Home insurance

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the cost of homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the company you buy from. Below are some of the Institute’s most important things to consider – which could save you big bucks – when buying homeowners insurance.

1. Shop Around – Ask your friends, check the web or contact your state insurance department. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org) has information to help choose an insurer in your state, and on registering complaints.Home insurance

2. Raise Your Deductible – Today, the Institute says most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent.

3. Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs – The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy.

4. Buy home and auto policies from the same insurer – Some companies will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them. Just be sure the combined price is lower than buying separate coverage from different companies.

5. Make your home more disaster resistant – You may save on premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials. In addition, consider modernizing heating, plumbing and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.

6. Improve home security – Does your insurer give discounts of at least 5 percent for a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks? Some companies offer to cut premiums by up to 20 percent if you install a sprinkler system, or a fire/burglar alarm that rings at a central dispatch or monitoring station. Before you buy a system, however, find out what the insurer recommends, how much it would cost and how much you might save on premiums.

When you are ready to buy or sell a home- we are here for you, at Dupont Real Estate. We look forward to hearing from you.

Garage Door Care

Garage Door Care is very important

You pull into and out of your garage hundreds of time a year, ever expecting your door to reliably open and close at your whim. Going up and down so much can be pretty taxing, which is why after being neglected for months or years, garage doors rightfully start to complain loudly.

If your door sounds more like a train’s “clack-clack” as it runs down the track, you’ve definitely let things go way too far. Fortunately, garage doors tend to be pretty foolproof and tolerate neglect more than other important parts in your home. But you’re not going to be neglectful, you’re going to do regular inspections and maintenance so it’ll last even longer, right?

Garage Door Care

image by HomeKeepr

Parts of a Garage Door
This may come as some surprise, but a garage door is more than a door. It’s a system of moving parts that we conveniently label as a “door.” Modern garage door systems include important pieces like:

* Opener. You know this one, it’s that big box in the center of the garage ceiling. The opener is designed with a shuttle that moved the door up and down with the help of a chain, screw or belt-driven motor. You can even get Smart Garage door openers now.
* Springs and cables. Your door might feel light if you manually lift it while it’s hung, but this is because of a highly tensioned giant spring (or two) mounted above your door and the cables that are attached. Always treat these with the respect required, they can be very dangerous to work on directly (call a pro!).
* Sensors. If you look closely near the bottom of each garage door track, you’ll see sensors that resemble tiny cameras. As a team they maintain an almost invisible laser beam that causes the door to reverse if something suddenly breaks it during door decent.

Of course, there are other bits and pieces we could talk about, but this is about taking care of your door, not examining its anatomy. We’ll do that another time. Just understand that these three systems are vital to the door’s function and without all of them in working order, the door becomes very unsafe and unreliable

Taking Care of Your Home’s Biggest Front Door
If you can’t remember the last time you did anything with your garage door, now is the time to get on this. The weather’s perfect and you could stand to get outside anyway. There are a few tasks that you should absolutely not attempt without help or considerable experience, like replacing a broken spring, but for the most part, garage door maintenance is a snap.

Run down this checklist and your door will be ready to roll again!

* Tighten all screws and bolts. That rattling sound isn’t just for ambience, your garage door vibrates as it moves up and down, slowly backing screws and bolts out. Start at the bottom and work your way up, tightening all fasteners and replacing any that seem to be missing or broken. Don’t forget to check the hinges between door panels!

* Pull the manual garage door release. With the garage door closed, pull that handle hanging down from your opener. With the opener’s shuttle unlocked, check your door’s balance by opening the door about half way. If it stays where you put it, you’re gold. If not, call a pro to help — rebalancing a door can be difficult and dangerous. Don’t forget to push the door open all the way to re-engage the opener’s shuttle.

* Check the safety reversal system. Grab a scrap 2×4, cement block or something of similar size and shape and place it directly in the path of the garage door. Make sure that the object isn’t breaking the beam, since this is testing a different part of your system. Now, shut the door using the garage door opener.

If the door stops as soon as contact is made, your safety reversal system is set properly. If not, you’ll need to find your manual and look up which knob or button is used to decrease the force required to stop the door. This is one of those things you’ll test way more often than you’ll have to adjust.

* Break the beam. Check that the indicator lights on your infrared sensors are showing that the eyes are adjusted properly. Once they’re looking deeply into each other’s eye, close the garage door. Before it reaches the ground, pass a broom between the sensors. The door should stop, otherwise your sensors may need to be cleaned or replaced.

