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TOP-BANNER-NL-JUNE-2015
Article-1Learn all about what’s happening in your area – or the area you’re thinking about moving to with these short and straight to the point Market Watch Videos on our YouTube Channel.

Want more detailed reports? Visit our Relocation Tools page to see market stats, use our area guide and map narrow your search.

You can also visit our new Hotline News section of our blog to view the detailed market statistics and our monthly Hotline News features. All the local, useful information that you’ve been looking for is now available at your fingertips!

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If you want to be sure your home is company-ready without running yourself ragged, the homemaking experts at Good Housekeeping Magazine offer tips for easy, regular maintenance that will help you meet your goal:

Bathroom:

  • Keep a squeegee handy to wipe down shower walls after using.
  • Keep a container of disinfectant wipes under the bathroom sink. Every morning, just after your shower, pluck one out and run it over the sink, counter and toilet seat.
  • Clean the toilet, sink and mirror in the evening while your kids are in the tub. You can keep an eye on them and still keep the bathroom sparkling.
  • Designate one drawer or container for hairbrushes, barrettes and scrunchies. Find a place for hairdryers, curling irons and straighteners – maybe large hooks on the back of the bathroom door – and put them there after each use.

Kitchen:

  • Once a week, use a mild baking soda solution to wipe down kitchen cabinets, counters, stove and refrigerator.
  • If you have pets, especially those that shed, use a hand-held vacuum or sweeper to suck up animal hair before sweeping. (Sweeping doesn’t collect animal hair; it simply moves it around.)
  • Change your kitchen cleaning sponge every month or so. In between replacements, toss it into the top rack of the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.

Elsewhere in the house:

  • Cleaning doesn’t seem so onerous when you do it in short bursts. Clean for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, even if you do it several times a day. Set a timer and see how much you can accomplish in one ‘lap.’ Quit when the timer goes off – and relax for a while between laps.
  • Save time and aggravation by connecting a long cord to your vacuum cleaner so you don’t have to unplug, move it, and plug it back in every time you move to another room.
  • Start a load of laundry or turn on the dishwasher while you are cleaning in other rooms.
  • That way, you are accomplishing two chores at once.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2015. All rights reserved.

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(Family Features) One of the most popular features in backyard spaces is a fully-equipped kitchen suited for entertaining and outdoor living. But like its interior counterpart, designing an outdoor kitchen can be a challenge.

Your first consideration should be location. Pay attention to the prevailing winds, says Ken Kelly, Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly. “Wind direction and where the kitchen is located could cause smoke to blow into guests or even into the house through an open window,” he says. “Keep the grill downwind of guests.”

Your second consideration should be grill placement. “Do you want the cook to face the guests, or look at the scenery?” asks Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. “When the cook can talk to the guests, the space becomes more social and enjoyable,” he says.

Once you’ve established a wind-friendly location and optimal grill placement, cordon off wet, cold, hot and dry zones, says Faulk. These zones will make prepping food, cooking and cleaning much easier.

“Keep the cold zone next to the wet zone. This makes it easier to move things from the cold zone refrigerator to the wet zone sink to wash them off and get them ready for the grill in the hot zone,” he adds.

Zones are especially important if a pool is nearby. “Keep the cold zone nearest to the pool,” says Faulk. “It will keep kids who want a cold drink from running past a hot grill.”

Don’t forget counter space. Grills should have a minimum of 24 inches of uninterrupted space to one side and 12 inches to the other. This gives the cook room to place platters, cooking utensils and other essentials.

If an outdoor space lacks room for that amount of counter space, “incorporate an open-shelf cabinet below. You get additional ‘counter space’ by being able to put things on shelves,” says Kelly.

With the right planning, homeowners and their guests can enjoy an outdoor kitchen for many years to come.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2015. All rights reserved.

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(BPT) – Moving can lead to new, exciting possibilities, but it also means leaving behind the people and places you love. While some sentimental items can be taken to your new place, many memories just aren’t transportable. To ensure your treasured belongings arrive safely to your new home, be prepared with these no-stress tips.

1. Make Room for New Memories

Taking every item of sentimental value with you to your new home is not always possible. Moving is the perfect opportunity to organize and purge items you don’t need or won’t use in your new residence. To lessen the load on moving day, hold a garage sale or donate unwanted items to a local charity. If you’re trying to sell your current home, the less clutter the better.

Once you’ve determined which objects will make the move, decide where they’ll go in your new place. Make the unpacking process simpler by creating a plan for your new space in advance and pack according to where things will go, not by where they’ve been.

