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New Year, New Home

Do you make New Years Resolution’s every year and have a hard time accomplishing them? Well it’s officially the start to a new year AND a brand new decade and it’s time to get out there and make all the possibilities happen, especially with your home! As the holidays come to an end, January is the perfect time to put yourself to work, to start over, refresh & work on some home improvement projects to make you and your home feeling brand new again!

1. Whether you live where it snows or not, checking your roof and cleaning out your gutters is the perfect place to start! Go ahead and always check for missing shingles, clogged gutters or any other problems that may have occurred during the winter/colder months. Doing this will prevent any problems that may occur later on down the road.


2. Who says spring cleaning has to be done in the spring? Get a jump start and clean room by room. This is the best time to declutter and clean as you’re already cleaning up all your holiday decorations anyway. Start with your busiest room first, where the most foot traffic occurs. You can start by deep cleaning, scrubbing the floors, vacuuming, and rinse and repeat until your home feels brand new again! This is also the PERFECT time to purge any old items you want to get rid of or become more organized. 

3. Last, take on the easiest home improvement project that’ll improve your home and make it feel bigger and brighter! Add a fresh coat of paint to your walls or even change up the color to make your home more comfortable to fit your needs. Start by cleaning the walls and checking if there are any scuff marks or holes you need to cover up to make your walls look brand new!

3 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays In Orlando

Celebrate the Holidays with Orlando’s most festive events that’s fun for the entire family!

 

 

Light Up UCF
From November 22nd – January 5th, head over to the University of Central Florida (in front of Addition Arena) to enjoy this year’s festivities that include 45 nights of ice skating, a world-class choreographed light show with music, free holiday movies, and live entertainment. Enjoy rides like the Ferris Wheel, Light Up Express kids train, and the newest addition, a carousel! You can buy your tickets at the box office!

 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
On select nights from 7pm – 12pm you can enjoy a special ticketed event at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Walk down Main Street while it’s snowing & enjoy holiday treats. This time of year, Cinderella’s Castle glistens and lights up with shimmering ‘icicles’. You can’t miss out on the big holiday parade accompanied by Mickey and friends and don’t forget, Santa! You’ll also enjoy the fireworks show and of course complimentary cookies and hot cocoa all night long!

ICE at Gaylord Palms
This year at Gaylord Palms, the resort will celebrate the season with holiday decor, festive activities and shows, and of course, their ice sculpture exhibit.  ICE is an interactive walk-through holiday attraction kept at a chilly 9°F where you and your family can explore a variety of holiday scenes and two-story ICE! slides – all made from 2 million pounds of ice. According to Attractions Magazine, as guests enter Ice!, they will set out on a magical adventure to the North Pole, all while learning about true friendship, bravery and the spirit of Christmas. “The Polar Express” will come to life in a world made of more than two million pounds of ice, hand-carved into sculptures and interactive features that recreate iconic scenes from the film. You can grab your tickets online!

Preparing Your Home For Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just right around the corner, you may think the holidays are stressful and overwhelming but they don’t need to be. Whether it’s your first time or not, there are some things to keep in mind when hosting a Thanksgiving get together in your home to prepare not only yourself, but your home as well.

Start off with planning your table and seating arrangements. You will need to make a list of who all is invited and coming to ensure what kind of table space you will need for everyone to sit comfortably. Sometimes you may need to divide tables to seat everyone. This may interfere with your furniture and how it’s arranged. Moving furniture accordingly to create space for your guests is always an option. Doing this will also give you an amount of plates, silverware, etc. that you need.

Next, prepare your kitchen. Start by cleaning the appliances, you’ll use the most such as the stove, microwave, and cabinet space. You’ll want to clean out your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to ensure you have room to store ingredients, dishes and extra left over food. Make a checklist of utensils, cookware and dishes that you have or need, to ensure you’re not forgetting anything the day of. Another thing to think of is appetizers. Sometimes you’re so busy perfecting your dishes for dinner that you forget about eating before. Depending on what time you plan to eat, set out a few pre-made horderves and snacks for your guests before your big meal. Last, make whatever you can the day before to ensure you’re not overwhelmed in the kitchen the day of.

Last, make your final touches and make your home feel welcoming. Due to more guests in your home than usual, stock your bathroom with extra supplies such as, extra hand towels, soap, toilet paper, etc. Light a few candles, or scented plugins to create a “homey” feel for your guests. Last, add some extra pillows and blankets to couches and chairs to add some fall hues and warmth. This will also create a more comfortable setting for your extra seating space and give your guests a perfect place to unwind after eating.

Most importantly, have a safe and relaxing day with your friends and family!

