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A new edition every month! December 2014 Electronic Real Estate Newsletter
Ten Ingenious Ways To Remodel With Beauty And The Best
Tools And Gadgets For Holiday Home Gifts
How Your Mortgage Payoff Works
"Leverage" Can Mean Big Profits--Or Losses
Profit Pointers For Buyers, Sellers And Homeowners Through 2010
Why Home Prices Will Continue To Rise Long Term
Don't Get Too Cozy At Home
Installment Sales Help Investor Buyers and Sellers
Ten Ingenious Ways to Remodel With Beauty and the Best
The holiday impulse to renew and rejoice is in the air. One of the best ways to indulge this holiday feeling is to do or plan wonderful things for your home. What does your home need to bring out its beauty and its best value? Not mundane repair items, but those touches that showcase your home's worth, enhance its beauty, improve its comfort and safety--things that carry enchantment far beyond one festive season.

Go over your home, room by room, with an eye to what's best in aesthetic and practical value. Keep in mind how long you plan to keep your home and what might appeal to future buyers.

Here are some of the latest trends you might consider to make the home you love even more lovable. Generally, luxurious details are in. Not only are they smart and practical, they're also sure-fire investments for bringing you top dollar on resale.

1. Paint, panel or paper
Keep in mind, light colors make rooms look larger, dark colors smaller (cozier). If you like soft colors (pale pinks, greens, blues, yellows), they're ideal for enlarging small rooms. Perk them up with accents in deeper tones or with interesting textures (such as sponging some walls or adding sisal).

If you like a touch of the dramatic, paint a door in primary colors or add a "fool the eye" scene (such as a landscape that seems to be seen through glass). Don't be afraid to put reds and pinks together, or blues and greens. For real drama, add white trim to deep colors. Remember, if you're thinking of selling your home soon--neutral tones are "safer." Splash color around using upholstery, throw pillows, artwork and other furnishings.

2. Give small rooms extra dimension
Put in floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Place one at right angles to a corner window to bring in the outdoors. Mirrors at different angles create a patchwork of repeated patterns that can be interesting, light reflecting and fun.

3. Light up the house
Consider creative lighting, including:

   Spotlights to point up art work

   Track lights to illuminate bookshelves

   Indirect lights or decorative wall sconces wherever shadows are too deep

   Under-counter lights in kitchens and workshops

   Using incandescent or halogen lighting, which is warmer than fluorescent

4. Transform your floors
Look under foot to refinish, recarpet or retile. Wood floors can be bleached, pickled, stained, painted almost any color or made unique by installing ceramic tiles in the kitchen, or a block of patterned wood (inside a wood border) in the center of a dining room or bedroom.

5. Open spaces and clear surfaces
Go with the trend of fewer furnishings and belongings in view. For things you want handy but not displayed, create storage places:

   A window seat

   Narrow shelves inside closet and cabinet doors

   A tip-down triangular tray (for brushes, sponges, etc.) built into the cabinet at the front of the kitchen sink

   A wall system with cubes of different sizes, some with shelves, some with drawers

   A "Murphy" bed that folds into the wall

6. Large family kitchens
Top-grade is the trend in appliances, including microwave ovens, disposals and compactors, work islands that sport stainless steel double sinks or a down-vented stove, plus side bookshelves or lift-up table top. The dining end of the kitchen might be equipped with comfortable chairs, a desk, or book shelves. A fireplace turns the kitchen into a homey family room where everyone lingers.

7. Luxurious bathrooms
Make your privacy a pleasure. You might install light dimmers and thermostatically controlled mixer taps, extra mirrors, a solarium window, or create a sunken bath set in a raised floor that houses the plumbing.

8. Year-round comfort
Utility bills can be lower when windows are installed with low-emissity glass (gas filling between panes) that can be twice as efficient as double-glazed windows. They reflect heat, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. An invisible coating also blocks ultraviolet light and protects furnishings.

9. Makeover the garage
The car park may not be the most beautiful part of your home, but it may be the most useful space you have--if it's soundly built, clean, well organized and uncluttered. A garage can double as a workshop, garden house or playground. An automatic door opener is the warmest welcome in wet or cold weather.

10. Consider safety and convenience
Whatever alarm system you add to your basic smoke detector contributes to your peace and security. Electronic "smart" devices can be installed to turn lights, appliances and heating/air conditioning off and on at pre-set times, to warn of intrusion or announce a visitor, to remind you (in a synthesized voice) when you're due at an appointment or when you're using too much electricity.

Home improvement possibilities are endless. But if your home can't accommodate your dreams--with neither love nor money--remember there are homes in the area that will. When you're ready to explore the possibilities, we're here to help make your dreams come true.
Tools and Gadgets For Holiday Home Gifts
When it comes to home repairs, maintenance and fix-ups, having the right tool for the task at hand can spell the difference between a quick job well done and a frustrating ordeal. If you have a "handyperson" (willing or not) on your holiday gift list, here are some great gifts you could contribute to his or her arsenal of equipment--if he or she hasn't already discovered them.

   Cordless Power Drill (9.6 volt or more) with two rechargeable batteries. Likely to become the most oft-used tool in the box!

   Drill bit set (100 piece or more) to handle any challenge-ceramic, concrete, specialty head shapes, etc. With quick-snap adaptor, even better.

   Portable tool organizer of heavy-duty canvas or rip-stop fabric. Belt, vest or bucket offers ready access to tools, often with dozens of varying pocket sizes.

   Universal socket wrench can adjust to any size, both metric and standard, due to flexible pin design. Some come with power adaptors for electric drills/screwdrivers.

   Spring hose (50' or longer) takes the weight and the winding out of watering tasks, yet stands up to wear and tear.

   Pressure washer for concrete, siding, outdoor furniture, decks, vehicles and much more. Even inexpensive, lower pressure models (about $80) are effective enough for most tasks.

   Electronic stud finder finds the wood, not just the nail holding it in place. Some come with laser leveling devices.

   Carpenter's level comes in handy for everything from tree houses and fencing to hanging picture on the walls.

   Sanding sponges, in various texture grades, offer a tough, rinseable, reusable sanding surface, particularly useful with drywall and spackling compound.
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Ten Ingenious Ways To Remodel With Beauty And The Best
Tools And Gadgets For Holiday Home Gifts
How Your Mortgage Payoff Works
"Leverage" Can Mean Big Profits--Or Losses
Profit Pointers For Buyers, Sellers And Homeowners Through 2010
Why Home Prices Will Continue To Rise Long Term
Don't Get Too Cozy At Home
Installment Sales Help Investor Buyers and Sellers

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