Big Family? In-laws moving in? Recent grad moving back home?
Private 5 acres, gated community. For a tour, call 360-789-1011.
Check out this very awesome video!
Big Family? In-laws moving in? Recent grad moving back home?
Private 5 acres, gated community. For a tour, call 360-789-1011.
Check out this very awesome video!
Formal dining rooms are starting to go the way of the formal living room—out of service. While many homes have dining rooms, the square footage devoted to them often isn’t justified by the little use most families get out of them. And who wants to waste that much space? Instead of letting an entire room become a black hole for clutter, get inspired by these seven ways real families have converted their dining spaces.
Photo: Karyn Millet; Design: Michael Fullen Design
Avid readers, rejoice! We’ve found a home for all those boxes of books that are collecting dust in your attics. The Michael Fullen Design Group added floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to this family dining room to double its usefulness and create the perfect reading nook.
All in the Details
Why simply work at the dining room table when you can claim the whole space as your office? Fill in with inspirational accents to get your creative juices flowing. And, most important, stock up on storage for office supplies and files—less visual clutter means less need for a door to separate the office mess from the rest of the house.
Babies may be tiny (and adorable), but let’s face it: There are lots of necessities and toys that seem to come along with them. While you’re trying to decide whether or not to look for that bigger house, you can set up the nursery in your former dining space. Here, a few tall bookshelves—outfitted with storage bins— separate the nursery from the living area just on the other side.
Be Our Guest
Big or small, all rooms can benefit from the inclusion of a few small-space solutions. Interior designer Kerrie L. Kelly made this dining room convertible by introducing a Murphy bed. One weekend, the well-appointed room serves as guest quarters; the next, with the bed all tucked away, it hosts a dinner party—genius!
The Family That Plays Together
Photo: Paul Dyer Photography; Design: Gast Architects
Giving everyone a place to hang out is easier than it might seem—simply swap out the formal for something more casual. Take Gast Architects’ lead and mount a flat-screen on one wall in your unused dining room, then replace your stiff dining set with a comfy couch. Enhance the space with custom-built wall storage, and you’ve got a cozy spot to unwind with an impromptu movie night.
Kids at Play
This family has a house full of little ones, which means they have less need for formal dinners and more for space in which the family can let loose and be creative. Their light bulb idea: Transform the dining space into a playroom. Here, they have swapped a large family table for the kiddie one, and hung three easels on the wall to encourage the mini Picassos.
Courtesy: Caylin Harris
It’s a basic human desire to own a little plot of land. But what if your plot is really, really little? With some clever planning and a few spatial and visual tricks, you can still make a very modest outdoor space into an interesting, functional, and enjoyable spot to relax and entertain alfresco. Read on for 9 strategies for living large in a tiny yard.
1. Add a Bit of Decking
When you can’t spread out, spread up—varying levels can make a compact space seem larger. The raised deck (yes, even the smallest of lots can have a deck!) nicely defines a lounging area adjacent to a shed, which makes it convenient to stow away cushions when bad weather approaches.
2. Use the Terrain Wisely
Here again, this time achieved solely with landscaping, multiple levels can create the illusion of a larger yard. Instead of fighting against a sloping site, this homeowner created a sense of space and depth with a stepped pathway that meanders through a varied, textured array of plantings.
3. Think About Lighting and Props
One advantage of a small space is that it doesn’t take much money or work to give it a major upgrade. Simply installing a fence and stringing up lights transforms what could have been a sad and bedraggled yard into a cozy, romantic hideaway.
4. Define Distinct Zones
The geometric forms of this modern home give shape to specifically designated spaces within the landscape design. A wooden fence and gateway surround an intimate outdoor room and make the outer yard feel more expansive. The path of concrete pavers provides a sense of movement and connection between the two areas.
5. Create a Visual Adventure
To add interest to a tiny yard, consider creating a pathway to visually expand the space. In this back garden, a stone path takes the eyes on a mini journey through pretty ground cover and a tapestry of green plantings, with a stone bench and a tiny pond serving as a final destination.
6. Complement Lush Plantings with Structure
This thickly planted yard looks much more inviting with the addition of a graciously wide brick path to lend some air and openness. The slight brick deck—just wide enough for a doormat and planters—creates a graceful transition from house to yard without eating up much space.
7. Squeeze in a Wow-Worthy Feature
Just because the yard is low on square footage doesn’t mean it can’t be a grand space for gathering. A fire pit or an attractive stone design—or both, as seen here—is a dreamy feature that takes up very little space considering the amount of entertainment it provides.
