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Mary Alice Ruppert
REALTOR®, ABR, AHWD, CRB, ePro, GRI, SFR
Licensed Associate Broker
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Articles Tagged "Home upgrades"

Live, Love, Long Island Blog Home

Buy a home | 25 Posts
Homeownership | 28 Posts
Long Island, NY | 57 Posts
Nassau County | 1 Posts
Relocating | 1 Posts
Sell a home | 19 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
December
27

Winter Is the Perfect Time for These Home Improvement Projects

Winter Home Improvement Projects - Coach Realtors

You may think that once the snow begins to fall, it's too late to start on home improvements, but our REALTORS® would advise you otherwise. You may not be able to do much outdoors, but inside is another story. In fact, if the work you need requires a contractor, you may be able to find one offering lower rates as available jobs dwindle. Whether you have just purchased your home or are getting the house ready for sale in the spring, several projects will make you more comfortable now and increase your profits later. 

  • Insulating the Attic
    You may not even need to hire a contractor to make your home more comfortable, decrease energy costs and get a great return on your investment. The ROI comes in at a whopping 116.9 percent. Add to that a tax credit of up to $500. If you thought this project was too pricy, you might be surprised that it could cost under $400 to purchase and install. With numbers like that, you are looking at a project that literally pays for itself.

  • Update the Thermostat
    This is a project that works for any budget. Prices for programmable thermostats range anywhere from $30 to $300 but will save you from $10 to $20 a month. There are plenty of options available, some even offering remote control. You can reduce energy consumption when no one is home and adjust the temperature to your comfort level so that you walk into pre-programmed comfort. A seasoned do-it-yourselfer may be able to install one, but most homeowners will need the services of an electrician. The good news is that the cost will be minimal as the process takes minutes to complete. 

  • Stop Air Leaks
    You can reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home by simply sealing air leaks with caulking or weatherstripping. For just a few dollars, you can eliminate most drafts. You'll want to caulk spaces around doors and window frames, paying attention to pipes and vents as well. Add or update the weather stripping to seal moveable components such as sliding glass doors and windows. This project takes a little time but doesn't require particular skills or experience. For less than $30, you can dramatically affect the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.

  • Repaint the Interior
    If you are selling soon, this is a great time to inspect the walls and fill in any dings or holes. Choose white or another neutral color that will work with any color scheme, so potential buyers can readily picture their own belongings in the house. You may find this easier if you declutter the rooms first, putting collections and other personal items you are not using in storage. This will give you a good jump start on your own move, too. The size of the house and the quality of paint will dictate the cost, but on average, you can paint for under $500 and make the home look larger and cleaner to potential buyers.

  • Give Doors a Facelift
    What's the first thing a buyer will see when entering the house? Inside and out, doors take a beating. Fingerprints and scuff marks make them look old and tired. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or even just cleaning up aging brass can make the entire home look more inviting. This cost-effective project will cost between $30 and $200.

If you're thinking of adding your house to the Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, contact us for more ways to boost your profits.

November
29

Sellers: These Upgraded Appliances Bring Better ROI

Appliance ROI - Sell a Home - Coach Realtors

Upgrading your appliances will make everything from cooking to cleaning a little easier and a little more energy-efficient. There's no question that when it comes to appliances, some are worth their weight in gold. And, some will add a little gold to your bank account when you sell your home. As you consider your options, our REALTORS® recommend closely looking at the following appliances that will give you a significant return on your investment. 

  • Air Conditioner
    Hot and muggy summer days are not a good time to find out the AC isn't up to the task of keeping you cool and comfortable. Across generations, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers alike all agree that a high-efficiency air conditioner is a premium selling point. Installing a new air conditioner will enhance your comfort, lower your utility bills, and attract buyers when you put the home on the market.

  • Energy-Efficient Furnace
    Most furnaces last between 10-15 years. Over time, they lose efficiency and require increasingly frequent (and costly) repairs. Upgrading your furnace before you sell your home puts a prospective buyer's mind at ease. It also shows that you care about the home's condition and have invested in systems that enhance comfort and reduce utility costs.

  • Built-In Stove
    Standalone stoves are so 1990. As homes and technology have evolved, so too have the ways we use the kitchen. Built-in stoves are designed to minimize the mess and streamline the kitchen. When the stove is not in use, it blends into the background and becomes out of sight, out of mind. 

  • Energy-Efficient Washers and Dryers
    Washing machines and dryers are the hardest-working appliances in your family's home. They're also the two machines that suck up the most energy. Upgrading to a high-efficiency washing machine and dryer isn't cheap, but it's worth it. Not only will you save money on your monthly utility bills, but they will also do a better job of keeping your clothes clean and in good condition, thus keeping your wardrobe nice and sharp.

  • Modern, High-Efficiency Refrigerator
    Water and ice dispensers are nice, but almost every refrigerator has these. If you want your refrigerator to stand out, you'll want to select one that has French doors and an Energy Star rating. As with washers and dryers, refrigerators consume significant quantities of energy each day. Every little bit you can trim pays off in the long run.

Are you noticing a trend? That's because there is an overarching trend that relates to all appliances. Whatever you choose to install, pay close attention to the energy efficiency of the system. As utility rates continue to rise and eco-consciousness grows, the desire for increasingly efficient appliances is a trend that is guaranteed to gain steam in the future.  

Are you considering which appliances to bring into your life? Contact us, and we will be happy to tell you what our clients are eager to see and the trends we see emerging within Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale.

