The Funniest Elf on the Shelf Ideas We’ve Ever Seen

The Funniest Elf on the Shelf Ideas We’ve Ever Seen

We scoured Pinterest to find the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas – go ahead, try to not laugh out loud at these!

Even though Elf on the Shelf was created for kids, it seems like the adults are the ones having all the fun hiding this guy around the house! We scoured Pinterest to find the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas – go ahead, try to not laugh out loud at these!

So this is what happens when you end up on the naughty list:

11

Via stayathomemum.com

This elf is really going heavy on the sweets:

Via dirtydiaperlaundry.com

He must have rolled right out of bed!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Toilet Paper Roll #ElfOnTheShelf

Via formulamom.com

He’s going to need to sing an unforgettable rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to win these judges over!

The Voice

Via pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

Polite? Yes. Subtle? No.

Running out of elf on the shelf ideas? We have 75 of them for you!:

Image via skinnymom.com

Elf on the Shelfie

Elf on the Shelf - Its beginning to look a lot like me - Elf changed everyones's computer screen to his picture..Oh No!! - Picklehead Soup: December 2013:

Image via pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

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9 Kitchen Design Trends to Absolutely Avoid

9 Kitchen Design Trends to Absolutely Avoid

While some kitchen trends might appeal to you, they may not appeal to others — homebuyers, in particular.

Guest Post by HomeAdvisor

Are you considering making some kitchen improvements? Or investing in anentire kitchen remodel? If so, make sure that you invest your money carefully. While some kitchen trends might appeal to you, they may not appeal to others — homebuyers, in particular. Here are some kitchen trends we suggest avoiding:

#1 Mixing metals

Never mix metals in your kitchen. Go all bronze, all copper or all stainless steel, but don’t put them arbitrarily together. This may look a little too eclectic for the average homebuyer, and you don’t want to have to replace hardware or fixtures.

#2 Creating your own counters

You might think that creating your own concrete counters will save you money, but it could actually do more harm than good. Instead, hire a professional. Or,look into alternatives like granite, quartz and other solid surface materials, which are also long lasting and visually appealing.

#3 Imitation open shelving

Open shelving is really big right now — everything’s in open view. But simply taking the doors off of your cabinets isn’t going to cut it. In fact, it looks amateur and will make buyers wonder why it was done. If you really want open shelving, install actual open shelving. Or, go with glass-door cabinets.

#4 Using “fake wood” in the kitchen

Cabinet door materials like particleboard and vinyl and wood veneer may seem cost-effective, but they often look cheap and detract from the overall value of your kitchen as a result. Plus, these “fake wood” materials can sometimes come with more maintenance and repairs than you want to deal with. When it comes to your kitchen cabinets, invest in the best materials possible.

#5 Going for an industrial look

The Industrial look — stainless steel counters, exposed ducting and bulbs, and metal shelves or cabinets — is on its way out. Unless you’re living in a loft, skip the exposed Edison bulbs and aluminum shelving and opt instead for lively materials that feel cozy and welcoming. If you need style ideas for your kitchen, talk to an experienced kitchen designer.

#6 Hiding your appliances

Specially created cabinets or “garages” take up a lot of counter space. Instead of wasting money on this, just store the moveable appliances in cabinets or cut down on how many you have. Keep the ones you use most often on the counter, but make sure it doesn’t look cluttered.

#7 Creating kitchen nooks

In the old days, kitchens nooks were dedicated to telephones, pull-down desks and other items. Nowadays, most people don’t use landlines — and most don’t want a desk in the kitchen either. If you have a nook, think about removing it. And certainly don’t add one;  it will only take up space that could be used more effectively.

#8 Diversifying appliance colors

Every year, appliance companies release products in trending colors. Don’t put stock in these. Instead, stick with reliable stainless steel — or go with black or white. And, when it’s time to sell, you won’t have to spend additional money refinishing or replacing the appliances.

#9 Wasting island space

A purposeful island is the perfect complement to a large kitchen. But if the island doesn’t have a strict purpose, it may serve only to obstruct the flow of the room. Make sure your island has a  clear purpose. Add a sink, a stove or counter space — whatever works best for the space and your budget.

