Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:25:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 CLEVER WAYS TO ZONE OFF SPACE IN OPEN FLOOR PLANS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/clever-ways-zone-off-space-open-floor-plans/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/clever-ways-zone-off-space-open-floor-plans/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 15:25:28 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6335 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Sarah Warwick for Houzz. “We have fallen for open-floorplan living in recent years…not many of us have a formal room just for company anymore.  And with modern building materials, we don’t necessarily need every room to have four walls  to keep it at a comfortable temperature.  But although open…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Sarah Warwick for Houzz.
“We have fallen for open-floorplan living in recent years…not many of us have a formal room just for company anymore.  And with modern building materials, we don’t necessarily need every room to have four walls  to keep it at a comfortable temperature.  But although open floor plans bring the space, light, flow and garden views we desire, it can also feel problematic to organize into zones, and prove distracting to share.

Enter the partition.  It makes room division simple yet doesn’t starve spaces of light or compromise the open feel.  Decorative, at half or full height, framed or barely visible, a glass (or door) partition can work in every environment.  Check out these designs.

CORDON OFF THE COOKING AREA.  A glass partition is a natural solution when a separation of cooking and relaxing spaces is essential.   It means that the TV volume doesn’t have to cranked up to drown out the sounds of the exhaust fan, dishwasher and running water when the space is being used for multiple activities, but the whole effect is still open.  The cabinetry, partition framing and furniture can be linked through color, while the floor finish is continuous.

MAKE A ROOM WITHIN A ROOM.  When true separation is required, glass partitioning can divide without losing openness or light.  Floor-to-ceiling shelving can form one wall, while glass doors and side panels ensure that these areas benefit from all the windows.  To maximize light, low furniture that sits at or below sill level is a must-have.  Opt for window treatments that don’t obscure any of the glass when they’re open or, if privacy isn’t an issue, go without.

GO HALFWAY.  A half-height glass divider is enough to split, for example, an office area from a dining room.  A height difference between the two areas and a change in floor finish also help separate the work zone from the social space.  Smaller partitions are best employed when noise between the areas of an open floor plan room isn’t an issue, whether that’s because the two activities are equally quiet or the two zones aren’t used simultaneously.

SET OFF THE STAIRCASE.   When a flight of stairs is part of an open floorplan, it can become a striking feature.  Surrounding it with glass that includes cross-struts adds to its sculptural value and draws the eye to the cantilevered steps.  (Or if a straight flight of stairs is walled in on the sides, it can function as a great divider.) Adding rugs can also help define large, open spaces, for instances, linking the seating area with a fireplace.

DIVIDE A RECTANGLE.  Opening a Victorian house from front to back can result in a long, narrow room, so glass partitions can help with the proportions of the resulting space without losing any of the benefits of an open plan.  It’s easier to  position furniture in rooms that are more square, especially if the fireplaces are still in place.

TRY A TRANSOM.  A glass room divider can work by creating an entrance to a new part of an open plan space.  A transom version can make the change from the kitchen to the seating area.  A high-ceilinged room is the best place for this approach.  In a less lofty space, a doorway works better than a transom for maximum head height.

LOOK INTO THE BATHROOM.  In some homes, a bedroom en suite opens the bedroom area to the bath by a glass divider.  The upside of using glass in this type of arrangement is that an en suite gets filled with natural light where it otherwise might be windowless and always artificially illuminate.  It also allows a beautiful bathtub to be a feature of the bedroom as well as the wash space.  Mosaic tiles that catch the light complement the reflective wallpaper of the sleep space.  If you’re inspired by this arrangement, bear in mind that it’s really for bathroom neatniks only, and for that reason a closed-off bath may be preferable.

Or screen the bath with translucent glass. When a little privacy is required, translucent glass can conceal a bathroom from a bedroom yet still allow light through.  It’s worth considering how obscure you want to make the partition.  Sandblasting allows control over the level of opacity.  Window film is an option for a DIY revamp of a partition from see-through to concealing.

