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Spring Cleaning List for Home Owners

by Deelyn Neilson

Springtime in Colonial Williamsburg

Spring is just around the corner! After a winter full of snow, sleet, ice, and mud, it's time to give your home a good cleaning.  And when Spring comes in full force, you'll be ready to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Here's a quick list of basic home maintenance for this season:

1.       Clean the Exterior: Rent or borrow a power washer to thoroughly clean the outside of your home, including the deck.  While you’re washing, check your deck for molded or water damaged spots—which could lead to worse problems—and your foundation for cracks. If cracks are extensive, get a professional opinion.

2.       Tidy Up the Landscaping: Snow and ice can cause branches to break, so check the trees surrounding your home for falling limbs. This is also a good time to pick up any sticks that have fallen before you start mowing this season.

3.       Clear out the HVAC Unit: Sometimes leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris get caught in your heating and air conditioning unit over the winter.  Disconnect the unit from power before removing debris.

4.        Clean the Interior: After a winter full of muddy shoes, now is a good time to have your carpets cleaned! Hire a pro or do-it-yourself. This is also a great time to give the windows a good washing and touch up scuffs and scratches on the walls with fresh paint.

Don’t forget spring is just about the best time of year to sell your home!  If it’s time to find your next home, contact me for a complimentary consultation. I offer unparalleled marketing both online and in print and offer FREE home staging—including furniture and accessories! Call or email me today.

Deelyn

deelyn@lizmoore.com

757.503.1999

Incredible Kitchens here in Williamsburg, VA

by Deelyn Neilson

 

Is there any other room that embraces beauty and functionality like the kitchen? Gorgeous finishes flow throughout every space--warm, natural wood on the cabinets, colorful granite and marble surfaces, and tile backsplashes blending the elements together. Even the appliances are appealing with their smooth, industrial designs. A open floor plan erases the lines between the work spaces and living areas of the home, offering the ideal setting for effortless entertaining. 
 
Here are five exquisite kitchens in Williamsburg, VA. Like what you see? Each home is currently on the market. Click on a photo to see the full listing.  Contact Deelyn at 757.503.1999 or deelyn@lizmoore.com to schedule your private showing of any of these homes.
 
164 Killarney: A masterpiece in the art of luxury home building, this exquisite 5800 square foot "estate" style residence, offers four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. The kitchen features custom cabinetry with integrated SubZero refrigerator, granite counter tops extending to a center island and desk area, Viking professional range with oven and Viking wall mounted oven, and two sinks.  In addition to these state of the art appliances, there are two Asko dishwashers.   
 
Offered at $1,200,000

 

120 North Turnberry: Custom designed and built with spaces for entertaining as well as everyday living, this majestic all brick home was recently completed with 6,525 square feet, five bedrooms, six  full and one half bath.  The spacious kitchen is both gorgeous and functional. Granite counter tops compliment the cherry finish of the custom cabinetry. The large center island provides additional workspace.  Appliances are state of the art, including a cabinet integrated refrigerator, double ovens, island gas range, and wet bar with wine cooler. Connected to the kitchen, the breakfast area is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows overlooking the pond and golf course.
 
Offered at $975,000

136 Red Berkshire: Designed by William E. Poole, this "Shields Townhouse" home offers four bedrooms, three and a half baths, and several 'flex'  rooms for a total of 4228 square feet.  The gourmet kitchen offers everything a culinary enthusiast could want: double ovens, a gas range, dozens of square feet in counter space, and a walk-in pantry. Granite counter tops complement the color of the main cabinets as well as the gorgeous, contrasting center island.

Offered at $665,000

102 Links of Leith: With five bedrooms and two and a half baths, and 3509 square feet, this home is spacious and comfortable, with luxury details accenting its architectural beauty. The kitchen features granite countertops, custom cabinets, huge center island, and tiled backsplash. A spacious pantry offers plenty of storage.

Offered at $525,000

4043 Coronation: This two story home offers 2810 square feet, with three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. Gorgeous granite counter tops, custom cabinetry, contrasting center island, and tile back splash create a space that is inviting as well as beautiful.  Stainless appliances including a gas range and wall oven.

