Real Estate and Design Tips
Keeping a clean and orderly home is a challenge for many of us. Between busy work schedules, social obligations, and family commitments, it’s tough to keep up with daily chores—let alone larger seasonal tasks.
The effort is worthwhile, however. A sanitary environment can keep you and your family healthier by minimizing your exposure to germs and allergens.1 Plus, researchers have found that organized, uncluttered homes have quantifiable mental health benefits, too, including reduced stress, improved emotional regulation, and increased productivity.2
The reality is, we enjoy our homes more when they are in good order. It’s much easier to relax without piles of unopened mail or a messy kitchen reminding us of work to be done. And don’t we all feel more inclined to entertain family and friends when our homes are well-kept?
That’s why we’ve rounded up our favorite tactics—from overall strategies to little tips and tricks—for keeping things tidy without spending all our spare time cleaning.
Set a Schedule for Daily and Weekly Cleaning
We’ve all been there—you put off vacuuming or mopping your floor for a few days, only to realize that weeks have passed. Creating a cleaning schedule that works for you is the best way to stay on top of things and avoid overwhelm. Here are a few of our favorite strategies:
Tackle Bigger Chores Seasonally
Many home care tasks are seasonal by nature and only need to be completed once or twice a year. But when we don’t have a plan to tackle them, it’s all too easy to put them off. Here are a few tips to stay on top of these chores:
And since all your time is valuable, don't hesitate to delegate these larger home care tasks to professionals. Give us a call for a list of our recommended service providers.
Reduce the Barriers to Cleaning
Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have the tools on hand to tackle small tasks with ease. Here are a few ways to make your cleaning supplies more accessible:
Stop the Clutter Before It Starts
From coats to shoes to mail, it’s all too easy to find clutter taking over your home. Once these piles start to form, they can feel overwhelming—which only makes it harder to address them.
To avoid this problem, stop the clutter before it starts. Assign every item a home and create storage spaces and “drop zones” in key locations.3 Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Are you considering a larger organizational upgrade, like a custom closet or pantry system? Reach out for a free consultation to find out how the investment could impact the value of your home!
Tackle Small Tasks Right Away
Sometimes, the mental load of thinking about a chore you need to do is worse than the chore itself. Plus, handling small tasks right away can reduce the need for lengthy cleaning sessions.3
Try working these changes into your routine:
Embrace an Evening “Shutdown” Routine
Kitchens can get dirty and cluttered fast. But a few minutes spent cleaning up each evening can prevent the mess from getting out of control.4
Imagine your kitchen is a restaurant and you’re tidying it up before closing down for the night. These simple steps will prepare you for the morning rush:
Think Outside of the Box When It Comes to Storage
Most of us have limited storage space. Unfortunately, without the right spots to stash our items, it’s easy to become disorganized.
But we’ve found that using household items in innovative ways can help keep mess and clutter under control.5 Here are a few of our favorite swaps:
WE’RE HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HOME
Keeping your home clean and organized can be a continuous struggle—there’s no need to feel ashamed of that. But taking the time to implement systems that work for you can make life more pleasant and less stressful in the long run.
Remember, we’re not just here to help you buy or sell a home. We want you to love living in it, too. Reach out if you need referrals for house cleaners, window washers, or other service providers that can help you make the most of your space.
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.
Over the past few years, many of us have spent extra time at home—and that means we appreciate the personal design touches that make a house cozy and comfortable more than ever. Some of us have adapted our dwellings in new ways, from creating functional home offices to upgrading the appliances we use most.
But while it’s important to make your home your own, it’s also smart to think about the long-term impact your renovations could have on its value. Choosing highly-personalized fixtures and finishes can make it harder for future homebuyers to envision themselves in the space. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home soon, investing in popular design choices that are likely to stand the test of time will make things easier down the road.
And if you’re in the market for a new home, it’s wise to keep an eye out for features that might need to be updated soon so you can factor renovation costs into your budget.
We’ve rounded up six trends that we think will influence interior design in 2023, as well as ideas for how you might incorporate them in your own home. Remember, before taking action, it’s always wise to consult with a real estate professional to understand how specific updates and upgrades will affect your property’s value in your local market.
Last year, one factor drove the real estate market more than any other: rising mortgage rates.
In March 2022, the Federal Reserve began a series of interest rate hikes in an effort to pump the brakes on inflation.1 And while some market sectors have been slow to respond, the housing market has reacted accordingly.
Both demand and price appreciation have tapered, as the primary challenge for homebuyers has shifted from availability to affordability. And although this higher-mortgage rate environment has been a painful adjustment for many buyers and sellers, it should ultimately lead to a more stable and balanced real estate market.
So what can we expect in 2023? Will mortgage rates continue to climb? Could home prices come crashing down? While this is one of the more challenging real estate periods to forecast, here’s what several industry experts predict will happen to the U.S. housing market in the coming year.
Home for the Holidays: How To Stretch Your Budget
in a Season of Inflation
You don't have to break the bank to celebrate the holidays in style—even in this season of inflation. Prices may be higher on everything from food to gifts to decorations, but there are still plenty of opportunities to eke out extra savings.