8. Focus on Multitasking
Hardworking furnishings are just as important in a small yard as they are in a small house. To make the most of a minuscule patio area, this homeowner constructed a planter bench that combines guest seating with raised garden beds. The frame in this Instructables DIY is metal and required welding, but the same functionality could be achieved using a wooden frame.
9. Go Vertical
Don’t neglect vertical space when looking for ways to expand the visual depth and functionality of a small yard. A fence or wall can be painted a vibrant color, used for storage, or even put to work as a growing space. These living wall gardens are filled with succulents, an excellent choice for a hot and dry spot.
Courtesy: Debra Immergut
When the owners of an Indiana home recently listed it for sale, they got an unexpected surprise: a rental scam targeting their address.
“People were getting out of their cars. They were coming up to our front door, ringing our doorbell, looking into our windows,” homeowner Amy Hagans told ABC News after an ABC News reporter noticed a story about her plight that originally appeared in The Star Press.
The people were responding to a Craigslist post advertising a three-bedroom, two-bath house, with a big backyard that was available to rent for just $750 a month.
“I fell in love with the house. The yard was humongous,” said Patty Costa, who came to see the house in Muncie, Indiana.
Costa said the home was “perfect” for her grandchildren. After exchanging texts with the person who posted the ad, she wired the person a $275 deposit and then came to see the house herself.
When Costa approached the home, she learned that the deal was too good to be true. The Hagans’ had posted a sign saying, “Our house is not for rent” to alert people to the scam.
“I opened the door to see a lady standing on my porch, reading the sign on our front door,” Hagans said. “I felt terrible about the whole situation.”
It’s a scam being played out in housing markets across the country.
“It’s very, very simple to do these types of Internet scams. It’s very easy to hijack an existing listing,” said Austin Berglas, the head of U.S. Cyber Investigations for K2 Intelligence, an investigative consulting firm.
The process is called “scraping.”
Scammers create fraudulent rental listings using photos and details from legitimate postings already online.
In the Hagans’ case, the scammer may have used images from the real estate company’s website where the Hagans’ had posted their home for sale.
According to the FBI, scams like these cost Americans nearly $20 million in 2014. And the bureau estimates the actual number of cases could be 10 times higher because many aren’t reported.
These types of scenarios also exist in the vacation rental market.
When Cherry McCaffrey used a rental website to book a vacation house in South Lake Tahoe for her extended family, they found the door unlocked when they arrived.
After they settled in, the owner showed up, not knowing his house had been rented out.
Experts say there are ways renters can protect themselves. First, never wire money. Second, try a “reverse image search” for the listing photos on a site like Google.
If images from that listing appear on multiple websites, renter beware. And third, use common sense.
“I think the best tip, is really, if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is,” Berglas said
(Courtesy of ABC News)
Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts is putting her beachfront estate in Hawaii on the market for nearly $30 million, Pacific Business News has learned.
The two-acre property in Hanalei on Kauai’s North Shore, which has seven bedrooms and four full bathrooms in a 3,792-square-foot home, was once owned by Hans Peter Faye, a prominent Garden Isle sugar plantation manager.
The property, which has about 200 feet of beach frontage on world-famous Hanalei Bay, is permitted to include an expanded building up to 9,000 square feet, allowing for more structures and even a pool, according to the sales listing.
Roberts, who rose to fame starring with Richard Gere in the 1989 movie “Pretty Woman,” reportedly purchased the “Faye Estate” several years ago for nearly $14 million.
Kauai’s North Shore, which saw its median price eclipse the $1 million mark in February, has been quite a draw for celebrities.
Additionally, a partner in a hedge fund recently purchased several Hanalei properties for close to $50 million.
Builders are getting requests to create hidden rooms in private homes, to serve as home offices, reading rooms, home theaters, wine cellars, children’s play spaces or security zones.
“People are realizing they’re not just for the movies, anyone can have one,” said Steve Humble, president of Creative Home Engineering in Arizona.
His company designs and creates disguised entryways to hidden spaces — everything from stone walls that open up, armoires with a trap back door, and of course, the bookcase that unveils a concealed room.
Entry into a clandestine spaces can vary, including pulling off the homeowner’s favorite book from a shelf, touching the right spot on a wall, or even having to play the right series of notes on a piano or moving chess pieces in the right order to get a wall to move.
Humble said requests for incognito doors has increased in the past few years, and that the trend has shifted toward security recently. About 30% of his business is creating designs for high-security rooms, which can involve bullet- and soundproof doors, integrated alarm systems with surveillance and retina or finger scans.
