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7 Model Home Ideas To Steal For Your Home

You don’t have to be in the market for a new home to tour model homes. In fact, model home complexes are a great place to get a few ideas for your existing home. Whether you’re looking for ideas to renovate your kitchen and want to see the most current trends, are having a hard time deciding on paint colors and want to see how others are incorporating color into the home, or are simply looking for a little inspiration, you can find it here.

Getting color ideas

Model homes are rarely tame when it comes to color, but there are two main takeaways:

1) The color is (by and large) not used large scale, meaning, all the walls of every room won’t typically be painted in bold or bright colors;

2) The main color scheme generally flows from room to room. The shades and placement of color may be different, but there is a coherent look and feel throughout the home that makes it feel finished.

If you want to introduce color without covering every surface, consider these tips from Lennar: “You can add color to a space without painting walls. Pop color with pillows, rugs flowers and artwork. If you do add color to walls, use it sparingly. A painted feature wall can be a great backdrop for a bed or built-in cabinets.”


General design inspiration

You may not have thought about putting certain colors together or layering a bunch of patterns in one room or choosing tile that looks like wood instead of real wood… but you will once you see what they’ve done in model homes. If you’re in a design rut or you’re not sure how to take the first step toward modernizing your space, walk through the models. Consider not just what you see, but how you feel in the space. Starting to feel relaxed or anxious or at home in a particular room? Take note of the color scheme, the organization of the furniture, and the accessories. And then take lots of pictures so you can start trying to replicate the look and feel in your home.

Incorporating the newest trends

Looking to redo your kitchen? Touring a model will give you some great ideas about how to handle the layout and materials. It may not have occurred to you to take down your double-height island and continue the counter height the full length, but this is a hot kitchen trend intended to capture the open space feel. Seeing all-white cabinets may inspire you to have your dark wood cabinetry painted, and the quartz counters are sure to inspire you to start researching new countertop options.


Treating small spaces

In general, the less crowded a room is, the more airy it will feel. But that doesn’t mean leaving it empty. Furniture placement is key to creating a space with form and function. Notice how the office in the room above has just the right amount of furniture. And instead of placing the desk up against the wall, it’s been floated, which allows the eye to more easily move around and makes the space feel larger.

Getting space planning tips

Model home designers are great at disguising awkward spaces with creative solutions and showcasing spaces with furniture that’s to the perfect scale and placed in such a way that it shows the room in its best light. If you’ve got a weird spot in your home that you don’t know what to do with or are having trouble figuring out what furniture to buy or where to put it, studying what they’ve done in a few models might help you figure it out.

Styling a guest room

Go stand in the guest room in the model down the street. Simple, clean, and elegant, right? Excited to go home and redo your guest room? Remember three key things: lighting, pared-down accessories, and crisp bedding.


Getting your kids’ rooms just right

Kids rooms are often some of the most challenging spaces to design, because it’s a slippery slope between a creative space and a circus room. Model home designers love to theme these spaces or give them some pizazz, and they often get the balance just right.


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6 Smart Updates To Make To Your Bathroom

The idea of renovating your bathroom can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to knock down walls or gut the whole thing to make it feel new again. Making smart updates can get you closer to the look you want without the big budget, or the big hassle.

“You dream about a bathroom that’s high on comfort and personal style, but you also want materials, fixtures, and amenities with lasting value,” said houselogic. “Wake up! You can have both.”

Here are a few places to start.

1. A new showerhead

This is one of our favorite ways to freshen up a bathroom because a new showerhead is: A) inexpensive, even for one that provides multiple heads and functions; B) an easy way to make your shower more enjoyable if you’ve been dealing with an old showerhead that doesn’t provide massage or handheld options; and C) also a money saver since new showerheads are more energy-efficient.

2. Soaker tub

Soaker tubs are the hottest trend in bathrooms right now, and it’s getting to the point where anything else makes your bathroom look outdated. Have one of those giant Jacuzzi tubs in your bathroom? It’s probably time to yank it out, especially if your jets stopped working long ago. The bonus of a freestanding tub is it can also make your bathroom feel airier and more spacious.


3. Walk-in shower

Your dinky shower with the tired tile and the metal trim isn’t fooling anyone. You don’t have to tear the whole thing down (but, if you can, by all means!) Removing the tile and replacing it with something more current can do wonders, especially if you’re going from something dark and cave-like to a choice that’s light, bright, and reflective. A seamless glass enclosure can give the shower a more expansive and current look with minimal work.


