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The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Sinks: Which Type Is Right for You?

by Amy McLeod Group


There are many styles of bathroom sinks, and each has its particular pros and cons—including its price. Since this seemingly simple fixture can have such a big impact on how a bathroom functions and looks, you may be wondering: What's the best basin for our home?

That depends, of course, on your sense of style, budget, how many toiletries you like to stash on your counter, and plenty of other factors. "There are a large number of sinks that can be used in the bathroom, and in many cases, it’s just a question of style and preference," says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at Home Depot. "But in a few cases, you may definitely benefit from one style over another. For instance, a square sink tends to look more updated and offer a larger wash area that some might want. But others will want to have as much counter space as possible, making round and oval sinks a better choice."

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So, in our latest edition of the Dream Bathroom Remodeling Guide, we delve into the various types of bathroom sinks and how to figure out which one's right for you.

Pedestal sinks

A pedestal sink consists of a wall-hung basin with a pedestal that covers the plumbing.

Cost: $50 to $600

Pros: This is the most common type of bathroom sink, which means that they are easy to find, says James Walsh, vice president of American Standard china ware and bathing. Their sleek, sophisticated lines can also appear to enlarge a room.

"These are best in small bathrooms, powder rooms, and guest baths, or bathrooms going for a vintage style," says Cristina Miguelez, remodeling specialist at Fixr.com.

Cons: Pedestal sinks have a small lip, which limits the room you have for setting out things like soap or toothbrush holders.


Photo by Houzz
.com

Wall-mount sinks

Wall-mount sinks feature a basin that is hung from the wall at a location and height that you choose. The pipes are partially concealed behind the wall.

Cost: Sinks start at around $60 (the model below is $75 from American Standard and available at Home Depot) and can go up to $700 or so.

Pros: These can be very small or fairly large. And they are good from the standpoint of those who want to take into account universal design or to age in place, because a wheelchair can roll under them, says Walsh.

Cons: Wall-mount sinks have a flat horizontal steel hanger bracket that's bolted to the wall with the sink fixture hung on the bracket. Because of this design, a gap can open between the sink and the wall if not installed correctly. "And you won’t have a lot of storage or counter space," says Miguelez.


HomeDepot.com

Countertop sinks

These sinks, also called drop-ins and self-rimming sinks, fit into a variety of countertops. Thanks to their self-rimming nature, they're the simplest type to install. "Countertop sinks are the style most commonly found in high-traffic family bathrooms," says Walsh.

Here are the two types of countertop sinks:

Integral countertop

These sinks combine a countertop and sink together. "The one-piece, seamless design allows for a clean, sleek look," says Walsh. Since there are no crevices, they are also one of the easiest styles to keep clean.

Cost: Starts at $100 and can go up to $1,000.

Pros: These come in a variety of materials from slumped glass to cultured marble. They are also easy to clean and install because it’s all one component.

Cons: If the sink doesn't come with an overflow drain, it will end up requiring a grid drain (one that can't close) in some states.

Drop-in countertop

Cost: A basic drop-in sink starts around $50 to $250, but can be $300 to $1,000 for high-end designer models.

Pros: Drop-in sinks drop into the counter and hang by the rim. They can be decorative in style and are usually used in a remodel because they are budget-friendly.

Cons: The area where the sink meets the counter can be difficult to clean.

Vessel sinks

"Versatile above-counter sinks rise above the countertop, console, or cabinet to create a dramatic focal point," says Walsh. Vessel sinks are typically available in three different types of materials: glass, metal, ceramic, or even petrified wood ($530 at Home Depot). They are best suited for master baths and powder rooms, especially in contemporary, cosmopolitan homes.

Cost: Ceramic sinks go for $80 to $120, while glass sinks cost $150 to $300.

Pros: These sinks tend to come in more materials and wilder designs than other sinks. "These sinks are all about style," says Miguelez.

Cons: "Depending on where you live, there could be a drawback with the drain; some states have plumbing codes that restrict the use of vessel sinks without overflow valves," says Miguelez. In this case, you must install a grid drain. Other observers feel that vessel sinks are just a bathroom fad that is likely to look dated within a few years.


HomeDepot.com

Undercounter sinks

Cost: Around $50 up to $800. (The sink below costs $84 at Home Depot.)

Pros: These sinks are clean and modern. "Plus, they free up usable counter space, and since there is no rim to catch debris, they're also the easiest type of sink to keep clean," says Walsh.

