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Articles Tagged "Home Maintenance"

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November
28

Home Projects

Autumn is in full swing, which means the year is drawing to an end. If you're like a lot of homeowners, you started off the year with a long list of home improvement projects, and you didn't complete as many as planned. But have no fear — there's still time to turn things around. Our real estate agents are excited to share some quick home improvement projects you can still complete by the end of the year.

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October
3

Barn Door Tips

Barn doors look lovely in country chic homes and even in some cottage-style houses. They work well as closet doors, pantry doors, and even as laundry room doors. While there are plenty of pre-made barn doors for sale, making your own barn door is a fun project — and a great way to personalize your new home! Follow these steps from our real estate agents to make your own barn door.

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June
27

pantry tips

People often say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But the pantry is a close contender! As the place where you store your snacks and cooking ingredients, your pantry deserves to be an organized, efficient space. You'll love being able to open the door and find what you need in an instant without having to search multiple shelves. So, how do you go about organizing a pantry? Our real estate agents have broken this task down into seven steps, which are presented below.

  1. Sort Through Everything
    Before you start putting items into place, pull everything out of your pantry. Sort through your items, throwing away products that have expired. If there are foods you know that you'll never use, donate them or give them to friends.

    With the extras gone, make a list of the products that remain. If there are items you use regularly but don't have on hand right now, make a trip to the store to purchase them. Then, add them to your list.

  2. Categorize Your Items
    Look down your list, and start dividing your items into categories. Good categories to include are spices and seasonings, pasta and dried goods, canned goods, baking ingredients, and sauces. Once you've categorized your list, move your actual items into piles based on how you categorized them on paper.

  3. Transfer Open Items Into Clear Containers
    It's hard to maintain an organized pantry with a bunch of half-empty bags and boxes. Plus, opened boxes attract pests. So, invest in some clear containers and empty those boxes and bags into them.

    There are lots of good brands that make clear, plastic, and glass pantry containers. Pick containers that are stackable and easy for you to open.

  4. Label Your Containers
    Even if you can see into the clear containers, labels make things more clear. You'll also have an easier time figuring out what you need to buy to fill empty containers. If you have a label maker or can borrow one from a friend, that's awesome. Otherwise, you can make your own labels by writing, with markers, on white stickers.

  5. Line Your Shelves
    Before you put your containers back into the pantry, use a stick-on shelf liner to line your shelves. Our agents have seen this in some Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale, and it really does make pantries easy to clean. Choose a cute pattern or a solid color that matches your pantry walls. The shelf liner should come with application instructions on the package.

  6. Organize Your Shelves
    Decide on a shelf for each category of items. You'll want to put items you use more often on shelves close to eye level. Those that you use less often can go further down where you have to bend to reach them. For example, if you only bake a few times a year, your baking items can likely go on the bottom shelf.

  7. Add a Few Extras
    Once all your food is back in the pantry, it is time to add a few extras to help keep the space more organized. Consider mounting a marker board on the pantry door. You can use this to keep track of your shopping list. Find a bag holder to mount to the pantry door, too. This will give you somewhere convenient to stick plastic bags when you get home. Add any other extras you think may come in handy, too.

If you spend the weekend organizing your pantry, you'll save so much time when you cook and snack later on. Contact us if you're still looking for the perfect home — and pantry — to call your own.

June
20

Pool Tips for Summer

Having a pool gives you a quick, enjoyable way to cool off in the summer. We've seen so many lovely Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale with pools. If you buy a home with a pool, you should know there are plenty of ways to customize your pool and pool area, making it feel more like your own. Here are a few features to think about adding.

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April
18

Steam Cleaning

First impressions are everything. This is as true in the world of real estate as in any other. When a potential buyer first walks into a home, the first things they see (and smell) play a huge role in determining their interest. If your home makes a great first impression, you'll have an easier time making a sale — and you'll probably get higher offers, too. After years of experience, our real estate agents know this to be true!

One of the ways you can improve your home's first impression is by steam cleaning the carpets prior to your first showing or open house. Why is steam cleaning so important? Take a look.

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March
14

DIY Projects

When you're first settling into a new place, you may not want a lot of projects on your plate, but a few carefully chosen DIY projects can help your new house feel like home. Here are a few quick and relatively easy projects our real estate agents recommend for helping you feel at home.

