Friday, February 27, 2015

Increase Your Home's Value in 5 Easy Steps

Thinking about taking on some small home improvement projects to boost the value of your home? Here are some smart upgrades and fixes that won’t cost a lot, but could help you clinch a deal if you’re trying to sell.


Consider curb appeal

Source: Zillow Digs
First impressions are everything, and potential buyers often decide whether they’re interested in a home within seconds. As they’re walking toward your house, they’re asking themselves, “Could I live here?”
Keep the walkway swept and tidy, and spruce up your entryway landscaping with well-placed shrubs, new plants and trimmed hedges. And don’t underestimate the power of a new front door, fence or mailbox.

Buff up the bath

Source: Zillow Digs
Sure, bathroom improvements can get pricey, but small cosmetic changes can reap big rewards. Consider replacing dated frosted glass with clear glass, updating fixtures or putting up new wallpaper.
Other projects that are worth the effort include re-grouting the tile, replacing an old vanity with a new one and buying a new toilet seat.

Make your kitchen cook

Source: Zillow Digs
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where the family congregates, guests gather and the kids do their homework. To appeal to potential buyers, this space has to look clean, inviting and warm.
Beyond making sure your appliances work well and look shiny, consider updating cabinet doors and drawers, light fixtures and faucets. And a basic coat of neutral paint can go a long way toward impressing buyers.

Let there be light

Source: Zillow Digs
Is there an old chandelier that needs to come down? Dated lamps that age the room? Take care of that!
Also, increase the wattage in dark rooms that lack natural lighting. Rooms will seem larger and more open.  Visual space — or how large a home feels — is crucial.

Reconfigure the layout

Source: Zillow Digs
Assuming you’ve already covered the basics, such as removing clutter and personal belongings to make rooms look larger, why not take it one step further and think about reconfiguring the layout?
Substituting one room’s use for another is a cheap way to transform a two-bedroom home with a den into a three-bedroom home, for example.








Monday, February 23, 2015

Romantic Revival: Tips for Dramatic and Formal Dining Rooms

There’s something romantic about homes with a formal dining room—they’re a key selling point for many home buyers. Perhaps it’s the thought of having a single room completely devoted to eating and entertaining, or the idea of enjoying a sit-down dinner with your family and friends. Whatever the reason, here are some ideas for bringing dramatic style to your home’s dining room and other eating spaces.

Light and Dark

From the custom metal-front cabinets to the silver nail-head trim on the chairs, this dining room is rooted in sleek sophistication. Overhead, an Italian chandelier crafted from Murano glass anchors the center of the room, where a solid yet sleek dining table stands grandly. Navy blue upholstery with a silver trellis design on the chairs brings dignified color to the space. The gray faux bois-inspired wallpaper bridges the gap between the light and dark tones.


Linear Diversity

Create a casual environment that exudes grand style with a formal dining room that is open to your home’s kitchen. A wide archway in this space promotes mingling from the kitchen to the dining table, ideal for relaxed entertaining. The stone-clad walls and a brick-and-wood beam ceiling in this home emanate old-world Tuscan style, as do the antique-style table and chairs.




Vivid Formality

Formal dining rooms can occasionally come off as stiff and cold, but you can avoid that problem in your home by using bold color as a cheer-giving antidote. In this dining room, emerald green silk wallpaper wraps the space with easy-on-the-eyes color. Tangerine-colored velvet chairs are unexpected, yet make a statement. The high-gloss gray moldings and gunmetal taffeta panels ground the room in sophistication.


Then and Now

In older homes with period details, such as elaborate trimwork and leaded glass windows, finding ways to preserve the heritage while bringing the home into this century can be challenging, but success can be found in balancing. In this Victorian-era home’s formal dining room, the trimwork and built-in hutch were painted crisp, modern white. The introduction of a silver-leafed, streamlined table also brings 21st-century modernity, and sofa-style benches in a yellow medallion print introduce playful color. Tone-on-tone damask wallpaper nods to the home’s history, as do the chandelier and floral-print rug.


