Five Secret Weapons for DIY Projects

Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home. 

 1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.

 2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.

 3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.

 4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.

 5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

Negotiating Tactics That Can Kill a Sale

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

 1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.

 2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.

 3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.

 4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.

 5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

6. Not having a Yancey Realty agent on your side!: Our agents are expert negotiators, and have extensive knowledge of the Charlotte area and market. We have the resources to find comparable homes and past sales to best align you with the current market depending on the zip code, neighborhood or area you’re looking in. Give us a call today at 704.467.8877!

Ideas for Accent Walls

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall
You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Interesting textures
Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Patterns, murals, and more
Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.


5 Interior Paint Colors For 2019

As a homeowner, you may find yourself getting the itch to mix things up. There are so many options for revamping your home, ranging from remodeling to purchasing a new accent chair. However, if you aren’t quite ready to make a big investment, one of the most cost-effective, do-it-yourself options is to give your home a new coat of paint!

Once you’ve decided to jump into your new project, you’ll need to pick your colors. With so many choices out there, how will you decide? Here are a few unique recommendations for 2019 that we love!

  1. Coral. This warm, lively color adds a fresh pop of color to any room and can be paired with gold accent décor, other warm colors like golden yellow, or even other tones of pink.
  2. Gray-Blue. Going for a soothing feel that is still unique in nature? Gray-blue is a calming hue that is not overpowering. Try introducing navy, silver, or dark wood accents that complement the color.
  3. Clay. Create a room inspired by nature by using clay-colored paint for an accent wall. Then bring in tan furniture, live plants, and natural green-colored décor to round out the room. 
  4. Hunter Green. Deep green tones are a popular trend because, like clay, it helps bring the outdoors in. The color is gender neutral and pairs well with various metal accents and a large spectrum of other colors, such as blues, yellows, and purples.
  5. Teal. This out-of-the-box hue is a great color choice for a bathroom or bedroom. The cool tone inspires relaxation and pairs great with light brown or pink for a softer look or black or navy blue for a crisp take.

How to Decide if it’s Time to Replace Your Windows…And Where to Get Started!

Before you dive into replacing your windows, the first step is to carefully evaluate the pros and cons. Replacing your windows is no small investment. The average cost to replace the windows in a home is in the five-figure range. Even if replacing your windows results in huge energy savings, it can take years and years for the investment to pay off.

If you’re truly ready to replace them—whether it’s for energy and comfort, an aesthetic upgrade, or your current windows are simply beyond repair—here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pick the right materials
Window materials include vinyl, fiberglass, composite, wood, and aluminum. There are several factors that should go into deciding on the best material for your home, such as durability, energy efficiency, maintenance requirements, and even the style of your home. Some materials look great on one architectural style, but totally clash with others.

Carefully consider add-on features
Beyond choosing a window material and style, you’ll face another series of choices for add-on features. There are impact-resistant windows, extra panes, gas-filled windows, climate control coatings, and more. Most add-ons will significantly increase the price for each window, and in many instances, the long-term savings don’t justify the extra cost. Do the math and consider how long it will take for the extra features to pay for themselves.

New Homeowner? Avoid These Lawn Care Mistakes

It’s easy to take a few missteps when it comes to lawn care, especially if you’re a new homeowner and it’s your first time being solely responsible for your yard and landscaping. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid lawn-related frustrations.

Cutting the grass short. Lowering the height of your mower blades may give you a few extra days between each mowing, but it’s bad for your grass in the long run. Don’t go any shorter than 2.5 inches, or your grass could be starved for sunlight.

Watch where your dog urinates. Finally out of an apartment and ready to let the dog into the back yard when it’s time to go? You might regret it. Your pets’ urine can kill your plants and grass. Try to train your dog to go in one spot, preferably in stone or gravel.

Be careful with fertilizer. Fertilizing your lawn isn’t as simple as picking up any bag at a local store. Choosing the wrong fertilizer, using too much, or ignoring the instructions is a recipe for disaster. Do plenty of research or ask a professional if you need help choosing.

Give your plants room to breathe. The nutrients in soil are a finite resource, and your plants and shrubs also need their fair share of water and sunlight. If you plant your shrubs, trees, and flowers too close together, they’ll have to compete for those resources and may become malnourished. Pay attention to the planting recommendations for each plant to make sure that they have the proper space to thrive.

Hidden Renovation Costs

Renovations never seem to go as planned. There’s always a cost you didn’t anticipate, or a problem that didn’t reveal itself until the project was underway. Here are five common costs to look out for.

