Here’s How Much It Costs to Sell Your Home in 2019

Zillow, the real estate database, just released a report showing the hidden costs of selling. So how much does it cost you to sell your house in 2019? Get ready to spend about $21,000. Don’t balk at the cost yet, though. Some of that cost goes toward home improvements and Zillow found that “sellers who make improvements to their homes are more likely to sell for more than their asking price than those who don’t.”

When you’re selling your house, here’s where your money will go:

how much does it cost to sell my house

A large portion of the selling cost goes to closing costs after your home is sold. Image: 

Closing Costs, $14,281 on average

The bulk of the expense in selling your house is the closing costs, which include real agent commissions, sales taxes and state transfer taxes. This figure is an average. The actual amount is a percentage based on the home’s sale price and can vary widely. Here’s a list of average closing costs throughout the U.S. from greatest to least:

San Jose, CA: $76,015

New York, NY: $28,090

Denver, CO: $24,443

Austin, TX: $18,522

Las Vegas, NV: $18,163

Philadelphia, PA: $16,296

Phoenix, AZ: $15,924

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: $14,580

Tampa, FL: $14,291

Atlanta, GA: $13,286

Houston, TX: $12,342

Cleveland, OH: $9,046

The one positive of this expense is that it doesn’t come out of your pocket upfront. It’s usually deducted from the home sale’s proceeds.

how much does it cost to sell your home

Your house only has one shot to make a first impression, so make it a good one. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Home Improvements To Get The Home Ready For Sale, $6,570 on average

This amount is the average for sellers who hire professionals for their home updates. For those who wonder how much it costs to sell your house and want all the details, here is the $6,570 in home improvements, broken down by category:

  • Exterior painting: $2,600
  • Home staging: $1,805
  • Interior painting: $1,245
  • Local moving to the new home: $475
  • Full-service lawn care: $145
  • Carpet cleaning: $140
  • House cleaning: $160

Based on these projects, it looks like curb appeal plays a big role in successfully selling your home. If your time and budget are limited, it’s probably best to focus on presenting a clean, crisp home that is nicely but neutrally furnished to appeal to most buyers.

Home improvement costs will vary by market. The report found that sellers in Sacramento spent about $7,800 compared to Phoenix home sellers, who could spend around $4,000 for the same projects. And DIY curb appeal projects may help a home seller save money.

what is the cost of selling my home

Sellers that make some upgrades before listing their house are more likely to sell their home successfully (and for more money). Image: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

If you’re selling this year, get started on updating your house now. Spruce up your garden and lawn, plant new flowers and freshen up the space both inside and outside with paint. As you get closer to listing your house, start decluttering and storing your personal items so that your house shows best. Don’t forget about the details like clean carpets, walls and windows.

The post Here’s How Much It Costs to Sell Your Home in 2019 appeared first on Freshome.com.

Exclusive! The Most Popular Benjamin Moore Colors Across the US

No two individuals are alike. Similarly, each region in the U.S. has distinct styles in fashion, food and music. “These traditions and trademarks permeate all elements of the region’s culture, including into the homes of its residents,” Hannah Yeo, Color & Design Expert at Benjamin Moore, tells Freshome.

In fact, Yeo says Benjamin Moore has been able to spot a geographic design trend in how colors are being used. These are the most popular paint hues in eight cities across the U.S.

white entrance

Benjamin Moore: Simply White. All images courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Los Angeles

“Lighter colors are favored in the interior of the home across the nation and Los Angeles leads this trend,” Yeo says. As a hub for great design, she says white becomes an essential color in this area. “From warm pinkish white to the palest blue — or even the combination of whites — the soft nuances of whites enhance LA homes.”

On the home’s exterior, Yeo says homeowners often use richer colors to add curb appeal. In the photo above, you’ll see a top pick: Simply White. It’s a clean, crisp, multi-purpose white. Simply White is a favorite for ceilings, trim and walls. Iceberg, Swiss Coffee, and Revere Pewter are some of the other popular colors in the area.

Black kitchen

Benjamin Moore: Black HC-190

San Diego

With over 39 million residents, California is the most populous state in the U.S. Although San Diego is only 120 miles away from Los Angeles, the state is so large that it could be considered a separate region. And San Diego also has a different color palette. While Los Angeles embraces shades of white, San Diego leans toward the most stylish color of every year: black.

“San Diego isn’t afraid of color,” Yeo says. “Dark, neutral colors, like black, are balanced with light yellows, blues and pinks.” Black HC-190 is part of the Historical Collection inspired by America’s historic landmarks and works well in traditional and contemporary spaces. Other popular colors in this area include Eagle Rock, Sidewalk Gray, Butterfly Kisses and Love & Happiness.

Blue attic

Benjamin Moore: Van Cortland Blue

Denver

“In Denver, nature-inspired hues such as blues, greens and cool neutrals complement the surrounding landscape,” Yeo says. Van Courtland Blue is a decorative old-world blue that also works well in contemporary spaces. Plus, it mimics the city’s mountainous views. Other popular colors in this part of the country include Kendall Charcoal, Pale Oak, Decorator’s White and Silver Marlin.

Balboa Mist office

Benjamin Moore: Balboa Mist

Chicago

“From off whites to light grays, soft neutrals dominate Chicago,” Yeo says. “Blues with gray undertones are fresh additions to the soft, neutral palette.” Balboa Mist, a part of the Classic Color Collection, is a timeless, elegant color that is always a favorite among consumers and professionals in the Windy City. Other popular colors include Edgecomb Gray, Sea Haze, Gray Owl and Beach Glass.

If you’re selling your home, take a note from Chicago. Soft, neutral colors are recommended by many realtors when your home is on the market.

