Five Things Realtors Do For Home Sellers

Most people prefer to sell their homes in the old-fashioned way, despite the Internet age where almost everything sells online. 90 percent of sellers today use real estate agents instead of listing the homes themselves as reported by an industry data. The reasons are many however five essential tasks that realtors carry out for their client are:


  1. Come up With a Price

Your property’s market value is determined by varied factors. An experienced agent does not only evaluate the property, he also examines the local real estate market to land on a accurate value of your home which may vary from the listing price. The process of listing your home for selling can be complicated, and hence an expert in real estate deals simply earns his money by elevating the price quote from the very beginning.

The agents also recommend organizing a thorough inspection of your property before listing it in the market as most interested buyers tend to request an inspection. In case you have one done already, you can uncover any defects and get them repaired before they come to notice for potential home buyers.

  1. Make Improvements

The chances of having a good idea of what potential buyers look for in their new abode increase with the experience you have in showing homes for a living. Homeowners on the contrary are receptive towards small defects in their own homes as they have lived on the property for long and have gotten accustomed to it. While you might not have noticed, the drafty attic that you believe gives your home a personality and character may infact drive the potential buyers away. Realtors, however, take it on themselves to get any such potential issues corrected before they list the address in the real estate market.

  1. Add Value

An outdated kitchen, master bedroom or dining area may make your home not suitable for most buyers. Your agent may thus recommend to get it renovated as most shoppers will prefer to but relatively modern homes.

  1. Get the word out.

While anything can be sold on the internet today, the more effective way to market a home is usually real estate agents as they reach the shopper much better than an average homeowner can. Realtors have access to a unique tool which is an extensive network of buyer’s agents. Brokers like these are mostly on a lookout for properties up for sale and they are willing to work alongside the seller’s broker to help the deal materialize. Most real estate deals, infact, are co-operative sales where both the parties work together in the deal.

  1. Handle Showings

Your agent will be responsible for opening the house and arranging any house showing being the primary contact for the listed property. Working on basis of commission, these realtors provide as many home tours as it takes to finally arrive on the potential buyer with home the deal materialized. Home showing can otherwise be a demanding job which may keep you away from work for long hours as well as cause physical toll and stress.

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5 Reasons to Choose a Straight Kitchen Design

Anyone who has had to cook a large meal knows how easy it is to clutter up a kitchen. Within minutes there are groceries and provisions lying everywhere, utensils cluttering the workspace and you can never find a clean spoon when you need it! This is why installing a modular kitchen with clearly demarcated work spaces for different kitchen tasks is a great way to ensure that your kitchen is organised. While some part of the decision-making process depends on the space available to you. For example an L-shaped kitchen design is best for large spaces. You could choose a kitchen design based on other factors as well.


A straight kitchen design is a kitchen design that is fit into a single row – the washing, workspace and storage are all fit on the same side of your kitchen and this arrangement is ideal for small, narrow spaces.

Here are five sound reasons for opting to install a straight kitchen design in your home:


  • Small Spaces: If your kitchen is tucked away into a small area of your home, having a straight kitchen design installed can help you with storage space while allowing you to work in a more efficient fashion.


  • Open Kitchen: Many new apartment styles have the concept of an open kitchen that leads to the living room, in such cases; your kitchen is always on display so it is best if you get an organised space. With a straight kitchen all your provisions and utensils can be stored safely out sight in storage cabinets while the work-top offers plenty of space for appliances and cooking.


  • Add to it later: With a straight kitchen design, you can always choose to add parts to it later. If you want a kitchen island to act as a stand-in dining table and extra cooking space – you can add it later on! You can also choose to add depth and dimension to your straight kitchen design by playing with colours and patterns.


  • Blends in Easily: A straight kitchen design easily blends in to fit with your existing kitchen design. Just adding a few key features like storage cabinets above and below the countertop would make a word of difference. A straight kitchen design means that there is more room to add larger appliances like a refrigerator to your kitchen.


