Friday, January 31, 2014

Home Maintenance During Winter

Although most of us saw our first dusting of snow this past week and may be ready for warmer weather, spring is still a few months away.  Weather conditions in the south can often swing from one extreme to another so here are some tips to keep your new home protected from another wintry blast.

If you were impacted by the winter storm, walk around your home and do a thorough check for any areas that could be leaking water. Clean up fallen branches or debris. Inspect for cracks along window sills and doorways.

Going away this winter? Make sure your home thermostat doesn't go below 55 degrees. Ask neighbors to check on the home after any winter precipitation.

Protect your pipes from freezing and causing water damage. If the temperature is expected to dip especially low, run a trickle of water to help relieve pressure in the pipes. Keep cabinet doors open to allow the heat in - just be sure to hide away any chemicals that could be dangerous to children or pets.

Always have an emergency kit on hand. 

This should include:
Bottled Water
Non-Perishable Food
Phone Number of Utility Companies
and First Aid Materials

Hopefully Old Man Winter is on his way out of the South but it pays to take precautions just in case. What do you do to prepare your home for winter weather?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Interior Design Trends

Along with predictions about the year's popular paint colors, interior designers across the country report on what they see as the top trends in interior design and decor.  We've done the research for you and compiled some of their top predictions. Take a look and let us know if you agree or think they are way off the mark.

Window Coverings - Sheers instead of heavy draperies. Focus is on transparency and natural light.
(Source - Wall Street Journal)

Corduroy Upholstery - A new texture and look for your furnishings.
(Source - Wall Street Journal) 

Spa Bathrooms - Tranquil rooms with walk-in showers and/or separate standing tubs.

Flex Rooms - Rooms without a set purpose that can be used in a variety of ways. Important as multi-generational living becomes more popular.
(Source -

Metal Backsplash - A new look in the kitchen. Also popular are glass and stone slab.
(Source MSN Living)

Light Hardwoods - Wood grain remains popular but without the dark stain. Butcher block countertops and hardwood flooring are examples of this trend.
(Source MSN Living)

Black Kitchen Counters - Solid surface black countertops with light colored cabinetry.
(Source Zillow)

Dark Accent Walls - Using a moody shade of black or grey to add some drama to a room.

So what do you think? Would you take the plunge with any of these new design trends?

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Paint Trends

It's a New Year filled with new possibilities and a new color forecast from some of the leading paint providers in the nation.

Each year the major paint companies look at trends in design both for homes and fashion as well as current events and the mood of the nation to come up with their color forecast for the year.

Here are a few of the highlights from color predictions by Behr, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Valspar.

Click on the image to link back to a full explanation of the color palettes and how best to incorporate them into your new home.


Sherwin Williams

Benjamin Moore


What paint colors inspire you this year?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tax Benefits for Homeowners

There are many benefits to owning a new home - one of which shows up in spring during tax time. That's right, owning a home has tax benefits!

If you're a first time home buyer or you've just moved into a new home in the last year, read up to learn how owning a home can help you out on your taxes this year.

Just a necessary disclaimer: tax laws are complicated so be sure to talk with a professional about all of the possible deductions to make sure they apply to your particular situation. 

Home Ownership Deductions

- Deduct your mortgage interest
- Points paid on your mortgage to lower the interest rate are tax deductible
- If you pay Private Mortgage Insurance this is typically tax deductible
- Property taxes are also deductible

If you've recently sold a home to move into your new home, there may be areas of tax deduction in that process as well. Ask your tax preparer about deducting the real estate commission, legal fees, title insurance, home inspection costs and administrative fees.

If you bought your new home because of a job move there may be moving expenses that you can deduct as well.

Ask about these possible tax deductions and how they can be applied to your tax return this year. Then enjoy the savings in your new home!