For example, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can save a couple of hundred dollars a year just by sealing your home and boosting its insulation.1 Other small fixes—such as swapping old light bulbs for LEDs and plugging electronics into a powerstrip—can boost your yearly savings enough to pay off some of your holiday budget.
And thanks to a pandemic-era boom in online shopping, it is easier than ever to find deals on new and pre-owned furniture, thrifted gifts, DIY decor, and more. Even secondhand stalwarts like Goodwill have joined the digital fray, making it a cinch to score gently-used treasures at extra-low prices.2
You won't be the only one bargain-hunting your way to a more financially-stable New Year. Multiple surveys have found that inflation is not only chilling people's spending, it's also prompting shoppers to search for better deals and creative ways to reduce their bills. 3
Staging the Dining Room
How do I update my dining room?
Formal dining rooms were very popular in the 80's - early 2000's. A common room built as a separate room from the kitchen with matching chairs and table, accompanied by a matching large piece of furniture where the wedding china with all its accessories were displayed. It is commonly used on special occasions and holidays, and there was usually a bulky 'leaf' that extended the table to accommodate larger gatherings.
Our nation is in the midst of a serious housing crunch. Last year, a lack of inventory and soaring prices left many would-be homebuyers feeling pinched. But now, with interest rates climbing, many of them are also feeling desperate to lock in a mortgage—which has only added fuel to the fire.1
Fortunately, if you’re a buyer struggling to find a home, we have some good news. While it’s true that higher mortgage rates can decrease your purchasing budget, there are additional ways to compete in a hot market.
Yes, a high offer price gets attention. But most sellers consider a variety of factors when evaluating an offer. With that in mind, here are five tactics you can utilize to sweeten your proposal and outshine your competition.
We can help you weigh the risks and benefits of each tactic and craft a compelling offer designed to get you your dream home—without giving away the farm.
Room by Room Design- The Office
The home office is taking on a whole new meaning. So many are now working from home. A place were you can focus and be creative is key to a functional office. Of course a well-designed office is a plus.
Here are five tips for getting a functional and aestically pleasing home office.
The best way to start planning your office space in your home is determining what you need to efficiently do your work. Do you need more than one monitor, are you doing a lot of Zoom calls/videos, making private phone calls, etc. The answers to these questions will help you plan your space.
Seller’s Checklist: A Timeline to Prep Your Home for Sale
We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell.1 If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.
Start by connecting with a real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.
Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call us if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. We can help customize a plan that works for you.
AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING
Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.
Room by Room Design - Dining Room
Formal dining rooms. A waste of space or must have? The answer seems to vary from person to person, family to family. The open concept is so popular in new homes and among families with young children, that the formal dining room is considered wasted space. An extra room is never wasted space to me. An office, a game room, cocktail space or... a way to completely go bold with your dining room design. Let me convince you of the later!
The best part of the dining room is that large wall. To some it seems daunting but there are so many possibilities, a bold wallpaper, wainscoting, or a wood patterned wall. If you are going to do an 'accent wall' this design is the best. See the picture below of the wall I designed for a client. The home is in the historic district and has a long formal living and dining room. A patterned wood accent wall was the perfect way to draw the eye to the end of the room and make a great statement.
Room by Room Design - The Backyard
It's the reason you purchased your house. The potential of the space for entertaining, dream of a pool, or the fenced in yard for the kids and dog to roam free. Whatever the reason or dream for your backyard space, the best way to fulfill your dreams is to tackle it like any other room in the house. I am sure there will be a lot more sweat equity with an outdoor project by the overall outcome still needs to start with a plan.
Who will be using the space? Having kids and or pets using your backyard is key in deciding how to layout or plan your outdoor space. Small children will need to have areas they can play and be safe for them to use. A pool will most likely need a separate fence just for the pool itself when small children live in the house. Avoiding large change in the levels of the backyard, like sunken fireplaces and concrete steps. If you have large dogs they could ruin flowers and plants, and will need a lawn or area to run and do their business.
How will you use the space? What do you or your family like to do outside? Not everyone has the space for a pool or the time to maintain it. Do you like to play sports? What type of sports or activities does your family like? Horseshoes, bouche ball, putting green, batting cage are all possibilities but all require lots of space. Do you envision BBQ parties and happy hour? An outdoor kitchen and place to eat will be key to host those activities. Like to sit around the fire pit and roast marshmallows? Need places to sit and lay by the pool, and do you want shade options.
Layout: So now that you have a list of what you want in the space, time to layout the areas in the yard. Pool and an outdoor kitchen. Fire pit and eating area. Putting green and outdoor bar. Or all the above. Walking out the space to see how everything will fit within the limits of your property is key, not to mention if your HOA will allow it. Eating area close to the outdoor kitchen. Fire pit on the opposite side of the yard away from the play set. Pergola attached to the house or stand alone.
gina t graham
Home Staging and Redesign for Jacksonville, FL.
"Sometimes excellent is not a good enough word. I recommend Gina to everyone who is selling their home and for setting up the next home they buy." -Kit, staging client.
Remodeling and Renovations
Short Term Rental Design
2020/2021 RESA Jacksonville Chapter President