Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Buyers: Reset Your “Must-Haves”


Homebuyers who had their real estate plans interrupted by the pandemic may benefit from a reset before they plunge into the current real estate market.

• Buyers whose real-estate buying efforts stalled in March 2020 may benefit from reviewing their must-have list and how they created it.

• Buyers whose pandemic experience triggered a work-from-home must-have list may benefit from adopting a long-term view of how they need a home to function for themselves and their family.

How much have your experiences during the pandemic changed your lists of real estate must-haves, don’t-wants, and ready-to-splurge-ons?

Real estate buyers want a new home—an invigorating space to spread out in, an affordable celebration of what they’ve achieved, a comfortable shelter to share, somewhere to play, a place to belong.

Over the last few months, a lot has changed. The old “normal” has been replaced in ways that are only now becoming apparent.

Pre-covid, “open concept”—which is commonly created by tearing down interior walls—was a sought-after lifestyle design for move-in-ready buyers and a must-have end result for fixer-upper purchasers.

Opening lines of sight and combining three, four, or more functional rooms—kitchen, dining room, living room, rec room, hobby room, study…—creates an enviable “airy” living environment. Parents can see what children are up to; the family cook is part of the action instead of being shackled to the stove; entertaining is enhanced for guests who can scatter across welcoming spaces without missing out on anything.

After more than nine months of families isolating together in open-concept spaces 24-7, this unstructured environment hasn’t provided the perfect lifestyle bonus that all homeowners expected. While facilitating childcare, partying, family interaction, and making cooking a participation sport, the open concept means less privacy, more noise, more distraction, more visible mess, more heating/cooling cost, and more cleaning. There’s no right or wrong here, just personal preference. What’s yours?

• What makes looking after pre-school and small children easier may not work as well when your children are a few years older or in high school. For instance, teens value personal space and privacy so you may be sitting in the open space alone.

• Working and schooling from home requires privacy and quiet for concentration. High ceilings, hardwood floors, and hard tile surfaces can become noisy nightmares. Balancing hard and soft surfaces with acoustical panels is an often-overlooked solution.

• Cost can also be a factor. When you are only using one corner of your high-ceiling, open space, you will still have to heat or cool the entire volume 24-7.

Buyers, stop and think why you want what you want and what you’ll need over the next two or three years—that is, during and after the pandemic:

1. Where did your “wants” come from?

Do many of your must-haves reflect pre-covid working-away-from-home lifestyles or are they pandemic reactions to being in the same space with your family almost 24/7? What about your post-pandemic needs? Do you aim to continue working from home and/or home-schooling your children?

2. What’s typical?

Talk to your real estate professional about the age, construction quality, common defects, and dated-design features of homes in your preferred area and price range. What will you get—features and building quality—for your money and what might be beyond your price range or not readily available in those neighborhoods?

Know in advance what to expect, so you recognize realistic compromises and a deal you can enjoy living with.

3. How can you stretch buying dollars?

In view of your must-haves, where does the value lie and how can you stretch your buying dollars? Will you buy a move-in-ready home, pay for extensive renovations, or tackle do-it-yourself make-overs of specific areas? Covid-related shortages of construction materials and workers in your area may make renovation an expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming option.

If renovation is part of your plan, don’t jump into a home purchase without researching costs, wait-times for professional contractors, and completion times. Understand what you’re getting into.

4. What does “feels like home” mean to you?

“I’ll know it when I see it” and “it must feel like home” are common buyer strategies that don’t always serve buyers well. Change paint color and furnishings and any room takes on a completely different feel. There may be more value in a house that is poorly decorated but that has “good bones” than a house cleverly staged to camouflage flaws and shortcomings, if not outright problems.

• Invest time looking in magazines, at TV series, and online at before and after room make-overs to learn what it is about a room that designers see before they set to work transforming.

• Measure your current rooms and larger furniture pieces to establish an understanding of how much space you really need to live comfortably.