COMBINING IT WITH DOORS.  The result of partitioning with windowed door dividers is a contemporary-looking home, which is often the case where lots of glass is part of the architecture.  Combine glass with a tongue-and-groove look, and the view of the living room from the hall looks characterful and also wonderfully light and bright.  Half-glass doors come in all sorts of styles and with roots in the Victorian era, are often a good shortcut to adding period style.

SOURCE:  Sarah Warwick/Houzz    IMAGE:  open stock

 

 

 

 

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NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/natural-history-southern-appalachians/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/natural-history-southern-appalachians/#respond Mon, 15 Jan 2018 17:16:24 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6331 Excerpted from an article by local naturalist and columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, George Ellison….USA TODAY NETWORK. Our favorite local naturalist/author, George Ellison, used to teach Elderhostel courses, and his niche was Natural History of the Southern Appalachians.  He devised an introductory presentation titled “Where Are We?” for his students, and wrote a recent column…

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Excerpted from an article by local naturalist and columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times, George Ellison….USA TODAY NETWORK.

Our favorite local naturalist/author, George Ellison, used to teach Elderhostel courses, and his niche was Natural History of the Southern Appalachians.  He devised an introductory presentation titled “Where Are We?” for his students, and wrote a recent column in the Asheville paper condensing some of this knowledge of our mountains.

“…The Appalachians (down here in NC, folks pronounce that AppleAtChuns, with a soft A) extend some 2,000 miles from Canada’s Gaspe Peninsula to Mt. Oglethorpe in north Georgia.  They are the result of periods of mountain building brought about when the North American continental plate collided with the plates forming the European and African continents.  Because of their maturity, they have been described as “The most elegant mountain range in the world.”

The Southern Appalachians can be defined as the mountain ranges south of the point in  northeastern PA to which glacial ice sheets extended at the height of the Wisconsin epoch 18,000 years ago.  That southern region consists of four geographic provinces (east to west):  Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Plateau.

The Blue Ridge Province is the most significant in regard to mountainous terrain, and extends from just south of Harrisburg, PA to Mt. Oglethorpe in North Georgia, encompassiong mountainous portions of southwestern VA, Western NC, east TN, northwest SC and north GA.

The Blue Ridge Province can be subdivided into its northern and southern provinces, with the Southern Blue Ridge Province (SBRP) consisting of the terrain south of Mt. Rogers in southwestern VA to Mt. Oglethorpe in north GA.  The eastern front or escarpment of the SBRP is clearly defined from VA into SC.  On it s western front, the SBRP consists of  the Unaka, Great Smoky, Unicoi and other massive ranges.  Connecting the eastern and western fronts are transverse  ranges:  the Blacks, Great Craggies, great Balsams, Nantahalas and many others.

The Appalachian system as a whole reaches its greatest elevation, largest mass and most rugged topography in the SBRP, where 125 or so peaks rise to 5,000 feet or  higher, with 50 or so surpassing 6,000 feet.  From Mt. Rogers in VA northward to the Gaspe Peninsula, only Mt. Washington in NH exceeds 6,000 feet.  (I have read that if we had a peak 8,000 feet in elevation, there would be a treeline.)

The topography profoundly influences the region’s average temperature and thereby its plant and animal life, which exhibit strong northern affinities.  The “Principle of Verticality” holds that for each 1,000 feet gained in elevation the mean temperature decreases about 4 degrees F, equivalent to a change of 250 miles in latitude.  This means that if you travel from the lowest elevations in the SBRP of about 1,000 feet to the higher elevations about 6,000 feet, it’s the equivalent of traveling more than 1,200 miles northward in regard to the habitats you will encounter.

