7 Creative and Quick Dining Room Updates

With so many dining rooms being converted into part of the living room or kitchen these days, dining room design has kind of fallen by the wayside. But if you’re one of the lucky homeowners to have hung on to a formal dining space, you’ve got an opportunity to make some amazing modern updates. Here are 7 affordable ways to breathe new life into an old dining room:

#1 Perk things up with paint.
Are your dining room walls still the same color they were when you moved into your house 10 years ago? If so, there’s a good chance the color’s a little past its prime. In fact, it may also be doing an injustice to your furniture and the updates you’ve made in adjoining rooms as well. Refresh the walls with a paint shade that makes you feel comfortable and cozy. The room will reflect that feeling.

#2 Modernize the lighting.
Are outdated chandeliers and lamps gathering dust in your dining room? Consider sending them packing and installing some recessed lighting and pendants in their place. Pendant lights, in particular, come in a wide variety of styles and colors sure to add some new pizzazz to your space.

#3 Repurpose another room.
If your dining room is located in an undesirable space — a cramped corner of the house away from the kitchen, for example — pick a new place for your table and chairs. Put them in the kitchen, if you have the the space. Or, place the dining table somewhere right in your living room, where there’s easy access to the TV and stereo. You should always feel comfortable during a meal, and being confined to an area you don’t enjoy doesn’t contribute to that feeling.

#4 Add some visual appeal.
Visual appeal doesn’t stop at paint and lighting. It’s also important to consider how wall decor may increase the interest and comfort of the room. Blank walls may make it easy to zone out and focus on your meals, but your guests will surely enjoy looking at something a little more interesting. Depending on your budget and the size of your dining room, consider hanging potted plants and colorful pieces of art. Just be sure to balance wall decor with other elements in the room so your space doesn’t feel like it’s cluttered with stuff.

#5 Throw in a rug.
One of the worst sounds to hear is a chair scratching against the floor as you go to get up from the dining table. So fix the issue. Add a rug underneath the table and chairs to make things soft and cozy. Choose a rug that isn’t too thick with fibers. Otherwise, your chairs can get stuck and twisted. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that the style and color of your rug complement the rest of the room.

#6 Use dividers.
Many newer homes combine kitchen and dining spaces. If you want to create a dedicated dining space, think about incorporating a room divider. It’s much cheaper than installing a wall — and you can add shelves, plants or a sliding door to further divide the two spaces. Plus, the flexibility of the divider allows to revert back to the bigger space any time you like.

#7 Build in.
How’s your dining room designed? Do you have a table that sits in the middle with four chairs around it? If you want to make the room more functional — and create more storage in the process — think about ditching the clunky furniture and opting instead for built-ins like bench seating, china cabinets and buffets. A professional can create custom built-ins to suit any style.


How to Choose Roofing – 6 Types to Consider

Whether you’re replacing an existing roof or researching options for a new home, deciding between roofing styles, materials and costs can be complicated. To help you determine the correct roofing materials for your home, here are the pros and cons of the six most popular roofing types.

#1 Asphalt Shingle
The most common roofing material, asphalt shingles, are affordable and simple to install. Asphalt shingles are produced when a fiberglass shingle is mixed with asphalt and finished with a textured surface. Asphalt shingles come in two basic configurations: single-thickness and laminate.
Pros: Asphalt shingles are available in an assortment of colors and are the most economical material available.
Cons: Asphalt shingles have a shorter life span and don’t offer the same level of insulation as other roofing alternatives.

#2 Wood Shake
For centuries wood was a common material used in residential roofing. But, due to its flammability, modern day use is less common.
Pros: Wood offers a natural, rustic look.
Cons: Wood shingles are flammable and can potentially suffer from mold or rot. The life span of wood roofing is also limited (similar to asphalt shingles).

#3 Metal (various types)
Aluminum, steel, copper, copper-asphalt and lead are the most popular metal roofing alternatives. Metal roofs are extremely durable but costly to install in both material and installation time.
Pros: Metal is strong and offers high solar reflectance, allowing for efficient cooling and heating of homes.
Cons: Metal is typically the most expensive roofing alternative.

#4 Ceramic and Cement Tile
Rounded tile roofing products are common with Spanish Colonial and Mission-style homes. Homeowners considering tile for their roof should be aware of the cost — anywhere between $400 and $800 on average per tile.
Pros: Tiles are durable and energy efficient.
Cons: The weight of tile roofing is heavy and may require additional framing for support.