 1. Higher utility bills: If contractors and builders are working in your home all day, there’s a good chance they’re constantly walking in and out the exterior doors. That wreaks havoc on your heating/cooling efficiency, so watch out for higher utility bills.

 2. Movers: It’s pretty hard to renovate a fully furnished home. You may be able to move and store most of your furniture yourself, but homeowners often have bigger pieces that require some hired help.

 3. Food: If your kitchen is being torn apart, preparing meals becomes a lot more difficult. You may be able to keep your food budget steady by switching to meals that don’t require counter space, the stove, or the oven, but don’t be surprised if you end up dining out more often.

 4. A few nights in a hotel: Depending on your renovation, there may be some nights where sleeping in your home isn’t practical, or you just need a mental break from the mess. Budget for a few nights at a hotel … or just schedule your family vacation for the worst part of the renovation.

 5. Deep cleaning: It’s one thing to clean and maintain your home after a typical week or two of living. It’s entirely different to clean up after a construction project, as sawdust and other debris can get in every nook and cranny. It may be worth your sanity to just hire cleaners.

From Decorating to Staging

There is a difference between the two—here’s how to get your home ready to sell.

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, you’re looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging.

At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn’t actually mean anything. Isn’t staging just decorating? Well, not exactly …

Appeal to the masses
Your home is likely decorated to your tastes. It could be colorful and eclectic, or rugged and industrial. But when you’re staging your home, rather than appealing to a specific decorating sense, you want to furnish your home in a way that appeals to everyone—and more importantly, doesn’t turn anyone off who just isn’t into your personal style.

Tone down the personal flourishes
Buyers want to be able see themselves in a home and imagine how they’d make it their own. Unfortunately, that means less of your own style as you’re preparing for your move. Cut down on family photos, bold artwork, and unusual furniture. Do some major decluttering so the buyer can see all the space and storage opportunities. It may be sad to start removing the items that make your house a home, but it’s an important part of the process.

Mass appeal doesn’t mean “boring”
Your staged home can still be colorful, just stay away from extremes. If you paint, stick to whites, grays, or neutrals. Add flourishes of color with window treatments or accent furniture, but try to choose items that will appeal to both genders.

Call a pro
There are likely several staging companies in your area. If you need a recommendation, reach out to your trusted real estate professional.

Open House Alternative: The Broker’s Open House!

You’re probably familiar with the traditional open house, where your real estate agent hosts an open house at your property for a few hours on the weekend, allowing prospective buyers and passersby to see the place in person.

But there’s a different kind of open house, and it can be a valuable tool for selling your home: The Broker’s Open House.

At a Broker’s Open House, your real estate agent invites other agents and industry contacts to the property, so they can view it and see if it’s right for the buyer clients they’re working with. Rather than the typical weekend hours, a Broker’s Open House is usually held during weekdays, since there’s no need to plan for buyers’ usual weekend house hunting tours, and weekdays often work better for agents’ schedules.

The event itself isn’t much different from a typical open house. Your agent will play host for a few hours, showing other real estate professionals around the property. The difference is that a Broker’s Open House can give your property more exposure—each agent at the open house can then pass along their opinion to their buyer clients.

A Broker’s Open House cuts down on the window shoppers who might not actually be in the market, so you’ll have fewer strangers wandering through your home—everyone who steps foot inside will likely be in the real state business, so it’s a more professional setting.

Big Ideas For Small Spaces

Smaller rooms can be difficult to decorate, because if you don’t know a few important tricks, the space can end up feeling a little claustrophobic. Here’s how you can keep a room feeling airy and spacious, even if it’s just a studio apartment or an attic.

Breathing room
Your first inclination might be to arrange all your furniture flush against the walls. Though this may add a little extra room to move through the room, it’ll make everything feel more crowded and congested. Instead, try arranging items at an angle, or pull them six inches away from the wall.

Mirrors and strategic colors
Dark paint will make the room feel smaller. Instead, opt for whites, light grays, and other light colors. A well-placed mirror will also expand the room’s appearance—think of the times you’ve been in a restaurant and a mirror made the space look twice as large.

Multi-purpose items
Look for storage everywhere—you can keep books and DVDs inside an ottoman, or store blankets in a bench or hollow coffee table. If you don’t have room for a dining table, you can invest in a coffee table with a pop-up section.

Raise your window treatments
It’s common to hang your curtain rods just a few inches above your windows, but to make the ceilings appear taller, you can hang them just a few inches below the ceiling. It can have a dramatic effect.

Swap out the sofa
The sofa is likely the biggest, most unwieldy item in your living room. What if you swapped it out for a settee or a pair of comfortable chairs? You won’t lose much in functional seating, but you’ll gain some precious space and room for foot traffic.