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By Wendy Dowling | Agent in Sarasota, FL
  • How to Make Your New House a Home

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Sarasota County, Shopping & Local Amenities in Sarasota County, Design & Decor in Sarasota County  |  November 17, 2011 4:04 PM  |  1,902 views  |  No comments

    How to Make Your New House a Home

    One of the most exciting moments of anyone’s life is buying their first home. However, after you wind down from the whirlwind of closing and cross that threshold for the first time, reality often sets in. For many new homeowners, it can be challenging to make a house feel like a home and, in an effort to quickly do so, many spend too much money unnecessarily.

    With a little advance planning, you can make your new house a home without breaking the bank. Here, a few important tips to follow:


    Many first-time home buyers are coming into homeownership without suitable furniture—leftovers from their college dorm or parents’ basement won’t cut it in their first home. According to a study from the National Association of Home Builders, furnishings represent a substantial investment, with home buyers spending about $5,300 on furnishings during the first year after buying a home. Space out your home furnishing purchases—you don’t need to choose it all at once—and focus on the most necessary pieces first, such as a bed, living room sofa and dining room table.


    If this is your first home, chances are you suddenly have a lot more windows to worry about…and ultimately enjoy! Again, don’t feel pressured to choose window treatments for every window in every room all at once. First, choose the areas where privacy is a must and work down the list from there over the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy the light and openness from uncovered windows and take your time deciding what type of window treatment will truly work best for each room.


    This may also be your first experience in having a yard you are responsible for. Invest in a few key garden tools, such as hedge trimmers, a sprinkler, and possibly a lawn mower. Or check with your new neighbors to see if there is a resident teenager who will mow your lawn for a nominal fee. No need to invest big money in expensive landscaping services at first. Just focus on keeping your yard uncluttered and neat.

    While your first instinct might be to go out and get that huge flat screen TV you finally have room for, pause a moment to consider what other appliances need to take priority, such as a refrigerator, stove, or washer/dryer. While many existing homes usually come with appliances, a home buyer needs to take inventory as to whether or not they will need to purchase these big ticket items.

    There is no more landlord to call when a home maintenance issue arises, so make sure you’re equipped to handle minor issues on your own. Otherwise, you’ll wind up spending unnecessary dollars on service providers. Many home improvement stores have tool sets you can purchase, but make sure it includes a hammer, screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, a tape measure and a staple gun.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.

  • How to Make Sure Your Remodel Fits Your Lifestyle

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Sarasota County, Remodel & Renovate in Sarasota County, Design & Decor in Sarasota County  |  January 6, 2011 12:43 PM  |  596 views  |  1 comment

    How to Make Sure Your Remodel Fits Your Lifestyle

    According to a new consumer poll from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), 49% of homeowners consider outcome and design as the greatest determinant of project satisfaction. According to NARI National President-Elect Michael Hydeck, consumers want their design to cater perfectly to their lifestyles and how they intend to use the space.

    As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have seen countless times how good design involves much more than customization of the home. Design work can bring multi-functional capabilities to a room -- like a kitchen that also serves as the family room -- or it can enhance the flow of the space by widening walkways and adding more access to the space from various parts of the home.

    If you are considering a home remodel in 2011, make sure your remodeler works with you to get to the root of your lifestyle needs. According to Hydeck, many remodelers actually put their clients through special exercises to see how the remodel can best enhance their lifestyle, such as having them complete a questionnaire or take them on a walk-through of the entire home.

    Hydeck also recommends, prior to starting a remodel, that you take a few days to take note of everything you do in your home and how you access it ... the paths you take, what counters or areas you place items on, where you sit most often to relax, etc. Being aware of these patterns will help make your remodel as successful as possible.

    For more advice on remodeling, visit www.nariremodelers.com, or e-mail me. I can provide you with my recommendations for remodelers in your area. Be sure to forward this information on to any friends and family members who may also be considering a remodel.

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