The Liz Moore Market Watch Blog

Design Trends: Outdoor Kitchens

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 @ 03:25 PM

Capture-14Grilling is great but preparing and cooking your entire meal outdoors is even better! Outdoor kitchens are trending, here's what you need to know to create an outdoor kitchen of your own.

Outdoor kitchens are growing in popularity as homeowners seek to add value to their homes by creating more functional space, like an outdoor kitchen. Kitchens have become the hub of the home and outdoor kitchens are an extension of that trend where the family can gather outdoors.

Outdoor kitchens allow for prepping, cooking, enjoying, and cleaning up to happen in one place outdoors, no more trips back and forth from the kitchen to the patio. With outdoor kitchens, everything you need is outside, so you can enjoy your gathering as much as everyone else is.

Cooking outdoors also reduces the heat indoors. Stovetops and ovens can make your home uncomfortably warm and make your air conditioning system work even harder. Shifting some meals to outdoor kitchens allows for lower cooling costs and increased comfort in your home.

Some kitchen features are easier to add to outdoor kitchens than they would be to an interior kitchen. If water features, fire pits, or even a pizza/baking oven are things you'd like to enjoy, your best bet is putting them outdoors.

Outdoor kitchens can include elements like grills, side burners, sinks, refrigerators, food prep stations and counters, drawers and storage spaces, griddles, bar and beverage centers, trash and towel drawers, vent hoods, stone ovens, and more.

Traditional outdoor kitchens are comprised of a masonry base tied in to the style and exterior of your home with either brick or stone.

Contemporary outdoor kitchens are characterized by sleek lines and polished finishes like granite and stainless steel.

Whatever your style and preference, there are endless options to customize your outdoor kitchen and make this extension of your home your new favorite spot.

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Tags: Sellers, buyer

Landscaping Tips and Tricks

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 @ 02:40 PM

irene-davila-198059-unsplashWhether moving into a new home, selling your home, or maintaining your existing home, landscaping can add wow-factor and curb appeal to every home.  It can often be overwhelming and confusing, so we’ve outlined a few tips and tricks from the pros.

Start with a plan

Create a drawing of your yard and plot out your master plan for your landscape.  This may look intimidating, but just work in phases or sections focusing on small projects that are part of a bigger picture.  This will help keep your budget in check and keep the project moving along as well as provide you with a sense of accomplishment and confidence.

So how do you design your landscape?

Make a list

Before designing your landscape, consider a few questions- Do you have children that will play in your backyard and how much space do they need?  Do you want to grow vegetables or fruit?  How much time and motivation do you have to devote to maintenance?  Do you have rabbits or deer that are eager to munch on your new landscape? Answering these questions first will help you define your needs and wants in a practical way, and second help you select plants and flowers that will perform best in your yard.

Study the natural lighting

It’s important to know how much sun the area you’re landscaping gets, and not only how much, but what time of day the sun is on that area.  Many plants and flowers have very specific sunlight needs and tolerances that must be taken into account when designing your landscaping.  For example, afternoon sun is much hotter and tougher on plants and flowers than morning sun.  If you have an area that gets afternoon sun, it would be wise to choose heat-tolerant flowers like hibiscus and lantana, these will tolerate high temperatures and dry conditions while still providing vibrant color.

Study the wind

Wind whistling around the corner of your home will quickly extinguish a fire pit.  By studying your landscape’s wind patterns you can decide the best place for your fire pit or outdoor fireplace if you choose to include one.

Design around a focal point

Any good garden design has a focal point, or series of focal points, whether it’s a statue, fountain, fire pit, stunning tree, or beautiful series of shrubs or flowers.  The point is to draw the eye and move it through the landscape design.

Scale and pace

This is the most difficult element in landscaping design, but scale and pace give your landscape a cohesive look.  Using variations in size, shape and color will lead people through the space.  Place tall plants and shrubs in the back or up against a building, and then medium size, and finally ground cover in the front.  Repeat some elements, whether it’s a certain plant, common color, or shape, to add a sense of cohesion.  But to avoid monotony, add an occasional element that’s different but still complements.  

Design for all seasons

When planning your landscape, include elements that will wow in various seasons, so your landscape always looks appealing.  For example, include perennials like an evergreen that produces berries in winter along with spring blooming bulbs and summer blooming bushes paired with inexpensive annuals for every season.  This is a great way to ensure there is always something beautiful in your landscape.

Get Edgy

Edging creates a defined, finished look to your landscaping including your flower beds, driveways and walkways.  You can use brick, stone, or natural material like plants.  Natural edges are especially beautiful and form the lowest tier of your landscaping design.  Low-maintenance perennial plants are ideal for this job like hostas or annuals like impatiens in shady spots, or perennial yellow alyssum flowers or annual zinnias in full sun locations.

