Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Small Kitchen Island Ideas for Every Space and Budget


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A kitchen island is a useful and multifunctional component. Even the smallest kitchen island has the potential to offer many uses. When considering small kitchen island ideas, select an island that has the five following abilities:
1. Creates extra counter space
2. Can be used as an eating counter or breakfast spot
3. Has additional storage via drawers, shelves or hooks
4. Is sized correctly to not interrupt your kitchen work flow

A practical eating counter island needs open shelving where knees can tuck or an overhang on at least one side for low-profile, backless bar stool to tuck in.

Good places for islands include the center of a kitchen. If you find that your kitchen doesn’t have the space for a permanent island, choose an island that can be rolled, tucked away or moved to another area as needed.

You don’t have to specifically go out and purchase or custom make a kitchen island. There are a variety of small kitchen island ideas that may work better in your small space than a permanent cabinet piece. Here’s our favorite small kitchen island ideas.

Here are some kitchen island ideas:

A Restaurant Grade Small Kitchen Island

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Visit a restaurant supply store and pick up an industrial, commercial stainless work table. They’re lightweight yet sturdy, durable in stainless steel, come in a variety of sizes as narrow as 16” and are fairly inexpensive.
For the most use, select one that has a towel bar for hooks and textiles and open shelving below. Locking wheels are helpful if you plan on moving your island often, although restaurant grade work tables are often lightweight enough to move without needing wheels.

A Butcher Block Kitchen Island

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A butcher block is a perfect island alternative. The surface is ready for kitchen use and you can usually add a couple of stools to create a snack counter.

A Repurposed Furniture Kitchen Island

A cheap and effective way to add an island to a small kitchen is by repurposing a furniture piece as an island. Some furniture as small kitchen island ideas include:

A sofa table

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Sofa tables are designed to be narrow enough to sit behind a sofa or in an entry way. Available in a variety of sizes and styles and normally around 30” high, they make a good kitchen island option.

A cabinet

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Recycle an old or vintage cabinet as an island. Look for ones that have plenty of shelving, drawers or other storage options. The one in the image above was once a clothing store display cabinet.

A bar height dining table

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A tall dining table in the right proportion can be the perfect island for dining, prep and counter space. Add hooks to the side for extra storage.

The Drop Leaf Kitchen Island

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A smart way to add extra counter space to a kitchen involves the drop leaf. Pop it up when needed and drop down for ease of movement in a small kitchen.
If adding an island is not possible, take inspiration from the drop leaf island and add a drop leaf at the end of a kitchen cabinet or kitchen wall. The extra counter space could serve as an eating nook or extra prep area that can be stored when not in use.

A Floating Island Ledge

Find a space where a simple butcher block ledge can serve as a kitchen island. If a ledge isn’t possible, create an enclosure with a minimalist island design. Take inspiration from these two kitchens:
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A Storable Kitchen Island

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Is there an open spot where an island can store when not in use? Design a kitchen island that will fit in the dimensions of the opening. Better yet, if you’re designing a kitchen, include one cabinet piece that can roll out and be used as an island or extra counter space in a different spot.

A Rolling Kitchen Island

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Regardless of the island you use, if you need the island to be mobile, adding high quality wheels to one is an easy upgrade. Choose high density polyurethane wheels that have a locking mechanism that keeps the island from moving.

article source: https://freshome.com/kitchen/small-kitchen-island-ideas-for-every-space-and-budget/


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Spring Market Is Starting Now

Competition for housing is so high, the spring market is starting now
The severe shortage of homes for sale is upending the sales calendar for the whole housing market. Spring has historically been the busiest buying season, but as competition for homes heats up across the country, January is the new April. Spring starts now.

“As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com. “With housing inventory across the U.S. expected to reach record lows in 2020, we expect to see this trend continue into the new year.”

Home price gains had been shrinking in the first half of 2019, but those gains began to pick up again in September and continued in October, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Price increases are broadest on the lower end of the market, while they are softening slightly on the high end.

