Get A Home Warranty

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces, home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear, according to HomeServiceContract.org.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out, or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies if your toddler clogs the toilet trying to “wash” his teddy bear.

For home sellers, home service contracts improve the home’s marketability to homebuyers and diminishes liability. For buyers, warranties can absorb the costs of unexpected repairs or replacements. Extended coverage for non-built-ins such as clothes washers, dryers, and stand-alone refrigerators is usually available.

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

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Decorating with Red

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Red is the go-to color for drama, but it’s also a preferred color for hospitality. You can literally “roll out the red carpet” to make visitors feel welcome to your home.

From joy (paint the town red) to love (my love is like a red, red rose) to bravery (red badge of courage), red suggests celebration, passion and power. Use red when you want a room to be filled with energy and spirit. Red stimulates conversation and activity, making it a great choice for living and dining areas, bedrooms and kitchens.

Red can be soft as well as bold, depending on the shade, intensity, and percentage of red you decide to use in your decor. Red ranges from light pink to deep burgundy.  Reds and golds are opulent, while red with black is sophisticated. Reds can also be casual, as in country or coastal décor.

How much red should you include in your decorating scheme? The closer the hue is to primary red, the brighter it will be, and the more it will draw attention. Reds play well with neutral greys, taupes, beiges, blues and browns.

To see the true impact of red, grab fabric and paint samples to see how various shades of red interact with other colors. Brown-reds, burgundy-reds, and orange-reds add spice and earthiness to your décor.

Whichever red you choose, have fun with it. Paint an accent wall with red, or buy throw pillows and afghans in red. It can be a warm, happy color.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Outdoor Lighting for Safety and Beauty

Landscape lighting is one of the best ways to make your home safer and more appealing. You can highlight your home’s best features and light the way to your entry for guests, all while eliminating dark hiding spots for unwelcome visitors.

  • Step back from your home so you can see the whole house and yard in daylight and at night.
  • Do you have elegant brickwork, bay windows or a verandah to showcase?
  • Are there fountains, pools or other features you’d like to show at night?
  • Is your home beautifully landscaped? Are there trees or plantings you’d like to shower with attention?
  • How well-lit are your doors, pathways, steps and parking from the street?

One benefit of pathway lighting is that it can radiate several feet. You can install solar-powered walkway lamps that are attractive and affordable.

Spot lights can be put low on the ground or high on a wall, or they can hang from the eaves of your home to focus on specific features. Each light provides unique shadows and can bring architectural and landscaping features center stage.

On the ground, install flood lights that shoot light up against your home, bushes or trees. Motion detectors can flood the area with light which discourages pests.

Outdoor lighting can make your home more attractive at night, but it can also make your home more attractive to future homebuyers, as a beauty and safety feature. And that’s always a good investment.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

How to handle the holidays

The holidays are here and you’re in the middle of trying to sell your home. Your family is still expecting a big holiday season, so how are you going to sell your home while you do all the extra shopping, cooking, decorating and entertaining?

Remember: No one should expect you to take on so much, so it’s OK to handle what you can and delegate or eliminate what you don’t want to do.

Here’s how you can use the holidays to your advantage:

Decorate just a dot. Put out a few family favorites to show how lovely your home can be for the holidays but box up the remaining decorations for the movers. If you get an offer on your home, you’ll only have a few festive things to take down and pack up.

Delegate the dinner. Someone else can host the big family dinner while you bring a dish instead. You’ll have more time for decluttering and packing and keeping your home tidy for showings.

Dash to a destination. This is the year to take the kids to see their grandparents, go on a ski vacation, or head to the beach for the holidays. Have fun and leave the home selling to your BHHS KC Realty agent.

As you strive to keep everyone happy during the holiday season, take time for yourself, too. Your only job should be to make showings easy for professionals to sell your home. It’s a bonus if you’ve made the holidays easier for your family, too.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Features That Make a Home Cozy

There’s something wonderful about winter, even if you live in a warm climate. Like bears in hibernation, we tend to slow down, stay home and relax more often in cooler weather.

