Articles

All articles have been provided by The National Association of Realtors.

 

 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

A shipping container for hauling heavy freight in trains, trucks, and ships isn’t often associated with anything glamorous. But the housing industry wants to prove otherwise.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

This 3,000-square-foot home in Phoenix is made up of stacked shipping containers, but you’d never know it once you walked inside. It’s modern, open designed interiors matches the style and spaciousness of any other single-family home today.

Homes constructed of shipping containers are drawing more attention in the building industry. These homes are flood and fire-proof, eco-friendly, energy efficient, and there’s certainly no shortage of them to transform. Worldwide, an estimated 24 million empty shipping containers are retired, just waiting to find a new purpose. Could real estate be it?

Some housing experts predict shipping containers to make up a bigger footprint of homes and buildings in the future. One shipping container can be transformed into a tiny home, several molded together could form a standard-sized single-family home, and hundreds stacked together in a Lego-like way could make for an apartment complex. Shipping containers can also be transformed as add-ons to existing homes, such as a garage.

But can a shipping container be stylish? Shara Terry, a real estate pro with Berkshire Hathway HomeServices Arizona Properties in Phoenix, certainly thinks so. She’s listing a three-bedroom, four-bath single-family, shipping container home for $610,000. The home, which is a hybrid of two stacked containers on its east side and two stacked on its west side, is designed by engineer Jorge Salcedo and Colombian architect Gregorio Baquero.

“A lot of people who’ve visited it have been curious, and they can’t believe it used to be a shipping container once they step inside and they see how open and seamless it is inside,” Terry says. “There really are only two subtle reminders in the interior that show a portion of the red container,” but even those have been blended into the overall decor. The exterior includes some writing on the containers that were preserved for character, including a stamp in Vietnamese showing its former location.

Overall, the home’s industrial exterior blends to a more modern interior. Take a look at the staging by Kelly Hester with KH Staging and Redesign in Phoenix.

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Photos by: Rocket Lister, rocketlister.com

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: January 21, 2019, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

As more homes get teched out, how do you make a home smart but stylish too? CES 2019—Las Vegas’ annual mega tech show—is showing off thousands of high-tech products, including a growing number to outfit a smart home.

From smart mirrors to rollable TV screens, CES 2019 vendors are evolving the look and function of many everyday household items. Particularly interesting is a gradual movement to the attention of detail in how these high-tech products are being integrated into a home’s design. It’s becoming less about having a massive monitor on display or smart speaker on your coffee table, and more about integrating and blending the tech into the home subtly.

The Rollable TV

Photo Credit: LG

The bulky, rectangular television set has long been a centerpiece of many family rooms. But LG Signature’s OLED TV R is disguising it. This rollable 65-inch television disappears into a box below a modern, silver credenza when not in use. When you do need it, it unrolls to its full height in seconds. You can also put the TV in “line view,” so that only about a quarter of the screen is showing. In this wide, rectangular view, the TV can be set to just display a clock, weather, personal photos, or other designs.

LG debuted a prototype of the wallpaper TV back at CES 2018, but it will be available to the public starting in the second half of 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

Not Just Any Wood

Photo Credit: Mui

That two-by-four piece of wood on the wall looks like a stylish accent that blends into the room, but it’s actually a smart home assistant. Voice-assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, are getting stylish makeovers and embedded into more products. The Mui smart block can be controlled via voice. Homeowners can take control over music, lighting, thermostats, and more through this discreet Google Assistant. When it’s not being used, the LCD display turns off and it looks like just any other piece of wood again. When activated, words appear on the screen and you can talk to it. It’ll be available in early 2019 for $999.

Picture Frame and Wireless Charger

Tech chargers aren’t exactly the prettiest accessory to leave lying around. Enter Twelve South’s PowerPic. It’s a picture frame that doubles as a wireless charger for your devices. It appears as a typical wooden 5×7 picture frame, but it contains a hidden wireless charger behind that favorite photo being displayed. You can place an iPhone or other compatible device inside of it to start charging. (This retails for $80.)

