Six Easy Ways To Improve Your Kitchen, Bathroom And Bedroom

Good Lighting Is Not Something Most People Think Much About Until They Don’t Have It.

Seattle Home Inspection Living in a well-lit room is a much more pleasurable experience than trying to cook, read, entertain or do just about anything in a dark, shadowy space.

The American Lighting Association Offers These Tips For Improving The Lighting In Your Kitchen, Bathroom And Bedroom:

* Add To Your Task Lighting. Many bathrooms and kitchens have plenty of overhead light, but are often lacking when it comes to task lighting, says David Martin, designer with lighting manufacturer Hubbardton Forge. “At the kitchen sink, for example, you can eliminate shadows by including two sources of light.” The result is a workstation with easier-to-see spaces that alleviate eyestrain.

* Include Mood-enhancing Lights And Dimmers. “Places such as bathrooms and bedrooms – once mostly functional – now serve as an extension of our living spaces,” says Todd Phillips, owner and senior designer with Quoizel Lighting. The lights in those rooms should be both hardworking and mood enhancing. For example, inexpensive, easy-to-install cove lights in the kitchen can provide soft illumination after mealtime and cleanup. Additional lights placed at a bathroom vanity and aimed out toward the face can help brighten grooming tasks and offer awakening morning light. A bonus: Those controls can help accommodate varying levels of natural daylight, too. [Read more…]



Selling Your Seattle Real Esatate Home? A Great Deck Spruces Up The Curb Appeal

Seattle Home Inspection Curb appeal is integral when selling a home, but when the trees are bare and the ground is covered in dirty snow, the winter months can make it very difficult to showcase your home’s attractive landscaping.

But smart sellers know that taking extra steps to care for and present a home’s exterior is a worthwhile investment, particularly during the real estate off-season. There is one improvement you can make that will help boost your home’s outdoor appeal no matter what the season: a deck.

When potential buyers visit your home in winter, they might not be able to envision how green and lovely your backyard will look come spring, but they will be able to see with their own eyes what a deck adds to the home’s living space. Decks, patios, sunrooms and porches have always been popular with homebuyers, but real estate agents say that too often these spaces are neglected or not used to their best advantage. [Read more…]



Kitchen Trends For 2013: ‘Revamping Kits’ Offer High-End Results

seattle home inspectionIf You’re Tired Of Looking At Your Outdated Kitchen, But Feel Replacement Would Be Impractical, You’re Not Alone.

In 2013, consumers will be trying to find the beauty in the beast. Projects that help the old look new will be the next big makeover trend – especially in the kitchen where remodeling becomes more pricey.

“Revamping kits” that refinish countertops, cabinets, and appliances are already in growing demand. Here are three top kitchen kits that can easily, quickly and affordably help your existing kitchen look high end.

Granite remains the No. 1 choice for kitchen remodels, but the standard cost of granite runs from $50 to $110 a square foot (including installation). While there’s nothing functionally wrong with laminate, Corian and Formica, they’re not always what homeowners are looking for. So if your countertops need an uplift without a hefty price tag attached, try granite paint. [Read more…]



Ten Lucky Home Decor Trends For 2013

Despite Its Negative Reputation, The Number 13 Doesn’t Always Have To Be Unlucky.

Take these top 10 decor trends for 2013 from design experts, manufacturers and trend forecasters across the country. They’re fresh, fun and sure to bring good fortune to any home.

seattle home inspectionA Splash Of Color

Industry leader Pantone’s annual fashion color report sets the tone for home decor as well as clothing, and the spring 2013 report is no exception. Its softer-hued palette of Dusk Blue, Lemon Zest, African Violet, Grayed Jade, Linen and Tender Shoots is emboldened by Monaco Blue, Poppy Red, Emerald and Nectarine. Marc Thee, founder of the No. 1 residential interior design firm in the country, also sees a move toward pure color palettes such as cream and sea glass, khaki and white, or neutral with a pop of yellow.-

