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Where Does the Couch Go? Modern-Day Tips for Arranging Your Furniture

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

By Laura Love Bardell

Today’s couches are so much more than the three-seater pieces of days past. Sectionals are useful and stylish, and their shape provides a built-in conversation area. Chaises – perfect for lounging – eliminate the need for an ottoman or footstool. Sometimes, though, it can feel challenging to find the best layout for your room. This guide provides solutions for arranging uniquely-shaped sofas comfortably in any space.

Determine the Purpose of the Room

Before you begin experimenting with different furniture layouts, it’s important to consider how you will use the room. Will it feature a television and a media console, or will it be a conversational space with few electronics? Perhaps you are decorating the spare bedroom that will double as a reading room, and you hope to find the best arrangement for a sleeper sofa and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Even if you plan to use the space in multiple ways, decide what the primary purpose of the room will be and design your furniture arrangement to best meet these needs. In large spaces and open layouts, don’t be afraid to divide the room into two (or more!) distinct seating areas.

Look at Traffic Flow and Focal Points

Next, think about how you move about the space and the overall flow of the room. Here are some rules of thumb:

  • It’s a good idea to maintain enough space around doorways and entrances. To keep the space feeling open and comfortable, allow for about three feet of walking space along traffic paths. This will help prevent you and your guests from bumping into furniture or walls.
  • Think about where you first want your eye to land as you look around the room. Traditionally, fireplaces or televisions serve as focal points, but sometimes a large window or even a piece of statement wall art can serve that purpose.

Many rooms have multiple focal points, such as a fireplace and a large window, and lend themselves to multiple options. Switch it up to keep things interesting. If you have the space, consider rearranging the room to face the fireplace during winter and your gorgeous view during the summer.

Save Your Back – Use the Computer

Look online for digital room-arrangement programs that allow you to enter the dimensions of your room and existing furniture to help visualize different layouts. Some retailers even offer an interactive app that shows how their products will look in your space.

Prefer pen and paper? Take measurements of your room and all the furniture. Using graph paper, equate one square on the page with one square foot and draw the shape of your room. Then, draw the basic shape of each piece of furniture, again using the one square foot rule. This allows you to rearrange furniture to your heart’s content, without risking scuffed floors, carpet snags or a tired back.

Think Big

Now that you’re ready to arrange your room, you’ll want to start with the biggest piece of furniture: the sofa. Consider these tips:

  • Start by facing your couch towards the focal point of the room, paying attention to the traffic paths and keeping entrances as open as possible. For a sectional sofa, experiment with middle-of-the-room versus against-the-wall placements.
  • Allow at least 6 to 9 inches between the sofa and the wall, as this gives a sense of spaciousness.
  • If the room has a television, think about how you can position the sectional to enjoy the best viewing angle for the screen. (If you don’t have room for a large media center, consider a shallow, space-saving console table to corral electronics, then mount the TV on the wall.)
  • Looking for a spot for a chaise lounge? Try to place it in such a way as to avoid having to walk around it to sit down. The same rule applies for sofas or chairs with extendable recliners.

Consider Your Vibe

You’ve thought about the room’s focal point and traffic flow, but what about how the space makes you feel? Different seating arrangements can affect the ambiance of the room. For example, using symmetrical seating arrangements create a sense of order, while using offset pieces creates energy and visual interest.

In layouts with sectional sofas, balance the weight of the sectional with one or two chairs to provide visual balance and a conversational feel. Chairs on casters allow you to rearrange the room at a moment’s notice, and in small spaces, choose poufs, stools or even folding chairs that you can easily tuck away when they’re not needed.

Add the Finishing Touches

Once you’ve found a seating arrangement that you love, add in the rest of your furniture, such as side tables, coffee tables, and floor and table lamps. Because they have no corners, round side tables allow guests to easily navigate around them, and nesting tables are great space-saving options.

Last, add the finishing touches to round out your room. Throw pillows and blankets provide coziness and layered textures, and an area rug will ground the space and tie the room together.

