How to Swap Rooms to Make Your Old Home Feel New in 2019!

How to Swap Rooms to Make Your Old Home Feel New in

2019!

Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

 Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to give your house a makeover or declutter? Tired of the old paint colors, the piles of catalogs, over stuffed closets and toys that your kids haven’t touched since 2013? Is your tween not lovin’ the Winnie the Pooh theme room anymore? Well, then its time to room swap!

Most of us move homes every 5-10 years but many stay put for decades. Moving is the time when we get rid of the most stuff, so if you haven’t moved in 5 or 10 years things are piling up! Remember when you first moved into your home? Life in your new home was full of possibilities: the empty space, clean shelves, the fresh paint, and newly organized, just moved into closets. Come on admit it, you want that feeling back. You can have all of that bliss again just by moving rooms in your home. It is a giant way to clean, get rid of unwanted belongings, redesign a room to fit your new needs and get set-up to attain your goals for the year.

Want to work out more in 2019? Transform your guest room into a work out space. Does your child need better study habits? Have them swap rooms with a sibling for a new fresh space with a new desk to inspire focus. Create rooms in your home that match your current interests, style and your kids’ ages. Move your house around to support your resolutions. Your newly arranged home will function so much better for your current goals and needs. The bonus is your house will feel bigger and new because you have gotten rid of so much stuff!

Convinced? So, how do you go about a room swap? I reached out to my cousin, Krista Burdine, who just implemented a room swap of her own. A freelance writer with three growing kids, Krista needed a quiet workspace away from the busy hub of the house. At the same time, her youngest daughter needed a bigger room. She has named the process: “Out-With-The-Old Room Switcheroo.” Here are the switcheroo steps to room swapping:

  1. Set Goals: Besides a cleaner, more organized, newly designed home, what do you want to get out of the room swapping? Sit down with each family member to determine what their goals are for the year and their new space. What type of room will support those goals?
  2. Make the Match: Based on the goals of each family member determine what room fits with their goals and desires for a space. Does Maren’s room best fit little Larkin’s desire for grown-up bunk beds? And, does Jesse’s room best fit Maren’s hope to create a space for her art? This planning also includes shared spaces. Has the office been unused? Change it into another living space, media room or game room. Make a detailed plan of what each room will be used for, who gets each bedroom and arrange each room to support each person’s goals.
  3. Measure: Save yourself major headaches by using a measuring tape. Make sure all the furniture will actually fit in the new dream layout. You can make drawings of each room to scale and use scale cut-outs of each piece of furniture – ala paper dolls. Move your new design layout around with your finger tips a few times before you actually do the heavy lifting.
  4. Design: Here comes the fun part! Each person gets to pick out the paint color for his or her new room, as well as drapes, new bedspread, furniture layout, etc. It is up to you how much you want to spend. Repurpose your old furniture – sand and repaint. Maybe’s Jesse’s desk is really the right size for Larkin now? Just sand it down and paint it her favorite color. Give your older kids a budget and stress they need to stay under budget. Tell, them: “It’s like having your own design show – how far can you make the money go?” No need to spend a lot, some heavy lifting and just a new paint color can transform a room!
  5. Move Out: Okay, brace yourself for a little bit of chaos but it will be so much better on the other side of the transformation. Set aside one week for each room swap. Move everything out of the chosen room. That child is now going to be camping in the living room and/or sleeping in the same room with a sibling for a week. Make sure they have a packed suitcase of what they will need that week (clothes, meds, school books, fish food, etc.…). Now, designate a space in your home where all of the furniture and belongings can sit for a couple of days. Garage? Basement?
  6. Sort: Now, sort EVERYTHING as it comes out of the old room into five piles: keep, recycle, store, donate to your favorite charity (a good start to this year’s taxes!) and items to pass along and repurpose for another family member. If you don’t have the time, hire a moving & storage company to help you move furniture and place items in storage, etc.
  7. Clean: Scour each room. This includes shampooing the carpet, waxing floors, washing windows, and dusting closet shelves. Clean the walls, fill up the nail holes, etc.
  8. Decorate: Once clean, paint the room in the soon to be new owner’s chosen color. Make any other DIY decorating makeover that this room’s budget allows. New carpet? New flooring? New area rug? Window coverings? New bedspread?
  9. Move In: Carpets are clean, paint is dry, its move-in day! Move in only the furniture and items that were selected to keep. Hang new and old wall art, put away clothes (clothes go vertically in drawers to save space) and handle every detail down to hanging the new occupant’s name on the door. That night the child gets to sleep in their new room that they designed themselves! Or, Dad gets to read a book in his new office. Whatever the new space is designed for, it is clean, organized and will inspire you in 2016!
  10. Next! Keep going until each room has it’s makeover and each person has their new space.