2. Organize, Don’t Agonize

Starting the process early can help avoid nerve-wracking, last-minute packing, and give you time to be a bit nostalgic. Before you begin boxing things up, take videos and photos of each room to preserve your memories of that space. Don’t forget to include outdoor areas like a backyard tree house or handprints in the patio cement.

Then, make a checklist of everything you need to accomplish before moving – packing, cleaning, cancelling and restarting utilities, registering the kids for school – and set a timeline for completing each step. Once you’re ready to start packing, work room by room to make the task seem more manageable. Start with decorative pieces that you can go without for a month or so, keeping items you need daily for last.

3. Protect Delicate Possessions

To ensure your belongings arrive safely, it’s essential to pack possessions with extra care. Safeguard breakables with wrapping materials designed to protect fragile goods, such as bubble wrap cushioning, for the best protection.

Next, pack items in clean, sturdy containers in a variety of sizes. Use large boxes for bulky, yet lighter furnishings, such as pillows and blankets, and place heavier objects in smaller boxes to avoid unnecessary strain. Seal boxes securely with a durable packaging tape.

Be sure to label boxes clearly, marking them on the sides of the boxes, not the top. This step makes it obvious what’s inside, even if they’re stacked. You also can use different colored or printed packaging tapes to color code each room – red for the bedroom, blue for the kitchen.

4. Have Help on Hand

If you’re moving to a location close to your old home, recruit friends and family to help with packing and unloading on moving day. You’ll love showing off your new place, and it’ll help with the transition to see that loved ones aren’t too far away to make the trip.

Put together an “open me first” box with the gear you’ll need immediately, such as tools to assemble furniture, cleaning supplies and shelf liner for drawers, closets and kitchen cabinets.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2015. All rights reserved.Article-5

I am regularly talking about organizing and decluttering, so it was with great delight being clued in to the financial benefits awaiting potential home sellers for taking the time to organize and de-clutter.

According to a Consumer Reports survey – that basic cleaning and decluttering, simple kitchen and bathroom upgrades, painting the right spaces, and sprucing up your curb appeal are all low-cost investments that can land you hundreds of dollars in return.

That survey puts increased sales potential as high as 3 to 5 percent – so over the next few months, we’ll spend some time drilling into this huge ROI / DIY news, and how to make the most of small projects that can pay big when you go to sell your property.

Michelle Slatalla at Gardenista.com has a bunch of great ideas for curb appeal projects, including pruning trees so their silhouettes frame the house instead of blocking it. Slatalla says the best time to prune most trees is when they’re dormant; it’s easier to see the structure and shape of a tree when it doesn’t have leaves.

When pruning, Slatalla says remove diseased or damaged branches first. Then prune for shape: remove low-hanging branches that obstruct views or hang over walkways or block access to driveways. Finally, thin the crown to allow light and air circulation.

How about replacing house numbers? If there an ugly font above your door, chances are it’s more noticeable – and annoying – when you’re not distracted by other colors and textures in the garden, Slatalla suggests.

We’ll check out a few more of Slatalla’s ideas in a future segment.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2015. All rights reserved.

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According to a Sherwin-Williams survey, three out of four consumers say their bedroom needs painting – but they want to be sure they choose a wall color that soothes and promotes more restful sleep.

The paint company suggests that a black painted ceiling in a room with soft beige walls encourages a good night’s sleep. They also provide tips for seven other color choices most likely to accommodate rest:

Soft Gray – It’s not as neutral as most people think, but it pairs beautifully with accents of driftwood or metal, and a gray shade with undertones of violet is quite soothing when accented with metallic colors.

Pale Pink or Coral – Too much pink can give your bedroom a Barbie’s Dream House look, but soft pastels in either of these soft, warm hues reflect light and pair beautifully – and restfully – with white or gray accents.

Deep Forest Green – Works best in a room with lots of natural daylight or in north-facing rooms with filtered light. Pairs well with light wood furniture and brightly colored bedding.

Burnt Brick Red – Keep it a deep, warm shade for a pop of color that is elegant, flattering to skin tones, and surprisingly restful at night.

Dusty Aqua – This coastal shade favorite is both masculine and feminine, bringing the essence of nature indoors and creating a spa-like feel in the bedroom.

Light Cocoa Brown – A down-to-earth brown with a gray tint can make for an intimate, enveloping space. Add cream accents for an especially calm, serene feeling.

Light Harvest Gold – The wrong gold can be too energetic for a bedroom, but if you choose a gold color a couple of shades lighter than you think you want, you will find it both restful and sleep-inducing.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia.©2015. All rights reserved

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