Articles Tagged "Home Improvement"

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Buy a Home | 6 Posts
Home Improvement | 12 Posts
Homeowners | 3 Posts
Sell a House | 4 Posts
Tuscaloosa, AL | 22 Posts
November
7

Your Complete Guide For Cleaning Your Carpets

Odds are you haven't cleaned your carpets in a long time. Here's how you should do it.

Cleaning the carpets isn't our favorite thing to do. But did you know keeping the carpet clean can actually extend its life?

That's just one reason to heed the tips our real estate agents have rounded up below. If you need another reason — well, maybe you're thinking of listing your home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale. You'll need to clean your carpets, among other chores. Nothing will turn a buyer off like icky, dirty carpets. Or maybe you just moved into a new home, and you've realized the carpets weren't as clean as they could be. So, time to roll up your sleeves and get it done, if you're able. If not, there are carpet cleaning services that will do a good job.

For those ready to give their carpets a thorough cleaning, let's get started.

  1. Vacuuming is the first step of deep carpet cleaning.
    Make sure your vacuum is adjusted to the right height, and you're ready to go. Go over high-traffic areas several times to make sure you get all the dirt.

    Vacuum at least once a week. Not only are you removing dirt, but you're also restoring the carpet fibers' buoyancy. The colors should brighten up too.

  2. Use cleaning products.
    Help the vacuum get the carpet cleaner by means of carpet cleaning products. There are powders, shampoos, and foam sprays at the home store. Got a stained area? A bristle brush plus a cleaning solution may do the trick. Then vacuum.

    Hint: When cleaning with a rug shampoo and water, don't get the carpet too wet or you may have mold or mildew. A wet-dry vac is ideal to vacuum shampooed carpet.

    Some stains may require special treatment. Consult a carpet stain removal guide for best results.

  3. Go natural with vinegar and water.
    Vinegar is justly celebrated for its ability as a household cleaner, and it will also work well as a carpet cleaning solution. Mix one part distilled white vinegar and three parts cold water. Test the solution by spraying on the carpet in a location that is out of sight. Wait to see if there is any bleeding or change of color. If the carpet does not change color, go ahead and spray the bottle on a 3X3-ft. section. You will want to work in sections till the carpet or rug is completely treated. Make sure it's damp but not saturated. Leave the solution on for about five minutes, then blot the section with a clean microfiber cloth. Rinse the cloth out in a bucket of clean water. Then allow the carpet to air dry, refraining from walking on it till it's dry. Use an oscillating fan to help it dry.

  4. Another natural cleaner: baking soda and salt. 
    Another natural carpet cleaner is a mixture of baking soda and salt: mix one-to-one parts of soda and salt in a bowl. Starting in a corner, work in a grid pattern, sprinkling sections of the carpet with the mixture, then spraying it down with water. The carpet should be damp but not sopping wet. With a scrub brush, work the mixture deeper into the fibers. Work the brush in one direction, then at a 90-degree angle to that. This will help lift the soil. Then, use old towels to wipe away the dirt. Let the carpet air dry. Vacuum any remaining baking soda.

  5. Steam the carpet clean.
    If you have a clothes steamer or steam mop, use steam on the carpet after applying the baking soda and salt mixture and scrubbing with a brush.

Need more advice about getting ready to sell a home? Contact us today.

July
26

Make These Summer Fixes To Cut Costs

Home improvement shouldn't have to break the bank. Here are summer fixes that will save you money in the long run.

Whether you're saving to buy a home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, or you've already acquired one and are looking for a few ways to cut expenses after the big outlay of buying a home — you can save money with some relatively painless hacks, and give yourself a bit of a financial boost.

Our real estate agents are very knowledgeable about the various fixes their clients have used to cut costs, so here are a few of them.

  1. Reduce energy usage.
    One of the best ways to cut costs is to reduce energy use. Yes, we know energy bills have risen because it's hotter than ever and oil prices are up, but there are some tricks that can help you lower costs, such as: A. Check your home's insulation and if it's lacking, shore it up, particularly on the floor of the attic; B.Seal air leaks with caulk and weatherstripping around door and window frames, baseboards, holes in exterior walls, attic hatch cover, and other areas where your cool air can get out and the heat gets in (install foam gaskets behind switch plates); C. Turn your A/C up a few degrees at night or when you're away from home, then turn it down when the family comes home and is moving around; D. Change your air filter regularly so your A/C doesn't labor to cool the home.

  2. Save money on irrigation.
    The best way to water your landscape in the warm months is with an irrigation system. But whether you use an irrigation system or you are hand watering and moving a sprinkler around, be sure you water effectively. Try to water at night or early in the morning, before the sun is up and the water evaporates. Watering at night or early allows the water to soak into the ground so it does the most good. Rather than watering frequently and to a shallow depth, water less frequently but allow the water to soak in. 

  3. Use fans to keep cool.
    If you don't have ceiling fans, install some. Make sure the fan blades are set to go counter-clockwise in the summer so that they can lift warm air from occupant level to the ceiling and help push down refrigerated air from the ceiling, down the walls, and down to occupant level. Keep fan blades clean, so they don't drag when operating. Also, use table or floor fans to supplement breezes as needed. You'll be able to cut back on air conditioning if you keep the breezes flowing.

  4. Shut blinds, curtains, and shades during the heat of the day.
    Shutting out solar radiation will keep the interior of your home cooler. If your windows aren't adequately covered, make it a summer-time project to cover them up.

  5. Cut down on cooking indoors.
    Use the microwave whenever possible to cook or to heat frozen, prepared dinners. Use the slow cooker out on the patio to cook meals; you can even bake potatoes in a slow cooker by pricking them, buttering up skins, and wrapping them in foil — then cover them up in the slow cooker for four hours on high, without adding moisture. If you've got an outdoor kitchen, even better.

  6. Use mulch to lessen heat stress.
    Use mulch generously around trees, shrubs, and flowers to maintain moisture levels and a cooler temperature in the soil so that you needn't water as much. But don't pile it against the plant.

Need more summer fixes to cut costs, or have you got a question about buying or selling a home? We're all ears. Contact us today. 

June
21

Make Your Landscaping Shine By Avoiding These Mistakes

Don't ruin your curb appeal with bad landscaping. Here are simple ways you can avoid the most common mistakes.

It's easy to make landscaping mistakes; just ask professional gardeners who have learned the hard way and, over time, have profited from the knowledge their mistakes have provided them. Similarly, as you have begun a big landscaping redo in that home you bought from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, we can point out a few of the major mistakes to avoid.

Our real estate agents get a lot of feedback from homeowners on mistakes made indoors and outdoors, so read on and learn what not to do.

Landscaping Snafus: Avoid These at All Costs

  1. Don't plant invasives.
    Certain plants are just bad news in the landscape. What does it take to make it to the "Do Not Plant" list for Tuscaloosa? Just about anything that's considered invasive is a big no. For instance, bamboo is inclined to take off and take over in our warm, wet climate. Privet and honeysuckle are also verboten, as are Cherokee, MacCartney, and Multiflora roses.

  2. Don't plant trees and bushes that are the wrong size.
    When planning a major redo of your landscape, it's a good idea to rough it all out on graph paper or even in computer software designed for the purpose. Planting trees? Plan for how they will grow and throw shade on any other plantings. (Plants need sun!) Also, think how they will affect your roofline.

    The same goes for bushes. Plant more compact, easier-to-care-for forms in the back, and perennials and annuals in front.

  3. Resist the temptation to just stick any plant in the ground (just because it was on sale at the big box store).
    Plan how plantings will look. Plan your color combinations. Some landscapers recommend contrasting hot and cold colors (say, fiery orange or bright yellow with blues and purples). Likewise, think about textures and hues of green and gray. Again, sketching and in this case, coloring, can help give you a sense of how it will look.

  4. Take it easy with the gravel.
    Granted, gravel isn't as popular in the Southeast as it is in the Southwest due to the fact we usually have abundant rainfall, but if you decide to go for a bit of xeriscaping, know that gravel can be a pain. First, it's really hot and can throw off heat that may scorch tender plants. Further, gravel is usually applied with a layer of weed barrier — which works fine the first year or so, but then accumulates dirt that becomes a growing medium for weed seed.