With more buyers jumping into the market in January, this year’s spring market will likely see even fewer homes for sale. Current homeowners are reluctant to give up what they have, given how pricey the market is now, so it is up to the nation’s homebuilders to ease the supply crisis. They are increasing production slowly, but have not fully focused on the lower end of the market, where supply is leanest.

article source:

Monday, February 3, 2020

Next Housing Recession in 2020

Next Housing Recession in 2020, as predicted by Zillow


The housing market in the U.S. could enter a recession in under five years, with online real estate company Zillow predicting that it will happen in 2020.
In a research report in which Zillow polled 100 real estate experts and economists about their predictions for the housing market, it disclosed that nearly half of all survey respondents said the next recession will commence in 2020, with the first quarter of the year cited the most as to when the recession will start. The main culprit for the housing recession: monetary policy.

What Zillow Thinks

Zillow is a popular website for aggregating real estate price information and gauging market sentiment for homebuyers and sellers. In this research report, several Zillow experts weighed in on the results.
"As we close in on the longest economic expansion this country has ever seen, meaningfully higher interest rates should eventually slow the frenetic pace of home value appreciation that we have seen over the past few years, a welcome respite for would-be buyers," said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas in the research report. "Housing affordability is a critical issue in nearly every market across the country, and while much remains unknown about the precise path of the U.S. economy in the years ahead, another housing market crisis is unlikely to be a central protagonist in the next nationwide downturn."

Zillow Survey Insights

If the survey respondents' predictions prove true, the current economic expansion will be the longest ever recorded. While a housing collapse ushered in the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, most survey respondents don't think a downturn in the economy will be centered on the housing market this time around. They think the Federal Reserve's actions when it comes to interest rates will be the biggest reason for the looming recession. After all, if rates go up, it will be more costly to take out a mortgage, shutting some buyers out of the purchasing process. They noted that, if the Fed raises rates too quickly, it could slow down the economy and thus lead to a recession. 
Zillow pointed out that, less than a year ago, survey respondents were more concerned with geopolitical issues, citing a crisis on that front as the most likely cause of a future recession. Those worries are now below monetary policy concerns. Other concerns are focused on a trade war with China, a stock market correction, and unexpectedly high inflation. Those same respondents expect the housing market to continue to grow, with home values expected to rise 5.5% this year. At this time a year ago, the real estate experts thought home values would increase 3.7% this year.
"Constrained home supply, persistent demand, very low unemployment, and steady economic growth have given a jolt to the near-term outlook for U.S. home prices," said Pulsenomics founder Terry Loebs, which conducted the survey for Zillow. "These conditions are overshadowing concerns that mortgage rate increases expected this year might quash the appetite of prospective home buyers."

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The U.S. housing market has recovered from the 2008–09 financial crisis, with home prices exceeding the pre-collapse valuation in many areas.
  • Despite a record bull market over the past decade, the housing market in the U.S. could enter a recession in 2020, according to Zillow.
  • This prediction is based on their own outlook combined with results from a survey of homeowner sentiment.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Credit Scores Demystified

Credit Scores Demystified
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If you've made a resolution this year to get your credit on track, getting started can feel a bit daunting. After all, it can sometimes seem as if credit agencies want to keep you in the dark about how scores are calculated. Not to worry - with some diligence on your part and a little insight into the world of credit score-keeping, you can get back on track in 2020.

Paint your credit score on your wall for extra motivation

Credit scores follow an algorithm first developed by the data analytics company FICO years ago. For a while, credit scores weren't the primary force behind a credit decision but over time the impact of a credit score became more and more important. Most every loan program available today has a minimum credit score.

There are five characteristics of your credit history that make up your three-digit score: your payment history, account balances, the length of your credit history, the types of credit used and how often you've applied for new credit. Credit scores will improve much more quickly by paying attention to the two categories that have the greatest impact on a score: payment history and account balances.

Payment history accounts for 35 percent of the total score. When someone makes a payment more than 30 days past the due date, scores will fall. An occasional "late pay" won't do much damage to your score but continued payments made more than 30 days past due definitely will. Preventing late payments is a key to recovering your score.

Account balances compare outstanding loan balances with credit lines and make up 30 percent of your score. If a credit card has a $10,000 credit line and there is a $3,300 balance, scores will actually improve, as the ideal balance-to-limit is about one-third of the credit line. As the balance grows and approaches or exceeds the limit, scores will begin to fall.

