Watch for Asbestos When Renovating Older Homes: You May Be at Risk

Photo credit: BanksPhotos -iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rosie Rosati, guest contributor

As a homebuyer, it’s easy to understand the appeal of investing in an older home. After all, it’s the perfect opportunity to tackle a few DIY projects and renovations to give the place the custom touch you’ve always imagined. Although this can seem like an exciting endeavor, new owners may get ahead themselves without realizing their house may be harboring toxins from decades ago.

It’s important to understand the dangers of asbestos during home improvement projects and how to reduce exposure risks.

Measuring Your Risk

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that was revolutionary for the building trade until its carcinogenic nature was discovered. This toxin was once widely-used by the construction industry due to its resilience and ability to withstand chemicals and high temperatures. Although its health risks were discovered as early as the 1920s, the United States continued producing, importing and manufacturing asbestos-containing consumer products for decades.

Researchers concluded in 1960 that asbestos exposure could cause a wide range of long-term diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and a deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma. As more tradesmen came forward with asbestos-related illnesses, this mineral became known as a primary source of occupational cancer.

The mineral is heavily regulated today, but millions of people are still vulnerable to exposure due to its expansive use in residential homes and buildings.

Asbestos is only considered dangerous when contaminated materials have been worn down or damaged which unfortunately, is a standard part of most renovation or remodeling work.

Any sanding, grinding, sawing, drilling, buffing, or physical impact may cause these fibers to become airborne and easily ingested or inhaled by anyone in the general proximity.

What Homeowners Need to Know

Asbestos is nearly impossible to identify on your own because it’s often mixed within building products, but it is possible to identify a hazardous situation and take appropriate preventative action.

Before getting involved with any sort of home improvement project, you should always double-check that your property has been recently inspected by a trained professional. This simple step is especially important if you reside in a home built more than 40 years ago and has visible signs of aging. This bit of precaution could save you from developing an asbestos-related illness years later.

You should be aware of common products that have a history of containing the toxin and monitor their condition for any sort of wear and tear. Keep an eye on old insulation, ceiling tiles, vinyl flooring, joint compounds, door gaskets, furnaces, roof shingles, electrical wiring, fireproof products, and more.

Asbestos is known to be a significant threat when it is “friable,”  meaning it can be easily crumbled or crushed by hand. Spray-on insulation and spray-on ceiling textures are prime examples of products that once contained friable asbestos and have been found within residential homes today.

Unlike floor tiles and cement that must endure long-term deterioration before asbestos fibers are loosened, the slightest amount of pressure can instantly release these fibers, allowing them to be carried throughout the air and dust indoors.

Do not panic and try to remove any materials you think are toxic, as this will only do more harm than good.

Instead, block off the area and avoid any activity, including sweeping or vacuuming, which can exacerbate the situation and cause toxic dust and debris to travel even further throughout the house.

Restrict anyone from going near the area until a professional can take samples to confirm it contains asbestos. If the toxin is present and appears to be hazardous, the licensed professional can safely remove the toxin from your home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Rosati is with the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center. She is  a health advocate for anyone impacted by the aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma. She dedicates her time to educating the public on where asbestos is found today and how to prevent exposure. Her ultimate goal is to connect anyone affected by this rare diseases with the resources and support they deserve.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2OtMmmu

Hot Home Trend: Furnishings With Curves

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Furniture is getting curvier this year. Rounded options are pushing out the sharp-edge designs. It can be a nod to the 60’s and 70’s but contemporary fabrics and details are keeping it from looking dated.

You’ll likely notice softer lines, curves, and ruching are growing more popular, designers say. Check out some examples.

Rounded chairs

 

Circular tables

 

Curved sofas

 

Rounded backs

 

Curvy ottomans

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2vHrald

Wallpaper for the Fifth Wall: A Modern Fix for Popcorn Ceilings?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Some home designers want to make a bigger statement with the ceiling, and they’re turning to wallpaper to do it. Wallpaper is once again growing in popularity for walls, and some designers are now experimenting with it to dress up the ceiling too.

Some designers are using it to transform a ceiling’s living space with wallpaper in minimalist designs or in metallic. It can add texture and certainly some drama to a space.

Some designers are using floor-to-ceiling wallpaper all in the same print. Others may have the walls all painted white or a light color and then use a wallpapered ceiling to jazz up the room. Faux tin on the ceilings can be a way to create a statement ceiling too.

Use with caution, however: A dark or bold of wallpaper could make a ceiling appear lower.

But for spaces that can pull it off, a wallpapered ceiling can look chic. Plus, if you have a listing with dreaded popcorn ceilings, this can be a way to give the ceiling a modern, yet less expensive update. Check out some of these examples from designers at Houzz.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2LHUq5r

The Secret to Kitchen Envy: A Stylish Island

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers love kitchen islands. It’s become a gathering spot for not just cooking but also eating, working, and socializing. As the island continues to gain stature in kitchens, homeowners are finding ways to spotlight it with contrasting shades or even different countertops to make it the focal point.