* Grease some squeaky wheels. You’ve tightened hardware, tested the door’s safety features and you’re ready to go nap in your hammock. But wait! There’s one more thing. It’s time to lube the beast. You won’t actually be lubricating a lot of the system, you’ll be cleaning it, but it’ll run more smoothly and that’s the point.

Start with the track itself, cleaning it with carburetor or brake cleaner and a cloth. Next, using a silicone based garage door lubricant, spray between the pin and wheel on each roller, wiping off any excess (lubricant doesn’t belong on the track). If your rollers are nylon, take extra special care because they slip easily.

You can also use the same lubricant to coat the outside of your torsion spring (the one above the door itself). Again watch for drips.

Are You Feeling a Bit More TGIF Than DIY?
Not everyone wants to take their garage door into their own hands. Even people who do sometimes hit problems that they simply don’t have the expertise to handle. That’s ok, that’s why the HomeKeepr community is such a thriving resource — everyone you could ever need to call is participating! Just log in and check out the overhead door experts that your Realtor has already recommended. They can come out and give your door a quick one-over, then set up inexpensive regular maintenance, saving you thousands of dollars in major repairs. Taken from HomeKeepr.com

When you are ready to buy or sell a house, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Dress up your house on a budget

Dress up your house on a budget with these great tips!

Owning a house is a never-ending adventure in investing your heart and soul into a wholly unique structure. Some homeowners have great big budgets for massive changes or enhancements to their home, others are working with a shoestring. If you’re in the second group, you can still put your mark on your house. There are plenty of ways to personalize it without spending a lot of money.

Dress up your house on a budget

Image from HomeKeepr.com

Even Simple Changes Create Huge Home Impacts
After the stress of moving is over and the dust has settled, you may start to ponder other ways to enhance your new home. When you moved in, it was pretty generic, with cream-colored walls, light brown carpet and an outside paint job that absolutely no one could find offensive. A lot of houses end up in this generic state when the owner is wanting a fast sale, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way!

Take a look at these small projects that can really make your home pop:

Replace the front door. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost Versus Value Report, replacing your front door is one of the most value-packed changes you can make to your home. A new door not only creates a new focal point, it allows you to really get personal. These days you can special order doors in nearly any size with exquisite touches like frosted or stained glass, as well as bigger units that have full size windows on either side.

Remodeling Magazine ranked front door replacement third in cost recuperation; the best value return on the list was also a door. Consider your garage door while you’re upgrading. Like front doors, garage doors are becoming increasingly detailed, with lots of options for personalization. Because they take up so much real estate on the front of your house, a new garage door can make your home look completely different.

Choose a paint scheme with more than two colors. That’s not to say that you should go wild and paint your house in every color of the rainbow, but by using at least three colors, you can draw attention to the neat little details instead of letting them get lost in a monotone trim color. For example, if your post-World War two era home has neat porch brackets and dentils, you might paint those features to match the front door so they pop out from the trim. Just don’t go crazy with color or the effect will be lost in the cacophony.

Add shutters and window boxes. On the right house, shutters or window boxes can pack a huge visual wallop. Choose shutters that are appropriate for the style of your home, even if you need to special order them. You can keep them seriously low-maintenance by selecting vinyl shutters in the color you’re after — just hang them and forget it. The same goes for window boxes. Low maintenance boxes with colorful flowers can help perk up plain windows.

Relight the night. Details matter and that includes your lighting. Get rid of those generic carriage lights and clunky motion detecting flood lights and install some impressive lighting on the outside of your home. There are lots of styles to choose between, many with motion detection built-in, and several sizes. Lighting that fits in the space appropriately, provides lots of light and matches your home’s outer theme is an important element in a total shoestring makeover.

Raise some flower beds. Growing plants on your lawn can become a messy proposition as the summer’s heat starts to bear down. Built-up beds are easier to maintain than patches in the grass and they lend a bit of formality to the space. Choose a location that makes sense, like along a walkway or up against the porch so visitors are greeted with your cheery plants.

It doesn’t take a huge budget to make changes to the outward appearance of your home. Planning colors and accessories strategically makes all the difference, especially when you’re on a limited budget.