The SBRP is situated where winds bringing saturated air masses from the Gulf of Mexico and the southern Coastal Plain are cooled, resulting in a significant degree of rainfall.  Air cools while rising to pass over the uplifted mountain ranges and can hold less moisture than warm air; therefore, heavy condensation occurs where large weather fronts first encounter uplifted terrain.  The heaviest annual rainfall occurs in places along the state lines between NC, GA and SC (that is, from the Nantahalas west of Franklin to Highlands east of Franklin).  Well over 110 inches of annual rainfall has been recorded with regularity since 1935 along the GA/NC line.  Some professional observers now refer to the area as a temperate rain forest.

The highest elevations of the SBRP can be thought of as a peninsula of  northern terrain extending into the southeastern US where typical flora and fauna of northeastern and southeastern North America flourish.  The region features approximately 1,500 vascular plants (many considered showy wildflowers), and 125 species of trees (in all of Europe there are only about 75 species.)

At 70 or so miles in length, 25 or so miles in width at its widest, and comprised of over a half-million acres, the Great Smokies (most of which was incorporated into the national park when it was founded in 1934) are the largest single mountain range in eastern North America.  Situated on the western front of the SBRP, the Smokies are just one of the virtually countless ranges that comprise the great chain that extends almost without end from Maine to Georgia.”

SOURCE:  George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today  IMAGE: Southern Appalachain CESU

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2018 KITCHEN TREND: BLUE AND GREEN CABINETS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-kitchen-trend-blue-green-cabinets/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-kitchen-trend-blue-green-cabinets/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:44:57 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6326 SOURCE:  Excerpts from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “Feeling blue?  You’re about to!  Blue is one of the hottest colors for 2018 when it comes to the kitchen – and that goes for green as well.  After years of white everything, expect to see some deeper, moodier shades in your chef space.  …

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SOURCE:  Excerpts from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“Feeling blue?  You’re about to!  Blue is one of the hottest colors for 2018 when it comes to the kitchen – and that goes for green as well.  After years of white everything, expect to see some deeper, moodier shades in your chef space.

 

House Beautiful says that “blues and greens emerged as “go to” color choices for cabinetry in 2017.”  They are being mixed with other colors, complementing wood stains or even being used as the dominant color alone.  Blue cabinets manage to attract attention with their cool color and clean lines.

You can also leave the cabinets a more neutral color, and pick a rich blue for your range and hood for a show-stopping look.

Designers and homeowners started flirting with dark green cabinets last year, and 2018 is the year the color is expected to become more widely embraced.  If you’re afraid that a hue so deep will make your space feel dark of small, white walls and counters, plus mixed metals, keep it feeling chic and open.  Green cabinets also are the perfect foil for generous slabs of marble.  You can also get a modern look that weaves in the green without going full blast by using a two-tone approach.  Green bottom cabinets and islands ground the space, juxtaposed against white uppers and backsplash.”

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.  IMAGES:  pinterest.com, elledecor.com

 

 

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2018………PAY ATTENTION!!! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-pay-attention/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2018-pay-attention/#respond Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:26:29 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6321 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018?  PAY ATTENTION!  Start the year with or without New Year’s resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention…. To how well informed…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com

We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018? 

PAY ATTENTION!  Start the year with or without New Year’s resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention….

  • To how well informed you and information sources you really on really are.
  • To what’s really going on around you — real and fake, and
  • To how you react to what’s going on around you —  online and off.

Whether you are a real estate owner or a wannabe, 0r whether you intend to buy or sell in 2018, so much is shifting in real estate, in the economy, and everywhere else that nothing should be taken for granted or assumed in 2018.  Concentrate on getting the facts, not just someone else’s biased view of where advantages lie for you.