Blue door

Benjamin Moore: Toronto Blue door

Miami

“Florida also has a distinct color palette,” Yeo says. “Due to the warm temperature, cool whites are often used on the exterior of the home to keep the heat away. Bright blue accents are used to bring a nice breeze indoors.” Toronto Blue is a bold, saturated hue that excites and inspires, adding pops of color. Mountain Peak White, Collingwood, Evening Blue and Pale Oak are other popular colors in this area of the U.S.

beige room

Benjamin Moore: Shaker Beige

Philadelphia

“Philadelphia’s palette is comforting yet sophisticated,” Yeo says. “From cool grays to warm neutrals, these versatile hues provide a soothing backdrop to any space.” Shaker Beige is an inviting mid-toned tan with a beachy vibe. Other popular colors in Philadelphia include Stonington Gray, Pleasant Pink, Buckland Blue and Woodlawn Blue.

Caliente door

Benjamin Moore: Caliente door

Dallas

“Red, white and blue colors best represent Dallas,” Yeo says. “Off-whites and pale neutrals provide a soft backdrop for bold reds and blues to pop.” Caliente is a vibrant, charismatic shade of red — radiant, strong and full of energy. Other popular colors in this part of the country include Bermuda Turquoise, Icicle, Chantilly Lace and Iron Mountain.

gray walls

Benjamin Moore: Raccoon Fur

Nashville

“Nashville also embraces colors from the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection, which was inspired by 18th– and 19th-century architecture,” Yeo says. “Neutrals and blues feel calm and composed for an updated traditional look.” Raccoon Fur is a pure gray color that can be used in a variety of color combinations. Other popular colors in Nashville include Manchester Tan, Palladian Blue, Wickham Gray and Shaker Beige.

pink desk area

Benjamin Moore: Touch of Pink and Sunlit Coral

Tips for homeowners trying to choose paint colors

Selecting colors for your home can be overwhelming, but Yeo provides a few tricks to make the process easier.

“First, start by finding a point of inspiration. This can be anything from a favorite fabric to the colors in your kitchen countertops,” Yeo says. “Even a color drawn from a piece of wall art, a page torn out of a magazine or a picture found online can be a great source of inspiration.” This can be a helpful first step in narrowing down the color choices you consider.

Navy wall

Benjamin Moore: Hale Navy

“Once you’ve figured out which general color families appeal to you, set your focus on that portion of the display at the store or that section of the fan deck,” she explains. “Within each color family, you will see a wide range of colors, so go with your instincts. Chances are you will be drawn to a few colors that will help you narrow down the choices.”

Yeo also recommends thinking about the existing dominant color in your space. “This can help you to further narrow down your selection,” she says. “For example, if you have cherry wood kitchen cabinets, you should consider that in making your color choice.”

beach glass walls

Benjamin Moore: Beach Glass

Before making a final selection, Yeo recommends buying a pint sample to fully understand how the color will look in your home. “Remember that the light in the store will be different from the light in your home,” she says. “So the best way to make an informed decision is by painting a sample in the room where you’ll be using the color.”

Be sure to view the sample during the day to determine if you like it. Also, consider the different types of paint sheen — flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss — to ensure you pick the right finish for your project.

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Comps 101: How Comparables Can Help You Sell Your Home

So you want to sell your house. You know there are some key things you need to do like stage the interior and work on your curb appeal. You might think, especially if you’re hiring a real estate agent, that everything else is handled. But that leaves out one of the trickiest parts of home selling: pricing your property. How do you do it? Sure, your agent will help, but you want to know you’re not leaving money on the table. You also don’t want to price your home too high and leave it languishing on the market for months. So what do you do? Look at comps.

comps 1

If you want to list your home to sell, use comps. Image: romakoma/Shutterstock

What are comps?

Comps — or comparables — are the single most effective way to ensure you’re pricing your home to sell while also maximizing your revenue from the sale. Basically, they compare other recently sold or pending homes in your area that are a lot like yours. Knowing what buyers are willing to pay for similar homes clues you in to what you can realistically get for yours.

The key is here is finding comps that are as accurate as possible for your home. The most effective comps score in three key areas:

Location, location, location

The old real estate adage strikes again. You can often get a four-bedroom house in a rural area for the price of a tiny oceanfront condo. Why? Location matters. And that’s especially true for comparables. So if you want to make sure you’re listing your home at the right price, it’s important to price it based on local market activity.

And you want to be as location-specific as possible. Existing boundaries — like school districts and neighborhood lines — are helpful here. The closer your comps are in location to your house, the more accurate they’ll be.

comps 4

If you’ve got a view of the park, make sure you factor it in. Image: Johner Images/Getty Images

Don’t forget features

Easy, right? Your next door neighbor’s house just sold, so you can use that as a comp, right? Wrong, unless that house also meets a few additional conditions. A good comparable is going to be as similar to your house as possible. Of course, that means the basics like the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms and similar square footage. But don’t forget about other features, either.

Maybe your neighbor has an electrical tower behind their house, while your backyard has panoramic views. They’re definitely not a good comp for you. You’d be better served by looking at the house up the street that has a slightly smaller square footage but a similar view. Other features like upgrades (e.g., granite countertops, walk-in closets), the overall condition of your house, whether you have a pool and how much parking you have are all considerations. At the end of the day, when you’re hunting for comps, it’s better to look for houses that are as much like yours as possible. If that means you have to extend the boundaries of your search, so be it.

Current listing status matters

Okay, so all you have to do is pop on Zillow, Redfin or Trulia and find some for-sale homes that look like yours and are relatively close by, right? Actually, no. Homes currently for sale aren’t a good place to go for comps because they still haven’t sold yet. If you base your comps on the batch of neighbors who think they’re going to be millionaires from selling their two-bedrooms, you’ll be way off.

