Buying a Home: Knowing the Area

One of the most important aspects of any home that you move into is, without a doubt; the location. Homes may look fantastic online, but there is always the possibility that the area this fantastic home is in may be less than desirable. Before you move to any new town, subdivision or city, its a good idea to do a little research and find out as much as possible about the place that you are considering calling home. The logical place to start asking questions is to your realtor®. Whether you are moving from a distance away, out of state or even out of country you may want to try to find a realtor® that specializes in the area that you are interested in. Realtors® are a great source of information and usually they know more about a given area than just about anyone.

In finding out about a new area there are some definite things that you will want to find out about. Start by finding out about the area itself. Is is an industrial town? Tourism Based? What kind of atmosphere can you expect when moving there? The next things that you should consider are the employment market and the education system. It’s always comforting to know what kind of job environment is in the area you are moving to. Is there room for your career to flourish? Additionally, even if you do not have children, knowing the education system is just a good idea. It is one of the things that people usually consider important in a new town, and if you have to move again; a home in a good education district will usually fetch a higher price.

Try to find out what the future holds for the area too. This can usually be accomplished by talking to your realtor®, but also seeking info from the city itself. Find out if there are any development or expansion plans for the area. Things like proposed developments, both residential and commercial can drastically effect your property values. You will always be well served to stay cognizant of the future of any area that you move to. Keep in mind that potential developments and future plans can make or break an area, so the more info you have at the beginning the better.

All of that said, West Cobb is poised to experience significant changes over the next few years with the Atlanta Braves moving to West Cobb, nearby Lakepoint Sports Complex opening in Emerson, Kennesaw State University expanding and consolidating with Southern Polytechnic State University, and much more. New shopping, restaurants and other new businesses are joining the West Cobb area also. Are you looking to buy or sell a home in West Cobb? I would be happy to help.

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Color Trends 2015

As 2014 winds down and we look forward to 2015, many homeowners are looking at home renovation projects and sprucing up the their properties for the holidays. Before you begin, you should research new trends in home decor, colors and more. Here are the Color Trends 2015.

Deep Dreams
Dark colors can transform any room into a dreamy, mythical landscape. Clean white trim adds a light contrast to the ethereal colors of the deep dream palette. Layers of this color palette and textures can create interest. The neutrality of the gray ceiling and purple walls allows the teal and fuschia colors to add rich shimmer and shine with a pop of color.

Frosted Pastels
Pastels offer a hint of color and open up your space. They offer an airy, fresh appeal or relaxing atmosphere of tranquility. The subtle backdrop can make furnishings, fabrics look fresh. A pastel wall with white trim and woodwork provides a clean, crisp palette for any room while creating a fresh palette for decorative items to look fabulous.

Social Brights
Brights add fun and a pop of color to any room. The key to using bright colors in your home decor is to use them strategically. Partnered with neutrals or subtle hues offers an opportunity to create interest in any room. A focal wall painted with a bright color offers a lively place for conversation. Rooms painted with neutral colors provide a framework for bright colors.

Nuanced Neutrals
This neutral palette offers weathered colors that have stood the test of time. They reflect comfort and a perfect marriage of function, color and contentment. They can be used in traditional homes just as easily as in a rustic environment with modern furniture as well as cozy country charm. Nuanced neutrals offer a great color palette in kitchens as well as any other room.

Deep Dreams

Traditional Living Room by Huntington Interior Designers & Decorators Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors
Color Palette

Frosted Pastels

Beach Style Living Room by Southampton Interior Designers & Decorators Design House
Color Palette

Social Brights

Living Room by Diablo Interior Designers & Decorators Leslie Harris-Keane Interior Design
Color Palette

Nuance Neutral

Traditional Kitchen by Bound Brook Tile, Stone & Countertops Bridgewater Marble & Granite LLC
Color Palette

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Color Trends 2015 from Behr

Smartphone Apps For Your Home – Lighting

As the days get shorter, we sometimes come home to dark houses. We could use timers, but that’s how it was done yesterday. Today you can use your smartphone apps for  your home lighting. And there are options: color changing for sleep, relaxation, romance, entertainment and more. Each of the following options offers an app to help you with your lighting. Now how smart is that?