5 Bunk Bed Ideas for Double the Fun

5 Bunk Bed Ideas for Double the Fun

These 5 bunk bedrooms from Coldwell Banker listings are double the trouble, double the fun!

Bunk beds are no longer just the accommodations of summer camp.  Bunk beds are making a comeback in a big way.  Whether they serve as space for sleepovers, or make extra room for guests in your second home, bunk beds can be a fun way to add sleeping space to any home.  These 5 stacked bedrooms from Coldwell Banker listings are double the trouble, double the fun!

Coldwell Banker-Mason & Morse, Carrie Wells, Eagle Pines Log House, Jan. 29, 2015

 

This Miramar, FL property is listed by John Cook with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

 

This Woody Creek, CO property is listed by Brian Hazen with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse.

 

bunk bed_boston mA

 

The Ponds House, Carrie Wells, June 13, 2015

Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Home for Winter

The coming winter means preparing now for cold winds, snow and ice attacking the exterior of your home.

Somehow, the end of 2015 is almost here.  And although the U.S., especially the northeast, has been experiencing higher than average temperatures recently, you still need to prepare for winter.  That means replacing the T-shirts hanging in your closet with clothes to take on the fall and winter months. But have you also done all you can preparing your home for the upcoming cold season?  By taking some preventative steps now, you can lower your energy bills, increase the safety of your home and make sure all of your home’s equipment is running up smoothly once Old Man Winter really comes knocking.

Keep the Cold Out and the Heat In

– Check the weatherstripping around windows and doors for escaping air.  Replace weatherstripping or caulk where necessary.

– Replace window and door screens with storm windows and doors.  Heavier curtains can also minimize a draft.

– Have a fireplace?  Check its damper for any warping and rusting that could cause a draft.

Protect the Outside of Your Home from the Elements

– Clean the gutters.  Check that all gutters are secured properly as the weight of ice and snow can pull them off of your home.

– Close all vents and other openings are covered to prevent unwanted guests getting inside.

– Check your roof to look for damaged or loose shingles which may cause leaks from melting snow.

Front and Backyard

– Protect against pipe bursts by shutting off all exterior faucets and drain the remaining water from pipes, valves and sprinkler heads.

– Prevent slipping on icy walkways at night by ensuring proper lighting in outdoor areas.

– Put away any lingering outdoor furniture.

Heating and Ventilation

– Clean/replace the air filter in your furnace or heat pump to improve efficiency and air quality.  It could be a good idea to have a technician come inspect your system as well.

– Bleed valves on hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency.

Prepare for Snow

– Get the shovels and snow blowers out of hiding and put them in an easily accessible place.

– Stock up on ice melt, salt or sand for steps, walkways and driveways.

 

The winter is a time to cozy up in the family room in front of the fireplace in comfort; and nothing can ruin those times like damage to your home.  So always be sure to prepare your home before the snow falls!

How to Win at the Organization Game

How to Win at the Organization Game

Try one of these clever storage ideas to tackle sports equipment clutter and we’re sure you’ll come out a winner of the organization game!

We all love to root, root, root for the home team, but when the team’s equipment starts invading our homes, it can feel like we’ve struck out in the game of organization.  If your front hall or garage is cluttered with lacrosse sticks, hockey pads and baseball cleats, try one of these clever storage ideas and we’re sure you’ll come out a winner!

sportsorg_bungee balls

Add bungee cords to your garage storage for an easy way to bounce back into organized shape.  This organization system makes grabbing a basketball to shoot some hoops quick and easy, but clean-up even easier!

Garage Cubbies

sportsorg_garage cubbies

The key to good garage storage is lots of shelving.  This great cubbie system creates space for everything from skates to bike helmets.

Hockey Pad Drying Rack

sportsorg_hockey drying rack

Anyone with a hockey player in their household knows that victory doesn’t always smell so sweet.  Fend off piles of stinky hockey pads by creating a drying rack that organizes gear for the next big game.

Pegboard Organization System

sportsorg_pegboard

Anyone with growing athletes in their home knows that as passions grow, so too does the size of the sports equipment that comes along with it.  This pegboard organizational system is flexible enough to expand with your kid’s activity schedule.

Rollable Bins

sportsorg_triple storage bin

For sports equipment that gets used frequently, this rollable storage bin is a great storage solution. Organize equipment into each compartment by sport (soccer, tennis, baseball, etc.).

