Category Archives: Quick Home Improvements Guidelines

Ditch the Sprinkler with These Water-Efficient Landscaping Ideas

From efficient plants to water-smart landscaping, your lawn can certainly do its part to improve water efficiency.

Ready for a shock? The average household guzzles down 320 gallons of water a day—that’s about nine full bath tubs’ worth of liquid! And about 30 percent of that gets dumped out straight on the lawn. Conventional water sprinklers are so inefficient that about half of all the water they use is totally wasted.

Mulch the Eco-friendly Way

Mulching bed around the house and bushes, wheelbarrel along with a showel.

Many new gardeners assume that mulching is just for appearances—but did you know it does a lot more for your beds than covering up the dirt? Mulch not only roots out troublesome weeds, it conserves moisture in the soil. A layer of it around plants more closely mirrors natural conditions, since forested areas are typically topped with nutrient-rich plant debris. Inside this mixture of twigs, bark, and leaves are beneficial microbes that subsist off the decaying matter. As these organisms break down organic material, transforming it into soil, they give off a sticky, almost glue-like substance that holds the topsoil together so that it has a crumbly texture. Soil with this texture holds in water much more effectively than other consistencies. Mulching with organic materials like leaves or pine needles kicks off this natural process, so that the soil is less likely to dry out—and it also forms a protective layer that keeps water from evaporating as fast.

Forget the Landscaping—Go for Hardscaping

A professional landscaping job with stone path and stone steps.

Turf is overrated, at least where water conservation is concerned. Hardscaping, the collective name for stone features used to landscape a garden or exterior area, gets points for being drought-tolerant—and when used properly, can really add some modern verve to your lawn. A terraced backyard, for instance, uses stone boundary walls to create multiple tiers—which can then be topped by native plants or beds of pebbles.

Other options? If you have a smaller lawn, try extending your paved patio out further from the back door. Leave openings for attractive beds that provide a peak of color, without being too hard on your water profile. Or add a “dry creek bed” finished with appealing native stones and pebbles—as a bonus, permeable paving like this helps collect rainfall and return it to the soil. Curved paths, steps, and stacked retaining walls all offer notes of interest in the hardscaped yard. And the best part? You’ll never forget to water them!

Spruce Up Your Beds with Ornamental Grasses and Succulents

Cortaderia selloana Grass in the Park Citadel in Barcelona, Spain. The Park is also called Ciutadella Park. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia

Most lawns are pretty thirsty—experts recommend giving your grass about one to two inches of water a week, which is about two-thirds of a gallon for every square foot. That means that if you’ve got quite a bit of turf on your hands, your lawn could be practically guzzling water!

The alternatives take a little more planning—and a designer’s eye—but they’re definitely worth it when you weigh your water footprint. In particular, native ornamental grasses make for a pretty stunning display. Try pairing two species at varying heights for a more polished look. These work well along a fence or border wall, or in place of less drought-tolerant shrubs against your house or beside an entryway. You should try to pick varieties that are native to your area.

When You Do Water, Do It Wisely

Detail of a working lawn sprinkler head watering colorful flower in the garden.

No matter how hardy the plant, most species need a little supplemental watering every once and awhile, especially during the driest parts of the year. Certain techniques definitely are more water-efficient than others, however. For instance, never water your garden during the hottest part of the day. Not only will the water evaporate more quickly, meaning your plants don’t get the good soak they deserve, if the sunlight is very intense, the reflection from the water droplets could damage the leaves.

Likewise, you can adopt practices that will minimize runoff as well. For instance, a short watering—say one to four minutes—three to four times in a day is much more efficient than a long soak. If you must have the sprinkler, turn it off after a rain or in the winter, when most plants are dormant.  Investigate a water-saving smart irrigation system. Using your input, such as your soil type, area, and sun exposure, these WiFi-connected sprinkler controllers are able to create a customized watering schedule that delivers just the right amount of irrigation— no more, no less. Many can even access weather reports to automatically cancel watering if it’s just rained. And the EPA estimates that products labeled with its WaterSense efficiency rating save an average 9,000 gallons of water per household annually. That’s a lot of water for one little change! With updates like these, the future of our water table is right in your hands.