5. Do you understand that What You Don’t Know About Real Estate Could Cost You?

It’s what you don’t know about real estate that could cost you when buying or selling. What you don’t know about real estate, real estate professionals do. Learn about significant knowledge gaps for buyers and sellers, and how professionals fill those gaps—when asked…Read on

As always, a prepared buyer/seller is a confident buyer/seller!

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top-producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home


Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home's bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won't regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you're away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you're gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you're never around to see what you're actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you're not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don't keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don't pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you're unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top-producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Monday, November 30, 2020

Down the Drain: 4 Things That Will Clog Your Pipes

The drains in your home are only designed to handle things like water, human waste and toilet tissue. If you put anything else down them, they can easily get clogged.

You may not notice an issue right away, but foreign items can start to build up, which will keep your pipes from flowing as they should. Here are four things that are commonly dumped down drains, which will create bad clogs:

Grease

It can be tempting to just pour grease down your sink drain while you're doing the dishes. Unfortunately, it can turn into sludge that gets bigger and bigger once out of sight. Before you know it, grease buildup can cause a large clog. You might find that your water won't drain no matter what you do, from trying to plunge it to putting chemicals down the drain. Instead of disposing of grease down your drain, you should place it in a container once it has cooled down and put a lid on it before you dispose of it in the trash can. This will also keep it from leaking.

Kitty Litter

Clumping kitty litter can keep your cat's litter box from smelling terrible; however, it's imperative that you dispose of it properly. Don't put litter in your toilet, as it will expand in your pipes when it is flushed. This can cause a large clog, and you'll need to call a plumber to remove it. If you don't want to dispose of kitty litter directly into your trash can, consider putting it in a plastic bag and throwing it into your outside trash can to avoid the smell from wafting through your home.

Hair

It's very easy to dispose of hair in the toilet or down the shower or sink drain. This isn't a good idea as it can get tangled and stuck in your pipes on the way down, slowly causing a buildup of more hair and other debris while keeping your toilet or drains from working properly. You'll know there's a problem if your toilet stops flushing correctly or if you have standing water in your bathtub or sink.

Wipes

You should only throw used wipes away in the trash. Even if they're advertised as flushable, they might not break down completely, and they can cause a huge clog. It can be difficult to remove these wipes from your pipes, and you may find yourself with an expensive plumbing problem that could have easily been avoided.

Your pipes can easily get clogged if you put the wrong things down them. Never dispose of the items mentioned above in your toilets, sinks or bathtubs. Doing so can create a costly issue that is likely to turn into a major inconvenience for you and your family.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top-producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?


There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?"  "How much should I list my home for?"  "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?"  "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?"  Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.

Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.

Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.

Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.

Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have fewer loans to process, attorneys have fewer closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stressful for you.

By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top-producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Saturday, November 28, 2020

3 Reasons Why You Should Put Your Rentals on the MLS


Much has drastically changed in rental markets nationwide since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Moving trends and rental prices have been significantly impacted by job losses, remote working, and more, leaving the marketplace a confusing place to navigate. There are existing tools, however, that many agents and brokers have not yet leveraged that would give renters and landlords a clearer picture of their local markets: Multiple Listing Services (MLSs).

Although it’s standard to upload for-sale listings to the MLS, they are highly underutilized in the rental space. In fact, approximately only 370 of 571 MLSs across the U.S. feature rental listings. These are missed opportunities for increased lead generation, branding and visibility. And, overall, the inclusion of rentals within MLSs provides an elevated experience for everyone involved in the rental transaction.

Here are three reasons why you should put your rentals on the MLS:

1. You gain competitive advantage in the rental space.
The biggest benefit? Exposure. By putting your rentals on the MLS, you provide more tenants with the opportunity to find your listed properties. This helps to not only close your rental transactions faster, but also gives you added opportunities for lead generation. Every time you put a rental listing on the MLS, you’re getting your name and branding out there, allowing more consumers to reach out and providing more opportunities for lead capture.