  • A LOT CHANGED IN 2017 A ND THE FULL IMPLICATIONS OF THOSE CHANGES WILL CONTINUE TO EMERGE IN 2018.  Pay attention to ramifications and compromises, subtle and otherwise, attached to changes in everything from tax law and net neutrality to technology’s continued re-write and disruption of much we’ve taken for granted.  Real estate ownership will be impacted by changes to tax law, estate planning, resulting neighborhood development, and interactions between these and many more variables.  Where will advantages lie for you?  Changes in the business world may directly or indirectly influence job or retirement security for your family.  This in turn may impact qualification for financing, mortgage renewal, and real estate affordability.  Projected reductions in funding and donations for social and community support programs and organizations may have widespread impact in neighborhoods, community development and in education.  These shifts may reduce location benefits, which in turn can affect real estate value.  How will your location be affected in 2018?
  • WHOEVER OR WHATEVER YOU BLAMED FOR DISTRACTIONS IN 2017 WILL BE WITH YOU IN 2018 AND MIGHT EVEN BE WORSE.  There are only so many hours in the day, and only so many $$$ in your paycheck.  Distractions that erode concentration on your needs and goals, and distractions that feed impulse spending will be expensive in many ways.  Pay attention to what takes you off point, off track, and off goal to ensure you stay in control.  You may blame others for distracting you, but it’s your powers of concentration that should be continually honed and improved to keep you ahead of the pack.  Saving for a down payment, home renovation, or to pay down an existing mortgage requires a written budget strategy to guide you toward clearly defined results.  Paying monthly condominium fees, mortgage payments, or heating bills is exhausting when approached as mont-to-0month catch-up.  Shift your focus to cutting costs and increasing income long-term and you’ll move beyond a monthly survival perspective to establish a constructive, long-term frame of reference for success.  Steady, dramatic increases in online shopping over the 2017 holiday season mean many households may be combining the impulse spending facilitated by credit cards and click-here shopping carts to undermine their budgets even more dramatically than ever.  As the volume of online shoppers increases, convenience, cost saving, and product satisfaction may be compromised – so it’s only the novelty of online shopping that addicts.  What’s all this got to do with achieving your core real estate ownerhship goals?
  • SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF WHAT YOU BELIEVED YOU KNEW IN 2017  ABOUT REAL ESTATE. FINANCE, HOME SECURITY, MORTGAGES, WORK, AND THE INTERNET WILL BE OUT OF DATE IN 2018.  Pay attention to which laws, regulations, services, and real estate expenses have actually changed – not just been endlessly, sensationally rehashed in the media  and online.  Accurate information and clever strategies are gold……Tweets, posts, and other online content arrive in increasingly overwhelming rates and volumes, leaving less and less time to uncover facts and realities and to actually learn and think about relevance to you.  From shopping or applying for a mortgage to searching for a new home or viewing property, virtual video and online content bring these and other real estate activities onto your laptop and your mobile phone.  Is this distance learning leaving you better informed and smarter real estate-wise than face-to-face meetings with real estate experts and hands-on location and property investigations?  Searching out professionals who keep up with change within their profession is a challenge.  How do you make sure you receive the professional advice you need to interpret changes from your real estate point of view?…”

Connestee Falls Realty provides you with expertise on our area of greatest interest – the Brevard area in general, and Connestee Falls in particular.  IT’S OUR THING!  Let us help you make sense of all your real estate questions and needs  in 2018!

SOURCE:  PJ Wade for realtytimes.com    

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FIVE EASY WAYS TO REMAKE YOUR FIREPLACE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/five-easy-ways-remake-fireplace/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/five-easy-ways-remake-fireplace/#respond Thu, 04 Jan 2018 15:54:23 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6313 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “It’s chilly out there!  You probably have the heat turned up and the fireplace on.  Chances are you’re staring at that fireplace and thinking of all the things you’d like to change.  And a fireplace facelift can take your living area from “meh” to “wow”!…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“It’s chilly out there!  You probably have the heat turned up and the fireplace on.  Chances are you’re staring at that fireplace and thinking of all the things you’d like to change.  And a fireplace facelift can take your living area from “meh” to “wow”!

Whether you’re looking at a full renovation or looking for an easy weekend upgrade, here are some easy, impactful fixes for your fireplace.