Not Sure You’re Ready for Painting or Installing Fixtures?
Not everyone is handy or inclined to find out if they can paint by doing it, and that’s ok, too. These inexpensive projects can be tackled by a home pro easily. Just log in to HomeKeepr to find a painter, electrician, landscaper or general handyman that your Realtor has already recommended! Your house will be refreshed and renewed in no time.

Better concrete painting tips will improve the look of your painted concrete

Concrete has been used by humans for thousands of years, with some of the oldest examples of wells and houses made with the stuff dating back to 6500 BC. Although the ingredients have been refined over time, it’s still basically the same material that those ancient people valued so highly.

Better Concrete Painting Tips

From HomeKeepr.com

Even though concrete’s a really useful substance, it’s not particularly interesting. The endless gray of any random basement or garage is almost enough to make a person go mad. That’s probably why so many homeowners try to paint their concrete floors without considering how concrete is different from other types of building materials. Too often, they end up with the wrong materials or improper preparation, guaranteeing the coating will fail miserably.

Painting Concrete Isn’t Like Painting Your House
Concrete is a tricky substance. Unlike wood that is relatively non-porous, concrete literally breathes and wicks water constantly. This is why you’ll see older homes with miserable paint jobs on their patios, in the basement, or anywhere there’s a lot of concrete. That paint didn’t stand a chance of bonding to the concrete without a lot of help.

But your paint job will be different, that’s why you’re here! Removing old paint from a concrete slab can be a challenging job, but the end result is a glorious floor that twinkles in the sunlight. How about some tips for doing the job right?

#1. Choose concrete stain or dye. One of the main reasons that house paint peels off of concrete is because it doesn’t breathe like the concrete surface. This leads to moisture build-up below the paint, causing adherence to be lost entirely. Concrete stains and concrete dyes are different — they breathe just like the concrete. Stains are made of a blend of acrylic polymers and pigments that react chemically with the concrete surface; dyes, on the other hand, are nonreactive and color the cement when the very small particles penetrate into the surface.

#2. Epoxy garage floor paint is another option. Although it’s much more challenging to apply correctly, if you really want to “paint” the floor, an epoxy-based garage floor paint can be applied to your cleaned and prepped concrete surface. Bear in mind that epoxy takes time to dry and then has to have an additional curing period to harden properly. If you’re dealing with an interior space, you’ll also need lots of ventilation, otherwise the fumes could be your downfall.

#3. Take the time to prep the floor right. This may mean removing old paint with chemical paint remover, power washing the surface or even renting a grinder and roughing up the floor while eliminating old paint. When you’re prepping a concrete floor for painting, it should be just slightly rough, similar in texture to 120 grit sandpaper. Take your time and don’t settle for “good enough.”

#4. Always wash the bared floor thoroughly. With all that old paint gone and traces of various chemicals left behind, it’s definitely time to wash the concrete. Not only does this remove any stray material that might have been missed, you’ll ensure that no unplanned chemical reactions occur (you’re not going to blow up the house, but your paint may fail to adhere). Let it dry thoroughly, for days if possible.

#5. Test for moisture penetration. You’ve cleaned your concrete slab and you’re ready to paint! Except you’re not. You still need to check out the level of moisture penetration coming through the slab. Remember how you can’t use wall paint on concrete floors because it needs to breathe? It’s still breathing. The question now is just how much.

You can test this by covering a three foot by three foot area of the floor with heavy clear plastic sheeting. Tape it down completely and just walk away. Check in with it in a couple of days. If there’s no moisture collecting under the plastic, you’re golden. If there is, you may need to apply a masonry sealer first and retest before applying the final color (ask your paint monger what solution works best in your area).

#6. Priming is vital to success. You’ve probably painted walls and other things without applying a proper primer and it worked just fine, but we’re comparing apples to space ships here. Concrete not only is expected to take a lot harder beating than any random wall, it has all that complicated breathing going on. Skip the primer and you might as well just not do the project at all because you’ll just have to redo it in a few weeks or months.

Concrete Painting Giving You the Jitters?
It’s ok, if you’re not ready for a project like this you certainly don’t have to go it alone. Just log into your friendly HomeKeepr community and you’ll have no trouble finding a concrete contractor who can create the cement floor you’ve been dreaming about. Since they’re been recommended by your Realtor, you know they’re experienced and can be trusted. You dream up the concrete floors you want, HomeKeepr’s home pros will bring them to life.

Home improvements will help you sell your house.

