Category Archives for "Making It Home"

Recipes, home tips and fun domestic related topics to make help make your house a home

New Year’s Resolution: A Guide on Selling Your Home in 2014

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Champagne, New Year Eve, 2014, Night, Party, Gold, Showcase, Realty, Showcase Realty, Orange, Bats,Charlotte NC fall events, Charlotte NC homes for sale, Charlotte NC real estate, Showcase realty, Nancy BraunAfter years of declining home values, 2014 could be the year for all home sellers, especially in Charlotte, NC. So if you want to sell your home, be sure to put your best foot forward. To start, here’s a quick guide to help you sell your home in 2014.

 

Change your real estate agent. If your agent wasn’t able to sell your home this year, then you might need to change to another agent. Maybe, that simple change can make all the difference you need to finally sell your home because of newer strategies or approach.

 

Hire a professional photographer. This is considered one of the most important yet overlooked steps in property marketing. Since we live in the Internet generation, there’s a higher chance of selling your home if it is posted online or in advertisements where pictures are necessary. With the help of professional photographer, he can help make your house look great that will surely entice a lot of buyers.

 

Get help from home stagers or designers. Most real estate agents work with some excellent home designers and stagers so be sure to get their services too as they can help enhance the overall look and feel of your home. Although other homeowners believe that this is a waste of money, there are actually home stagers that charge per hour, which is an advantage on your part.

 

Screen your buyers. To save time, you need to make sure that your potential buyers are preapproved. This means that need to have their credit and employment checked to determine the amount they can borrow. This is part of your agent’s responsibility to get in touch with your buyer’s loan officers.

 

Have your property inspected. If your home hasn’t gone through inspection yet, then you must consider doing this now. You have to allot a few weeks or months so the inspector can assess and repair your home of its big and small problems. Remember, most buyers prefer to purchase a home that doesn’t need too much repairs.

 

Use other marketing options. Have you exhausted all marketing options available today? If not, then be sure to research for other possible marketing options today aside from newspaper ads or flyers. This includes using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other sites that buyers usually check. If you hired a well-experienced and reliable real estate agent, then this won’t be a problem because he should know the necessary marketing options available today.

 

Ready to take the next step? Showcase Realty is here to help! If you have any questions or concerns regarding the sale of your home, we can provide honest and knowledgeable answers. Showcase Realty can sell your home fast and for top top dollar. Contact us today! 704.997.3794.

Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

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Eco Friendly, Consumption, Conservation, Enviroment, Green energy, Clean, Go Green, Charlotte NC real estate, Charlotte NC investors, Charlotte NC foreclosures, Charlotte NC homes for sale, Charlotte NC short sales, Showcase Realty, Charlotte NC Short Sale AgentsWith the increasing number of environmental problems these days, each of us has the responsibility to do something to help save the environment. In your own simple ways, you can help through making home improvements that do not only beautify and add value to your home, but also helps conserve the environment. Below are some of these eco-friendly home improvement tips.

 

Monitor your electricity consumption. This is made possible through buying digital displays that allow you to monitor your electricity consumption similar to a meter in a taxi. In this way, you would be less wasteful.

 

Install skylights in your roof. Installing skylights helps natural sunlight in illuminating your house, especially in those pesky dark areas in your house.

 

Use solar panels or a miniature wind turbine. Solar heating is very useful, especially in providing basic energy within your home such as lighting and heating water. The good thing about this is it makes pure and clean energy. At the same time, you can store the energy in a battery for later use. You can also install a miniature wind turbine which can also help generate renewable energy.

 

Invest in low wattage light bulbs. Such kind of bulb helps save energy easily. It’s sometimes brighter than the standard light bulbs but consumes lesser energy.

 

Improve your roof. There had been researches conducted indicating that roof color and the types of material you use in your roof can greatly lower the temperature in attics. For instance, consider using white tiles when re-roofing as it has properties that can reduce heat gain.

 

Install a motion detector outside your home. Such devices help a lot in saving energy because your light fixtures will only be activated by motion sensors or a timer.

 

Make use of low flow showerheads. These items are a worthwhile investment because they help cut down water usage and save energy expenses.