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February
21

Spring Cleaning Wagner

Living in Southwest Florida means warm sunshine, cool evening breezes, and lots of fresh air. If you're looking for Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale, you hope to find a home with large windows, sliding glass doors, and great outdoor features so you can enjoy everything a Florida lifestyle has to offer.

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October
4

Home Improvement

Do you feel overwhelmed at the idea of tackling home improvement projects? If you're like most homeowners, you can just walk through your home and see so many tasks awaiting your elbow grease. If you're thinking of listing your home among Sarasota homes for sale, you may want to get a handle on prioritizing projects.

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June
21

Summer Lawn Care

Your dream house has a beautiful yard with grass, trees, shrubs, even a flower garden. There are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale that fit the bill. Our real estate agents can help you find the one that meets your needs. Caring for your new lawn, though, is up to you.

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May
17

Houseplant Tips

One of the best parts of buying a new house is giving it those personal touches that help turn it into a home. Our estate agents can help you find Bradenton homes for sale, but only you can make that home your own. One simple and rewarding touch you can add to any home is houseplants. What kind should you have, though? Here are a few things to consider when selecting houseplants.

  1. Benefits
    Think about what benefits you want. For instance, if you want to reduce stress, go with a lavender plant. Its scent has a calming effect and can improve sleep. Maybe you're looking to make your air more breathable. In that case, peace lilies and English ivy absorb toxins to improve indoor air quality. Or you might want to add a splash of color to your decor. If so, coleus comes in various bright shades, including purple, orange, and red. Gardon croton has leaves of red, yellow, green, and copper. And bromeliads bloom in red, orange, yellow, and pink. There are many other houseplants with myriad other benefits. Do some research and find out which ones best suit your needs.

  2. Environment
    Consider where your houseplants will be kept and what their needs are. How much sunlight does it need? What temperature range does it thrive in? Does it need a dry environment or a humid one? If you're looking for a plant for your bathroom, for instance, you should try the humidity-loving monstera plant. If you have a room without windows, try a snake plant. If you've got a big window with lots of sunlight, consider a jade plant or a lemon tree.

  3. Care
    Perhaps the most important consideration is how much care your plant will need and how much care you'll be able to give it. How often does the plant need to be watered? Does it need any other care, such as pruning? If you travel a lot, then look for a plant that doesn't require as much care - or be prepared to get a plant-sitter. Air plants, for instance, don't even need soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight and water them every two weeks, and they'll thrive. What if you're afraid you'll forget to water your plant on a regular schedule? Or that you'll accidentally overcompensate, watering it too often? Set a reminder on your phone to alert you when your plant needs water or other care. It can be set to go off automatically once a week, every two weeks, or however, often your plant needs attention.

  4. Containers
    Once you've chosen your houseplant, it needs to go in the right container. Porous clay pots are good for your plants and the environment. They retain moisture while letting soil toxins escape. You might also consider a glass terrarium designed to keep in moisture and heat. Whatever container you use, make sure it's got holes on the bottom for water drainage. If you're buying a baby plant, know how much it will grow over time, and get a container that will accommodate it - or be prepared to transplant it later. A larger pot can also allow you to put multiple plants in the same space. 

If you've got houseplants inside, you're likely going to want a few outdoors as well. Fortunately, there are plenty of Sarasota homes for sale with big front and backyards, perfect for gardening. Contact us to help you find the space that's right for you!

March
9

Planting om Bradenton

If you're new to Florida, you might be surprised to learn that yes, we do get the occasional frost here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in the late winter and early spring. This is just one of the things you need to know as you embark on gardening in your new home, acquired either from Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale. Fortunately, frost is rare and not much of an impediment to producing fabulous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in Florida.

While we suggest Floridians start planting long before National Plant a Flower Day, which is March 12, this national celebration, which promotes looking forward to spring by encouraging flower planting, is a great reason to jump right in.

And the good news is, after mid-February, the chances of a frost damaging seedlings or other plants are very low. So feel free to head to your local garden center and acquire some fabulous flowers to celebrate March 12 with a burst of color in your yard.