Additionally, adding rental listings to the MLS should be part of every agent’s long-term lead conversion strategy. Think of it as an investment in your business—you are building your pipeline of future business because those rental leads will likely convert into residential for-sale clients down the line. Also, keep in mind that adding rental listings to your MLS is another opportunity to bolster your contact database during for-sale market downturns.

2. The quality of data provides a more holistic view of the rapidly changing market.
Rental availability in urban communities has increased considerably, resulting in more vacant units. There’s growing interest in both urban and suburban markets, with search impressions for these segments up 56 percent and 63 percent year-over-year, respectively, according to Apartments.com. Additionally, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, many renters are looking for properties outside their local markets—38 percent, according to search impressions research.

In order to succeed in this competitive rental environment, agents must be able to rely on solid data that provides clear visibility into these shifting market trends. Without this critical information, agents can’t provide consumers with a full-picture view of what’s available to them, especially across varying housing configurations, including multifamily properties, condos, townhomes, single-family rentals and duplexes. By putting rental properties on the MLS, agents and brokers have access to advantageous, high-quality data that allows them to better serve their landlords and renters. This data is especially important for those for-choice renters, typically members of the millennial generation, who have been making the proactive decision to rent for longer periods of time.

3. You maximize exposure by ensuring your rental listings are connected to data feeds.
You can further maximize the exposure garnered from listing your rental properties on the MLS by ensuring they are connected to data feeds. What does this mean? If your MLS has an automatic data feed with third-party rental listing sites, all of the MLS’s rental listings will be syndicated automatically to those sites. Some data feeds are set up where listings are shared by default, but in other cases you would be required to opt-in first to the sites you designate before your listing data automatically gets sent to those rental search sites.

Why do this? Emerging technology can help you maximize exposure for your rental listings. While putting your rental listing on the MLS is the first step toward increased visibility, by allowing your property to populate on more sites, your properties can be seen by an entirely new audience, allowing you to reach potential renters who may not be looking on the MLS.

Keep in mind, however, that not all sites are created equal. You want to ensure you retain the power of your listings. On Apartments.com, any leads received from your listing are yours to keep. While other sites may make you pay in order to maintain the exclusivity of your leads, Apartments.com does not charge you, or sell or share your leads with any of your competitors.

Additionally, if your MLS is a partner of Apartments.com, you don’t have to double your work. By inputting the information into the MLS once, your listing data automatically feeds out across the Apartments.com Network, so any changes you make to your listing on the MLS get updated across the entire network, including ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder, Apartment Home Living, Westside Rentals, Apartamentos.com and ForRentUniversity.com, as well.

Getting started is simple. You already have the tools; you just need to leverage them. First, speak with your broker and local MLS. Let them know why opting into a data feed agreement with Apartments.com will not only benefit your business, but the brokerage’s as a whole. Apartments.com provides a myriad of opportunities for increased lead generation; the rental portal boasts 70 million-plus monthly visits by in-market renters, 1 million-plus leads every month sent to brokers and agents, and 40 million-plus leases signed and counting. Apartments.com has a partnership with roughly 250 MLS across the United States.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top-producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Mortgage Help for Homeowners During the Crisis


During times of economic turmoil and widespread unemployment, you are not alone if you find yourself concerned about keeping up with your mortgage payments. According to a U.S. Census Bureau survey earlier this year, a quarter of all Americans either missed a rent or mortgage payment, or had little to no confidence that they would be able to make next month's payment on time.

The good news is that you do have options if you find yourself dealing with income loss or  otherwise struggling financially.

What the CARES Act Means for You

At the onset of the pandemic, our government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help combat the economic downturn that occurred as a result.

The CARES Act set into motion the following guidelines for homeowners and mortgage lenders:

  • Mortgages backed by the federal government may be eligible to suspend payments if a borrower is dealing with financial hardship
  • Lenders will not charge late fees or report late payments to credit bureaus during this time
  • Foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions are suspended until the end of the year
  • If your mortgage is not federally-backed, contact your lender and ask about hardship plans and options

First Things First: Reach Out to Your Mortgage Lender

It is very important that you do not assume you will be covered by the CARES Act and just stop making your monthly payments—even if you are not eligible for the CARES Act, you probably have more options than you might realize. Contact your lender as soon as possible to inform them of any financial circumstances, and ask what options they have in place as a result of the current crisis. They'll likely have a few options for forbearance or modified loan agreements for you to consider, though you will generally need to submit some sort of documentation proving your financial hardship.