November
15

Creative Ways to Add Storage in the Living Room

Living Room Storage - Coach Realtors

Whether you live in a large country estate or a chic city condo, adequate storage is a necessity. Most homeowners feel they never have enough storage regardless of their home's size. With help from our REALTORS®, you can discover some creative storage solutions for your home.

Your living room serves as an entryway into your home and a gathering area for entertaining. While many Nassau County homes for sale feature large, inviting living rooms, they may lack sufficient storage space for your needs. Take a look at easy ways to add storage to your living room.

  • Invest in an Entertainment Center
    Entertainment centers are useful in living rooms because they can serve multiple purposes. As well as housing your TV, streaming boxes, and remotes, they provide valuable storage space. Entertainment centers are a great place to display books and magazines, decorative items, artwork, framed family photos, and special keepsakes that add interest to your living room.

  • Install Built-In Bookshelves
    If you're an avid reader with an extensive collection of books, built-in bookshelves are a perfect storage solution. Leather-bound books and colorful book jackets add interesting colors and textures to any room. However, built-in bookshelves are not just for books. They're also ideal for displaying beautiful pottery and china, hand-blown glassware, antique accessories, paintings and drawings, and family mementos that brighten your day.

  • Use Seating with Built-In Storage
    Buying a sofa with built-in storage drawers or benches and ottomans with hidden storage compartments can double your living room's storage capacity. Benches and ottomans with hidden compartments are great for extra seating when you have parties and large gatherings. They also provide quick and easy storage for throw pillows, blankets, and accessories that need to be put away when you want to declutter your living room.

  • Turn Window Seats into Storage Areas
    Many older Suffolk County homes for sale have unique features like sitting nooks and window seats built below large windows. If you're lucky enough to have a built-in window bench, the space underneath the seating can be used for storage. You can add drawers or turn the seating top into a flip-top bench to access the space beneath. If the walls at each end of the seat are deep enough, they can be outfitted with built-in shelves to hold books, photos, accessories, and reading lamps.

  • Re-Purpose Old Storage Items
    If you're looking for a way to increase storage and add a nostalgic flair to your living room, look for old items you can re-purpose to fit your design style. Instead of a new modern entertainment center, find an antique hutch with a large storage compartment behind doors and built-in shelving. Instead of a mundane coffee table that lacks style, look for a vintage wooden or leather truck that can serve as your coffee table with added storage below. 

  • Stock Up on Baskets and Storage Bins
    You can find a wide variety of affordable baskets and storage bins in different sizes and finishes to help with your storage needs. Wicker baskets, colorful woven or fabric baskets, and galvanized bins are great for storing small items and hiding clutter. They're ideal for smaller living rooms since they easily fit on bookshelves and on or under coffee tables and end tables. Whether storing extra throw pillows or toys for kids and pets, baskets and bins make great inexpensive storage solutions.

If you're interested in buying or selling a home in the New York area, contact us for information on available homes and prices that fit your lifestyle. 

October
25

Bathroom Remodel: How to Choose the Right Bathtub

Choosing a Bathtub - Remodeling Tips - Coach Realtors

Soaking in a warm, relaxing bath is something everyone looks forward to after a long day. When showing properties, our REALTORS® are always asked about bathroom upgrades with spa-like features seen in many of these Nassau County homes for sale and Suffolk County homes for sale.

If you're considering a bathroom remodel, you have many bathtub styles to choose from for your space. Before you make your final selection, consider the size of your bathroom, your personal needs, and the finished look you want to achieve.

  • Drop-In Tubs
    Drop-in tubs are the most common type found in homes. The tub shell is fitted inside a framed enclosure that may be surrounded by sheetrock walls or tiles. With drop-in rectangular tubs, three sides are sealed in and one long side is open so you can step into the tub.

    Undermount drop-in tubs are installed where the top of the tub sits at floor level creating a very modern bathroom. Most drop-in tubs are made of porcelain, acrylic, or fiberglass, the least expensive options.

  • Corner Tubs
    Corner tubs are similar to drop-ins, but they're much larger and wider. Their large, square proportions make them great for dual bathing. To accommodate the size and shape, you need a large corner area in your bathroom for installation. If you have an area near a large window, this may be the perfect place for a relaxing bath while enjoying a beautiful view of the garden.

  • Freestanding Tubs
    Freestanding tubs feature solid bases or cradles and sculpted bathing bowls. They come in many shapes including rectangular, square, oval, and round. One advantage of freestanding tubs is they can sit anywhere in the bathroom and don't have to be connected to walls for stability. However, you need a larger bathroom because the tub will take up open floor space. Freestanding tubs are most popular in porcelain and acrylic, but they also come in copper, stainless steel, and colors for a higher price.

  • Clawfoot Tubs
    Although clawfoot tubs made out of cast iron date back to the Victorian era, they are still very popular with homeowners today. Their freestanding style, oval shape, and brass or chrome claw feet create a reminiscent eclectic style that works in both traditional and contemporary homes. Most clawfoot tubs are especially deep, so they're perfect for those long bubble bath soaks.
  • Special Features
    Most bathtub manufacturers offer a variety of options for special features, especially for their top-of-the-line products. If you want ultimate relaxation and health benefits, you don't have to look far for a lot of great options:

    • Whirlpool Jets – By choosing a tub with whirlpool jets, you can relax in water with various heat settings, foot massage jets, multi-speed bubbles, and silent motor technology.