Finding The Right Real Estate Agent

First off, why? Why should you hire a real estate agent? Buying or selling a home is a big decision and sometimes hard to understand and go through the process alone. An agent is there to help you along the way to help you make those decisions and help make the process a lot smoother.
A real estate agent will help you understand the neighborhood. You may think you found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood isn’t ideal for your needs. An agent will also deal with bureaucracy, work with title issues, HOA and more. These are important things people don’t think about or consider when selling/buying.

First you want to check out local housing markets and see what you’re dealing with. From there, create a list of agents around you, that you are considering to hire. Some helpful places that you can find agents on are, Zillow’s Agent Finder, Realtor or HomeLight and pick the ones you like best. Another way is to attend local open houses, observe how they engage and talk to them in person.

Second, find a place to meet up with them so you can get a feel of who is the perfect agent for you. Some important questions you may want to ask could be, “How long have you been licensed?”, “What is your average number of current clients?”, “What is your marketing strategy?” etc. From there you can get an idea of who fits your needs best.

Last, talk to past clients who worked with that agent to learn about their experience. This is key to helping who fits your needs best.

All in all, do your research. It might take some time, but in the end the right agent will help you tremendously whether you’re buying or selling a home!

Redecorating and Renovating on a Budget

Wish you had the time and money to completely renovate and remodel your home? Don’t worry, there’s always a way to remodel on a budget!

Paint the story:

Repaint every room in the house. A coat or two of paint to freshen up the place is not a bad idea. You can add some color or even just go neutral. This will help make the room look like you just remodeled without hardly doing anything and give it some new life.

Take on a DIY when you can:
This doesn’t mean you should build an entire home by yourself, if that’s not your area of expertise. But simply turning your cluttered spaces into new storage spaces, changing your empty cabinet space into new shelving displays all count as DIY’s. Visit thrift stores! This is where you’re going to find exactly what you need on a budget. Find mirrors or frames you love, that you can easily paint and freshen up, tables you can resurface for decoration, and much more!

Spruce it up:


Backyards are the perfect place to go for a get together or even just to sit out and enjoy dinner with the family. Add some string lighting to your backyard. This will make it more inviting and is very cost efficient. Another thing you can do is make more room for outdoor seating. Add a long dining table, or some extra chairs to lounge in! This will make the place look brand new, but not drain your bank account! Another way to spruce up your place, is simply rearranging furniture. This will help make your room like brand new and give it a fresh look to your guests.

Replacing the Easy:
Some things as easy as changing the hinges on a door or cabinet can make a difference on how the elements to the room come together. Play with the lighting! Maybe you want to add some new fixtures to your kitchen or open up a window space to bring natural light in. Another simple thing you can do is replace empty space with shelving. Maybe your cabinet space is too cluttered? Use shelving space to display your items without it getting lost in the clutter!

Top 3 Things to do this Fall in Orlando

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
From August 29th – November 23rd, Walt Disney World’s Epcot hosts its annual International Food and Wine Festival. There are 30 marketplaces that feature food and drinks from places all over like, Australia, Ireland, Spain, India and lots more! While you’re eating and drinking your way around the world, you can enjoy a concert from various artists at Epcot’s, “Eat to the Beat” concert series. Make sure to check out the line up so you don’t miss a thing!

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
Let’s head over to Winter Park, Florida where you can visit local restaurants, shopping boutiques and more! As the weather is cooling down, a boat tour is the perfect way to see everything. This 60 minute boat ride takes you through Winter Parks historic lakes and canals. You’ll be able to see things such as wildlife, Kraft Azalea Gardens, historic homes on the shore and lots more!

Visit a Pumpkin Patch
There are TONS of pumpkin patches in the Central Florida area and what screams “fall” more than going to a pumpkin patch! They’re great to go with friends and family for a fun outing, to pick out your favorite pumpkin or even just to take family photos there. Some include hayrides, corn mazes and more fun activities for everyone! You can look up ones closest to your location or here are some top ones in the Orlando area:
Painted Oaks Academy
Lukas Nursery
Santa’s Farm: “A lot of Pumpkins”
Southern Hill Farms: Fall Festival

Have You Found The Perfect Home?

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you will ever have to make, financially. Whether it’s your first home, or not, you should always confirm that this is the right house for you and your needs! But, how do you know that home is PERFECT for you? Ask yourself a few questions before you make your final decision.

