October 30 2019

How to Get Your Home Fall-Ready on a Budget

by racheal

orange pumpkins on doorstep

The fall season is well underway and what better time to revamp your home than now? Making a few small adjustments around the house can make a big difference, but it can be costly as well. No one wants to spend all of their hard-earned money on décor that will only be up for a season. Fear not! It doesn't have to be expensive to keep up with decor trends. Some of the best pieces can be found right under your nose! Here’s how to get your home fall-ready on a budget.

 

Use edible décor

 

Throw a few apples in a decorative bowl you already own and place it somewhere in your kitchen or on your coffee table.  If you’ve recently gone apple picking in the spirit of fall, you’ve probably got plenty of fresh apples to work with. They’ll double as décor and a crisp juicy snack.

 

Pumpkins go with everything! Use pumpkins to decorate your home. Instead of carving your pumpkins this season, try painting them in colors like white, grey, or a nice shade of forest green. Place a few larger pumpkins near your doorstep and spread out some smaller ones where you see fit throughout your home. You can also opt to grab a few plastic pumpkins from your local dollar store and spray paint them in white, gold, or even bronze for the perfect fall touch.

 

Take advantage of thrift store finds

 

Your local thrift store is a goldmine for dirt cheap décor. You just have to keep an open mind when searching and sorting through all of the chaos. Dress up your fireplace with a few repurposed items such as a wicker basket, teapot, or an antique broom to give it a cozy feel. 

 

Make use of blankets and throw pillows

 

The use of blankets can add a simple touch of warmth and color without the paint job. You can grab a few throws from the thrift store or local discount store or use a few you have on hand. Bring in blankets and pillows with warm tones and plaid designs to throw over your favorite chair or ottoman or even on a back porch table.

 

Fill your home with candles

 

There are tons of warm fall scented candles available at an affordable price. You can choose to light some to fill your home or place a few in rooms for decoration purposes only. Alternate between different sizes, shapes, and colors with your candles.

 

Prepare Autumn Goodies

 

This may not seem like décor, but baking anything warm with a scent of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg is sure to fill your home with all of the fall feels. Creating memories in your kitchen with loved ones is the best way to bring in the new season.

 

Add color with wallpaper

 

If you don’t want to commit to painting your walls, consider incorporating wallpaper to add color in your home. You’ll save time and have the option to peel it away when you change your mind.

 

Arrange fresh fall florals

 

Use dahlias, ranunculus, and clippings from your yard to create an arrangement that is sure to make a statement. Here’s a tip: place your flower arrangements in the fridge at night to make them last even longer.

 

Have fun with decorating your home for the fall season on a budget. The possibilities are endless!  

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October 24 2019

6 Reasons Why a Great Room is So Great

by racheal

Great room with kitchen and living space

What is a great room? A great room is a large centrally located room that has multiple functions such as a living room, dining room, or even the kitchen. As of late, open concept living has been pretty popular. But why are so many homeowners leaning toward including a great room in their homes and why are builders including these in most floor plans? Well, here are 6 reasons why having a great room is so great!

 

The Illusion of More Space

 

The placement of walls between each room can leave you feeling closed in and closed off from everyone else in the home. Removing those walls will give off the illusion of more space. The large open spaces provide more functionality rather than having several rooms with unnecessary wall space. 

 

A Bird’s Eye View

 

With a great room or open floor plan, you have a bird’s eye view of the common areas of your home. This way you'll know what's going on in your home from many different angles all while standing in one spot.

Making sure that children play nice while you prepare a meal is another great reason for an open floor plan. You can be involved with homework help while preparing snacks after school or watch the game.

 

More Quality Time 

 

Having a great room within an open floor plan increases quality time and allows for families to gather together while each member still has space for themselves.

 

Ideal For Entertaining

 

Having a great room is the perfect addition to your home if you find that you like to entertain family and friends for small get-togethers. Guests will not feel confined to one room and you have the ability to socialize different groups of people while hosting.