 

Purchase energy-efficient appliances. Investing in such items is one of the most effective ways of saving energy. Remember, home appliances use about 18% of a typical home’s total energy bill so investing in energy-efficient appliances can help lower down your expenses. These appliances bear “Energy Star” logo which means they use 10% to 50% less energy and water than other standard models.

 

Save water through using certain devices. There are actually some devices you can purchase that help save water. For instance, you can use an aerator on all your household faucets to cut your annual consumption of water into half. You can also install a low-flow toilet to increase your water savings.. But aside from this, you should also do some behavioral changes that save water too.

How color of a room can affect you

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Does the color blue relax and calm you? Do you feel anxious when you are in a yellow room? Well, did you know that your environment has a direct effect on your emotions and your state of mind?

 

Although people perceive colors differently because it’s subjective, there are certain colors that have a universal effect on people. Hence, it is important that you know these effects to assist you in deciding the color of your room and other parts of your house. Below is a guide to help you out.

 

Red. Red has been strongly associated with anger and intensity, which is why you should avoid using this as the main color of your room. But it also stimulates a person’s energy that promotes enthusiasm and liveliness.  Hence, it’s good to choose this color for your living room or dining room as it helps draw people together and stimulates conversation.

 

Yellow. Yellow is a color usually associated with happiness and being cheery. Hence, it’s a perfect color for kitchens, bathrooms, and dining rooms. However, this isn’t a color you must consider for rooms because it’s likely that people will lose their temper. Babies also tend to cry more when inside a yellow room.

 

Blue. Blue is well-known to have a calming effect so it’s one of the best colors for a room but it should be softer shades of blue since darker shades have an opposite effect. It also helps in in bringing down blood pressure and slowing down respiration and heart rate. At the same time, warmer blues have a relaxing effect in social areas so you can also use this in family rooms, living rooms, and large kitchens.

 

Green. Similar to blue, the color green also has a calming effect that helps relieve stress as it relaxes them. It’s even associated with fertility so it can also be one of your choices for the bedroom. It can also be used in other parts of the house like; the kitchen, as it cools things down, the family room or the living room as it encourages relaxation, warmth, comfort and togetherness.

 

Orange. Orange is a color associated with enthusiasm, excitement, and energy. However, this isn’t the color you should choose for your bedrooms or social areas, but it’s a great color for your workout room. It brings out all the energy you need to do your fitness routine.

 

Purple. Purple is color that conveys wealth, royalty, and sophistication. It also conveys wisdom as well as spirituality. But like the color blue, you should choose the lighter versions of purpose such as lilac and lavender if you like to use this for your bedroom.

 

White. The good thing about white is it helps make the room appear bigger and spacious, but it also makes the room seem unfriendly. It’s also described as cold, bland and sterile which is why hospitals usually use white as it creates a sense of cleanliness and sterility.

Top Trending Halloween Costume Ideas for 2013

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Every Halloween will be the same; at least in the fact that there will always be trending costumes that you can’t help but notice. Last year the top trending Costume was Psy, particularly from his world famous video “Gangnam Style.” It was definitely amusing seeing bright colorful suits and people walking / dancing up to your door to get some candy. This year we will be seeing a lot of pop culture references, more than usual, and thankfully gone is the era of the sexy cat/policewoman/nurse!(of course there are always those persistent few..) None the less, I thought it was best to prepare you folks for what you are about to see tonight.

Minion- “Despicable Me” These little guys will be everywhere this Halloween. So much that you will believe you have found yourself in the “Despicable Me” world! These costumes are number one this year in popularity and have numerous tutorials on the web on how to be a minion this Halloween.

“The Great Gatsby” Thanks to the ever popular movie, this year many fans or just fans of the era in general will be dressed in glitz and glam. Flappers and dapper fellows will be gracing us with their presence this year and you better believe they will be ready to party!

“Breaking Bad” This year marked the last season of the very popular cult show and many fans will pay tribute to its characters. Biohazard Costumes will be everywhere, so remain calm when you see one at your doorstep shouting “trick-or-treat”, most likely it’s a trick-or-treater, not a government scientist who has some bad news for you; pay attention to context clues!