3 Simple Tips for Choosing the Right Size TV for Your Room

3 Simple Tips for Choosing the Right Size TV for Your Room

We all want a big TV. The bigger, the better if you ask me. But sometimes the room we are going to put the TV in just doesn’t accommodate the enormous screen size we dream about. How can you determine what size TV will work best in the room where you want to put it.

There are actually a number of factors involved to figure this out. Here are some tips for you to consider before buying that new HDTV:

Wall Mount or No Wall Mount?

First things is first. Will this TV be hung on the wall or not? You need to figure this out before even heading to the store because this decision will affect everything else after it. TV’s that are hung on the wall actually allow for larger screen size because rarely are there TVs that are bigger than the walls of a room. Also a larger sized TV that is hanging on a wall can work better in smaller rooms because it allows for maximum viewing distance from where you are seated instead of having it place inside or on top of a TV cabinet. Plus, if budget is a concern there are peripherals and installation costs to consider when wall mounting a new set.

How many walls surround the TV?

This seems like an odd question, but the number of walls surrounding the TV can impact the perception viewers have on whether the room feels crowded with a large TV. If your TV is surrounded by 4 full walls (front, left, right & behind) it can make the room feel smaller and a TV over 50″ can feel overwhelming unless the square footage of the room is large. If your TV is surrounded by 3 walls (left, right, behind) and connects to another room so that the back wall is farther away, a TV over 50″ will work as the room has enough depth to warrant the extra large screen size.

What’s the Viewing Distance?

Everyone likes sitting close to the TV. We did as kids and got yelled at, but now that it’s our home we can sit as close as we want! That is unless you want a super sized HDTV. Sitting closer to the TV can actually diminish the quality of the viewing experience not to mention the acoustics if you have a surround sound system. Let’s say you have your eye on a 52″ HDTV. You’re going to want to make sure your viewing area is at least 6 feet away from the TV to be able to enjoy the optimal cinematic experience.

Amazon.com has come up with a simple formula for determining the best size TV based on your viewing distance from the screen. To determine the maximum size TV screen you would divide the length of your viewing distance by 1.5. Instead of messing with the math I love this quick reference chart that Amazon developed to show you the TV sizes you should consider based on where you’ll be seated to watch TV:

So there you have it. You now have enough information to figure out just how big a TV you should get based on the room  you’re putting it in. Now you just have to pick which TV you’re going to get. 3D? LED or LCD? Vizio or Sony? Decisions, decisions, decisions…

 

What is a home inspection and Why Should You Always Have One When Buying a Home?

What is a home inspection and Why Should You Always Have One When Buying a Home?

What is a home inspection and why should you always have one when buying a home? A home inspection is performed by a qualified inspector hired by buyers to inspect a home prior to purchase and provide a detailed report regarding all components.

Buying a home for the first time or the 10th time has one common factor: It may be one of the most important transactions that you make in your lifetime. So what is a home inspection? It is a thorough evaluation of the home by a certified home inspector. This encompasses a non-invasive evaluation of the major components, but not limited to the major components of a home, such as the structure, roof, plumbing, electrical, appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, the exterior, and the basement. It may also include out buildings, the garage, and inspections fortermite/wood destroying insects and radon.

A certified home inspector would be hired to inspect the home and components to find if there are any material defects, items that need repair, services needed (heater evaluation, chimney inspection, etc.), and an evaluation of many of the components of the home and their life expectancy. The safety aspect of the components is also evaluated and recommendations are made by the home inspector. What a home inspection is not is an insurance policy or guarantee for the home. It is not intended to predict the future life expectancy of the home’s components, nor is it a report for cosmetic repair.

The home inspector visually inspects the home, writes a report and a defect summary accompanied by pictures of the defect. This is true for a home inspection and a termite report. In respect to radon inspections, a testing device is typically left at the home in a closed environment for a period of 48 hours. The results are evaluated against the standard that the EPA has set — an action level of 4 pCi/L. Anything at this level or above should be remediated. Inspections may also include water, if there is a well or septic. Usually these two inspections are performed by separate inspectors. A pool/hot tub inspection may also be requested by the buyers.