  • Easily Accessible: In this straight kitchen design, cooking becomes easier as almost everything is within arm’s length. From provisions and groceries to utensils – you just need to reach out and for it!


While a parallel kitchen design is great for long rooms and spaces where both walls are used, a straight kitchen design id ideal for smaller apartments and studio apartments. It is ideal for one or two cooks. Additions like a kitchen island can be made in case of an open kitchen or you could even make the option of adding a small kitchen table!

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid While Investing In a Real Estate Property

 Buying a real estate property could be one of the most important financial decisions you would take in your life. Investing in a real estate property can be the most fruitful, financial asset for you and your family. But, a lot of first-time property buyers, tend to commit a lot of mistakes, which in turn affects their investment; some don’t get the best of returns from their property and a few other feel completely dissatisfied with their investment decision. To avoid committing any such mistakes, and to be sure that you get the best deal for your money, it is pivotal that you know which are the common mistakes and strictly avoid committing it.

Availing more loan than required

Typically, the lenders determine the loan amount based on your credit ratings report and the financial documents you provide. But, often times, if the credit ratings of the applicants are good, the lenders tend to sanction a larger loan than they actually need. Make sure that you don’t fall into this lure trap. Getting a larger loan may sound very exciting, but make sure that you keep grounded and stick to your original budget range. Splurging on buying lavish interiors to decorate your property in Pune may provide immediate gratification, but in the long run, it can have a disastrous effect on your financial goals and monthly income.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid While Investing In a Real Estate Property

Not getting the inspection done

Quite often, the seller of the property tends to rush the buyers to complete the deal and also dissuade conducting an inspection by painting rosy pictures of the property. This should itself be a cause of concern for you, think about it if the property is so good, why is he or she selling it in the first place. Buying a house without inspection is a very risky proposition as it can lead to serious problems in the future. There can be a fault with the roof, the foundations, the electrical wirings or the plumbing. It is, therefore, pivotal to hire a home inspection professional to access the nook and corner of the home and identify the faults so that you can ask the seller to fix the problem before closing the deal.

Not hiring a realtor

You don’t necessarily need a realtor while buying a real estate property, but hiring one really helps. Think about it, the seller’s agent will have his/her client’s interest in mind and the realtor would do everything possible to increase the value of the property so that his/her client gets the best deal. By having a buying agent, you can be sure that you deal with the expert with your own expert. The realtor would work in your best interest and help you negotiate the deal as well as help you to complete the legal process quickly.

Limiting the search

Usually, most of the property buyers have their own interest in buying a property in a certain locality or a particular part of the city. But, think about it, by limiting your search you are missing out on the awesome properties that are located elsewhere. Indeed, you would want to live in an area where it is easier for you to commute to the office or where it is easy for your children to attend school but still it would be worthwhile to check out properties in other areas.


Why NFL Star Tom Brady Needs 2 Pool Covers—and So Do You


The latest Deflategate scoop has given us some interesting insight into … pool covers.

In the wake of the cheating scandal and quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, a bunch of the quarterback’s emails were made public as part of the NFL players union’s counterclaim against the NFL.

They’re mostly quite blah, reports Business Insider: buying a URL, going golfing, approving game plans. And then there’s Brady’s profanity-laced reaction when his manager, Ben Rawitz, broke the news in October that he and his wife, supermodelGisele Bundchen, will have to drop $8,300 (plus a $240 installation fee) for a secondpool cover at their house in Boston.

“Why can’t I use the same cover we have on now?” Brady asks. When told that winter covers are better suited to deal with snow, ice, and changing temperatures, he asks, “why don’t we have that same cover for the year round cover?”

Celebrity athletes—they’re just like us! They’re concerned about throwing away money on unnecessary home accessories!

Except, as Rawitz explains, there actually is a reason to switch your pool cover when the weather turns.