Ilumi

Where To Purchase:  Ilumi Website

Apple Store

Android app

Lifx

Where To Purchase:  Lifx Website

Apple Store

Android app

Philips Hue Lighting

Where To Purchase:  Amazon.com, Apple Store, Best Buy, Home Depot, Verizon

Apple Store

Android app

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10 Feng Shui Tips

Feng Shui is an old Chinese study that believes human beings and the environment they are surrounded by (their home, workspace, etc) are full of tangible but invisible energy. This energy is known as ‘Chi.’

Here are 10 tips you can use to start incorporating Feng Shui into your life right away.

  1. Clear the clutter! This is the number one most important Feng Shui tip! When it comes to Feng Shui and keeping positive energy flowing throughout your space, it’s important to keep things clutter free and clean. If you don’t, energy can get stuck and become stale, which in turn produces negative energy. So, keep things picked up and put away every day.
  2. Front Door. The front door plays an important part to the flow of energy (also known as Chi) as this is where it enters from. It needs to flow freely through the rest of the house. So it’s important to make sure that you keep this area clutter free and well lit.
  3. Color. Your mood is greatly effected by color. So, when it comes to Feng Shui you should choose colors (wall paint, décor, candles, fabric, etc) that will give off a pleasant energy (chi) flow. Please note that certain colors work in some rooms but not others. This is because every color has a unique quality meant for something different.
  4. Feng Shui & Romance – Pink. Pink is considered a sentimental color. When going pink make sure this includes your bed sheets! Why? Because pink bed sheets create a rise in what is called subtle yang energy. When this energy is raised it enhances feelings of romance and love.
  5. Close the toilet lid. Not only is closing the toilet lid good manners (and one you should teach every family member to follow), it helps prevent losing valuable chi (energy). What exactly does that mean? Every time your toilet is flushed, not only is a large amount of water lost so is a large amount of chi. You can help retain that energy in both your home and life by simply keeping the toilet lid closed.
  6. Furniture layout. One of the main points of Feng Shui is all about the arrangement of your furniture. The living room sofa should face the front door, your bed should be placed so your feet face away from the door, and all furniture should be arranged so that energy can freely flow throughout your home.
  7. When sleeping don’t have feet facing towards door. In Feng Shui, this is known as the ‘coffin’ position and doesn’t need much more explanation than that! When your bed is located in the room so your feet face the door, it also means you are in the high trafficked area of the room. This will ultimately leave you feeling un-rested because it doesn’t promote full relaxation.
  8. Feng Shui involves five main elements. The five elements are water, wood, fire, earth and metal, and each is represented by a color. Paying close attention to the colors you use in your home – and avoiding mixing certain colors or elements – can help improve certain areas of your life, such as your career, your creativity, and your family relationships.
  9. Clear away any clutter and trim over grown plants in all yard areas. Clutter and overgrown, weedy areas restrict the flow of energy and cause areas of your home to become stale, resulting in the build-up of negative energy.
  10. Your stove. It’s important to keep your stove in good condition and clean at all times because in Feng Shui it promotes the energy of prosperity.

There are hundreds of Feng Shui tips but these 10 are some that are believed to be more important and should be incorporated into your life as soon as possible.

 
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The Economics of Natural Gas Prices

As the weather begins to cool, you may be thinking about the winter ahead, especially in our neighborhood after last year’s snowfalls and historic ice storm. With oil and natural gas prices rocketing, stoking terror of long, cold and expensive winters, a renewed interest in keeping heating costs under control has has been sparked. Homeowner’s have an ignited passion in understanding energy saving methods. If you’re in this boat, stuck in cold waters, here are some tips for energy saving tricks of the trade.

If you’re living in a home with a furnace that’s more than 20 years old, you may have already attempted the “buy a sweater” method of keeping warm. This is certainly one approach, but these days upgrading your home’s conditioning system is a much better option, and will bode well for you in the here and now, and in the long term, should you decide sell your home. More and more, homebuyers are looking for homes with energy efficient systems already in place. So, think of these upgrades as a long term investment in the resale value of your home, as well a cost efficient and green alternative to your current conditioning system.