    • Chromatherapy – Whether you prefer peaceful pink or soothing blue, chromatherapy includes underwater LED lights that change color to suit your mood.

    • Music – With resonant speaker panels that attach to the tub and send sound through the water, you can relax to your favorite playlist while soaking.

    • Digital Controls – A built-in digital touchpad lets you easily control water temperature, jet direction, water color, and your favorite tunes.

If you're planning to buy or sell a home, contact us for information and real estate advice from our professionals.

September
27

Homeowners: Try These Pest-Proofing Measures

Pest-Proofing Measures for Homeowners - Coach Realtors

Your home is your castle. When it's invaded by an uninvited pest that won't leave, our REALTORS® understand how frustrating that can be and how much of a disruption it can cause. Many pests are difficult to dislodge, and since changing the locks isn't an option, we strongly recommend taking preventative measures that will work.

Whether you buy Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for saleone of the first things you want to consider is pest control. The more effort you put into keeping pests out, the less effort you'll need to spend kicking them out down the road.

  • Start by sealing any holes or cracks in the siding or masonry. Pay close attention to door jams and window frames where small cracks can form as the foundation settles. If you discover any cracks, apply the appropriate caulk, weatherstripping, or sealant to the surface. This will have the added advantage of improving the energy envelope around your home.

  • It's also advisable to clean up your attic, garage, and crawlspace. These three areas are breeding grounds for ants, mosquitos, flies, mice, and other pests. The cleaner these three spaces, the less attractive they are for uninvited houseguests with wings or fur.

  • Make sure to clean up the kitchen and pantry. It's best to secure food in airtight containers to help minimize the odors that can attract pests. You'll also want to make sure to keep these areas free of crumbs and other food debris that pests can munch on as they scout new places to move into.

  • Skip the pet door and making sure Fido is regularly groomed. Pet doors create easy access for mice, roaches, raccoons, and other pests; removing the door denies them a potential point of entry. And, while you're removing the pet door, be sure to securely install the bug screen on the windows and patio doors. This will help keep bugs of all shapes and sizes from moving in. 

  • Stay on top of your landscaping. Keep trees properly trimmed, mow the grass, and ensure that piles of leaves and other yard waste don't grow into small mountains. Left unattended, these piles will rot and attract all manner of pests that can easily multiply and move in when you're not looking.

  • Speed up the process. Once you remove the breeding grounds and food sources, it can take a while for pests to disappear. Place traps and poison for them to nibble on, but be sure to put these traps and substances in locations where pets and children can't access them.

  • Hire an exterminator. If you've tried all these pest-proofing measures, and the rats, mice, flies, and other pests still haven't taken the hint, hire the professionals to deliver a permanent eviction notice. Exterminators are highly effective at eliminating pests. But remember: If you don't solve the infestation's root cause(s), you can expect the pests to return in the future.

Are you looking for a new home? We can help. Contact usand we'll do our best to give you the information you need.

September
13

Enjoy the Convenience of This Smart Home Tech

Smart Home Tech - Coach Realtors

These days, many of us are busy and pressed for time. When we do finally get the chance to be home and relax with family, we don't want to be burdened by chores and extra housework. Thankfully, the latest smart home technology is helping to address this issue. Our REALTORS® recommend considering the following devices to help simplify your at-home routine.

  • Smart Speakers
    Adding a smart speaker to your living room or great room can make it so much easier to listen to the music and podcasts you love. When you're getting ready to do the dishes or tackle that email inbox, you can simply talk to the speaker and tell it what to play. Or, you can scroll through options via the speaker-coordinated app on your smartphone. You won't have to worry about losing the remote or getting up to adjust the volume.

  • Smart Light Bulbs
    Isn't it annoying to be all settled in on your couch, and then realize you need to get up and adjust the lights? Smart light bulbs can fix this dilemma. You can use voice commands to turn the lights on and off or to dim the lights. Some smart light bulbs even light up different colors on command! Switching to smart light bulbs can save money on energy, too, since you're more likely to actually turn the lights off when you don't need them. 

  • Smart Vacuums
    Robot vacuums have been around for a while, but more recently, smart vacuums have become an even more convenient way to keep your home clean. The vacuum will keep humming along and cleaning your carpet, regardless of whether or not you're home. It will send you a message on your smartphone if it gets stuck, if it finishes cleaning, or if it needs any other input from you. There are even smart vacuums made specifically for people with pets and those with hard floors.

  • Pet Cameras
    When you're gone for long periods during the day, you might worry about your pet. Having to run home every few hours and check on them can become a burden. But a pet camera can allow you to check in on them from the convenience of your smartphone. Some smart pet cameras even let you talk to your pet remotely. This can help you calm your pet down during a storm or make them feel less lonely while you're away.

  • Smart Coffee Maker
    Do you ever wish you could wake up to coffee, already made in your own kitchen? Maybe you could even sleep a little longer if you didn't have to spend 10 minutes making coffee every morning. A smart coffee maker can solve all of these problems. You can program it to make coffee for you at a certain time of day. If you're at work and know you'll want another cup as soon as you get home, you can use your smartphone app to tell the coffee maker to get working. Imagine how much you'll save on visits to the coffee shop!

  • Smart TV
    The latest smart TVs let you change channels, turn up the volume, pause the show, and more — all with your voice. Of course, you can use an app on your phone for control, too, if that's what you prefer.  Your TV experience will be that much more relaxing.