You really do have a way to have a fresh start in 2019, make it happen with new living space! Ready, set, swap and experience the Switcheroo! Yep, it’s going to be a Happy New Year, indeed! You’ve set yourself up to make your resolutions your reality!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

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Leslie Sells Houses

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5 Hacks to Make a Tiny, Cramped Closet Look Huge

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No matter how beautiful and spacious your home is, one out-of-sight area could still make visitors cringe: your closet. Especially if it’s small, dark, and cluttered.

“A house can be amazing, but if it has no closet space or the closets are super small, which you do see sometimes in older homes, that can be a major turn-off,” says Lori Matzke, owner of Home Staging Expert.

It’s a fact: Having ample closet space is a high priority among homeowners—all the more so if you’re trying to sell your place. After all, you never know if a home buyer is a fashionista with oodles of apparel, or just someone with tons of stuff to store (which is just about everyone else). So, trust us, home buyers checking out your house definitely won’t be shy about opening up your closets to see what’s up!

While you might be able to renovate and add closets to your home or make the ones you have bigger, that will be costly and not necessarily worth the investment. Instead, staging a closet to look its best is a relatively inexpensive way to make what you have look more appealing. Here’s how to do it right.

Declutter your closets

Get those garbage bags ready, because the first step is cleaning and clearing. You don’t want a potential buyer opening that door only to have an old box of scarves or your extra bedsheets fall on their heads!

Kris Lippi, owner of Get Listed Realty in Hartford, CT, suggests removing as many items from your closets as you can to show them off as spacious. If you have to invest in a self-storage space to hold your old boxes of letters or your holiday decorations, do it.

Add a fresh coat of paint—and a light

“Small or dark closets are never a good selling point,” Matzke warns. To maximize the space you’ve got, Matzke suggests painting the entire closet white or off-white to appear brighter and larger.

You can also add a closet light to brighten the space. This will give buyers the sense that they’ll be able to find things, even way, way in the back.

Finally, attach a mirror to the inside of the closet door or to the back of the wall, Matzke suggests, to add a sense of depth. This “can make the space feel much more livable,” she notes.

 

Add some closet organizers

If your closet always ends up as a pile of clothes, this may be the time to pull the trigger on a fancy closet organization system.

Investing in a California Closets type of system, or even one custom-built by a local carpenter, can make a huge difference. Or, on the lower end of the budget, shelves from your local home improvement store can accomplish something similar for less money. A few simple elements such as shoe organizers that make the entire closet look neater and larger will go a long way without costing you a significant chunk of change.

“There are certainly DIY closet systems, or even just individual organizers you can implement yourself and attach to the closet walls, if you’re handy or maybe know someone who is,” Matzke says. “You don’t even need an entire system.”

Display your stuff

Although it’s tempting to cart all of your stuff away to a self-storage unit, remember that part of staging a home is making it look just lived in enough for other home buyers to see themselves in your home. When you add your clothes back in, one-third of the space on each shelf or hanger rack should remain open, making the space appear useful, rather than overflowing.

Invest in some nice hangers to give it a truly organized feel, and position all the items in your closet so they face forward or are hung in the same direction—just like boutiques do, Lippi advises.

Fix what’s broken

This isn’t about space, but ease of use: Does the door of your closet stick? Is that shelf hanging by a thread? It may not bother you, but others will notice—and this detracts from their first impression. As Matzke warns, “A sticky closet door or one that just doesn’t open smoothly or all the way would be frustrating.”

Plus, it leaves the feeling that your closet presents a problem; spacious or not, this isn’t good. All in all, it’s these little things that make a closet look and feel spacious and well-organized—and can make your home the envy of all who peer inside.

