Tuesday, October 21, 2014
All The Things You Need Now To Get Ready For Holiday Hosting Later
Well you knew this was coming. The beauty of cooler fall temperatures and leaves beginning their vibrant change brings the inevitability of family coming soon to camp out at your place. Yes, its about to be the season of hosting.
If youre used to the last-minute scramble of urgently Googling carpet cleaners the day before Thanksgiving or making up guest beds at 3am on December 24, well, maybe you just like the adrenaline rush. Or, maybe you just need to plan ahead. We get it.
If you, and your house, are far from ready, you dont have to worry. Youve got time to make it host-ready. Follow these tips for the things you need to get your space all nice and ready.
A well-dressed bed is a prerequisite for a good host. If your bedding is looking a little ragged, its time for a refresh. It doesnt have a cost a bunch either. Hit Target or IKEA their down comforters start at just 49, or keep your eyes out for a Macys sale and combine with coupons from the local newspaper to get the best prices.
Out-of-town guests coming from a warmer climate to a cooler one may not come prepared for the weather shift. A few throw blankets laying around will help. But you can be the best host ever by stocking up on gloves, scarves, and slipper socks for your guests. You can get them for a couple bucks at Walmart or the Dollar Store.
Something sweet smelling
When it comes to being a good host, places like Bath amp; Body Works is your friend. Put together a basket of holiday-scented items including a candle, soap, and body wash and leave it in the guest baths. Your visitors will appreciate the gesture. And, you can ensure everyone will smell good around the breakfast table
Holiday gatherings are the perfect time to break out the games and involved the whole gang in a good time. Check out a few good options here. Or, buy a few packs of cards and a plastic poker chip set and start a Texas Hold Em tournament.
Yes, the holidays are time for all your favorite family recipes. But theyre also time for snacks and more snacks, and dont forget the post-dessert dessert. When you think youve bought more than enough chips, grab two more bags. If youre sure no household could ever go through all that lunchmeat, grab another family-sized package. And while youre at it, dont forget to stock up on toilet paper. Lots and lots of toilet paper. Costco, here we come
Hows your kitchen look? No, really. Hows your kitchen look? You still have time to make some updates before three generations of >
Something warm 2
If you live in a cooler climate, youll want to make sure you keep it toasty inside. Be sure to check your furnace and fireplace ahead of time to ensure they are working properly. Then, dress up your fireplace accordingly, with festive dcor and an upgrade inside that you can enjoy all winter.
About those carpets. Taken a good long look lately? You might want to do that now. Yeah, they get dirty. Its normal. But no one wants to stay in a home that has stained, filthy floors. Tends to make them wonder what else might not be so clean. Where the stains are so bad you cant make a dent, cover them with runners and throw rugs for a temporary fix.
Something for you
Why should your guests get to have all the fun? If youre tidying up your house anyway, think about bringing in something that will also give you some joy the rest of the year. Like a new couch maybe. Or a new flat screen TV. After all, you earned it after all that hosting.
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Why Sellers Overprice Their Homes
Theres one piece of advice that every real estate agent on earth will tell you - "If you overprice your home, it will take longer to sell and sell for less money."
Yet, sellers ignore them, and overprice their homes anyway, hoping their home will be the one to defy market physics. Why do they do it? Lots of reasons:
They feel entitled to make a profit
They dont want to bring money to closing
They feel their home is superior to other similar homes
They want a return on improvements and repairs
They want to buy a bigger, more expensive home
They want to pay off credit card and student loan debts
They want to pay for college, retirement or some other financial goal
They think buyers want to negotiate
They think real estate agents can get it sold for more if they just work harder
Did you notice that not a single one of those reasons has anything to do with the current market value of the home?
According to an older study from real estate community Zillow.com, sellers often base their asking prices on their original purchase price. In other words, they want to live in the home for a number of years, and then sell it for more than they paid for it so they can meet personal financial goals, such as buying a bigger home or putting more toward retirement.
Thats understandable, considering that typically, homes beat inflation by one or two points, but the market doesnt always cooperate. Buyers may not like the improvements you made to your home. Your home may have been in a trendy neighborhood when you purchased it, but now buyers are flocking somewhere else.
