Century 21 Winklhofer's Blog

10 Ways to Baby-Proof Your Home
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on July 16, 2014
10 Ways to Baby-Proof Your Home By CENTURY 21 on July 14th, 2014 What do cabinets, countertops, bath spouts, toilets, and outlets have in common? They are all areas of the home that can be dangerous for your baby or toddler. Baby-proof your home to make it a safe place for creating family memories with your loved ones.

There are dozens of ways to baby-proof your home, but here are ten crucial steps:

1. Outlet plugs: Buy outlet plugs that go inside the outlet and prevent children from being shocked by sticking fingers or objects inside.

2. Non-slip bath mats: A non-slip bath mat allows you to make bath time fun without worrying that your child will slip and fall.

3. Safety gates: Use safety gates once your baby starts crawling and walking. Place them at the tops and bottoms of staircases and in the doorways of any rooms that aren’t baby-proofed and don’t have a door.

4. Corner guards: If you have sharp-edged furniture like cabinets and tables, put on corner guards. This is especially important for furniture that is low to the ground, like coffee tables.

5. Window locks: Install window locks so that your child can’t open the windows.

6. Door locks and door knob covers: Door locks and door knob covers keep children from being able to access things that could potentially be dangerous like cooking utensils, cords, medicine, and cleaning supplies.

7. Oven knob covers and oven latches: Oven knob covers and oven latches keep your child from opening the oven or turning it on.

8. Bath spout covers: The bath spout might get too hot when you are running water. Use a bath spout cover so that your child doesn’t get hurt if he or she gets too close to the faucet.

9. Pool gates: If you have a pool at home, it is essential to have a gate around it.

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The Secrets to a Perfect Staycation
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 30, 2014
The Secrets to a Perfect Staycation By CENTURY 21 on June 26th, 2014      Booking a “staycation” (or a vacation at home) can be a stress-free, budget-friendly way to take a break. And, if done correctly, it can feel like a dream vacation.

Here are some tips to help you have the perfect staycation at home:

Clear your calendar. Block off at least 2-3 days. During this window, don’t book appointments, do errands, or plan to do work. Be protective of your vacation days. It may be tempting to keep to your regular schedule, but in order to truly relax and feel like you’re on vacation, you have to set aside quality time for yourself.

Add in amenities. Turn your home into a five-star resort with a few upgrades:

●     hang a hammock in the backyard

●     build a firepit

●     give your bedroom a makeover

●     turn your bathroom into a spa

●     fix up the patio to enjoy dinners al fresco

●     add a porch swing.

Play tourist. Get to know your city better, and see it with a fresh perspective. Do all the things you don’t normally have time for and treat yourself to the experiences that don’t fall into your daily routine. If your friends or family visited from out of town, where would you take them? Check out the current events at local theaters, museums, and concert venues. Find the new (or best) restaurant in town. You might even consider buying a guidebook to cover the most ground.

Bring the fun to you. You don’t have to go far to enjoy yourself. Tackle your lengthy reading list by curling up in a deck chair with a tall, refreshing drink. Break out the s’mores and take a mini camping trip. Binge-watch the popular TV series everyone is talking about, but you haven’t had time for.

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Maintain and Clean Your Grill
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 26, 2014
Maintain and Clean Your GrillMaintain and Clean Your Grill   

Cooking on the grill is one of the best parts of warm weather. Get the best from your grill. Learn how to properly clean and maintain your gas or charcoal grill.

Cleaning Gas or Charcoal Grills

There is much debate as to which type of grill cooks better: Charcoal or gas. But one thing they have in common is how easy they are to clean. To maintain a gas or a charcoal grill all you need is a rag, a wire brush and some cooking oil.

Routine Maintenance

Routine brushing of the grates prevents food and bacterial buildup. A brass wire brush is best for clearing and cleaning off surfaces. After each use, wash and soak your brush in hot soapy water. Then hang dry it with the brush upside down on a grill hanger. Drying the brush naturally ensures the bristles will last a long time. After your brush is dry, keep it indoors to reduce weather exposure to the bristles.

After you've brushed down your grill and the grates are at a cool temperature, spray it down with some cooking oil. This prevents your grill from rusting and ensures a long life. If you don't have cooking spray, another option is to pour some oil on your rag and wipe down the cast iron grates.