The art of the disguise

Design ways to hide your AC unit and trash cans.  These things are necessary but can be quite the eyesore.  Build lattice around your unit or cans and have ivy or climbing summer blooms like clematis or mandevilla decorate it, or plant shrubs to hide both.

Make paths for high traffic

Pavers, gravel, pebbles, bricks, and more material are popular choices to build pathways through your landscape for high traffic areas.  This will protect your lawn and add visual interest at the same time.

Light it up

Landscape lighting is aesthetically pleasing as well as a safety feature making sure paths and features are visible after sunset.  Twinkle lights in trellises or strung in ornamental trees can add beauty and whimsy, while path lighting leads the eye through the landscape and has many designs and options to choose from including solar lights!

The most important thing to remember is to be patient and flexible.  Your landscape project is not a 3-day HGTV makeover, those shows have crews of 60 or more skilled workers and professional designers with years of experience.  Take it slow and accept that some changes might need to be made season to season and year to year until you get your landscape just right.  It’s a process, get outside and enjoy it!

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Tags: Sellers, buyer

10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR, Part 10: Why?

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 @ 02:33 PM

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By Liz Moore

Hiring the right real estate professional is probably the single most important decision you’ll make when you put your home on the market for sale. I recommend interviewing a few agents from different firms before making a choice. There are 10 questions you should ask before you hire a real estate agent - part 10: why?

Question 10: Why should I list with you?

In most real estate markets, only a small percentage of agents sell more than 4 or 5 homes per year. While experience isn’t the ONLY key to a great agent, it is important. Your agent should be committed to real estate as a full-time career, be responsive, and care about your objectives in the transaction. A good agent will ask you what is most important to you. In addition to understanding the market, and having a strong marketing strategy for your home, a great agent is also a skilled negotiator, and will protect your bottom line throughout the transaction.

Are you are thinking about about selling your home?  Download our eBook, "10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR®".

Download 10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR

Tags: Sellers, relo-peninsula-news, relo-williamsburg-news, relo-richmond-news

10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR, Part 9: Your Company

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 @ 02:36 PM

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By Liz Moore

Hiring the right real estate professional is probably the single most important decision you’ll make when you put your home on the market for sale. I recommend interviewing a few agents from different firms before making a choice. There are 10 questions you should ask before you hire a real estate agent - part 9: your company!

Question 9: What is different about your company?

There are hundreds of agencies in the market, but only a handful control the majority of the sales. There is a reason for that. Your agent should be able to demonstrate a competitive advantage for their firm. If they can’t, you should question whether or not they will be able to differentiate your listing from the sea of competition.

Our firm’s tagline is “real estate reinvented” and we understand how to market unique competitive advantage. Our legendary No Surprises program empowers our clients with knowledge sooner in the process by providing them with pre-listing appraisals and home inspections. Knowledge is power, and in this case not only creates peace of mind but a true negotiating edge.

Are you are thinking about about selling your home?  Download our eBook, "10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR®".

Download 10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR

Tags: Sellers

Decluttering 101

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 @ 03:17 PM

bench-accounting-49909-unsplashHome staging is one of the most powerful ways to help buyers imagine themselves in your home and make them want to buy it. Decluttering is the first, and most important step, in home staging. Removing clutter
allows buyers to see the structure and space of your home.

Sentimentality can be a powerful disincentive to declutter. You might feel guilty packing away your grandmother's china, or your budding Picasso’s finger paintings, but doing so allows your home to really be seen. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in your home, with their furniture and their belongings, and if too many of your things fill their field of vision, they might not be able to see their life there and they might walk away.

Decluttering can be overwhelming, so we’ve broken it down and provided some helpful tips.

Study your entire house.
Go room-by-room, starting with the entryway. Try and view each room for the first time with a stranger’s eyes. Notice anything that sticks out? Try and make each room resemble a neatly organized, clean hotel. Taking it little by little makes the task more manageable rather than trying to tackle the entire house at once.

Making piles is very helpful.
As you go through each room, make a stack of items to keep, one to donate, one to sell, and one to pack
away. Evaluate the value, need, use, and sentimentality of every item, place it in one of the piles, and move on. This organized approach can make the task easier.

Creating a spreadsheet can also help.
Each room will have different needs. Upon evaluation, you might find one room needs new paint, while another needs shelving for organization, and another needs boxes to pack excess items away. Organizing these tasks and needs into a spreadsheet can help prioritize expenses and improvements.

Emptying closets makes a difference.
Closets often become catchalls and graveyards; when homeowners don't know what to do with something they often stash it in a closet and it becomes forgotten with the out-of-sight out-of mind mentality. A good rule of thumb is discarding anything you haven'’t worn in the last year. Studies show we only really wear about 20 percent of our clothes and that extra space will make your closets look bigger and more attractive to buyers.