What do you think of these smart home innovations for your Long Island home? If you're looking for Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk county homes for sale, our agents can help. Contact us to learn more about our services.

April
12

Don't Hire a Contractor Until You Ask These Questions

Ask These Contractor Questions - Remodeling - Coach Realtors

You've probably heard this before, but a contractor can make or break your remodeling or home addition project. Finding the right contractor will determine the timeliness and quality of work, and the amount of financial and emotional stress you'll have to deal with. Before paying thousands of dollars for the job, you'll want to carefully screen potential contractors and make sure they know what they're doing. Our REALTORS® have collated a list of questions to ask before you hire a contractor.

  • How Long Have You Been Working in This Town?
    When hiring a contractor, you want to know how much experience they have and how long they've been working in your local area. A contractor who has been around the block for a few years is more likely to have a proven track record. They're a safer bet than a contractor planning to commute to your home from 50 miles away.


  • Are You a Licensed Contractor?
    Licensing is an important element in the construction industry. A licensed contractor will have extensive knowledge about local building laws, follow proper safety guidelines, and complete your work on time. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, they may disappear after doing half the work, and you'll be on your own when it comes to resolving the issue. And it's not just important to have a license; you want to make sure it's applicable to the types of project you're looking to have completed.


  • Are You Insured?
    In response to this question, you want to hear that the contractor has general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. The last thing you need is to pay for repairs when a worker hits a water line and floods your house or pay for the medical expenses of a worker who got injured while working on your property. Ask to see a copy of the contractor's insurance policy to ascertain that they have insurance, and it's enough to cover your home if things go sour.


  • How Long Will the Remodeling Take?
    An experienced contractor should give you a projected timeline for the completion of the project. But it's also worth noting that construction isn't always cut and dry. Behind existing walls or floors might be hidden damage or problems that call for additional work. Ask your contractor about the possibility of delays and how necessary changes to the timeline will be addressed.


  • Would You Itemize Your Bid?
    There are so many things to keep track of during a remodel. Some contractors will give you a bottom-line quote for your project, but this will leave you in the dark about payment breakdown for each aspect of the job. You'll stay saner and more secure if you're given an itemized bid that shows the cost for all elements of the job. Also, make sure you discuss the payment terms before the work begins. Do not pay a large sum of money upfront.


  • Got References?
    Speaking to past clients and gathering their input is one of the best ways to find out about a contractor's work. Call and ask questions about the contractor's quality of work, adherence to budget and timeline, ease of communication, willingness to fix projects after the project is completed, and how they keep the work area clean.


  • Who Will be Doing the Work?
    Ideally, the contractor should handle the entire project with just their own crew. You'll want to know if the same team will be working on your home each day and whether the contractor works with subcontractors. Find out if they've had their background checked and covered by the contractor's workers' comp and liability insurance. Don't forget to ask about site-management and the point of contact between you and the company.

This is not an all-encompassing list, but it will help you get the conversation started. Remodeling your home or building an addition can make your home a more enjoyable place to live. And if you decide to add your home to the pool of Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk homes for sale, the right improvements can really separate your home in the market. Contact us today to learn more.

March
1

Kitchen Makeover: These Trends Are Making Waves

Kitchen Makeover - Home Improvement - Coach Realtors

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and sometimes it's good to give in to your heart's desires. Remodeling your kitchen is a tried and tested way to breathe fresh life into your home. It's a project that our REALTORS® guarantee will go a long way toward enhancing your comfort and adding to your home's resale value. As you consider all the options, be certain to note the following kitchen trends for 2021.

  • Marble Beats Granite
    Granite was the go-to stone of the '90s and the start of the new millennium. However, as tastes have evolved, marble has emerged as the trendiest stone for kitchens and bathrooms. Heavily veined marble is the epitome of luxury and will give a durable finish to your counters, backsplashes, and more.

  • Wood is Back in Style
    Wood is undergoing a revival, and while cherry and oak have held the title of most popular in the past, modern homes are opting for the inclusion of subtle-grained ash and other lighter woods. When choosing wood, choose one with a well-defined grain and light finish that will add an airy, sophisticated ambiance to your remodeled kitchen.

  • Enjoy the Lush Luxury of Dark Walls
    Dark-colored walls create a sharp contrast against light-grained woods and white marble countertops. Black or brown paint, or dark-colored tiles, can create a luxurious backdrop for family gatherings and everyday living.

  • Islands Emerge From the Floor
    If you have a larger kitchen, islands are fabulous to create a focal point for gatherings in the kitchen. If you have a large kitchen, double islands are a feature worth exploring. However, be careful not to try and put an island or a double island in a small kitchen as this can make the room feel closed in and cluttered.

  • The Jetson's Meet the Jones'
    The inclusion of technology in the kitchen is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Installing smart screens, smart appliances, and other smart home technology will make it easier to listen to your favorite music while you cook, pull up recipes, and even manage your pantry and shopping lists.

  • Storage Takes Center Stage
    Storage space is always at a premium in the kitchen. That will never change. What has changed is that many older kitchens have plenty of wasted space that is now being converted into usable storage for appliances, spices, foodstuffs, linens, etc. In fact, you will see many Nassau County homes for sale where interior designers have found some creative ways to add shelves and cabinets to the kitchen to open the space up while providing ample storage in the process.