#5 Slate Roofing
Slate is extremely durable and known for its many variations in origin, thickness and color.
Pros: Slate is dependable and considered to be a sustainable, recyclable roofing material.
Cons: Slate is expensive and requires additional roofing support to supplement its weight.

#6 Synthetic Roofing
Synthetic roofing products (rubber, plastic and polymer roofing) have been developed to provide the color, look and texture of other roofing materials (without the high cost).
Pros: Synthetic roofing is durable and affordable.
Cons: Due to their recent development, some synthetic materials have been known to absorb moisture.

When considering a roofing material for your home, consult with a local roofing specialist to ensure that you choose the appropriate material for your home’s aesthetic (and budget).

Home Buyer Checklist: What to Look for in an Open House

Open houses may be staged to look like a home decor dream, but don’t let that distract you from the real reason you’re there: to potentially buy a home. Make sure you can look past the neatly arranged furniture and focus solely on whether the house would be a good fit for you and your family. To help, here’s a home buyer’s checklist of things you might have missed at first glance.

Windows – Look specifically if they are facing the right direction to let sunlight in, and whether they open to a nice view (versus directly toward another neighbor’s window).

Under the Sink Cabinets – Check for possible signs of water damage due to leaky plumbing.

Electrical Outlets – Make sure there are enough outlets for the appliances and other electronics you’ll be using. If not, you can decide if that’s a renovation you’d like to make.

Storage Space – Don’t just look to see if there’s enough closet space, but look for closet placement. Also check that the storage is in a convenient location.

Appliances – If they’re included in the house, make sure they’re in good condition. They should be on and working while you’re there.

Under the Rugs – Lift up any rugs to check the condition of the floor underneath.

Floor Level – Check to see if the floors are level. Place a marble or another small, round object on the floor and see if it rolls consistently in one direction.

Attic – If the house has one, make sure it’s well insulated.

Water Spouts – Runoff from the gutters should be pointed away from the house, so take a step outside to see if this is the case.

What Singles Look For in a Home

Single and ready to…own a home? Today, more and more people are looking to buy a home before they enter into relationships. In 2015, singles made up over 20% of the home buying market, and that number may grow this year. As a real estate agent, are you ready to cater to this growing demographic? Here are some things to remember that may help you navigate this type of home buyer.

Their Safety is Top Priority
While most people generally value their safety, singles may make it a higher priority since they will more likely be leaving and returning home on their own. When showing a home to potential home buyers, make sure to highlight aspects that may make them feel more secure. These can include structural features such as an attached garage and window locks, as well as neighborhood qualities like well-lit streets and bustling businesses nearby. Guide them towards properties in close-knit communities, since neighbors there may be more on the lookout for each other’s well-being.

They’re Not High Maintenance
With only one source of income, potential home buyers may not want to spend the money on home maintenance tasks. While this may differ from client to client, start with listings that won’t require too much upkeep. For example, show houses with no paint siding, which cuts down on the need for additional coats. Also consider simple landscaping, so a homeowner won’t have to do much more than mow the lawn and water a small garden occasionally. Something more intricate outside of the house may look nice, but can involve more gardening than one’s willing to commit to financially.

They Like to Have Fun 
Unlike their coupled counterparts, single homeowners may not be ready to settle down and stay in at night. After all, with no tykes to tuck in early, they can stay out late. Show them properties in areas that have a nightlife or cultural scene, such as one with bars, restaurants, museums, or recreation centers. To narrow down on their interests, ask single clients about their hobbies and how they like to meet new people. Their answers may help you gauge which businesses they would like to have nearby.

An Agent Relationship is Key
Couples who buy a home together can turn to each other to bounce ideas and seek advice. However, a single home buyer who doesn’t have the same access to a sound second opinion must rely on you for advice. Most experienced single homeowners have stated that they left agents because they didn’t listen to what he or she was saying, ranging from home preferences to safety concerns. Combat this stereotype by hearing out your clients and restating their messages back to them so nothing gets lost. If you focus more on the nature of your relationship with a specific client, he or she may feel more comfortable when it comes time to make a decision.

These considerations should serve as a guide, but they are not all inclusive. All clients are different, so remember to talk to yours and listen to their needs in order to figure out what is best for them.