  • PAINT IT.  Nothing transforms more quickly and easily than paint, and that goes for fireplaces, too.  If you have outdated red brick on your fireplace, a couple of coats of white or black paint can create something that’s a showstopper instead of an eyesore.
  • WHITEWASH IT.  This is a touch lighter than paint.  Whitewashing can lighten up a dark fireplace and give it new style….so get a rag and brush, and give your room a bright new look.  While painting over brick with 100% latex paint will give the brick a solid, opaque color, whitewashing mutes the brick’s natural color with a translucent finish.  This technique preserves the bricks’ natural, random variations, depending on how much paint is applied and how each individual brick absorbs the whitewash.
  • COVER IT IN STONE.  Sounds like a huge undertaking, but you don’t need to be a stone mason to get an incredible look for your fireplace.  For example “Airstone” is just one innovative product that gives you the look of real stone.
  • FAUX IT.   This marble-look adhesive paper covers up some very dated brick or ceramic.  This application couldn’t be easier, but be sure to read the instructions and disclaimers careful to make sure you’re using the fire-safe products if you actually use your fireplace and it’s not just for show.
  • START OVER COMPLETELY!  This choice typically involves some sort of demolition to create a smooth surface, and then the sky’s the limit.  The time frame can vary depending on how extensive the project is, and it might require an expert unless your DIY skills are stellar.  A standard drywall installation with mantel and surround can be complete in two days.  A custom mantel or more extensive ductwork or electrical installation can take five or six weeks.”

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  Lowe’s

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10 HOME HACKS TO BRING IN THE NEW YEAR! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/10-home-hacks-bring-new-year/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/10-home-hacks-bring-new-year/#respond Tue, 02 Jan 2018 18:40:35 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6310 SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “We are always looking for ideas to make our lives easier and our home function better, and there are some great hacks out there that can help.  (For the technologically and generationally challenged readers out there (like me), a “hack” isn’t just an old/stale politician.  It’s new meaning:  simple shortcuts…

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SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“We are always looking for ideas to make our lives easier and our home function better, and there are some great hacks out there that can help.  (For the technologically and generationally challenged readers out there (like me), a “hack” isn’t just an old/stale politician.  It’s new meaning:  simple shortcuts to make your life easier.)  We have made a top ten list for the New Year….

  1.  Polka Dot Your Walls!  We love this idea for a homemade stencil.  All you need is an old plastic laundry basket and some tape.  Adhere, paint, and VOILA!  Polka Dot Walls!
  2. Shine Up Your Copper!   Personally, we love the look of natural copper, but if you want to shine it up, there’s an easy fix – KETCHUP!  Yep, your favorite condiment is also a great polish.  Squirt it on, top it with salt, rub  in, and then wipe clean.  You can also use ketchup, or vinegar for that matter, to clean brass.
  3. Trap Hair!  Clogged drains are a nuisance, and often they are just clogged up with hair and other items small enough to get scooched down the drain.  Don’t call the plumber…just get yourself a plastic drain strainer/cover at your local hardware store.  It captures hair and other debris and all you have to do is remove the gadget once a month and wipe it clean with a tissue.
  4. Organize Just About Anything!  Who says shoe holders are just for shoes?  This is great way to organized cleaning supplies,  store small toys, or stuffed animals, or winter gloves and scarves in  your hall coat closet.
  5. Create More Shoe Storage!  If you don’t want to give up an inch of shoe storage, we can relate.  You can turn a nook into a shoe closet and give yourself the added storage you need without giving up valuable space.
  6. Get Your Stainless Steel Appliances Clean!  Give them a good, clean shine.  All you need is a microfiber cloth (or any soft cloth) and some rubbing alcohol.  Are you a super clean freak?  You can use a few drops of olive oil.
  7. Repurpose Your Wine Rack!  The thought of giving up a wine rack to use as a towel rack can be problematic, but the idea is to look beyond a typical use for any product to see it if can provide a solution womewhere else in your home (if it’s not already in good use.)
  8. Easy Glitter Cleanup!  This comes in handy after your New Year’s party.  Just use a ball of PlayDoh to p ick up all those little glitter pieces.
  9. Hang Art In A Cinch!  When you  have to hang something with exact holes, photocopy the back of the object and use as a template!  Who would have thunk it?
  10. Polish Up Scratched Furniture And Floors!  An easy way to improve the look of your wood items without  having to buy expensive and/or toxic products:  use a walnut (shelled, please)!  Not only are they high in antioxidants; they can also extend the life of your worn wooden furniture.  Got scratches in finished wood?  Simply rub a nut along the grooves and watch them vanish before your eyes!