Some ultra covert clients don’t want anyone knowing about a concealed room — even the people building it.
“Occasionally, there is someone who doesn’t want the contractor to know the secret,” said Humble. “The crews and professionals think the room is an ordinary room, then after they go, we place the secret door.”
1. To save you money. Isn’t it ironic? The biggest reason one does NOT hire a full-service broker to represent them when selling a home, is money. Sellers think that they save big in these circumstances; sometimes paying only a small flat fee to an internet company or a limited service brokerage just to be put into the Multiple Listing Service.
But oh contraire! The old adage, “you get what you pay for” could not be truer than it is in a real estate transaction. The company taking your money to throw it on line does not care about your bottom line. They want your sale, your money, and nothing else. Below are 4 more reasons to hire that local pro, and how they all come back around to saving you money.
2. Negotiations. Unless you are a full-time real estate broker, you aren’t involved with selling real estate very often. So let’s face it; that means you aren’t an experienced real estate negotiator. It may look easy from the outside, but there are an unlimited amount of circumstances that can affect the sales price that is initially negotiated. What if the buyer wants you to pay closing costs? Or wants a long close or isn’t pre-approved as opposed to being pre-qualified? Have they been through underwriting, yet? How much earnest money is enough?
When you, a home-owner NOT fully represented, negotiates directly with a buyer’s agent, it’s unfair. It’s like going through a wicked divorce while having a huge estate, and hiring an attorney to represent ONLY your ex-spouse! Sound like a smart move?
And there’s more to negotiate than just the initial sales price. Should you pay for the buyer’s upgraded title insurance policy? Are you going to let your buyer move stuff into the garage before closing after they threaten to back out at the last minute if you don’t? Who’s paying for the propane left in the tank, or paying to get the hot water heater out of the lease?
Mis-negotiating the initial sales price could easily cost you thousands.
3. Contractual Expertise. An experienced real estate broker is an experienced negotiator, but they are also experts in the minutia of a real estate contract, particularly in those facets of a transaction that can keep you out of hot water. When is a disclosure required? Who should hold the earnest money… escrow or the buyer’s agency? And when do you keep that earnest money when the deal goes bad? Which of your utility bills are lienable against your house? So what if the detached garage actually sits on a vacated alley owned by the city?
If you don’t know all the answers, who are you going to ask? Your attorney for a fee? Google? A full-time broker is constantly involved with these questions and answers. Rely on the local expert who does this for a living; not your cousin who used to be an agent in California 20 years ago, or the faceless customer service rep who stuck your house on line.
Buying that refrigerator or hot tub that you didn’t know was on the contract, could cost you big.
4. Referrals and Resources. You just found out that your septic tank has a crack in it, and you are in the middle of a sale and need it repaired yesterday. Will the local authorities even allow it? The limited-service company out of Spokane is of no help. Are you going to let your fingers do the walking and trust strangers? Even if I don’t happen to represent you, I would suggest NO!
Sadly, there are local companies that are notorious for over-charging their customers. Do you know who they are? True story: I once witnessed a single mom charged over $200 for a “plumber” to spend less than 3 minutes under a sink, and who THEN tried to sell her a secret enzyme for the drain field. She had her checkbook out when I intervened. Before the words “take advantage” came out of my mouth, the salesman scampered and said it was on the house.
A local, full-service real estate broker knows who to know. At any given point, your agent should be able to list several inspectors and contractors, a few title officers, surveyors, site planners, and perhaps the department heads to talk to at the city and county.
Let’s say you need a roof certification; what are they and do you know which local company offers them? And which ones have the cleanest verbiage in their warranties?
Being sued for a roof because the 5-year roof cert was inadequate, could cost you thousands.
5. Peace of Mind. Ok, POM is a good thing, but it really won’t save you money, right? Well, consider this: the absence of peace of mind is stress. Stress causes physical illness and mental anguish. With that added stress and the added time it takes to perform full-time duties of a professional, are you performing your own job efficiently? Are you missing hours or even days of work? I was just involved in a transaction with a seller using a limited service brokerage, and on several occasions, she had to leave work to accommodate showings, negotiations, and inspections. She was worried about who was in her home, and had no agent that could put her mind at ease. Stress can manifest itself into every aspect of your life, and can have quantifiable consequences.
If you are contemplating selling your home this year and want to save money, make a smart move and talk to a full-time, local real estate broker. It just may be the best investment you make in 2015.