4. A smaller mirror

Sounds funny to be think about replacing your large mirror with something smaller, right? After all, it’s a bathroom. But if you’ve toured a model home lately or watched a bathroom be remodeled on HGTV, you’ve probably seen this swap. Taking down your full-width mirror and replacing it with something more tailored to the size of your vanity will instantly give the bathroom a lift. Have two sinks? Get two smaller mirrors. And make sure they’re framed out. A plain slab of mirror is just…plain.


5. New lighting

Those cheap builder lights are making your bathroom look DATED! Some of them are so bad they can make an otherwise stylish bathroom look not so great. Replacing the lights is easy (and inexpensive!). Just make sure to get your mirror situation figured out first so you know what width your lighting should be. A light fixture that’s wider that the mirror is going to make everything look off.


6. Vanity overhaul

There are several ways to make an old vanity/sink combo look more customized and more updated. Changing out the faucets, painting the cabinets, and adding hardware can work wonders. But if the cabinet door or drawers aren’t in good shape, if the sink shape is just too dated, or if you just want to rip the whole thing out and dump it on the lawn, it might be time for something new.


If you are going to replace your vanity, take a look at floating versions—a hot look today that that’s also great for a smaller space because it keeps the eye moving.

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2016 Football Schedule

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6 Ways to Upgrade Your Entryway

It’s funny how one of the most important spaces in your home can often be the most overlooked. The entryway tends to be a place where you just hang your coat, toss your keys into a bowl and take off your shoes – yet this is the first thing your guests see when they enter your home. Doesn’t sound very welcoming, does it?

It may be small and it may be humble, but your entryway is crucial when it comes to making a good first impression. Here are a few easy ways to transform your entryway into something unforgettable.

1. Front Door Fix

Don’t neglect your front door. Even the nicest home on the block can look a little “blah” with a subpar front door. A stand out shape, unique color or interesting finish can make a door the focal point of your exterior and transform the entire look of your home. For example, if your house is painted in a basic beige, grey or white, choose a brightly colored door to complement the subdued exterior.


Have a small, dark entryway? Choose a door with a big window or multiple panes of glass to let more natural light in. This will help the space appear bigger and offer a brighter first impression to your guests.

2. Change up Your Hardware

Looking for a quick change? Update the hardware! By switching out handles, locks and door knockers, you can easily change the look of a simple door from traditional to modern or from boring to eclectic.


Sure, they are a little old fashioned, but I love the drama of a big, heavy door knocker. Historically, door knockers have symbolized everything from the faith to the business or trade of the people in the home. This piece of hardware doesn’t carry as much meaning these days, but it is a great way to show off your personality and the things you love. Keep it simple, keep it classy, but definitely go big or go home.

3. Turn up the Heat


Although radiant heat flooring is most often seen in bathrooms, we’re starting to see these systems used in other spaces. For tile, stone and hardwood entryways, this is a fabulous upgrade that will make your family and guests love you, especially if you live in a cold climate or in the mountains like I do. Radiant heated floors are also a bonus if you prefer to go shoe-free. I guarantee that no one will be complaining once their feet hit that warm floor! Talk about a good first impression.

4. Make Way for Color


I always say that a bright coat of paint is the best way to update any space. It’s budget friendly, reversible and nothing will transform your mood faster than a new color. I love the idea of a bold, painted entryway that makes your mouth drop open. This is an opportunity to make an impact. If you don’t want to go with a bright purple, yellow, orange, red or green, think about your entry as the beginning of a progression of color. Here, you can set the tone and build up to bolder color choices. Or, you could try the gradual approach with a darker entry that gives way to lighter colors to make the space seem bigger.

5. Mood Lighting


Adding a dramatic light fixture or lamp is like that final piece of jewelry on a perfect outfit. Light fixtures pull double duty. They serve to create a more inviting space and set the mood for the rest of your home. You already know about the dramatic chandelier approach, but don’t feel obligated to go the traditional route. If a chandelier seems too formal, pick a conversation piece. Choose something modern, witty, colorful or edgy. If you don’t have space for a big fixture, a really cool accent lamp, or even some clever wall sconces, will do the trick.

6. Accessorize

Accessorizing is the most fun part of updating your entryway. Whether you’re working with a completely bare space or you’re adding a few new items, this is your chance to let your personality shine through. Add a mirror, a unique work of art, a narrow console table or a vase with fresh flowers. If you have enough space, you can even add a few pieces of furniture to create a small seating area.


I love incorporating closet-style organizational elements to eliminate the clutter craziness. Hooks, shoe storage and even that little bowl of keys can all easily be contained. Get creative here with storage boxes, bookshelves, cubes, cubbies and lockers.

You spend so much time designing and decorating your home – don’t let the entryway be an afterthought! This is your chance to give your guests a little sneak preview into your style. Try a few of these simple upgrades and your entryway will be looking phenomenal in no time.