 

A Smart Mirror

This isn’t your ordinary mirror. It’s a touchscreen mirror with Google Assistant-embedded inside. This smart mirror from Capstone Connected Home allows you to ask it anything you typically would of a standard voice assistant. You can even compose email and messages from it and type directly into the mirror. The mirror is available in various sizes, starting at 19-inch by 22-inch. It’ll be available in early 2019. Pricing has yet to be determined.

 

Mood lighting

Photo Credit: Philips Hue

Pick a mood and let your lights match it. Philips Hue offers a range of smart bulbs that allow you to take control over the lighting to fit the setting. Adjust your dining room lighting to create an ambient atmosphere for a dinner party, or turn a living room into a home theater with dimmed lights. Many of the bulbs can also now be controlled via voice, allowing you to change lighting without ever having to flip a switch.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: January 10, 2019, 6:39 pm

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Photo Credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

A great staircase can be attention-getting in your listing. Don’t forget to stage it and highlight it in your property photos to give it the attention it deserves.

“A circular staircase creates a positive first impression as people walk into the home,” says Kurt Geschwender with Geschwender Real Estate Co. “It’s a one-two punch. You’ve created strong curb appeal to move them off the street and into the house. Then you need to close them with the first impression as they enter the home. I’ve found that a buyer will mentally buy the home after they hit the front door … and that they tour the rest of the house looking for reasons why not to buy it.”

A circular staircase can be a symbol of elegance, says John Lynn, a real estate pro with 5 Star Real Estate Pros at Keller Williams Mountain Partners. “I’ve rarely seen a curved staircase in a home that wasn’t eye-catching in either its design or placement,” says Lynn. “People see a straight staircase design and think of a wide range of purposes for that staircase from basic functionality to being a home’s centerpiece for connecting life upstairs. However, a curved staircase makes a dramatic, jaw-dropping statement in a home ad appeals to home buyers on an entirely different level.”

Stage it: Add a circular table at the bottom of the stairway to enhance the circular staircase. Include a vase of fresh flowers. If there’s space, include a chair beside it. The staging below will help accent the curve of the stairway above.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Photograph it: Be sure to include a picture of the staircase in your MLS photos. Capture it from below and shoot toward the curve to show off its grandness.

Photo credit: L.J. Smith Stair Systems

Enhance it: The trend for staircases is cool iron blusters matched with warm wooden newels and handrails, says Craig Kurtz, president of L.J. Smith Stair Systems. “That marriage of wood and iron allows homeowners to ‘play’ off both materials so that the stairway complements other design elements of the home.” Make sure the style matches the rest of the home, however, Lynn says. “The shape, style, positioning and material of a staircase can be a positive or negative in the buyer’s mind depending on how it fits into the overall design of the home,” Lynn says. “I’ve noticed that most people prefer to match the materials in a staircase to existing fixtures of the home to give a consistency of theme or design. Having a staircase with a little bit of color, material or design contrast allows them to offset or even showcase the staircase in the home.”

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: January 7, 2019, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

The paint companies have released their color forecasts for the new year. Here are the hot hues expected to make waves in 2019. Which one is your favorite?

Living Coral / Photo Credit: Furniture Choice

Living Coral: Paint company Pantone announced “Living Coral” as its 2019 Color of the Year. The orange shade with golden undertones embodies “warmth and comfort,” Pantone says. “Living Coral easily delivers a graphic pop to a space,” says Rebecca Snowden, an interior style adviser at Furniture Choice. “Introducing it through small elements will brighten up a room, creating a sense of coziness that’s also fresh and chic.” For example, the energetic tone can liven up cushions, throws, and rugs in a living room. In a dining area, color blocked plates and coasters in the peachy hue may add some spark to a table arrangement, she says. Read Furniture Choice’s guide to weaving in more Living Coral into your home design.

Blueprint / Photo credit: Behr

Blueprint: Behr has gone blue with its top color choice for the new year. Blueprint is a mid-tone blue that is described as warmer than denim but softer than navy. Behr is embracing a full range of blue, teal, and grays as key color choices in 2019. “Layer light and dark blues on walls, cabinets, furniture, and decor for impactful results,” Behr says.