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Laura Love Bardell writes for Crate and Barrel, where she creates inspirational, design-savvy content. In her spare time, she enjoys triathlon training and spending time with her pets and family.

Blog courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

6 Ways to Keep Your Home Flu Free

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Keep your home from serving as a breeding ground for the cold or flu virus with these simple tips.

1. Control your remote
What’s the first thing someone does after calling in sick to work or school? They grab the remote and hunker down with Netflix and some chicken soup. Make sure their germs don’t stick around by disinfecting your remote regularly.

2. Lose the shoes
Flu-causing viruses and bacteria can hitch rides on shoes and the dirt they carry. Ditch your shoes as soon as you walk through the door and slip into some slippers instead.

3. Work that washer
Have kids (or dogs) with lots of plastic and rubber toys? Disinfect them regularly by running them through your dishwasher. It’s a much more efficient way to kill germs than spraying and wiping them down one by one. Consult Google if you’re unsure what’s dishwasher safe.

4. Humidify
Viruses love dry air. Studies show that homes kept at 40-60 percent humidity tend to have fewer flu viruses floating around. Keeping the air in your home at that range can decrease the amount of flu virus in the air by as much as 30 percent. That’s definitely worth the price of a small humidifier.

5. Update your hardware
Copper, aluminum, lead, iron and silver are all antimicrobial – they actually kill bacteria. Brass is the most powerful germ slayer of all. Since doorknobs are a common gathering place for germs, installing brass ones might be a stylish, and effective, strategy for staying flu-free.

6. Replace (or nuke ) your kitchen sponge
That small square holds onto a host of germs. Replace it every week or so, or kill those festering colonies by blasting the sponge in the microwave for two minutes.

Does your current home lack a cozy corner to recover in? It may be time to explore your options. Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Blog courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Ready to Sell? 3 Ways an Agent Helps Get You Started

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

The process of putting your home on the market and finding your next place can be overwhelming. Fortunately, an experienced agent can help you weigh all your options. Here’s where a professional might start:

1. Researching your home’s value
An agent will have the pulse on the current market. Together, you can review how much comparable properties have been selling for and how long they stayed on the market. The agent can provide a realistic idea of what your home is worth, and how fast (or long) it could take to find a buyer.

2. Working with your budget
After you learn what your current home is worth, you’ll be able to hone in on your options for your next one. An agent can give you an idea of what types of properties and which neighborhoods are in your budget. And a good agent who knows the area will also be aware of local housing trends and can advise you when might be a good time to buy.

3. Making your home market-ready
There may be work to do before you put your house on the market. A REALTOR(R) can help you prioritize repairs and also recommend a home inspector for an expert opinion on features like roofs and HVAC.

Ready to explore your options? Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Get to Know Your Plumbing

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

You will spot several different types of plumbing systems in any housing market, including our own. Copper, galvanized, rigid plastic, polybutylene, and soft plastic are but a few. Certain systems are more prone to having certain problems.

Fixing minor plumbing repairs today can save you time and money when you are ready to sell. Buyers are expecting your home to show its absolute best while on the market. Anything less suggests that other things might also be wrong. At the same time, big upgrades may go unappreciated.

Before you make improvements, give me a call. I can help you determine which areas will pay the highest dividends, and which ones won't! 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

3 Things to Consider Before Registering Your Home on a Short-Term Rental Site

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Once upon a time, the idea of renting out your home to a stranger while you left for vacation was considered quite odd.

Today, renting a room in your house (or the entire house) to unknown travelers isn’t an outlandish concept, thanks in part to online services such as Airbnb, FlipKey and VRBO. Short-term rentals provide an income opportunity for owners and a unique way for visitors to experience a city. What better way to get the local experience than staying with – or renting from – locals?

If you think you’re up to being a host of a short-term rental, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. Legality

The rise in popularity of Airbnb and other sites hasn’t been without its controversy. There are concerns that short-term rentals threaten the jobs of hotel workers, and that a short-term rental doesn’t have to pass the same certifications and inspections of regular hotels.