Instead, look at homes that have closed in the last six months or less. The closer you can get to the present, the better. In fact, if you can find homes with sales pending, that’s ideal.

comps 2

The best comps are recently sold, similar homes nearby. Image: RikoBest/Shutterstock

Using comps to sell your home

Now you’re ready to price your home competitively. A good benchmark is to find five or six really solid comps. Once you’ve gathered the handful of recently sold or pending homes that are similar to yours and located near you, you’re ready to determine your own home’s selling price. If their prices are all very similar, your work is easy. Price yours just like them.

If most of them are similar but you’ve got one outlier, toss it. Base your list price on the majority.

If they’re all over the place, you’re in a tricky spot. You can either keep looking for comps until a pattern emerges or you can decide what’s important to you. If you want to sell by the end of the summer so you can have your family re-settled before the new school year starts, for example, it might be worth listing on the lower end of the spectrum. If you’ve got tons of time and are feeling patient, list high and see what happens. Either way, you’ll know that you’re making an educated decision based on what’s right for you and your current market activity.

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Galley Kitchens: Pros, Cons, and Tips

Whether you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen or searching for a new home and weighing your options, the kitchen setup is extremely important. And if you cook a lot, the layout of this room really matters.

Quite a few homes have galley kitchens — and the owners either love them or want to take a sledgehammer to them. But what is a galley kitchen, and how do you know if this style is right for you? Freshome rounded up several experts to help you understand the pros and cons of a galley kitchen. They also provided tips for designing a galley kitchen that you’ll love. 

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time.

A galley kitchen is great for one cook at a time. Image: Ran Kyu Park/Getty Images

What is a galley kitchen and why is it used?

“A galley kitchen consists of two parallel runs of units forming a central corridor,” explains Ariel Richardson, a San Diego-based interior designer and the founder of ASR Design Studio. The name “galley kitchen” is derived from the kitchens on ships, in which everything is in a straight line.

It’s a great solution when you don’t have a lot of space, or if a house tends to be long instead of wide. “A galley kitchen is generally considered a solution for smaller apartments. We’ve also done some as second kitchens in larger homes, like a mother/daughter set up,” says Michael Radovic, CKD at Showcase Kitchens. “You can achieve a functional and nicely integrated kitchen, one that works seamlessly with the rest of the decor, with a length of about seven to eight feet.”

You can save money creating a galley kitchen

You can save money with a galley kitchen. Image: Hoxton-Martin Barraud/Getty Images

A galley kitchen is cost-effective

One advantage of a galley kitchen is that it won’t blow your budget, according to Nathan Outlaw, President at Onvico, a general contracting and design-build company in Thomasville, GA. “A galley kitchen will usually be more cost-effective than a large, open kitchen,” he says. “You only have two sets of cabinets with simple rectangle countertop slabs.” That leaves more money to splurge on the latest faucet trends.

You can save steps - if it’s not too wide.

You can save steps — if it’s not too wide. Image: hikesterson/Getty Images

A galley kitchen is efficient

But a galley kitchen isn’t only cost-effective. It’s also efficient. “The appliances are easily accessible. Galley style provides a very efficient kitchen work triangle,” says Joan Kaufman, an interior designer and President of Interior Planning & Design in Naperville, IL.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Erin Davis, Owner and Lead Designer at Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, OR. “Because it’s smaller, fewer steps are required in between work areas,” Davis says. “In some galley kitchens, the sink, refrigerator and range are all along the same wall. This can work well as long as there is enough prep space in between work areas.”

However, if the corridor is too far apart — more than 6 feet wide, specifically — Richardson warns that it will lose its efficiency.

In lieu of 2 walls, a galley kitchen can have one wall and one long island.

In lieu of two walls, a galley kitchen can have one wall and one long island. Image courtesy of Case Design/Remodeling.

Chelsea Allard, VP of Design at Case Design/Remodeling in Charlotte, NC, agrees that a galley kitchen can be efficient. “The galley kitchen is made up of two parallel work surfaces. In a small condo, it may be two walls. Or it could be one wall of cabinetry parallel to a long island,” she explains. “Galley kitchens can be incredibly efficient because they allow a linear path to organize the major work zones: food storage, prep and cooking, clean-up and non-perishable storage.”

Two cooks will probably bump into each other.

Two cooks will probably bump into each other. Image: photographee.eu/Shutterstock

A galley kitchen isn’t the best style for multiple people

However, a galley kitchen isn’t typically designed for a lot of — or even a few — people. “Due to size constraints, a galley kitchen really can only fit one or two cooks at a time,” Outlaw explains. “It will be harder to move around anyone in the kitchen.”

Allard agrees and says that unless one of the sides is an island, a galley kitchen doesn’t handle traffic well. “Proper spacing between each counter is critical to making sure there is comfortable space for people to cook and pass by each other,” she says. “A galley kitchen is great for small spaces, but can feel like a runway if it’s too long.” On the other hand, if you have hardwood floors in the kitchen, you may enjoy walking the runway.

You might not have a window view.

You might not have a window view. Image: Contrastaddict/GettyImages

There may not be a lot of natural light

And if you’re in the habit of looking out the window as you wash dishes, this may not be the kitchen for you. “Views of the outside may be sacrificed,” says Kaufman. “There’s usually not a sink directly in front of a window. And sometimes, there may not even be a window in the kitchen.”

Make sure appliances will fit correctly.

Make sure appliances will fit correctly. Image: Martin Deja/Getty Images

Consider your appliances

If you’re planning a galley kitchen, plan for your appliances as well. “You should know the specs of your appliances and make sure that the main appliances — sink, refrigerator and stove — are either in a triangle or close to one another in a row,” advises Linda Hayslett at LH.Designs.