  5. Take it easy with the mulch.
    Yes, mulch is great for keeping moisture in the ground, so the plant thrives — but only when you refrain from mounding it around the trunks of trees and bushes. Leave a few inches of space around the plant, or you could damage it.

  6. Don't forget to water trees and bushes.
    Even in Tuscaloosa, we can have dry times — particularly in the winter. While you may remember to water perennials and annuals, don't forget to water trees and shrubs at least every six weeks in times of low rainfall.

  7. Deadhead perennials, annuals and blooming shrubs.
    Nipping off spent blooms before they turn to seed will prevent the plant's energy from going to making seed. That way, you'll have more prolific blooms.

  8. Cut back on fertilizing in the hot summer months.
    Over-fertilizing can not only burn your plants but may cause too much late-season growth. That, in turn, can leave the plants vulnerable to winter weather.

We're always happy to advise you on how renovating your home, inside or outside, will add value to your property. Contact us today.

March
7

How To Organize Major Home Improvement Projects

The key to successful renovations and home improvement projects is organization. Here's how you can stay on top of your home upgrades.

When you found your dream home among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may have bought it with a plan to launch some major home improvements. Maybe you're an old hand at home improvements, but if you're just starting out, you could probably use some advice from our real estate agents. Follow these suggestions, and we guarantee you will have fewer home improvement snafus, and what's more, you'll love how close your results are to the improvements of your imagination.

Project Manager — or Not?

Now, before you launch into your role as a project manager for your home, it might be wise to take a breath and do a fearless self-assessment. You may want to save money by doing it yourself, and you're excited about undertaking this thrilling project, but are you the type of person who can bring it off successfully? Are you calm under pressure? Do you think and act strategically and confidently? Do you have time to plan, coordinate, and oversee the work? If these questions make you a bit uneasy, you might consider hiring a project manager. There will be a fee, but a bungled (by you) project will cost time and money and you could be looking at major disappointment. A pro can bring off the results you want.

Apps and Plans

Still ready to tackle orchestrating your home improvements? Then let's get you started with apps and software programs. If you've got money to pay an architect, never mind. Otherwise, here goes. An app such as Fiverr can provide you with 3D renderings but they don't come cheap, and they only give 1-2 revisions before they start charging. Try Arcsite or Planner 5d to save money and make your own renderings, with an unlimited number of designs for free.

A Trick for Visualizing Space

Most of us are lacking in the ability to visualize how things will look. Painter's tape and flooring paper can help you figure out the scope of space. For instance, you may want to know how well your projected dimensions for cabinet width will look. Tape it out, and you'll have a good idea.

Buy Samples — Lots of Them! — and Try Them Out

It can be tough to know if you're going to love that tile or flooring once it's in place. It might cost a bit, but it's better to buy a significant sampling of those materials and actually put them in place before you buy a whole shipment of stuff and commission an entire floor or wall. Ditto with paint. Those measly two samples they give you at the store just don't cut it.

Buy Dupes

Sometimes you can find a dupe for a pricey item. Shop around at big box stores and see if there's something that approximates that expensive thing you just have to have. For instance, installing aluminum-clad windows with thicker grids instead of installing steel windows is one clever dupe. They look similar to steel. There are lots of dupes out there if you spend time looking.

Go Over Where You Want Electrical Outlets

Most contractors will install electrical outlets any old where. If you're particular (and you should be), then you'll be thinking this through thoroughly. You might want some outlets concealed under an overhang or under cabinets. Be sure your contractor knows what you want.

Factor in Contingency Dollars in Your Budget

Things will go wrong. It's wise to factor in at least 10 percent contingency in your budget for unexpected issues, especially if you're in an older home.

Our real estate staff has lots more advice about managing home improvements. Contact us today.

February
21

How To Change Up Your Flooring In 2022

Changing up your flooring is a big commitment that can change the feel of your home. Here's how you can choose what's best for your home.

Nothing perks up a home like great flooring. Whether it's in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, or bedroom, the right flooring pulls the rest of your decorating or renovation efforts together and makes your home into a showpiece.

If you're ready for new flooring in the home you chose among Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you may find all the many choices to be bewildering. Let's take a look at some types of flooring you might be considering.

Hardwood

Hardwood remains the most popular choice among most homeowners, with nearly half of those surveyed in a recent poll by the flooring company 50Floor choosing hardwood as the top material for their floors. It's not hard to guess why. Hardwood, which encompasses such species as oak, map, hickory, and walnut, is beautiful, durable, and warm. It holds up to heavy use and can be maintained by removing and replacing damaged boards. It's also easy to coordinate with various color schemes and themes. It fits well with a wide range of accessories and decor. Hardwood's versatility is easily demonstrated by the various colors, textures, and designs available.

There are a few drawbacks. Being a natural material, hardwood can be subject to staining, warping, and scuffing. Hardwood also requires maintenance for a long life.

Hardwood is recommended for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways.

Engineered wood flooring is an alternative way to get the look of hardwood but with more versatility and less maintenance. Engineered wood consists of two layers, one a thin veneer of wood, and underneath, a thicker layer of high-density fiberboard or plywood.

Laminate

Coming in way behind hardwood as a second popular choice is laminate (at about 17 percent in the 50Floor survey).

Laminate, which is more durable than engineered wood, has a photo layer that looks like wood (or possibly stone or tile). Beneath the veneer there is a layer of rigid fiberboard. On top is a transparent plasticate layer that defends against wear and fading. Laminates are known for their durability and ability to take some punishment. It's a great choice for those with kids and dogs. It's also much less expensive than hardwood.

The disadvantage is that, although resistant to humidity and moisture, it is not waterproof. Further, you might not like the slippery, plastic-y feel of it. It also can't be repaired when chipped.

Vinyl Plank/Vinyl Tile

Made of  PVC, vinyl plank has several layers, with the design layer mimicking wood, metal, or stone. It's easily installed: you can glue it down, click-lock it as "floating flooring" or loose lay it, relying on friction and weight. Some types can be applied as peel-and-stick. Vinyl plant is inexpensive, comfortable to the feet, and can look like whatever material you like, plus it's waterproof. You can use it anywhere in the house.

The downside is it gives off VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The less expensive products also may look suspiciously not like wood, stone, or whatever.

There's also vinyl sheet flooring, inexpensive and highly recommended for bathrooms and laundry rooms because it's waterproof. It's made from PVC, so mind the VOCs.

Tile

Types of tile flooring include stone, ceramic, porcelain, and cement. Porcelain and ceramic can be glazed or unglazed. One great new option in the tile world is wood-look tile, which mimics wood grain. Use it in bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms with no fears. Tile is easy to clean, lasts forever, and looks beautiful. But tile can also crack or chip and may stain.

Our real estate agents have great tips for your Tuscaloosa home renovation. Contact us today.

January
31

Transform Your Home With The Colors Of The Year

If you need some new hues in your life, look no further than the 2022 Colors Of The Year!  Here are the top picks the color pros think you should explore this year.

Every year, color experts as well as the top paint companies name which shades and hues will inspire your home decor in the new year. 2022's Colors of the Year range from a vibrant purple to a minty blue-green, and they'll each create a new feel and vibrancy to your home. Our real estate agents share their favorite of the top colors this year, including tips on how to best incorporate them into your home to achieve the look you want.

  • Laurel Leaf by Better Homes & Gardens
    Better Homes & Gardens has chosen Laurel Leaf, a dusty green inspired by eucalyptus leaves. Because the pandemic motivated many of us to go hiking or just to spend more time in our backyards, Laurel Leaf aims to bring some of the outdoors inside. It pairs well with creamy whites, beiges, light to medium wood tones, and leafy house plants. Try using it as a backdrop in a dining room, where it adds sophistication, or in a bedroom, where it brings a touch of relaxation.

  • Very Peri by PANTONE
    Instead of pulling from its vast catalog of colors to choose for its 2020 color of the year, PANTONE has created an entirely new color — Veri Peri — for the first time in decades. Veri Peri is a blue with a violet-red undertone, resulting in a joyful and dynamic color. Use it in your home to paint an accent wall or add color with throw pillows. You can even refresh your home office or living room by pairing it with green tones. This color also pairs well with many other colors including white, grey, blue, terra-cotta, mauve, and beige.