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  notjustahousewife.net

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR HOME ISN’T SELLING http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-isnt-selling/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-isnt-selling/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:28:20 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6306 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article written by the Realtytimes.com staff. “When sellers start the home-selling process, no one wants to think “What would happen if my home doesn’t sell?”  Before you panic, recognize that there are many things that you can do so you don’t wind up in that position. Understanding the real estate market and…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article written by the Realtytimes.com staff.

“When sellers start the home-selling process, no one wants to think “What would happen if my home doesn’t sell?”  Before you panic, recognize that there are many things that you can do so you don’t wind up in that position. Understanding the real estate market and the value of your home will help you avoid this dilemma.

  1. The first key point is to get educated about the market.  Read your newspapers, online real estate sites, and consult with the best experts in real estate for your area to determine the sales price.  While all that may seem basic, you’d be surprised how many sellers rely on emotion to dream up a selling price for their home.  Some have done little, if any, research on even their own neighborhood.  Their strong ties to their home cause them to imagine that their home should sell for the price they want.  Or they base the selling price on how much they owe which is, of course, of no significance to buyers.
  2. Fix up your home.  Most buyers don’t want to purchase a big list of fixes in order to live in the home they just bought…yet some sellers think that it’s a waste to spend money on a home that they’re moving out of soon.  This is quite a predicament.  Both sides have valid point, but buyers might be in a stronger position on this one.   Yes, if the buyer wants the home badly enough, they might agree to buy your home, but it’s guaranteed you’ll take a financial hit as the buyer will want to discount the price for the problems that need fixing.  In the end you might have to fix the issues before the sale anyway.  So, starting with a house that is in relatively good order is the best way to begin.
  3. If you need to sell your home, don’t pull it off the market because you think the season isn’t right.  Buyers who need to buy a home  will keep hunting through all the seasons.  There may be slow times, but if people need a house, they’ll keep looking even in unlikely times.
  4. Consider incentives.  You can make your home more appealing by tossing in some incentives.  It’s best to speak with your Realtor about which incentives are best to offer.  Even practical incentives can help get buyers to your home to view it.  These incentives can help encourage the buyer to move forward, especially if other challenges arise.
  5. Stage your home.  This is not the same thing as fixing up.  Fixing up  includes daily maintenance and repairs.  Staging your home involves using experts to make your home showroom-ready – like a model home.  If you’re serious about selling, then it’s worth at least having a consultation with an expert in the industry.  They are trained to stay on top of the trends that have mass appeal.  They offer a fresh set of eyes on your home.  They may point out something that you never noticed before because you’ve been living in your home for a long time.  They look at your home from an outsider’s perspective and that’s exactly what you need.  Taking time to at least consult with experts allows you to gain knowledge and information about your home and the market place.  What you do with that information is up to you, but it may just be the difference between a FOR SALE sign and a SOLD sign hanging outside your home.”

SOURCE:  realtytimes.com

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SLAYING THAT CREDIT SCORE – TIPS FOR A NEW YEAR http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/slaying-credit-score-tips-new-year/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/slaying-credit-score-tips-new-year/#respond Mon, 18 Dec 2017 16:26:40 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6300 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes. “Getting ready to buy a house or thinking about it?  Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are at the top of your mind.  But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – actively trying to raise your scores…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.

“Getting ready to buy a house or thinking about it?  Where to buy, what to buy, and how you’ll afford it are at the top of your mind.  But if you’re not also concentrating on your credit score – actively trying to raise your scores as much as possible – you’re not looking at the whole home-buying picture.

