Friday, January 23, 2015

No Time For Panic:

Last Minute Staging Checklist!  


As a seller, the calls for a showing might occasionally come at an inopportune time, but the hope of this buyer being "THE ONE" will encourage you to stick with the process no matter how tiring it might be in the present time.  The end result- the fulfillment of your homeownership dreams- is always worth it after all the busy nights and days leading up to it!  

When the phone rings and you hear the person on the other end request to visit your home in one hour, it's no doubt nervewracking as you look around at the dishes in the sink and spots on the floor.  In those moments, it's hard to get your mind to work for you (i.e. calmly and rationally) rather than against you (i.e. cue PANIC MODE!).  Use this simple list to help keep yourself on track in a short amount of time. 

1.  Kitchen:
-Clear off the counters and wipe with a fresh smelling cleaner
-Clean any dishes in the sink and wipe the sink and faucet clean
-Clean off the kitchen table and put away any open or unopened mail

-Clean the front of your appliances with a fresh smelling cleaner  

2.  Bathrooms:  
-Pick-up any clothes remaining on the floor
-Straighten bathroom rugs and towels
-Wipe bathroom counters and toilets clean with a fresh smelling cleaner
-Close all toilet lids for a "cleaner" vision

3.  Bedrooms:  
-Make the beds and straighten the pillows 
-Pick-up any clothes remaining on the floors
-Quickly straighten clothes and shoes in the closets 

4.  Family Rooms:  
-Neatly put away all toys or miscellaneous items
-Fold and neatly lay blankets over the backs of couches or to the side 
-Reposition and fluff sofa pillows
-Quickly dust with a duster or cleaning cloth for a fast and timely approach

5.  Floors:  
-Vacuum carpets and hard floored surface areas 
-Spot-clean any spills/stains on the wood or tiled floors 

6.  Closets: 
-Quickly glance at all closets to ensure they are organized and not filled ready to "explode"
-Buyers WILL look in the closets, and the bigger they seem, the better the house feels 

7.  Windows:
-Open all blinds and curtains to allow natural light to filter in 
-Spot clean any areas on the windows that you notice 

8.  Laundry:
-Have a concealable laundry spot to hide dirty laundry quickly (i.e. wicker laundry hamper with closable lid works great!)

9.  Exterior:
-Check to make sure curb appeal sets up the tone for the buyers by the time they get inside
-Put away any lawn care equipment or children's toys 
-Position lawn furniture in an inviting manner and reposition furniture pillows/cushions

10.  Pets:
-If you can, take the pets with you when you leave your home for the showing
-If unable to take your family critters with you, make sure their "space" and items are clean and tidy to ensure buyers aren't turned away from your home for the wrong reason  


If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, now is the time!  With the holidays behind us and the outlook of sun and fun on the horizon, buyer's are out searching for their dream home. Could yours be the one they're searching for, but yet to find? Give us a call to set up a time to discuss your home needs- buying, selling, building, or remodeling  we can service it all!  

-Sarah Riordan, Office Manager

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Washington Strong

November 17th, 2014 marked the one year anniversary of the Washington, Illinois tornado.  On December 12th, we completed our first total rebuild, and our clients moved back into their home to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.  I am very proud of the job our team and our partners did to make this happen.

I was there a couple days after the tornado, and once we started, I was there almost daily through December 15th.  The amount of progress one year later is astounding!  Here are some observations from my time spent in Washington:

There was talk immediately after the tornado that labor and material costs for construction would be impacted all over central Illinois.  However, our personal experience proved that initial belief to be false.  While some of our partners are a bit busier than usual, we did not see dramatic changes in price or materials. 
   
The goodness of people was, and continues to be visible in Washington.  Volunteers have come from all over the country to offer help and support.  Neighbors continue to help and support one another.
The resilience and resolve of Washington residents is exactly as the phrase developed shortly after the tornado describes:  STRONG.  The people of Washington have shown tremendous strength and poise in the scramble to find temporary housing, dealing with insurance companies, simply trying to keep a “normal” routine for their families, and rebuilding/repairing the physical and emotional damage the tornado left behind. 