  • Pantry Space is at a Premium
    One thing the pandemic has done is change the way we shop. Many families have prioritized having a ready supply of food on hand "just in case." Of course, more food requires more space, which is why you will see plenty of Suffolk County homes for sale where the owners have converted closets and other spaces into walk-in pantries. Not only does this create ample space for storage, but it also makes it easier to organize your foodstuffs.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about the kitchen trends we recommend our clients incorporate in their properties. It is our pleasure to answer your questions and help you find the best kitchen design team to create the kitchen of your dreams. 

January
11

How to Make Your Home Smarter in 2021

Smarter Home in 2021 - Coach Realtors

They say you shouldn't work hard; you should work smarter. We believe it's a suggestion that equally applies to daily life. When you are ready to work less and live smarter, our REALTORS® recommend giving your home a smart upgrade. Installing smart home systems is a smart way to start the new year off on the right foot. If you're wondering how to start and what to look for, the following tips and suggestions will help you take the first steps to a more convenient lifestyle.

Consider the Features and Functions

Do you want to listen to the radio, control the thermostat, or enhance your home security? Smart home systems can perform these functions, and much more. Some of the most popular smart home functions we see in Nassau County homes for sale include:

  • Smart Home Assistants
  • Smart Speakers
  • Smart Home Security Systems
  • Smart Thermostats
  • Smart Lighting
  • Smart Doorbells & Door Locks
  • Smart Vacuum Cleaners

Getting started requires first identifying the level of convenience, comfort, and security you want to enjoy. Smart home technology can help you trim your monthly utility bills and reduce your environmental footprint. They can make it easier to entertain guests and enjoy "downtime." They can improve your home security and give you total control over your home even when you're thousands of miles away.

Set a Budget & Choose a Brand

Always buy quality when purchasing a smart home system. Further, choose brands with a solid track record of growth and innovation. This will help ensure the system you choose will still be serviceable in the future. 

Remember, smart home technology is an investment. When you invest in high-quality smart thermostats and home security systems, you're investing in both comfort and safety. Moreover, smart home systems will enhance your home's curb appeal. When you decide to put it on the market, these systems can give you an advantage over a competing property.

Finally, make sure to choose devices that are compatible with one another. This helps maximize the convenience and functionality you can enjoy. It also eliminates the need to learn multiple controls.

Install What You can and Hire the Best for the Rest

Many smart home systems are ready to use right out of the box. However, more advanced systems require customized installation and set up. Thus, you should set up the devices you can (i.e., Amazon or Google speakers) and hire a professional to install and program your Nest thermostat, Nexx garage door opener, home security system, etc. When hiring a contractor to perform these services, make sure that they have specific experience with your system.

Start Small Before You Buy it All

Most homeowners we encounter when showing Suffolk County homes for sale start with one or two systems before adding more smart devices to their home. Most start with speakers and smart lighting as these are easy to install and can help familiarize the family with the best ways to integrate smart home technology into daily life. Once everyone is comfortable, gradually introduce additional systems. 

We recommend staying up-to-date with smart home technology. It's a rapidly evolving field, and the features and functions are rapidly expanding. If you can dream it, you can bet it's on the horizon.

Are you in the market for a new home where you can live smarter and more comfortably in 2021? Contact us, and we will be happy to show you some of the properties we have available. It is our pleasure to help you and your family find the perfect home for a fabulous future.

November
9

5 Tips to Make a Splash in Your Kitchen

Update Kitchen Backsplash - Coach Realtors

Whether you're fully remodeling your kitchen or just giving it a bit of a facelift, choosing the right backsplash is one of the most important decisions in the design process. When showing homes, our real estate agents find that a kitchen's backsplash can have a make-it-or-break-it effect. It might not be a large space we're talking about, but it puts the finishing touches on your new look and ties everything together.

Here are five tips to help you pick the right backsplash for your kitchen.

  1. Try Before You Buy
    How materials and paint colors look in the store, under harsh fluorescent lighting, is one thing; how they'll look in your home is quite another. Never commit to anything before taking samples home with you. Prop the backsplash samples up against your existing backsplash, along with other samples you are considering, and just live with them for a few days. Notice how they look as the lighting in your kitchen changes throughout the day, and how they coordinate with other samples such as paint chips.

  2. Be Practical
    It's natural to want your kitchen to look the best your money can buy, but don't forget to be practical, too. Make choices that will help you stay within budget and also think about your purchases as an investment. What materials will wear the best over time, stay in fashion the longest, be the easiest to clean, and require the least maintenance? For example, some tile is very porous and may be difficult to clean, especially over the stove where grease from cooking is likely to find all the nooks and crannies. And marble, while very attractive, will need to be sealed with special chemicals once a year to maintain its look long term.

  3. Coordinate, Don't Match
    Your backsplash may be an extension of your countertops, but don't make the common mistake of trying to match the two perfectly to one another. Matching makes them blend together, rather than drawing the eye, the way you want to do. Instead, look for something that coordinates with your countertops and other design elements of your kitchen, but stands out a little from the rest.

  4. Choose a Great Grout
    Don't underestimate the importance of grout! Grout does more than just fill the spaces between the tile. A well-chosen grout sets the tile off, showing it to its best advantage. A quality grout is important for a long-lasting quality renovation, of course, but the color of your grout and how well it coordinates with the tile is also important.

  5. Make a Splash
    Most kitchen updates are fairly straightforward. There's not a lot you can do with a kitchen, other than picking out countertops and cabinet colors. Your backsplash is your chance to make a statement! It's a small space, so you can afford to take some risks, especially over the sink and stove, two important focal points in most kitchens. Spring for the better tile or do something a little different, like turning square tile on the diagonal.