1. Is the home suitable for my lifestyle?
You may think you have found the absolute perfect home, only to find out the location is NOT what you were hoping for. Many people suggest to drive by the home at all hours of the day to get a feel for the environment it’s in. You should also drive around and make sure the amenities, such as the grocery store, the bank, school/work, etc. fit your lifestyle and your needs. As well as checking out the nearest restaurants, shopping centers, etc. and really ask yourself if you can see yourself living in the area.

2. Do I have a future here?
Make a list of what you WANT and DON’T want in a house. Do a lot of research to find exactly what you’re looking for. Your requirements should be separated into “must haves” and “nice to have”. These requirements could be an extra room for an office, having a big backyard for the kids, a location that’s close to work and school, whatever you are absolutely set on having. When doing a home tour, ask yourself if you can see yourself having a future there? You want to make sure you have no doubts or concerns.

3. Do I want to keep looking at more homes?
When you have found the perfect home, looking at other homes will no longer excite and appeal to you. The perfect home will be the one you immediately feel warm and welcomed in. You can imagine your own furniture in there, what colors to paint the walls and become possessive of the home!

Budget Tips for You and Your Home

What do you think when you hear the word “budget”? The best way to think about budgeting is that it is a way to give you freedom with your money. It will give you a clearer picture of where your money is going and help you achieve your plans. For example, that could be saving for retirement, not over spending on your groceries, or paying off any debt you may have. Budgeting is also really helpful when it comes to buying or selling your home and even redecorating and renovating.

When it comes to your home, here are some helpful budgeting tips to think about:
1. Buying a home: Before you even start to look at new homes, add up your income. Add up every source of income you and whoever you live with receive in one months time. You need to know how much you can spend. This will lead to your household/personal expenses which will then allow you to see how much you spend in a months time. Lastly, this will lead to showing you where you can make any adjustments in your financial schedule to help save to buy you the perfect home you want!
2. Selling a Home: Selling with a realtor is cheaper than selling on your own. If you choose to do a For Sale by Owner, you could be missing out on the right buyer. When you hire a realtor, you are not only hiring them, but you are hiring someone with experience & their network. This will save you time and money.
3. Redecorating/Renovating: Cleaning up and decluttering costs nothing and will make your home look different right away. Decluttering and cleaning up will allow new spaces to open up so you can visualize how to move your furniture or a better idea of how to arrange your wall decor. Some simple ways to redecorate on a budget could also be as simple as adding a rug, update your lighting, or dress up your windows with drapes to make them look taller.

How to: Open up a Small Space by Using Color

Ever wonder what color to paint a small room or small space? The magic in color is that it can be used to make a space appear different than what it actually is. Color has the power to change your visual perception of the size and space of a room. Soft, neutral and natural color tones make rooms, furniture, and design elements seem larger. Light colors also make the best use of natural and artificial light by reflecting it back into the room.

Color doesn’t just go for wall colors – floors finished in lighter colors create a more spacious appearance as well. You can achieve this with the use of rugs or carpet. Another way to expand a small room is by using gray or blue-gray as background colors. Grays have a reductive influence with other colors, making them appear brighter and bigger. Add a gray rug or a gray details throughout the room and it will appear more spacious!

Lighting is a huge factor in the appearance of a room’s dimensions. Lighting can include natural (window) light, reflective surfaces such as mirrors, or artificial light such as lamps and light fixtures. As Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details, they make the design.”

TOP 3 Places to Visit this Summer! (Orlando)

1. Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay is a themed water park at Universal Orlando Resort. Volcano Bay’s attractions are located in four themed areas, each inspired by various Polynesian islands and cultures. You can rent out private cabanas that you can enjoy shade in or come back to after splashing and enjoying the attractions. They come with everything you’ll need during your time there, from towel service, lounge chairs, to fruit baskets and concierge service. Another great spot is their Waturi Beach, where you can relax in their lounge chairs and enjoy the sun and the sand.

2. Lake Eola’s Farmers Market
Orlando’s Farmers Market at Lake Eola is the place to be on Sunday. From 10am-4pm you can shop for fresh seasonal produce, homemade crafts and artwork, or eat some of the delicious food. From kettle-corn to cool drinks, crepes and fresh produce, you can find whatever you’re looking for. You may see yoga under the trees, or people having picnics and enjoying the weather. It is also extremely dog/animal friendly, so you are more than welcome to bring your pups along! Take a stroll down the lake, set up a picnic and enjoy the delicious food, or ride a Swan Boat for some summertime fun.

3. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is about an hour drive east of Orlando on Florida’s beautiful Space Coast. This beach offers endless ways to enjoy both fun and leisure. From Cocoa Beach, you can visit attractions like the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex or American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame, all less than 30 minutes away. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a weekend getaway, or just a day at the beach, you’ll find everything you need here.

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