  • Breezeway by Behr
    Breezeway is Behr's 2022 Color of the Year, a misty, refreshing shade of blue-green. Although it's reminiscent of the ocean, it also works well in contemporary and vintage-inspired decor. If you're looking for a new look in your kitchen, Breezeway can be combined with bright white and black accents to create a clean look. It also can be used to create a soothing, relaxing feel when you pair it with soft cream, warm taupe, or wood tones.

  • Art and Craft by Dunn-Edwards
    Art and Craft, Dunn-Edwards' 2022 Color of the Year, is a warm, earthy shade of brown that adds a touch of luxuriousness to your design. As a versatile color, it works well as a foundation that ties other hues together. Use it in living and dining areas as well as bedrooms to create an inviting feel. When it's combined with light neutrals, Art and Craft looks brighter, and when it's alongside jewel tones, it brings sophistication to your decor.

  • Aleutian by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams
    Aleutian, the 2022 Color of the Year from HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams, is a shade of pale indigo that brings out feelings of comfort and relaxation. With its warm undertone, the Aleutian has a restful feeling that makes it appropriate throughout the home. It serves as the foundation for Softened Refuge, a larger color collection with ten complementary hues. Since Aleutian pairs nicely with any of the colors in the collection, you'll have no trouble finding complementary shades.

To see Tuscaloosa homes for sale, contact us today! Our highly trained real estate professionals can help you every step of the way when buying or selling a home.

November
1

The Best Projects To Finish Up Before Thanksgiving

The holidays are a time to connect and celebrate with your family, so take some time beforehand to finish up these projects.

It's already November, and that means the holidays are approaching fast. Catching up with family and friends in a Tuscaloosa home for sale over home-cooked meals can be one of the most rewarding things you'll do this year, but it also means you may not have as much free time as usual. Before you host guests this holiday season, our real estate agents recommend finishing up the following projects.

Make Sure Appliances Are In Working Order

Your oven becomes quite the workhorse during the holidays. Before roasting turkeys and hams, make sure your oven is in proper working order and is also clean. Food debris can become charred and smokey if left unattended, so it's best to do a deep clean before putting your oven to work. Your dishwasher will also be working overtime, so if you know of any issues, even small ones like a faulty or broken tray, it's a good idea to fix it now. If your dishes aren't hot after a cycle, there could be something wrong. Don't forget your washer and dryer either — these can upend your plans if they act up.

Do A Deep Clean

Some people think you should reserve the deep cleaning for spring, but that's not true! Now's a great time to start cleaning your home for two reasons: you'll be hosting guests, and it will mean less work later. If you deep clean now, you'll only need to do some surface passes during the holidays. A deep clean involves dusting above cabinets, sweeping under the fridge, washing all sheets in the house, and shampooing the carpet if you have access to a carpet cleaner. This can add up to a lot of work, so try involving the entire family.

Complete A Safety Check

This one is simple, but it's perhaps the most important project. Check all smoke detectors to make sure they're working — or change out their batteries now, so you don't have to worry about them for the rest of the year. Also, take a peek at your dryer vent and remove any lingering lint balls. These can become a fire hazard if accumulated or not venting outside properly. Lastly, make sure your fire extinguisher still has pressure. If it doesn't, you can have it recharged, or you can buy a new one. If you don't own a fire extinguisher, now's the time to get one!

Finish Up Any Put Off Projects

Were you planning to put in new drawer pulls but never got around to it? Or how about how you wanted to change out the light fixtures in your kitchen and dining room? If you have projects you meant to get around to but just couldn't find the time, try allocating a weekend day to finish these up. Little things like these are usually cheaper compared to other major projects and can transform a room, especially if you've had the same drawer pulls for years, for example. That way, you can really wow your guests when they arrive.

Decorate!

Decorating is what you wanted to do all along, but you should save this for last. Once your home is clean, and all appliances are in working order, then you can shift your focus to turning your home into a seasonal getaway. Wreaths are fashionable in fall and winter, and string lights can help set the mood. Double-check that you don't have any burnt-out bulbs, and consider switching to LEDs that will last longer and don't get hot.

Need more tips on how you can keep your home in top shape this holiday season? Contact us today.

October
4

Keep Your Living Room Looking Fresh By Avoiding These Trends

Not all design trends are worth the fuss. Here are some living room trends that you should ignore.

You want your living room to make a statement as the showpiece of the home. As the name suggests, a living room is also where you invite company, and maybe even where you and the family spend time, so while eye appeal is important, so is comfort.

As you plan the living room of your dreams in the house you discovered from Tuscaloosa homes for sale, bone up on avoiding some of the most common decorating blunders. Our real estate agents have sourced the wisdom of top design experts to help you avoid mistakes and create the perfect living room for your home.

  1. Avoid magical thinking about your lifestyle.
    No doubt about it: that all-white living room you saw in the magazine at the doctor's office won't seem so appealing once the kids spill their juice on the sofa or Fido gets sick on the chair — never mind the black hair he sheds on the white carpet. You simply have to factor in the kids, the dog, and whatever other messy bit of reality arises. Unless you have a lifestyle that is guaranteed pristine, you're better off going the more practical route, with furnishings that resist the onslaughts of the tribe. Go for dark rugs and easy-to-clean fabrics — maybe even leather, which can hold up to rugrats and their canine allies.

  2. Stylin' is fun, but don't forget comfort.
    We bet you've been in rooms like this: no place to sit but that ancient, oh-so-expensive, hard-as-a-board Victorian sofa, or those minimalist but eye-catching metal and plastic chairs. Looks aren't everything. Building comfort into the home should be part of your design scheme.

  3. Get out the tape measure, and use it.
    You want to create good flow around all the furnishings in your living room, and to do that, you need negative space around the pieces. Be it paintings or artwork, or a coffee table and sofa, they won't look good if they're crammed together. Here's a general rule of thumb: leave 18 inches between the coffee table and sofa; aim for 32 to 36 inches of clearance between adjacent seatings.

  4. Avoid wrong-sized rugs.
    Rugs should fit the rooms they're placed in. A large rug will overwhelm and make the room look smaller; a too-small rug will force you to crowd the furniture too close, leaving the room off balance with the extra empty space. Use painter's tape to mark off the space the rug will take so you can better envision how it will look.

  5. Don't fall for (boring) matching showroom furniture.
    You really don't want your living room to look like a furniture showroom. Sure, it's easier to buy a furniture set, but you can create a unique and curated-looking space if you take time to choose pieces that complement each other.

  6. Don't overlook lighting.
    One of the most unfortunate mistakes you can make is to not include enough lighting in your living room. Add lighting with a table lamp or overhead pendant lamp, so you can read in a comfortable spot. Floor lamps help to anchor larger pieces such as a sofa. Don't feel like rewiring a wall? Add plug-in sconces next to furniture arrangements. If you're building or renovating, put a floor outlet in the middle of the room so you can float furniture, capping pieces with an end table and a lamp.

You can make all the right decorating moves by consulting the experts. Need some advice on whom to call? Contact us today.

September
20

No More Room? Here's How To Maximize Storage For Small Spaces

Storage space is usually hard to come by. That's why we put together some tips to help you maximize your home storage.

Storage space is always one of the most important features of any home and usually one of the first things buyers look for when touring a listing. If your home has limited storage space, all hope is not lost. There are many easy things you can do to increase storage, even if your home is short on closets and functional areas. Our real estate agents have seen some very creative storage designs that inspired them to compile this list of clever storage ideas that can truly help you maximize your space.

  • Use Bins To Maximize Closet Space
    If your dealing with a small closet, organizing your items into bins is a great way to make the best use of the space. Clear plastic bins can help keep you organize and pack your closet full without giving it a cluttered look. You can also create a compelling visual look by sorting your belongings by color or material and adding creative labels.

  • Try Vertical Stacking
    If your closet or basement has large open spaces, build vertical storage units out of some combination of drawers, shelves, and stackable containers. You'd be surprised how much more storage space you can create when building up. We love the way some of the owners of these Tuscaloosa homes for sale leverage vertical stacking to increase storage space.

  • Is There Room On Top Of Your Kitchen Cabinets?
    If there is a decent amount of space between your kitchen ceiling and kitchen cabinets, this is prime storage real estate that often goes underutilized. One of the best parts about storing things on top of kitchen cabinets is a lot of time they go unnoticed. As a result, it's a great idea to use this space for things you don't plan to use very often.