Today’s homebuyers are less attracted to cosmetic aesthetics and more to a home’s bones, mechanicals and structural improvements

Homebuyers—regardless of generation—want a move-in-ready home. That may sound like an old song, but looking forward there’s a new verse. Move-in-ready is less about trending pop and sizzle in the kitchen and bathroom and more about what’s going on behind, under and over those cupboards and fixtures.

According to a recent consumer survey by homebuilder Taylor Morrison, 62 percent of homebuyers most want energy efficiency and 56 percent seek easy maintenance.

Are homebuyers willing to pay for what they want? In most cases, yes, says Craig Webb, editor of Remodeling magazine and its annual Cost vs. Value Report. The 2018 Report, not yet released, cites at least a 10 percent drop in return on investment (ROI) for upscale remodeling projects. “The highest resale payback is in projects that involve replacing what’s broken, inefficient or outdated,” he says.

Here are several key areas where you can guide sellers through home décor and design trends, attract homebuyers and profitably close more sales.

Get FIXated
“Between Pinterest and HGTV, many sellers get caught up in visually preparing their home for sale,” says Lilli Schipper, CRS, REALTOR®, with Fort Lauderdale-based Island and Resort Realty. “Yet they forget about outdated mechanical and structural issues, which could come up during an inspection and end up killing the deal. Pre-listing inspections can sometimes provide more value than staging.”

Based on 2017 data, here are the top-10 home improvements in terms of ROI, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report:
1. Garage Door Replacement- 98.3%
2. Manufactured Stone Veneer- 97.1%
3. Deck Addition (wood)-82.8%
4.Minor Kitchen Remodel-81.1%
5. Siding Replacement-76.7%
6.Window Replacement (vinyl)-74.3%
7. Universal Design Bathroom-70.6%
8. Bathroom Remodel-70.1%
9.Window Replacement (wood)-69.5%
10. Roofing Replacement-68.4%

Mechanical and structural improvements may not be the sexiest home trend, but it’s hot—and getting hotter. “In 2017, the payback for these kinds of projects averaged 74 percent. In 2018, it’s up to 76 percent,” Webb says.

Driving home this point, the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint study from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), gives a new roof a 109 percent ROI. The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report gives top honors to what’s going on under that roof, with a 107.7 percent payback for fiberglass attic insulation.

Debra Pitell-Hauge, CRS, broker-REALTOR® with Michael Saunders & Company, headquartered in Longboat Key, Florida, says it’s about fixing functional obsolescence. That can mean an energy efficient HVAC system, new windows and doors, or the ability to withstand almost anything that Mother Nature dishes out. “Here on Florida’s west coast, buyers want hurricane-impact glass. I’ve seen people buy their second-choice home because it’s hurricane proof.”

Curb your enthusiasm
“Curb appeal is more important than ever,” Pitell-Hauge says. “It’s partly because most people start their search online. So first they see the front of the house and then they move on to interior photographs.”
While every REALTOR® knows the importance of curb appeal, Webb emphasizes that exterior project ROIs have been outpacing interior projects for a while now—and are not expected to slow down any time soon. These exterior improvements include landscaping and fresh paint as well as new doors, windows, siding and roof.

Open floor plan 2.0
For years, many homebuyers wanted an open floor plan, with a seamless flow from kitchen to dining room to family room. Homebuyers still want an open floor plan—but now they also want flexibility. Or, as Taylor Morrison’s survey reports, 58 percent of today’s homebuyers want a floor plan that can be personalized.
Visually “explaining” an open floor plan’s flexibility ramps up the importance of professional staging, says Linda Rike, CRS, broker-REALTOR®, with Linda Rike Real Estate and serving Crystal Coast–Carteret County, North Carolina.

“A personalized floor plan implies creating living spaces where you want them to be. For example, in my market, the open formal dining room is making a comeback, so I might take an open space and stage a breakfast nook and a formal dining area—rather than one space for all meals.”

Or you may want to stage an open space with less family room and more home office space. Depending on your market, you might stage a smaller dining area and introduce room for a mixologist’s dream bar cart. It’s a visual solution for the increasing number of homebuyers who want to share the trending “cocktail experience” with friends.

Generally, stagers charge $300 to $600 for a consultation. Regardless of staging price, the payback can be substantial. According to the 2017 Profile of Home Staging report by the National Association of REALTORS®, 77 percent of buyers’ agents say staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home and about one-third of buyer’s agents feel that staging increases the dollar value offered from 1 to 5 percent when compared to similar unstaged homes on the market.

