Design Trends That Sell New Homes

Are you drawn to new construction homes? As a homeowner, do you ever wonder what design trends are most appealing to buyers? Well, at the Windermere Builder Solutions breakfast yesterday, agents from throughout the Seattle area came together to discuss the features and trends that are drawing buyers to new homes.

The highlight of the breakfast was a presentation by the Macadam Floor and Design Center.  Located in Kirkland, Washington, they specialize in providing flooring and interior design materials, as well as installation, design, and project management assistance to the construction industry and other professionals. They walked the group through the five reasons buyers are drawn to new construction homes.

1. Modern features.

2. Customization opportunities.

3. Less maintenance and repairs.

4. Being the first to live in the home.

5. Getting to live in a newly developed neighborhood.

So, what’s new in the design trend sphere? Right now it’s all about texture and simplifying. Say goodbye to bold, busy styles and trade them in for the natural, classy look with muted tones. Your color pallet should be moving away from the golden beige and heading towards the warm grey (and pastels).

Here are some key trends to follow:

Wallpaper – We know what you’re thinking, wallpaper is so 80s, right? Actually, wallpaper today is much more sophisticated and can add texture to highlight walls, powder rooms, or dining rooms. Wherever you decide to put it, make sure it fits the ambiance of the room.

Counter Tops – Whether it’s in your kitchen or master bathroom, white is all the rage right now. Here’s a tip we picked up: you might love the look of marble, but it’s not very practical because it’s susceptible to staining, scratching, and etching. Quartz allows for the same chic look that marble has without all the hassle. Want to be über modern? Invest in a waterfall kitchen island where the counter top comes down on both sides to meet the floor.

Architecture Elements – Open concept floor plans are opening up even more if you can believe it. People are shedding their walls and opting for rooms that are defined by posts, adding bigger kitchens and living spaces, and even floating stairs. Some even refer to them as “super rooms” because these spaces are so multi-purpose. This will make your home feel less cramped and fresher. Curl up to a full-height fireplace for added effect.

Tile – Think big. In fact, the bigger the tiles, the better. Format tiles, which are as large as 24 by 48 inches, are a popular choice for bathroom floors, as are wood plank tiles. Subway, glass, and metallic tile looks are also “in” in all styles of homes.

Mud Rooms – These “throw back” multi-use rooms are gaining more and more momentum in modern day homes. Since they serve as a point of entry, you can count on guests seeing them, so “snazzy” is how they should be described rather than “drop and go.” There is a high demand for ones that also include a washer/dryer and extra storage.

According to the experts from Macadam Floor and Design Center, when people aren’t building their homes from the ground up, they are upgrading. The average amount that people tend to spend on an upgraded room is $20,000 – although that varies greatly depending on the room and budget. Relatively simple things, like adding a wine room in the cellar, a “Wok” kitchen, or a stand-alone bathtub in the master suite are great ways to keep your house up to date. What’s next for you?

For more information on Windermere Evergreen contact us here.

Posted on December 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Buying & Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

New Features vs. Character

We are often asked, “Which is the better buy, a newer or older home?” Our answer: It all depends on your needs and personal preferences. We decided to put together a list of the six biggest differences between newer and older homes:

The neighborhood

Surprisingly, one of the biggest factors in choosing a new home isn’t the property itself, but rather the surrounding neighborhood. While new homes occasionally spring up in established communities, most are built in new developments. The settings are quite different, each with their own unique benefits.

Older neighborhoods often feature tree-lined streets; larger property lots; a wide array of architectural styles; easy walking access to mass transportation, restaurants and local shops; and more established relationships among neighbors.

New developments are better known for wider streets and quiet cul-de-sacs; controlled development; fewer aboveground utilities; more parks; and often newer public facilities (schools, libraries, pools, etc.). There are typically more children in newer communities, as well.

Consider your daily work commute, too. While not always true, older neighborhoods tend to be closer to major employment centers, mass transportation and multiple car routes (neighborhood arterials, highways and freeways).

Design and layout

If you like VictorianCraftsman or Cape Cod style homes, it used to be that you would have to buy an older home from the appropriate era. But with new-home builders now offering modern takes on those classic designs, that’s no longer the case. There are even modern log homes available.

Have you given much thought to your floor plans? If you have your heart set on a family room, an entertainment kitchen, a home office and walk-in closets, you’ll likely want to buy a newer home—or plan to do some heavy remodeling of an older home. Unless they’ve already been remodeled, most older homes feature more basic layouts.

If you have a specific home-décor style in mind, you’ll want to take that into consideration, as well. Professional designers say it’s best if the style and era of your furnishings match the style and era of your house. But if you are willing to adapt, then the options are wide open.

Materials and craftsmanship

Homes built before material and labor costs spiked in the late 1950s have a reputation for higher-grade lumber and old-world craftsmanship (hardwood floors, old-growth timber supports, ornate siding, artistic molding, etc.).

However, newer homes have the benefit of modern materials and more advanced building codes (copper or polyurethane plumbing, better insulation, double-pane windows, modern electrical wiring, earthquake/ windstorm supports, etc.).

Current condition

The condition of a home for sale is always a top consideration for any buyer. However, age is a factor here, as well. For example, if the exterior of a newer home needs repainting, it’s a relatively easy task to determine the cost.  But if it’s a home built before the 1970s, you have to also consider the fact that the underlying paint is most likely lead0based, and that the wood siding may have rot or other structural issues that need to be addressed before it can be recoated.