Cons: "They don’t come in a lot of colors or styles, and tend to be pretty plain and utilitarian," says Miguelez.


HomeDepot.com

Jack and Jill sinks

Many homeowners, especially couples, want their routine to be as practical as possible. That's why double sinks have become so popular.

Cost: Double the sink, double the cost. These sinks start at about $300 and can go up to $2,000.

Pros: Having two sinks allows couples to optimize their bathroom use. While one person brushes their teeth, the other can wash their face. A double sink is also a good utilization of space in a large bathroom and offers more counter space for accessories.

Cons: Drawbacks include the reduction of the total usable space in the bathroom. And, of course, installing a double sink entails added expense and additional plumbing. One other consideration: How much do you value your bathroom privacy?


Photo by 2id Interiors

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry

Foyer Faux Pas: The Do's—and Don'ts—of Decorating an Entryway

by Amy McLeod Group


First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your home. And the best way to make a good impression on all who enter your abode is to have a sharply decorated entryway.

"Entryways and foyers have really become an important part of the house because it's a view into the lives of the folks who live there," says Dee Frazier, owner and lead organizer of Dee Frazier Interiors.

The entryway is your chance to showcase your personality. Plus, if you're selling anytime soon, this is a potential buyer's first look at your house.

But effectively curating an entryway is something of an art form. And not paying attention to the following principles could be the difference between a foyer that's cluttered instead of one that's chic.

To help you make this hot spot a memorable space in your home, we've polled the pros for their tips and advice—and their warnings of what to avoid.

Do: Add a place to sit

Photo by Dalliance Design LLC 

Whether you use a bench or an extra chair from the kitchen, a place to perch is critical. Where are you going to sit to lace up your sneakers or tug off your boots?

"Make it [do] double duty by opting for a bench or ottoman that offers interior storage," says Jamie Novak, an organizing pro and author of "Keep This Toss That."

Don't: Let clutter creep in

Photo by WO Designs 

Newspaper stacks and piles of shoes are your entryway's worst enemy. They look sloppy and could be a tripping hazard.

Drew Henry of Design Dudes suggests keeping your entryway as open as possible by using light, streamlined furniture like a sleek console table or a mirror.

It's also smart to place a wicker basket near the door as a catch-all for shoes and other items that you're likely to set down upon entering your home.

Do: Consider your entryway's size

Photo by Sigmar 

You may love that vintage coat stand that you snagged from a flea market, but if it takes over your entire entryway, you're just going to bump into it every time you take off your rain slicker. Instead, use your limited floor space for another more useful piece like a bench and mount a small set of hooks or a simple Shaker peg rail for jackets and scarves.

Don't: Waste vertical space

Photo by Sims Hilditch 

Entryways tend to be narrow, so it's best to take advantage of vertical space. Novak suggests adding wall storage like a hanging mail caddy or a small shelf to hold your keys. Label the cubbies for each family member, and you'll never lose a utility bill again.

Do: Consider covering the walls

Photo by elisabethphotography.com 

Give your entryway walls a critical eye and decide whether wallpaper or a wall treatment like stone, wood planks, or tile might add some oomph to your decor, says Frazier.

"Any of these options would make an impact, but if you don't want to cover the entire foyer with wallpaper, you could place it on the wall going up a staircase or in alcoves around the room," she says.

Feeling extra bold? Take it one step further and apply wallpaper on the ceiling.

Don't: Hesitate to add color

Photo by RICCO STYLE Interior Design 

Does the color palette in your home skew neutral? The entryway is an ideal spot to take a risk with color, says Frazier.

Ideas to try: bold artwork on a wall, a brightly patterned throw pillow on the bench, or a vase of colorful flowers.

Do: Think about lighting

Photo by Cottage Home Company 

Your entryway should also feature some light fixtures to illuminate the front part of your house and make it look welcoming to all who stop by. Our experts recommend installing both ambient lighting (e.g., a chandelier) and task lighting (e.g., a floor lamp).

A chandelier offers both light and a dramatic statement upon entry, and a floor lamp can light your way when you enter the front door and then switched off in the evening when everyone goes to bed.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Jennifer Kelly Geddes 

6 Ways to Banish Mildew Smells in the Bathroom

by Amy McLeod Group


Have you ever walked into your bathroom and thought: My God! What is that smell?  Mildew could be to blame for transforming your special oasis into stink central. Don't panic, we're here to help.