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Is It Finally Time To Buy A Condo?

The popularity of condos has swelled and waned over the years, gaining popularity especially in areas where buyers may be priced out of the single-family home market and where high-density is the only way to go if you want to buy something new.

Despite their greater affordability, condos have been harder for buyers to get approved to purchase unless they had a large down payment. That’s because the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a popular source of loans for first-time buyers because they’re (a) government-backed; (b) require as little as 3.5 percent down; and (c) are often a solution for buyers who have less than perfect credit, has historically only approved a small number of condos for their financing, leading the L.A. Times to previously call condos an “FHA no-lending zone.

But that may be changing with new legislation that just was just signed by the president.

“President Obama has signed H.R. 3700 – the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” into law. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) hailed the development as a ‘significant step’ in eliminating barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos,” said the NAR.

NAR has long been an advocate of the bill, testifying before Congress and lobbying for its passage. Additionally, nearly 140,000 REALTORS®across the country voiced their support for the legislation during the NAR call for action.”


Passed unanimously by Congress, the bill lowers “the owner occupancy requirement for condo complexes from 50 to 35 percent,” said 10 News. “That means more condos could be purchased with a 3.5 percent down payment, well below the usual 10 or 20 percent requirement.”

That’s huge news for condo buyers who have experienced the frustration of searching for an affordable property only to be shut down by a lack of available inventory.

The FHA does have 90 days to devise their new rules on owner occupancy, “or the 35 percent owner occupancy rate goes into effect,” said 10 News. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of condo ownership.



No exterior maintenance. If you’re looking for a lock-and-leave lifestyle, or if you just don’t have a green thumb (guilty!), this is a huge bonus.


Somebody’s gotta do that maintenance, which probably means you’ll be paying a homeowners’ association (HOA) fee.


If you have an HOA, you probably also have some amenities in the community, like a pool or gym, that you may not have in a single-family home.


You still have to pay for the amenities even if you don’t use them. And HOA fees are not tax deductible.



But if you do use them, you might meet some neighbors, which could make living in your condo even more enjoyable. Sometimes, close quarters create great bonds.


And sometimes close quarters just translates to lots of noise. In a condo, you’ll typically be sharing at least one wall, and probably at least one floor as well. For some, privacy may be one of the downsides of condo ownership. Those who are buying for the first time, moving down, or simply looking to own something of their own at the lowest possible price might not mind so much. Still, the idea of going from an apartment to something that still feels like one can be disconcerting.


Even with the drawbacks, a condo you buy is still something you own, and the benefits of owning real estate are many – like pride of ownership, to start, not to mention the tax benefits. If you’ve never owned property before, you’ll love being able to write off your mortgage interest, which, on average, is about $1,900 a year in savings, said MarketWatch, plus any points on your mortgage, property taxes, and private mortgage insurance, which you’ll need if you’re putting less than 20 percent down.


Even if the new law results in greater availability of condos, making them more attractive and more viable to buyers, condos are still traditionally more difficult to sell than single-family homes. “Condos can be difficult to sell. Why? Well, they pretty much all look the same,” said Money Crashers. “If there are empty units in your building, those are likely going to sell first. And if there are a lot of empty units…good luck. Also, Condominiums often appreciate in value much slower than single-family homes. This is because you don’t own any land, which is the biggest driver for appreciation. Instead, you only own the living space. There’s a big difference.”



If you’re in an area where single-family homes are out of reach for many or most buyers and condos are your one shot at homeownership, you might not care that it could be harder to sell some day. And, it might not even be an issue in your area. Your Realtor should be able to advise you on neighborhoods that are best buys.

Also, newer condo units that vary the exteriors to look more like a village may avoid the “everything’s the same” problem.


You could have to pay an assessment. “Assessment is the bad word of any planned community” because it means money out of your pocket.

“Every month, a portion of your condo fees goes into the development’s reserves,” said US News. “That’s where the condo association gets the money to fund occasional projects, such as repainting the building’s exterior. If an expense can’t be delayed – let’s say a pipe burst and there isn’t enough in the reserve to cover repairs – condo owners could be asked to pay an assessment, which can range from a minor pittance to thousands of dollars.”

You can help avoid any potential issues by doing your due diligence upfront.

“Before buying your condo, you should request and read the documents that apply to the management of the complex,” said Investopedia. “What are the hot issues for this complex? How big is the condominium’s reserve fund? You need to get a sense of whether the condominium you are considering is well run, whether the rules and restrictions would allow you live the lifestyle you’re seeking and whether the building/complex is experiencing any problems that could hurt the value of your share of ownership in the future.”


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