Home Improvement

10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know

August 29th, 2012 by Katie K Team

Grand Rapids Real Estate Seller TipsThis tongue-in-cheek article from HouseLogic gives great perspective on securing your home through “thank you” notes left by burglars. We thought it was a cute way to deliver an important message about safety. Pay special attention to the “social media” clues opportunist burglars can use!

By  Jan Soults Walker for HouseLogic

Successful burglars have lots in common — home owners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.

1. Thanks for the ladder!

Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!

So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.

Vertically yours,
A rising star

2. Loved your trash

Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!

Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.

Happy shopping!
Curbside Cruiser

3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-To-It

Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.

Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!

The Tree Lover
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Drip Irrigation Tips for Grand Rapids Real Estate Sellers – Keep it Green!

July 23rd, 2012 by Katie K Team

Drip Irrigation Tips for Grand Rapids Real Estate SellersAt Katie-K.com, we know that landscaping is an important element of staging your home for sale. With the lack of snow cover this winter exacerbated by early and prolonged heat waves, sellers are faced with a Sophie’s Choice to make when it comes to combating drought to maintain curb appeal and using water resources in an environmentally-friendly way. We thought sellers might enjoy this article from NAR’s Houselogic.com site – Great info on ways to “be green” while you’re “keeping it green!”

Almost one-third of the water your family uses—some 100 gallons a day on average—ends up on your yard and garden, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Nationwide, more than 7 billion gallons a day go to landscape irrigation. If that weren’t problem enough, as much as half that water is wasted. It falls on sidewalks or evaporates into the air before it ever reaches the ground. With a few simple changes to the way you water, you can save a precious resource and lower your bills at the same time. To remember the steps to take, just use our handy acronym: DIRTS, which stands for drip irrigation, recapture, timers, and sensors.

Drip irrigation sends water only where you need it

Drip irrigation systems can be a great way to save because they put water only where you want it. Unlike a soaker hose, which emits water all along its length, a drip system delivers water directly to plants’ roots, which cuts down on waste and also reduces weeds. Read the rest of this entry »

Use the Season to Your Home-Selling Advantage.

February 10th, 2012 by Katie K Team

While summer is generally known as the peak season for home sales activity, the winter can also offer great advantages for sellers – such as less competition from other sellers.  With a little effort, you can use the season to your home-selling advantage.   Let’s put these ideas to work, so your home shows at its best.

Keep snow and ice at bay. If the buyer can’t get in easily, the house won’t sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the frozen stuff. You want to make the home look well maintained.

Warm it up.  Think warm, cozy, and homey. Before a buyer comes through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming.   If you have a fireplace, turning it on right before the tour can create a more welcoming ambience.

Emphasize winter positives. Is your home on a bus route or some other vital service that means it’s plowed or deiced regularly in bad weather?  Be sure to mention that to the buyers.

Make it festive.   Even if you’re not actually going to be present, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party.   Set up the dinner table with the good china and silver.  Have a plate of cookies for your guests, some warm cider, or even chilled bottles of water.
Use the season to your advantage. Even with the holidays over, you can still use winter wreaths and dried arrangements around the door to spark interest. In the winter, with the leaves off the trees, you might also have a nice view that isn’t as apparent in the spring and summer months.

Which Home Improvement Projects Offer the Best Returns?

December 23rd, 2011 by Katie K Team

Inquiring minds would like to know which projects will pay off as we get ready for a “warmer” spring market in 2012! This article from the National Association of Realtors gives a breakdown of opinions, including the perennial “Cost Vs. Value” report that analyzes the return-on-investment of various renovation projects by region. To view and read the entire Cost Vs. Value report, please follow this link to generate and view a CostVsValue report for Grand Rapids (you will need to use the interactive city finder) at http://www.costvsvalue.com

When it comes to remodeling, exterior replacement projects have routinely rewarded home owners with more bang for their buck. This year is no different: REALTORS® recently rated many exterior improvements as among the most valuable home investment projects as part of the 2011-12 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report shows the value of putting your home’s best façade forward, so to speak,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Moe Veissi.

“Inexpensive exterior replacement projects are not only crucial to a home’s regular upkeep, but are also expected to recoup close to 70 percent of costs. Specific exterior projects such as siding, window and door replacements are part of regular home maintenance, so many homeowners are already undertaking them. These projects also do not require expensive materials and they have the added bonus of instantly adding curb appeal.”

HouseLogic.com, NAR’s consumer Web site, includes dozens of remodeling projects, from kitchens and baths to siding replacements, which indicate the recouped value of the project based on a national average. According to the Cost vs. Value, seven of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects.

REALTORS® judged an upscale fiber-cement siding replacement as the project expected to return the most money, with an estimated 78 percent of costs recouped upon resale. Two additional siding replacement projects were in the top 10, including foam-backed vinyl siding, expected to return 69.6 percent of costs, and upscale vinyl siding, expected to recoup 69.5 percent of costs.