But before you start, a little planning is in order. What can you plant in our region of Florida? So many things, from tropicals to perennials, lush annuals, flowering shrubs, and glorious flowering trees. The key is making sure whatever you choose can tolerate our heat and humidity. 

What to Plant

The flowering plant palette for Florida is extensive. Among the most common flowering plants, you'll note are these.

  • Pentas. Also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, Pentas are evergreen perennials and come in pink, magenta, lilac, and white. They prefer full sun and are seasonal bloomers. An added bonus is they attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis. You can't not plant Florida's state flower, the Coreopsis. It's a member of the aster family and has bright golden disk and ray flowers. It's a brilliant addition to any garden. 
  • Blue Salvia. Although native to the Southwest, Salvia farinacea does well in South Florida and can flourish in a hot, dry location. Low-maintenance Blue Salvia (also known as Mealycup sage) is an annual further north but blooms like a perennial in our climate. Pollinators love it.
  • Mexican Heather. A low-growing ground cover, Mexican Heather or Cuphea loves full sun, although partial will do. Plant it in a well-drained location. It produces lavender-pink to white flowers almost all year long.
  • Bougainvillea. One of our most spectacular bloomers, Bougainvillea's showy display isn't actually flowers at all, but rather colorful leaf bracts. It needs six hours of sun a day, and for that, you get an explosion of color most of the year.
  • Lantana. Another pollinator attractor (including hummingbirds), Lantana is available in pink and yellow or bright orange and yellow, and more. Deadhead flowers to keep the plant producing most of the year. Be sure to water Lantana when the weather is dry; mulch and fertilizer help promote abundant flowering.
  • Periwinkles. Also known as Creeping Vinca, Periwinkle is a creeping vine with pretty blue flowers, often used as a ground cover, and which can choke out weeds. Best blooming will occur if it's planted in partial shade.
  • Plumbago. This sprawling shrub is grown for its clusters of blue, phlox-like flowers. Plant Plumbago over a stone or wood retaining wall for a beautiful effect. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Our real estate agents have more tips for how you can improve your property, indoors and out. Contact us today.

February
22

Pet Safe Renovations

Renovations are a great way to keep your home up to date, to add value, and to compete with other Bradenton homes for sale when it comes time. Unfortunately, many homeowners put off updating their homes because of how complicated it is to get work done when you have pets. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your pets safe and minimizing stress so that you can do the work when it's needed.

  1. Find a safe place.
    Workers tend to leave doors and gates open, and honestly, it's not their job to watch out for your pets. The best thing for everyone is for you to find a safe place to keep your pet while workers are in the house. This might be a back bedroom, or it might be a crate. Try to include some things to keep your pet comfortable, like their favorite bed, blanket, or toys, plus necessities like food, water, and a litter box.

  2. Make sure everyone knows.
    Definitely let contractors know where you'll be keeping your pet, so they make sure not to let them out. As a precaution, if you're keeping your pet loose in a closed-off room, post a sign on the door reminding everyone to be careful opening the door.

  3. Do a safety check at the end of the day.
    Once the workers leave for the day, you'll likely be in a hurry to let your pet out so they can enjoy some freedom for the evening. But wait! Before opening that door or crate, do a walk-through of all the areas where the contractors have been throughout the day. Make sure doors, windows, and gates are all closed, and be sure there are no safety hazards such as sharp objects or loose wires.

  4. Know the schedule.
    It's also important to know where the contractors will be and what they'll be working on each day if only to make sure that you don't inadvertently put your pet in a room they need access to. Check-in regularly and make sure you know if there are any delays or changes in the schedule. In fact, it's probably in your best interest for a lot of reasons to know these things, and not only for the safety of your pet.

  5. Consider getting your pet out of the house.
    In some ways, having renovations done is a little like showing your home while it's on the market. Some homeowners leave their pets locked up in a room, but our real estate agents always appreciate it when pets are removed from the home. That way no one has to watch out for your pet, and it may minimize your pet's stress, too. Consider boarding your pets, or asking a friend or relative to keep them at their place during the day when the workers are there. Dogs could also be dropped off at doggy daycare, or if you have a job that allows it, brought to work with you.