Clearing off countertops and bookcases creates clean, visual lines and neutral style, allowing your home, and not your stuff, to shine. A few well-placed home décor items can add sparkle to the space. Home stagers follow a “rule of three” for clustering items into small groups to create visual interest but not distract from the room.

Purge attics, basements, and garages of clutter. These storage spaces often don’t get much attention and quickly become cluttered, unorganized and untidy. Arranging items by type or holiday into clear, labeled tubs can help keep the space looking nice and neat while keeping you organized. It also helps potential buyers see all of the storage space your home offers.

Make sure your bathrooms are spotless.
Not every house has a luxurious spa, but by cleaning your grout, tile, toilets and showers you can help your
bathroom shine. Clearing off vanities and cleaning out drawers, cabinets, and medicine cabinets can help buyers see the storage your bathroom offers and help them imagine their toothbrush by your sink.

Unfortunately, our homes can become cluttered on the outside as well as the inside. Check around your home's exterior for outdoor toys, decorations, and natural clutter like leaves, branches, etc. This is also a great time to evaluate your home's overall curb appeal and make sure your home is making a good first impression. Lawns, shrubs, trees, and flower gardens should all be kept trimmed and tidy.

You have loved your home and worked hard to maintain it, you want that care and maintenance to show. By removing unnecessary items, you allow your home to shine and make the great first impression needed to impress buyers.

Click below to download our full Homeowner Staging Checklist and get your home ready to win both the beauty contest and the price war!

Download our Home Staging Checklist

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Tags: Sellers

10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR, Part 8: Online and Print Promotion

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Fri, Apr 06, 2018 @ 02:00 PM

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By Liz Moore

Hiring the right real estate professional is probably the single most important decision you’ll make when you put your home on the market for sale. I recommend interviewing a few agents from different firms before making a choice. There are 10 questions you should ask before you hire a real estate agent - part 8: online and print promotion!

Question 8: How will my listing be presented online and in print?

With 99+% of buyers searching online, how your listing is presented online is critical. Each listing should have its own website, with lots of high quality photography showing off the home’s best features. An agent who employs video and 3D technology such as matterport is an agent who understands the value of rankings in google, and will be able to create wide exposure for their listings well beyond an average agent.

Copy should be thoughtful (as opposed to “3 BR 2 BA + FROG”), and tell your home’s story in a compelling way so that buyers want to see it. Marketing materials should be colorful and glossy, and make a statement. Details matter.

Are you are thinking about about selling your home?  Download our eBook, "10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR®".

Download 10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR

Tags: Sellers

Hard Floors: A Solid Choice

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Wed, Apr 04, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

neven-krcmarek-424899-unsplashHard flooring has been gaining in popularity for years, especially in the main living areas of homes. Hard floors are easy to clean, hypoallergenic, and lend a sleek beauty to your home. Changing your floor covering is
an update that will instantly modernize your home’s appearance while adding value and appeal.

There are many options when it comes to hard flooring: wood, laminate, vinyl, or tile. Thanks to technological improvements, faux finishes are more convincing than ever, and wood-look products are gaining in popularity. With so many choices, where do you start?

New flooring is a big purchase, so budget is clearly a factor. But you should also consider how much traffic
and what kind of traffic your floors will endure- do you have animals with sharp or thick nails, do you have children that ride vehicles or roll trucks across your floors? You should also consider how much sunlight
and moisture your floors will weather.

There are six main types of hard flooring options: solid wood, engineered wood, laminate, vinyl, linoleum, and ceramic tile.

Solid wood – This timeless, classic material has a natural warmth and impressive wear resistance that can be sanded and refinished several times. Solid wood may expand and contract with varying humidity levels and can dent and show wear easily, and fade from sunlight.
Installed cost: $5-$10 per square foot.

Engineered wood – This flooring uses a thin veneer of real wood or bamboo over structural plywood, giving
 he appearance of solid wood at a more affordable price. It doesn't wear as well as solid wood and some
may be too thin to even refinish once.
Installed cost: $4-$9 per square foot.

Laminate – Constructed of dense fiberboard with a photo beneath a clear-plastic protective layer, laminate can mimic nearly any flooring. The best laminates resist scratching and discoloration from sunlight better than most wood. The perfection and repetition of pattern can compromise the realistic appearance of what you’re trying to mimic. Floors can’t really be repaired and must be replaced once the outer layer has worn through. Installed cost: $3 to $7 per square foot.

Vinyl – Easy installation and a vast selection of colors and designs make this a popular choice. Vinyl is also good at fending off dents scratches, discoloration, and stains. However, even the best products still look like vinyl close up, and the top-of-line product can cost as much or more than solid-wood and laminate.
Installed cost: $2 to $6 per square foot.

Linoleum – Made of linseed oil and wood products, linoleum is a natural, resilient material offered in lots of styles and colors. However, resistance to wear, scratches, and dents varies widely and it can also be relatively expensive.
Installed cost: $4 to $8 per square foot.