Mildew, or mold in its early stage, tends to be found in wet, moisture-prone areas. It looks grayish-white but can turn brown over time. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mildew can grow on wood products, ceiling tiles, insulation, wallpaper, carpet, drywall, fabric, plants, and other organic materials that are commonly found in bathrooms. And once the fungus makes its way onto your precious towels and tiles, you need to get serious about eradicating it.

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You can get rid of that mildew misery and restore your bathroom to its former lavender-scented glory in no time.

“Minor mold issues can usually be addressed by most homeowners with a little cleanup,” says Gregory Frazier, with Art Plumbing, AC & Electric, in Coral Springs, FL.

Ready to scrub away that stale stink? Here's how.

1. Wash it

The first step to battling the mildew stench is to wash everything. This means washing those hand-towels that have been hanging in the bathroom forever, the musty bathroom rugs, and the stale window curtains. When laundering, experts suggest adding one cup of white vinegar to wash the load. Frequently wash your nonslip mats, too. And, toss that vinyl shower curtain and replace it with a washable cotton, hemp, or nylon shower curtain.

“Bleach can be used to clean the mildew source and stop it from growing," says Gina Perry, senior merchant of cleaning at The Home Depot in Atlanta.

For items that can withstand bleach, FEMA recommends using a 10% solution or 1.25 to 1.5 cup of bleach to a gallon of water. The bleach/water solution can also be used to wipe down shower doors, cabinets, and walls, and to mop hard floors around bathtubs and toilets.

2. Address any water issues

Water can be the big culprit behind that nasty smell. “You can get a mildew smell if you have a slow drain leak under a sink or around a drain,” says Frazier. He says the same thing can happen with toilets if a wax ring seal, which seals the toilet to the flange, has a slight leak that is allowing small amounts of water to seep out under the toilet.

“The fix is to repair the leak promptly and wipe the area that got wet down with a strong, bleach-based cleaner,” Frazier says.

Bathtubs can also occasionally get a mildew smell if they're not properly sealed and if small amounts of water get between the wall and the tub. A bleaching solution can scrub away mildew on top of caulk, but if it’s underneath, it will need to be completely removed and properly recaulked.

3. Let the bathroom breathe

Dark, damp, warm rooms make for a happy home for mildew to thrive. To remedy this, open the windows and let fresh air in. If you don't have a window in the bathroom, keep the bathroom door cracked open when showering. If you need more privacy and prefer to shower with the door closed (no judgment!), install a ceiling fan or consider running an electric fan to keep air moving. Open your cabinets so they can get fresh air, too.

“I find one of the biggest things homeowners can do to combat mildew smells in bathrooms is to ensure they have a properly functioning, properly sized exhaust fan,” says Frazier.

4. Use an air purifier

Mildew reeks, but it can also make people with allergies or asthma sick or irritate their eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

Sara Alsén, chief purpose officer for Sweden-based Blueair, a leader in air-cleaning solutions, says placing a high-performing air purifier in the bathroom will have a twofold effect: It will remove the unhealthy mold and bacteria in the air and make the smell disappear.

“An air purifier with a high airflow will also increase the air circulation in the bathroom and as such, help fight the mold growth,” she says.

5. Apply a fresh coat of paint

There’s nothing a new paint job can’t cure, right? Try using mold- and mildew-resistant paint.

Rick Watson, director of product information at Sherwin-Williams, says paints with odor-eliminating technology can help inhibit the growth of mold and mildew and reduce common indoor odors, so rooms stay fresher longer.

But make sure to treat the mildew before painting. Bathrooms are splash-prone areas, so lower parts of the walls and corners and edges near the ceiling are typical breeding areas for mildew.

After cleaning, brush a coat of mildew-resistant primer on ceiling and walls to prevent peeling in high-moisture areas. Let the coat of primer dry, then apply the first coat of mildew-resistant paint and say goodbye to that mildew smell.

6. Try an odor eliminator

Odor-absorbing items can help. Charcoal briquettes, an open box of baking soda, or a small pouch of kitty litter can make the bathroom smell fresher by absorbing the odor and the moisture in the air. However, make sure to replace them every month or so. Natural air fresheners, like essential oils or citrus peels, can also cut the stench.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Anayat Durrani 

Happy 4th of July!

by Amy McLeod Group


Considering buying a foreclosed home? Any home buyer looking to pay below market value should be paying attention to foreclosure listings. But the process of buying a repossessed home is full of misconceptions—and we're here to help separate the false stereotypes from the reality.