Some cities have enacted restrictions against short-term rentals. You may need to register and get a permit or a license – or you may not be able to host at all. Check with your local government to make sure you understand the laws.

2. Taxes

You may not need to report the money earned from the short-term rental of your home if you meet both of these requirements:

1. You rent it out for fewer than 14 days a year AND

2. You live in it for more than 14 days or more than 10 percent of the total days you rent it out during the year (this determines if the property is seen as a residence or a rental property by the IRS).

Still unclear about the taxes on your short-term rental? TurboTax provides some more information, or you may want to consult with a tax professional.

3. Additional Costs

Renting out your home could mean an extra insurance bill. Check with your insurance agent to learn what your current policy covers regarding short-term renters. They may recommend increasing coverage. Airbnb does provide free primary liability coverage for up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and many of the other sites have partnerships that make it easy to take out additional coverage, if needed.

In addition to insurance, you’ll have to pay a percentage of the rental income to the website: Airbnb and FlipKey both charge a 3% host service fee, VRBO has an option to pay-per-booking or an annual subscription fee.

Are you looking for a permanent home in your favorite vacation spot? Search for properties and connect with me on my website www.winstonrealtygroup.com 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Leaving Your Home Alone - Summer Vacations

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

If you're going to be away for an extended period of time or you're going to be without internet service for a week or two (yes, some people can actually still do that), you may want to think about finally setting up that auto-pay feature for some of your utilities to pay them automatically while you're away from civilization.

While keeping the electricity up and running is important, you may not need to leave everything plugged in while you're gone.  Unplugging non-essential electrical items can also help protect them in case of a lightening storm or an unexpected power surge.  If you have house plants, be sure and consider their needs as well when deciding on what temperature to leave the thermostat on while you're away.

Home Depot has a wide range of both indoor and outdoor timers that will allow you to set a time (or times) for your lights or a TV or radio to come on in the evening and remain on until the timer shuts them off.

If you have an alarm system, you may want to make sure that it is in proper working order as well as notify your alarm company of the exact dates that you'll be out of town.  If you ask someone to check on your house, be sure that they know the alarm codes along with the basic functions of the system.  Most alarm companies will also be able to set you up with a temporary code for them that will automatically expire on your return date.

You definitely don't want to come back to a house full of bad smells or flies (or both) so be sure and remove all perishable items from the fridge and countertops.  Check that all trash cans are emptied and see if that same friend might be able to put your trash canisters out for collection - and then put them back on collection day.  This will reduce the impression that nobody is home and your neighbors won't be annoyed by your trash cans being left out on the street for two weeks.

Also, be sure and put on hold any newspaper subscriptions as well as check with your local Post Office and see if you can have a vacation-stop put on your mail delivery.  You can also easily do this online now!

Finally, be careful when talking about your vacation plans on social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Burglars frequently monitor social media sites for indications of empty houses.

So stay safe, have fun, and don't forget the sunscreen!

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

Millennial Homebuyers Want a Yard of Their (Pet’s) Dreams – Here’s How Sellers Can Appeal to Furry Friends

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

What could beat out an updated kitchen as the most important feature millennials are looking for when buying a home? Recent research from the National Association of Landscape Professionals shows that a nice-sized lawn is the No. 1 priority among those born between 1981 and 1996.

Seventy-three percent of millennials currently own a pet and, according to a 2018 realtor.com survey, 75 percent of pet-owning millennial homebuyers surveyed said they would pass on a home, no matter how good it is, if it didn’t meet the needs of their pet.

If you plan to boost your home’s curb appeal and backyard before selling, keep in mind potential millennial buyers – and their furry friends – with these tips for a pet-friendly yard:

  1. Muse on Your Mulch

Mulching can be used to create healthy lawns and add aesthetic value – but it can also be harmful to animals if certain chemicals are present in the material. Cocoa bean mulch, for example, can poison dogs since it’s made from cocoa shells. Instead, look for pine, cedar and hemlock mulches, which can be good alternatives and may ease the mind of a potential buyer with pets.