Not only  does your credit score factor into what you’ll pay for your home, it can keep you from being able to buy one, period.  Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay…a credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time.  It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner.  The better your history appears, the more attractive you become  as a loan customer. (eloan.com)

But – your credit score is not static; it can, and does, change all the time, and there are all kinds of ways to improve it.   Here are the smartest options to boost your score in the new year.

SHOOT FOR PERFECTION!  850 is the best score you can get.  While at may seem completely out of reach, there are people who actually reach the top.  On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection.  Careful budgeting and detailed attention to every aspect of their financial picture are the tactics they use to get and maintain that score, and these tactics are the ones you should be using as well.

OR, SHOOT FOR 750.  If 850  is  out of reach within a reasonable time frame – meaning the maximum time you want to wait before buying a home – try for 750.  It’s the magic number for lenders and creditors, and it puts the ball in the the corner of the consumer rather than the lender, said The Motley Fool.  “You’ll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances,you’ll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you’ll have the lowest possibly long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer.”

SET UP AUTOMATIC PAYMENTS.  According to CreditCards.com, a good 35% of your credit score  is taken from you payment history.  You may have missed payments in the past that you need to deal with now, but you certainly don’t want to make another mistake while you’re trying to get homebuyer-ready.  Almost every creditor offers the option of automatic payments, and it’s the easiest way to ensure you never miss a payment.  Just remember to make sure there is enough cash in your account to cover the payments on the day the money will be coming out.

ASK BEFORE YOU SHUT DOWN CREDIT.  The amount of credit you have is a factor in qualifying – or not – for a mortgage.  Long-term credit use that has been managed properly can be helpful to your score.  “Length of credit history is considered when determining your score – so the longer you’ve had a  credit card, the better, says CNN Money.

WATCH YOUR CREDIT LIMITS.  Banks don’t look kindly on those who have used all their available credit because it gives the impression that you’re not living within your means.  The amount of available credit you use is the second most important factor in your score.  You should try to keep your balance on each card below 30% of your limit – even lower is better.

PAY DOWN YOUR DEBT…but check with your lender first.  If you’re trying to weigh the best tactics for improving your credit and you don’t have the funds to take care of every outstanding wrinkle on your credit report and pay down your existing debt at the same time, you definitely want to check with your lender before you make any move.  Every dollar is important, and while your credit score will soar as you pay off your debt as aggressively as possible without acquiring more, it could be that your lender has a strategy that places more importance on other credit issues in your report, or has structured your credit repair according to a different timeline.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO REFINANCE.  You may end up buying a  home before you get your credit score where you want it to be.  If you’re in an appreciating market, which much of the country is, and your score continues to rise after you close escrow, you might be in a position to refinance sooner than you think.  Especially if you buy your home with an FHA loan.  Their streamlined refinance program can potentially lower your rate without an appraisal, a credit check or job/income verification.”

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.  IMAGE:  money.cnn.com

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SIX EASY WAYS TO PREPARE FOR HOLIDAY GUEST S S http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:48:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6293 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started. MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started.

MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In many guest rooms, whatever furniture exists is often leftovers from other spaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look great.  If you’re not looking to add to or replace anything, get out that paint can.  How does the bed look?  Tired or drab?  You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great set of sheets, and top it with a graphic patterned comforter and a few pillows – voila!  On the night stand, a favorite book and a scented candle will make your guests feel welcome.  (A stack of pretty, fresh towels at the bottom of the bed makes a nice presentation.)

POLISH YOUR SILVER.  Several simple tricks (http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-silver) will have it look better in no time.  Our favorite:  ketchup!

MAKE IT  INVITING.  Discount home decor stores can be a goldmine for little, inexpensive items that can make your guests feel like they’re staying at a fancy hotel.  Stock up on guest soaps, hand towels, lotions, and (!) perhaps set out a new robe and slippers.

