Lightbulbs: Remember when they were simple?

This may be common knowledge to most readers, but it wasn’t to the KF part of the Red Rabbit Team for a long time: Recessed ceiling lights need a reflective bulb. By reflective, I mean the type that have the silver or opaque shell along the bottom allowing all the light to go in only one direction.

We struggled for years with bulbs burning out—especially along the outside wall of our kitchen—and for good reason: The bulbs were getting too hot above the ceiling, particularly in areas where there was limited space between the ceiling and the roof’s beams. Frustrating and scary. Once I understood the importance of reflective bulbs, the situation improved greatly. Once I finally invested in LED reflective bulbs, my world became brighter still. Though I’m hesitant to believe the 10-year claims, we are rarely changing bulbs and I’m thrilled with the energy savings and knowing that they are not giving off heat in any direction.

Have you made the conversion to LED lighting?

It was a tough sell for awhile as costs were initally as much as ten times the cost of incandescent and flurescent bulbs, but that’s changing.

Costs for LEDs are going down each year. Combine that with the fact LED lights do not emit heat, last much longer and use much less energy, it’s a good time to make a switch.

There are a few additional benefits.

While early versions were panned for providing poor diffusion through a room, the technology is improving. Conversely, LEDs have always worked well for spotlighting, so they are particularly effective as under-counter or bathroom lighting. More, they are safer — no toxic materials like mercury vapor and no glass. And, bulb designs are improving; a well-stocked hardware store will provide more options than you’ll care to peruse, so bring your patience and a notepad.

But there are still a few cons.

They are not always compatible with dimmers and can flicker with some fixtures.

LEDs are cooler in color. The blue light they emit is a nice match for natural, mid-day daylight and work well in kitchens and bathrooms, but less attractive for lighting living spaces and bedrooms.

The 10,000-hour claim might not always be true. LEDs often degrade and can become less bright and less efficient over time and can even fail completely in high temperature situations.

Real Estate

Selling your home? Get a standing ovation with first-class staging.

Beautiful living room interior with tall vaulted ceiling, loft area, hardwood floors and fireplace in new luxury home. Has large bank of windows

Homeownership is one of life’s most greatest rewards. Your home should be your sanctuary and every bit your own in every single way…

Until it’s time to sell.

Then, your goal is to showcase your home’s features to appeal to the widest audience possible. A neat, clean, organized home speaks volumes from the very first step through the door. Homes without recent updates can benefit from inexpensive improvements such as new lighting, fresh paint and a reduction of clutter. Regardless of how minor, make necessary repairs throughout your home to ensure buyers focus on the positives and not the negatives!

  1. Dress up your yard. First impressions count, and the first one your home gives comes from the exterior. Mow the lawn, clean up shrubbery, rake any leaves, clean the walkway and driveway, plant in-season flowers, and pull up unsightly weeds.
  2. Reduce personal items. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal photos and knick-knacks from shelves, walls, and counters. Instead replace them with clean, simple décor, such as abstract paintings, nature images, vases, plants, and more. Start by eliminating smaller items and space chunkier items across shelves.
  3. Organize your storage areas. Storage is a huge selling point. Tidy up and clear out the accessible closets and cupboards in the home and make sure to point them out during an open house or showing.
  4. Corral your personal items. If you will be living in the home while it’s on the market, prepare each room with an attractive box or lidded basket that you can quickly and easily corral items including mail, grooming products, etc., when it’s time for a showing.
  5. Let there be light! Open blinds and curtains for showings to bring as much natural light into the house as possible.
  6. Appeal to the senses. Consider ways you can appeal to potential homebuyers’ other senses. During a viewing or open house, bake fresh cookies or burn delicious smelling candles and play light, relaxing music in the background.
  7. Consider turning to a staging expert. With their knowledge of current trends and great eye for design, professionally certified stagers can transform a home in a variety of ways and have a keen sense of what homebuyers want and expect in a home. The Red Rabbit Team provides three levels of staging assistance. Ask for details.

Real Estate

Texture: A new trend in countertops.

Thinking of remodeling a kitchen or bath? We’re seeing a new trend that’s worth a look — and a feel.

Granite vs. quartz vs. marble vs. concrete and myriad other options is one debate, but recent design trends show a move toward using more textured, tactile finishes for countertops. While high-polished shine remains the most popular choice, honed or leathered surfaces, are bringing a whole new and different dimension to kitchens and baths.

Marble, granite and even quartz can be honed, which provides a matte, velvet or satin finish, or even “leathered” using a variety of grinding brushes, wheels and water jets that create small ridges of texture to simulate the look and feel of leather. The process works particularly well with darker colors and is often suggested for flooring as it is less slippery. Both processes make fingerprints, watermarks and crumbs less conspicuous, with obvious benefit to busy homeowners. The softer texture can provide more casual feel to a room than a high-polished surface, but also feels very fresh and contemporary.

Concrete countertops provide a lots of options including a seamless design and a wide variety of finishing options.

Honed finishes need to be resealed more often than polished finish as it is more susceptible to liquid stains, but because of the lack of shine, flaws can also be concealed more easily. The choice of finish will also affect the depth and richness of color. Leathered countertops are very pleasant to touch because of their unique texture. The leathering process keeps and highlights the natural color of the stone and gives the countertops a natural and somewhat rustic appearance.

You’ll be seeing more and more of this exciting trend.

Do these ideas make it to the “finish” line for you?

Real Estate

Buying a house? Know your negotiation points.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be daunting and stressful. Above and beyond the purchase price, what should you be prepared to negotiate when buying a home?

  1. Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 4% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
  2. Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
  3. Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
  4. Inspection items. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.
  5. Furnishings. Though this is often best negotiated after a contract is in place, buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. Sellers often agree, making a win-win for both parties.