Photo by Renew Doors and Closets LLC

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Welcome Home….to a Frozen Pipe

Has the polar vortex given your home’s pipes a chill? Here are some tips to fight back and help avoid serious damage.

Every winter, homeowners fear the cold weather and the plumbing expenses that can come with the frigid temperatures. You can see the concern with the seasonal Google search spikes for the term “frozen pipe.”

Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend, the temps dipped to single digits in New Jersey. My family and I were away skiing in Vermont for the long weekend when the steam boiler in our home ran low on water and automatically turned off. With the heating system offline, the temperature in my house plummeted. The thermostat claimed 34 degrees, but the temperatures in the bathroom dipped into the mid-20s. The bathroom was so cold, ice had formed in the toilet. My superstitious children throw ice into the toilet when trying for a snow day, but unfortunately, I couldn’t blame them for this. Most of the walls of our 100-year-old house had no insulation until this past fall when we had blown-in insulation installed to improve efficiency. But even with the best insulation, a working heating system is critical.

Once I realized the issue and added water to the heating system, I quickly turned the thermostat way up and turned off the main water line to the house. I was fearing the worst—imagining that the entire house would have serious water damage and need to be replumbed.

We survived two days without water, and luckily, with the heat cranked up to 80 degrees, the ice blockage melted. We cautiously turned the main water line back on and suddenly water started spraying all over the attached garage and the floor of a recently-renovated bathroom. So, off the water went again, and we began the process of locating the burst pipe.

A few cuts into the ceiling in the bathroom didn’t yield any clues because the insulation was dry. Next, we cut into the garage ceiling and found a copper pipe split with a 1” gash. It took just a couple of quick rotations of the pipe cutter to remove the broken portion. Finally, I slipped a SharkBite valve onto the end of the pipe. These couplers are amazing and super-easy—they don’t require any solder or sweating. You simply slide the valve right onto the pipe to create a water-tight seal. With the new valve installed, we were ready to turn the water back on. Thankfully, the repair held and we didn’t have any other ruptures in the water lines.

Some tips to help you avoid frozen pipes.

  • Make sure to service your heating system annually.
  • Keep the proper level of water in the system, especially if you are going to be away. One option to consider is an auto-filler on your steam boiler.
  • If you have pipes that run adjacent to exterior walls, set the temperature on your thermostat a bit higher than normal during a cold snap. A few more dollars to the utility company is still cheaper than a burst pipe.
  • Turn on the bathroom heater fan if you have one.
  • Open lower cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms to allow warm airflow to the pipes behind them.
  • Let a small flow of water drip from faucets if the temperatures are going to be below freezing.
  • Insulate around any pipes and block any airflow from the cold exterior.
  • If the toilet fill supply line is on an exterior wall, you can place a string under the flapper so that the tank fills slowly with water to keep ice from forming.
  • Monitor the temperature in your house if you are away with a smart thermostat like Nest.
  • Keep SharkBite valves or end stop caps on hand in case of emergencies.

One final bit of extremely important advice: everyone in your home should be able to locate and turn off the main water supply. We have large, very visible yellow tags on all of the valves in our utility room so that if we have a problem, a family member, neighbor or friend would be able to locate the shut-off valve and turn off the water or gas quickly in an emergency.

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Leslie Sells Houses

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Looking To Sell In Spring? Here Are Some Tips!

 

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When selling your home, the buyers first impression is important. Your yard can make a big impact on getting buyers through the front door to see your home.  Especially after the cold rainy winter months.

  1. Remove the debris. If the winter’s seemingly incessant wind, rain, and snow have done a number on your trees, start your clean-up efforts by collecting the fallen branches and scattered sticks. You also can rent a wood-chipper from many garden or hardware stores and turn your debris into mulch.
  2. Rake dead leaves and twigs. Last year’s leaves will make great compost, but not if they keep the grass from absorbing sunlight. Thoroughly rake the yard and garden beds and, if you don’t plan to compost, investigate whether your town will be making special arrangements to collect bagged leaves.
  3. Prune and trim. Prune back weatherworn bushes and hedges as well as any perennials that look overgrown. Trim damaged tree limbs and branches that you can reach, and decide if needed, for a professional tree trimmer to take care of the rest.
  4. Map out landscaping and garden plans. If you’re going to make any changes to your
    current landscaping, make a sketch of your lawn indicating what sort of trees, shrubs, or plants you’d like to add. Even for DIY types, it’s always a good idea to consult with a gardener or landscaper at the nursery before making any final decisions or purchases.
  5. Start planting. Check the planting dates on your new purchases. Any plants, trees or shrubbery hearty enough to survive early spring’s still cool nights can be put in the ground now.
  6. Use Planters. Bright floral filled planters can cheer up a front entryway or porch. Don’t forget your deck or patio. Larger planters with Japanese maples or a small shrub can dress up an area. Making an inviting retreat to relax in.