The buyer’s agent or attorney will review the inspector’s report(s) with the buyers and a request to repair items that are deemed defective are then negotiated within specified timeframes negotiated within the agreement of sale. The buyer may accept the property as is, request repairs, or in some cases, ask for a credit. The buyer may also elect to terminate the agreement based on the report. Credits are handled in methods that comply with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which protects consumers from abusive practices and higher settlement charges.

Every buyer should have inspections on the property that they are purchasing, even if it is new construction. For example, if a buyer is involved in a foreclosure, the property is usually “as is.” In this situation I would highly recommend the home be inspected to ensure that the buyer is protected from purchasing an extremely defective home or on the other hand, give them peace of mind that they are fully aware of repairs or remediation that may be necessary after the purchase. In the example of new construction, I would recommend at a minimum that the home be inspected just prior to drywall installation to evaluate the structure, electrical, plumbing, and ventilation prior to drywall. The objective here would be to determine if defects are present or perhaps installation of such items was improperly installed. In any instance, always consider having a home inspection prior to making a purchase!

The Top 2 Home Improvement Projects Buyers Want

The Top 2 Home Improvement Projects Buyers Want, And How to Do It On a Budget

Sellers that are on a budget, or are crunched for time, may not be able to make a lot of updates to their home prior to listing. We look at the top two home improvement projects buyers want by ROI, and how to implement them on a budget.

It’s no secret that updates to a home increase its value on the real estate market. However, choosing the right home improvement projects can be a challenge if you are short on time and/or money. Fortunately, the National Association of Realtors reports that smaller updates that improve the overall look of the home can be more effective than large scale renovations.

We’ve rounded up the top two projects buyers want — and how to implement them on a budget.

1. The Kitchen

kitchen-desig

While it may be true that kitchens sell homes, you don’t need to spend a fortune on creating a space that buyers are eager to call their own. In fact, Remodeling Magazine, in their 2015 Cost vs. Value report indicates that a minor kitchen remodel has a nearly 12 percent higher payback than a major renovation, providing an average 79.3 percent return on investment.

Cabinets

At the lower end of the scale, simply repainting the walls and replacing cabinet hardware can be an effective face lift if you are crunched for time. However, if you have solid wood cabinets, painting them can also go a long way to modernizing your kitchen space. Choose a neutral color such as white or off-white to brighten up even the most dated of kitchens and create welcoming space. New hinges and hardware can set off the update and make a real impact.

For damaged or laminated kitchens, sometimes replacing the doors can take your kitchen to a whole new level. Many big box stores carry an array of stock cabinet doors that can give your kitchen new life for a fraction of the cost of complete replacement.

Countertops and Backsplash

Countertops see a lot of action and can be one of the most worn out aspects of a kitchen. Replacing counter tops with a comparable looking laminate can significantly improve the desirability of your home and provide a fresh, clean look. Existing natural stone countertops that have lost their luster can also be rebuffed and re-coated by a professional to revive their natural beauty.

If your kitchen lacks a backsplash, this can be one of the easiest do-it-yourself home improvement projects to add value. Tile, bead board paneling, even tin tiles can be added for maximum impact.

Improve Functionality

Every buyer wants a kitchen that works. Easy fixes can include adding interior organizers to drawers, installing a lazy Susan or pull out shelves to pantry cupboards. Even replacing a single bowl sink with a double bowl, if space allows, and topping off with a fresh, new faucet will make a positive impact.

2. Entryway

door

While it may be surprising, replacing your front door with a new steel door tops nearly every list of home improvement projects, and for good reason. The ROI on this simple upgrade can soar as high as 101 percent, making it a no-brainer.

A new entry door increases curb appeal and makes your home shine in real estate photos. Aside from the increased security and energy savings a steel door offers, buyers will receive a positive first impression that will set the tone for how they view the remainder of your home.

The Bottom Line

A tight timeline or budget shouldn’t get in the way of ensuring you get the most from the sale of your home, and choosing strategic home improvement projects will ensure your effort is rewarded. Just remember that upgrades don’t need to be premium quality for the best return — they just need to make sense for your home.

If you are thinking about selling, even about just getting your house in order in advance, please feel free to call Steve from Coldwell Banker for more expert advice.   617-372-1870