“Because galley kitchens are used for smaller spaces, the specs of the appliances are important, especially the fridge and stove.” Hayslett says that many people don’t think about the spacing of these items, but larger sizes can create issues during installation.

Add light wherever you can.

Add lights wherever you can. Image: Mint Images/Getty Images

Making the galley kitchen feel larger

Even though a galley kitchen tends to be small, there are ways to make it appear larger. “Use light or high-gloss finishes to create a more open feel,” says Richardson. “Placement of light fixtures is essential in creating an illusion of more space.”

Light and open galley kitchen.

A light and open galley kitchen. Image courtesy of Dawn Totty Designs.

Interior Designer Dawn Totty of Dawn Totty Designs in Chattanooga, TN, recommends using a monochromatic color scheme in a light color to give the illusion of a larger, more open space. “I always say the best kitchens are the most well-lit kitchens. But don’t just rely on recessed lighting,” Totty says. She suggests hanging a lantern, chandeliers or some other type of light fixtures to add some personality to the room.

Since space is limited, Totty also recommends placing cabinets as high as the ceiling and utilizing baskets and labeled bins.

“In addition, implement at least two glass-front cabinets for a pretty shine and to break up the heaviness of all-wood cabinets,” she says. “You can have a galley kitchen and an island, too.” Totty recommends either a custom or store-bought island with casters. “It’s a perfect way to create more prep space. [Islands] are also fun to use as a bar or dessert cart for entertaining.”

You may be able to enlarge the footprint.

You may be able to enlarge the footprint. Image courtesy of Joan Kaufman — Interior Planning & Design.

Modifying the kitchen

If you’re really sold on the idea of a galley kitchen but you don’t have the necessary width, there are ways to make it work. “You can open up the walls on both sides of the kitchen, which can add up to 12 inches of cabinet and countertop space,” explains Shawn Breyer, owner of We Buy Houses Atlanta. If you don’t want to remove walls, he has another suggestion: add a glass door or a large window at the end of the wall. “Adding larger windows is a tactic used in smaller homes. It provides the perception of more space, making it feel less cramped,” Breyer says.

Some galley kitchens are quite spacious.

Some galley kitchens are quite spacious. Image: Contrastaddict/Getty Images

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Home-Buying Millennials are Obsessed with Lawns and Gardens

The U.S. Census Bureau says homeownership is up over last year. In their words, “the national homeownership rate has risen to 64.4 percent.” And Realtor Magazine says that jump is “largely attributed to the rise in new, first-time homebuyers.”

These first-time homebuyers are millennials and they don’t care about a fancy eat-in kitchen. Instead, they’re obsessed with lawns and gardens.

A survey from the National Association of Landscape Professionals found that 79 percent of U.S. homebuyers agree that a spacious and manicured lawn is an important feature in a home. And here’s the kicker: millennials, who currently make up the largest percentage of homebuyers, ranked the lawn as the top priority when house hunting.

landscaping tips for selling your home

Lawns, gardens, patios and outdoor living are the #1 priority for house-hunting millennials. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

Sure — a large, open kitchen and a huge master bedroom with custom his and hers closets are all nice. But for a large portion of the buyer’s market, it’s all about the perfect lawn and a spacious, landscaped backyard.

If you’re listing soon, make sure you set aside some money to make sure your patio and gardens look their best. Here are four quick landscaping tips for selling your home:

landscaping tips for selling your home

Set the stage outdoors with a furniture setting that enhances your outdoor space. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

1. Don’t Just Stage Indoors; Stage A Small Outdoor Setting, Too

Buyers like to envision what their life will be like in your home. Find a spot in your backyard or patio and add a small outdoor table setting or lounge area. Complete the look with hanging lights, an outdoor area rug or colorful outdoor throw pillows.

landscaping tips for selling your home

A fresh, vibrant lawn adds a new home feel to yours. Image: nazarovsergey/Shutterstock

2. Freshen Up Your Turf

If your lawn isn’t the best one in the neighborhood, it may be a very good investment to renew or replace your old lawn before listing your house. A fresh, green lawn looks inviting and gives your home a “new” feeling. Depending on the size of your outdoor lawn area, fake turf may be in your budget and would be a low-maintenance option for year-round green curb appeal.

landscape ideas for selling a home

Planted flowers are an easy way to add pops of colors to your garden. Image: 1000 Words/Shutterstock

3. Plant Flowers

Flowers are inexpensive and easy to plant. They add a splash of color to your garden and last long enough to get your home sold.

curb appeal for selling your house

Add LED lighting to your stairs, pathways and terrace areas. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

4. Add Lighting To Your Garden And Outdoor Spaces

You don’t have to spend a lot on electrical and wiring to light your lawn and garden. There are plenty of solar-power LED outdoor lights that are as simple as inserting a stake into the dirt. Focus on lighting a path, uplighting a large tree and lighting a sitting area or patio table setting.

Even if you’re not selling a home, get ready to embrace the outdoor living trend. Millennials have spoken and it looks like gardening and outdoor entertaining will be hot topics for a while.

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6 HGTV Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know

If you’re like me, there’s nothing you love more than unwinding with HGTV. At the end of a long day, there’s something soothing about watching other people make high-stakes decisions. Whether it’s buying a beach house, renovating a kitchen or choosing a family home, HGTV has a total lock on homeowner-based entertainment. But how much of what you see is real? As it turns out, HGTV secrets influence the way you watch.

While on-screen house hunts and renos seem to go smoothly, appearances can be deceiving. Don’t get discouraged if you feel like your house situation is less than picture perfect. Much of what you see is good, old-fashioned smoke and mirrors. Here are some of the HGTV secrets that keep you watching.