Offered at $485,000

Do Three Small Projects to Improve Your Home

by Deelyn Neilson

Small projects can make a HUGE difference in the value of your home and the time it sits on the market. Even if you're not looking to sell right away, make a new year's resolution to keep up with your home little by little with small projects. It's much better than tackling a long list of to-do's if it turns out you need to get your house buyer-ready in a hurry!  You might even find, after completing a few projects, that you actually enjoy your home more than ever! This is the year--use those skills you learned in DIY classes or tutorials and improve your home!  Here's some projects that take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, but all cost $100-$300. Click for a step-by-step tutorial:

1. Replace the kitchen and bathroom faucets. Still using the same faucet from twenty years ago? Get something stylish and attractive! It will make a big difference in your kitchen and bathroom.

2. Update your living room or dining room light fixtures. Light fixtures have incredible power--they can turn a dim, unwelcoming room into your home's best room!  Similarly, a contemporary light fixture can completely change the look of your home from dated to distinctive.

3. Upgrade the handles and hinges on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I prefer a nice long handle to a knob. It has a more sophisticated look and they come in all kinds of styles.  

4. Replace your outlets and outlet covers. Many older homes have off-white or even beige outlet covers, which have a very dated look. Change to a bright white to take ten years off your home.

5. Paint. Of all simple projects, painting is the most transformative.  Choosing neutral, soothing tones will updating your home and create a more appealing atmosphere.  It's easy as long as you have the right tools--painters tape, drop cloth, good quality paint, and good quality rollers and brushes.    

Take A DIY Class

by Deelyn Neilson

New Year's Resolution for Your Home #6: get out your tools and do-it-yourself! DIY is a great way to increase the value of your home and save money.  There are tons of online resources for DIY, but nothing beats hands-on instruction from a professional.

The Home Dept offers a variety of workshops included regular weekend classes, "Do-It-Herself" classes, and classes especially for children. All are FREE!

Home Depot Workshop Calendar

Can't make it to one of the classes? Check out the extensive library of DIY projects here at The Home Depot Project Guide.

If you're thinking about selling your home, don't underestimate the value of a few simple projects to make your home look the best.  You can check out my Seller Tips to see more ideas on increasing the value of your home.

As Good as New

by Deelyn Neilson

The fifth new year's resolution is to buy used! Not only does it save money, buying secondhand is a green alternative to consumerism.  Just about anything you might need for the home can be found in good condition online or through local resale stores. There are lots of consignment and thrift stores carrying secondhand home goods.  For instance, in Williamsburg and surrounding areas:

1.       Habitat for Humanity Restore, 1303 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg VA.

2.       Aladdin Consignment, 7131 Merrimac Trail Williamsburg, VA.

3.       The Vintage Rabbit, 240 McLaws Circle, Suite 117, Williamsburg, VA

4.       The Velvet Shoestring, 311 Second St, Williamsburg, VA

5.       Caravati’s Architectural Salvage, 104 E. 2nd. St. Richmond, VA

There are plenty of online options as well.  Auction, classified, and multi-vendor sites often offer free shipping or promotional codes. Before ordering, Google “Promo code for …”, inserting the name of the site.  Often you’ll save 10% or more just by surfing the web for discount codes!

1.       www.amazon.com --both new and used items. Great customer service and easy returns!

2.       www.Ebay.com --both new and used item. Check with each vendor for return policy.

3.       www.Freeycle.org --absolutely free items from local individuals.

4.       http://norfolk.craigslist.org/ --mostly used items, offers from locals. Also has a listing for "Free" items.

5.       http://www.vagazette.com/classified/ --Williamsburg's local newpaper offers these classified ads.

Low Maintenance Landscaping

by Deelyn Neilson

Winterberry Holly                    Purple Fountain Grass     

 

You can have fantastic curb appeal without spending a lot of time on your yard. All it takes is a little planning and the right plants.  When you’re choosing low maintenance plants, look for foliage or flowers that fit with the natural surroundings of your home.  If you live in an area prone to drought and heat (here in Williamsburg the summers are hot hot hot!), choose plants that require full sun and well drained soil.  Williamsburg is also surrounded by three rivers and lots of wooded areas, so you may find that your soil is often waterlogged or shady. If that’s the case, be sure to choose plants that love moisture and shade. For long term low maintenance landscaping, choose self-propagating perennials. These types of plants will return year after year and, multiplying on their own.

  Creeping Thyme                        Daylilies   

Here’s a list of some beautiful low maintenance plants to get you started:

1.       Daylilies are some of the best low maintenance plants.  Developing huge, colorful blossoms and large bushes of foliage, daylilies can be grown in full sun or partial sun.  Even in shady areas, daylilies will grow, but the number of blossoms will be fewer.  For partial shade, choose a daylily variety with a darker blossom.

