Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/8/2019

Creating the curb appeal that you want does not have to be as complex as a full-scale remodel. If your home’s exterior is in decent condition, spend your time and budget on things that pack a big punch. Upgrade how your home looks from the street with these simple exterior, lawn, and garden hacks.

Fill planter or window boxes that hang off porch railings, or under the front windows with colorful annuals such as impatiens, begonias, or petunias. Add smaller pots of greenery into the boxes such as maidenhair fern or ivy so that you have an abundance of flora draping over the side. Adding cheery blooms to your exterior catches the eye and enhances your street-side appeal.

If installing window boxes is out of your comfort zone or might damage stucco or another exterior finish, add drama with a collection of larger and smaller pots. Fill some with plants that grow up and others with flowers that bloom in a bushy shape. Still, others can flow over the sides. Try easy-to-maintain succulents in container gardens or colorful native grasses or cacti if your climate permits. Choose pots with colors that complement the exterior of your home. Place some pots on wider steps leading up to the porch and others filled with shade-friendly plantings to either side of the front door.

Plant a fruit or flowering tree. Depending on how large the front yard is and the area available away from the foundation, an ornamental tree can boost your home’s charm. Determine the potential size the tree might grow by conferring with a nursery or arborist so that the location you choose allows the roots to take hold and not encroach on sidewalks, foundations, and drainage areas. If your home is symmetrical, consider flanking your entry or driveway with a pair of trees or bushes.

Upgrade your lighting. The porch light and carriage lamps on homes take much beating from the sun and weather. Replacing them with new fixtures that have LED bulbs might be just the thing to set your home apart from the rest. Choose a design that complements the architectural features of your home. If you cannot afford new fixtures, take down the existing ones, clean and repair them, and even spray-paint the metal before putting them back up. Replace the incandescent bulb with a soft-white LED bulb rated for outdoor use. If possible, install a lamp post in your yard that turns on at dusk and off at dawn. Select a design that enhances your home and casts a soft glow. Alternatively, add solar path lights along the walkway or to highlight a flowerbed.

Replace your mailbox. Unless it is a bricked-in version that matches the home, most curbside mailboxes end up battered and bent out of shape over time. Even bricked in boxes might have missing mortar or chipped bricks that you should repair. Replacing your dented, rusted, or old mailbox with a new one gives you an instant upgrade. Make sure to check with your local carrier, city, and neighborhood association for regulations and requirements before buying your new mailbox.

When considering whether or not to place your home on the market, talk to your real estate agent for ideas and information on making your home the most attractive in the neighborhood.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/7/2019

Preparing your house to sell can mean different things in different markets. You want your home to be competitively priced and attractive to the buyer, so you put some extra effort into staging and end up with no takers. What happened?

Despite what you see in decorator magazines and on television, sometimes less is more, way more when it comes to staging your home.

Here are some areas to watch out for when following staging “advice.”

  • Over the years, real estate agents have shared the notion that freshly baked cookies or bread evoke a warm and welcoming atmosphere. But unless you're offering the treats to share, leave the baking to the shop down the street. The idea has run its course and appears to be just what it is—a sales tactic that might backfire on you.
  • In the same vein, don't light scented candles all over the place. What seems delightful to you may be overpowering to your potential buyer. They may be wondering just what you're trying to cover up. Instead, open the windows and air it out. Or use an odor-removing spray with a "fresh" or "linen" scent.
  • Don’t cover the windows. Don’t buy new blinds, new drapes, new valances, or sheers. Just don’t! Your windows should be as lightly-dressed as possible. Remove or pull up shades to let the dazzling sunlight stream through the clean glass. Chances are, your buyer has different taste from you, so spending money on new window coverings would be a lose-lose!
  • Leave the music and television off. Since you don't know your buyer's taste in music any more than you know their taste in candles, allow the home's everyday sounds to become music to the buyers' ears.
  • Don’t decorate every surface. It’s easy to do when using magazines or home décor shows as your guide, but savvy buyers want to see the nitty-gritty surfaces. They want to know what they’re buying, and not worry about what you’re covering up with all that stuff.
  • During holidays or events, don’t overdo the celebratory decorations. These become distractions and may turn off your buyers.
  • If you've painted a room a deep shade of red or purple, consider painting it light and bright before your open house. Regardless of how popular they are in theory, homes with darker shades don't sell as quickly as lighter hues.• Don't leave family portraits and very personal items hanging on walls or filling display spaces. You want the buyers to imagine themselves there, not to see you.

When staging your home for sale, opt for less, not more. Less furniture, fewer window coverings, and limited décor give your home its best chance. For more ideas on home staging, talk to your local real estate agent.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 7/10/2017

Are you a lover of all things Disney? Do you wish that you could be in Disney more often than not? Well Disney lovers rejoice! There are simple ways to add subtle and classy touches of Disney into your home, inside and out. Here’s how to add subtle hints of Disney to your home: Art: Disney has stunning pieces of artwork and sculpture for sale in their parks and online. There are various artists that create these works of art for Disney and the themes vary. You can find Mickey and Minnie, theme park, attraction, and other character themed pieces and in all different sizes. There’s even artwork for various seasons and holidays such as Christmas and fall. There are pieces to fit all styles from vintage to classic that would look great in entryways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms. Family Room, Bed & Bath Accessories: Small signs, accent pillows, throws, a toothbrush holder, and towels are among the many accessories available for living spaces. bedrooms and bathrooms. Add accent pillows to your couches and beds, small signs to your nightstand and shelves, and a toothbrush holder and decorative towels to your bathroom. Kitchen Accessories: There are so many great kitchen accessories that you can purchase in the parks and online. There are items ranging from salt and pepper shakers and silverware to wine glasses, mugs, plates and dishes, hand towels, and so much more. Create a small display of the various Disney mugs from the resorts you’ve stayed at or display Disney plates in your dining room or kitchen. Outdoor Accessories: Disney and other retailers sell various types of accessories for the outdoors. Items such as lawn gnomes, string lights, and solar lighting are great ways to add a little Disney magic to your outdoors. From Mickey and Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck to theme park and attraction themed items, your possibilities for brining Disney home are endless. And with so many possibilities you can add the touches of Disney that you love the most.