Good Job!

When your home is in need of repair or improvements, you want to be sure you’re trusting it to the right hands; a quality contractor can make or break your renovation experience. When on the hunt for just the right person, keep the following advice in mind: #cbrmr

  • Ask for referrals. Check with friends, relatives, neighbours, co-workers, even your realtor and local home improvement store or lumberyard. Make sure the recommended contractor is licensed to work in your area, and is bonded and insured.
  • Give them a call. Ask the contractors if they take on projects of your size, and how available they are.
  • Meet them in person. Once they pass the phone test, set up an appointment to meet them in person. Are they late for the appointment, or worse, do they not show up at all? Do the contractors wipe their feet or take off their shoes when entering your home? If not, that could be a clue they’ll track dirt and mud throughout your home while the project is being completed.
  • Take your time. Interview at least three candidates, ask for references and contact their previous clients to ask if they’re happy with the work the contractor did for them. Check licenses, complaints and litigation history; you want to be sure the contractor is properly qualified and doesn’t have a history of disputes. Also check insurance coverage to find out what is covered by the contractor’s business versus your own home insurance.
  • Get everything in writing. Ask the contractor to break down all costs in the contract, including the cost of any permits they will be securing for you, in addition to materials and labour. Get the approximate start date and projected completion date in writing, and detail the payment schedule too.

Now That’s Smart!

More and more homeowners are incorporating into their homes a wealth of new technology offered by smart home systems that take care of everyday tasks from answering homeowner’s questions, to controlling music and TVs, to adjusting the temperature of the home. And that’s just the beginning.

A “smart home” includes technology that can automatically have your coffee ready for you before you rush out the door in the morning, and then allow you to check that the coffee maker is turned off after you’ve left the house. Smartphone integration can allow you to control lights, appliances, alarm systems, heating and air conditioning, and more from your mobile device, no matter where you are.

Smart home technology scores high in the safety and security category too. Programs can keep you aware of what’s going on both in and around your home, from motion sensors that send an alert when there’s someone lurking outside your house, to notifying you when your kids get home from school, and then letting you know if they are watching TV instead of getting their homework done!

There are smart security systems that can literally save lives, with an ability to not only wake up residents with fire alarm notifications, but then also call the fire department, unlock doors, and light the way to safety! Other technology has similar sensors that detect gas and water leaks.

Smart home technology offers convenience, safety, and economic benefits too, as homes are lit up, dialed down, heated and cooled in the most energy-efficient manner. And when it comes time to put a home with automated systems on the market, sellers have the advantage of being able to feature next-level selling points over any similar properties. #cbrmr

3 Tech Questions to Ask Before Buying a Smart Home

When you find the perfect smart home for you, consider these important questions. Remember, The Mash Team is SMART HOME certified. #cbrmr

 

Smart homes are all the rage these days and are quickly becoming a hot commodity. A recent survey found that 65 percent of buyers would pay extra for houses with smart features – that is, anything in the home that connects to the internet. Smart features include connected security systems, HVAC systems, lighting, thermostats, door locks and eco-friendly appliances—all of which can be controlled remotely from your smartphone or tablet.

While smart homes offer convenience and energy savings, they do come with unique challenges—especially when transferring the home from one family to the next. If you think you’ve found the perfect smart home for you, consider these important questions.

1. What Devices are Actually in the Home?

Talk with the realtor or current homeowners to get a list of devices installed in the home. Don’t rely on a quick walkthrough tour alone, as some IoT-enabled devices are more obvious than others. For example, you’ll be able to spot a smart refrigerator’s touchscreen, but you may not notice the smart lighting solutions. These could encompass not only light bulbs but also adjustable window shades and natural-light detection that dims bulbs as natural light floods the room.