The Importance of Kitchen Updates

Most real estate agents agree that the kitchen is one of the top areas of the home to invest in. It's the heart of every home, and everyone loves one that is attractive and well-appointed. If you're interested in listing your house among other Nassau County homes for sale or Suffolk County homes for sale, we can help! Contact us today to start the process.

June
22

Where You Should Put Your Remodeling Dollars?

Remodeling ROI - Sell a Home - Coach Realtors

Everyone wants to live in a beautiful home. Warm weather means that most homeowners are making their way into the home improvement stores and dialing up contractors for those special projects around the house. Whether you plan to spend a little or a lot, our REALTORS® want you to get the most for your investment. Some remodeling projects are worth their weight in gold, while others will return pennies on the dollar. It's important to know which is which before you make your plans.

Golden Opportunities

You'll never get every penny you spend on remodeling back when you put the home on the market. However, the following will give you between 60-70% return. Where these investments are most valuable is in the foot traffic they'll generate from the listing.

  • Update the Kitchen. The kitchen is the heart and hearth of the home. It's a place to gather and relax, to entertain and enjoy the company of family and friends. Thus, it should be comfortable, open, and updated to reflect modern design tastes. Farm sinks, plenty of storage, and stainless steel will go a long way toward attracting the attention of prospective buyers.

  • Give the Master Bedroom a Facelift. The master bedroom is a retreat from work, family, and all the pressures on the other side of the door. Repainting and redecorating can give the bedroom a comfortable, relaxing ambiance.
         
  • Polish the Bathroom. No one wants to take a bath in a dingy, dark, cramped bathroom. updating your bathroom with new tile, updated fixtures, comfortable lighting, and a fresh coat of paint is an investment in your comfort and the home's appeal to prospective buyers.

  • Trim up the Landscape. Landscaping is often overlooked, but the fact is it's the first thing prospective buyers notice. Make sure that your grass is green, your trees are trimmed, and the flower beds look their best. If you don't have a green thumb, hire a professional landscaper to design an easy-to-maintain yard that blends into the neighborhood.

Money Pits to Avoid

  • Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs. These flashy amenities are fun. However, they're expensive to install and costly to maintain. Further, most people don't use them as much as they think they will. Most sellers only recoup a fraction of the installation costs when they sell their home.

  • Special-Purpose Rooms. It's great to have a nursery for your kids, a woodworking room for hobbies, and other special-purpose rooms. However, prospective buyers whose needs/interests don't match yours won't be willing to spend a premium for it; in fact, they'll likely ask for a price reduction so they can renovate it for their own special interests.

  • More Garage Space. Unless you have none or extremely limited garage space, most people are content with a one or two-car garage. At most, you'll get 60% of your investment back when you sell the home.

The Final Rule of Thumb

Whether you plan to spend $1,000 or $50,000 on renovations, one thing every homeowner needs to keep an eye on is the value of real estate in the area. There is no limit to how much you can spend, but there is a limit on what buyers will pay. One of the first things they'll look at is home values in the neighborhood. If your home is $100,000 more than a comparable home for sale down the street, they'll get the contract.

Contact us for more information about remodeling projects we recommend to our clients. It's our pleasure to help you choose upgrades and features that will stand out in the market. 

May
18

How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary

Create a Sanctuary - Homeowners - Coach Realtors

While a vacation or retreat are excellent ways to de-stress and reconnect with your family, sometimes it's not possible to get away. Ensure that your time at home is at pleasant as possible by turning your home into a sanctuary. Our REALTORS® also find that peaceful properties are attractive to potential homebuyers. Check out a few simple tricks to make your home your own personal sanctuary.

  1. Use Music to Add Ambiance
    Add ambiance to your home in minutes with music. A catchy tune can quickly lift your mood or give you a surge of energy. Make it as convenient as possible to turn your music on and off by using your home assistant to control your playlist.

  2. Create a Nook for Your Hobbies
    Your home should feel like a safe haven after a stressful day. Carving out a chunk of time for one of your hobbies is a fantastic way to relax and recharge. However, don't waste time gathering supplies and finding a clear spot at your kitchen table.

    Instead, set up a permanent nook to enjoy your hobby. Use a spare corner or closet to set up a desk if your hobby involves crafting or writing, or position a cozy chair and storage basket close to a window if you like to knit or read. Or, if you need a little more space for woodworking or painting, set up a studio in your basement or garage.

  3. Remove Items That Don't Enrich Your Life 
    If your home feels stressful and you can't figure out why, start by getting rid of all your clutter and any items that don't enrich your life. Decluttering may feel overwhelming if you have a lot of overflowing spaces. Break the decluttering process into sections and start with one room or category of items (like clothing or paperwork) at a time. 

    Trash anything you don't use, that you don't wear, or that you just don't enjoy seeing. Make sure that every remaining item has a home, and see that your family understands where items are supposed to go.

  4. Get Rid of Stressful Reminders
    In many households, it's common to stick a bill or appointment reminder to your fridge or display board so you don't forget about it. However, seeing these items every time you walk into the room will make the space feel like anything but a sanctuary.

    File these items away in your planner or household binder. Replace them with photos or charming magnets that make you happy.

  5. Embrace Natural Light
    Give any room a quick pick-me-up by bathing it in natural light. Open the blinds or drapes and move any furniture that is blocking the light. The room will instantly feel more peaceful.

