Tis the season for outdoor entertaining!

Beautiful Outdoor Kitchen Ideas for Summer

Freshome

Summer is almost here! It’s time for cookouts, BBQ’s and outdoor entertaining.  But outdoor parties can become tedious with all that running back and forth, inside and out with serving dishes and food.

The solution: Outdoor kitchens. They allow us to navigate backyard entertaining without all the fuss, avoiding the running back and forth from indoor stove to outdoor guests.  Here are some must-have outdoor kitchen ideas to help you create your very own outdoor cooking oasis:

Go modern

Outdoor kitchens can match your modern home. In other words, the outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be ‘kitchy’ and filled with cute Kiss the Cook aprons, rather it can be sleek and modern to match your style.

modern outdoor kitchen patio

Outdoor kitchen storage

Just like our indoor kitchens, our outdoor kitchens require ample cupboard space. When designing your outdoor space, make sure to include plenty of cabinets and storage solutions. Stainless steel cabinets are ideal for outdoor kitchens.

How to keep Halloween from being scary for your home too…

Home Insurance Loopholes Can Leave You Howling on Halloween

traditional brick colonial...
ShutterstockAre you covered if a trick-or-treater trips over a Halloween decoration in your walkway or is singed by a jack-o-lantern.

The following post is by BrightNest:

In one month, ghouls, goblins and The Little Mermaid will be at your front door. Are you prepared?
We aren’t talking candy-bought, decorations-up prepared. We mean, what happens if Glenda the Good Witch breaks her arm or your house is egged? Are you covered for that? Or will a night of tricks and treats become an expensive horror?

Note: Not all insurance policies are created equal! The following guidelines are standard, but there are exceptions. It’s important to get to know your insurance policy before you have to file a claim.
Here are three possible Halloween problems, and the skinny on what is and isn’t covered by a typical policy.

Trick-or-Treater Slips and Falls: Trick-or-treating can be really exciting! So exciting that little kids run and trip. And fall. Fortunately, most homeowner policies provide liability coverage if someone is injured

If you had a bonfire in your living room, that’s negligence. If you’re planning an ambitious flame display this year, check with your insurance company to determine how they define “negligence.”

on your property. The standard amount per occurrence is $100,000, but you may be able to increase this amount depending on your policy.

Tip: To prevent this from happening, it’s important to prepare your house for Halloween! Plenty of lights and a clear walkway will decrease the likelihood of an accident.

The Potential Loophole: If you’re sued because of the accident, your policy may also pay to defend you in court. But keep in mind that you’re typically only covered for negligence. You aren’t covered for intentional injuries — meaning if little Glenda the Good Witch hurts little Kevin the cowboy, you won’t be covered!

Jack-o-Lantern Catches Fire: Do you light your jack-o-lantern with a candle? If so, you’re not alone. Over the last three years, an average of 15,500 fires per year were caused by an open-flamed jack-o-lantern, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Fortunately, most homeowner policies cover fire from a lit candle or a string of decorative electrical lights. If the fire displaces your family, insurance will typically cover the cost of additional living expenses.

The Potential Loophole: Coverage may be limited due to “negligence” depending on the origin of the fire — for example, if you had a bonfire in your living room, that’s negligence. If you’re planning an ambitious flame display this year, check with your insurance company to determine how they define “negligence.”

“Tricks” Dent Your Siding: For the most part, “trick-or-treat” is heavy on the treat part. But, not always. Sometimes, tricks happen, too. And next thing you know, your house is egged (or worse), and there’s damage to your siding!

If this happens to you, it’s considered vandalism under most standard insurance policies, which means you will be protected. If the repair cost exceeds your deductible for vandalism, the insurance company will cover the repairs. If you’re concerned about any mischief on Halloween, double-check your homeowners insurance policy to make sure vandalism is covered.

Spoiler alert! Multiple offers are back in a BIG WAY this summer!

6 Seller Secrets for This Summer’s Real Estate Market

Michael Corbett | Huffington Post | May 5, 2014 | link

Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone — and whether it’s going to be a sellers’ market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers’ market with tons of choices and low prices — there’s no denying that the 2014 housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you’re thinking of listing your home, that’s an important question.

Here are six market insights that will give you a head start!

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Right Now = A Great Time To Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there’s pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.

Know Your Numbers: 60 percent
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will help your chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.

Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally — and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area, and recency matters: make sure you’re looking back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).

Bidding Wars Aren’t Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we’re hearing less about them right now. So don’t bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that you’ll still get the one that will be a win/win for both you and the buyer.

Read more…

The best stocking stuffer this season? A new home!

Making the Most of Your Buyers’ Winter Search

Daily Real Estate News |  December 03, 2013 | link

The holidays are the perfect time of year for some home buyers to purchase a house and snag a great year-end deal — but limited inventory may be the Scrooge.

After a challenging home-buying season in the spring and summer, many buyers say they plan to reignite their home search during the winter, according to a recent realtor.com® survey. They’re hoping for less competition from all-cash buyers and fewer bidding wars during that time.

However, winter often brings about limited inventories of homes for sale, so buyers will likely find fewer choices. It seems that buyers expect that: 45 percent of those surveyed in the realtor.com® Winter Home Buyer Report say they believe they’ll be up against inventory challenges again during the winter months.

Some real estate agents are grappling with that issue by finding homes that aren’t officially on the market to increase their buyers’ choices. They are even drumming up “old expires” — homes that were listed several years ago but never sold — to see if the owner will reconsider selling. Some brokers are also sending letters to home owners in their buyer’s preferred neighborhood to motivate a home owner to consider selling.

Read more…