  1. Plant Purposefully

Planting a few flowers can go a long way in ramping up your home’s curb appeal. Adding a few different colors into the mix can help create an interesting and inviting atmosphere. While you’re at the garden center, consider taking a look at this list of toxic and non-toxic plants for animals and steer clear of potential troublemakers for future buyers. If your garden is already in tip-top shape, list and label as many plants as possible. This relatively simple step can have a powerful effect on buyers, whether they’re gardeners or not!

  1. Know Your Boundaries

There are a lot of variables to consider when questioning if a fence increases home value. Material, the neighborhood and whether it fits in with the style of your house are all important things to consider – but so is the condition you keep it in! A sturdy backyard fence may inspire buyers with escape-artist furry friends to make an offer.

  1. Be Chemical-Conscious

Many baits for snails, rats and other pests can be fatal for pups. If you must use them to get your backyard sell-ready, think of putting them where a pet couldn’t reach them. Did you know planting lavender, mint, rosemary and other companion plants can be a safe way to keep snails and slugs at bay?

  1. Make ‘Pawsome’ Choices

If adding some paths in your yard is within budget, consider materials that don’t get too hot on a sunny day. Materials should be easy to walk on for both owners and their pets. Concrete, brick, flagstone and smooth rocks are all good choices.

If the next thing you want to plant is a “For Sale” sign in your lawn, call me today. 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Blog courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

From ‘Smart House’ to Smart Homes: How Today’s Tech Compares to the Iconic Disney Movie

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Voice-activated music. Touch-screen powered appliances. An omnipotent, but friendly, virtual assistant providing homework help.

When “Smart House” debuted on the Disney Channel in 1999, its portrayal of a family living in a home powered by artificial intelligence seemed far-fetched. Watching it 20 years later, it’s a surprisingly prophetic portrayal of the way technology has become fully integrated into our daily lives.

In case you missed this made-for-TV masterpiece, the plot is simple: A family wins a home featuring an artificial intelligence (AI) system named P.A.T. (Personal Applied Technology). P.A.T. is programmed to take care of everything from house cleaning to meal prep, and can help coordinate outfits, give basketball advice and throw an epic party complete with mood lighting and cleanup. Chaos ensues, though, when P.A.T. is frighteningly overprotective after being reprogrammed to serve as the family’s maternal figure.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of “Smart House,” here’s a look at the technology covered in the film and how it compares to today.

Yep, homes can be controlled by AI

Similar to P.A.T., smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home can control everything from music to lights with a few voice commands (and strategically placed smart plugs, if needed). But whereas P.A.T. was portrayed as the home’s central operating system, today’s smart homes are usually more of a combination of apps, gadgets and high-tech appliances.

The advantage is that homeowners can customize the technology to fit their lifestyle. It also means the tech can typically move with homeowners if they relocate.

Safety technology gives smart-home owners peace of mind

When a misguided P.A.T. attempts to lock the Coopers inside indefinitely, she blocks the windows with steel and adds an electrical force field to the home’s doors.

True, smart-home technology can greatly enhance home security, but it’s much more subtle.

For example, the If This Then That app is able to trigger an empty home’s interior lights as soon as the owner approaches. The Ring video doorbell helps residents monitor (and chat with visitors to) the front door. And many new home security systems, smoke alarms (check out Home Advisor’s breakdown of options), garage doors and surveillance cameras feature a virtual assistant integration, which means they can be controlled and monitored by a phone app or smart speaker.

Even our pets are avid technology enthusiasts

Considering the fact that keeping pooches happy is one of the primary reasons millennials buy homes, the movie’s inclusion of pet technology (the family dog is entertained by P.A.T. while the family’s away) is spot on.