Keeping your home up-to-date compared to other Sarasota homes for sale is an important part of owning property. If you're ready to list your home for sale, or even if you just have questions about what renovations you'll need to do before selling, contact us today, and one of our agents will help guide you through the process.

October
5

Home Fire Prevention

If you're currently a homeowner or are planning to purchase one of these Bradenton homes for sale, familiarizing yourself with basic fire prevention tips is one of the most important things you can do to protect your assets. While no one wants to think about losing their home to a fire, knowledge is power when it comes to preventing a disaster. With National Fire Prevention Week starting Sunday, October 4th, it's a great time to review some common fire prevention strategies. Our real estate agents pulled together a quick list of tips to review:

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July
24

Summer Pest Removal

While the warm summer weather is perfect for tasty cookouts and swimming, it also brings a variety of pests who want to make your house their new home. Don't let summer bugs distract you from your summer fun.

The good news is you don't need harsh chemicals to get rid of these unwanted pests! Instead, check out these natural remedies for eliminating summer bugs. All of these remedies below are kid and pet-friendly, and they won't cover your home in chemicals. 

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June
12

Vegetable Garden

Gardening is one of the most enjoyable, family-fun activities we can think of, and you can even include a science lesson as a bonus! If you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, we can help you find a property that offers possibilities for creating your own vegetable garden. After all, it doesn't take that much land to produce a significant amount of food! 

  1. Choose Your Site
    Choose a level site that gets plenty of sunshine. Make sure you have access to water, be it an irrigation system, a soaker hose, or a garden hose. If you live in a community with homeowner's association, be sure to check to be sure that you're following any rules related to gardening on your property.
  2. Create Raised Beds
    Depending on your yard, you might be better off utilizing a raised bed. For this type of garden, you'll need a flat, 4x8-foot area. Double dig the soil, removing rocks and roots. Acquire a frame for your plot from the home and garden store. Build up your soil (layer newspaper or plastic weed barrier, topped with 2-3 inches of garden soil and compost) inside the frame, and you're ready to plant. Raised beds make it easier to keep pests out, prevent soil compaction, and to provide adequate draining. 
  3. Choose Your Plants and Plant Them
    You can plant just about anything in Florida. The key is knowing when is the best time to plant. Whether you grow your plants from seed or transplant young plants from the garden center, choose carefully. Note the plant's needs; for instance, tomatoes need full sun, so don't put them in a shady location. You can't do better than to consult the Old Farmers' Almanac website, adapted for modern gardeners to target specific areas such as Bradenton, with dates for seed starting indoors and outdoors, and for planting. Be mindful of planting dates: with increasingly hot summers, vegetable crops can be damaged by extreme heat, so plant heat-sensitive vegetables early enough so they can set fruit before the hottest months arrive. Some plants may require shade cloth during exceptionally hot times. Follow directions on seed packets or seedling trays for planting. Add mulch around seedlings to keep moisture levels even and to cool the ground. 
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Crops
    Don't just plant your plants and leave them on their own. Check their moisture levels, watering as needed, especially during very hot periods. Fertilize with organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, bone meal, or seaweed. Spray as a foliar application or pour on roots. Also, check for insect and plant pests, treating with organic applications if possible. 
  5. Enjoy Your Harvest
    Nothing beats fresh from the garden produce! Take this time to note your favorites and consider what you'll grow next year. 

Find just the right Bradenton or Sarasota home to grow your garden. Our real estate agents can help. Contact us today.

May
29

Hurricane Prep

The 2020 hurricane system is off to an early start thanks to the appearance of a tropical disturbance in mid-May. There is no time like the present to start preparing your family and your home for hurricane season. Check out these must-do tasks to add to your hurricane prep list.

  1. Gather Your Hurricane Emergency Kit
    Hurricane preparedness requires some shopping to create your emergency kit. Find retailers who are selling the items you need, or you may order them online if the brick and mortar stores are a little bare. Here's what a basic hurricane emergency kit should have:
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May
22

Organize Your Home

Spring cleaning isn't something we all look forward to, but while we're sticking close to home, this is an excellent opportunity to organize and clean house. To make it more manageable, we advise creating a five-day plan, focusing on a section of the house each day. Set some goals, write them down and check them off. Here are some suggestions that you can adapt as needed.