  • Hang Your Pots
    Short on kitchen space? Pots can consume a tremendous amount of storage room, which is why hanging pots on hooks has always been one of our favorite storage concepts. Not only will hanging pots free up space in the kitchen, but they can also create quite the culinary vibe.

  • Make Use Of Your Doors
    Using the back of closet doors for storage is one of the best ways to maximize the space inside your closet. Racks, hooks, mirrors, over-the-door shoe pockets, or any number of storage solutions can simply attach to the back door of your closet and provide additional space.

  • Don't Forget About Floating Shelves
    Floating shelves in the kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom can double as nice decor and extra storage space. Floating shelves are easy to install and are versatile enough to store books, photos, toiletries, or anything else you can think of.

Most buyers don't want to invest in a home that they may outgrow, which is why ample storage space is often at the top of the wishlist. For more tips on how to make the most of your storage areas, contact us today.

August
18

Don't Get A Shock From Electrical Surges

When it comes to your home's electrical system, you don't want to cheap out. Here's what you can do to have robust surge protection.

If you're looking at Tuscaloosa homes for sale, you probably can't wait to move in and get settled. While you pack up all your electronics, you might wonder whether you should take steps to protect them. After all, it only takes one lightning strike or downed power line to cause a power surge and damage your devices. This may all seem scary, but the good news is that you can protect all your devices, and it's pretty simple. Our real estate agents recommend the following.

Whole-House Surge Protector

A whole-house surge protector works like a filter, allowing "safe" electrical currents in while blocking irregular voltage. This device is installed at your home's circuit breaker panel, and it protects against internal surges. Major appliances cycling on and off account for 60% to 80% of home power surges. These low-level surges often go unnoticed. However, they can degrade the circuitry of your expensive electrical devices, eventually causing them to burn out.

A professionally installed whole-house surge protector is a bit of an investment. Still, it's well worth the cost if you consider how much you've already invested in your television, kitchen appliances, computers, and anything else that's plugged in 24/7. 

External Surge Protector 

An external surge protector blocks approximately 80% of external surges. It serves as the first line of defense against huge power spikes that travel through the power grid. This will protect your home from lightning strikes and power station and power line issues. External surge protectors are installed where the utility company's supply meets the main breaker. These require professional installation.

Power Strip Surge Protectors

Most homeowners are already familiar with strip surge protectors. These outlet strips are plugged into your home's outlets and add a layer of separation between the electrical outlet and your expensive electrical devices.

Strip surge protectors are relatively inexpensive, making them a very smart purchase for your home. However, it's important to note that without the first two types of surge protectors in place, strip protectors only offer minimal protection. This is why it's best to protect your home with more robust safety nets.

Additional Ways to Protect Your Home 

Installing a surge protection system is an excellent way to protect your home and expensive appliances and electronics. However, for full protection, follow these tips as well: 

  • Use the correct wattage bulbs
  • Don't overload your electrical outlets
  • Keep electrical devices and outlets away from water
  • Replace or repair damaged electrical cords
  • Give appliances space for air circulation to avoid overheating
  • Keep exhaust fans clean to prevent fire hazards
  • Unplug unused appliances to reduce potential risks

If you've been thinking of buying or selling a home in Tuscaloosa, we have years of experience and can help you meet your real estate goals. Contact us today to get started.

July
19

Transform Your Family Photos With These Display Ideas

Your family photos deserve special attention. Here's how you can make them shine in your home.

Our real estate agents often hear that one of the best parts of becoming a homeowner is being able to decorate and display personal items any way you like. Adding all those personal touches to Tuscaloosa homes for sale will make you feel right at home in no time. So you probably can't wait to display those favorite family photos. But where should you even start? Here are a few creative options to inspire you.

  1. Opt for one large scenic photo. If you have a favorite vacation photo of your family somewhere with a nice view in the background, you could enlarge it and hang it on the wall.
  2. Small tile photo collage. Use small square or rectangle photos arranged in a grid pattern within a larger frame. This is nice if you have a lot of photos since you won't need to hang them individually.
  3. Black and white photos with color mats or frames. This idea creates a dramatic but playful effect. You could opt for different bright colors in a child's room or playroom. Or go with one or two colors to better compliment adult decor.
  4. Black and white photos against a boldly colored wall. If you have a boldly colored accent wall or are thinking of adding one, use an arrangement of black and white photos to give it that extra wow factor.
  5. Display your family photos in the dining room. It's a family gathering place where happy times like holiday meals and game nights happen, so why not display some of your favorite family photos there as well.
  6. Photo collage coffee table. This takes some effort but adds a real "at home" feel to your decor. Small photos are arranged on top of a wood coffee table, and a glass top is used on top of the photos to protect them. The end result is a family photo display like no other.­­
  7. Instagram styled photo wall. You can use your actual Instagram photos or other photos printed in the same style. You'll need a large number of same-sized square photos. Arrange them in a grid across a rectangular wall. You can unify the collection by color, theme, or photo composition for an Instagram-worthy look right in your own home.
  8. Garland style wall display. Drape wire, rope, twine, heavy yarn, or ribbon along the wall. Attach your photos with decorative clips. This display style offers almost endless options for customization to fit with any décor.
  9. Photo ledges. This is a nice look for modern décor because ledges are simple with sleek lines. They're also good for small spaces because they're only a few inches wide, unlike traditional shelves. You can layer photos, so you don't have to spend time hanging lots of photos directly on the wall.
  10. Door frame display. Use tape to display small photos around the door frame. This is a unique idea for a casually styled room or a teen's room.
  11. Opt for sepia or another effect. This can help maintain a look of coherence with photos of different styles, eras, or ones with colorful images that look out of place with other photos or decor.
  12. Mix horizontal and vertical photos. Instead of a traditional gallery wall try mixing horizontal and vertical rectangle photos for a more modern look.

Decorating your new home with all your own personal touches can be a lot of fun. We've helped so many families find the right home, and we can help you too. Contact us today to get started.

June
21

Tips For Growing An Indoor Herb Garden

If you don't have the space outside, bring the garden indoors! Here are tips for starting an indoor herb garden.

Typically, herbs are outdoor plants, but there are many you can grow indoors under the right conditions. If you're a cook and love creating special dishes for family and friends, consider bringing your herb garden into your home where you can have fresh, savory herbs at your fingertips.

Buyers looking for Tuscaloosa homes for sale often ask our real estate agents to show them homes with certain features. In addition to well-equipped kitchens and big back yards, large windows with great natural light rank high on the bucket list. What better way to start an indoor herb garden?

Choosing the Best Indoor Herbs

Although some herbs should remain outdoors, there are many that will flourish indoors, even in indirect sunlight and limited space. Leafy herbs are easy to grow quickly indoors, so they're great for cooking family meals. You can start your herb garden with these flavorful favorites:

  1. Basil – Basil adds a distinct flavor to Italian dishes like lasagna, spaghetti, and pizza. This herb prefers bright light and heat, so place it in a southern or western window. It only grows for about 3 weeks, so use it before the stems become woody.
  2. Chives – With an aromatic smell and a slight onion flavor, chives add a kick to salads, soups, chicken casseroles, fresh fish, and egg dishes. Chives grow best in bright light, and they quickly re-sprout if you leave at least 2" of growth on plants after cutting.
  3. Cilantro – Cilantro leaves play a starring role in Mexican and Asian cuisine. Cilantro is an easy herb to grow because it self-sows freely. Seeds of the plant can be dried and used as a different seasoning called coriander. When chopped, leaves can be frozen in a freezer bag for later use.
  4. Lemon Balm – This herb gives a wonderful flavor to roasted chicken, pesto sauce, hot tea, and after-dinner cocktails. You can freeze leaves in ice cubes to use in water and iced tea. In the Middle Ages, this citrus-scented herb was used for reducing stress and improving sleep.
  5. Mint – Mint comes in various flavors, including apple, orange, peppermint, and chocolate. It's a flavorful herb for salads, sweet and savory dishes, desserts, and tea. You can even use mint in natural beauty recipes to promote relaxation.

Providing Good Light for Growth

Indoor herb gardens are a wonderful addition to any home, but you must make sure you have good light for healthy growth. You have two options: (1) windows with good natural light or (2) artificial grow lights.

Natural Light

If your home has a lot of south-facing windows, you will get the brightest light and the maximum hours of sunlight throughout each day, even during the winter months. Basil, cilantro, oregano, and thyme will flourish in south-facing windows with lots of sunlight. If you have mostly east-and-west-facing windows, you will get cooler temperatures and only morning or afternoon sun. Chives, chervil, mint, and parsley will grow well with less light and cooler temperatures.