Some of the “hunted homes” might be off the market. Image: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

1. Home hunting is already complete

If you’ve ever searched for a new home, you know that viewing three properties probably won’t cut it. And even if you’re lucky enough to decide on a new place, it’s not a guarantee you’ll be able to secure financing, win a bidding war and actually move in. So how is it that every owner on House Hunters is able to view, buy and move in what seems like a week?

The secret is that homeowners are usually already under contract for their chosen home before they’re cast on the show. They already know which home is theirs and view other homes to increase drama. It’s less of a hunt and more of a confirmation that they chose the right home. In some cases, they’ve already purchased the home and even moved in before filming starts. Creative filming and staging the home to look empty make it seem like prospective hunters are seeing their home for the first time.

2. Some homes aren’t even for sale

Feel like HGTV always has the best homes to choose from? That’s because they don’t limit hunted homes to those that are currently on the market. To ensure compelling content, House Hunters will lead prospective buyers through homes that have already been purchased by other buyers and even the homes of nearby friends and family. Not only have the hunters already chosen their home, but some of the places they see aren’t even an option. It’s all in the name of creating a narrative where you, as the viewer, become more invested in the process.

Kitchen and dining room

Staged homes might be more Photoshop than interior design. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

3. Homes are virtually staged

Staging homes isn’t exactly one of the most protected HGTV secrets. It’s a well-known practice among realtors, homeowners and those in the industry. But what HGTV doesn’t tell you is that some of the staging you see is done virtually. They’ll utilize computerized models to make a home look more put-together than reality. Even grass can be painted and edited after the fact to make it look lusher. So when they say that the grass is greener on the other side, remember that it might be the result of Photoshop over fertilizer.

4. Construction is contracted

Anyone who’s ever renovated a home knows it never goes as smoothly as they show on HGTV. What’s more, many of the projects seem like they’re completed singlehandedly by a charismatic host and a plucky sidekick. A week under construction by a do-it-all TV star and voilà! The big reveal shows a home that has been renovated top to bottom.

In reality, most shows contract out the heavy lifting to local construction crews. The stars come in and demo a couple of cupboards or paint a few strokes before handing off the project to the real pros. Just remember that real renovations are the result of time, effort and expertise.

Contemporary master bedroom with metal accents

Not every room is renovated as part of the contract. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

5. Rooms are left out

The show Property Brothers is a ratings smash for HGTV, and why not? What’s not to love about a couple of attractive identical twins showing homeowners they can have their dream home for a little elbow grease and a small investment? The show doesn’t, however, make it clear what is left undone at the end of the big reveal.

The show actually only contracts for four rooms to be designed and renovated. Usually, homeowners pick their highest-traffic areas, like the kitchen and living room. But there is still a lot of work left once the brothers offer up the dramatic finish. Sure, renovating a cheaper home can be a sound investment, but remember it’s much more complicated than what’s show on HGTV.

6. Homeowners don’t keep decor

You might wistfully watch your favorite shows to see the gorgeous rugs, furniture and decor used in each show. Most HGTV shows finish with a before and after, with homeowners’ previously tired furniture replaced with updated, expensive decor.

Don’t get too envious, though. In most cases, the decor is used for staging only and doesn’t belong to the homeowners. After the “after” shot is filmed, that stuff gets put back into HGTV storehouses for the next before and after. In some cases, the owners get the chance to purchase the decor, but only if it’s in their budget. Usually, the renovation budget is long gone to pay for expensive staples like flooring and repairs. Those magazine-worthy finishing touches? They’re a short-term illusion.

Hey, I get it: HGTV is, at its best, pure escapism. No matter what your home is like, you can forget some of its challenges by watching other people deal with the ups and downs of homeownership. Still, it’s important to remember that as much as it’s billed as reality TV, most shows use HGTV secrets and have huge production budgets, directors, assistants, high-paid stars and behind-the-scenes experts. You don’t expect your home to always look like a professional movie set, so don’t make the mistake of comparing your place to what could be a TV mirage.

The post 6 HGTV Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know appeared first on Freshome.com.

Steal these 3 Home Design Trends for Wedding Decorating Ideas

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Some of the most popular home decor trends make their way to wedding decorating. Whether you’re getting married at home or having a destination wedding, check out these home trends and the wedding decorating ideas you can use to get the look in your own wedding.

1. Joanna Gaines-Inspired Farmhouse Chic Wedding Decorating Ideas

farmhouse chic wedding decorating ideas

Painted vintage doors decorated with flowers and plenty of candle lanterns set the stage for a farmhouse-style wedding. Image: Wedding and Lifestyle/Shutterstock

Are you a fan of vintage farmhouse style? Why not add it to your wedding decorating theme? You can pick up affordable decor pieces from Joanna Gaines’ Hearth & Hand with Magnolia home collection at Target. Or do a little flea market and vintage shopping to find one-of-a-kind items.

Once you round up your key vintage pieces, add a little polish with some gold accents and plenty of eucalyptus sprigs to complete the look.

Here are more wedding decorating ideas for a vintage farmhouse wedding:

farmhouse wedding decorating ideas

Eucalyptus and brushed gold accents create a botanically inspired vintage theme. Image: Andrej Rutar/Getty Images

wedding candle ideas

Layer plenty of light sources including candles, pendants and string lights. Image: Vadim Pastukh/Shutterstock

wedding centerpiece ideas

Transform a simple white table with this centerpiece featuring a linen runner, lots of fresh greens and eucalyptus, tea light votives, a candle in a hurricane vase and a painted glass photo frame. Image: Alex Gukalov/Shutterstock

vintage wedding decorating ideas

A vintage summer wedding is elevated to elegant with the use of mercury glass candle votives. Image: loonara/Getty Images

2. Blush Wedding Decorating Ideas

modern wedding decorating ideas

A table featuring blush tones and gold cutlery looks elegant and modern. Image: Vadim Kuzubov/Getty Images

Millennial pink, dusty rose, blush. They’re all names for pink — and it’s still one of the hottest colors of the moment. A pink wedding theme done in the right shade is elegant and timeless. Flowers like orchids, peonies and roses are great options if you choose this theme.