Cavern Clay / Photo Credit: Sherwin-Williams

Cavern Clay: Sherwin-Williams has picked a warm terra-cotta color called Cavern Clay as its 2019 Color of the Year. The color embodies an American Southwest, modern desert aesthetic. “This warm, earthy hue is both casual and refined,” Sherwin-Williams says. “It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone, and sculptural greenery.” It also compliments materials like leather and woodgrains.

Metropolitan Gray / Photo Credit: Benjamin Moore

Metropolitan Gray: Benjamin Moore expects the gray trend to continue in the new year, which is shown through its neutral pick with Metropolitan Gray. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design,” says Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore’s director of strategic design intelligence. “Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground.”

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: December 31, 2018, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Of the 17 million professional photos of home interiors and exteriors on Houzz, it was this photo of a gray and walnut kitchen that captured the most attention over the year:

The kitchen was designed by Justin and Tyler Sachs of Stonington Cabinetry & Designs. The kitchen features a combination of gray and white accents and warm wood, like the walnut on the island, vent hood, and open shelving.

“Though white cabinets are still a favorite, gray is now the top wall color choice,” says Houzz editor and writer Gwendolyn Purdom. “Renovating homeowners are also opting for features such as Shaker-style cabinets, L-shaped layouts and engineered quartz counters more than in years past—and this kitchen highlights all three.”

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: December 24, 2018, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Framing a home in a glow of lights can show off your holiday spirit and your home this season. Depending on how much you commit too, you could become the talk of the town. But there’s that fine line between magical glow of holiday spirit and, well, the one that sent Clark Griswold from “Christmas Vacation” yelling expletives.

 

A recent Boston Globe article offered tips from the pros in getting the former, and not the latter, in your holiday light display this season.

Select a color palette. Will you do white lights or multi-color lights? Choose one and stick to it. Keep your color palette simple, such as with just warm colors or just cool colors, suggests April Tougas-Schavone with the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Mass., which hosts a big holiday lighting event each year. “You get a much bigger impact if you stay with one or two colors rather than following five different colors in one area,” she told The Boston Globe. “It looks much more professional and refined.” Also, choose between traditional incandescent bulbs and more energy efficient LEDs.

Choose the bulb size. You also have choices of mini lights or larger C7 or C9 bulbs—plump, old-fashioned Christmas lights. Some designers like to hang these in vertical strands from high branches, or to use meteor or snowdrop lights. These lights are a dripping down ball of light through a tube. The plump C7 or C9 lights can be good for using on evergreen trees or along rooflines. Wrapping tree trunks or branches with a tight coil of mini lights is always popular, designers say. “They take the longest [to install], but they’re worth every minute,” Michael Rose, owner of Christmas Décor by Suburban Lawn and Sprinkler Co. in Framingham, Mass., told the Boston Globe.

Test out your lights first. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours stringing lights but then finally turning them on to admire and finding they don’t work. Test the lights out before you hang.

Check for safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there were 14,700 decorating-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms during the 2016 holiday season. Forty-one percent involved falls. Use a sturdy ladder and be mindful of safety if you’re installing the lights yourself. Also, check that all of the lights and extension cords are rated for outdoor use. Don’t use cut or frayed cords or any lights with cracked bulbs. Experts recommend plugging the lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, which will automatically shut off power if a ground fault is detected from water or a damaged cord. Purchase extension cords or adapters that add GFCI protection to any three-prong outlet.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: December 17, 2018, 7:00 am

Photo Credit: Clare

Painting a room can be a quick, transformative update for new homeowners to accomplish. Say your clients recently purchased a home and now they need a little design inspiration to bring it into all its glory. Paint is often the fastest and more transformative way to quickly update a space. Interior decorator Nicole Gibbons, who become known as the “paint maven” with her own brand, Clare, has four tips for using color to update a room. Here are a few of her insider tips:

Photo credit: Clare

  • Pare down your color choices.Research shows that it typically takes an average of four months to choose paint color, which is an unsettling statistic for Gibbons. Tell your clients to focus on a more narrow, curated palette from the get-go, which will help them to not become overwhelmed.
  • Try the color on. Peel and stick color samples are a great way to try out a color without the mess of mini cans of paint and partially painted walls.
  • Shine a light on it. View potential paint color at different times of day, Gibbons recommends, and in different artificial lighting to get the full impact of the color.
  • Don’t forget the primer.“Think of primer as a base coat that creates the foundation for a flawless paint job,” Gibbons writes. It covers imperfections, creates a uniform surface, and neutralized the color so the paint your client chooses appears in its truest, most brilliant form. Two coats may be needed if you’re toning down a higher-gloss paint finish in a switch to matte, or if you’re going from a darker to a lighter hue.