Check out some examples from designers featured at Houzz, which show how the kitchen island can become the showpiece of your space.

An island of a different color

Furniture-styled islands

Contrasting countertops

Lighting it up

Plenty of seating

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2mmxlXI

Staged to Sell: A Country Estate in Gaithersburg, Md.

Home stager: Libby Paulson with Preferred Staging

The home: Paulson staged this remodeled, single-family country estate in Gaithersburg, Md., which featured cathedral ceilings, a two-story stone fireplace, gourmet kitchen, formal living and dining room, two staircases, and a walkout basement with full kitchen and bath. The home is listed at $709,500.

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Photo credit: Libby Paulson, Preferred Staging

Paulson’s tips:

1. Greenery is a Must:Greenery is considered natures neutral. It provides a space harmony, freshness and energy. Greenery can be incorporated into a staging as an accent color or as a way to soften and welcome someone into a room. Some great examples are fiddle fig plants or ferns of all types as well as large leaves arranged in a vase.

2. Pillows are required: If you are looking for an easy, affordable way to make your home ready to sell try adding some throw pillows. Using some trendy pillows you can transform any space. They also help large furniture stand out and complement and highlight the home’s structural features. So choose pillows that complement the home’s aesthetic and style, and don’t be afraid of adding color as long as it adds style. A quick tip is use solid color pillows if furniture has a busy print or patterned pillows when working with solid color furniture. For an upscale look use pillows with subtle texture such as linen or tweed.

3. Bookshelves are not just for books:The first thing to remember is you don’t need to fill each self. When staging bookshelves try to add items to make the eyes look across, around and down. Limit the amount of books and use pairs of items.

 

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2zm5nEE

Report: The Buyers and the Design Trending in 2018

Article Submitted by Fixr.com

Whether you’re selling your own home or staging a home for your seller, paying attention to industry trends can go a long way toward ensuring a fast and successful sale.

Each year, Fixr—a company that creates remodeling cost guides–polls industry influencers to find out what the top trends are within the building industry. Following up on our 2018 Home Trends to Guide Your Staging post, we’re bringing you the highlights of the full report that includes the complete results from Fixr’s single-family home trends survey.

By incorporating any of the following trends into the home you are selling, you can help ensure that it will appeal to a wider audience and help increase the chances of a fast sale for maximum ROI.

Gen Xers Lead the Shift Toward the Higher Income Group

When it comes to whom is driving the market right now, most of the influencers responding felt that Gen Xers are leading the way, while Millennials follow with the second largest share at 34 percent. And of those buyers, respondents feel that the most common income brackets will be in the $75,00 to $99,999 range and the $100,000 to $149,999–with both coming in at 27 percent.

Home Size Trends and Location
Current home size trends are falling according to U.S. Census data, and 21 percent of respondents also feel that people may begin downsizing as well. Homes measuring at about 1,100 square feet are beginning to surge in popularity. However, at the same time, 61 percent of respondents agree that the most popular size of home that people are looking for remains in the larger bracket at around 2,150 square feet.

This shift toward downsizing in properties may correlate to a trend in location, as 50 percent of influencers felt that homebuyers are looking at properties in urban areas.

Suburbs also get a moderate percentage of buyers, which lines up with the National Association of REALTORS®’ Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report (the report shows results for purchase and sale of existing homes).

Keep in mind, though, that while more average sizes for homes are the most popular, many influencers feel that there will be an increase in the tiny house movement as well. More than half of respondents report seeing an uptick in homeowners wanting a smaller home. Minimalist lifestyles and a focus on travel were the two most common answers given as to why.

Open Floor Plans Continue to Grow in Popularity
While there isn’t a lot you can change about a house’s location or size to appeal to a wider audience, one thing that you can do to increase appeal is to open up the floor plan. Open floor plans have been trending for the last few years, and they are only continuing to grow in popularity, with 76 percent of influencers responding that they see it as a popular option for the years ahead.

To confirm this, the National Association of Home Builders has reported that more than 80 percent of new home builders are creating at least a partially open floor plan as well. An open floor plan automatically includes wider passageways and turning radiuses, which can open the home up to more potential buyers too.

Green and Energy Efficient Design
Green and energy efficient homes rank very closely to one another at 21 percent and 18 percent of respondents, respectively. Combined, nearly 40 percent of respondents say these are the features more buyers would like to see, coming in just behind more smart home tech.

Green building designs are continuing to increase in popularity, particularly those that can decrease energy bills over the long term. This includes solar energy, which has a current growth rate of nearly 105 percent, increased use of natural light in home design, and the use of recycled materials in any upgrade or design feature added to the house.

Homeowners most want to see Energy Star Rated appliances and home automation to help lower energy bills and increase the sustainability of the home.

The Great Outdoor Design Improves Curb Appeal
Never underestimate the power of good landscaping. Not only does it account for as much as 28 percent of a home’s value, but most influencers say that adding a backyard garden or porch (34 percent and 32 percent, respectively) are what homeowners are looking for most.