 

 

“Outside and inside make the home you are selling shine. Potential Buyers will envision themselves enjoying the yard and making new memories in their new home. A little time in the yard and garden can have big payoffs when selling a home.

Leslie Sell Houses

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Why I Chose to be a Realtor

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I chose to be a REALTOR® because this career allowed me to set my own destiny.  The possibilities are endless when you are a REALTOR®.  Some people are happy selling 3 houses a year, others are happy selling 50 houses a year. So yes, it is a good life which is why I have been a REALTOR® for 20+ years. I really cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

The reason I have been with Hawkins Poe for so many years is because the education Frank Hawkins  provide to us at our Tuesday morning meetings is superb and this is a company that is locally family owned.

Before that, I was an Office Administrator for Chassis Components, a race car shop.  As owners of the shop, my husband and I facilitated the building of the race cars, and I helped create the manual for the crew.

When I’m not helping my sellers or buyers, I love to garden.  I enjoy planting new flowers and watch them come back up again next year. I also volunteer at a retirement center, taking seniors to their doctor appointments and to the grocery store so they don’t have to pay for public transportation.

I find helping others  is the greatest motivation that keeps me on the move.  It really motivates me to help my clients buy and sell their homes!

Leslie Swindahl, REALTOR®

Leslie Sells Houses

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Buying and Selling Houses in Today’s Market

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As most people are aware, the Puget Sound real estate market is still pretty hot right now.

Seattle, Bellevue and King and Pierce County are experiencing a balance market and in the greater Tacoma area, but throughout the region we are seeing prices escalate and a shortage of available homes for sale. There are bidding wars, buyers are waiving the right to conduct home inspections, which we don’t recommend and  prices are exceeding appraised values, and many folks feel frustrated or intimidated.

Nevertheless, every day new homes are listed and come on the market, and everyday buyers successfully make offers and get them accepted.  Working with a REALTOR to implement a good strategy will help you whether you are a buyer or a seller.

As a seller, especially of a home in a “hot” price range, it can feel exciting and flattering to get lots of showings and even multiple offers.  Buyers can fear to lose a home to a higher bidder, and sometimes offer more than a home will appraise for.  This can cause a sale to fail, aggravating everyone. Your REALTOR should be able to provide good advice in avoiding the pitfall of accepting a sky-high offer, only to have it collapse due to a low appraisal.

There are options your broker can suggest to a buyers’ broker to make their offer more acceptable. In some cases, a buyer can agree to bring extra down payment funds to make up for a low appraisal. Or an offer which doesn’t require the seller to pay the buyers’ closing costs can keep the purchase price lower, making the appraisal less challenging, and keeping the sellers’ net proceeds higher.

Opinions differ, but some real estate professionals advocate being transparent with buyers’ brokers in a multiple offer situation. Giving your broker permission to disclose some information about other offers, and about your priorities can help guide buyers in making an offer that best meets your needs. Discuss this with your REALTOR and develop a plan.

As a buyer, you need a REALTOR who is advising you immediately of listings which may work for you. Time is of the essence! Strategizing with your broker to ask questions of the listing broker to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ motivation can help make your offer stand out. It’s not always just the price that matters to a seller. For example, they may desire a fast closing, or perhaps a delayed one. Giving them what they want to get what you need is the key to negotiations, and knowledge is power.

Sometimes you can play on the heart strings of a seller. A heartfelt letter (Love Letter) explaining why their home is such a great fit for you may tilt the scales in your favor.

With good REALTOR representation, you can do well in this market. Use strategy, and work smart.and get your offer accepted and to closing. Sold.

 

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