“Miley Cyrus” I don’t think anyone is surprised that this made the list in the least. After the highly controversial VMA’s performance and her constant presence in the media in the weeks following, I’m surprised it was not the “Top Costume” for this year. I guess her costume will take the place of the “sexy cat” this year, seeing as the options only vary from a teddy bear leotard to a nude colored bra and panties set.

I wonder which one of these costumes we will see this year at our Halloween Party. The party, “A Haunting Showcase”, takes place on Friday, Nov. 1 at our main office and we are all so excited for this spectacular event. There will be trick or treating in the office, dinner & cocktails, and contests! We hope you willl have an exciting and safe evening tonight. Happy Halloween!

A Brief History of Halloween

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Just like other holidays and important events, Halloween has evolved a lot since it started thousands of years ago. As one of the world’s oldest holidays, it has been celebrated today by more individuals from different parts of the world than ever before.

 

The term Halloween was originally spelled as “Hallowe’en,” which is contraction of All Hallows Eve, a term for the day before All Hallows Day, otherwise known as All Saints Day. The latter is a Catholic holiday celebrated on November 1 since the early Middle Ages where Christian saints along with martyrs are commemorated.

 

The history of Halloween originates in the ancient Celtic festival regarded as Samhain, a celebration of the end of the harvest season in the Gaelic culture. The ancient Gaels believed that, on October 31, there is an overlapping of the boundaries between the world of the living and the dead. At the same time, the deceased would come back to life and will cause havoc like sickness. Based on the prehistoric observance, Halloween used to mark the end of summer and the onset of winter where people celebrated it with sacrificial offerings, homage to the dead, feasts, and bonfires.

 

Like the Celts, the European people during that time also believed the same thing; that the spirits of the dead would came to visit the earth during Halloween. However, they feared that the spirits would hurt them or cause problems, which is why during the night they wore costumes to look like ghost and other evil creatures. They believed that by doing such, the spirits would think they’re also dead and they would remain unharmed. As the Europeans migrated to the United States, they brought such tradition with them.

 

“Trick or treat” entered the picture when there was an increasing number of Halloween pranks and mischief during the 1920s and 1930s. Schools and communities want to curb the increasing number of vandalism that’s why they encouraged the “trick or treat” concept. But the practice we do and see today where children wear costumes doing “trick or treat” started only during the mid-1940s.

 

Today, Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday next to Christmas and is the third biggest party being celebrated yearly behind New Year as well as Super Bowl Sunday. Men and women of every age now celebrates Halloween in different ways like decorating their homes, wearing odd costumes, joining parades, and more. But we all have to remember, as long as we celebrate Halloween in a safe and happy way, then there’s no problem with celebrating it in different ways.

Fun and festive fall activities in Charlotte NC

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Fall is a time for sweeping up fallen leaves and baking the perfect pumpkin pie, to look forward to the terror of Halloween and the frightening gathering of your family for thanksgiving. This is a time to give and a time to enjoy. It’s a time to take full advantage of the scenery and to get out and enjoy the colors and the weather. Why not experience all The Queen City has to offer and enjoy days filled with relaxation and seasonal traditions?

The NoDa Fall Music Fest

This festival is for all you music lovers out there! There will be 100 artists and bands performing live in multiple venues. The festival is a 3 day event, which is celebrating its 11th year of delivering the best music and digital media industry education and networking in the market. If you are interested as a performer or as a business owner this is an opportunity you cannot miss, as well! Take full advantage of this wondrous event and give your soul its much needed tunes.     Nov. 8- Nov. 10

For more information and a list of bands visit their website at:  http://www.midatlanticmusic.com/

Pumpkin picking

Charlotteans know full and well they live in the country and, thankfully, that means a wide variety of farms to visit and browse through their bountiful pumpkin patches. Pumpkin picking is an age old tradition that we used to do with our parents and our parents’ parent’s. It’s a tradition that you want to pass down to you children and your children’s children. It is a very family oriented experience and a great way to get your kids excited for the changing season.  This is an innocent pleasure that will surely be one of your children’s fondest memories of fall, and if your kid is a chatter they will tell all of your family and friends how he picked his perfect pumpkin (Your welcome). Hodges farm is a great family farm complete with farm animals, horses, pumpkin picking in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter.