A warm welcome
Houzz predicts that 2018 home design and décor will go to bold, warm colors—like ruby red, grays with a hint of brown, and rich, earthy shades of camel, rust, tobacco and burnt yellow. Vibrant floral patterns are expected to bloom from ceiling to floor. Not a warm color fan? Sherwin-Williams named Oceanside SW 6496 as its 2018 Color of the Year, describing the cool, deep tone as a rich blue that collides with jewel-toned green.

These colors are fabulous, but potential ROI disasters if permanently applied to walls, floors, fixtures or cabinets while preparing a house for sale, says Kathy Novak, CRS, REALTOR®, with Howard Hanna Real Estate serving Northeast Ohio. “Use color trends for furniture, bathroom towels and shower curtains, and kitchen knick-knacks, but not for anything that’s permanent.”

Specifically addressing walls, anything bolder than warm gray, warm beige, or better yet, a combo called warm greige, can immediately shut a buyer down, Rike adds. “The first thing that pops in their mind is: ‘I’ll have to spend a fortune to repaint the whole house.’ With that, they move on to the next property.”

Counter intelligence
Yesteryear’s stark, all-white kitchens are warming up with vibrant pops of color, dark wood floors, dramatic statement tile work, black appliances and countertops created from a myriad of materials. However, Schipper says, these are pricey, upscale trends meant for personal enjoyment—but not investment. “If you put $80,000 into a new kitchen, do it for yourself and enjoy! Just don’t expect to get it back on resale value.”

The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report and the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report agree, both giving a major, upscale kitchen remodel a slim ROI of only 62 percent.

The general consensus is to keep kitchen updates down to a new granite countertop and perhaps a new sink. As Pitell-Hauge explains, “In high-priced markets, I believe buyers will tear the kitchen out and put in what they want, regardless of what you’ve done. In mid-priced markets, buyers won’t likely be able to afford the additional cost to cover a major kitchen remodel.”

Floor it
Hardwood flooring continues to attract homebuyers. Popular alternatives range from distressed or reclaimed wood for a rustic look to sophisticated dark hardwoods stained sleek black to traditional oak, which remains a perennial fan favorite. However, with more trends than ever, it’s tough to know which look will grab a homebuyer’s second glance.

For that reason, it’s often better to professionally clean existing carpet or refinish existing hardwood floors. The 2017 Remodeling Impact Report gives refinishing a solid thumbs up, citing a 100 percent ROI.

The projects attracting homebuyers aren’t necessarily inexpensive, but they typically cost less than a luxury kitchen remodel or bathroom addition, Webb says. That means sellers need to invest less to prepare a home for sale and will likely recoup more—if not all—of their investment. As for sellers who think they need to present an upscale trend-worthy home, well, that only happens on HGTV. 

BY DONNA SHRYER, https://crs.com/resources/connect-blog

These Tips come from Charlotte’s most experienced realtor, Dupont Real Estate. Call us when you are ready to buy or sell a home. We are here for you.

Shop for Loans

Shop for Loans- it is possible

Over 50% of home buyers don’t shop for loans to find the best interest rate for their mortgage.

While a buyer would rarely purchase the first home they look at, they will accept the rate and terms offered by only one lender. While the borrower and the property affect the rate and terms that a lender may offer, not all lenders offer the same terms and rates to the same buyer. Shop for loans- before choosing a mortgage loan- Charlotte realtor tips

I advise my clients that shopping around to compare rate and terms for a mortgage is a reasonable exercise considering that a half percent less interest rate could not only lower the payment but the cumulative interest that is paid while that loan is outstanding. Remember to shop for loans before making your decision

When you are ready to buy or sell your home, contact one of the most experienced Realtors in town- Dupont Real Estate.

(Taken from crs.com)

Outdoor kitchens are a interest of a lot of homeowners. Homeowners continue to cook up outdoor kitchens that in some cases rival their indoor counterparts. Yet some experts insist the popularity of outdoor kitchens has boiled over.

Belgard, a maker of outdoor living products, says souped-up outdoor kitchens include professional-grade appliances (particularly refrigerators and dishwashers), numerous cooking surfaces, bar-style seating and brick ovens, while Trex Co., another maker of outdoor living products, adds cooking islands and built-in sinks to the mix.outdoor kitchen DIY tips from your Charlotte realtor- Dupont Real Estate

“The whole concept of outdoor cooking has grown far beyond a backyard barbecue,” design expert Paul Lafrance, one of the stars of HGTV’s ‘Decked Out,” says in a Trex news release. “Homeowners are hungry for fully appointed kitchens with features like integrated trash bins, ice chests and cabinetry that add convenience and luxury.”