  1. Monday -- Clean appliances and cabinets under sinks.
    Let's get some of the most challenging tasks done first. Start by deep cleaning your kitchen appliances until they sparkle, but first remember to check cleaning recommendations for appliance surfaces, particularly stainless steel. Clean out cabinets under bathroom and kitchen sinks, throwing away whatever you no longer use, disposing of any cleaning products according to local regulations. Vacuum the coils under your refrigerator to keep it running efficiently.
  2. Tuesday -- Clean closets, cupboards and the pantry.
    This is another task you may be putting off, but don't,  in fact, be merciless. Go through clothes, shoes, toys, household items, and if you haven't worn or used something in a year, it's time to say goodbye to it. If possible, box and save these items to donate them to charity. Throw away out-of-date food in the pantry. Clean shelves and redo shelf paper if you use it. 
  3. Wednesday -- Perform outdoor tasks.
    Sweep the sidewalks, porch, and patio. Make your own glass cleaner with 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn't leave residue), 2 tablespoons vinegar and 10 drops essential oil of choice to cut the vinegar smell) and clean exterior windows and door glass, light fixtures, and patio furniture. Take a look around the HVAC condenser and trim back bushes so the unit can maintain proper airflow. Clear grass, leaves, and weeds away from the base of the unit.
  4. Thursday -- Clean interior glass.
    Grab an old t-shirt (they're pretty much lint-free), and continuing your window cleaning from the inside, along with door glass, and mirrors. Work top to bottom, wiping the water away with a squeegee to avoid streaks.
  5. Friday – Clean the garage.
    Start by separating everything you absolutely need from items you can, want or should donate, sell or throw away. If you don't have shelving, cabinets or other types of storage units, now is a good time to consider them. Everything needs to have a place to avoid piles of clutter.
  6. Saturday – Relax and take the day off.
    Time for a break! If you are thinking of moving, we recommend taking a virtual tour of Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale to see what's available in the area, and of course our real estate agents are happy to help. Contact us today!
April
24

Rearranging Furniture

If your living space is starting to feel a little stale, there are a few things you can do about it. 

Our real estate agents know what it takes to successfully stage Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale, and we can assure you that arranging the furniture appropriately can change the entire look and feel of a room. Here are a few simple furniture changes that you can make to improve your space. 

  1. Find the Balance
    Interior decorating focuses on striking the right balance. Never is this more important than when it comes to arranging furniture. To avoid rooms feeling lopsided or unsettled, consider both the size and placement of each piece so that you don't end up with all the large or small pieces of furniture bunched together. 

  2. Don't Push Furniture Against the Walls
    Though it might sound counterintuitive, leaving a few spare inches between your furniture and the wall behind can actually make the room feel bigger. Determining how much space to leave should be dictated by the size of the space, but even in smaller rooms, it's best not to have furniture pushed right up against the walls. 

  3. Choose a Focal Point
    Some rooms have a natural focal point, like a fireplace or a prominent set of windows. If that's the case, you can arrange the furniture around that point. If not, you can create your own focal point, such as a large coffee table or an entertainment center, and use it as the central focus of the room. Furniture doesn't have to be directly pointed at the focal point, but it should be arranged so that the eye is drawn toward that focal point. 

  4. Use the Right Size Area Rugs
    Area rugs should generally cover most of the floor, leaving just a bit of extra around the walls. An exception to the rule is if you have hardwood floors you want to show off, but still want a few smaller area rugs to add a splash of color or tie the space together. 

  5. Mix Colors and Textures
    A lot of your furniture and decor can be arranged by color, but don't forget about texture as well. If you're arranging throw pillows on a sofa, for example, mixing up colors and contrasting textures helps keep the eye interested. You don't want colors to clash with each other, but they shouldn't all be too similar. 

  6. Go With the Flow
    One of the most important considerations, when you arrange furniture, is the natural flow of traffic through the room. The last thing you want is to have people tripping over furniture. Make sure each piece of furniture has enough space to walk by it if needed, especially between the coffee table and any couches or chairs that may be nearby. 

  7. Let There Be Light
    Lighting is one of the best tools you have to tie a room together. Use light to your advantage by incorporating a variety of sources, including floor and table lamps as well as ceiling and wall-mounted fixtures. Use natural light as much as possible, with curtains or shades that allow you to control the lighting in each room.