These are some common myths that need to be set straight.

Myth 1: The house must be bought in cash

That all depends on what stage a foreclosure property is in, says Bill Gassett with Re/Max Executive Realty in Hopkinton, MA. If the home is in pre-foreclosure or “short sale,” the buyer does not need to shell out an all-cash offer.

“They can procure a mortgage just like any traditional sale,” Gassett says.

If the bank sells a property at public auction, the mortgage holder usually does require that the home is bought with cash and mortgage contingencies are not allowed in the sale.

If you don't have a lot of cash on hand but know you'd like to buy a home in foreclosure, Bobbi Dempsey, author of "Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures," suggests drawing from a line of credit obtained using current property.

When the foreclosure is a bank-owned property, Gassett says the bank is usually actively looking for an end buyer.

“The purchaser of a bank-owned property is almost always able to procure a mortgage as part of the contract with the bank,” he says.

Myth 2: Buyers forfeit their right to have a home inspection

Definitely not true! Buyers have the right to do a home inspection and ask for repairs, but banks or sellers aren’t required to make them, says Rob Jensen, broker and president of Rob Jensen Co., in Las Vegas. But home inspections are actually encouraged since nearly all banks sell their foreclosed homes in as-is condition, and want to avoid liability down the line.

“It is common for structural, electrical, and plumbing issues that pertain to the safety and integrity of the home to be repaired, but there's no guarantee,” says Jensen. “Every bank and every deal is different.” However, don't count on the bank to fix those cosmetic issues.

Jensen says paint, carpet stains, and other minor blemishes are not likely to be addressed.

Buyers considering a foreclosure should make sure the sales contract has a contingency clause that requires a passing home inspection. This way, buyers can either choose to accept any issues with the home or back out of the contract.

With courthouse sales, however, homes are sold as they are, with no inspection.

Myth 3: Foreclosure homes require huge overhauls

It's incorrect to assume that all homes in foreclosure are in shoddy condition. A large percentage of foreclosures are the result of job loss, illness, death, divorce, or even fluctuations in the real estate market, which means many of these homes were well maintained and may need only minor touch-ups.

“It quite often depends on the attitude of who last owned the property and whether or not they went out of their way to destroy the place,” says Jensen.

Myth 4: Foreclosures sell at heavy discounts

A common belief is that a foreclosure home will sell for at least half of its original value. But remember, the bank still wants to make a profit. Buying a foreclosure home can save you green, but the seller will hold out for the maximum price possible.

Home buyers often make a beeline to foreclosures because they think they can get a home for pennies on the dollar. But, Jensen says, by the time they factor in the time and renovation costs, they may reconsider.

“Foreclosures can provide opportunity to save, but you usually need time and extra cash to take advantage of it,” he says.

Myth 5: Foreclosure homes carry hidden costs

The fear of hidden costs may send would-be buyers running, but it’s not necessarily a worthwhile concern.

"A lot of the costs involved are typical for any real estate purchase—things like inspections, appraisals, transfer fees, etc.,” says Dempsey.

Yes, repairs or liens on a foreclosure can prove costly, but a home inspection will reveal any potential problems during escrow (this is where that inspection contingency comes in handy).

Also, the property deed can be researched on a foreclosed home. And, buying a HUD home or REO (or real estate–owned property) means the Department of Housing and Urban Development is required to clear the title of liens before it resells the home. Lenders will usually clear them, too, but buyers should make sure of that before they purchase.

“Generally speaking, there are not any more hidden expenses in purchasing a foreclosed home than there would be in a traditional sale,” says Gassett.

Myth 6: Foreclosures lose value faster than regular homes

Foreclosed homes actually tend to rise quickly in value. With any home, there’s no guarantee it will deliver increases, but buying a foreclosure sold below market value can provide instant equity. And any extra work done to the home can only increase the value.

“There are a variety of factors that influence home values, including economic conditions, local market conditions, and the overall condition of the property,” says Andrew Leff, senior vice president and head of strategic alliance programs at Wells Fargo in New York City.

Myth 7: Buying a foreclosure is risky

Let’s be honest. Any real estate purchase comes with risk. Gassett says the only scenario where there’s some extreme risk is when buying at auction, since you are buying the property as is. Buyers are not able to conduct a professional home inspection and often not even able to see the inside of the property. Plus, they will be inheriting whatever came with the home.