It’s also a good idea to pinpoint what you want out of a smart home, so you can find the one that meets all (or at least most) of your criteria. Additionally, check with the sellers to make sure the manuals for each device are available. They’ll highlight the various features and can quickly clue you in on where each device is and what it has to offer.

2. Are There Warranties for the Connected Devices?

Review the warranties and policies of the home’s IoT gadgets just like you would for any other appliance in the home. You can do this online if you have the serial numbers. (Ask the seller for a list of serial numbers for each device.) That way, you can make sure the devices are actually transferable to new owners so you don’t miss out on important features or security updates.

If everything checks out, remember to update the manufacturer’s pre-set passwords and see if there are any new versions of the device software once you’re all moved in. You can do this on the manufacturer’s website or by accessing the settings menu in the gadget itself.

3. Have the Devices Been Reset to Factory Settings?

Ask if the owner will (or already has) reset the devices back to their default factory settings. Doing so will make it easier for you to create your own account, set up new access protocols and adjust the settings to your liking.

It’s also wise to review the privacy settings for each device, as well as the settings for your own smartphone or tablet, which is what you’ll use to “talk” to your smart home. Keep in mind that all connected devices store and communicate data, so educate yourself as much as possible on how your smart hub works.

It’s up to you to beef up security and limit personal information stored in IoT devices as much as possible. By knowing what you want and asking questions (as many questions as you need to!), you’ll be able to smoothly transition into your new smart home.

Top 10 Damaged Items When Moving & How to Protect Them

Protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!

 

If you are moving this season, we want to help you protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!

Before you start to pack, make a game plan. Which of your items are fragile? What will you need to pack them? We’ve seen some folks pack themselves so, unfortunately, we know which household items are most likely to break and typically aren’t packed properly. We have compiled a list of the top 10 items damaged when moving. It’s surprising what items make the list. Not only have we complied the most breakable list, we’ve included tips on how to protect them properly so you can “break” this pattern.

1. Drinking Glasses

It is no surprise glasses are the #1 breakable. But, with simple steps you can ensure they arrive in one piece.

Protect: One of the key factors to keeping your glasses and wine glasses from breaking or getting crushed is using the proper box. Use a “dishpack” box that  has double thick walls for extra protection. Place a glass on packing paper horizontally. Grab a corner of the packing paper and roll the glass into the paper. Make sure to tuck the sides of the paper in, like you would do wrapping a burrito. Repeat 3-5 times (depending on thickness of glass) with more sheets of packing paper. Make sure to label your glass burrito: “Wine Glass” so it won’t get tossed aside with the packing paper during the unpacking process. Cushion the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Place the wrapped glasses vertically (yes, you read that correctly: VERTICALLY) in one layer in the box. They are much more secure vertically. After completing the first layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Fill all remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

2. Plates

The biggest moving crime — plates are often placed in boxes without enough packing paper. You don’t want to hear the dishes rattle in the box!

Protect: To keep plates from breaking, first wrap each plate in packing paper. Repeat 3-5 times with more sheets of packing paper until the plate is properly secured & cushioned. Label your little plate package: “Plate.” Again, use a secure dishpack box. Always, use plenty of tape on the bottom and tops of every moving box, just don’t use one strip of tape, use multiple strips and run the tape both directions to make sure that box is secure. Before placing any of the wrapped plates in the box, cushion the bottom of box with crippled packing paper. Then place the wrapped plates VERTICALLY in one layer in the box. After completing one layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Once the box is full, fill any remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

3. Artwork

Glass artwork often breaks because there is not enough cushioning in the moving box and the top of the box is left with a gap. The top of the box then collapses and the piece of art breaks.

Protect: To protect artwork from breaking use a picture box. Line the bottom of  the box with crumpled paper. Place the glass art in the box, then stuff front, back and along the top with paper and or eco-bubble wrap. You want to be sure the box is completed packed with paper (top, bottom and sides) with no air gaps.

4. Lamp Shades

Lamp shades are an awkward shape and large, making it difficult to pack. If not packed properly, they can easily be dented or torn.

