricant to quiet boards that rub against each other.

4.  Rusty shutoff valves. Check under sinks and behind toilets for the shutoff valves on your water supply lines. These little-used valves may slowly rust in place over time, and might not work when you need them most. Keep them operating by putting a little machine oil or WD-40 on the handle shafts. Twist the handles back and forth to work the oil into the threads. If they won’t budge, give the oil a couple of hours to penetrate, and try again.

5.  Blistered paint on shower ceilings. This area gets a lot of heat and moisture that stresses paint finishes. Scrape off old paint and recoat, using a high-quality exterior-grade paint. Also, be sure everyone uses the bathroom vent when showering to help get rid of excess moisture.

6.  Loose handles or hinges on furniture, cabinets, and doors. You can probably fix these with a few quick turns of a screwdriver. But if a screw just spins in place, try making the hole fit the screw better by stuffing in a toothpick coated with glue, or switching to a larger screw.

Safety Items
You know those routine safety checks you keep meaning to do but never have the time? Now’s the time.

7.  Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If you don’t like waking up to the annoying chirp of smoke detector batteries as they wear down, do what many fire departments recommend and simply replace all of them at the same time once a year.

8.  Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. You’re supposed to test them once a month, but who does? Now’s a great time. You’ll find them around potentially wet areas — building codes specify GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and for outdoor receptacles. Make sure the device trips and resets correctly. If you find a faulty outlet, replace it or get an electrician to do it for $75 to $100.

Another good project is to replace your GFCIs with the latest generation of protected outlets that test themselves, such as Levitron’s SmartlockPro Self-Test GFCI ($28). You won’t have to manually test ever again!

9.  Exhaust filter for the kitchen stove. By washing it to remove grease, you’ll increase the efficiency of your exhaust vent; plus, if a kitchen stovetop fire breaks out, this will help keep the flames from spreading.

10.  Clothes dryer vent. Pull the dryer out from the wall, disconnect the vent pipe, and vacuum lint out of the pipe and the place where it connects to the machine. Also, wipe lint off your exterior dryer vent so the flap opens and closes easily. (You’ll need to go outside for that, but it’s quick.) Remember that vents clogged with old dryer lint are a leading cause of house fires.

11.  Drain hoses. Inspect your clothes washer, dishwasher, and icemaker. If you see any cracks or drips, replace the hose so you don’t come home to a flood one day.

12.  Electrical cords. Replace any that are brittle, cracked, or have damaged plugs. If you’re using extension cords, see if you can eliminate them — for example, by replacing that too-short lamp cord with one that’s longer. If you don’t feel up to rewiring the lamp yourself, drop it off at a repair shop as you head out to shop for your repair materials. It might not be ready by the end of the day. But, hey, one half-done repair that you can’t check off is no big deal, right?

AUTHOR 
Jeanne Huber is the author of 10 books about home improvement. She writes a weekly column about home care for the Washington Post.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Displaying blog entries 11-17 of 17

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