Cleaning the burners is also important as burners can accumulate grease and food, leading to uneven temperatures along your surface. After the burners have cooled, scrub with a wire brush evenly and clean around the ports to ensure food and grease have not amassed.

Cleaning out grease traps is important because grease is highly flammable and can cause a fire or heat up all surfaces, including the handles.

For charcoal grills, it's important to dump all used charcoal or ash after each use.

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Do This, Not That: Tips for Staging Your Home
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 26, 2014
Do This, Not That: Tips for Staging Your HomeBy CENTURY 21 on May 25th, 2014 

You never get a second chance at a first impression. It is important that potential buyers get a great first impression when they come to your home for an open house or see your listing online. Factors like cleanliness, brightness, and furniture placement all make a big impact on the home’s overall appearance. Making buyers feel comfortable in a new space is key to selling a home. We asked our Facebook friends for their best tips for staging a home to sell.

Here are five tips for staging your home:

“Make sure all furniture is about one and a half inches from the wall, this creates the illusion of more space. Clear all personal pictures. If the front door is worn, paint it an interesting color that is inviting and make sure the path to the home is welcoming.” – Michael L. “You hope that you will have a lot of people in short period of time, freedom of movement is essential.” - CENTURY 21 Ilford “Good photos get action. Make sure the lights are on and that you are using a good camera. Don’t use your cell phone!” – Kristy W. “Everything off the counters! Toilet seats down. Blinds all the way up to show off recently cleaned windows.” – Wayne F. “Stage with smaller furniture to make rooms bigger and go with light colored furnishings unless the area dictates darker classy designs.” – Peter C.

Find more great tips on our Facebook post, and visit CENTURY21.com for more home selling advice. 

Recommended Reading:

-Your Pre-Sale Checklist

-Seller Marketing Plan

-Showing Your Home

- See more at: http://blog.century21.com/2014/05/do-this-not-that-tips-for-staging-your-home/#sthash.aWPwkodh.dpuf

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Good to Great: Take Your Kitchen from Good to Great
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 25, 2014
Good to Great: Take Your Kitchen from Good to Great By CENTURY 21 on June 23rd, 2014 

You and your family spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Whether you are cooking a family meal, eating dinner, or enjoying a midnight snack, the kitchen is a family gathering point. Little renovations and adjustments can take your kitchen from good to great.

 

Island: Add an island. An island provides extra counter space, room for more seating, and much-needed storage space. If you are on a budget and can’t get an island installed, purchase a stand-alone version or even put a small table in the middle of the kitchen.

 

Range Hood: Range hoods draw up steam and smoke, circulate air, and keep your kitchen from smelling like whatever you’re cooking. Your neighbors will also appreciate it because it decreases the likelihood that your smoke alarm will go off when you are simply cooking pasta! There are a wide variety of range hood options. You can find one for almost any budget and, to decrease costs, you can install it yourself.

 

Countertops: Beautiful and durable countertops help to take your kitchen from good to great. If you are looking to sell, they are a great selling point for potential buyers. You can remodel your countertops without spending a fortune. The prices vary depending on the type of material you choose to use.

 

Backsplash: Cooking can be messy. Sick of oils and sauces making marks on the walls? Get a backsplash. Similar to countertops, the price varies based upon the material you choose. If you are on a budget you can also do it yourself!

 

Appliances: New appliances make a big difference. Prices range depending on the technology but they make cooking easier and more convenient. New appliances can also attract sellers and increase the offer price of your home.
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How to Style A Patio
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 23, 2014
How to Style A PatioBy CENTURY 21 on June 13th, 2014 
Warm weather means more BBQs, bonfires and quality family time in the backyard. Before you get ready to entertain guests, get your patio summer ready for you and your family.