On the flip side, the mechanicals in older homes (lights, heating systems, sump pump, etc.) tend to be better built and last longer.

Outdoor space

One of the great things about older homes is that they usually come with mature tress and bushes already in place. Buyers of new homes may have to wait years for ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses, ferns, cacti and other long-term vegetation to fill in a yard, create shade, provide privacy, and develop into an inviting outdoor space. However, maybe you’re one of the many homeowners who prefer the wide-open, low-maintenance benefits of a lightly planted yard.

Car considerations

Like it or not, most of us are extremely dependent on our cars for daily transportation. And here again, you’ll find a big difference between newer and older homes. Newer homes almost always feature ample off-street parking: usually a two-care garage and a wide driveway. An older home, depending on just how old it is, may not offer a garage—and if it does, there’s often only enough space for one car. For people who don’t feel comfortable leaving their car on the street, this alone can be a determining factor.

Finalizing your decision

While the differences between older and newer homes are striking, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal taste, and what is available in your desired area. To quickly determine which direction your taste trends, use the information above to make a list of your most desired features, then categorize those according to the type of house in which they’re most likely to be found. The results can often be telling.

If you have questions about newer versus older homes, or if you are looking for a qualified Real Estate Agent please contact us here.

Posted on November 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Buying & Selling | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

When Things Go Bump in the Night

It’s almost Halloween; the time of year when people decorate their homes with haunting embellishments and spooky décor. Bats, spiders, and rodents are all good and fun when they’re made of plastic, but when you have the real thing taking up residence in your home, it’s no treat. Here are some tips for making sure these frightening critters don’t make your house their permanent home.

Blood Suckers

While they may not turn into vampires in real life, preventing a bat infestation is actually good for your health. That’s because bats are a known carrier of rabies and an accumulation of their droppings can cause lung problems in humans. Bats can enter your home through holes less than an inch wide, and when they do, they often find the attic to be very accommodating to their needs. So, how do you keep them from settling in? Start by checking your roof and siding for any gaps. Check your attic for any signs of infestation, including: brown stains around any openings in your siding or roof (from oil on their skin), droppings, or strange sounds coming from the attic. Ghosts aren’t the only ones who like it up there.

To prevent or rid your home of bats follow these tips:

  • Get rid of the bats now, so they can find alternative shelter before hibernation season in the winter.
  • Check with local pest control companies; in some states it is illegal to exterminate bats.
  • Locate the point of entry.
  • Hire a professional to evacuate the bats.
    • As mentioned above, bats can cause health problems; hire a professional who has experience and the right equipment. There are humane options available.
  • Prevent re-entry by sealing any openings.
  • Use mothballs to prevent re-nesting. Bats have a tendency to return to previous nesting sites, so this may need to be repeated.

Creepy Crawlies

In lists of common phobias, more than thirty percent of adults report fearing spiders, right behind public speaking and death. Most spiders that you find in your home are perfectly harmless; however, that doesn’t mean you want to share your space with them. To be on the safe side, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself from our little eight legged friends. Even a bite from a harmless spider can cause infections with itchy, red skin. In most cases, it can be treated by washing it with cool, soapy water, elevation, and an ice pack. Of course, if it shows signs of getting worse, your next step should be calling your doctor. Spider varieties that you should avoid include: Hobo spiders, Black Widows, Brown Recluses, and the Yellow Sac spider. These spiders are poisonous and can cause a number of symptoms from vomit to necrotic lesions. According to experts, spiders very rarely cause death in humans; however, if you are bit by a venomous spider you should seek immediate medical attention (and bring the spider remains with you, if possible).

Here are some tips to reduce spiders in your home:

  • Kill spiders on sight.
  • Place non-poisonous spider traps with non-toxic attractants and glue in areas where spiders are commonly found and in corners.
  • Be careful with common insect repellent and spider sprays, these can be toxic and harmful to children and pets.
  • Spiders can be deterred with essential oils: lavender, chestnut, clover leaf, and coconut.
  • Use ultrasonic devices.

Rodents:

The most effective way to prevent mice and rat infestation is to keep them out of your home in the first place. Mice can get through a gap as small as a quarter of an inch, so thoroughly inspecting the foundation and interior of your home for entrance points and sealing any cracks or holes is a great way to start. Rodents are also excellent at tracking food sources. Keep all food, including pet food and pantry items in secure bins and jars.

If you have found evidence of mice or rats (generally droppings or urine) take caution. Rodent secretions can be hazardous, and can spread salmonella or hanta virus. There are multiple methods for removing rodents from your home, including traps, poison bates, electronic and sonic devises and, a house cat, or professional exterminator.

If you are getting rid of the critters on your own you will want to follow these steps:

  • Identify their food source(s), entry points, and common routes around and through your home.
  • Remove food source with secure packaging that cannot be chewed through, such as glass containers.
  • Seal all entry points with wire mesh.
  • Place sonic devises, traps, poison, or other deterrents in the pathway of the rodents.
  • Use caution, make sure poison or exposed traps are not accessible to children or pets.
  • If you find urine, droppings, or a dead mouse you will want to spray the surface and mouse with a bleach/water solution. Using gloves and a face mask, remove the rodent and wipe all surfaces.
  • If you have identified a large quantity of rodents, contact a professional for removal and clean up.
  • You may need to take extra measures to ensure the removal is permanent by changing components of your back yard, replacing siding, or upgrading building materials to prevent outdoor nesting and re-infestation.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted on October 27, 2017 at 6:11 pm
Windermere Evergreen | Category: Living | Tagged , , , , , , ,