If you overprice, your home is going to stagnate on the market. The right buyer for your home might not know your home exists if they use price perimeters to search for a home. That means a typical search between 175,000 and 200,000 wont include your home priced at 205,000.
Buyers tend to search in increments depending on scale - 10,000 increments for 100,000 homes and 100,000 increments for million-dollar homes. Pricing just over a logical range end point like at 255,000 or 505,000 will exclude that home from some search results, say experts.
Setting a high price with wiggle room to reduce the price later is not a successful strategy. You might get some showings, but you wont get offers. Your home could sit without an offer for a month or two before you take action to reduce the price. Once you reduce the price, buyers tend to think theres something wrong with the house, sending potential offers even lower.
Instead, price your home just under break points. 249,000 instead of 255,000. Since youre already expecting to negotiate, a lower price point might get you a full-price offer from a buyer who recognizes that your home is a good buy.
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11 Things You Can Do This Weekend for Under 100 to Upgrade Your Bathroom
If your bathroom is old, ugly, dirty, or disorganized, you dont have to live with it. And you dont have to overhaul it either. Small changes and small bills can help you love your bathroom again. Here are 11 ways you can make it happen.
1. Change your lighting... or at least the glass
A lighting update can bring a fresh, new look to your bathroom. But if youre not an electrician or if what you want is too pricey, new glass shades can breathe new life into old fixtures. You can find a variety of >
2. Paint your cabinets
Who says you have to stick with the medium wood grain look you were handed? Grab some sandpaper and your favorite color and transform it. If your cabinets are brown, you may want to go white for a >
3. New towels and bath mats
It seems like an easy fixbecause it is. Talk about minimum effort, maximum reward. If you can drag yourself to a Target, Macys, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or, our favorite for items like this, Tuesday Morning, you can simply and inexpensively revamp your bathroom and give it an updated, plush feel.
4. Change your showerhead
You can change out a showerhead for under 20, but for a bit more, you can transform your shower into a spa-like experience. The Delta In2ition has a showerhead and hand shower and is just 79.
5. New vanity
Yes, you can get a new vanity for under 100. This version from Home Depot comes in a few colors were partial to the white and has an engineered composite top that resembles stone. Its a quick and easy way to modernize a powder bath. Or, bring in a pair for a smaller guest bath.
6. Organize it
Its often whats inside the drawers and cabinets that makes the bathroom unappealing. You might have enough space - you just need to use it right. An organizer with drawers is one of our favorite items for keeping everything tidy inside the cabinets. For makeup drawers, measure the length and width and then mix and match a series of plastic organizers.
7. Tile it
Peel and stick tile continues to be one of our favorite things. Inexpensive and easy to use, it can help you quickly and easily transform a space. If you dont have a wall suitable for tiling in the bathroom, you can bring new interest to the room by tiling around the perimeter of your bathroom mirror.
8. Paint the door
Its often overlooked, but your bathroom door can become a focal point when painted in a bold or complementary color. Get some ideas on Houzz.
9. The right lighting
Experts recommend sconces at the side of a bathroom mirror instead of lighting over the mirror. It creates fewer shadows and is optimum for shaving and applying makeup. But even if the placement of your lighting isnt changeable, you can still adjust the brightness level by making sure you have the right bulbs.
"In the master or guest bathrooms, use fixtures that provides 75 to 100 watts worth of illumination," said Forbes. "You can get these wattage equivalents in a 24- to 26-watt compact fluorescent or 20- to 25-watt LED."
10. Create some ambiance
Candles in clusters around the tub are a given. But you can create an inviting bathroom with other special touches as well.
A few pieces of inexpensive wall art in your design >
If youre not inclined to buy anything or change anything, you can still make an impact on your space. Put your gloves on, get your bleach out and clean that sucker. Youll kill off any lingering germs, and make it smell and look good.
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China and Its Demand For Global Property
After being a net recipient of foreign inward investment for decades, China is now turning the tables, with by far the biggest part of its overseas investing going into real estate. In fact, investment in foreign property projects reached a massive US5.4 billion in the first six months of 2014, representing an increase of 17 year on year. So what exactly is driving China and its demand for global property?