Three door replacements were also among the top exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement is the least expensive project in the report, costing little more than $1,200 on average and expected to recoup 73 percent of costs. The upscale garage door replacement jumped seven spots to number six this year, primarily due to the average cost of the project declining more than 15 percent nationally. The upscale and midrange garage door replacement projects are expected to return more than 71 percent of costs. One window replacement project — upscale vinyl — rounded out the last exterior replacement project in the top 10, expected to recoup 69.1 percent of costs.

The 2011-12 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels, and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 14th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood LLC, was completed in cooperation with NAR.
Source: NAR

Mum’s the Word at Romence this fall…

October 25th, 2011 by Katie K Team

Our friends at Romence Gardens have tackled your burning gardening questions in a recent newsletter, which they’ve generously shared with Katie-K readers. Please stop by to visit them weekdays 8:30 till 6:00 and on Saturdays till 4:00 right now.  The links below will open a new tab for the full story at Romence!

What’s up with my garden and lawn?
Q. What should I be doing outdoors around my house right now?
. Here’s our list of suggestions with tips, tricks, and treats if you read on. Clean, Rake, Mow, Weed, Fertilize, Dig, Shred – and be glad about all that rain! Read more…

Where’s my spring bulbs?
Q. Where and how should I plant my bulbs this fall for the most beautiful flowers in the spring?
A. Bulbs should be planted at a depth two to three times the diameter of the bulb. The rooty side goes down, the “snooty nose” is up. Read more…

When should I do my rose care?
Q. When do I need to get my rosebushes ready for winter and what’s the best way to do it?
A. First of all, note that tea roses and climbing roses do some of their best blooming in September and October if the weather holds. You can strip off the leaves if the black spot bothers you but then just stand back and take time to enjoy your ‘last rose of summer’! What a TREAT!
The Trick to growing good roses in our zone 5 area is how you prepare them for winter.  Read more…

Fabulous Front Entry Decor for Fall

September 30th, 2011 by Katie K Team

Mum’s the word for fresh fall exterior decor. In this round-up of autumnal schemes to deck out your front porch, BHG’s Elizabeth Jensen shows ideas from gourds to wreaths to inspiring porch displays. Check it out by following this link: BHG’s Pretty Front Entry Decorating Ideas

From the Pumpkin Patch

September 30th, 2011 by Katie K Team

At Katie-K.com, we know it’s creative little touches that make a house show like a home. So if you’re selling your house this fall, set the tone to help prospects fall in love at first site. Fresh scents and seasonal decor will help your home put its best foot forward. Check out this BHG.com slide series to help get your “October” on – what adorable arrangements!

From BHG: Get ready for fall with fresh ideas for decorating with gourds and pumpkins. Use them to add autumn elegance to your home — inside and out. Follow this link to see 29 awesome autumn decor suggestions centering on “Gorgeous Gourds and Pumpkins”: BHG’s Piled-High Pumpkins

Better Homes & Gardens Has Great Articles for Fall Decor!

September 23rd, 2011 by Katie K Team

Better Homes & Gardens asks: Have the leaves started showing their fall colors where you live? Whether they’re just starting to turn or still hanging on to their green hue, you can welcome the season inside your home with thoughtful touches and autumnal accessories that will last until the next season rolls around.

Here’s a round up of excellent B&H articles available online to get you into the spirit of fall decor:

30 Decor Ideas to Last the Season

Incorporate Favorite Fall Elements

Fabulous, Showstopping Centerpieces

Decorate with Gorgeous Gourds

ReDesigning Home 2011: French Farmhouse

July 28th, 2011 by Katie K Team

Homes in France blush at the authenticity captured by Jeffery Roberts in this French Farmhouse on Reeds Lake. Grand Rapids Magazine and participating sponsors of Design Home invite you to experience first-hand Jeffery’s artistry during a one-time-only private tour of the home. All proceeds benefit the American Red Cross. Please save Thursday, September 22nd to join us to support the life-saving mission of the Red Cross. You’ll be wined, dined, and exhilarated, all the while doing your part to help those who never question helping uVisit the event on Facebook.

Tickets: $125
VIP Tickets (limited): $225

All proceeds benefit the American Red Cross.

September 22, 2011
6 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Comfortable shoes a must!

Shade Solutions for Outdoor Rooms

July 18th, 2011 by Katie K Team

Better Homes and Gardens has some great advice for creating the shady spot of your dreams in your yard! Check out their tips below, whether you’re perfecting your new home or sprucing up to sell. You can read the full article here.

Get ideas for keeping your outdoor spaces comfy and cool with these shade solutions.

1. Shady Spot for Entertaining: Keep the sun off a deck with an oversize patio umbrella attached to the deck supports. Decorate with hanging plants and copper accessories.

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