Here are more blush-toned wedding decorating ideas:

wedding table decor

Layer pink glass and rose gold accents with silvery green succulents to get this look. Image: Alex Gukalov/Shutterstock

summer wedding decor

Tie blush-colored fabric to your guest chairs to add a splash of color. Image: Biggunsband/Getty Images

outdoor wedding decor

Pale pink hanging fabric and flowers create a garden wedding look. Image: PH888/Shutterstock

parisian wedding decor

A dessert table in pink features a Parisian Eiffel Tower theme. Image: Dina (Food Photography)/Getty Images

3. Hanging Wedding Decor

wedding decorating themes

Baby’s breath in lightbulb-shaped glass vases is hung at different heights. Image: IVASHstudio/Shutterstock

The boho-chic home trend has people hanging things creatively and everywhere. Hanging rugs on the walls and creating a collection of hanging dreamcatchers are some popular hanging trends.

Regardless of your wedding theme, you can hang flowers, candles or other objects to get a look that’s whimsical and memorable. When hanging items, choose objects of different sizes and shapes and hang them at different heights. Add string lights or candles to create more dimension and a warm glow.

More wedding decorating ideas you can hang:

garden wedding decorating ideas

Paper chrysanthemums and crystals hung over the wedding table add a magical look to this garden wedding. Image: knape/Getty Images

wedding decorating inspiration

These glass terrariums can hold candles or flowers. Image: Olena Ilchenko/Shutterstock

wedding party decorating ideas

Hanging lights and terrariums add shine and sparkle to this wedding. Image: dfrolovXIII/Shutterstock

bohemian wedding ideas

Hanging dreamcatchers add a bohemian feel to the wedding banquet. Image: blackliz/Shutterstock

The post Steal these 3 Home Design Trends for Wedding Decorating Ideas appeared first on Freshome.com.

Should You Cut Your Grass Weekly?

Few things compare to the beauty of a well-manicured lawn. Studies show that a home’s curb appeal can increase its resale value. You’ll also have a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that your lawn care routine is responsible for the positive results. In addition, there are environmental and health benefits of turfgrass lawns.

Curb appeal can increase your home's resale value.

Curb appeal can increase your home’s resale value. Image: tab1962/Getty Images

However, the health of your lawn is dependent, in part, on proper mowing techniques. So, Freshome asked two lawn care professionals to provide best practices and tips for doing it right.

Mowing frequency

Warm season grasses grow faster in mid-summer.

Warm season grasses grow faster in mid-summer. Images: kurham/Shutterstock

How often should you mow the lawn?  “Many of us have heard the idea of mowing our lawn at least one time per week,” says Dr. Brad DeBels, Director of Operations at Weed Man Lawn Care. As a general rule, he says it’s an accurate level of frequency, but it all depends on the season and the type the grass you have.

“Warm-season grasses grow much faster in mid-summer than in the spring or fall, while cool-season grasses grow at higher rates in spring and fall than summer,” DeBels explains. “For your lawn to be the envy of the neighborhood, you should be mowing your lawn at least one time per week at the proper height.”

Are you scalping your lawn?

Scalping puts your lawn at risk.

Scalping puts your lawn at risk. Image: SL-photo/Shutterstock

And the proper height is the cause of some confusion. “Most homeowners think if they cut their grass nice and short, it buys them more time before they need to mow again,” explains Chris McGeary at Lawn Doctor. “While mowing your lawn properly is one of the easiest ways to fight off weeds and diseases, many homeowners fall victim to mowing too short, or ‘scalping,’ which does more harm than good.”

But if mowing your grass fights off weeds and diseases, wouldn’t mowing it even shorter provide a greater level of defense? Apparently not, according to McGeary. “Scalping can have some pretty serious repercussions as a result of cutting off essential energy sources for the grass blades.” So, when you’re mowing, he says it’s important to pay attention to the height of your grass to ensure you’re not hindering its growth. “You’ll notice if you are scalping your lawn when the grass turns a yellowish color or becomes frayed,” he says.

How to avoid scalping

Dull blades can also cause scalping.

Dull blades can also cause scalping. Image: PPA/Shutterstock

To avoid weakening and other lawn issues, McGeary recommends cutting most warm-season grasses down to 1 inch, and he says most cool-season grasses should be 2.5 inches high.

“Scalping can also occur as a result of keeping your mower on its lowest setting and having a dull blade, so be sure to regularly check in on your equipment.” If you’re worried about your grass being too high, McGeary says longer is always better so you shouldn’t be afraid to let your grass grow. “Pairing your mowing habits with maintained irrigation will allow you to enjoy your glorious yard in no time.”

Observe these mowing guidelines

An example of Kentucky bluegrass mowed at 3 inches.

An example of Kentucky bluegrass mowed at 3 inches. Image courtesy of Weed Man Lawn Care.

DeBels recommends that you never mow more than one-third of the leaf blade off at any one time. “For example, if your desired grass height is 3 inches, you should mow the grass before it has reached a height of 4.5 inches.” This means that you may need to mow your lawn every four to five days during peak growing seasons. “If you mow more than one-third of the leaf blade off, you initiate a growth response in the plant that causes excess shoot growth, reduced root growth and can leave many unsightly leaf clippings on the surface,” DeBels explains.