Click here for more information on Hodges Farm.

Tour the Mountains

The mountains in the fall are, personally, one of the most beautiful picturesque views I have ever seen in autumn. For those hikers and campers, fall is the perfect time to go since it isn’t too hot, nor is it too cold; it’s that perfect state of limbo. Grandfather mountain is the most popular with its high peaks and panoramic views, it will get a little chilly in the evening so, like my boy scout brother says, always be prepared! Little neighboring towns will solve your hunger needs or you can picnic near the mountain and watch one of the many tranquil waterfalls scattered in the North Carolina Mountains. Don’t forget to bring your Camera for the many Kodak moments that will arise with your first step on mountain terrain.

Great Infographic on Improving Your Home in 10 Minutes or Less

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In order to get top dollar for your Charlotte NC home for sale, it needs to look great inside and out. Small adjustments to your home can really improve it’s curb appeal without costing you a fortune.

The infographic below has tips and quick fixes to improve the value of your home and make it more desirable to buyers. Tips below include keeping trimmed bushes and a mowed lawn to make a the best first impression possible. Quick fixes like painting over cracks in the walls and replacing old doorknobs can go a long way to make the home look well cared for and updated.

Beyond simple maintenance and repairs the infographic suggests many decorating tips to make any space feel bigger, brighter and more inviting. It even describes the effects of feng shui and colory theory techniques on a space. For example, dark narrow hallways are made to seem more spacious by hanging a mirror at the end. The color green is also a refreshing color the promotes relaxation and recuperation; consider painting the living room or master bedroom this color.

If you have a Charlotte home for sale, these tips could mean the difference between a competitive bidding war and low offers. View the rest of the tips below! Also click the image, if you’d like to view it larger.

 

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July 10, 2013

Good Interior Design

Making it Home: Good Design

Almost nothing can impact your living space like good interior design can.  But many people don’t know which design concepts will make the most of their homes. This post gives you bite-sized ideas to consider as you decorate or fully remodel your home.

While they’re not particularly common in the Charlotte area, some homes include a basement. Even if it is only semi-finished, a basement can be transformed into a great space to entertain, play or relax. If you are ready to start designing your home and have a basement, think about what you can do to make it a place that you can and your family and friends will enjoy. Basements may also have rental potential … check local regulations.

You may not be able to retile your bathroom or replace your bathtub, but you can always admire the effect of new towels. Try bold colors if your bathroom seems a bit drab, or calming colors like blue and green if you want to create an oasis.

Consider all types of flooring. Don’t limit yourself to carpeting … consider whether tile or hardwood floors would make the room look better or add a different feel. Modern and sustainable, bamboo floors create a vibe different from

Interior design has the ability to completely transform an ordinary room into something truly exceptional, but many people don’t devote sufficient time and energy. Check back often to form a winning design strategy for your living spaces. There will be more design tips coming soon!

Mother’s Day Sweet Treat….For Beginners.

Ultimate Brownie for Mothers Day

Brownie’s!

Mom is the heart of the home and, for most families, the best baker in the bunch. With Mothers Day around the corner (May 12th for those of you who are scrambling to find your calendars), you might be feeling the urge to test your baking skills for a more sentimental treat than jewelry or flowers, but just don’t have the kitchen experience to whip up something creative.  Showcase Realty is going to save you the agony of starting from scratch by offering up one of our favorite, and most popular, baking treats. Mom will be floored.

The Ultimate Brownie

Ingredients
1 roll of chocolate chip cookie dough
1 pack of Oreos
Brownie Mix
Eggs
Oil
  1. Preheat your oven to the temperature on your box of brownie mix (375 for most mixes). Then, start prepping by greasing a glass baking pan (you can also line the pan with wax paper if necessary, but keep the edges inside the dish).
  2. Flatten your roll of cookie dough along the bottom of the pan until it completely covers the entire surface area of the pan.
  3. Open your pack of Oreos and line them up in rows on top of the cookie dough. By the time you are done, the pan should have a layer of cookie dough and then a grid of Oreos on top.
  4. Combine your eggs, oil, and brownie mix in a separate dish to create the brownie layer. Follow box directions exactly for maximum flavor.
  5. Pour the readied brownie mix on top of the cookie dough and Oreo layers, making sure the mix covers the entire pan. Think of this as the glue that holds all of the layers together.
  6. Bake the layered brownie in the oven for 45 minutes, unless otherwise specified by the brownie box.
  7. After baking, let the brownies cool before cutting them. Serve and enjoy!