Grow Lights

If your home doesn't have good natural light, most herbs grow very well under full-spectrum grow lights. You can purchase grow lights in various styles, sizes, and prices from most home improvement stores, garden centers, and online retailers. Most lights come with timers, so you can set lights to stay on for 12 to 16 hours each day. Make sure your herb gardens get at least 4 to 6 hours of daily light.

If you're intrigued by an indoor herb garden, contact us for available Tuscaloosa homes that offer just the right features to get started.

May
17

Reimagine Your Outdoor Space With These Projects

Does your outdoor space need a little refresh? We have tips for making it fresh and functional again.

Does your outdoor space need a little refresh? Once the weather is warmer, everyone wants to spend more time outside, and Tuscaloosa homes for sale have all kinds of outdoor spaces available to help you do exactly that. Whether you're planning on selling soon or just want to add a personal touch to your new home, these projects will get your outdoor space ready to wow visitors.

  • Stain or paint your deck. This project will not only improve the appearance of your yard, but it will help protect your deck from the weather too. If there are any repairs to be made, do those first. Then thoroughly clean with a deck cleaner to get rid of dirt, mold, and mildew. Stain or paint and finish the job with a sealer.
  • Clean the outside of your home. Get rid of any debris from the roof and gutters, pressure wash the outside of your home, and clean the outside of the windows.
  • Update your entry area. Painting your front door is a good way to add some color and will help protect your door. But you can also change out door handles, knockers, or hinges. Or you might want to update the doorbell and light fixtures.
  • Update your address display. There are lots of options for creativity with this one. You can update the numbers with some that look more modern or to ones that better match the style of your house. Or you could paint the numbers or background a different color as long as it's still easily readable from the street. You can use wood, brick, stone, or almost any material that will withstand outdoor use. Or you could add accent lighting to improve visibility.
  • Paint or update your mailbox. This is another project that offers lots of possibilities for personal expression. A fresh coat of paint can cover small rust spots and help add some color to your yard. You can paint or decorate the post. Or, if you really need an update, a smart mailbox can help protect your mail and packages from theft.
  • Add potted plants or flowers. This is a quick and easy project. It adds instant color and curb appeal and works even in smaller spaces. You can group a few together or pick out a few unique pots for more visual interest.
  • Bring the inside out. Just because you have an outdoor space doesn't mean it has to have a traditional outdoor use. If you want to make the area a true extension of your living space, some outdoor furniture is a must. Sofas and chairs with cushions are popular for larger spaces, but you could even do a bistro set for a small space. Add some decor accents, a patterned outdoor rug and pillows, and outdoor curtains or blinds for privacy.
  • Build a fire pit. Evening events around a crackling fire pit are a fun way to enjoy your outdoor space. There are all kinds of directions out there, so you can have something that's the right size and shape for your yard and looks stylish too. If you plan on using it for cooking more than just roasting some marshmallows, you may want to add some grates.

A few outdoor projects that add personalization and functionality to your outdoor space will impress your guests and provide hours of enjoyment for your family and friends. Our real estate agents can help you find a home with that outdoor space you've been looking for. Contact us today to get started.

April
19

Make Your House Spotless With This Spring Cleaning Guide

Spring cleaning is here, and we have some pro tips for making the process easy and effective.

It's spring again, and you know what that means — spring cleaning! Time to break out those cleaning supplies and get your home as clean and bright as possible. Whether you're selling soon or just moving into one of the beautiful Tuscaloosa homes for sale, spring is the time to get that deep clean your home deserves. Here's your guide to getting it done.

General tips

  • Start at the top of the room and work your way down. Get higher-up surfaces first and finish with the floors. That way you're not dirtying surfaces you've already cleaned when the dust and dirt fall off.  
  • Divide and conquer. Go room by room to make sure you get everything done. And if the job is too big to accomplish in one day, it will be easier to tell where you left off. This is also good if your family will be helping. You can assign each person to an area.
  • Start with clean cleaning tools. Clean your broom, duster, or dust cloths and vacuum cleaner before you start so you're not making things worse.
  • Do all the windows in every room. Make sure you get them inside and outside and the tracks and window sills too.
  • Include the tasks that don't need to be done often. Certain tasks like cleaning the carpet, cleaning out the trash cans, and wiping down outdoor furniture usually only need to be done a few times a year at most.  Make sure to put them on your list to get that deep clean. Doing these infrequent tasks at spring cleaning also makes it easier to remember when you did them last.
  • Know what surfaces require special care. Stone requires a special pH-neutral cleaner to prevent damage. Cleaners specifically for stainless steel help prevent build up, fingerprints, and scratches. Hardwood floor cleaners are designed to work without exposing the flooring to excessive moisture.

Kitchen

Wipe off of cabinets and appliances. Seal the countertops. Clean the fridge by taking out shelves and drawers and washing them with dish soap and water. Wipe down the inside and the door seals too. Run a cleaning cycle on the dishwasher. Clean the microwave by boiling some water (you can add a little lemon juice or vinegar if you want), the steam makes the cooked on food slide right off.

Living room

Dust ceiling fans, shelves, picture frames and light fixtures. Wipe down walls. Use canned air or the dusting attachment on the vacuum to get dust out of the air vents on electronics. Wash or dry clean curtains and drapes. Clean the carpet or area rugs and floor.

Bedrooms

Dust ceiling fans, tops of windows, wall-mounted pictures and light fixtures. Wipe down walls. Wash the pillows and comforters. Vacuum the mattress, then remove spots if necessary and spray with disinfectant to freshen. Clean the carpet or rugs and floor.

Bathroom

Since the bathroom needs to be kept pretty clean anyway, deep cleaning here may be minimal. It's a good time to seal any grout or tile. Tackle any mold or mildew and clean the exhaust fan. Clean shelves, windows, baseboards and floors, making sure to get behind the toilet too.

Spring cleaning can be a big job, but also a satisfying one. And once you're done ,you can show your home off to your friends and family or potential buyers and be proud of a job well done.

Whether you're looking to sell your home or purchase your next one in the Tuscaloosa area, our real estate agents can help. Contact us today to get started!

March
1

How to Make The Most of Your Attic Storage

Your attic can be a great place for storage. Follow these tips to do attic storage right.

If your home is lacking storage space, it's time to turn to your attic. The attic is an underutilized storage spot for many homeowners, and our real estate agents know that a space with lots of storage potential appeals to prospective buyers. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of your attic storage. 

Confirm That Your Attic is a Safe Spot

You don't want to spend your time and resources creating an organizational system in your attic, only to have your belongings ruined by a leaky roof or undesirable climate conditions. Check that your roof doesn't have leaks. If it does, items in your attic are highly susceptible. Look for stains on the ceiling and rotting wood that are indicative of a leak. 

Next, see that your attic doesn't have high humidity levels or condensation. Any fans that vent through your attic should vent outside, not into your attic. Otherwise, moist air from your bathrooms will accumulate in your attic. Excessive amounts of condensation may mean that your attic requires more insulation to produce a more climate-controlled environment. 

Research the Weight Capacity of Your Floors and Ceilings

It's important to determine how much weight your attic floors and ceiling can safely support. A qualified contractor can help you figure this out. Attics that consist of small boards or joists may have lower-than-desirable weight capacities; it's possible to reinforce attics in a home so you can store heavier items or support the weight of multiple people. 

Make the Space Efficient

Keep your attic storage area organized with an efficient organizational system. It doesn't need to be fancy; shelving attached to the wall provides a place to display labeled containers. Or, you might add wardrobe bags from your beams to house out-of-season items. Another possibility is to install hanging shelves to house smaller items. 

Lightweight plastic totes are another terrific option for housing similar items together. However, avoid stacking these totes on top of each other. This adds a lot of weight to your floors and makes it difficult to spot damage from insects or excessive moisture. Also, opt for transparent bins, and see that you label what's inside of each one. Try to store similar items together.

Revamp Your Attic's Stairs

Buyers interested in Northport homes for sale will appreciate an attic that they can easily access and transport items to. If your attic doesn't have a dedicated staircase, invest in pull-down stairs that are accessible without a stepladder. Stick with stairs that are wide, sturdy, easy to climb, and capable of supporting a reasonable amount of weight. If you struggle to lift heavy boxes into your attic, consider installing a DIY pulley system or sliding box support. There are a few options available that make it much easier to move bulky pieces.