The remaining three have relatively little impact. How long someone has used credit accounts for 15 percent of the score, but there's really nothing anyone can do to improve this area other than to wait. Types of credit and credit inquiries both make up 10 percent of the score. By concentrating on payment history and account balances, scores will improve significantly over the next few months.
article source:  REAL ESTATE NEWS
Brought to you by Realty 3 CT (January 2020 newsletter)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Leesburg Ranked A Best Small City In America

Leesburg might not be the biggest in the state, but the community recently received recognition as one of the best small cities in the nation. The city narrowly missed the top 10, coming in at 12th on the list and ranking higher than all other Virginia cities that also made the cut.
Personal finance site WalletHub released its 2019 Best Small Cities in America, which only included metros with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. The list compared more than 1,200 cities across the nation based on 42 key indicators of liveability, including home ownership rate, the number of performing arts centers in the area, job growth and more.
Each relevant metric was listed with its corresponding weight and the cities were subsequently graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the maximum small city experience.

Leesburg fared well in many categories, such as education and health and safety, earning it a spot in the 99th percentile overall for best small cities in the United States.
Here are some rankings earned by the city, according to the list:
  • Total Score: 69.86
  • Affordability: 177
  • Economic Health: 290
  • Education & Health: 8
  • Quality of Life: 199
  • Safety: 126
Leawood, Kansas, ranked as the best small city in the nation, according to WalletHub, followed by Brentwood, Tennessee and Sammamish, Washington. Bessemer, Alabama, finished as the worst small city in the United States.   
Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few advantages," authors of the WalletHub study said.


Friday, December 20, 2019

January Is the New Hot Month to Start Looking For Homes


The home-buying season used to kick off sometime in spring, as the snow began to melt and people tried to plan for a summer move-in. But in recent years, the limited supply of homes for sale has spurred buyers to start their hunt earlier and earlier—and now, they're jumping into the market en masse in January, according to a recent realtor.com analysis. Happy New Year, now start house hunting!

In about 20% of the nation's largest housing markets, January was the month in which buyers logged the most listing views, the realtor.com team found. The analysis looked at the number of monthly views on realtor.com from 2015 to 2019—and discovered the extent of spring market creep, as buyers try to get ahead of the competition for the few homes on the market.

The number of properties for sale dropped 9.5% in November compared with a year earlier, according to the analysis—and the shortage was already bad a year ago. But even worse for cash-strapped and first-time buyers was that the number of homes priced below $200,000 fell 16.5% over the same period.

“As shoppers ... [navigate] a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier,” says realtor.com's Senior Economist George Ratiu. And as more homes aren't expected to go onto the market anytime soon, ”we expect to see this trend continue into the new year.”

During the holidays, everyone's so busy, but in January, it's a new year and people are starting to make plans.  So if you are planning to sell next year, you might consider putting it up for sale in January.

article source:


Friday, December 6, 2019

5 Last-Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

The holidays have a way of sneaking up on us. Before you know it, your family and friends have arrived for a long weekend. No need to panic or stress! Here are five easy ways to make your home guest-ready for the holidays in 15 minutes or less.

1.Guest Room Prep

Last Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

First things first, head to the guest room to make sure the beds are made and the pillows are in place. Adding a throw blanket for extra coziness is always a good idea. Here's another tip: After guests leave, wash the sheets and immediately put them back on the beds so they're ready for the next occasion.

2. Add a Basket of Magazines

Last Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests
Place a basket of magazines in the guest room. Although we all enjoy being together, downtime is necessary during the holidays with family. Am I right, or am I right?

3. Prepare Baked Goods

Last Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests
It's time to head to the store! In addition to meals I've prepared, I like to have easy grab-and-go food on hand. Fresh fruit and muffins are always a crowd-pleaser in the mornings. When it comes to bagels and muffins, I try to buy a variety of different kinds to give our guests a choice. Coffee is definitely flowing as well.

4. Add Fresh Flowers

Last Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests
While I'm at the grocery store, I pick up fresh flowers. I usually purchase a bouquet for the kitchen table and pinch off a few buds or sprigs of greenery for a single vase for the guest bedroom or bath. Store-bought flowers save me an extra trip and are usually very affordable.

5. Stock the Bar

Last Minute Ways to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests
Stock your home bar with plenty of sparkling waters and fruit juices in addition to spirits. Everyone has their own drink of choice, so it's best to be prepared. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy your guests. Happy holidays!

article source:
By Laura Trevey