In a 2015 survey by the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association, 35 percent of people who have outdoor kitchens said they planned to undertake upgrades within the next three years. Outdoor furniture purchases, deck/patio improvements and garden/landscaping improvements topped the list of planned upgrades.

“Outdoor kitchens make life easier for those who enjoy grilling their meals and entertaining outdoors, making your deck or patio an extension of your family’s living space. It also can enhance your home’s resale value,” the National Association of Home Builders says.

As you’d expect, the National Outdoor Kitchen & Fireplace Association is bullish about outdoor kitchens.

“The outdoor kitchen has become one of the most popular home improvements for consumers across America,” the association says, “and just about every consumer we speak to is either planning on having an outdoor kitchen built or it’s at the top of their wish list for a future backyard project.”

A 2013 survey for Casual Living and HGTV showed that 4 percent of U.S. consumers had outdoor kitchens, but it’s likely that number has grown in the meantime. The 2013 research found that outdoor kitchens most often are owned by wealthier, older Americans.

Ian Phi, publisher of the Patio Resource website, says the popularity of outdoor kitchens peaked a few years ago and now is waning. As a matter of fact, a December 2015 survey by the National Home Builders Association indicates that builders expect outdoor kitchens to be one of the least likely features incorporated into new single-family homes in 2016.

Phi says some homeowners have discovered that they don’t use their outdoor kitchens all that much, and that these kitchens are yet another area they must clean and maintain. If outdoor kitchens aren’t maintained well, he says, birds, insects and other pests might come calling.

“Most homeowners want to have some planned outdoor space,” Phi says. “It could be something simple, perhaps just a small area to put an outdoor table and a grill. Other people want to go all out and have a fire pit area, lots of custom-built seating, extensive landscaping and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.”

John Egan is editor in chief at LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based company that helps people find, schedule, pay for and manage lawn care services.

DIY backyard ideas

Remember backyards? Those things we’ve been ignoring for the past four months? They’re back! They might not be looking as sharp as they did before the snowfalls, but we’ve got some rad DIY backyard projects to bring it back to life.

1. Ground-level trampoline
Do you live in constant fear of your kids falling off the trampoline? Honestly—parenting fears aside—trampolines might be fun, but they’re pretty ugly structures. Well, with these sunken trampolines, you’ll never have to worry about either of those things. Just dig a hole, place your trampoline, and voila!

2. The only thing better than a tree house
Looking for a treehouse alternative, something that looks nice but offered a little distance from the main house? What about a garden house, originally for children to play in and now a perfect woman cave. Moral of the story: your treehouse need not be on a tree.

3. Tin can lanterns
This project is both DIY and eco-friendly (because recycling is good). They are easy to make, and will elevate your backyard to the next level. It’s a win-win!

4. How about some outdoor Tic Tac Toe?
Not only is Tic Tac Toe the best (especially when you’re super good at it), but it also scores high in decorative value. With little effort, you’ll come across as cool and tasteful.

5. Vertical garden
Since we’ve already installed a sunken trampoline, a play house/woman cave, and have a Tic Tac Toe board lying around, how about we go for space efficiency with this one? A vertical garden can cover any and all walls. It looks good, it smells nice, and you can eat it! That is the best of all the worlds, if you ask me.

6. Last but not least, a fire pit
If you can’t roast s’mores in your backyard, is it even a backyard? I’m going to go with no. This DIY project costs only $60 to make, but look how fancy. This fire pit will make the perfect centerpiece for the intense fantasy backyard we just built together. (Also: s’mores.)

An awesome backyard is just one DIY away.

When you are ready to buy or sell your home in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area, contact Dupont Real Estate. We are here for you.

Moving and buying a home
Moving and buying a home

Image via Pixabay

Moving and buying a home is a fun and exciting time for your family, but your dog might not feel the same way. House hunting and listing your own home on the market mean disruptions to your pet’s usual schedule, which can be stressful for pets and owners alike. However, there are a few things you can do to help the move go smoothly for everyone involved.