Want a home that gives your family more space for storage? Contact us today to get started!

February
1

Carpet vs. Hardwood: Your Guide to Flooring

Is hardwood better than carpet? It depends, which is why we're giving you our tips to help you decide on the best flooring for your home.

One of the first things you notice when you enter a room is the flooring. If your floors look old and worn out, it's probably time to replace them. Our real estate agents know that new flooring is also very appealing to potential homebuyers. Two of the most popular alternatives are carpet and hardwood. Here's what you need to know about these top options to decide if they're right for your home. 

Hardwood Floor Basics

Hardwood floor consists of boards that are produced from wood. The boards can be crafted entirely from solid wood, or they may consist of a thin hardwood layer that adheres to a layer of plywood (also known as engineered wood flooring).

Advantages of Hardwood Flooring

Aesthetics are one reason that hardwood floors are popular with homeowners. Hardwood floors create a bold look that suits a variety of home styles. With a lifespan of 50 to 100 years or more, hardwood floors are a long-lasting option for your home's flooring needs.

They're also easy to clean, making them a top choice for individuals with allergies. You can quickly sweep or vacuum dirt and dust, and for deeper cleanings, a damp mop with some wood cleaner works wonders.

When it's time to add your home to the list of Tuscaloosa homes for sale, hardwood floors will help you maximize your home's selling price. Potential buyers are often willing to pay more for a home with hardwood floors.

Disadvantages of Hardwood Flooring

One potential drawback of hardwood floors is that they're cold to the touch. While you might appreciate their cooler temperature during the muggy summer months, you may find them less appealing on chilly mornings. 

Hardwood floors also have a higher initial cost than carpet. On average, hardwood floors cost an average of $8 per square foot installed. For a home with 2,000 square feet, hardwood floors will cost an average of $16,000.

Carpet Basics

Carpet consists of a backing material containing loops of fibers (generally produced from synthetic materials). It comes in a number of colors, styles, and thicknesses. 

Advantages of Carpet

If you're on a budget, carpet is an affordable way to improve your home. Carpet costs an average of $3 per square foot, including installation. Assuming a home is 2,000 square feet, it will cost approximately $6,000 to install carpet. 

Some people also prefer the look and feel of carpet. It lends a cozy appearance to any space, and it's warm when you walk on it. If you're living in a home where noise is an issue, carpet can also help dampen some of the sounds that travel through your home. 

Disadvantages of Carpet

A drawback of carpet is that it has a relatively short lifespan; on average, carpet requires replacement every 10 years. If your household has a lot of spills, the carpet may need to be replaced even sooner due to stains.

Many find that it's not as easy to clean carpet. While vacuuming is relatively simple, more intense messes call for the use of a carpet cleaning machine or prompt attention with a scrub brush and cleaning agent. Carpet also provides a lot of hiding spaces for pollen and dust, making it a poor choice for homeowners with allergies. 

Ready to upgrade your home? Contact us to get started!

January
4

Colors of the Year for 2021

Colors of the Year

As we finally turn the page on a tough year, it's time to set our sights on the future. If 2021's color of the year choices are any indication, the future is certainly looking bright.

One of our favorite parts about this time of year is reading all of the interior design predictions for the New Year, and our real estate agents have been busy doing just that. In fact, we were so inspired by new colors in these Tuscaloosa homes for sale, we pulled together a list of the most popular 2021 colors of the year to help guide your home decor choices.

  1. Aqua Fiesta by Glidden - PPG1147-4
    If you're looking for a bright color that isn't too far over the top, Aqua Fiesta by Glidden is really a great choice. This color has a beautiful, happy vibe that can really create a calming yet intriguing feeling in any room of the house. It's a unique mix of blue and green, making a perfect complement to any kitchen or bathroom. However, using this color to cover a large wall might be a little overboard, so be sure to combine it with some neutral accents in the bedroom.
  2. Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore - 2136-40
    Looking for a mid-tone color to bring harmony to your bedroom? Aegean Teal is really the perfect combination of bluish-green and gray that creates a feeling of wellness while maintaining a modern edge. It also has a subtle calming effect. Consider centering your bedroom, living room, or home office decor around an Aegean Teal base. We think these tranquil tones will really be in style next year.
  3. Urban Bronze by Sherwin-Williams - SW7048
    This earthy tone really generates a sense of calm and tranquility. Urban Bronze is Sherwin-Williams' 2021 color of the year, and it's a really comfortable tone with an organic appeal. It's a clean gray hue with a subtle gold tint that can really add a bit of sophistication or class while also adding a touch of nature-inspired energy. It's a great option for any house, but it works particularly well with biophilic elements such as light-filled spaces.
  4. Smoky White by Behr -  BWC-13
    Behr selected several colors for 2021, and among them was this new off-white tone. For those looking to stick to a neutral pallet, we definitely recommend taking a look at Smoky White. It's a darker shade of white that really gives off a sense of softness and serenity. It's a great choice for any room in the house. Best of all, sticking with a neutral paint choice gives you more flexibility with your decor colors.
  5. Arizona Dust by Valspar - 2003-8A
    Valspar's Arizona Dust generates a warm, organic ambiance. The color is best described as a modern apricot shade with a bold accent and really draws out a warm, energizing feeling. If you'd like to add a bit of nature-inspired vibrancy to your mornings, we'd recommend trying Arizona Dust for your kitchen.

If you're planning to revamp your interior design, we always recommend checking out the colors of the year trends for inspiration. We can't wait to see what design trends emerge next year. For more interior design tips, contact us today!

November
16

5 Home Upgrades You Can Make Even on a Budget

Home Upgrades on Budget

If you're looking to upgrade your home, you'll want to look into projects that can be done on a budget. That way, for a minimal investment, you'll make a big impact that will improve the look or function of your home. Especially, if you are getting ready to list! 

Our real estate agents suggest the following 5 upgrades you can make even on a budget:

  1. Give your kitchen cabinets a makeover
    Your kitchen cabinets make a big impact on the room's overall appearance, and if they're too dark or scuffed, they can make your kitchen look dark and dingy. Replacing them can be expensive, but cleaning and painting your cabinets can give them a whole new appearance. This project can be completed in just a weekend. You'll need a cleaner, sandpaper, paint, a paintbrush, and some effort, but the results will be striking. And while you're at it, swap out your cabinet handles for a further style boost.

  2. Add some curb appeal
    The front of your house sets the tone for your entire home since it's the first thing you'll see as you come and go. Give your home's curb appeal a boost by painting the door, either to refresh what you already have or to add a bolder pop of color. Replacing the door's hardware, adding some containers of plants as well as hanging baskets, and creating a cozy seating area can further upgrade your curb appeal. If you'd like to take it a step further, you can also replace your porch's outdoor lighting fixtures.

  3. Use paint to renew old flooring
    Flooring can set the tone for an entire room, but if it's not in your budget to replace it, you might be able to paint it. Old vinyl or laminate flooring can be painted by applying flooring enamel and topping it with an acrylic sealer. Checkerboard or other geometric designs are popular choices for this type of project and can transform outdated flooring into a stylish asset.

  4. Add crown molding
    Crown molding creates a transition between the top of the wall and the ceiling and adds a finished, polished look to your home. You can buy crown molding at home improvement stores in lengths of up to 16 feet and easily install it yourself. This one upgrade can help take your home's interior from basic to interesting.

  5. Install a programmable thermostat
    Programmable thermostats are quite inexpensive, and they make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient. Installing one will let you program your heating or air conditioning to be turned on and off according to your set schedule so you can wake up or come home to a comfortable house. You'll also save energy since you can set the thermostat to run less when no one's home and then boost or lower the temperature shortly before you arrive back home.

Contact us at Hamner Real Estate to learn more about Tuscaloosa homes for sale and the upgrades that you can make for a minimal investment. Our experienced real estate agents would love to help!

October
19

6 Kitchen Trends for a Timeless Look

Timeless Kitchen

Many refer to the kitchen as the heart and hub of the home. It's the place where meals are created and the primary gathering place for many families. Having a great kitchen can truly make all the difference in a home, which is why kitchen renovations are expensive yet worth the investment.