Comfortable Elegance

Dining rooms don’t have to be oversized to be formal; even a basic nook can exude elegance. In this dining nook, light and dark colors and subtle yet sophisticated details elevate the space’s style. The dark wood-paneled ceiling and hardwood floor contrast with the light blue walls and white trim, perfectly balancing dark and light tones and adding a homey vibe. The elegant pattern on the upholstered chairs and the chandelier adds a more formal tone.



Neutral Texture

This neutral dining room is simple in color but intricate in design. The monochromatic color scheme is made more interesting with different shapes, positions and textures on the stone-covered wall. Texture is also added to the room with the subtle design on the rug and the patina of the chairs and table. A grandiose chandelier and bronze-colored detailing on the base of the table add an elegant shimmer.




Symmetric and Proper

Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry bookending this dining room creates a balanced, formal look. An extravagant chandelier hangs in the center of an oval table, surrounded by perfectly positioned white-slipcovered chairs, made more formal by curved wood arms and nail-head trim.




Dark Tone Variety

Various materials combine to create a formal and exquisite look for this dining room. Neutral tones on the darker end of the spectrum balance with the natural light from the French doors to create a warm, inviting space. Velvet-upholstered chairs, a sleek wood table, a metal chandelier and long, flowing draperies work together to add to the warm, yet formal tone.



Old-World Elegance

Architecture and accents give this dining room an elegant, old-world look. The wood chandelier, ceiling beams and stone wall with inset arched mirrors contribute to the room’s age-old appeal. Old-world-style furniture continues the theme, and two different types of upholstery material give the chairs unique flair. The backs are covered in a caramel-on-black Jacobean floral print, and the seats are clad in matching brown leather, proving that elegance is in the details.


Royal Touch

Gilded accents give this gray-and-white formal dining room a regal touch. White walls and wood flooring set the stage for metallic gray and gold details. French doors are framed with floor-to-ceiling slate gray draperies hung from gold curtain rods. A light gray patterned tablecloth and gold accents on the mirror and place settings add to the room’s elegance. The crystal-and-gold chandelier puts a finishing touch on the regal tone.



Natural Class

This nature-inspired dining room combines warm, neutral tones with earthy prints and finishes to create a classic, country French look. Mustard-yellow walls bring warmth to the formal setting, while the foliage print on the chairs nods to nature. The carved details on the table and elaborate candle chandelier ensure that the intricate ethos of country French style is at the forefront of the room’s design.




Inspired Style

Mixing modern style with antique accents creates a dynamic, high-end look in this dining room. A chic combination of black and white with metallic accents keeps the color scheme simple yet sophisticated. Overhead, a frosted-glass drum shade surrounds a detailed chandelier, fusing elements from both elegant and modern design sensibilities. Gilded, carved mirrors and sculptural urns round out the room’s elaborate detailing, while a neutral textured rug finishes the room with a modern geometric design.


Standout Comfort
Located between the kitchen and living room, this dining space is designed to stand out from the rest of the house. With white walls as a backdrop and chestnut-colored wood floors in the surrounding rooms, the neutral area rug and dark-toned furniture ensemble set the dining room apart. Velvet-upholstered chairs surround a sleek, dark table and add a sense of comfort to the space, while a crystal chandelier formalizes the room.



Handsome and Simple

Stately doesn’t have to be fussy. In this dining room, classic wood furniture, a neutral color palette of golden beige and taupe gray, and a selective use of accessories lend a more masculine look. Flared seat covers and a curvy serpentine light fixture soften the look to ensure the design doesn’t stray into the severe.





Misty Blue

Pale blue walls and accents add variety to this elegant dining room. Gold, bronze and ivory tones balance the cool blues with gilded warmth. Wooden chairs upholstered in champagne-colored brocade surround a stone table with a grand garden statuary as its base. Ivory draperies are lined with blue and gold at the bottom, reflecting the powder-blue color of the walls and the bronze and gold wall decor.