Protect: Wrap the lamp shade in eco-bubble wrap, covering every inch. Then fill the interior cavity of the lamp shade with packing paper (do not use newspaper as the print may rub off onto your lamp shade). Fill the box with enough packing paper to keep the shade from shifting around inside. Do not place anything on top of the shade, not even soft items such as linens. Use only packing paper to secure the lamp shade from shifting.

5. Liquid Cleaning Supplies

Many times homeowners pack bottles of liquid cleaning supplies without sealing them properly. This causes leaks and damages things inside and outside of the box. Do not pack or move flammable supplies!

Protect: First, remove the cap from each bottle and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening. Then tightly screw the cap back on. Use tape again to secure the cap to the bottle. Begin placing the cleaning products in a small book size box and check the weight as you go. You don’t want to pack the box too heavy. When the box is full and not too heavy, place packing paper all around the bottles to keep them from shifting. And, this is important, remember on every box be sure to use more than one strip of tape on the bottom and top of the box and run the tape in multiple directions. When a box is not taped properly, boxes can open at the bottom and spill on the floor. Always, label every box with its contents, room in the new home where the box should go and directional arrows pointing up. Repeat the label on each and every side of the box. You will hate us for this tip while you’re writing and rewriting the same thing over and over again and love us later when you have stacks of boxes and don’t have to turn boxes around to find out what’s what.

 6. Wine & Liquor Bottles:

Again these bottles can easily leak or break, and damage items in and outside of the box.

Protect: Use a divided/cell box you can get free from a specialty wine shop or liquor store, or purchase a cell kit from a moving store. Use smaller boxes so they are easy to lift and carry. Again, be sure you double and even triple tape the bottom of the box. If you’re packing opened bottles, ensure they are properly sealed by tightening the caps. Tape the caps on to the bottles. Roll each bottle in packing paper with 3-4 layers of paper. Secure the wrapping with tape and make sure there are no loose ends. Label the bottle: “Bordeaux.” Finally, place the bottle into the box. If there’s any space or gaps between the bottle and the divider, fill it with paper. Make sure the box is not too heavy.

7. Mirrors

The big mistake with mirrors is that people pack them in picture boxes without any eco-bubble around the mirror. If the front of the mirror faces the wall of the box without protection, it will break.

Protect: Use a flat box or have your movers pack the mirrors in a custom wood crate to provide extra protection. If you’re doing the packing, line the flat box with crushed packing paper to create a padded bed for the mirror. Wrap the mirror completely in multiple sheets of paper or eco-bubble. Tape the wrapping tightly around the mirror and place the mirror in the box. Fill any gaps with more crumpled paper. Only pack one mirror to a box.

8. Glass Pictures

Glass picture frames are easily broken if not packed in the right box. We want to keep those precious memories in one piece!

Protect: Use a picture box. Line the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Wrap each picture frame in packing paper or eco-bubble and pack each frame in the box vertically. Stuff packing paper in between each picture and on top, making sure nothing will shift.

9. Stereo & Audio Equipment:

The reason stereo and audio equipment gets damaged is folks stack a few components in the same box and they do not put any layers of padding in-between the pieces of equipment.

Protect: If possible, pack your stereo equipment in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Remember, dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. After double taping the bottom of the box in the both directions, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding. Wrap each electronic component separately in eco-bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. Do not stack! Stuff packing paper in open spaces and on top for extra cushion.

10. Books:

This one is a surprising one, but if books are packed improperly they can actually get damaged. When books are placed too tight together the edges get folded and covers get damaged. Also, if books are packed with too many air pockets/gaps inside the box they can shift during transportation and get damaged (smashed corners, wrinkled covers, etc).

Protect: Use a book box. Place books flat, horizontally and stack them with the heaviest books on the bottom and the paperback books on top. Be sure not to make the box too heavy. Pack paper on top and sides if there are any air gaps.

With these steps your move will be unbreakable! Remember, you can always do some of the packing yourself and leave the rest to the professionals. #cbrmr

Painting Perfection, For Less!