Contact us today to learn more about transforming your living space. We've helped countless families find their dream homes in Florida, and we can't wait to help you find yours!

April
17

Regrow Vegetables

The return of springtime has our real estate agents thinking about gardening again! Whether you have a huge yard with lots of room for planting, or simply want to try out container gardening on your back patio, you might be surprised how much you can grow. 

Did you know that some of the most common fruits, vegetables, and herbs can be regrown from kitchen scraps? It's true! Those kitchen scraps can create a fun project that entertains and educate kids, and gives your old veggies a new lease on life!

Are you wondering which plants can be regrown? You'll be amazed… 

  • Onions. Members of the onion family (including garlic, scallions, and leeks) are some of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. Save a small piece of the base of the bulb or stem, with the roots still attached, and place it in a shallow container of water. New shoots will start to come up very quickly, and you can harvest them as needed, or plant the whole new bulb in your garden. 
  • Potatoes. You've probably had the experience of leaving potatoes in the bag too long and seeing them start to sprout. To get them to regrow, all you have to do is cut potatoes into pieces so that each piece has at least one "eye" (the indentations that the sprouts grow out of). Plant the pieces in the soil with the eyes facing up. 
  • Celery. Simply cut off the stalks so that you have an inch or two left at the base. Set the base in a shallow dish with a bit of warm water at the bottom, leave it in a warm, sunny place, and wait for new leaves to start. Once they do, you can replant the celery in the garden, where it will become a new, full-sized plant. 
  • Carrots. Keep the tops off your carrots. Just place the tops in water, and they will start to grow new roots, as well as greens that you can harvest as needed. 
  • Leafy Greens. Lettuce and most other head-forming greens can be regrown simply by keeping the rooting portion of the head and leaving it in water so that new leaves can grow. Lettuce and bok choy can also be regrown from a single leaf. Just place the leaf in a bowl with a little water in a sunny spot. Mist the leaf every day to keep it moist, and eventually, new roots will start to grow. 
  • Herbs. Many herbs can be grown from scraps too, including basil, cilantro, and mint. All you have to do is place 4 inches of the stem in a glass of water so that the leaves are above the water. Roots will start to grow, and soon you will have whole plants that can be transferred to the garden. 

Regrowing veggies in your kitchen is fun, but when you're ready to expand your gardening horizons, we're here to help. Our team has helped countless families find beautiful Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale, including houses with ample room for backyard gardening! 

Contact us today to learn more about life in the Bradenton and Sarasota areas, and talk to our team about finding your dream home.

March
27

Home Office Tips

Having a home office is becoming a sought-after feature for many home buyers. Whether you're an at-home worker or someone who just needs an occasional space to work on taxes and bills, you can enhance your experience by sprucing up your office space.

Our REALTORS® can help you with advice about what kind of office space might work in your home. In the meantime, here are some clever ways to improve your home office.

  1. Let the light in.
    No matter the type of work you do or the business you're in, light can help you see better, think better and energize you. Considering painting your office walls off white or bright white. Light paint will make the space look much larger.
     
    Lighting things up can also include locating your office space in front of or beside a window to take advantage of natural light. If natural light isn't an option, adding an attractive light fixture can creating an inviting work space as well.
  2. Think vertically.
    You can turn a small space into a larger space by making use of available walls. Add a wall-mounted desk to save floor space, then mount modular shelves so that they "climb" the walls. These bins become the perfect storage space for office supplies. Alternate bins with books, prints, statuary and plants (succulents, slow growers, are a good choice) to create visual interest.
  3. Go a little crazy with furnishings. 
    Nothing says "office" like a steel gray desk and a filing cabinet, but why be boring? There's no rule against eye-catching office decor. These days, you can find office-appropriate chairs in green velvet or a pretty in pink Ikea molded model. Introduce splashes of color into your office environment to create a space that you enjoy working in. 
  4. Don't forget the flooring. 
    Why settle for worn, dingy, or dark old carpet when there are so many great choices in flooring! Faux wood vinyl flooring can completely change the vibe -- just one large piece will do. Other trending flooring choices include responsibly sourced wood floors with non-toxic finishes, and engineered wood with a plywood core, an economic and sustainable choice. 
  5. Create a gallery on the wall.
    Don't need that backsplash above your desk for shelving? Create a gallery with artfully cropped prints, family pictures, your own doodles, found objects and work from your favorite artisans. You'll enjoy endless pleasure arranging your choices, and then gazing at your creation.
  6. Add a feeling of spaciousness with a mirror.
    A mirror can make your office space seem larger than it is. Go for an antique or contemporary standing floor mirror.
  7. Go green.
    Bring in the oxygen and help filter out airborne pollutants with a ficus, or similar low light-loving plant in a container. If you don't trust your green thumb, consider botanical prints, and use green accents. Green is a soothing color that helps people feel centered.