There is little doubt that the key incentive for Chinese investors is the slowing of the domestic property market, combined with soaring house prices, which seems to threaten increasing market instability. In contrast, the stable property markets in the West, providing both high yields and a safe haven, look increasingly attractive. This is against the backdrop of the slowdown in the Chinese economy, and the Chinese governments increasing curbs on real estate ownership.
These are some of the "push" factors driving Chinese investors to seek markets abroad, but there are also many "pull" factors making Western markets especially attractive. Education and healthcare systems are a particular draw, along with the ability to own property outright, and the greater affordability of premium properties, thanks to the strength of the yuan. On the continent of Europe, the Golden Visa schemes in Spain and other countries provide residence rights to purchasers of properties over a certain value, along with freedom of travel and education across the Schengen zone.
The result of this in fact is that in 2014, Madrid has moved into 5th place in the table of Chinas top property investment destinations. Top of the list is London, UK, followed by US cities New York and San Francisco. In 4th place is Sydney, Australia, confirming that Chinese overseas investment indeed has a truly global reach.
However, although in cities like London, Chinese property investment has been growing for several years, the pattern is changing, with residential property sales now being outstripped by investment in the commercial property sector. These include massive Chinese acquisitions in the City and Canary Wharf, as well as a huge redevelopment of the historic Ram Brewery in Wandsworth. There is a similar pattern in other key gateway cities, including the 5 billion Atlantic Yards redevelopment in Brooklyn, New York, the acquisition of a large commercial development site in north-west Sydney, and the purchase of a massive skyscraper from Santander in Madrid.
This reflects the fact that although Chinas overseas expansion began with individual investors, looking for properties mainly for personal use, it has increasingly moved into the big league, as developers snap up prime sites. Insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds SWFs are now able to purchase prime assets and strategic property portfolios. These big investors are able to bring economies of scale to the purchase of equipment and materials, as well as plentiful financing through their access to funding from big Chinese banks.
Although the influx of Chinese investment in all these countries has been welcomed as a boost to their economies, it has also given rise to some concerns. In many of the key gateway cities, notably London and Sydney, there is evidence that demand from cash-rich Chinese investors could be pricing domestic buyers out of the market. Local and national governments have to decide how far they are willing to intervene in the market, to protect the welfare of their own citizens.
You can gain further insights into these and other vital issues by visiting CBRE TV, the no.1 for expert opinion and analysis on real estate consultancy and investment.
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Best Canadian Cities For Attracting Newcomers
A report that ranks 50 Canadian cities on their attractiveness to migrants says that Waterloo, Calgary, Ottawa, Richmond Hill, Vancouver and St. Johns get top marks, based on 43 indicators grouped into seven categories: society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation and housing. The six top cities also received top marks when The Conference Board of Canada conducted the last study in 2010.
Waterloo has a reputation for innovation and education, ranking first in education, second in innovation and third in the economy category. Calgary ranked first in economy and innovation. Ottawa scored high marks in the society, education, innovation and economy sections.
Richmond Hill, a Toronto suburb, is the third-most diverse city in Canada and has the highest number of graduates in engineering, science and math per capita, says the Conference Board of Canada. Vancouver did well in the society, education and environment categories, while St. Johns ranked high in the economy and health categories.
Although these six cities didnt have the best marks in all categories, their overall scores earned them an "A" in the study.
Those that scored a "B" include Toronto and its suburbs of Mississauga, Oakville and Markham. Toronto had top marks in the society category but was dragged down by poor marks in the innovation, health and environment categories. Other larger communities that received a "B" are Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Victoria, Halifax, Quebec City and Kingston.
There were 17 cities that received a "C" including Montreal, which got poor marks in the economy and society sections. Thirteen cities were given a "D" grade, which means they are struggling to attract newcomers and in some cases have seen their populations decline. These cities include Hamilton, Brantford, Cambridge, Oshawa, Abbotsford, Trois-Rivieres and Saint John.
The housing category includes three indictors: the percentage of household income spent on mortgages, the percentage of tenant household income spent on rent and the percentage of homes in need of major repair.
The report says the top city for housing in Canada is Levis, Que. "On average, homeowners in Levis spend only 12 per cent of their income on mortgage payments, compared with 19.9 per cent for homeowners in Brampton, Ont. who are the worst off," says the report. "To put this in perspective, Canadians on average spend 14.5 per cent of their income on mortgage payments."