“For example, if there is a lien on the property, you could become responsible for it. When buying a home at auction, it is essential to do a title search first,” says Gassett.

Leff says buyers should be informed before entering into any type of real estate transaction. This means aligning themselves with resources that can help them navigate the purchase and financing process with confidence.

“A knowledgeable real estate agent and lender can help ensure that a buyer is making an educated decision so that the property and any resulting financing is the right fit for them,” says Leff.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Anayat Durrani

Do You Get Your Earnest Money Back at Closing?

by Amy McLeod Group


Do you get your earnest money back at closing? If you're buying a house and planning to finance the purchase with the help of a mortgage, the question is bound to come up. The short answer is: You don't usually get your earnest money back at closing.

But hold on! Sometimes earnest money is returned at closing. What? Read on to find out what happens to your earnest money at closing.

What is earnest money, anyway?

So you've heard the term "earnest money" thrown around during the purchase process, and you're not quite sure what it means? Sometimes called "good-faith money" or a deposit, earnest money is a sum that home buyers put down when they make their offer on a house, to show they're committed to the purchase.

Earnest money (typically about 1% to 2% of the amount you plan to pay for the house) is put down by a buyer within five days of an offer being accepted by a seller. The money is then deposited into an account by an escrow agent.

Maybe you've heard it called "going into escrow"? That's because the escrow officer will set the earnest money aside while you continue the steps of buying a house, such as getting an appraisal so your bank will approve the purchase or sending a home inspector to the house to ensure there are no reasons you should back out of the deal. They can't touch that money during that time, and neither can the seller!

Do I get my earnest money back at closing?

If the appraisal comes through at a price that makes your lender happy, and the home inspection doesn't turn up anything alarming, eventually you'll get to closing—the end of the home-buying process—when you pay the seller and walk away with keys to your new castle.

This is when your escrow agent is going to pull your earnest money out of escrow. What happens with it next is typically dependent on the sort of earnest money that was put down, says Keith Lucas, broker and owner of the Charleston Real Estate Company, in Charleston, SC.

If you put down cash (which is nearly always the case), the earnest money is traditionally applied to closing costs or toward your down payment—the portion of the sale price that buyers pay on their own in conjunction with a mortgage.

But there are times when you might get the earnest money back. Maybe you have secured a loan with no down payment required, such as a Veterans Affairs loan or a mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If that happens, the earnest money will be applied to closing costs instead of down payment. If there's money left over after the closing costs are paid, you will get the surplus back.

But sometimes the earnest money isn't actually money at all.

Wait a second. How can there be money that isn't, well, "money"? It turns out, sometimes that good-faith deposit can just be something of "good and considerable value."

"There are cases where a watch, car, boat, real estate, or precious metals have been used as an earnest deposit," Lucas says. "In that case it might be returned to the buyer or liquidated by the seller and put toward the purchase price at closing."

Bottom line: Even if you don't get your earnest money back at closing, don't worry! That big chunk of change you put down at the beginning of the home-buying process hasn't disappeared. It's been used to help pay for your brand-new house.

Starting the search for your new homeContact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Jeanne Sager

Exploring Salem Oregon: Summer Solstice Crawfish Boil

by Amy McLeod Group


Friday, June 21, 2019 - 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

It’s that time again!  Come celebrate the solstice with us and get your crawfish fix!  We will also have a limited menu available for those who aren’t diehard mudbug fans. 

$25 for adults and $15 for children for the boil.

Krewe du Soul Café at Willamette Heritage Center
1313 Mill St SE
Salem, OR 97301

(503) 385-1772

Event Facebook Page

Courtesy of Amy McLeod, The McLeod Group Network

Photo Credit: travelsalem.com

Home Staging in a Hurry: Hacks to Spruce Up a Space in 5 Minutes

by Amy McLeod Group


Selling your home
 these days takes more than just finding an agent and listing it. You’ve got to really sell it. That means impressing buyers the second they walk in the door.

One of the best ways to do this? Home staging, where your home's decor undergoes a makeover in order to entice home buyers to swoon and make an offer.

“The statistics don’t lie,” says Samantha Rose Frith of Warburg Realty in New York City. “A well-staged house will sell more quickly and draw a higher sales price.”