THINK ABOUT FUNCTION. While you’re making things look pretty, make sure you consider function.  Guests will need a place to put their things, so this is a perfect time to put away summer clothes or pack up a few boxes of giveaway stuff to create space in a closet.  Now…hit your coat closet.  Go through your closet or hooks by your door, and store away any extra jackets you may have hanging there.

CONSIDER THE LIGHTING.  While you are out shopping, hit the lighting aisle.  Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t.  Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door.  Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage at night.

DO A SMELL CHECK.  Everyday scents, especially if you have pets, can get past us in our own home.  There is actually a science behind this…we adapt to smells very quickly.  Within the space of just a few breaths, we can lose our ability to detect new odors, It’s called olfactory adaption, and it’s the same reason you can’t smell your own breath, body odor or even perfume after a few minutes.

Outside of the typical tactics of cleaning and deodorizing, there are a few tricks that can help freshen up your home.  Fill two to four shallow bowls with fresh coffee grounds, depending on the size of the room.  Shut the windows and the door to the room, then leave the bowls overnight to let the coffee grounds absorb the odor.  Throw the grounds away the next day.  Repeat one more night with fresh coffee grounds for particularly stubborn odors.  Another quick fix:  Put about a cup of white vinegar in a sauce pan on your stove top and bring it to a simmer…it will release more odor-fighting power into the air, and if you let it go for awhile, it will deodorize your whole house.  It might smell a little vinegary at first, but after a while it won’t smell like anything at all….”

(Our own tip, which is especially easy over the holidays….bake cookies, breads etc. each day to keep the lovely aromas of holiday baking in your home.  And if you are in the process of selling your home, bake a loaf of bread every morning.  It’ll create a pleasant “greeting” when prospective buyers first enter your home!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri/realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  huffingtonpost.com

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AS LEAVES DROP, BIRD WATCHING IMPROVES http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 16:26:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6289 Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network “From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as…

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Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network

“From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as they come and go at regular intervals.

Mid-fall is when we are on the lookout for those species that nest in the northern hardwood and spruce-fir regions of the Southern Appalachians – where they reach the southernmost limits of their breeding ranges – but come down to the lowlands in the fall to winter:  golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, black-capped chickadees, brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches and juncos.  Of these, one of our favorites is the winter wren, a species found throughout temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, and the only wren species found outside of the Americas….

According to the online “Birds of North America” site (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) this species is unique among North American wrens in its association with old-growth forests.  It uses snags, downed logs, and large trees for nesting, foraging and roosting.  Some European populations inhabit highly human-modified habitats year-round and are known as garden birds.

The winter wren is noted for its song – a sparkling series of high-pitched bubbling warbles and trills – that may last for up to seven seconds and contain more than 100 notes.  Most singing occurs during breeding season, but it has been noted in every month of the year.  “On rare occasions the listener may be favored by antiphonal singing, when the refrain is carried on by two or more musicians – as soon as one utters his last note, another begins, round after round, so charmingly synchronized that the performance becomes a never-to-be-forgotten experience.” (Arthur Stupka/Great Smokies National Park)

In late fall and winter, the little bird’s presence is usually announced by abrasive “chirrs” or harsh “tik-tik-tik”cockced over its back, this species is unmistakable.  At high elevations, the tiny brown sprite creeps mouse-like through the forest at ground level, darting in and  out of hollow logs and tangles of vegetation.  In the lower elevations, it  is attracted to home sites, where it flits in and  out of the openings in stacks of firewood and ventures underneath structures seeking insects.

Winter wrens are without doubt our most inquisitive bird.  And for whatever reason, they are seemingly fascinated with human beings.  I have had them follow me along trails for several hundred yards, bobbing up at intervals to make sure I am aware of their presence.  They enter our house and inspect the premises when an open door or window allows access.  They are irresistible.”

SOURCE:  George Ellison is a naturalist and writer.  His wife, Elizabeth Ellison, is a painter and papermaker who owns a gallery in Bryson City, NC.

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