Keep your mowing height as high as possible

A higher mowing height contributes to a healthier lawn.

A higher mowing height contributes to a healthier lawn. Image: PPA/Shutterstock

If you choose a higher mowing height, DeBels says you can also prevent weed growth. “Aesthetics and utility are strong considerations when choosing a mowing height, but generally the highest setting on your mower is a safe place to be,” he says. However, you don’t want your lawn to be too high, lest it provide cover for various pests and critters.

Sharpen your blades

Sharp blades produce a more effective cut.

Sharp blades produce a more effective cut. Image courtesy of Weed Man Lawn Care.

The effectiveness of your lawn mower is dependent on the sharpness of your mower blades. “When dull mower blades are being used to cut your lawn, they cut less and tear more,” DeBels explains. And this results in frayed leaf blades, and DeBels warns that it can lead to lawn disease. “Depending on your lawn size, you should consider sharpening your mower blades two times per year.” You may want to add this item to your fall lawn maintenance list.

Leave your clippings

Clippings are your lawn’s friend.

Clippings are your lawn’s friend. Image: Nick Beer/Shutterstock

Don’t bag your clippings; leave them on the lawn. “Not only is collecting clippings labor intensive, but you are removing needed nutrients from the lawn that are contained in those leaf blades,” DeBels says. “These returned leaf blades can provide 25 percent of the yearly nitrogen the lawn needs, meaning they’re free fertilizer.”

Change up your mowing patterns

Repeatedly mowing in a circle around this well well during has caused thinning.

Repeatedly mowing in a circle around this well well caused thinning. Image courtesy of Weed Man Lawn Care.

Repetition is a bad thing as it relates to mowing. “Be sure to alternate your mowing pattern every time you cut the lawn,” DeBels says. “Be creative. Don’t simply create the same masterpiece each time.” If you continue to mow in the same direction or pattern, DeBels warns that you could create thinning and rutting, which you can see in the photo above.

Still have questions about mowing or your yard in general? Contact a lawn care professional to find out more.

The post Should You Cut Your Grass Weekly? appeared first on Freshome.com.

Exclusive! Chip Wade on Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Before Summer

 Chip Wade

Wade gave us a few tips to execute before summer. Image courtesy of Chip Wade

If you’ve ever watched Chip Wade on HGTV or the DIY Network, you know he’s pretty handy, both inside the house and outdoors. Wade, who is also the Owner and Lead Designer of Wade Works Creative and a Liberty Mutual consultant, specializes in helping homeowners create the perfect indoor and outdoor spaces.

As you can imagine, he’s busy, but Freshome asked him to stop and share a few tips on how to recover from winter and get your home and yard prepped for summer.

Service your air conditioner

You don’t want your A/C breaking down during the dog days of summer.

You don’t want your AC breaking down during the dog days of summer. Image: C5Media/Shutterstock

“I recommend checking out your air conditioning system in the spring to ensure it’s working properly before the weather really warms up,” Wade says. The first step is to change the system’s filter. “Clogged and dirty filters make air conditioning systems work harder, stay on longer and cost more to run.” Wade recommends changing heating and air filters every two to four months.

Changing filters regularly helps to keep your system running efficiently.

Changing filters regularly helps to keep your system running efficiently. Image: RF-2018/Shutterstock

After changing the filter, he recommends turning on the unit to see how it is working. “Give it a minute, but if the AC doesn’t start doing its job quickly, I’d recommend checking your fuses and circuit breakers,” Wade says. If that doesn’t make a difference, or you’re getting ghost readings, he recommends calling a professional to assess the situation.

Clean your windows and screens

Caulk and weatherstripping can keep your cool air inside.

Caulk and weatherstripping can keep your cool air inside. Image: 3DPhoto/Shutterstock.

Wade cleans his windows by filling a spray bottle with window cleaning solution and using a squeegee or some newspaper to clean the glass since this leaves it streak-free.

“It’s important to remember that everyone’s windows fare differently after the winter,” Wade says, advising homeowners to look for signs of dry rot. “If you live in a colder climate, look for any water damage caused by melting ice or snow.”

Caulk and weatherstripping keeps your cool air inside:

Caulk and weatherstripping can keep your cool air inside. Image: pics 721/Shutterstock

He also recommends checking the seals around the window. “Recaulk or replace damaged weather stripping where needed,” Wade says. “Those seals will work to keep the cool air inside and the hot air out all summer long.”

And don’t forget about your window screens. “Take time to clean them, inspect them, repair any damage and reinstall the screens in your windows.” Not sure how to repair damaged screens? Wade says you can find a repair kit at most hardware stores. “Also, the best way to wash your screens is by using a hose — not a pressure washer — and some mild detergent.”

Inspect outdoor plumbing

Check for leaks or blockages

Check for leaks or blockages. Image: VTT Studio/Shutterstock

Inspecting your outdoor plumbing is another maintenance task you should perform as the weather heats up. “Start by removing insulators from all outdoor faucets and then turn on the water,” Wade says. “If it isn’t flowing as it normally should, that likely means that there is an issue with your pipes and it’s time to call a plumber.”

If you have an in-ground irrigation system, he recommends calling a professional to tune up your system and ensure that it’s operating efficiently.

Get your yard ready

Inspect outdoor equipment for winter damage.

Inspect outdoor equipment for winter damage. Image: Mark Herried/Shutterstock

As the weather starts warming up, Wade also recommends getting your yard ready. “I like to do a full inspection of everything left outside during the winter, like playground equipment.” He says he’s looking for rust or areas that may be worn down by the weather, and starts troubleshooting from there.

 

 

Prep to enjoy the summer months.