Patios also rank highly when it comes to the popular use of existing outdoor space, with 39 percent of respondents answering that they feel this would be a popular addition to most homes. The infographic below shows influencers’ answers to the most popular use of existing outdoor space for single-family homes.

This makes particular sense when you consider that younger buyers–Gen X and Millennials–make up the biggest segment of the market. These buyers are most likely to have families that will need the outdoor space, while Millennials feel strongly that people need to spend time outside.

Home Safety and Automation
In the wake of so many natural disasters, more homeowners are taking safety into account when considering upgrades to their homes. Fifty percent of influencers feel that a backup generator will be a popular addition to most homes, while fire alarms and sprinkler systems come in second place.

When considering making safety upgrades, keep in mind that for every dollar spent, you will save $4 after the fact, according to the National Institute of Building Sciences. This makes safety upgrades a very worthwhile investment in any home.

As voice controlled automation continues to grow—like with devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home–a whopping 82 percent of influencers feel that artificial intelligence will be added to the majority of homes in 2018.

Making the home ready for smart home upgrades, such as including smart plugs, lights, and locks means that buyers can integrate their system right into the home on day one. It’s a growing feature that more buyers are finding attractive.

By paying attention to what most homeowners and home buyers are looking for, you can make more strategic decisions for selling homes in 2018. Use these and other data from Fixr’s 2018 trend report to get more out of every sale.

To learn about the cost of household remodeling projects, visit the Cost Guides.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2KC5pt3

Hot Home Trend: Bringing Back the Brass

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

We’ve seen brass fixtures gradually coming back over the last few years, and the trend is only getting bigger.

Golden brass tones can warm up some of your décor. However, after being inundated with silver finishes–like chrome and stainless steel–over the last few years, some still consider brass as looking dated. You certainly don’t have to go all 1980s and brass the entire house in fixtures to make a statement. Using brass in a few places as an accent is actually more on trend.

Mixing metals is on trend. Mixing together chrome, nickel, brass, and bronze fixtures and décor is being incorporated into several home styles too, from contemporary to traditional. Brass is being added into more kitchens, from brass pendant lights over a kitchen island, brass faucets, or even brass pulls to dress up the kitchen cabinets.

Should you consider mixing in a few brass pieces into your staging? Check out some of these examples from designers at Houzz.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2ly0hLC

Make the Front Porch a Selling Point

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

The front porch is making a comeback. And more builders are adding them back into new home designs.

The front porch was once a mainstay in home designs in the early 1900s. But over the years it has gotten swapped out for those street-facing garages. Also, homeowners sought more privacy and started favoring decks in their backyards than expansive front porches facing their neighbors.

Now, we’re seeing those iconic front porches coming back.

And the younger generation is bringing a different spin to this idea of “porching.” There’s this growing movement called “Porchfest.” This is where neighborhoods across the country are holding events, like music festivals or even a speaker series, right from homeowners’ front porches.

So if the listing you’re staging has a front porch, make sure to take advantage. Add some rocking chairs, a porch swing, or outdoor furniture–complete with cushions and pillows–to show it off as a place to sip lemonade, relax, and mingle with neighbors on a warm summer day.

Look at how some of these designers on Houzz used the front porch to boost a home’s curb appeal.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2LYjmlG

Staged to Sell: This Staged Home Sold for 107% Above Asking Price

Home stagers: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, real estate pros and owners of Ambiance Decorators LLC

The home: A single-family home located in Upper Montclair in Essex County, N.J. The home was staged by Amy and Katie, and sold for 107 percent of the asking price at $1,073,575. Amy and Katie sought to stage the home with a “fresh, updated, classic, and timeless” look.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

 

Stagers’ tips:

  • Curtains: Sheer curtains are great for softening windows and letting the light in. They do not compete with the design and are not too “style specific” so they are often processed as calming.
  • Plants: Plants are so important in design for color and texture. They also add interest by bringing the outdoors in.
  • Colors:Soft colors present a calming affect allowing buyers to view the room as relaxing and peaceful.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

Stagers’ tips:

  • Furniture: It’s often best to leave out the chairs at the head of the dining table…this prevents the back of the chair from stopping your eye in a photograph.
  • Accessories: A beautiful runner, arrangement of flowers and a few candles create a classic centerpiece.
  • Art: Art is the last item added to the design. We often add neutral art to complete the look of the room but not distract buyers from focus on the space.

BEFORE

AFTER

Photo credit: Amy Burke & Katie Miedler, Ambiance Decorators LLC

Stagers’ tips:

  • Accessories: Just a few accessories on the bookshelf will highlight the space without feeling overwhelming or cluttered.
  • Lighting: It’s always best to compliment the furniture arrangement with lighting. If there’s not enough space for end tables, floor lamps are a great option.
  • Furniture: A padded bench is a great option for a coffee table to add a little something different.

 

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at mtracey@realtors.org.

from Styled, Staged & Sold https://ift.tt/2sNUu8R