But who has time for that? Hiring a pro is pricey (here's more on how much home staging costs). Plus a pro can't do all of the work; you’ll still need to do some sprucing up if you have an unexpected showing.

So if the clock is ticking, here are home staging tips and tricks that you can pull off fast, depending on how much time you have—from an hour to just 5 minutes.

Home staging in 5 minutes

  • Put down the toilet seats: “Yes, that makes a difference,” says Jennifer Okhovat, a real estate agent in Los Angeles. Tracey Hampson, a real estate agent in Santa Clarita, CA, also recommends hiding the plunger and toilet brush, and any reading material you may have accumulated in your bathroom. “A bathroom is a bathroom, not a library,” says Hampson. Amen.
  • Open the blinds: Let in as much natural light as possible—unless you have a spectacularly bad view, in which case, keep those blinds closed.
  • Take out the trash and recycling: You may get that one potential buyer who will look everywhere.

Home staging in 15 minutes

  • Clear your countertops: “The less clutter on countertops, the better,” says Okhovat. A nice bowl of fruit can spruce things up, but if you have several small appliances and all of your spices out, take a few minutes to stash them in your cupboards or a storage bin.
  • Adjust the temperature: You don’t want buyers to rush through your house because it's too hot or too cold. You also want to show that your heating and cooling are working. The ideal temperature depends on your home and the season, but keeping it at around 70 degrees should ensure everyone who sees your home is comfortable.
  • Hide any piles of toys, clothes, and mail: “Remove the clothes from the stair steps, ensure the four piles of mail get reduced to one or tucked away entirely,” says Katie Coombs of Total Home Experience in Reno, NV. Janet Lorusso of JRL Interiors, in Boston, recommends keeping baskets handy in your living spaces for quick cleanup of toys and other clutter.

Home staging in 30 minutes

  • Remove personal items: Buyers like to view each home as a blank canvas, and that’s hard to do with pictures of someone else’s family dominating the space. “Family and vacation pics are great, but maybe the Disneyland throw blanket and the hanging, glued-together puzzle could go in the closet for a bit,” says Coombs. Keep your privacy in mind as well as you clear items. You may want to stash items with your family member’s full names on display, for example.
  • Clean, clean, clean: Vacuum, sweep, and mop as often as you can stand. “Check mirrors for spatters," says Lorusso. Bonus: "The smell of cleaning products will make your house feel clean, even if it isn’t."
  • Add or adjust your lighting: “Use torch lamps if a room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, says Joel Moss of Warburg Realty in New York City. “We also find that replacing LED bulbs with bulbs that give it a warmer feel has a beneficial effect on buyer interest.”
  • Hang a mirror: “Hang a wall mirror strategically to add visual interest and make the space look larger,” says Amber Harris of Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC, and interior decorator with At Home DC.

Home staging in an hour

  • Rearrange the living room furniture: Instead of arranging your living room furniture based on the best view of the TV, “arrange furniture to face focal points in the room, like a large window with a view or a fireplace,” says Anne Clancy, a Re/Max real estate agent in Cottage Grove, MN.
  • Make small repairs: “That leaky faucet or moldy caulk might not seem like a big deal if you lived there for the last 10 years, but they will almost always factor into a lower offer,” says Frith. If there’s a small project you’ve been putting off, like fixing a hinge on a cabinet door, now’s the time to take care of it.
  • Spruce up walls, outdated countertops, dressers, and more with contact paper: “It’s not just for lining shelves anymore,” says Michael Nelson, chief operating officer of the Pyramid Project, a property management firm in Kissimmee, FL. “We’ve used it on everything from walls to countertops. It holds up well, looks great, and when you want a change, it removes with ease and no damage to the surface.”

Looking to sell your home? Let the professionals with The McLeod Group Network help! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Melinda Sineriz 


Planning to remodel your bathroom into the oasis of your dreams? Then you'd better get a handle on your plumbing. Even if you don't see the pipes connected to your sink or shower, understanding how they work is essential if you want your bathroom renovation to turn out all right (and within budget).

That's why, in the latest installment of our "Dream Bathroom Remodeling Guide," we break down everything you need to know about plumbing into bite-size pieces. Read on for some surprises!

1. Bathroom remodel 101: Types of pipes

In the past, most bathroom plumbing pipes were made of cast iron or galvanized metal. However, these pipes won't work with many of the newfangled, water-saving setups like, say, low-flow toilets. Low-flow toilets will save about 17,000 gallons of water yearly. (Note: Flushing a standard toilet uses about 38% of an average household’s water.) The catch is, they require PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes. But updating to these kinds of pipes is both easy and affordable.