 

Plenty of Natural Lighting

 

In a great room, there’s more natural light that comes in because of the lack of walls space. The use of artificial lighting is not needed as much which also cuts down on your light bill. Bountiful natural life can also boost your mood and you’ll enjoy your home even more.

 

Energy Efficient

 

You’ll find that a home with a more open floor plan provides for more energy efficiency. It’s easier to heat and cool. It is much easier to maintain the temperature of one controlled area rather than several rooms that aren’t in use. 

 

A great room offers plenty of benefits within the home, in addition, to its beautiful aesthetic. If you weren't much of a fan of open spaces before, this may help you get a better idea of why you may want to join the many homeowners that do.

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October 24 2019

Get a Sweet Deal with the Purchase of a New Home at Meridiana’s Master Planned Community

by Erin

Satisfy your sweet tooth this month with a new home in the attractive manicured master-planned community at Meridiana. Located in Iowa Colony, TX, this neighborhood delivers easy access to downtown Houston and its many amenities. Indulge in an array of dining and entertainment all under one roof at the Bayou Place Complex in the Theater District of Downtown Houston. Get to know your new city while burning a few calories on a three-hour bike ride through Downtown Houston with Bayou City Bike Tours. You can also enjoy a little shopping at First Colony Mall just a few miles away in Sugar Land. 

 

During the month of October, the Meridiana community is offering potential homeowners the sweet opportunity to view their new homes with its month-long model home tour cupcake extravaganza! You’ll have the opportunity to take a peek at 16 fully furnished model homes created by the minds of Houston’s top builders with must-have features such as spacious open floor plans, gourmet kitchens, and expansive master suites. Those who purchase a new home at Meridiana during the month of October will automatically be entered to win a $5,000 Williams Sonoma gift card! How great would it be to furnish your new kitchen on their dime? 

 

To top it all off, you can get a taste of Café Sol’s signature Confetti Cheesecake commemorating its first birthday during this month-long festivity. Café Sol is the place to be whether you’re grabbing a quick bite with friends or you plan on staying a while to enjoy their wood-fired pizza and lakeside scenery.

 

This new neighborhood is jam-packed full of onsite amenities for the entire family to enjoy year-round.  Learning labs throughout the community, lakes, walking and jogging trails, a fitness center, swimming pools, and even a football stadium are all available for your pleasure when you become a part of the Meridiana community. The Park at Adventure Lake just recently opened in addition to Explorer’s Park equipped with climbers, slides, swings, and other play equipment under a shady canopy as well as plenty of green space for sports and group activities.

 

Don’t miss out on the sweet festivities this month! If you would like to learn more about how to begin your journey to homeownership, now is the perfect time. Maps are available at the Oasis Village Welcome Center to guide you through Meridiana’s array of gorgeous model homes and move-in ready homes.

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October 17 2019

There is Something For Everyone with a Riverside Home at Kadence Centennial

by racheal

Kadence Centennial owners bathroom suite

Kadence Centennial by Pardee Homes is a brand new development of master-planned homes located in lovely Menifee, CA. Enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment all a few minutes of your new home. Get some much-needed shopping done at nearby shopping centers like the Menifee Farmers Market, Menifee Town Center, and Menifee Countryside Marketplace. There you’ll find Lowe’s, Target, Home Goods and good eats like Chipolte Mexican Grill, Bushfire Kitchen, Red Robin, and In N Out Burger. 

 

Enjoy a few rounds of golf at the Menifee Lakes Golf Course or take a visit to the Mason Jar Brewing Company. Drop Zone Waterpark is the perfect place to be on those hot summer days with the family.  Kadence Centennial also offers easy access to neighboring cities via interstate 215 and Newport Rd. where you’ll discover even more for you and your family to appreciate.

 

Children who reside at Kadence Centennial receive a high level of education within the Menifee Union School District. Those who would like to continue their education have the opportunity to attend one of many surrounding colleges such as Mount San Jacinto College, the University of California, Riverside, or Azusa Pacific University. 