“In the winter the water level is lowered so when it freezes the tile does not get damaged,” he writes after asking around. “The pool cover on there now rests on top of the water to support its weight and it cannot hold the weight of the snow/ice in the winter. The winter cover is designed to support the weight and also allows water to train through it so there is no need for pumping water off.”

We asked an expert to weigh in on this. Are seasonal pool covers really a thing? It turns out Rawitz does know what he’s talking about.

“There’s definitely a difference between a winter and summer pool covers, so if you’re Tom Brady or any pool owner who wants to take good care of your pool and you live in a part of the country where there are four seasons, you need to have two covers,” saysJesse Funk, director of sales for American Pool.

What’s the difference?

Winter pool covers require drilling into the surrounding deck for straps that then pull the cover “so taut that it can hold a car—a lot of weight,” says Funk. This winterization process should not be tackled casually.

“You have to be very careful,” says Funk. “The water has to be reduced no more than 18 inches beneath the cover, so that when the pool freezes the tile doesn’t crack. You want a cover that is installed so that all that snow and ice sitting on the cover is properly supported.”

So why not just pull the plug and drain the whole pool for winter?

“You should never drain the pool yourself,” Funk says. “If you don’t do it properly, your pool can literally pop out of the ground because of the hydrostatic pressure. Sometimes we even have to drill holes into the pool to release pressure.”

So, as Brady asks, what’s the point of a separate summer cover?

Summer covers are designed to protect your pool from debris, Funk says. Even if someone is skimming the surface regularly for leaves and such, you want to minimize maintenance on your pool and not overwork your filter. Brady probably has a fancy retractable cover; Funk recommends a mesh one that filters out debris and protects the pool from extensive sunlight, which allows algae to grow.

“It leaves you with cleaner water, requires less chemicals, and ultimately extends the life of your pool,” says Funk.

In the end, Brady caved and threw down for the winter cover (not that $8,000 is a big deal for a guy who’s earned $150 million by tossing around a slightly deflated pigskin). And considering the epic winter snows that followed, he’s probably glad he did.

Upcycling Your Garbage Into Something Great

A municipal landfill

Your garbage might pile up faster than you think. In 2013, Americans created 254 million tons of waste, an average of 4.4 pounds per person every day, according to theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency. While some of that refuse—1.51 pounds per person, per day—is recycled, the majority ends up in landfills, adding to an ever-growing ecological nightmare.

But there is an alternative: upcycling. It’s easy! It’s good for the environment! And it’s fun. Really.

OK, hear us out on this one: Converting your used or unwanted junk into newer and infinitely more awesome stuff is a truly rewarding way to spend a weekend. And you don’t even have to be all that crafty to pull it off!

What you can upcycle

A broken vase, a carton of past-their-prime eggs, and even a stack of way-past-their-prime CDs from the ’90s can be repurposed into gorgeous and functional home décor.

Take those eggs, please (we’re here all week, folks!). The cleaned, empty eggshells can be turned into miniature planters for succulents, a project we found in “Make Garbage Great,” by Tom Szaky and Albe Zakes of the recycling company TerraCycle. And those deeply unwanted Limp Bizkit CDs can be used to supply some colorful pop to a room divider. More? You can even make orange peels into candles, a bicycle inner tube into a wallet, and a plastic bottle (and spoons) into a bird feeder.

DIY projects, clockwise from top left: Fork place-card holder, leftover-glass candlesticks, wine-cork board, eggshell planters


make garbage great

Our favorite projects

Some of our favorite DIY trash projects from “Make Garbage Great” are modern takes on furniture and home décor items that look remarkably similar to pricier pieces we’ve seen in places such as Restoration Hardware and West Elm.

“My favorite is the pallet table,” says Zakes. That’s a side table made out of a wooden shipping pallet. “Pallets are really easy to get your hands on, and you can make these cool tables yourself for next to nothing.”