There’s nothing that can change and refresh the look of a room faster and as cost-effectively as a fresh coat of paint. While big jobs, high ceilings and tight deadlines may necessitate the services of a professional painter, there are many other instances that are conducive to a successful DIY experience.

Here are some tips to save the do-it-yourself painter both time and money!

  • Use flannel-backed vinyl tablecloths from the dollar store as drop sheets — they’re fairly durable, so they can typically be used multiple times. Place the tablecloths flannel-side up so that any paint drops landing on the tablecloth get absorbed cleanly.
  • Save time on messy roller pan cleanups by lining it with a plastic grocery bag (turn it inside out if there’s any paint drops on the bag). When you’re done painting, simply remove the bag by turning it inside out, and discard it cleanly.
  • Invest in high quality paintbrushes. Buy good brushes now, clean them properly and they will pay for themselves not only in the quality finish they’ll create, but in the number of times you’ll be able to re-use them.
  • Using the same brushes and rollers again the next day? In-between coats, simply wrap them in foil, then store in plastic bags overnight.
  • “Expensive” paint doesn’t necessarily mean “better” paint. Store brands can provide the same great quality as designer brands, without the steep price tag. Be sure to check out the “mis-tint” shelf at paint stores too. They often sell paint that was tinted to a shade not acceptable to a customer, so these otherwise perfect cans of paint are offered to the public for a fraction of the original retail price. #cbrmr

8 Clever Ways to Store Books Around the House

Although reading books can seem like a long lost art in the days of digital devices, there still remains something special about the smell of a brand new novel and being able to flip through physical pages. For dedicated bookworms with cherished collections, it can be a struggle to store and display your favorites without a dedicated home library. Follow along for eight ways to stylishly integrate books into any room in the house.

In the Kitchen

This is not just limited to cookbooks. Any books you’ll want to read over a good meal or while waiting for the oven to preheat are just as applicable. There are many ways to add a homey vibe to your space by installing open shelves beneath a kitchen island or along a blank unused wall. Just make sure to keep the books away from appliances so the pages and binding don’t get damaged by heat.

 

In the Bedroom

As we venture further into fall and winter, many bookworms will want to curl up under the covers with a hot cup of cocoa and a new novel. Keep your reading list at arm’s reach by storing books along a windowsill or stack them up in a corner of the room. For a more permanent solution, buy a new headboard or nightstand with built-in storage.

 

In an Unused Fireplace

Fireplaces make a lovely focal point in many living rooms, but can be a hassle to maintain and use. You can breathe new life into this space by cleaning it thoroughly and stacking books in the empty space. The different bindings will create visual interest and bring color to the previously black abyss.

 

In the Bathroom

One of life’s luxuries is being able to read a good book in a relaxing bubble bath at the end of a long day. This can be done by building recessed shelves above a freestanding tub. For renters, there are plenty of budget-friendly over-the-toilet storage cabinets that accomplish the same purpose. Be sure to take proper precautions against warped pages caused by moisture with an exhaust fan.

 

Above a Desk

In many home offices, the space above the desk goes largely unused. Simply look up for more space. You can create a home for a decently sized collection of books by installing open shelves above your computer all the way up to the ceiling. The transitional Philadelphia space shown here illustrates the idea nicely.

 

Under the Stairs

If you still haven’t found the right fit for what to put in that little nook under the stairs, look no further. Bring in an asymmetrical or diagonal bookcase to house your collection or carve out an alcove to recreate a Harry Potter vibe. Bring in a comfy chair or cushions and you’ve got the perfect personal hideout space for the season.

 

Around an Entryway

This one requires the expertise of a skilled woodworker or architect. Frame any doorway in your home with a gorgeous collection of novels that surround it left, right and above. Add a rolling library ladder to reach the highest shelves and bring rustic charm and character to any space, as seen here.

 

In Your Front Yard

If you’re really unable to squeeze any more space out of your home to store books inside, consider moving outdoors for a unique solution. The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring communities together and share books with one another through a house-shaped box in their front yard. Fill it with a few of your favorites that you’re willing to share and encourage your neighbors to take one, leave one of their own or both. Although this is not quite a storage solution, it’s a great way to connect with your community and discover new reading material.