The quality of your kitchen also significantly impacts your home's value. It can also make your home much more appealing to potential buyers, as future owners won't need to worry about redecorating any time soon. If you're planning an upcoming kitchen renovation, our REALTORS® put together a list of 6 classic trends that will create a timeless look.

  1. Neutral Tones
    For a truly timeless look, you can't go wrong with neutral tones. White, off-white, and grays are good choices for walls, cabinets, countertops, and appliances. If you're planning to sell you home, neutral tones won't be distracting; rather, they'll allow buyers to focus on how they'd like to decorate.
  2. Classic Subway Tiles
    Talk about a trend that's been around for decades - a white subway tile backsplash can truly give your kitchen a classic look. A subway tile backsplash is not only affordable, it's a relatively easy renovation project. Best of all, subway tiles are versatile and can match any kitchen style.
  3. Kitchen Islands
    Kitchen islands really serve as the center of attention for any kitchen. Not only do they serve as a meal prep space, but they also make your kitchen feel cozier and more intimate. Islands come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, so it's important to find one that fits your kitchen and matches your countertops.
  4. Shaker Style Cabinets
    Shaker cabinets have been a staple of the American kitchen for decades, and they aren't going out of style any time soon. Shaker cabinets are simple in design - they consist of a cabinet door with a recessed center panel. Not only do they always look good, but they're also affordable.
  5. Quartz Countertops
    Quartz is one of the most durable materials out there, so quartz countertops are designed to withstand the test of time. However, not all colors and patterns are timeless, so be sure to choose neutral tones that match the rest of your kitchen.
  6. Stainless Steel Appliances
    Stainless steel is not going out of style any time soon. Appliances are expensive, so you don't want them to go out of style or show signs of use shortly after buying them. Stainless steel appliances not only look good, but they're also easy to clean and have a long lifespan. Stainless steel refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves are definitely the way to go.

A timeless kitchen can save you from future renovations and make your home more appealing to potential buyers when listing your home among other Tuscaloosa homes for sale. For more tips on how to create a timeless look for your kitchen, contact us today.

August
17

Make Your Home Feel More Spacious with These Tips

Tips for a Spacious Home

Smaller homes can be efficient to heat and cool and easier to clean. They can also feel more cramped than cozy, especially if you're used to the decor and storage techniques better suited to larger homes. But no matter what size home you have, you can make the most of your square footage with careful planning. Buyers looking at Tuscaloosa homes for sale get to see homes of all sizes, but seeing how well you use your space will get everyone thinking big about going small. Make your home feel a little roomier with these tips below. 

  1. Kick Clutter to the Curb
    Removing clutter will go a long way towards helping a space feel larger. Some clutter consists of items you no longer need, but other items may just need better storage. Determine what items you'd like to part with first. Use vacuum-sealed bags for long-term storage of clothing and linens and free up precious closet space. Consider a small outdoor shed for patio furnishings and garden tools. Hide additional storage in plain sight with storage ottomans in the living room or bed frames designed to accommodate drawers. When looking for storage space, look up. Wall-mounted shelves, organizers, and hanging baskets can keep everything you love within reach. 
  2. Sizing Up the Problem 
    If you've moved that enormous sectional from a much larger house, it may be too big for the space you're in now. Your furnishings may need an update to make your home look more spacious. Move through your home in a way that's typical of your usual activity, noting any time you have to dodge to avoid bumping into your furniture. Changing one or two pieces may be enough to make the space feel much larger. 
  3. Let There Be Light
    Light colors help spaces look airy and spacious. A room in floor-to-ceiling white looks much larger than a room in deep earth or jewel tones, but pastels do the trick just as well. Look at flooring options in blonde wood tones or other pale neutrals. A fresh coat of paint can make your home look newer and larger. Soft, cool pastels are on trend for 2020, with options that will suit a wide range of architectural styles. Take advantage of the natural light coming into your home. Sheer pastel curtains or blinds will help you maintain privacy and allow light to come through. Select curtain rods that extend beyond the window frame, so you can throw the curtains back and make the best of every sunbeam. 

Our real estate agents get to see homes of every size, and what we appreciate is homeowners that understand how to show off their home's best advantages. If you have any questions about making the most of what your home has to offer, contact us today. 

July
20

Pool Maintenance Tips Every Pool Owner Should Know

Pool Maintenance Tips

On a sweltering summer day, there's no better way to cool off and than going for a relaxing swim.

To ensure your pool is ready for all your summer fun, it's essential to follow a strict maintenance schedule. Our real estate agents know that a well-maintained pool can be a strong selling point with many would-be homeowners. Keep reading to learn a few maintenance tips that every pool owner needs to know. 

  1. Your Pool Needs Just the Right Amount of Water
    Make sure that the water level of your pool is at the point where it hits the center of your pool's skimmer. Otherwise, the skimmer won't be able to remove debris from your pool water properly. A water level that's too high won't allow the skimmer's door to open and close correctly. However, if the water level is too low, you risk running your pump dry and damaging it. 

  2. Pay Attention to All Your Pool's Chemicals (Not Just the Chlorine)
    It's a misconception that your pool's chlorine levels are the only thing you need to tend to. In addition to the chlorine levels, pay attention to the pH and alkalinity levels. The alkalinity of your swimming pool should fall within recommended levels so that it's easier to keep your pH levels within the ideal range. Your pool's pH levels are important because a pool with a suitable pH level needs less chlorine than a pool with levels that are too basic or acidic. Chlorine is most effective at killing germs when your pool's pH is between 7.4 and 7.6. Pool water with too much chlorine can cause skin irritation and itchy, red eyes. 
  1. Check That Your Pool's Systems Remain Free of Debris 
    Debris buildup can quickly decrease the efficiency of your pool's systems. There are numerous areas where debris can accumulate that you need to check regularly. Start by turning off your pool's pump and checking the basket that's located either in front of or beside the pump. This basket is prone to accumulating a lot of leaves, small pieces of trash, and clumps of hair. If your pool has a deck or inline chlorinator, make sure that the tablets are dissolving properly. When the tablets don't dissolve correctly, this can clog the chlorinator. Your skimmer baskets also need regular attention. Since your skimmer is the first line of defense for bugs, vegetation, and other foreign items, you need to see if the basket requires emptying every week or so. Otherwise, the skimmer won't remove as much debris, and it will sink to the bottom of your pool. 
  1. Inspect Your Pool for Cracks and Other Signs of Damage
    A damaged pool can be a drawback when you want to add your home to the inventory of Tuscaloosa homes for sale. Ensure that small problems don't turn into expensive repairs by inspecting your pool for damage. Examine the liner for rips or tears and look for cracks around the exterior of your pool (especially around your deck and tile). Most small cracks can be repaired with caulking and silicone. If they're left unchecked, they can impact the integrity of your pool. It's also possible to patch many rips and tears in your pool liner if the liner is in overall good condition. 

Looking for a home with a pool you can enjoy all summer long? Contact us today to explore your options!

June
1

7 Tips to Enhance Your Patio This Summer

Patio Tips

As you search among Tuscaloosa homes for sale to find the perfect home for you, perhaps a patio is high on your list of must-haves. Or perhaps you're considering creating a stunning patio area for your current home.

Inspired to create or upgrade your outdoor space? Here are seven tips to give your patio a boost.

  1. Cleaning up 
    If you already have a patio that needs upgrading, or an area where the patio might work, clean it up and do some calculations. Is your existing patio big enough for your needs, or should you relocate it to a new area? Look at shade and proximity to landscaping and the HVAC unit.

  2. Covering Things up
    Will you be installing a cover? Many types of umbrellas and awnings are available. Installing awnings can be a bit tricky, depending on where your patio will be located. Umbrellas can be more versatile, not needing vertical support, eves, gables, or strong fitting points. 

  3. Flooring Options
    If you already have a concrete floor, but it needs work, is it worth fixing, or should you have a new floor built? It's usually best to hire a pro for this, so you're sure the flooring is graded properly. Consider concrete pavers for flooring material, natural-looking, irregular stone, or understated clay bricks. If you're on a budget, you can put down pea gravel and add an outdoor rug to brighten things up.

  4. Creating the Design Scheme
    Your patio design should tie in with the style and materials of your home. You can echo color schemes with accessories and furniture: for example, bring the color of the house trim into the patio design, in accessories, plants, or furniture. Is your landscape theme abundant roses, glorious perennials, a white garden (big white flowers are lovely at night in subdued lighting), or simply sleek and contemporary? Tie landscaping and exterior design elements into the patio.