Grand Arch

The formal tone of this dining room is accentuated by the barrel-vault ceiling and the crisp, basic color palette of creamy white and gray. The arched leaded-glass window above the hutch mirrors the rounded ceiling, and a curvy and elaborate chandelier also guides the eye upward to the arch.








Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens. Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com. All rights reserved.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tips & Ideas for Creating Romance in Your Home

Turn your own home into a romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day—or any day—with our tips and ideas to warm up every room and create cozy, inviting spaces throughout your house.




Romantic Getaway
Contrasting textures can imbue your home’s bedroom with a romantic feeling. Here, chenille, satin and linen achieve this effect. Antique furniture and warm accents cozy up to upholstered walls.







Concrete Love
Built with hand-chosen river rocks, this fireplace adds warmth and comfort to the home’s decor.





  Escape into the Suds
Help lessen the tension after a long day at work by relaxing in a romantic bathroom decorated with vintage drapes and accessories.




Drapes of Love
The use of fabric layers helps soften the hard geometry of a basic room and brings dimension to the space. By applying the fabric to the walls, you can give a room impact while hiding structural or furniture flaws.








 Romantic Glow
Build a fieldstone fireplace into a wall of custom, glass-front built-ins made of cherry wood. Install accent lights to the mantel for an extra warm glow.








Enveloped in Comfort
Create a serene space by adding a writing desk, bookshelves and a sitting area next to a cast-stone fireplace. This relaxing retreat adds character and warmth to the room.






 Colors of Passion
Accent a contemporary fireplace with white-painted wood and brushed stainless-steel hardware to add a passionate warmth to the small bungalow.






Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens. Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Six exercises for finding your personal brand voice


    1. Make a list of the adjectives you want people to repeat after they meet you, talk to you, see or read about you. Are you: creative, relentless, indomitable, determined, insightful, scrupulous, thoughtful, or visionary? Then, narrow the list down to three.
    2. Ask other people: “What’s my special sauce? If you had to be a reference for me, what would you say?” Take notes of the answers you get.
    3. Make a list of at least five successful professionals that you follow and respect. Spend some time examining them. How are they alike? How are they different? What about their character intrigues you? Often what we admire is what we aspire to be. Pat Flynn, Rand Fishkin, Warren Buffet, Yves BĂ©har, Richard Branson, Seth Godin. I like these professionals because they think outside the box, and are intelligent, creative, irreverent, and honest connectors of ideas and people.
    4. Ask yourself: “What makes me different?” What do you do or what will you do that sets you apart? You know the whole snowflake talk we got as kids. Well there’s some truth to that. Don’t blend in. Hone in on your uniqueness. It may be your actual job function like “social media scientist,” or it could be something broader like “connector of people.”
    5. Answer the question: “Who is the most important audience that my brand needs to speak to?” All the content you create and everything you say in the public domain will be discoverable online. By identifying and communicating with your most important audience, you’ll avoid any chance of personal brand misalignment with your larger goals. In fact, you’ll make sure your personal brand represents the values you and your audience hold.
    6. Ask yourself: “How does this make me feel?” When searching for your authentic voice, you have to continually check in with yourself to make sure you can emotionally live with your intellectual decisions. It’s so much easier to be motivated if we’re true to ourselves. You don’t have to pretend to be anyone that you’re not. In fact, I would adamantly advise against faking it at all. Everyone will find out eventually.

Friday, April 4, 2014

37.5 million Americans plan to move this year, are you going to be one of them?


According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, more Americans intend to find a new place to call home in 2014 – with 16 percent planning to move compared to 10 percent in 2012.

Among those looking to pull up stakes, buying has become more popular than renting, with more than 17 million people planning to purchase a house, condominium or co-op, versus 16 million who expect to rent their new residence.