The job done by the city of Washington to handle all that comes with an extreme jump in construction was also handled well.  When we pulled our first permit, City Hall was packed with residents and contractors all trying to start the rebuilding process for so many residents, but he process was much smoother than we anticipated. 

Finally, everyone should take a good look at their insurance policies and make sure they have a clear understanding of what would happen if they were in a disaster situation.  Do it today, not "tomorrow". What is your policy limit?  Is it enough?  What about personal possessions?  Replacement costs?  What about building code changes?   What about temporary housing?  Talk to any Washington resident who has worked through the process and I'm confident they would recommend an insurance policy review as well.  

-Scott Patton, Project Coordinator








Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New & Modern Trend In Bathroom Design

By: Bryan Bornder 
One of the most common design trends I've seen emerge over the past 12 months is omitting the whirpool or soaker tub in the master bathroom.  
Most homeowners who have a tub in their home are admitting they only use them a few times a year.  In response to this admission, we've been consulting our clients on other options that might fit their lifestyle and needs better such as designing a large, custom shower in the master bathroom in place of the tub.   
These gloriously large, oversized showers may include a full tile surround, multiple shower heads and/or jets, and beautiful glass shower doors.  After all, why spend the money on something you will only use a few times a year, when you can put that money into a large, luxurious custom shower that you will use daily?  If you're considering building a new home, or find yourself staring at an outdated bathroom that no longer serves your needs, contact us to further discuss your home dreams!  For more on the most recent bathroom trends, click here to visit the National Association of Home Builder's (NAHB) website to discover even more design trends.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Drawing Inspiration In Dallas

As a custom home designer, I am constantly inspired by my surroundings.  Whether it's a house I see while flipping through the pages of a magazine, while flipping through channels on TV, or even a house down the street, I find myself drawing inspiration from all architectural elements.  Utilizing these elements in different ways helps to identify a number of different design styles.  The fun part for me is identifying the distinctive design style that our homeowners would like in their custom home and applying the architectural elements to achieve that style.

This past week I took a trip to Dallas to attend a wedding and visit some friends.  One of the days, while my friends were working, I decided to hop in the car and go exploring.  I drove around for a couple of hours checking out custom homes in the Dallas area.  Ironically, what I found were several houses with a façade reflecting a style that is becoming more and more popular lately.


There are even a couple of projects I am currently working on which will utilize some similar design aspects.  I know I'm not supposed to think about work while I'm on vacation, 12 hours away, but I couldn't help it!  So I snapped a few photos of some of my favorites, so I could always go back to look at them.  

I never know when or where I will draw inspiration!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cant Wait!

We have just finished the roof structure for a covered porch.  I think this is so cool that couldn't wait to share it.  There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a concept become reality  Thank you Rick Feeney and your team of fine carpenters for amazing craftsmanship!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Latest Trends In Custom Home Building

Now that I got your attention, I actually wanted to take a minute to talk about BuilderTrend, our online construction management software. If you read our last blog post, http://blog.bjarmstrong.com/2012/03/lake-bloomington.html, you know that we recently began construction on a beautiful new home at Lake Bloomington. For the first time, our homeowners actually left the country shortly after excavation began. They went to New Zealand for a couple of weeks to visit their newborn grandchild.

We know tha
t building a new home can be frantic enough at times, let alone when you are on the opposite side of the planet! Well, with BuilderTrend, our homeowners can log in to their own personal website at any point throughout the day to check progress, review the construction calendar, look at photos, even review change orders.




Obviously, this has been greatly beneficial to these particular homeowners, logging in daily to check out new photos and look at the construction calendar so they can see what progress has been made to their home....all while they are thousands of miles away from the site. The homeowners actually sent us a message just a few days into the trip, it read: "Thanks for the pictures. It is not like being there but it is great to see the progress."

It's great to get this feedback, but really we see the software as just a tool we use. It's our people and our commitment to making sure that our customers know each day exactly what is going on with their new home, good and bad, that makes the difference. We stand beside you through the whole project to ensure that it is a smooth and enjoyable experience.