Household Tip: The Power of Three

There’s a decorating guideline that dictates that things displayed in odd numbers, with “3” often being the go-to number, adds depth, looks more natural, and makes arrangements more visually appealing than even-numbered groupings.

Three isn’t considered a crowd when it comes to arranging furniture, displaying artwork on walls or positioning contents on a tabletop. In fact, even adding a third colour to a room can change a flat design into something that feels more welcoming. For example, you may follow the 60/30/10 equation when choosing room colours, where 60% is the main room colour, 30% is the secondary colour and 10% is the accent colour.

Lighting arrangements also benefit from the power of three. Most rooms need to be lit by one ambient light, along with task lighting and then accent lights, all of which work together to result in a balanced and practical combination.

 

Aging in (Your) Place

With an estimated 11,000 North Americans turning 65 every day, it’s safe to assume that more and more conversations are turning to housing considerations that will accommodate the aging population.

As baby boomers approach and then reach their magical retirement age, a number that fluctuates dramatically depending on individual health and financial status, they’re starting to view their living arrangements through a different lense.

Is it time to downsize from a bigger house to one with fewer stairs, or perhaps into a condo? Or from a condo in a family building to another condo in a different area, with amenities more suited to your changing needs and interests? Should you sell your existing home and move into a retirement home? Or should you stay in your existing home and renovate it to allow you to age in place?

Aging in place refers to staying in the home of your choice, for as long as you are able to. This involves looking at your home with a critical eye, starting with the practicality of simply getting in and out of your front door easily and safely. Consider if the existing structure can be modified, and if so, if the cost and upheaval resulting from the renovations would even be worthwhile.

Here are some projects to consider, whether it makes sense to implement them in your existing home, look for them in a new home, or apply them in a new, downsized property:

  • Move the master bedroom to the first floor.
  • Add a bathroom to the first floor.
  • Add grab bars in the bathroom, along with a bench in the shower, and a higher toilet or an elevated toilet seat. A walk-in tub may also be an option.
  • Widen doors to allow for walkers and wheelchairs. Also consider width of hallways.
  • Replace stone/tile with carpet/wood.
  • For properties with stairs, install a lift chair/ stair glide system.
  • Add lever-style doorknobs.
  • Include more automation in the home, from a programmable or voice-activated lighting system and thermostat to smart fire detection and security systems. Install doorbells, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms that turn on lights when they’re activated, in case you don’t hear the alarms go off.
  • Modify storage with pull-out shelves, also referred to as roll-out, glide-out or slide-out shelves, that allow easier access to deeper spaces for clothing, food and other belongings.
  • Add extra lighting for increased visibility and security.

Of course, the outside of your home should take into account any current or possible future mobility issues, from the width of the front door, to the stairs going from the entrance to the street, to the need for railings and ramps, to the condition of the concrete or ground surface and accessibility to transportation from there.

If you can’t remodel your current home to allow you to age in place safely and comfortably, or if the cost and process of renovating to get to that point is prohibitive, it may be time to move. When discussing your decision with your real estate sales representative, be sure to be clear about your wants and needs for your next home.

Remember, for every homeowner needing to downsize, there’s a new family anxious to fill those rooms with another generation’s worth of adventures and memories. #cbrmr

Selling? Low-Cost Home Improvement Fixes that Make Your Home Shine

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Fortunately many fixes can be done quickly and with a small budget.

Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:

1. Address the Heart of the Home
In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:

New cabinet hardware
New faucets
Installing a new backsplash
Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether

2. Update Switch Plate Covers
Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.

3. Beautify the Bathroom
An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.

New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.

4. Address Storage
Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.

5. Deep Clean for a Good Return
If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.

6. Boost Curb Appeal
Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.

7. Improve the First Impression
As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.

8. Add a Coat of Paint
Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.

9. Update Lighting
While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.

10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz
Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked. #cbrmr