"These new types of pipes are flexible—and thus very simple and inexpensive to install," says Cassidy Melhorn, a pipe design engineer and founder of Knoxville's Volhomes.

You also need to figure out if you prefer hidden or exposed plumbing when you're looking to buy your sink, tub, or toilet.

"Exposed plumbing is the more traditional look, while hidden plumbing is much more minimalist and cleaner-looking," says Ryan Holden, director of Progressive Heating & Air, an HVAC and plumbing company in San Diego.

If you have a lot of visible plumbing, you might want to use copper pipes instead of PVC or PEX, because copper is more appealing aesthetically. Just keep in mind that it's more expensive and difficult to work with, since sawing and fitting these pipes into place will take more work than cutting soft, flexible PEX/PVC.

Regardless of the material, consider insulating these pipes, which can help reduce the amount of heat lost as your water travels from the heater to the faucet.

2. Plumbing can affect a bathroom's layout

The existing water and drain lines in your bathroom usually dictate the location of fixtures in your renovation. You can move pipes and drains—although it'll cost you—but some relocations might be impossible.

For example, you may be dreaming about a large tub right next to the bathroom window.

"But if the piping won't allow for this configuration, then you will need to rethink the entire layout," says Holden. This all comes down to drain line access. While it's usually feasible to relocate a large fixture, the supporting joists beneath the bathroom floor usually can't be cut in order to install new drains.

Bottom line: Before you buy any fixture that connects to a pipe, sit down with your contractor (or a plumber) and have a conversation about what's feasible.

3. Watch out for water pressure

The good news is that there's something called the National Pipe Thread, which is a U.S. standard size for a fitting that connects rigid pipes such as shower heads to the shower arm pipe in your shower. That means if you're replacing a shower head, most fixtures out there will fit the existing pipe.

The bad news? That new shower head may not work with your existing water pressure. New shower heads are now required to restrict water flow and deliver less than 2.5 gallons per minute. So if you have low water pressure and add a new water-saving shower head, you may be soaping up under a trickle. To avoid this travesty, have your home's water pressure checked before you buy your accessories.

"Each home will have a different water pressure, but the average is usually around 45 to 80 pounds per square inch," says Holden. "It's the little things like this that people often overlook, and end up buying all their accessories only to find they won't work with existing plumbing."

Also keep in mind that there are things you can do to adjust your water pressure. If your water pressure is too low, it's often due to clogged pipes you can unclog—or if not, you can also buy a water pressure booster. Or if your pressure is too high, you can install a pressure-reducing valve.

4. Take a look at your water heater

A remodel may also call for a water heater replacement—heaters generally last about 10 years—or even an upgrade to a tankless water heater. Also called “demand-type water heaters,” these devices are about the size of a small suitcase and deliver endless warm water only when you need it. Conventional water heaters always have a tank of hot water whether you need it or not, which drives up energy costs. Just note that on-demand heaters cost up to three times more than conventional heaters to buy and install. That works out to about $800 to $3,000 for the unit, and installation can add an additional $1,000 to $3,000.

5. Plumbing for luxe extras

Renovating is a good time to think about heating, as your walls and floors will often need to be opened anyway.

"Consider installing underfloor heating," says Holden. Known as radiant heat, this method uses hot water to carry heat through a network of tubing beneath the floor.

"You may wish to have a hydronic heated towel rack installed, too," he adds.

6. Make sure to shut off your water first!

One last no-brainer for you rookie DIYers out there: Whether you're swapping out your sink, shower, toilet, or some other water-spouting device, you have to shut off your water first—or else!

You can generally just shut off the water at the fixtures you are swapping out. Sink valves are typically under it, and the toilet valve is generally where the plumbing meets the wall. Some bath and showers have an access panel on the reverse side of the wall, which may house shut-off valves. There's also a main shut-off inside the house, usually in the basement.

Contact The McLeod Group Network for all your real estate needs! 971.208.5093 or [email protected].

By: Realtor.com, Margaret Heidenry 

Happy Father's Day Weekend!

by Amy McLeod Group

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**Disclaimer: Amy McLeod, and her team, do not initiate, process, or service mortgages.  And provide this information only as a service.  You should confirm information here with your Licensed Mortgage Lender.