By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Happy Earth Day!! It’s a great day to catch up on some green reading. Here are three recently published books that can give both you and your clients tips and resources for creating a more eco-friendly home or listing.
New Natural Home: Designs for Sustainable Living: This book is filled with eye candy-delicious images of homes from all over the world that will spark ideas on how to incorporate symbiotic living between a home and its surrounding environment. It also offers tips to reduce energy use and add sustainable elements, such as lighting, architectural elements, and landscaping.
DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner: 25 Ways to Build a Self-Reliant Lifestyle: A great gift for a recent buyer who’d green-minded and isn’t afraid of DIY projects. This book covers the basics for solar, hydro, greenhouse, and gardening projects – building a chicken run and beehive, for instance.
As covered over at our Styled, Staged & Sold blog today, the instillation of solar panels can boost a home’s resale value, according to a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For those e-reader users out there, Solar Energy – Sustainable Green Energy For Your Home, Your Car And Your Business [Kindle Edition] covers the basics, from the pros and cons of residential solar energy systems, to making your own solar power source.
Interior design on a budget? Don’t let your clients stress. Design expert Frank Fontana, a specialist in low-cost, high-style design, shares his techniques room-by-room and project-by-project in his new book Dirty Little Secrets of Design (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; November 2010).
In the book, Fontana analyzes several beautiful homes, dissects the individual design components of each room, and applies his “Look for Less” principle to help readers build their own look on a budget. The book also includes more than 40 DIY projects that are accessible and doable for readers of various skill levels, such as a multipurpose ottoman, a custom display case, unique artwork make from reclaimed items, and more. Plus, he gives advice on how to be a savvy shopper when looking for home decor items or furniture, leaving readers with practical decorating and fabricating techniques.
Here are five of Fontana’s Dirty Little Secrets of Design:
1. Work with one small space at a time. Advise your clients to create vignettes and groupings of seating furniture that provide additional conversation areas and help break up a room. Don’t just throw a comfy sofa in a room next to a hand-me-down coffee table and call it a day; it will feel empty.
2. There’s no need to fumigate. Try using low-VOC paint (VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds, and paints low in them are better for the environment and less harsh on your nose.) For a cheaper, homegrown solution, drop a few squirts of vanilla extract into the paint can, and breathe easier. (Note: The fumes are only masked, not eliminated.) It won’t affect the color.
3. Exit courtesy. There is one piece of furniture that Fontana considers essential to an entryway — a chair. Continue reading »
Starr C. Osborne, owner and founder of Tailored Transitions, a Philadelphia-based home staging, moving-management, and design company, has put together these 10 tips to help sellers prepare their home for the market. Her new book, Home Staging That Works: Sell Your Home in Less Time for More Money (AMACOM, 2010) offers step-by-step and room-by-room instruction for professional-quality makeovers that will wow potential buyers.
1. In this market, it is wise to get a pre-inspection. Based on the results of your pre-inspection, schedule appointments with reputable vendors to get professional estimates on what repairing any major problems would cost. You, and your buyer, don’t want any surprises.
2. Identify the demographic of your most likely buyer. Keep them firmly in mind as you prepare to put your home up for sale. Is it for young couples starting a family? Is it for baby boomers downgrading after their kids have moved out?
3. Buy new house or apartment numbers to replace your existing ones if they’re dated or damaged. This is the first thing that buyers look for (to make sure they’re at the right place), so of course it’s the first thing they notice. You don’t want to start off with a bad impression. Continue reading »