 

Take your pick of Prairie, Cottage, or Spanish architecture when you choose your desired floor plan. At Kadence Centennial, there’s something for everyone whether you have a large family or you’re just starting out. Multiple generations can live comfortably together with Pardee Homes’ GenSmart Suites® that give the feel of a home within a home. Kadence offers three-floor plans with up to 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a 2-3 bay garage. These open floor plans span up to 2,823 square feet of living space which are perfect for entertaining guests or just spreading out in your own space. You’ll also love the extra living spaces such as lofts, patios, porches, and even extra den space.

 

The new neighborhood at Kadence Centennial includes top-notch features in every inch of each home. The gourmet kitchens are comprised of a General Electric® Profile Café™ appliance package, under and over cabinet LED lighting, rollout shelves, and kitchen sinks and faucets in a variety of finishes. The bathroom suites include a drop in tub/shower with tile, mirrored closet doors, a door between the owner’s bedroom and bathroom, and the customizable countertops. You’ll have the choice of either a top or front load GE® washer or dryer in a spacious laundry room with upper and lower cabinetry. Flush mounted heaters at the covered patio are a great feature to have during the cooler months when you want to sit out and enjoy the scenery. The exterior also includes rain gutters at the entry and exterior barbecue gas stub.

 

Pardee Homes has been in the building industry since 1921 providing great locations, quality construction, community partnerships, and industry-leading green and safe building practices. This astounding homebuilder has received several awards including the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Corporate Advocate of the Year. Pardee Homes has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Inland Empire, and Las Vegas, NV and is committed to building great homes and even better communities for their customers. End your search for a new home in Riverside County at Kadence Centennial. You’ll be glad you did! 

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October 10 2019

7 Tips to Brighten Up a Dark Room

by racheal

Dark living room space

The type of lighting you have in your home is essential to your day to day life. It can deeply affect your mood and productivity. Dim lighting can contribute to depression and even affect your appetite. Bright lights can heighten emotions and make you feel more energetic. Having ample natural lighting in the rooms in your home is very beneficial, but what if certain rooms don’t offer enough natural lighting in the first place? Here are 7 tips to brighten up a dark room.

 

Paint Your Walls 

 

This is probably the most common way to brighten up a room that doesn’t get much natural lighting. Get rid of any walls that may have a darker paint color to liven things up. Grab a can of white or light-colored paint and watch your room transform.

 

Make sure to purchase a matte paint rather than one that is glossy. Matt surfaces reflect light in every direction rather than glossy paint that actually creates a glare. The goal is to reflect natural light equally in order to illuminate the room properly.

 

Add More Light Fixtures

 

Just one lamp may not provide ample lighting in a darker room. Consider adding a few more light fixtures to enhance the lighting in your home. 

 

Replace Lightbulbs

 

If you find that a room or rooms in your home give off a somewhat yellow light, you may want to consider replacing your lightbulbs. This is a great way to upgrade your home on a budget. Switching to daylights is an easy and affordable way to brighten up a dim room. You can find them at Walmart or order a few on Amazon.

 

Add Lots of Mirrors

 

Adding multiple mirrors in a room will not only brighten it up but it will give the illusion of more space as well. You can create a gallery of mirrors on one wall, add one large mirror, or one on each wall. Have fun with the frames to give your space a little more personality. 

 

Hang Sheer Curtains

 

If you want to brighten up your space, you’ll have to get rid of those drab heavy curtains and replace them with something a little more sheer. Sheer curtains will allow for more natural light to pull through into the room whereas a thicker fabric will take the lighting away. 

 

Clean the Windows

 

This may seem extremely simple, but cleaning your windows can make a huge difference. If you can safely clean both the inside and outside of your windows, they’ll be free from any dirt, dust, and grime that can trap more natural light from coming in. 

 

Trim Your Trees

 

Trees bring lots of shade, but they also block natural light from coming into your home. If you have any trees that are directly in front of your windows, trim them a little. 