One piece of especially buzzworthy pet technology is Furbo, an interactive pet camera that tosses treats to pets stuck at home. Then there are the pet doors that open only when triggered by an ultrasonic signal emitted from a special collar, blocking access to intruders. The doors can also be programmed to remain locked at certain times of day, keeping Fido and Fluffy inside for the night.

Technology can create the perfect mood

One of P.A.T.’s coolest features in the movie is her use of virtual reality to transport the Coopers to Cape Cod or a serene farm complete with a rooster’s wake-up call. While VR technology gets more sophisticated every year, full-screen virtual experiences don’t come standard in homes just yet. However, several pieces of smart appliances can help change the mood in your home.

Philips Hue is a line of smart lamps and light bulbs that can be timed to adjust from bright to softer lighting as the day goes on, mimicking natural daylight patterns. The Nest thermostat automatically sets the temperature in your home to your desired preferences, turns the temperature down when it senses you leave the home, and can be controlled from an app for on-the-go changes.

One downside of smart home technology? Energy drainage. But there’s even a “smart” solution for that. The Emporia Vue system helps homeowners monitor their energy usage through an app on their phone to reduce monthly costs and identify potential issues before they require major repairs.

Even as our lives become increasingly inseparable from technology, a home is much more than its futuristic appliances. If you’re looking for a home, working with an experienced professional is a smart move and I can help you with that. 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Posted courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Home: As American as Apple Pie

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Happy Birthday, America!

In the spirit of celebrating the Fourth of July, we turned to famous Americans for their thoughts about home, homeownership and the feeling of sanctuary that comes with having your own place.

Private property was the original source of freedom.
Walter Lippmann

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
Robert Frost

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is.
Charles M. Schulz

The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou

I’d rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
George Washington

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
Benjamin Franklin

There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.
Rosalynn Carter

Where thou art, that is home.
Emily Dickinson

A man’s home may seem to be his castle on the outside; inside, it is more often his nursery.
Clare Boothe Luce

I told my mother-in-law that my house was her house, and she said, “Get the [bleep] off my property.”
Joan Rivers

Being a homeowner is different for everyone but my goal is to help you meet your dreams of homeownership in any way that I can. 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

5 Ways to Surprise Dad with DIY Home Improvement Projects

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

For Father’s Day this year, get your dad something he’ll really appreciate – help tackling his home improvement to-do list. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Instead of a fancy shaving kit…

… trim the yard. But don’t stop at simply mowing the grass and weeding the beds – add some class with edging. Plastic, rubber and stone edging pieces are easy to install and a simple way to smarten up the yard.

2. Instead of another watch…

… rent a power washer from your local home improvement store and with just a few hours of work, you can return Dad’s home and driveway to its former glory. Be careful around windows, doors and screens, however, as the high-pressure flow could cause damage Dad won’t be thrilled about.

3. Instead of cologne or aftershave…

… take a look at his air conditioning system. You can clean or swap out the filter on your own. Leaving it too long can clog the system and cause the air conditioning to malfunction. Take a look at the pan under the unit. If there’s water in it, there might be a clog in the drain line that you can flush yourself. If the unit needs more help, schedule a pro for regular service and pick up the tab for Dad.

4. Instead of another tie…

… give him a nice space to unwind by cleaning, sanding and staining the deck. A good power wash will brighten the wood by blasting off a layer of grunge and a coat of stain will help seal out the elements and keep the wood intact.

5. Instead of barbecue tools…

… build him a fire pit. Get creative with gravel, stone and bricks and don’t forget to buy chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for the inaugural s’mores.

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit www.winstonrealtygroup.com or email Heidi@WinstonRealtyGroup.com. Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 36

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Contact Information

Photo of RE/MAX Central Realty Real Estate
RE/MAX Central Realty
Heidi and Michael Winston
8921 W Sahara Ave, Suite A
Las Vegas NV 89117
Heidi: 702-277-6599
Michael: 702-219-8692
Fax: 702-974-2288