Sea, surf and sand. Consider more than just those elements before buying a beach home.
Pacific Northwest summers are tough to beat. The sun shines an average of 300 hours a month with less than an inch of rain, the temperature hovers between 75 and 80 degrees, and the hours of daylight are so numerous, it’s almost unreal.
It doesn’t often get too hot, but occasionally, warm winds roll from east to west, pushing the onshore flow back out to sea. This means the breezy air that keeps Seattle cool and pleasant disappears, and hotter, dryer weather sweeps the city.
If you’re like me, and your home or apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, it’s tough to live comfortably when the temperature climbs. Here are some tips and tricks that can help keep you cool. And even if you have AC, these ideas could save you a few dollars.
- Fans help a lot, even if the temperature is already warm. Trust me, you might be surprised what a little air movement can do. Ceiling fans that rotate counterclockwise and push the air down are most helpful. For another layer of cool and a quick fix, place a pan of ice in front of a fan and chill out: Cheap and effective!
- Use cotton sheets instead of flannel or fleece, and stay away from fabrics that trap heat, like polyester and satin.
- When the sun shines, close the blinds! It doesn’t take long for a room to heat up when the sun is shining in, even if it’s early in the morning. Keeping blinds and curtains closed may save up to 7 percent on your bills, and lower temperatures by 20 degrees.
- Closing doors to unused rooms during the day can help keep cooler air where it’s needed most. Opening doors again before you hit the hay will help cooler night air circulate throughout your home.
- If you’re doing major landscaping or thinking about it, add some shade around your windows and over your home with trees and bushes.
- Cross-ventilate by opening windows on both sides of your residence. This will work wonders, especially in the cooler evenings. Doing this not only clears out stagnant warm air, it brings in fresh, cleaner air.
- Cook outside (as if you needed another excuse to BBQ). Cranking up the oven can easily heat up your kitchen, and the rest of your home. Create meals that don’t require heat, like salads and sandwiches.
- Unplug any electrical devices you aren’t using, like phone chargers. If you leave everything plugged in and running, ambient heat can spread faster throughout the home.
- Buy a portable AC unit. It’s a quick fix, but cost varies depending on how fancy you go. Some units can cool an entire small home or apartment fairly efficiently, and others are only meant for smaller rooms. Some are free standing and others mount into windows. Look at your options and find what works best for your budget. You may find it’s worth a good night’s sleep!
- If all else fails, go for the big fix and install central air. There are various options depending on your budget, and whether or not you already have an existing forced-air heating system and air ducts. Take a detailed look at your energy usage and costs before making any big decisions.
Add these to your wish list before starting the hunt for your newlywed nest.
Ready to buy your first home as a couple? No doubt, you’ve both been keeping wish lists for your humble abode. Some dream features may fall in the “nice to have” category—separate bathrooms, walk-in closets and a swimming pool, anyone? But others—like extra storage space or a digital thermostat—really do make life easier, not to mention save your sanity when you’re sharing space with the one you love. When you finally kick off the house hunt, check out the advanced search tool at ColdwellBanker.com—it lets you look for homes that meet all of your requirements, from fireplaces and AC, to backyards and basements. There’s even a filter for a smart home search, so you can find a place that’s tricked out with the latest technology. Need help sorting out your priorities? Check out our list of essentials you might not have considered.
1. Storage for Everything Yours, Mine and Ours
While the number of bedrooms and bathrooms might be up for debate, one item on the wish list is non-negotiable: storage space. Take it from us, even if you don’t think you need it right now, you’re going to need it down the line (read: when you unload all your wedding registry loot). So before you start shopping, talk it over with your significant other to figure out your individual storage needs. Do you need an attic for all your holiday decorations and other seasonal items? Is a lack of closet space a deal breaker, or is a sizeable kitchen pantry more of a priority? You (and your stuff) will be much better off with a little extra breathing room.
2. Separate Vanities for Toothbrushing Elbow Room
The crack of dawn is so not the time to be bumping elbows and jockeying for position at the bathroom sink—your coffee hasn’t even kicked in yet! If the two of you will be sharing a master bath, save yourself the morning do-si-do and look for a place with dual sinks or even separate vanities. Not only will you both have your own designated space to store your toiletries, you’ll also avoid having to dance around each other to look in the mirror. Getting ready is so much less stressful when there’s no chance of accidentally poking your spouse with your hot curling iron.
3. A Smart Thermostat to Find Your Goldilocks Room Temp
Want a room that’s not too hot and not too cold, but just right? Look for a home with a programmable thermostat (or even install one yourself). The Nest Learning Thermostat takes this “smart home” feature one step further—it programs itself. This clever device remembers which temperatures you like at certain times of day, so after a week of use, it’s got your schedule down pat. Nest can even detect when your cell phone leaves the house and programs an eco-friendly setting while you’re away, or turns itself down at night while you’re asleep. We can’t guarantee it’ll stop your spouse from stealing the covers, but it definitely can’t hurt.
4. Space for Your Hobbies to Keep Boredom at Bay
In order for home to truly be your happy place, you both need room for your favorite pastimes. Before you start your search, think about what that means to each of you. Are you dreaming of a cozy reading nook to house your favorite books, or will you need a basement workshop for all those DIY projects? Talk about which home features you need to make this happen, like a spare guest room or spacious garage, and add them to your wish list. That way, your real estate agent can guide you toward homes that check all the boxes.