Ceramic Tile – This classic material resists moisture, wear, scratches, dents, and stains. Tiles can crack and grout can stain, and the hard surface often causes dropped cups and dishes to break more easily. Tile can be floated without the use of cement and grout, but that makes replacing cracked tiles even more difficult. Installed cost: $8 to $15 per square foot.

With so many types of hard flooring to choose from, you’re sure to find a material to fit your lifestyle and your budget. Once you’ve selected your material, it’s important to choose a style that’s fashionable yet has
classic staying power.

Wood-look flooring – Wood-look tile, vinyl and laminate will continue to trend as products improve in performance and appearance while offering more durability and a more affordable price tag than hardwood.

Wide plank flooring – Floor boards five inches or more in width are considered “wide plank.” These wide planks are a throwback to rustic cottages and colonial-era farmhouses, the wide planks also make rooms
look bigger. Longer and wider planks are rising in popularity as modern technology, and a variety of material choices, makes them more readily available and affordable.

Blonde flooring – Bright blonde wood and wood-looks are a new trend that is making spaces seem larger and lighter. Much like wall color, floor color can alter the perceived size of a space.

Gray flooring – Gray is a neutral staple in realty, on both walls and floors. Gray floorcoverings are still new enough to be trendy but will soon become a classic.

There are plenty of different, unique options trending that will likely stick around for years to come, which means your possibilities are endless. If you want something trendy that will last for the long haul, try going for large plank, blonde or gray wood/wood-look flooring.

Are you thinking about selling and you're wondering if new floors are a must before your home goes on the market?  Email us at info@lizmoore.com and we can help!

Tags: Buyers, Sellers, New Homes, relo-williamsburg-local, relo-peninsula-news, relo-richmond-news

10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR, Part 7: Marketing 

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 @ 01:01 PM

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By Liz Moore

Hiring the right real estate professional is probably the single most important decision you’ll make when you put your home on the market for sale. I recommend interviewing a few agents from different firms before making a choice. There are 10 questions you should ask before you hire a real estate agent - part 7: marketing!

Question 7: How do you plan to market my home?

Your agent should have a written, detailed marketing plan that outlines marketing activities to be completed over the entire course of the listing. No exceptions, no excuses.

The marketing plan for your home should begin with a solid strategy to reach prospective buyers interested in your community and neighborhood – in other words, the plan should cast a wide net. Buyers begin searching for a city and then a neighborhood, before they zero in on a home. The most effective agents will have a marketing plan that accounts for all of that.

Perhaps the most frustrating experience for sellers whose listings remain unsold months after listing is that their agents did not have a specific plan after the first few weeks.

Are you are thinking about about selling your home?  Download our eBook, "10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR®".

Download 10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR

Tags: Sellers

Local Liz Moore REALTORS Earn Industry Designation in Real Estate Staging

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Thu, Mar 29, 2018 @ 04:21 PM

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58 Liz Moore agents earned the RESA Certified Staging Advocate™ designation (RESA CSA™) from the Real Estate Staging Association, the trade association for professional real estate stagers.  The RESA CSA™ designation is earned by agents who complete the mandatory continuing education course called Staging to Sell, What Every Agent Should Know. Agents completing the 3-hour continuing education course are trained on how the entire pre-market staging process will benefit their client and secure their relationship as a true advocate for their client’s best interest. 

The course was taught by Therese Robinson, who partners with Liz Moore to conduct pre-listing staging consultations with their clients.

“Staging makes a huge difference in how quickly a home sells, as well as getting top dollar for the seller,” says Liz Moore, President of Liz Moore & Associates.  “We’re committed to offering this service as part of our pre-listing package,” she says.

Are you interested in meeting with an agent who holds a staging designation? Email us at info@lizmoore.com and we'll put you in touch!

 

Tags: Sellers

10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR, Part 6: Recent Client Experience

Posted by Lynnette Tully on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 @ 02:35 PM

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By Liz Moore

Hiring the right real estate professional is probably the single most important decision you’ll make when you put your home on the market for sale. I recommend interviewing a few agents from different firms before making a choice. There are 10 questions you should ask before you hire a real estate agent - part 6: past clients!

Question 6: May I have contact info for the sellers of your 3 most recent listings sold?

Nothing is more telling than a recent client’s experience. By asking for the 3 most recent sales, you avoid the agent choosing their favorite clients to give you a reference. When you make the call, ask if the seller would hire the agent again, what they did that was most valuable, and what they wish the agent had done differently.

Be certain to also ask about communication: how often did they hear from their agent?

Are you are thinking about about selling your home?  Download our eBook, "10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR®".

Download 10 Questions Every Seller Should Ask Before They Hire a REALTOR

Tags: Sellers