Freshen up your outdoor furniture. Image: Zhu difeng/Shutterstock

After that, Wade says he’s onto the fun part. “I love bringing lawn and patio furniture out of storage and freshening them up.” He also sands and repaints if necessary. “Redesigning — or even redecorating — an outdoor space gets me excited because I’m thinking about all the time that will be spent there with friends and family.” Also, consider ways that you can erase the boundary between inside and outdoors.

Proactively maintain your home

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Image: kurhan/Shutterstock

If you stay on top of home upkeep, Wade says you can avoid future headaches. “In fact, a study from Liberty Mutual Insurance revealed 69 percent of consumers have procrastinated on home maintenance and repairs,” he says. And, unfortunately, many people don’t have money saved for maintenance issues or repair work.

“It’s all about routine maintenance, both inside and outside the home,” Wade explains. “This will save you time and money in the long run.”

The post Exclusive! Chip Wade on Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Before Summer appeared first on Freshome.com.

What No One Tells You About Flipping Houses

House flipping tips

Learn the secrets of house flipping. Image: Perry Mastrovito/Getty Images

We love binge-watching house flipping shows while dreaming of tackling a flip of our own. House flipping can be fun, and sometimes profitable, but your favorite shows don’t tell you everything you need to know before you jump into your first flip. Here’s the lowdown on what you should know before you take on a house flip:

1. It can take a long time to find a house

Flippers and investors are scouring many real estate markets right now, looking for a good property to flip. There are entire companies dedicated to flipping homes. These investment firms employ scouts to find homes to flip in most markets. Expect to make several offers and wait months to find the right home.

2. You don’t need a weekend seminar to learn how to flip a house

House flipping seminars can be valuable and give you lots of inspiration, but even if you can’t attend one, you can still flip houses. You’ll still need to learn everything you can before you start flipping homes, though. Watching HGTV can inspire you, but you can’t see all of the details that go into a successful flip. You’ll need to learn about financing, permitting and marketing before your first project. If you surround yourself with professionals, they can provide you with knowledge that you can use on future flips.

3. A standard mortgage isn’t used for house flipping

When you’re ready for your first flip, you’ll need “hard money.” Potential flippers often ask online if they can use a long-term mortgage for flipping a home. The answer is “no.” Standard mortgages are structured and priced for long-term financing. You’ll need a loan that is designed for a house flip. Hard money lenders and investors are often project-based, rather than credit-based, so it may be easier to qualify for hard money as long as your potential flip meets their criteria.

House Flipping Math

Math is an important part of house flipping. Image: Natee Meepian/Shutterstock

4. Flipping a home is all about math

Be prepared to explain the ARV (after repair value) when you’re applying for a loan for your project. It won’t matter how amazing your vision is for the finished project; investors are strict about the bottom line. Your flip project must come in within that investor’s numbers or you won’t have a deal.

5. Timing is everything when you’re flipping a house

Your hard money loan can have a 6-month to 1-year end-date, after which you may incur penalty interest. Having an attorney review your contract can prevent expensive surprises later on. Unexpected construction hiccups are commonplace and permits can take a long time. Before you sign a mortgage with a short maturity, check with the local building authority to see how long the wait will be for permits. It’s not unheard of to experience a 6-month wait for permits in some areas.

6. Be prepared to account for every cent you spend on your flip

It’s crucial to keep your receipts, use a project tracking app and stay current on your budget. Your lender will ask for this information several times during your project as they release more funds to you. Spreadsheet skills are especially valuable for home flippers. Having detailed information on expenses and loan balance can help keep your funding flowing through each phase of the project.

Contemporary Kitchen Flip

Learn what buyers want before you plan your house flip design. Image: Artazum/Shutterstock

7. Step into the home buyer’s shoes

Buyers love neutral palettes and homes they can move right into, but don’t be a carbon copy of every flipped house in your market. For a few years, every flipped home seemed to have an aqua front door — now yellow is the most common color. Your goal as a house flipper is to create a home that doesn’t feel like a flipped home. If you have to make choices when you’re creating your budget, bath and kitchen remodels are buyer favorites.

8. There will be surprises

You won’t know everything about your home until you open a wall or remove flooring, but don’t let surprises derail your flip. Even in the most simple cosmetic flip, you will encounter complications. Make sure your budget has a contingency for surprises. Work to run your project efficiently so that you can handle whatever comes your way. You can weather any complication with a positive attitude and laser-focus on your long-term goal.

House Flipping Tiles

Choosing the right materials is crucial to a successful house flip project. Image: Severija/Getty Images

9. Your home’s tile work is more important than you think

Many beginning flippers miss the mark with their tile choices and installation. Choosing attractive tile for the kitchen and bathrooms can contribute to your flip’s buyer appeal. This is not the time for elaborate tile designs, crazy colors or to express your artistic vision. If you’re not experienced setting tile precisely, hire a pro to help. Buyers want a home that is move-in ready and don’t want to be faced with the expense and mess of redoing the tile.

10. Set a realistic budget

Make room in your budget to include specialty contractors if needed. (They’re usually needed on most projects.) Make sure you understand the laws in your area for permitting and using licensed contractors for some tasks, as it can cost you money and time. Hard money lenders will require you to submit a detailed budget and estimate of the work you’ll be doing, so be ready to pay a contractor to write this up. Their experienced eye can help you see exactly what needs to be done.

11. Flipping houses isn’t for everyone

If you’re not ready to take on a house flip, you can still use the same ideas and strategies to sell your own home. Approaching your home as a house-flipper would, you can create a fresh look that buyers will notice. Visiting open houses and model homes can give you inspiration for changes you can make in your own home. 

The post What No One Tells You About Flipping Houses appeared first on Freshome.com.