  6. Give Your Home a Signature Scent
    A pleasant spot has to have a delightful scent. Use candles, essential oils, or a diffuser to give your home a scent that welcomes you the moment you step through the door. When you smell that signature scent, this signals that you've arrived at your sanctuary. 

Concerned that your home isn't right for your needs? Contact us to explore other properties!

February
24

5 Ways to Make Better Use of Your Basement

Basement Updates - Sell a Home - Coach Realtors

Our REALTORS® around Long Island know it's those finishing touches that help sell a home. You may have everything going for you — great location, reasonable price, and good southern or eastern light — but a glimpse of the basement could be sending potential buyers elsewhere.

While the current state of your basement may turn off potential buyers, the good news is that it's not that hard to transform it from an eyesore to a major selling point. Even if your home's not on the market and you just want to enjoy some extra space in your basement, it probably won't take that much effort to make things livable and lovable downstairs. 

Here are some tips to start you thinking about your basement as a blank canvas where you can make your artistic vision take form.

  1. Clean and Organize
    If you use your basement for storage, that's fine — but just make sure everything looks spic and span. Remove clutter, getting rid of everything you don't need. Organize tools, supplies, whatever, in plastic bins and stack and store on shelves against the wall.

    Take steps to remove any dank or pet odors. A hint of mold can make your basement tough to hang out in, no matter how you pretty it up. Fix leaks or other conditions leading to dampness, then scrub away. You may have to add a portable dehumidifier to dry things out, or a fan to circulate the air. Some kind of exhaust ventilation may be called for. A word of caution: Go easy on the air fresheners. Strong fragrances used to cover up pet or other odors are usually a red flag to buyers.

  2. Let There Be Light
    Lack of lighting and limited electrical outlets can present one of the greatest challenges in an unfinished basement. Lighten things up with several strands of industrial string lights — just one outlet needed.

    You can also clean out window wells, washing those basement windows thoroughly! Take curtains down to let in natural light.

    If there are no windows, try brightening up the space with strategically placed lamps, or you may even want to spring for recessed lighting. Light blue hues in the decor can help compensate for low lighting; light-colored window treatments and walls can also chase away the dark.

  3. New Perspective on Flooring
    Get a new perspective by changing up your basement's floor. If you have concrete floors, consider painting them in a pleasing, light-reflective color. Want to turn your basement into an exercise room? Try adding square-cut foam floor mats, mixing and matching colors and patterns. Colorful rugs or even carpeting the floors can go a long way in helping to make the space more inviting.

  4. Multipurpose the Basement
    Although your basement may be dedicated to storage and utility purposes, you can still use the rest of the space for other fun purposes. A curtain or partition can block off the appliances (be careful not to interrupt airflow), so you can consider these uses:

    • Wet bar
    • Playroom
    • Entertainment center
    • Workout room
    • Workshop
    • Guest room
    • Art studio

  5. Finishing Touches
    Even if your basement is mostly utilitarian, you can add little touches that make it warmer and cozier. A rug in front of the washer and dryer, painted rafters or cinder block walls, or new liner paper on the shelves show love and care, inviting others into the space.

Our agents can advise you on all the right moves to stage your home, including sprucing up the basement. Contact us today.

February
10

Organizational Advantages for Sellers

Organizing to Sell - Coach Realtors

Whether you're organizing a home to sell or to live in, the principles and methods are the same. The difference lies in the ultimate goal. Lived-in homes revolve around the ease of daily functionality, while homes for sale should strike a balance between cluttered and homey vs. empty and cold.

As a bonus, careful organization makes the move-out much easier. Our REALTORS® share their favorite organizing tips along with some great local sources for storage solutions.

  • Have a Game Plan
    During the selling process, your timetable takes a back seat to buyers' convenience. They're not going to care that you were too busy to clean. Create a specific to-do list and block out time in your schedule to get it done.

  • Edit Closets, Shelves, and Cabinets
    While stuffing things out of sight may work when you're expecting dinner guests, cluttered cabinets and closets give buyers the impression that the home lacks adequate storage space. Experts recommend removing half of the items in closets and cabinets and two-thirds of the items on shelves.

  • De-Personalize
    Family photos, sports memorabilia, and other personal items serve as constant reminders to buyers that they're touring another family's home. Pack them away and use neutral artwork and accessories to add style that's discreet, not distracting.

  • Keep the Move in Mind
    As you declutter, don't simply store the items away. From clothing and kitchen utensils to linens and toys, use this opportunity to get rid of any items you don't want or need in the new home. Sell, donate, or toss appropriately.

  • Don't Forget the Basement and Garage
    Has your two-car garage evolved into a one-car garage/workroom? Do old toys go to the basement to die? Don't assume a buyer will have the same usage for these areas. Clear out and organize basements and garages so they appear spacious and functional.

  • Phone a Friend
    Emotions and sentiment can blur the best intentions. Enlist an honest friend to walk with you room-by-room and use a buyer's eye to point out areas for improvement.

Need some direction? Get inspiration at these top organizing and space management stores.

  • The Container Store - 902 Old Country Road, Garden City, NY 11530
    Are you looking for DIY storage accessories or seeking professional advice on a total closet remodel? The Container Store has a wide range of solutions for organizing Garden City homes for sale. The store is open 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily except 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday.