If you’re shopping for a home or recently purchased a home, these are the best features your new home can offer to help you enjoy cooler weather.

Fireplaces: Whether you have a gas, electric or wood-burning fireplace, or a firepit in the backyard, watching the flames is a great way to relax, listen to music, or cuddle under your favorite blanket with a purring cat or fluffy dog by your side.

Built-ins: Bookshelves, china hutches, and window seats may seem like yesteryear, but they also add utility and character to your home. They can be updated with newer finishes but the quality of built-in woods and craftsmanship can rarely be matched today.

Sitting areas: A reading nook or a small conversation area can be intimate, comfy and charming. Make it a no-electronics zone for books, sketching or needle arts.

Hardwoods and rugs: Hardwood floors are warm, elegant and highly in demand. To soften the sound and protect the beauty of floors in highly trafficked areas, choose hand-knotted wool or silk rugs. They stand the test of time and you can move them around for a change.  

Lighting: Adjustable lighting, from three-way bulbs to lamps with arms to dimmer switches, can make relaxing more personal and comfortable. Think of all lighting as task-oriented to choose the right fixture and bulb for your needs.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!

Does Your Home Have An Odor?

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready to sell. You’ve cleaned, decluttered and painted. But there’s still one more thing you need to do – make certain your home smells great for every showing.

Here are four things to keep in mind to ensure your house smells fresh and clean for potential buyers:

Stuffiness. Energy-efficient homes lock in odors. Open the windows and air out stale, musty rooms. Steam clean carpets and curtains, wash all bedding, and store stinky athletic gear and out-of-season clothing and shoes away.

Pets. From goldfish to iguanas to cats and dogs, all pets produce odors. Dogs need baths, and most need brushing. Cat boxes need daily scooping. Animal cages need constant cleaning. Steam clean all fabric surfaces where pets sleep and play with their toys.

Food odors.  If you love foods like garlic, cabbage and fish, your kitchen holds odors, too. Clean your oven, burners, sink drains, and any other equipment that may carry odors. Grind up a lemon in the disposal and let the water flow. Clean out the refrigerator.

Mold and mildew. If you can smell moisture, it will soon turn worse. Check pipes and floors for leaks. Toxic mold can grow anywhere that contains cellulose, poor light, and low air circulation. Replace cloudy shower curtains and wash towels frequently. Replace cleaning and dish sponges with fresh scrubbing tools.

To keep your home showing-ready, wash dirty clothes and bed linens frequently. Take baby diapers and other disposables to the outside trash every day.

A good rule of thumb is – if you can’t remember when you cleaned it last, clean it now.

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Winterize Your Home

Winterizing your home is one of the best ways to get comfortable and save energy costs. It’s not too late to get a few projects done before the holidays, so here’s a short weekend list of to-dos to help you.

Check the furnace. Typically, a heating system has a heat/cooling source, distribution system, and thermostat, so there is plenty of room for error. Make sure that your system is properly inspected and cleaned and has fresh filters according to maintenance directions. Call a master certified plumber to look for potential dangers such as carbon monoxide leaks.

Check detectors. Since you’ll be indoors more, it makes sense to also check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. According to EPA.gov, smoke detectors with a UL rating have a useful life of 10 years so don’t just push the button to see if it’s working. Stick a real flame source, such as a candle or a match, to see if the detector can actually pick up on the smoke being emitted.

Check insulation. Energy leaks put a hole in your wallet, so do your best to identify and seal all leaks in your ceiling/attic and cracks in or around your windows and doors. A quick way to check if you have enough insulation is to go into your attic and look at your rafters-if you can see ceiling joists you can add some more insulation. Though this will be an expensive process, your heating costs will drop right away.

For more home tips, follow us on Facebook. Looking for a new home in the Kansas City area? Visit us at BHHSKCRealty.com!