Now, with that old choker of a furnace huffin’ and puffin’ away, guaranteed it’s not as efficient as it could be, no matter what fuel type it uses. The newer gas furnaces are mid-efficiency (78-82%) or high efficiency (89-96%). Although the higher efficiency products can cost up to $1000 more than the mid-efficiency products, extra costs will be re-couped in a couple years, as they will burn less fuel. And, you’ll be the greenest frog on the block, sending less harmful emissions out into the atmosphere. “It’s so easy being green”, murmured Kermit, once he upgraded his furnace.

With oil furnaces, there are again, much more efficient products on the market as of late. But, an oil furnace does need to partner with a good chimney, and so this may be an additional cost to keep in mind.

Take note, it’s still the case that electric heat is more expensive than oil and gas, although a smart combination of central woodstove heat, supplemented by electric heat can be cost efficient.

Let it Flow: Change Your Filters!

Whether disposable or washable, all forced-air heating/cooling systems use filters. And, these filters need to be maintained and changed. Some filters require monthly changes while other last up to three months, and much depends on the conditions within your home. A dirty filter will restrict air flow and with clogged filters you’re blocking heat that would otherwise be keeping you toasty warm. Do yourself a favor and keep on top of the regular changing of your heat filters. This is a pretty easy way to boost your energy efficiency and cut costs.

Pump it up: Install a Heat Pump

Air source heat pumps are the most common and they are generally used with a back-up heating system. In terms of function a heat pump works by extracting heat from the outside and bringing it in, (in heat mode), and by removing heat from the inside of the house and releasing it outside. ( in cooling mode).

The king of heat pumps, though, are ground and watersource, or geothermal. And while the initial investment may be great, the saving will be substantial in the long run. These pumps will use 25-50% less energy than conventional conditioning systems.

At the end of the day, another simple method to help with soaring heat bills, is to keep an eye on the set temperature levels in your house, What is normally described as room temperature is around 68 Fahrenheit (20 degrees celsius). Of course, only you can decide where to set the dial. But, if you’d rather avoid the ” put on a sweater” method of winter energy conservation, you might consider investing in an improved conditioning system that’ll bring you warmth today, and will be a smart investment in the resale value of your home.

5 Tips for Feng Shui in the Living Room

The living room is the main room in most homes. It’s where family and friends gather to spend time together. It’s a fun, loving room full of lots of different interactions. No room says more about you and your home than this one, so put this space to its best use and make it a room full of positive energy by following these simple Feng Shui steps.

What is feng shui?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature. It is based on the belief that it helps to balance the energy of space to assure health and good fortune for its inhabitants.
  1. Front Door. The front door plays an important part to the flow of energy (also known as Chi) as this is where it enters from. It needs to flow freely through the rest of the house. So it’s important to make sure that you keep this area clutter free and well lit. Set it up so that your furniture faces the door if possible.
  2. Couches and chairs. Your sofa should be placed by a large solid wall. If you have a smaller couch or chair it should be placed to the left of the main couch. When someone is sitting on the couch they should be able to see the front door.
  3. TV and gaming systems. When you think of the living room you probably think of it as being the room where TVs, gaming consoles, etc go. But if possible, keep these things out of this room. The main purpose in the living room should be to carry on conversation and if there’s a TV and gaming consoles it will be too easy to get drawn into using them instead of sitting and chatting. If you do have to have them in here, try to keep them in a cabinet or covered when not in use.
  4. Clear Clutter. When it comes to Feng Shui, keep in mind that all objects are ‘alive’ and ‘talking’ to you. It’s important to keep the living room clutter free so that you make room for new opportunities in your life. Plus, keeping the clutter at bay will make you and everyone that occupies this space feel more relaxed. Keep in mind that too much furniture is considered clutter too.
  5. Focal Point. Create a focal point in your living room. This can be anything like a candle sitting on a mantle or a coffee table with a floral arrangement or candle in the center. Something like a decorative piece of art could be the focal point as well. If you have a large rug you choose as the focal point, make sure your coffee table compliments it – use a glass one so the rug shows instead of a solid wood one that hides the rug.

These are just five of many different ideas for Feng Shui in your living room. The easiest and probably the most important way to achieve positive energy and Feng Shui in your living room is keeping it clean, because the flow of energy can get interrupted by clutter.