Homebuyers might have to pay more to get what they want, however. Seller optimism is on pace to reach a four-year high, according to the researchers. The Tracker finds that 65 percent of potential home sellers are confident they will get their asking price, a 25 percent increase since 2010.

“All of the costs associated with moving can really add up, but more consumers are feeling confident that they can afford to put down new roots,” says David Rabkin, senior vice president of Consumer Lending Products for American Express. “With more people looking to purchase a home this year instead of rent, and with seller confidence on the rise, it will create an interesting push and pull as buyers and sellers negotiate.”

There appears to still be room for concessions. Of prospective sellers, 71 percent say they’re more willing to sweeten the deal – an increase from 60 percent in 2010.

So if you're a prospective buyer and are planning to move this year please visit my website at www.TourOfLuxuryHomes.com or at (407)-433-9699. I would love to help you find your dream home! 



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Setting Fitness Goals

Who else struggles with putting together action plans, setting goals, and not sticking to it? One of my struggles lately is allowing distractions to get in the way of my fitness goals! Yes, you can "Work Hard & Play Hard" as I teach in my book, but you also need to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle in order to enjoy an active lifestyle! What I have learned lately is that the phone calls, text and email can wait until after your morning workout. I like to workout before I start my work day. If I let these distractions get in the way of my scheduled/planned workout then it ruins my entire day!
Here are a few of my tips that will help you get back on track...and stay on track!!
1. Add your workout to your daily calendar. I have my alarm set for 6:30 a.m. every day so I can start my work out by 7:00 a.m.
2. Turn off your phone if you need to if this is one of the distractions, like mine, that is interrupting your workouts.
3. The night before, place your work out clothes and shoes by your bed so you are prepared and ready to go.
4. Every week (I choose Sunday) write out a workout plan for each day, so you are not guessing when you wake up on which workout you are going to do. If you have a personal trainer you will not need to worry with this since they will have your workout planned.
5. Get moving! If you are not ready for weights, or not into workout videos or gyms, go for a walk, jog or bike ride!

So get started now...set your fitness goals (and STICK to it)! The New Year is only 3 months away! I highly recommend you to also plan and cook your weekly meals on Sunday as well to avoid eating junk & fast food. I will touch on this in my next post!

Your Friend in Real Estate...
Dana




Monday, February 24, 2014

Setting Goals~ Steps to Achieving!

Setting goals, in my opinion is a big part of being successful. I plan a day every year at the end of December to focus on my goals and business plan for the following year. This is also a day that I reflect on what goals I did not accomplish and determine how I need to accomplish that goal the next year. This habitual act allows me to visualize what strategies I need to use, and the steps I need to take in order to accomplish my goals for the following year! For example, I would like to plan a family trip to Hawaii this year. In order to accomplish this goal, I determine how many homes I need to sale in order to accomplish it! I also have a photo of the Hawaiian Islands on my goal board so I can visualize it!

1) My first step is to list everything that I want to accomplish in the new year. I then research through magazines or online sources for a visual representation of my goal. (I like visual things, it keeps the thought of what I want to reach stuck in my head). After this I begin a vision board by posting each picture on a big poster board. I place this board at my bed side and reflect on it every day when I wake up.
Example of my goal board! 
My Book! 


2) The second thing I do is create a business plan based on the goals I have listed. I figure out how many homes I will need to sell in order to reach the income goal I have set.  I figure out what marketing strategies work and which one’s don’t, and get rid of the marketing tools that are costing me money (with no return). I look at my business plan every quarter to see where I am at, and to see if I need to reevaluate any items I have listed.

With all this in mind, the power of positive thinking and putting action behind your thoughts, really does boost your motivation and increase your chances of reaching your goals. To learn more about setting goals, and to find out the third step in my goal setting, please consider purchasing my book…Works Hard, Plays Harder and you can too! Its available to purchase on Amazon, or you can contact me directly at (407)-433-9699 or at Dana@TourofLuxuryHomes.com to purchase a copy.