Forbearance vs. Refinancing

Forbearance options will defer your mortgage payments for anywhere from six-12 months, with the understanding that payment will still be due at the end of forbearance. Forbearance is absolutely not a forgiveness program, but this option does leave you with more cash flow during otherwise uncertain times. If you are unable to repay your missed payments all at once, you may be eligible to make higher payments for a period of time to repay the amount past due. If you can resume your monthly payments at any point, you may be eligible to defer the amount past due until a later date.

Some mortgage lenders are also offering loan agreement modifications during this time, many in the form of a longer-term loan period or a lower interest rate. Loan modifications create a solution that changes the terms of your loan in order to come up with a monthly payment you can afford. Your monthly payment amounts will be reduced, leaving you with more financial wiggle room.

Research Additional Options Available to You

There are many federal, state and local entities offering loans, grants and other assistance programs for homeowners struggling as a result of the pandemic. Federal and state resources are often distributed to county and city departments, and are often distributed from there to local agencies or financial institutions to manage. Contact county and city offices to ask about loan and grant availability and requirements, and reach out to local banks and credit unions.

Additional resources for homeowners during this time:

What to Do Once You've Received Mortgage Assistance

If you've received assistance with your mortgage payments during the pandemic, continue to closely monitor and document your account and statements to make sure they stay error-free. Cancel or adjust any automatic payments you have set up to ensure you avoid any fees or charges from your bank. As soon as your income is restored or at a level where you feel more comfortable, contact your mortgage lender and resume your regular payment schedule.

We're all doing our best to work through these unprecedented times. If you hit times of financial hardship, don't panic—research which programs are available so you can choose the option that makes the most sense for you. Do not simply stop making payments, or you may encounter consequences like charges, delinquent credit, or even potential foreclosure. Remember that during times of crisis, there is an increased risk of spam and fraud, so ask questions and read all materials provided to you carefully.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com

Thursday, November 26, 2020

8 Home Projects to Tackle While You’re Stuck Inside


With social distancing orders in place across the country, many of us are hunkering down at home. The longer you spend at home, the more likely you're starting to nitpick everything about your space. You know what will help? A home makeover project.

Below is a list of easy, but impactful home improvement projects that can alleviate cabin fever and increase the enjoyment of your space.

Remember: Now is not the time to visit stores for non-essential items. It's possible to enhance your home without buying anything new. In a pinch, placing an online order for pickup or delivery from a local business will help support the community and bring your project to life.

1. Conduct the Ultimate Spring Cleaning

Past spring cleaning efforts have been valiant—this year, take it to a new level.

Depending on how long it's been since your last cleaning, this project may take some time. Thankfully, time is something we have a lot of right now! There are plenty of ways you can go about a deep cleaning and decluttering project.

Move top to bottom—start with your walls and windows and work your way down, before moving further into your home. Using an all-purpose cleaner, wipe down your ceiling (if you can reach), crown molding, walls, cupboards, kitchen appliances and baseboards.

On the way down, give your windows a good cleaning (both inside and out), dusting blinds and shades, and washing anything that's machine washable, like your curtains. And don't forget about wiping down shelves and other built-ins.

Finally, take a vacuum to your vents and suck out any debris or dust that's been gathering there. This is also a good time to change your HVAC filter, if you haven't in a while.

2. Focus on One Room at a Time

Taking this project one room at a time provides mini-goals to keep you motivated. In each room, conduct a thorough cleaning, decluttering, sorting, purging and organizing. Don't forget about:

  • Closets
  • Kitchen, office, bathroom drawers
  • Cabinets
  • Bookshelves
  • Under the bed
  • Paperwork
  • Garage, attic, shed

Label and organize—look for better ways to store your belongings. Baskets, containers, new folding methods and labels will make it easier to keep track of things and keep your space looking clean for a long time.