 

You should see a big difference in how your dark room has transformed just by using a few or all of these great tips to brighten things up. Most importantly, you'll also see a change in your productivity and the way you feel walking into your newly illuminated space.

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October 8 2019

October Realtor of the Month: Lori Webster

by Erin

Lori Webster Realtor of the month Fountain Hills, AZ

Our October realtor of the month is Lori Webster, Real Estate Agent for HomeSmart Lifestyles and our Real Estate Market Expert for Fountain Hills, AZ.

 

Lorie earned her Associate Degree in Merchandising at Arizona State University and earned her Bachelors Degree in Finance at Gonzaga University in Spokane Washington. Lorie Webster has worked in the Real Estate Industry for the past 30 years. She has plenty of experience in working very closely with both homebuyers and sellers during the transaction process. 

 

In her free time, Lorie enjoys being a part of a Ladies Golf League. She also volunteers to cook for and feed homeless adults through a private non-profit group and also participates in several clean-up projects a year.

 

Lorie has a great passion for real estate and her relationships with her clients show it as they go well beyond the final sale. If you're looking to purchase a brand new home near Phoenix, be sure to contact Lorie with HomeSmart Lifestyles for all of your real estate needs.

 

“The more you thank life, the more life gives you to be thankful for.”

-Lorie Webster

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October 4 2019

Move-In Ready: Great Customer Service Becomes Self-Service

by Erin

Self Service Sales Center Kiosk

Self-Service Technology moves home shoppers quickly and efficiently toward critical information and increased engagement.

 

By Zoe Miller

 

Customer service should be all about the customer, but only that person truly knows his or her needs and goals, mood and interests, preferred pace and overall schedule. The buyer’s journey in residential real estate (the largest consumer industry) is the most consequential, so it stands to reason this is when customers would demand the most convenience and control.

 

Enter self-service technology (SST), a solution that helps customers or prospects serve themselves. If you’ve used an ATM or self-checkout at a grocery store, you’ve used this kind of technology. Self-service technology has become a key element of the home buying process as buyers grow more comfortable with it. Whether online or in a sales center, SST empowers the customer by delivering the right information in the right way at the right time. 

 

Convenience, Control & Connection

 

Convenience is always a top priority for new home shoppers who find themselves with countless questions in need of timely answers. Just as smart home technology has been the latest trend for convenience, self-service technology helps prospective home buyers by providing fast and concise information. Questions that may have once required a phone call or even a face-to-face meeting can now be answered through a self-service solution, available 24/7. 

 

More than anything else, homebuyers seek a value-unique experience—a level of service that will inspire not just sales, but enthusiastic referrals. Online resources should be replete with impactful visuals and an easy-to-understand user experience. Interactive kiosks and even the use of virtual reality technology belong front and center in a sales center so home shoppers can easily find them. Reduced friction and maximum convenience and engagement are highly valued by home shoppers.

 

Customized Over Customary 

 

It’s important for home builders to understand that communication doesn’t have to equal conversation or even human interaction. Interaction typically follows waiting in line or on the phone or for an appointment time—and that’s rarely convenient. An easy-to-navigate and engaging self-service experience will go a long way toward buyer satisfaction. 

 

Home shoppers also value personalization and customization—information that's tailored to their specific situation. When SST automation is used to create a customized experience with targeted follow-ups regarding time frames or product tips, people don’t forget. 

 

What’s worse than a problem? The frustration over not knowing how to resolve it. Home shoppers and home builders alike benefit when SST can solve problems and answer questions. An interactive two-way setup with results, feedback, and proposed resolution boosts the customer experience. Specific home shopping questions that can be addressed with SST range from pricing, availability and construction schedules to elevations, floor plans, and other details.

Zoe Miller Headshot

It all adds up to value-unique—a level of customer service that's actionable and personable.

 

 

— Zoe Miller is a principal at Computer Presentation Systems in the Sacramento, California area. The 25+-year veteran of the home building industry sets the company’s development strategies and oversees its daily operations.

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