Top Ideas for Kitchen Renovations

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When you’ve been in the same home for a while, it is common to get an itch to switch things up a little bit. For many homeowners, this means renovating the kitchen. Renovation is a great way to not only add a little bit of style but also increase the value of the home at the same time. There are a few great ideas to think about when it comes to kitchen renovations.

Add a Backsplash

One of the most popular kitchen renovations is to install a backsplash. This is a great way to upgrade and personalize the food prep area. Furthermore, a backsplash is easy to clean, functional and durable. There are plenty of ideas that people can use to make their kitchen backsplash unique. Consider neutral stone tile with colored or patterned pieces randomly interspersed, a pressed metal design or colorful glass tiles.

Open Up The Area

Consider opening up additional space in and around your kitchen. This can be accomplished with the removal of upper cabinets, introducing a window or skylight or, for a larger-scale project, removing walls to connect with other rooms. If you can’t change the floorplan of your room, swapping in glass-front cabinets or open shelving for your upper cabinets can create more visual space.

Add Flair to the Counters

Counters are a common target for kitchen renovations. Styles change and, over the years, you may find the need for additional space. One solution is to add a kitchen island. This adds both storage space and workspace for your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to go with unique countertop materials like concrete or wood.

Upgrade the Appliances

Finally, consider upgrading appliances to incorporate new technology and conveniences. Newer appliances not only come with new features like convertible compartments and touch screens but are also more energy-efficient than older models. This means you might also be able to save additional money over time with this investment.

What to Look For Before Buying a Waterfront Home

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Buying property can be fun, but it can also be exhausting. You want to find a place that fits your personal lifestyle and invest in a home that’ll bring you years of happiness. As you’re looking at shorefront real estate:

1. Understand Your Access Rights to the Water

On the surface, it may look like a no-brainer that you have access to the water, but many people learn the hard way that their beautiful waterfront views don’t have easements that allow access to the lake, pond, or ocean. Most people don’t want a beautiful view of the water without being able to use it.

2. Know Your Waterfront Buffer Zones

State and local regulations may prohibit your landscaping plans from making forward progress if you’re too close to tidal waters. Know the buffer zones before you buy so you’re not stuck with a landscape you don’t love.

3. Learn Your Littoral Rights

If you purchase waterfront real estate, you may very well be granted littoral rights—that is, you’d have unrestricted rights to use that water as though it was land. The government may also own the water up to a certain point, so it’s best to gain this knowledge up front.

4. Know if You have Riparian Rights

If you purchase a non-riparian waterfront property, you likely won’t be able to have a private dock or pier on the water. Since this is one of the major reasons people want to own waterfront property, it’s important to understand these rights before you buy.

5. Understand Your Obligations Regarding Water Depth

You don’t have any control over Mother Nature, but you do often have certain obligations in terms of what you’re permitted to do in certain water depths. You may need to build a deck farther out into the water than you’d first anticipated in order adhere to depth regulations.

6. Look at the Fixtures Surrounding the Property

Certain watercraft, such as sailboats, need far more clearance than others. If your potential property is directly next to fixed-height bridges that wouldn’t enable you to enjoy leisure time on your sailboat, that may not be the best home for you. Alternatively, people who enjoy kayaking wouldn’t need to be concerned with fixed-height structures. In fact, those areas might be best for this type of buyer.

7. Research Regulations Impacting Docks and Piers

It’s not atypical to have to purchase pier permits. Depending on your location, these regulations may be governed by federal, state, or local institutions. It’s best to have an idea of the cost before you get your heart set on a single property.

8. Include Flood Insurance in Your Monthly Costs

Natural disasters can bolster the cost of flood insurance. Even if you think you’ll never need it, a waterfront property is always best protected when flood insurance is calculated into the cost.

9. Know How Secluded You Really Want to Be

Waterfront real estate is appealing because it’s quiet and serene, but if this will be your year-round residence, make sure you’ve taken winter into consideration if you’re looking for lakefront property where snowfall can change the landscape quickly. Super-secluded spots can make it difficult to get to the store when blizzards hit, so you may want to look for a place that has easy access to shopping. However, if you’re willing to rough it, or if you’ll only be using the property in the summer, seclusion is a great way to go! Of course, if you’re looking for beachfront property in Florida, parts of California or the Carolinas, winters won’t really be a concern you’ll have to worry about.

10. Explore the Pros and Cons of Private Beaches Versus Public Shores

There are pros and cons to each. Make sure you have an idea what you’re looking for before you and your real estate agent start house-hunting, but be open to possibilities if your real estate agent has a property they insist you must see.

As you’re shopping for waterfront real estate, be sure to keep these tips in mind. The more you know, the more likely you’ll be to find a home that makes you happy for many years to come. Contact me if you have questions about buying waterfront property!

Homebuyer Deal-Breakers

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Before you sign on the bottom line, know which items are negotiable and which negate the deal entirely. Clearly defining these in advance can save you significant headaches when the buying bug takes over. Your agent will remind you of your non-negotiables and keep you on the right track.

Here are some big-ticket items to keep in mind before closing out a contract:

  • Major construction issues. During the inspection, if issues with the roof, a significant system like the wiring, plumbing, or HVAC comes up, negotiate to have them fixed or walk away.
  • Review any protected or wetlands designations that apply to the property. Even though the home, pool, fence, pond or ditch is already there, these designations mean you’ll have to get permission from a conservation committee or agency in order to make any changes to your property.
  • If any questions come up in the title search, and it seems there may not be a clear title, walk away. Even though the legalities could eventually get sorted, you’ll be out attorney fees, stress and time lost.
  • Review the right-of-way, easements and utility access. Utilities with lights, poles, pipes or wires crossing the property have the right to inspect, repair, dig and otherwise take care of the utility. Before you can put in a pool, fence or flowerbed, you may need their permission. In addition, some cities have right-of-way clauses meaning they can add berms, boulevards or widen roads into your property. They also have the right to approve where you can locate a driveway and the setback (how close structures are to the property line, roads or easements), which may severely impact how you can build.

If there is land behind your property that does not have egress, that landowner may have easement rights. That means, they may install a driveway right through your land to get to theirs. Easements are listed on the deed, so have your agent or title lawyer clarify anything you don’t understand.

Make sure your real estate agent knows what’s non-negotiable for you so that the property you fall in love with is the one of your dreams, not your nightmares.

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