 

Follow our tips to turn your patio into an outdoor oasis:

Floor Design: Decide what kind of style and atmosphere you’d like to achieve before buying your materials. If you’re looking for a contemporary feel, choose an interesting stone design. For a more classic look, stick with a wooden deck. For less maintenance, consider using a wood alternative. Furniture and Fabric: Summer means extra heat and occasional rain storms. Choose durable furniture and fabrics that will withstand the natural elements. When you are decorating consider how you want to use your space. Are you primarily hosting dinner parties or simply lounging outside? Choose furniture and accessories that will work well for you! Kitchen Area: Grilling season is here. Make a mini outdoor kitchen by arranging your BBQ next to a side table. Store kitchen utensils, plates, and other grilling supplies on the side table. Fire Pit: You don’t need a big space to enjoy a summer bonfire. Make a small fire pit the focal point of your patio. Do your research before placing one in your yard so that it is a safe distance from your home, then start making summertime s’mores! Finishing Touches: Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to add the finishing touches! Outdoor lanterns make great lighting for the evenings. Add some greenery to your patio with flowers and plants from your garden to keep the look cohesive. Don’t forget some candles to keep the bugs away.

Gather your loved ones and celebrate summer the right way – and in a space you love!

Recommended Reading:

-How to Make Your Home Summer Ready

-A Day in the Garden: Paint Palette

-How to Decorate Your Home on a Budget

 

- See more at: http://blog.century21.com/2014/06/how-to-style-a-patio/#sthash.vPPfILVO.dpuf

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Myth vs. Fact: Home Buying
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 20, 2014
Myth vs. Fact: Home BuyingBy CENTURY 21 on June 17th, 2014  Buying a home is a big commitment, and it’s important to get the right information before making such a big decision. Like anything else, do your research beforehand. There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to real estate and where you should spend your money but we are here to help.

Myth 1: You should get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan after closing on your house.

Fact 1: Early in the process, you’ll want to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. It enables you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and can afford to buy the property. A pre-approval is a simple calculation done by a mortgage lender that tells you the amount you’ll be able to finance through a loan and what your monthly payment will be. Another figure that lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment, property tax payments and insurance premiums on your new home loan (also known as PITI). Use our Mortgage CalculatorRefinancing Calculator, and Amortization Calculator for insights.

Myth 2: You need at least a 20% down payment.

Fact 2: A common myth is that the more money you put down, the less you’ll have to borrow and the easier it will be to get a loan. While this is ideal, there are other options as explained in The US News article, Alternatives to Putting 20 Percent Down on a Home. Each buyer is unique, and a mortgage professional can help you find out just what you can afford.

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10 Incredible Home Organization Tips
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 20, 2014
10 Incredible Home Organization TipsBy CENTURY 21 on May 21st, 2014  

Organization may seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be! Our fun and efficient organization tips will keep your home looking tidy and spacious. Who doesn’t love a great, inexpensive, home hack?

1. Bathroom Towel Rack: Towel space is important in a bathroom. Use a coat rack as a towel rack.

 2. Produce Baskets: Baskets are perfect for storing produce and supplies. They also look charming, if we do say so ourselves!

Martha Stewart

3. DIY Chalkboard Bins: Use chalkboard paint to label what is in each of your storage bins. You’ll know what you need – without having to take down the bin.

Here’s What’s Cooking

4. Mason Jar Organizers: Clear jars make it easy to spot what you’re looking for and you can save valuable real estate on your desk! 

 Shoppe

5. Letter Holder: Recycle an old shutter by using it as a letter holder!

 Scraphacker

6. Magnetic Tool Holder It’s easy to lose your tools in a cluttered garage. Keep your nails and bolts neat, tidy, and visible by making a magnetic tool holder.

7. Ladder Laundry Rack: Add extra space to your laundry room! Paint a small wooden ladder and hang it from the ceiling. Add hooks and start hanging your laundry to dry.

Pinterest

8. Wine Rack to Office Storage: Turn a regular wine rack into an office storage tool by putting in cups filled with pens, markers, or other office supplies.

Organize and Decorate Everything


9. Magnetic Spice Holders:
Yikes! It can be so hard to find the right spice. Organize your spices by making magnetic spice holders that you can put on your fridge. Find the right thing, every time, and save space.

One Lucky Pickle

10. Jewelry Organizer: Turn a mirror frame and fabric into a DIY jewelry organizer.

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5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on June 11, 2014
5 Tips for First Time HomebuyersBy CENTURY 21 on May 27th, 2014  

Congratulations! You are ready to buy a home. Purchasing a home is an exciting life milestone and is a huge decision with so many factors to consider. Finding the right property can be a challenge for growing families. What may seem like a good fit now may not be the best choice for your family in the long run.