2.       Purple fountain grass provides a pop of unusual color even in dry conditions.

3.       Creeping thyme is a great ground cover, aromatic plant, and a tasty herb to boot! Happiest in acid, well-drained soils with full sun, these flowering plants seem to thrive in poor soil conditions.

4.       Winterberry holly shrubs do well in wet soils.  Producing more berries in full sun, but still thriving in partial sun, this shrub attracts songbirds!

Commit to Borrowing

by Deelyn Neilson

Recently a friend of mine decided to host her family for the holidays.  She quickly found out that her kitchen wasn’t equipped for a large group of people. She didn’t have enough dishes, a turkey roaster, serving bowls, or 10 settings of silverware.  Even her table was too small!   In her house, she didn’t have the space to store all of these items, so she committed to borrowing.  She threw a great holiday party with plates and silverware loaned from her mom, a folding table borrowed from a friend, and a turkey roaster from her sister.  She saved lots of money and tons of storage space! But the main reason borrowing was successful was because she practiced good borrowing etiquette. And when you borrow, your house remains decluttered. It’s a win-win!

Here are some borrowing etiquette rules to help you commit to borrowing this New Year!

1.       Take excellent care of the item.  If you’re borrowing a book, don’t use it  as a coaster or do gear the pages.

2.       Return the item in better-than-you-got-it condition. This includes filling up the tank on the lawn mower, washing that casserole dish, and dry cleaning formal clothing.

3.       Return it promptly. If you end up needing it for a longer amount of time that you planned, let the owner know right away! Don’t be offended if they ask you to return it on time anyhow.

4.       If (heaven forbid!) the borrowed item is destroyed or lost on your watch, replace it immediately! 

 

Create a Cleaning Schedule

by Deelyn Neilson

 

House cleaning isn’t fun. But it’s REALLY not fun when you ignore it day after day until every single room in your house needs a deep clean.  Remember the Cat in the Hat? “This mess is so big and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up there is no way at all!” Well, creating a cleaning schedule will ensure housekeeping never gets out of hand again. Here are some tips to get started:

1.       Don’t over plan.  Yes, you’d love to leave the kitchen sparkling every night but if that’s not feasible, making that goal will only discourage you. Instead, commit to goals you know you can manage and leave some flex time in your schedule for the unexpected.

2.       Delegate.  There’s no reason your spouse or kids can’t share in the work. Give your family a chance to choose what chores they would prefer, and then have them commit to a time (either daily or weekly) that they will complete their chores.

3.       Organize. Keep all your bathroom cleaning products together, preferably in the bathroom. Ditto for kitchen cleaners. If possible, keep the vacuum cleaner, duster, mop, broom, and similar items together so you can reach them easily and quickly.

4.       Use a timer. Something about being on the clock makes work go more efficiently.  Try setting a timer for 15 minutes and cleaning the bathroom. You’ll be amazed at the results!

5. Write it down! Use these handy cleaning charts to assign chores and create your cleaning schedule!

Printable Household Cleaning Charts from Money Saving Mom Blog

 

How to Declutter a Room FAST

by Deelyn Neilson

1.       Get Your Supplies: Grab a trash bag, a laundry basket, and a timer.  In order to declutter, you’re going to throw stuff away in the trash bag and put things that belong in other rooms in the laundry basket.  You’ll use the timer to make sure you stay on track.

2.       Pick the smallest/easiest room first: The coat closet, bathroom, or foyer are great places to begin.  Small rooms can be decluttered quickly, and the success will motivate you to continue to more difficult areas!

3.       Set the timer for five minutes and grab everything that doesn’t belong in that room and put it in the laundry basket.

4.       Set the timer for five more minutes and put all the trash in the room in the trash bag.

5.       Set the timer for 10-30 minutes (more time for larger rooms) and get rid of that clutter! Anything that you don’t like, don’t use, or simply don’t need, get it out of the house!  At this point, everything left in the room is usable (because you threw out the trash, remember?) so anything that you eliminate can be sold on Craigslist, in a yard sale, or donated to charity.

6.       Don’t sit down just yet! Take out the trash and put away all the things in the laundry basket that go in other rooms. Take care to put them away where they belong or you’ll just have to put them right back in the laundry basket when you start decluttering the next room.

7.       Congratulate yourself! You’ve decluttered a room in your house and it only took you 20-40 minutes.

Check out the difference decluttering made in this home!

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