Selling

Showcasing your home to potential buyers means a lot of strangers coming in and out of your house. This can be overwhelming even for people-loving dogs, and your buyers won’t appreciate a dog jumping, barking, or getting in the way as they try to look around. In fact, pets can deter some buyers from even considering your home. Scheduling a dog walker during showings keeps your dog happy and helps you attract the widest possible pool of buyers. If you need to get out of the house too, turn it into an opportunity for quality time with your pet by heading to a local ​dog park​.

Speaking of buyers that aren’t fans of pets, you should also make sure your house doesn’t have any lingering pet odors before showing it. People often don’t notice odors in their own home, so
ask a friend for a second opinion or schedule a carpet and upholstery cleaning just to be safe. According to HomeAdvisor, in Charlotte, NC, you can expect to pay ​$116-$204​ to have your carpets cleaned, and it will likely take around 4 hours to complete. This is a very small price to pay to ensure you’re making a great impression to potential buyers.

Be diligent about sweeping, vacuuming, and cleaning pet waste out of the yard, and consider boarding your pet for the days leading up to a big showing or open house so it’s easier to keep the house clean.
Buying It’s fun to look for homes for sale while you’re out walking your dog. Rather than risking upsetting realtors or homeowners by bringing your dog to a showing he doesn’t want to be at anyway, leave pets at home when viewing houses. If you do spot the perfect house while out with your pet, jot down the address and realtor’s information so you can follow up.

Moving

After everything is closed and settled, there’s one more step before your move is over. Unfortunately, it’s also the most ​stressful​ part for your dog. Pets don’t react well to changes at home, and packing up the house is certain to cause some anxiety. Try to pack gradually, starting with small things, so as to not set off your pet’s alarms. When the movers are due to arrive, schedule pet sitting so your dog is blissfully unaware of the action until it’s over.

In the new house, you may need to set up a safe area for your dog while he acclimates to the new environment. The ​ASPCA​ recommends putting his bed, food, and toys in a single room and provide plenty of affection until he’s feeling confident in his surroundings. This could take a couple of days or longer depending on your pet’s personality. Once you’ve settled in, take some time to explore your new neighborhood with your dog, and keep an eye out for some of Charlotte’s best dog-friendly ​restaurants​ and ​breweries​.

Don’t have a pet yet but planning on getting one? There’s no reason not to factor future pets into your house hunting. Look for a house with a fenced yard, scratch-resistant flooring, and other ​pet-friendly features​ to make life with a pet a little bit easier.

Whether you have a house full of dogs or are planning for your first pet, it’s important to consider how you’ll navigate the responsibilities of pet ownership while coordinating a move. These tips will help keep everyone happy throughout the process, yourself included.

Article provided by Medina at DogEtiquette.info

Remodeling and your home

Remodeling and your home- news from Dupont Real EstateThe expected tenure of homeowners in a home continues to increase, according to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Last year, the expected tenure was 12 years – this year, it jumped to 15. And, with tightened inventory in many markets, people are staying put in their homes for longer. As a result, remodeling one’s current home is an increasingly popular option for those who want their dream home, but are unable or unwilling to move.

The 2017 Remodeling Impact report shows that remodeling can bring more enjoyment to a home, and that certain projects have high returns both in terms of the joy they bring to the homeowner, as well as the amount of expenses that are recouped when the home is sold.

The projects that yield the most joy and recoup the most expenses might come as a surprise. According to REALTOR® respondents, the number one project is a complete kitchen renovation. The top reason homeowners renovate the kitchen is for better functionality and livability, according to 44 percent of respondents. When the project is completed, 91 percent of respondents have both a greater desire to be in the home and have a greater sense of enjoyment when they are at home. Overall, a kitchen renovation receives a 10 out of 10 Joy Score and REALTORS® estimate that $40,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—approximately 62 percent of the estimated cost.

The second-most popular project is a kitchen upgrade. Like the complete kitchen renovation, upgrading worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials is high on the list of reasons to undertake the project – in fact, it’s the number one reason, at 42 percent. When the project is completed, 81 percent report experiencing a greater desire to be in the home and feeling a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. Slightly less have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are in the home at 76 percent, but the project overall has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10. REALTORS® estimate that $20,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—57 percent of the estimated cost. The third project on the list of most popular projects is a bathroom renovation. Forty percent undertake the project for better functionality and livability, while 38 percent want to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials. When the project is completed, 78 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. The project has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10, and REALTORS® estimate that $15,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—50 percent of the estimated cost.

By Meredith Dunn, National Association of REALTORS®

Menu

Dupont Real Estate