5. A Smart Lock So You’ll Never Forget Your Key Again
Sure, hiding your key under a rock means you’ll never get locked out, but it’s also a great way to get your stuff stolen. A home equipped with the August Smart Lock, on the other hand, takes security into the 21st century. The device attaches to the back of a regular deadbolt, and is controlled by your smartphone so you can lock and unlock, create virtual keys for friends and family, or control who comes and goes without ever copying a key. Found a home you love that doesn’t have this cool feature? You can speak to a Coldwell Banker Real Estate professional about purchasing a Smart Home Staging Kit.
6. Low-Maintenance Materials to Spend Less Time Cleaning
Yes, white marble countertops are gorgeous, but spill even a drop of red wine and suddenly, happy hour is a lot less happy. So unless you’re one of those couples that find cleaning relaxing, it’s smart to look for a home with easy-care surfaces that are as durable as they are beautiful. Think: hardwood floors instead of carpet, vinyl siding in place of wood and quartz countertops over marble. These lower-maintenance choices make cleaning quick and easy, so you’ll have more time to focus on the fun stuff. Because the couple that binge-watches together, stays together.
7. A Smoke Detector That Won’t Go Off Every Time You Cook
Confession time: The last time you burned popcorn in your rental kitchen, did you get so annoyed at the smoke alarm that you ripped it off the wall? Ditch the old-school version and look for a home with upgraded digital alarms. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector gives you a quick heads-up before sounding the alarm, so you can use your smartphone to silence it before it wakes the neighbors. In case of a real emergency, it even talks to tell you exactly where the problem is. Plus, the batteries last for years and alert your phone when it’s time to replace (instead of waking you in the middle of the night with that annoying chirp).
For more “smart home” updates to look for in 2017, check out Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s blog.
The Knot and Coldwell Banker Real Estate present Find Your Happy Place, a sponsored series featuring tips and advice to help you find the perfect home for your newlywed life. Visit ColdwellBanker.com to start your home-buying journey.
From Our Network
From Our Network
From Our Network
It’s easier to keep cool when you use a few passive-cooling tips. Greener is cooler when you open a window!
Brought to you by Andersen Windows
No doubt about it, summers are hotter these days. For many homeowners, this means switching on the air conditioning to help keep their home cool. But did you ever wonder what homeowners did before this cool idea came along? It turns out that some of the old-school tricks are still useful today. Whether you want to keep your summers greener or want to keep your energy bills low, there are some great efficiency lessons we can learn from homeowners of the past:
1. Minimize incoming heat naturally – Those trees and shrubs that add curb appeal to your home pull double-duty by filtering direct light that comes through windows and heats your rooftop. With less heat entering your home, your home doesn’t have to work as hard to keep the indoors cool.
2. Cross-ventilate – This is a built-in feature for many older homes: windows strategically placed to maximize airflow through interior spaces. Not only does natural airflow help boost your indoor air quality, it also cools interior spaces efficiently.
3. Throw some shade – Maybe you remember visiting grandparents who kept shades and curtains drawn during the daytime. Odd as it may have seemed, they knew that this simple move helps cut “solar gain.” With the shades drawn, a well-insulated house doesn’t heat as quickly during the daytime.
4. Maximize your energy efficiency – Sealing air leaks and improving insulation isn’t just a wintertime tip! When a house is functioning better, you feel the benefits year-round. Some improvements, like installing more efficient windows, make more of a difference than you think.
5. Cool down at night – Open your windows to let more cool air into the house overnight. Then close the windows as the sun rises and begins warming the air. This will help trap that cooler air indoors to keep things more comfortable throughout the day.
6. Get the latest glass – While this may not be an old-school trick, we just could not stand to leave it out. By simply making sure you have the right glass in your home, you can make a big impact on the comfort and efficiency of your home.
As time has proven, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Keeping your home comfortable throughout the year is easier to do when you marry new technologies with old-fashioned common sense.
These are the bare-minimum, incredibly easy home improvement projects that will help your home sell quickly—and for top dollar.
How to Buy
Buyers, Don’t Do These 4 Things During the Home Inspection
The home inspection can be a terrifying process for buyers. But it’s a crucial way to ensure your new home is both safe to live in and won’t end up being a money pit. Keep things running smoothly by avoiding these four common mistakes.
How to Sell
When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Fortunately many fixes can be done quickly and with a small budget. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition.
When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:
1. Address the Heart of the Home
In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:
- New cabinet hardware
- New faucets
- Installing a new backsplash
- Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
- Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether
2. Update Switch Plate Covers
Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.
3. Beautify the Bathroom
An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.
New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.
4. Address Storage
Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.
5. Deep Clean for a Good Return
If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.
6. Boost Curb Appeal
Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.
7. Improve the First Impression
As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.
8. Add a Coat of Paint
Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.
9. Update Lighting
While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.
10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz
Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked.
Lastly, don’t plan to tackle a home project DIY style until you read 5 Things You Need to Know Before DIY-ing A Home Improvement Project!