Zakes’ wife, who isn’t quite the environmentalist he is, loves the fork place-card holder, a project that turns unwanted silverware into kitschy table décor.

Us? We love the simplicity and beauty of the glass candlestick. The project takes bits of broken or unwanted glass items to create a modern-looking, shabby-chic candlestick with very few tools or know-how required.

Keep on dumpster diving

If you find a project you love but don’t have the materials to make it, don’t let that stop you. Zakes recommends looking beyond your own garbage bin to what you can collect from friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even nearby businesses.

“A lot of times you see a project you want to do, like making a room-dividing screen from old CDs, and you wonder, ‘Where am I going to get 100 CDs from?’ But if you think a little bit outside of the box, all of these things are pretty accessible. You could go to a flea market and pick up a crate of unwanted CDs, or even send out an email at the office,” Zakes says.

Upcycling can be educational, too.

“You can learn a lot about the history of mankind by looking at garbage over the years,” Zakes says.

Need Decor Inspiration? Check Your Phone

Women looking at Instagram on her phone

Here’s the news: Instagram isn’t just for sharing your selfies. Major home decor tastemakers are taking to the photo-driven social network in a big way to provide brilliant inspiration for the rest of us style seekers. Whether you’re looking to decorate your new home or give your current one a refresh, here are four ’grammers who will feed your appetite for design ideas.

Modern lovers rejoice: @dwellmagazine

It was nearly impossible for a modern-phile like me to stop looking at Dwell magazine’s Instagram long enough to actually write this story. If you can find a way to suppress what will surely be an extreme case of house envy, you’ll discover brilliant ideas—especially for kitchens and bedrooms—taken from a voluminous collection of real-home photo shoots. The brand covers the gamut on “modern” style, so there’s a bunch of Mid-Century Modern in there that blends harmoniously with nods to industrial modern and eco-friendly construction and design. Bonus: regular, insider-y sneak peeks at new appliances, hot decorating trends, and more.

Call me classic: @onekingslane

If your taste is traditional with a penchant for fab vintage finds, then One Kings Lane is for you. From an incredibly creative way to organize your cosmetics—on a dark-hued earthenware plate you probably have in a cabinet—to a clever strategy to help you get away with mismatched planters (tightly group three to five so only the foliage matters)—get ready for more ideas than you can possibly execute. And here’s an extra: One Kings Lane is a member-only e-commerce site that features InstaSales promoted through its Instagram. Sign up for free.

The new preppy handbook: @mackenziehoran

If Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, and Jonathan Adler are the first three guests at your dream dinner party, then maybe you should add Mackenzie Horan to the list. She’s the brains behind Design Darling, rightly hailed as one of the best preppy style sites. Her instagram,[email protected], showcases her life as a native New Englander who is prepping it up in Dallas, TX. There’s a simplicity to her design sensibility that makes her Instagrams actionable. Yes, you can arrange two lamps on a console as simply as she can, and it’ll look amazing! That leftover nightstand? Tuck it into a small guest closet for better storage. Warning: This woman loves pink.

Paws to Contemplate These 6 Fabulous Luxury Homes for Your Dog

Pet Camper

Straight Line Designs

Dog people, there are 43 million of you out there in America. And while we know you take great care of your best friend, you may be shortchanging Fido on his shelter. I mean, doesn’t he deserve a Dwell-worthy dog house?

Below you’ll find our favorite high-design doghouses. Be prepared to pony up the bucks, though, as they can go for as much as $5,500.

The Pet Camper

Is your dog sad he didn’t get to go on the annual camping trip? Don’t fret. This fiberglass and aluminum stainless-steel camper, above, taps into your love for Airstreams. It was designed by Straight Line Designs, a Vancouver firm whose client list includes Disney Cruise Line. Note the food and water bowls perched near the faux hitch.