Here are our 5 best tips when buying a home for your growing family:

Neighborhood - Do your research before looking at homes in neighborhoods that aren’t convenient for young families. Look into school districts, local parks, neighbors and proximity to doctors and hospitals. Consider the length of your commute to work so that you can maximize the amount of time you have to spend with your family.

 

Space – How many kids do you want to have? Simple things like sharing a bathroom or closet space can become a hassle in the long run. Families with small children might want to look into an open-concept floor plan for safety reasons. A designated playroom might be a smart idea for your family, or maybe you’d prefer two levels instead of three. List out what your priorities before making the move.

 

Affordability - Now that you know what you’re looking for, the next step is figuring out what type of home you can afford. A review of your income, savings, monthly expenses and debt will be necessary. Use our Affordability Calculator! Offer - Once you’ve found your ideal house, it’s time to get started with the financial and contractual side of the purchase. Let your CENTURY 21® real estate professional guide you through this process. Purchase contracts vary in length and terms from state to state, and sometimes within a state. Multiple offers on the same home are not uncommon, so you may only get one chance to make an offer that the seller will consider.
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How to Decorate Your Home on a Budget
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on May 28, 2014
How to Decorate Your Home on a Budget 

Buying a home is expensive, but decorating doesn’t have to be. You can decorate a home that shows off your style and personality without breaking the bank. Use these tips to decorate your home on a budget.

1. Make a Budget: Before you start shopping, create a budget that makes sense for you. How much are you willing to spend for a quick update? Figure out which pieces are essential in your home decor and work around that. For example, if you’re decorating a living room, a majority of your money will go towards a nice couch or entertainment center. List out what you’re willing to spend for certain items.

2. Shop Flash Sale Sites: Flash sale sites like Joss & Main and One King’s Lane offer their customers designer brands for discounted prices. These types of sales are a great way to stay within your budget, while still achieving the look you want.

3. DIY: Estate sales and flea markets are great ways to find vintage pieces for less. Don’t be discouraged by their rugged appearances! The furniture might need a little TLC, but a simple DIY project will do the trick. Quick paint jobs, new hardware and some dusting will have these pieces looking good as new! You can also buy less expensive furniture from stores like Ikea. Paint them, add new fixtures, and make them your own. Google “Ikea hacks” for inspiration.

4. Personal Touches: Grab a camera and get outside! Sometimes the best wall decor is your own. Print your favorite photographs to display in nice frames. Play around with patterns and color depending on your style. Create gallery walls with your favorite family photos, photos from trips, wedding pictures, or pictures around your neighborhood.

One added benefit of this approach is that it encourages you to infuse your personality into every element of home design.

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Setting the Stage for a Super Home Sale!
Posted by Eric R. Winklhofer on May 20, 2014
Setting the Stage for a Super Home Sale! SETTING THE STAGE FOR A SUPER HOME SALE Written by  on Thursday, 15 May 2014 12:48 pm

If you're getting ready to sell your home, there are a few things you should do first. At the top of the list are repairs, decluttering, and staging your home for a super sale. With the help of your agent and/or homestager, you can create the perfectly staged home that's eye-catching at first glance.

In today's market that's vital; buyers typically begin their search online. That means they're going to view photos and videos of homes before they decide if they want to actually go to see the home in person.

Start with rooms that tend to be the biggest attractions: the kitchen, master bedroom, and bathrooms. Declutter first. Gather up large trash bags and boxes, then sort through the clutter by either packing up things that will move with you or throwing out trash and unusable items. Use another bag for items that you'll sell or give to charity.

Don't go on to another room until you have cleared away the clutter and the personal belongings in the first room. This process can become highly unsuccessful if you bounce between rooms, moving clutter from one room to the next. The idea is to get organized by having three categories: moving boxes, charity bags, and trash.

Once, you've cleared some space, now lighten and brighten the room. If you have dark or heavy curtains or window coverings and you're selling your home in the spring or summer, consider swapping them out for a lighter color and material that's more seasonal. They don't have to be expensive. They should, however, convey a tone of cheerfulness and help to open up the room and show off its best features.

Chipping and peeling paint, cabinets that look worn, and stained countertops are all signs of wear and tear.

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