Blog :: 02-2017

It's Snow Time!

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We're smack dab in the middle of ski season and there are so many fun races, parties, and events at all the local mountains. Check out everything from a Retro 80's weekend in Stowe to an Island Weekend bash at Sugarbush Resort. Whether you ski, board, or fat bike, there is a race here for you. Check out the links below for detailed information on these events and registration for races. These are only a few of the many events in the area so make sure you check out each resort's calendar of events.

February 26th: Stowe Derby at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 4th: Castlerock Extreme at Sugarbush Resort

March 5th: High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon at Sugarbush

March 8th: Bolton Valley Rail Jam

March 10th - 12th: Retro 80's Weekend at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 18th: Ski and Ride New England Party at Bolton Valley

March 19th: Sugarbush Mountaineering Race

March 25th: Island Weekend at Sugarbush 

Home Renovations on a Budget

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It seems like every time you look around your house there's something else that could be improved. The windows might be drafty in the winter, your bathroom hasn't been remodeled since the 70's, and the rug in your living room is not the same color it used to be. These can seem like huge problems if taken on all at once but just making a few adjustments around the house can wildly improve its atmosphere. The staff at Realty Times points out some important places, in your house, you might want to consider looking at and how to fix them without draining your bank account.

If you’re looking to get the best return on your investment or just improve your property to attract high-quality tenants, a kitchen remodel is one of the highest value projects. The most recent cost vs. value report, released in January 2014, shows that property owners will recoup 82.7 percent of the cost on a minor kitchen remodel, an increase of more than five percent over 2013.

The good news is that high-value renovations like these don’t have to break the bank. There are a number of options for making improvements to your property that can significantly better its appearance without spending an arm and a leg.

Kitchen

The first thing people look at when buying a house is the kitchen and bathrooms, according to the director of the remodeling futures program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. It’s no different for potential renters, and Rental.Us.com reports these two rooms are considered the best investments for property owners.

Minor improvements such as replacing the kitchen faucet and adding new cabinet door handles can make a big difference in the look of your kitchen. Consider switching out old fluorescent lights for new track lighting or adding a new countertop; laminate isn’t too expensive and can really help update the room. If the appliances don’t match and you can’t afford to replace them with new ones, a less pricey option is to replace their doors or face panels with matching colors which can generally be ordered direct from the manufacturer.

Bathrooms

As bathrooms are also a high priority for home buyers and renters, don’t leave them out when sprucing up your property. Consider changing out old towel bars, toilet seats and sink faucets. If your tiling is old and outdated, it should also be replaced. Re-grouting the tile around the shower and bath is also an easy and inexpensive update.

Flooring

Floors are another important factor that can make or break a home’s appearance. If you can afford it, consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting with wood laminate flooring. It is cheaper than other hardwoods but can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the years in maintenance costs. For landlords, this makes a lot of sense as it’s much easier to clean between tenants. At a minimum, you should have the carpets professionally cleaned.

The Front Door

Entry door replacement was on the top of the list when it comes to high-value renovations, according to the 2014 cost vs. value report. This is one of the first things potential renters and buyers will notice. If replacing the door is not in your budget, consider repainting it to add curb appeal and changing out the handle-and-lock to help suggest that it’s a solid, sturdy home.

The Exterior

Of course, an attractive home exterior is a must, enticing prospective buyers or renters to want to take a closer look. If the outside looks shabby there is a good chance that it will be passed by.

General cleaning and maintenance of the exterior can greatly improve curb appeal. Remove any items that are left sitting unused, including old, rusty patio furniture or broken garden tools and equipment. These things generally can’t be picked up by your local garbage company and you may need to find a rental dumpster service so that you can tidy up your yard and easily dispose of those unwanted items. Additionally, make sure that walkways are swept and the lawn is well-manicured.

To read the original article click here.

Reclaim Wasted Space

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Connie Adair, of Realty Times, wrote this insightful article, entitled "Reclaim Wasted Space and Create a Fun and Functional Space," on all the ways you can make better use of a space that's just been waiting to be used. Whether you have guests over every other weekend or would love to have your own studio or gym, you can make your space work for you.

Real estate is valuable so it pays to reclaim wasted space by clearing out a room or basement that has become a dumping ground. Get creative and make a new fun or functional room.

There are endless possibilities for your reclaimed space. Remember that rooms don't have to be used for what they were originally intended. For example, if your seldom-used dining room is gathering dust and junk, turn it into a play room, family room or games room instead.

If you have family and friends who like to come and stay, a guest room is the obvious option for a spare bedroom. Create a comfortable hotel-like room that in addition to the obvious bed, bedside tables, dresser and hanging space for clothes, has extras such as an arm chair, a coffee station, a supply of plush towels and a basket of toiletries. You may want to add a television and a supply of DVDs.

However, if you only have overnight guests occasionally, you may want the room to do double duty so it will not go unused between stays. Try using a Murphy bed instead of a regular bed so it can be lifted out of the way when it's not needed. Add bookshelves and a desk so the room can be used as a home office.

For fashionistas, a walk-in closet is the dream. It can be as easy as adding shelves, hanging rods (either freestanding or inside a closet system) and putting two low dressers back to back to offer storage and create an island.

Turn unused space into a library/reading room by adding a couple of comfy chairs and some bookshelves. Larger rooms can double as music rooms, or the room can be devoted to instruments and space for the band to gather.

Move exercise equipment out of bedrooms and put it together in one room to create a home gym. Add a mirrored wall, a television and sound system. Sans exercise equipment, the space can be used as a yoga room or a dance studio.

A room that offers lots of natural light also makes the perfect art studio, meditation space, craft/hobby room, play room for the kids or a place for teens to hang out.

Extra space in the basement can be soundproofed and turned into a home theatre. For a lower-budget option, move in comfortable seating, your television and storage for gaming systems and DVDs to create a media room. Building a wine cellar or sauna are other ideas for the lower level.

Some homeowners even create a room for their pet or to house their collections. A devoted studio space is a YouTubers dream. The possibilities are endless.

You can go whole hog and create a totally custom space, or you can work on a budget. Shop your house and repurpose furniture and accessories for your new space. In addition to saving money, reusing furniture will help you free up space in other parts of your house at the same time.

After you come up with a plan, sketch out your design. Then, empty out your room, making piles (toss, save, donate, sell and "return" for items you will use in your new space).

Try the KonMari method of organizing, created by Japanese cleaning/organizing guru Marie Kondo. "Keep only what sparks joy," says the author of organizing books Spark Joy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Getting your house in order positively affects other parts of your life, she says.

A coat of paint is one of the least expensive ways to transform your space. Paint your walls or use paint to transform old furniture for your reclaimed space. Put your creativity to work.

When you're purging your space, you may be concerned about getting rid of potentially valuable items. Do your research by searching the Internet, or hire a professional appraiser because you want to know what items are worth before you get rid of them.

If you send a picture to your local auction house for feedback, you may be told whether the item is worth selling through an auction.

Dr. Lori Verderame, an antiques appraiser, syndicated columnist and television personality, suggests getting an independent appraiser who does not buy the items to ensure an honest and ethical appraisal.

You may also want to consider renting out your extra room to a student (local or international) or as an Airbnb for extra income. Do your research to find out which laws and bylaws may apply. You may also want to familiarize yourself with the landlord and tenant legislation in your province. Check to see if Airbnbs are allowed in your municipality.

With the cost of real estate soaring, it makes perfect sense to reclaim your space now.

To read the original article click here.

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