Our real estate agents are ready to help you realize the potential of your home office space. Contact us today. 

February
22

10 Expensive Mistakes to Avoid in Your Home

For most of us, our home is our biggest investment. While we do our best to keep it in top shape, it's easy to make small mistakes that can end up costing us big time. This quick read can save you money in the long run. Remember to:

  1. Clean Out Your Air Ducts
    Cleaning out your air ducts is a task that's easy to forget about, but dirt and debris build-up can cause real problems. Eventually, dirty ducts will start to restrict airflow and make your HAVC system work less efficiently. After a while, this can shorten the life expectancy of your system. 
  2. Pay Attention to Leaking Faucets
    That dripping faucet is more than just annoying. Did you know that even one drip a minute can waste up to 34 gallons a year? Not only is this terrible for the environment, but it will raise your water bill. Something as simple as a washer can solve this quickly and easily. 
  3. Hone Your DIY Skills
    Sure, there are some things that you should leave to the pros, but learning some basic DIY skills will help you save a ton of money when it comes to home repairs and upgrades. YouTube videos are an excellent resource for minor repairs.
  4. Research Before Taking on Home Improvement Projects
    Sure, it might seem like a great idea to add a cheetah-print carpet in your closet or build a cat-patio in your back yard, but an impractical home improvement could end up hurting your resale value.  If there's something you really want and you plan to stay in your home for a long time, this might not matter to you, but it's always smart to stop and think these things through before you make a commitment. 
  5. Avoid Over-Watering Your Lawn
    A lush, green lawn is every homeowner's dream, but when it comes to watering, more isn't always better. In Florida, watering needs change with the seasons Instead of relying on your automatic sprinkler, check in with our local Cooperative Extension for advice on proper watering to ensure you aren't wasting water and money. 
  6. Check Your Roof
    It's important to have your roof and gutters checked at least once a year so that you catch small problems before they get big. 
  7. Control the Temperature
    While many newer homes already have programmable thermostats, older homes often do not. Heating or cooling an empty house is just a waste - with a programmable thermostat you'll quickly make your money back in the form of savings on your energy bill. 
  8. Stop Using Traditional Light Bulbs
    Traditional light bulbs suck up energy and cost you money. Change these out for LED bulbs, and you'll notice a change almost immediately. 
  9. Keep an Eye on Your Home's Foundation
    Watch for signs of damage, like mold on the outside of the house, insects inside, or noticeable cracks. If any of these red flags arise, have the foundation looked at right away. 
  10. Consider Fast-Tracking Your Mortgage Repayment
    The longer it takes you to pay off your mortgage, the more you'll pay in interest fees. Make extra payments when you can, and you can shave thousands of dollars and several years off your repayment plan! 

You can protect your home by creating an annual home maintenance checklist to remind yourself to stay on track with home maintenance.

October
17

Fall Home Maintenance for Your Florida Home
Like it or not, summer is behind us, and cooler weather is headed our way. Luckily, living in Florida means the changes in the seasons aren't nearly as drastic as those experienced by our friends up north. Still, our real estate agents in Bradenton want to make sure you're ready for the change. These are the steps you should take this fall to get your Bradenton home ready for winter. 

A Checklist to Get Your Florida Home Ready for Fall

  1. Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clear
    If you live in a house with lots of overhanging trees, you might be shocked to discover the amount of leaves, debris and organic matter that pile up in your gutters over the course of a year. This can cause a lot of problems, including potentially costly water damage during rainy conditions, so make sure your gutters are clear before winter arrives. 

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