Getting rid of things you no longer use is a great way to declutter and ensure your home is filled with things that bring you joy. Set items aside until you can take them to a donation center. When done right, cleaning and decluttering can make your space feel brand new. It's worth the effort.

3. Create New Spaces (or Zones) in Your Home

Your day-to-day life has probably changed quite a bit recently. How can your home better fit this new way of life? Take stock of what supplies and unused pieces of furniture you have laying around the home. Consider how you can use these pieces to create new and useful spaces.

Depending on the space in your home and the items you have, your options are limitless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Bar and beverage area
  • Reading nook
  • Desk or office space for working from home or for the kids to do homework
  • Game area for storing puzzles, board games or crafts
  • Space to store your workout supplies

4. Try a New Furniture Arrangement

When you're getting bored of your space, rearranging furniture is one of the fastest and easiest ways to refresh your home! There are so many creative ways to optimize the furniture in your home. You'll have to play around a bit to find out what sort of new arrangement works best in your space.

Here are a few additional rearrangement ideas to get you started and inspire your refresh:

  • Move decorations and accent pieces to different parts of the home
  • Organize your books by color or size
  • Swap out throw pillows and blankets
  • Switch up artwork
  • Try using different pieces for different purposes—for example, maybe a side table becomes a plant or lamp stand
  • If you have paint sitting around, paint a piece of furniture a new color

5. Try New Linens, Pillows, Blankets and Rugs

If you have additional linens saved for guests or different seasons, now is the time to bring them out and swap out your current arrangements. A new duvet cover, accent pillows or blankets in the bedroom and around the home can help your space feel new.

If you don't have extra pieces laying around, try swapping these items from room to room.

Changing area rugs, in particular, can bring a whole new look to your home. You can also use this time to browse online and figure out what items you'd like to purchase from your home in the future.

6. Upgrade Your Yard

If you have a yard, deck or patio, now is a great time to make sure it's a comfortable and functional space. There are so many simple things you can do to immediately improve this space and make it a place you enjoy spending time in:

  • Scrub outdoor furniture, wipe down patio rugs, wash cushions and pillows
  • Rake and sweep any leaves, dirt and other debris
  • Remove moss
  • Do some weeding and mow your lawn
  • Hang outdoor lights
  • Plant flowers
  • Start a vegetable or herb garden

If you don't have some of the items needed to improve your yard, chances are you can easily obtain these items from neighbors while maintaining a safe distance.

7. Conduct Minor Repairs

Examine your home and make a list of all the repairs that are needed. Even if you work consistently to maintain your space, chances are there are a few outstanding projects you haven't had time to get around to.

This is a great time to tackle those minor projects—particularly the ones that you can do all on your own. Many homeowners have used this time to:

  • Re-caulk tile
  • Touch-up paint
  • Replace lightbulbs
  • Repair broken fences
  • Fix squeaky doors
  • Oil wood cutting boards and kitchen tools
  • Tighten loose fixtures

8. Start Planning for the Future

If you'd like to make bigger upgrades to your home in the future, now is an excellent time to start planning! Maybe working with a home remodeler isn’t possible for you right now—you can still use this time to make progress on future plans:

  • Make a list of what you're dreaming about for your home
  • Talk to your family about what changes and upgrades they dream about
  • Create a Pinterest or Houzz account to save ideas
  • Consider how much you'll be able to budget for this project, when the time is right
  • Research design-build companies and contact them to learn more about their services

You're likely spending a lot more time than usual at your home, so you have an excellent pulse on what's working and what needs improvement. Take advantage of this opportunity to dream big and think about what sort of changes will benefit you and your family most.

Bob Abner is a highly respected, top producing, full time, Realtor for over 30 years and is an expert in the Northern Kentucky real estate market. Give Bob a call at 859-760-1660 Email Bob at BAbner@huff.com Visit Bob's Website: http://www.bobabner.com