Not Your Mama’s Wallpaper

Repositionable wallpaper is a decorating mainstay, says Todd Imholte, president of Murals Your Way, whose website, www.muralsyourway.com, is the top online destination for wall murals worldwide. The company’s10 collections of peel-and-stick wallpaper are available in such themes as Vintage, Dots, Flower Prints and Mostly Modern, and can be removed and reused hundreds of times without losing their adhering qualities. Because the company offers color matching, customers can match their repositionable wallpaper to an existing paint color, updated decor or the new Pantone color palette. [Read more…]



Preparing Your Credit Profile For The Spring Real Estate Season

Seattle home inspectionWhen You Are Out Shoveling Snow And Scraping Ice Off The Car’s Windshield, Winter Can Seem Like An Eternity.

 Yet when it comes to your credit profile, house-hunting and the spring real estate season is just around the corner.

“Warm weather will bring an increase in homes on the market and buyers shopping, so it pays to take steps to make sure your credit profile is in the best shape possible if you’ll be looking for a house come spring,” says Barrett Burns, president and CEO of credit score model developer VantageScore Solutions. “Real estate experts are already predicting that this spring will be an important season for the industry, with mortgage rates still low and prices creeping back up. In addition to other criteria such as down payments and income, a good credit score can make a big difference when it comes to getting a mortgage at favorable rates.”

VantageScore Solutions recommends home buyers start now to prep their credit profiles before the spring real estate season arrives in March and April.

Here are some tips and tidbits to keep in mind as you’re working toward qualifying for a mortgage loan:

* It Is Essential To Know What’s On Your Credit Report Before It Will Be Viewed By Potential Lenders. Make sure your credit report is up-to-date and accurately reflects your credit behavior. You can obtain your report at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only official site where you can obtain your report every 12 months for free from each of the three major credit reporting companies (CRCs), which are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. And you can access your credit score through all three CRCs from the same website for a small fee.

* Creditors Are Interested In Seeing How You Manage Credit, And The Consistency Of Behavior Counts. In addition to paying your bills on time every month, avoid applying for any new credit between now and the time you will apply for a mortgage. Almost every credit score “inquiry” from a lender is recorded with one or more of the three national CRCs. This can result in a decrease to your VantageScore credit score by 10 to 20 points.

* Keep In Mind That Some Lenders Will Pull A Credit Score At The Time You Apply For The Loan, Then Again Just Before The Loan Closes. You want to avoid credit score reductions during that time frame, which can occur if you take on unnecessary credit. Also be sure all payments on existing debt are made on time during this timeframe.

* Shop Around For Mortgage Options Before You Actually Apply. Understand lenders’ qualifying criteria so you know where you may need to improve. Once you’ve done your research, go ahead and apply to multiple lenders all at once. Multiple applications at the same time will register on your credit report as a single inquiry – as long as they’re all within 14 days of each other – and will have minimal impact on your score.

* Different Lenders Use Different Scoring Models And Different Models Can Have Different Score Ranges. For example, the VantageScore model’s range is 501 to 990. You may or may not be able to find out from your potential lender which model they use. What’s important is where you fall in the model’s score range, which tells you how your score compares to others.

Finally, Burns says, don’t worry too much over small fluctuations in your score. “It’s possible for your score to be 772 on Thursday and 765 on Friday,” he says. “It may be back up to 770 the next week. The changes are likely due to updates to your credit files and expiring data. Remember that consistent, responsible behavior is more important than small ups and downs in your credit score.”- –

For more information and tips on how to get your credit ready for spring real estate season, visit www.VantageScore.com or test your knowledge about credit scores at www.CreditScoreQuiz.org, which was created by VantageScore Solutions along with its partner, Consumer Federation of America. Both websites are completely free and neither display any advertising nor collect any personal data. Both the online quiz and a corresponding brochure are available in Spanish at www.creditscorequiz.org/Espanol.

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Flu Season Etiquette Tips From The Emily Post Institute

Seattle Home InspectionWhen The Flu Hits, Manners May Not Be The First Thing That Comes To Mind.