Tips and Twists:

  1. Creativity is always encouraged when baking and this recipe is relatively easy to alter without destroying your kitchen. Trade out regular Oreos for mint or peanut butter ones depending on Mom’s  preference. Add frozen chocolate chips to your brownie mix for an extra gooey concoction. Switch chocolate chip cookie dough for sugar cookie or white chocolate macadamia nut. The combinations are endless.
  2. As if this isn’t sweet enough, serve it a la mode for some melt-away decadence. Caution- You might go into a sugar coma.
  3. Keep your recipe a secret until after the taste test. The great thing about this recipe is that most people won’t taste the individual cookie/Oreo/brownie layers- all they taste is the best brownie they’ve ever had. You’ll enjoy watching as Mom tries to figure out how she managed to miss your formative baking years.

written by: Elizabeth Castle

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Chevron: Top 5 Ways To Decorate Your Home With the Classic “Zig-zag” Pattern

Showcase Realty Blog - Making it Home

Chevron the classic zigzag design.

While most trends keep to either fashion, home decor, or technology, every once in a while something just sticks. Everywhere. You see it on billboards, on runways, and even on hipsters’ coffee mugs; it becomes part of society. Chevron is one of those things. The zigzag pattern is about as classic and basic as they come, bumping out overdone houndstooth and overplayed plaid for a simpler, white-on-color look. For many homeowners, chevron has worked its way into living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens as a design enhancer because of its bold, modern feel. Here are the best places to incorporate the hit pattern into your home to keep it trending:

  1. Throw Pillows: If you don’t want to redo everything but still want to keep your home modern, throw pillows are the way to go.  Chevron is one of those patterns that, because of its neutral mix with color, matches well with almost anything. If you have a blue flowery room, for instance, just pair blue and white chevron pillows with your floral fiesta to update the look.

  2. Curtains: For rooms that are barren, chevron curtains take simplicity to the next level by adding a splash of color and print. Take a mostly monochromatic area, it doesn’t matter if its a baby’s room, an office, or a bedroom, and slip bright chevron curtains in to make a fashion forward statement without overdoing it. Use a color wheel to help you decide how dramatic you want the look to be- the further the color of your room is from the color of the chevron will determine the mood of the room. Neutral rooms mixed with softer prints tend to feel light and airy, while colored rooms paired with bold patterns feel young and hip.

  3. Area Rugs: A bold area rug can really make a room stand out, especially on top of hard wood floors. This look can really go anywhere under the right color scheme, but my personal favorite is a neutral based chevron to add a little flair to the room without overpowering the main decorations. Stick to color schemes like tan, gray, or black if you decide to add a chevron rug to play up the other pieces in the room. Be wary, though; the wider the chevron print, the more of a centerpiece the rug will become.

  4. Accent Walls: Chevron-lovers who want a more permanent addition to their home should look into adding a chevron accent wall to one of their rooms. Like other chevron add-ins, the wall matches with almost anything, but it isn’t nearly as easy to change if the pattern ever stops trending. Still, it looks great. Choose a wall without a window and paint it based on the color of the other walls. If you’re a color-mixer, pick a color that compliments the other walls and stick to a then chevron pattern. If you go monochromatic, widen the pattern a bit to make it stand out.

  5. Tablecloths: Commitment-phobes rejoice at the thought of tablecloths because they, well, are easy to get rid of. For those of you who aren’t completely sold on the chevron trend, invest in a printed tablecloth or runner to modernize your meals. When you feel like that tablecloth is getting too clingy, just whip it off and replace it with something new. Too easy.

Written by: Beth Castle

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