  • California Closets - 25 Northern Blvd. Suite #3, Greenvale, NY 11548
    When it comes to home storage solutions, more than 30 years of success has turned California Closets into a household name. Visit their showroom among Nassau County homes for sale and interact directly with their life-size displays to get ideas and find the system that works best for your home. California Closets is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of selling your Nassau County home? Put your mind to rest and contact us so we can handle the tough stuff.

January
6

These 5 Smart Home Updates Can Help Sell Your House

Smart Home Upgrades - Coach Realtors

Television used to tell us what a smart home would look like: talking assistants, automatic stoves, voice-operated music, and motion-sensing lighting. While our current homes may not be quite how Hollywood envisioned, many of these items are actually available today to upgrade your smart home environment—and buyers want them.

Our REALTORS® are here to help you discover five smart home updates that can help your home sell in 2020.

  • Video Doorbells
    There are multiple brands of video doorbells on the market now, and these tiny powerhouses of security can often be found on sale or special promotion. These digital doorbell/security systems are in-demand for homebuyers and even considered standard in many markets. A good video doorbell will allow a homeowner to remotely interact with a package person, record and sense motion near your entry day and night, and allow you to view and upload suspicious videos to a cloud community or police report.

  • Smart Light Bulbs
    Smart light bulbs can be installed in most standard lighting around your home and then connected to a phone app or smart assistants like Alexa or Siri. Smart bulbs are in demand for energy savings. Potential homeowners want to program their lighting when away from home or in rooms when they sleep. These high-tech bulbs can change hue for softer or brighter lighting depending on the weather, and many have mood or color settings too.

  • Motorized Blinds or Shades
    This is one of those purchases that can definitely help your home stand out from the crowd. A high tech feel, smart sun protection will definitely create a modern vibe—and this option is energy-saving too. Block the damaging sun from your windows during peak times for high heat or add privacy and insulation during the cold winter evenings. Sometimes smart technology can be both fun and functional.

  • Intelligent Alarms
    Home safety is always a huge selling point. Not only will your potential buyers feel more at ease when making a purchase, but you can showcase the savings they might get in a home insurance policy. Protection systems can link together multiple smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to better pinpoint danger situations in your home. Get alerts on your phone even when you aren't around and avoid chirps from low batteries with more courteous digital reminders.

  • Smart Ceiling Fans
    Imagine a ceiling fan that knows when you're sleeping. That's exactly how high-tech some of these devices are, helping to cool your room to optimum white noise or sleeping temperature in your bedroom. A smart ceiling fan will know to increase it's speed if the afternoon heat is affecting things or reduce use without movement for that spare guest room. Your buyers will be wowed by the tech and wooed by the comfort.

If you are looking to make smart home upgrades before selling, then contact us today to let your area expert agents help you find the best value. We're here to help sell your home.

November
25

Selling to Millennials: Unnecessary Upgrades and Welcome Features

Selling to Millennials - Coach REALTORS

Every seller wants their home to be the one buyers can't wait to make an offer on. Often that means making some improvements before you sell. Some upgrades and features are better than others, and ideally, you'll want to focus on the ones that will actually help sell your home.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® millennials now comprise 37% of buyers, the largest segment of the market for any generation. So it makes sense that some or all of the home improvements you make before selling should appeal to them. Our REALTORS® can offer some advice about what today's buyers really want.

In-Demand Home Features

  • Green building materials and energy efficiency
    This feature is important, so when making home improvements, materials like low VOC paint, sustainably sourced flooring, energy-efficient windows, and programmable thermostats are all appreciated.

  • Move-in ready and low maintenance
    Millennials aren't big on buying fixer-uppers or home maintenance. They want move-in ready. Low maintenance is a necessity for today's busy lifestyles. The reality is many buyers want to spend as little time as possible on home maintenance. Making sure your home looks well cared for, immaculately clean, and in good enough shape that major repairs aren't looming on the horizon will go a long way with buyers.

  • Greenspace
    A yard seems to top everyone's list of most-wanted home features. That goes double for millennials since many of them are pet owners, and they're raising families. Some green space for pets and kids to play and entertaining guests is a must.

  • Smart home features
    Smart thermostats, automated blinds, doorbell cams, security systems, and smart light bulbs are just a few of the possibilities. Hubs that can control a whole home automation system and monitor indoor conditions are popular features too.

Unpopular Upgrades

  • Over the top landscaping
    While millennials appreciate having some greenspace, they don't want excessively landscaped areas that require lots of maintenance. Maximize your lawn space and make sure to use plants that require little upkeep.

  • Formal dining rooms
    Formal dining rooms aren't seen as a necessity, even for families. More informal dining options are popular, such as a kitchen island with bar stools, a breakfast nook, or an eat-in area in the kitchen.

  • Closed off rooms with designated uses
    Open spaces with multi-function rooms offer lots of flexibility that can apply to many different lifestyles, making your home as appealing as possible to as many buyers as possible.

  • New carpet
    It can be fine in bedrooms, but in general, today's buyers prefer other types of flooring. Lower maintenance and more pet-friendly options such as engineered hardwood, laminate, and even some types of tile are great choices if you're looking to replace flooring before you sell.

Getting your home sold is much easier when you willing to pay attention to the features buyers really want. And things are even easier when you have the right real estate agent on your side. Coach REALTORS® can answer your questions and help get you with selling your home or buying your next one. Contact us today to get started.  

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 07/05/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 07/05/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of OneKey MLS (last updated Tue 07/05/2022 9:12:07 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coach Realtors may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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