Source: Nicole Gibbons, clare.com

Author: Erica Christoffer
Posted: December 13, 2018, 7:00 am

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Holiday decor is going gingham style this year. Checkered plaid is one of 2018’s hottest holiday design accessory. Black and white or red and black buffalo prints are popping up in everything from Christmas stockings, ornaments, table runners, and wreaths.

The buffalo prints are really a nod to the cozy farmhouse and rustic design styles. Mix black and white buffalo prints with some burlap, greenery, and the warm, yellow glow of lights and candles and you have a very welcoming home this holiday season.

 

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: December 10, 2018, 7:00 am

By Harry Parson, guest contributor

A picture is worth a thousand words, and if you have bad photographs of your listing, it tells a thousand bad stories.

So, when I recently took over a home that had been lingering on the market for more than a year, I focused on its photography and online presentation. The home had been listed using poorly lit and composed photographs, which was doing little to generate buyer interest.

High quality photography truly makes the difference between a home that sits and a home that sells. In addition to having good photographs, I used tech tools from VHT Studios, a national real estate photography firm, like virtual twilight to help photograph and present the home in an evening glow to help it stand out from other photos too.

Virtual twilight is when image specialists use exterior photographs that are taken during daylight and then digitally alter them to reflect the warm indoor lights and cool outdoor hues of a home’s exterior at dusk. Twilight photographs stir emotions and make a connection with buyers. They also allow agents to showcase their listings in a new, differently lit way–without having to return for multiple photography sessions to capture a home in various lighting situations, or actually at dusk.

See the difference …

BEFORE

AFTER

The result?A buyer made an offer less than a week after I mounted the new images on my web site. Plus, the property sold for $20,000 over the asking price.

Why Virtual Twilight?

I used virtual twilight photos on the listing to make it stand out from similar-looking houses on the block. I believe the combination of higher quality photographs and the virtual twilight exterior made the difference.

In addition to the obvious beauty component, virtual twilight photos also help homes that have significant outside window reflections. It can be distracting when buyers see windows reflect other houses across the street, passersby, or cars parked on the street. This technology can remove these obstacles and replace them with a warm, romantic glow.

Virtual twilight photos aren’t just for luxury listings or already beautiful homes. For properties requiring exterior improvements, virtual twilight can add a polished look, improve curb appeal and increase buyer interest in practically any property.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harry Parson is a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker in Chicago, who engaged VHT Studios to take high quality photographs and conduct Virtual Twilight services on a local property.

Author: Blog Contributor
Posted: December 3, 2018, 7:00 am

Want to give your listing a little holiday flair–without going overboard?  Elyza Brillantes, design program manager at Havenly, offers some of the following tips:

1. Infuse greenery.

Greenery is always a must for staging your home so the space feels fresh. “For the holidays, seasonal greenery like evergreen boughs can be a lovely way to make the space look inviting, and also smell great,” Brillantes says. “If you live in an area where evergreens aren’t readily available, eucalyptus or magnolia can be a great substitute.”

2. Make it cozy.

The holidays are all about getting cozy. Pay close attention to your throw pillows and throw blankets in the living spaces to help potential buyers envision themselves spending quality time in your home, Brillantes suggests. Materials like wool and fleece are perfect for the cold weather months, and patterns like buffalo check are a timeless pattern that can feel just as classic as they do holiday, she says.

3. Show off entertaining potential.

Entertaining during the holidays can be top of mind for buyers. Dress up your dining table in a way that feels inviting. For example, a simple table runner and centerpiece can be a great way to make a space feel perfect for having the extended family over for the holidays, Brillantes says.

Author: Melissa Tracey
Posted: November 26, 2018, 7:00 am