Yet, good “flu etiquette” and hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent the spread of influenza. While most Americans recognize that the flu virus spreads easily, they admit to sometimes forgetting their manners when they have the flu: a 2011 survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that three out of four Americans (75%) would go to at least one social situation if they had symptoms of the flu (out of a list of seven).

Influenza, or “the flu,” is a contagious viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs which occurs most often in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Flu is a serious infection which is associated, on average, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations due to flu related complications and can lead to thousands of deaths every year in the United States. [Read more…]



Click With Confidence: Three Tips To Protect Your Privacy When Shopping Online

Bellevue Real Estate If the growing online shopping statistics from the past few years have been any indication, buyers will again be flocking to online retailers this holiday season – perhaps in larger numbers than ever before.

However, as people become increasingly savvier as Web shoppers, awareness and concerns about online privacy and safety have also grown. As many as 91 percent of consumers say that they’re concerned about privacy when shopping online. Frequent news stories about consumer information being sold or mishandled have helped contribute to an atmosphere of mistrust, and more than half of consumers say they don’t trust businesses with their personal information.

For those who love the convenience and choice that come along with online shopping, there are a few ways to ensure that your information is kept safe and private.

1. Read Privacy Policies. You’ve probably seen them countless times, but how often have you actually read a privacy policy? If you’ve shopped without reading, you’re certainly not alone. While 97 percent of websites have a privacy policy, those documents average nearly 2,500 words – which is almost twice as long as the Declaration of Independence. It would take the average person at least 10 minutes to read that, and not too many online shoppers want to spend that much time. However, reading the privacy policy will give you the details about what a site is doing to keep your information safe. [Read more…]



Winterize Your Home In A Weekend

Preparing For Jack Frost’s Arrival Can Send A Shiver Down Any Homeowner’s Spine.

Bellevue Real Estate A long to-do list for getting your home ready can feel overwhelming, leaving you wondering where you’ll find the time and resources. But, with some optimism, easy tips and access to a few rental tools, you can winterize your home in just one weekend, leaving plenty of time to enjoy autumn’s splendor.

Prepare Your Lawn And Landscaping

Cold temperatures cause grass and other plants in your landscape to go dormant. Spend a few hours preparing your lawn for beautiful greenery next year.

Start by aerating. Renting an aerator is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce thatch and provide extra space in the soil for water and oxygen to reach the roots. Find a local American Rental Association (ARA) member store near you by visiting RentalHQ.com. After aerating, spread a quality winter fertilizer to give your grass the nutrients it needs to grow strong. If you live in an area with harsh winters, remember to cover roses and delicate perennials so that they are protected. [Read more…]



Use The Winter Months To Update and Beautify Your Bathroom

Seattle Home InspectionRemodeling And Refreshing The Home Is A Great Way To Keep Cabin Fever At Bay During Long Winter Months.

Designing a bathroom remodel to incorporate innovative style, comfort and efficiency helps to speed the winter months along, and your family will certainly enjoy the rest of the season with a beautiful new bathroom.

Attention is often centered in the bathroom because it is a room frequently used by residents and guests. Even minor aesthetic changes can have a major impact in the room’s atmosphere. A bathroom remodel can be as simple as updating hardware on cabinets to a full redo of all fixtures. Consider the following ideas to incorporate new and innovative design, technology and eco-friendly products into your bath this winter season. [Read more…]



Travel Tips For A Joyful Holiday Season

Seattle Home InspectionYou’ve managed to navigate the holiday crowds at the post office, the mall and the office party, but you still need to get over the river and through the woods to gatherings with family and friends.

Before you hit the roads, rails or skies this holiday season, dash through these helpful tips to make your trip as jolly as possible and, while you’re away, help you get a good night’s sleep.

* Be Prepared: Don’t forget the necessities for the inevitable travel delay when packing your luggage and gifts. Pack each child a personal travel bag with surprise snacks, new books, small toys, art supplies and a travel-sized blanket and pillow. Bring yourself a book, crossword puzzle or correspondence to catch up on. Whether it’s a canceled flight, delayed train or road construction, planning ahead to keep your family occupied during these hold-ups ensures you will all arrive at your destination in a festive mood. [Read more…]