The Cubix

Best Friend’s Home

Cubix Dog House

The Cubix

Craving a pricey California Modernist home? What if you plunked down a hefty sum for one—for the dog? This Cubix model, inspired by Bauhaus design and built for a small dog, features a water drain on the roof. Tack on $250 for a medium-size doghouse and $500 for a maison built for a Great Dane.

Bbung-a House


Bbung-a House


Korean design firm Pote created the Bbung-a-House, crafted from plywood and flaunting an al fresco design. The abode is also great for kitties with separation anxiety. Look closely and you’ll see the design resembles a fish. Park it next to your boomerang table.

Lucy’s Home


Lucy’s Home

Kind of a secretary desk meets Danish Modern meets deliciously marbley walnut and cherry—Lucy’s Home is an indoor doghouse meant to impress. It’s from Brooklyn-based BKLYN-BCN Design.

Geo Dog

Laser Lab Studio


Geo Dog
Is it a side table or a dog bed? How about both? Designed by Laser Lab Studio in Pittsburgh as a prototype made for a charity event, the piece blends seamlessly into a modern home with its asymmetrical doorway and funky Chartreuse padding. The outer shell is made of HI-MACS, a natural acrylic that’s often folded into kitchen countertop designs.

Hunde Hus


Indoor Dog House/Bedside Table

Hunde Hus

Keep the dog off your bed—and in his or her own—with this combination doghouse/bedside table made by Orlando’s madshome. Ideal for small spaces and multipurpose furniture applications, it even has a “terrace” for when Fido gets bored from being inside.

Mia Maestro’s Bright, Airy ‘Canyon Chic’


Argentinian-born actress and musician Mia Maestro (you may know her as Carmen in the “Twilight” movies) is a woman of discerning tastes—design magazine Lonnyfeatured her Venice, CA, beach bungalow in a profile last year. So if you’re a fan of “canyon chic,” as the listing describes her airy and colorful home in Beverly Hills, read on for my tips to bring her style into your home. And if you’re interested in winning your own home makeover by me, valued at up to $45,000, enter our “Get This Look” sweepstakes! See the video at the end of this piece for more information.

get this look mia maestro-01

Shingle siding: Maestro’s rustic modern home sets the style right at her front door. The exterior features cedar shingles, which give the house a sense of history and cabinlike coziness. While individual cedar shingles can get pricey, there are greatcement fiberboard panel options that look like the real thing but have greater durability and a much better price—less than $2 per square foot.

get this look mia maestro kitchen

Cottage kitchen: This charming kitchen was recently remodeled with custom cabinetry that features beadboard doors and drawers. The effect feels vintage and modern at the same time, but custom cabinets can cost a small fortune. A great budget-friendly option is the Hittarp door from Ikea, which starts at around $70 per cabinet door.

get this look mia maestro bathroom

Open shower: A hot trend in bathroom design is the open shower, which features only a hinged glass door with no enclosed wall. It’s a great way to make a bathroom feel contemporary and open, but a custom glass door like this one can cost as much as $2,000. A great off-the-rack choice is the Aqua Uno door from DreamLine, available on for under $300.

get this look mia maestro marble

Carrara marble: Marble has made a huge resurgence in recent years for kitchen and bathroom design. Its classic color palette and veining give a sense of timelessness to even the most modern of spaces. A slab of Carrara marble can be wildly expensive, depending on the stone itself. But instead of spending thousands of dollars on a high-end stone slab, Maestro made a great financial choice selecting a marble tile. Daltile has a beautiful Carrara white tile available at Home Depot for less than $9 per square foot.

get this look mia maestro rug

Pattern punch: Mixed patterns are everywhere the season, and the old rules of stripes having to match a solid no longer apply. Maestro’s living room, above, features kilim ottomans in rich harvest colors, against a contrasting black-and-white dhurrie rug. The rug makes a perfect anchor to the room, but it doesn’t have to weigh down the budget! Here’s a fabulous striped black-and-white rug from World.