Other cities that received an "A" in the housing category are Saguenay, Oakville, Waterloo, Calgary and Quebec City.
The report says small and mid-sized cities dominate the top tier of the housing category. "The big cities that do well Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton are those where high average incomes compensate for high housing prices."
Strong rent control regulations are in place in many of the communities at the top of the housing rankings.
"Tenants -- who tend to be younger and have less income -- spend a greater proportion of their income on housing than homeowners spend," says the report. "For tenants, there are only three A cities: Surrey, B.C. joins Saguenay and Levis as the most affordable places to rent." All of the top seven cities on rental affordability are in B.C. or Quebec, where rent control measures are in place.
The laws of supply and demand dictate that the most popular cities become more expensive as rising demand for housing outstrips demand. This gives Vancouver a D rating in the housing category.
"It is a conundrum that is difficult to solve as cities become more and more popular, attracting young and talented workers," says the Conference Board of Canada report. "Recent reports on the housing affordability crisis in London, U.K. underscore this dilemma," noting that some observers think that as younger, creative workers get priced out of the city, it becomes more bland and boring.
But the report says there is no indication this is happening yet in Canadian cities. "The proportion of young adults 25 to 34-years-old is still highest in the big cities and this rate has increased over the past five years."
The city that ranked dead last in the housing category rankings is Victoria, a popular tourism and retirement destination. A combination of poor affordability and low marks on housing condition doomed the city to last place.
The home repair indicator measures the percentage of homes in need of major repair defective plumbing or electrical wiring and structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings.
The Toronto suburbs of Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill and Brampton, where most development has taken place within the last 30 years, get top marks for housing in good repair. At the bottom of that list are Thunder Bay, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina and Saint John.
"Attracting skilled workers is crucial to Canadas competitiveness," says the report. "Cities that fail to attract new people will struggle to say prosperous and vibrant."
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10 Festive and Functional Ways to Use Fall Leaves
Fall leaves. Theyre not just a wonder to gaze at - and a nuisance to rake up. They also offer countless opportunities for home dcor and arts and crafts. Whats better than making your house look good and giving your kids something fun to do? Not much.
1. Make some artwork
Leaves are: 1 free, 2 abundant, and 3 capable of providing many hours of funwith a little something extra on the other side.
Leaf rubbings are a fun way to play with shape, color, and texture. "Place a leaf upside down on a hard surface with the veins facing toward you," said Nanny Magazine. "Put a piece of white paper on top of the leaf. Use a crayon any color to gently rub on the paper over the leaf."
2. Make more artwork
Tracing around the perimeter of leaves provides a good start to some great art. Make sure your kids add in the veining for a realistic look.
Then, they can color in the leaves with crayons, pens, pencils, or paint.
3. Make even more artwork
If you dont have fall leaves, you can still make a beautiful piece of art.
Grab a few sturdy specimens and create translucent leaves by soaking them in Arm amp; Hammer Washing Soda.
4. Make a collage
A handful of leaves in different colors, some glue or Mod Podge, and a piece of construction paper is all you need. If you have a laminator, you can create placemats for the kids table to use for Thanksgiving dinner.
5. Create leaf-covered candles
Martha Stewart shows you how to transform these candles into artistic autumn dcor.
6. Line a bowl for a colorful table setting
A collection of gourds or mini pumpkins, or winter fruit like apples and pears, look festive when gathered on top of a bed of fall leaves.
7. Stuff a vase
Pick leaves with the stems attached to create a centerpiece, individual table settings, or a pretty addition to your fall mantle.
8. Customize a tablecloth and napkins
Another craft that can be turned into useful items, leaf-stamped tablecloths and napkins are easy and fun to make, and can become a holiday tradition.
9. Make an autumn wreath
"After collecting an assortment of leaves, glue them on paper in a circle," said Nanny Magazine. "Decorate with glitter glue and dont forget to add a bow."
10. Make an adult version of an autumn wreath
Festive and fantastic, this version from Huffington Post can grace your front door all season.
Get some more fun craft ideas for fall leaves here.
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