  5. What's Cooking?
    If your plans include a gloriously appointed kitchen in your patio, that's great. But if you're on a budget, installing a grill might suffice. Unless your skills are pretty high level, it may be best to hire a pro to do the honors.  

  6. Add Lighting
    You may want to hire a pro to help design your lighting scheme, or else just go with solar options, including walkway and accent lighting, with string lights for patio and trees. Lanterns can add charm and visual interest for special occasions.

  7. Heating and Cooling System
    In Tuscaloosa, summers are long and hot, but you can extend your time outdoors into the spring and fall by adding some heat, be it a gas-powered firepit or if regulations allow an open fire pit. Don't forget to plan for comfortable seating, be it colorful patio furniture, or stone benches with cushions. For hot evenings, how about a patio misting system?

Our team can help you with ideas for your Tuscaloosa home, indoors or out, to make it stand out in the marketplace. Let our real estate agents help you get started! Contact us today. 

May
18

6 Apps for Your Next Home Improvement Project

Home Improvement Apps

If you plan to add your home to the list of Tuscaloosa homes for sale, there might be a few projects that will help you prepare your property for sale. Home improvement projects can be overwhelming for many homeowners; not only do you need to figure out exactly what you want or need to do, but you need to procure materials and schedule labor for the job. Here are a few apps that will help you plan, manage, and execute your home improvement projects. 

  1. Wikihow
    Should you decide to tackle your project on your own, Wikihow will give you the knowledge you need to get the job done. This app is filled with thousands of useful how-to guides for projects of varying complexity levels. Many include diagrams and videos to increase your understanding. You can even use the bookmark feature to save guides that you plan to use later.
  2. IFixIt
    IFixIt is a fantastic resource if your project includes a lot of repairs. Find an applicable guide to assist with diagnosing the problem, gathering the necessary parts, and then completing the repairs. It's easy to search for guides by using the name of the item you're fixing or by searching for the device type. You can even use the IFixIt online store to purchase replacement parts. 
  3. iHandy Carpenter
    iHandy Carpenter transforms your smart device into a set of tools. This app makes it possible for you to use your phone as a ruler, bubble level, surface level, plumb bob, and protractor. Most homeowners keep their phones within reach throughout the day; this app ensures you have the tools you need for your project.
  4. TapPainter
    Our real estate agents find that a fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference in the look of your home. TapPainter allows you to take a photo of your room and upload it to the app. The app will then use the room's light and layout to see how various paint colors look in your room. This app offers shades from many of the most popular paint brands, making it easy for you to locate and buy your preferred color. 
  5. Pinterest
    Pinterest is a valuable resource for planning and managing your home improvement project. Create your own project-specific Pinterest board to keep track of all your ideas. You can search on Pinterest for potential projects and ideas, or you may add links that you find on the internet to your project board. The Pinterest app is full of project hacks, decor ideas, and useful tutorials. 
  6. Porch
    Need to bring in a professional for your project? Use Porch to search for insured home improvement pros you can hire for the job. Not sure what kind of pro you need? Schedule a consultation with a Porch representative to help you figure out what kind of professional is right for the job. Professionals are available in every type of home improvement category, including handymen, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and HVAC professionals. 

Want to know what projects will offer the best return for your money? Contact us today for help preparing your home to sell. 

April
6

5 Ideas for Decorating Your Home Office

Decorating Home OfficeWhether you work from home occasionally or full-time, you've surely discovered the value of having a dedicated home office. Home offices are becoming so popular that many potential homebuyers may also be looking for dedicated office space in Tuscaloosa homes for sale. Regardless if you plan on selling your home soon or living in it for years to come, there are ways you can enhance your home office that will make you more productive, creative, and emotionally focused as you work. Here are five tips for decorating your home office that our REALTORS® love.

  1. Let Paint Influence Your Psychology
    Colors have a significant impact on our psychology. For example, green can make us feel calm, yellow can inspire creativity, and blue can stimulate productivity. If you choose to have a neutral-colored office space, inject a few colors via décor to give your mind the boost it needs while you're in the space.  

  2. Prioritize Organization Over Distraction
    While it can be effective to place posters or wall art around the room that inspires you, you must also not let it distract you. Stay organized, physically, and mentally, by limiting clutter. Use dedicated storage spaces for your supplies and fill your space with a minimum amount of décor. Keep in mind that although a bookshelf of your favorite works may inspire you, you won't be productive in your work if you take too many reading breaks.

  3. Let Light & Nature Enter the Space
    Adequate lighting is an obvious necessity in a home office, but did you know that natural lighting can also have a profound impact in this space? Natural light can increase productivity, energy, and creativity, as well as reduce eye strain. Face your desk towards the window to maximize these benefits. Other studies also suggest that incorporating greenery in your office, such as a potted plant, can boost your cognitive attention while removing harmful bacteria from the space.

  4. Refresh Your Workspace While Restricting Relaxation
    Unless you're using a guest bedroom or multipurpose room as your workspace, you'll want to make sure that your home office is just that. Unfortunately, it's easy for homeowners to create a comfortable space that becomes a little too comfortable. While you should invest in ergonomic furniture that removes unnecessary strain from your body, you should refrain from putting comfortable furniture like couches in this space. You should also refrain from placing a television or other form of entertainment in your office. Ideally, this space should be inviting enough to help you focus on the task at hand while lacking the creature comforts that make other rooms of your home perfect for lounging after work.

  5. Incorporate Office Equipment
    Any room with a table and a chair can function as a home office, but if you need a serious workspace, you're going to need more than a keyboard and waste bin. Purchase office supplies in a color that complement the room's aesthetic. You can also create décor designs that are attractive yet practical, such as selecting charming furniture pieces for storage or turning a closet into a convenient printing/copying station.

Are you looking for a Tuscaloosa house that has room for a home office? We can help! Contact us today to begin your search.  

March
16

Where You Should Put Your Remodeling Dollars?

Remodeling Dollars

Many sellers ask our real estate agents how to make their homes stand out from other Tuscaloosa homes for sale. If you're selling soon, a little remodeling can go a long way. You'll want to concentrate on remodeling projects that buyers want but still offer you a decent boost in resale value. These tips will help you make the most of your remodeling dollar.

  • Go for inexpensive and mid-range projects.
    They can still make a big difference, and you'll get more of your costs back on these. Because some big remodeling projects can be so expensive, you won't make your money back on them in the short term. Those kinds of projects aren't good candidates if you're going to remodel simply to help sell your home.
  • Make the kitchen and bathrooms top priority.
    These are the rooms buyers pay attention to, so making them look at least reasonably updated and inviting is essential. Buyers also know full remodels in these areas can be costly. If buyers see they can at least live with what's there, and they won't need to remodel immediately, that can give you an edge.
  • A surface remodel can be a better option.
    If most of the house is fine, but one area is likely to make buyers run, try a surface remodel. Do some less expensive swaps to save money instead of a full scale remodel project. For example, refinish a bathtub instead of replacing it, opt for vinyl plank instead of wood plank flooring, or paint a vanity and replace the hardware to get an updated look without gutting the entire space.  
  • Spend the money where buyers can see it.
    Paint and flooring take up the most space in a room, so updating here is always worth the money. And updating something major that's still working safely, such as a water heater or furnace, will cost way more and you'll recoup much less.
  • Refresh cabinets instead of replacing them.
    This can easily become a big chunk of the remodeling budget. If the cabinets are structurally sound, there are a few different and less expensive ways to update them. Paint or stain, refacing, swapping a solid door for one with a glass insert, and updating the hardware can change the look for less money.
  • Update hardware and light fixtures throughout the home.
    It may not sound like much, but all those door handles, hinges, drawer pulls, and builder-grade light fixtures throughout your home may be making a bad impression. Because they're everywhere in your home, this little change can make a big difference.
  • Update with buyers' tastes in mind.
    That doesn't necessarily mean everything has to be the latest trend, but it should offer wide appeal. Get rid of anything that is dated or likely to evoke strong dislike among buyers.

Updating your house before you sell is sure to turn the heads of potential buyers. Making good use of your remodeling dollars can help your house sell faster and for the right price. Contact us today to get started.

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