Exterior Home Improvements Yield Higher ROI for Less Money, Report Shows!

(BPT) – Renovation season is approaching. Do you know what home improvements will give you the best return for your money? Here’s a hint: step outside.

You might assume upgrades to interior spaces like kitchens and bathrooms have the best payoff, but most home improvements don’t return 100 percent of their value at the time of resale. Those that yield the best return on investment for the most modest costs are generally exterior improvements.

Outside the box

Interior projects like a minor kitchen renovation or bathroom upgrade return a decent percentage of your initial investment when you sell your home – about 80 percent and 65 percent, respectively, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report. However, they can also cost tens of thousands of dollars.

By contrast, exterior projects like adding a deck or replacing a garage door deliver similar high rates of return, but for far less cost. Adding a composite deck can cost around $17,000 and yield an ROI of more than 65 percent, while a garage door typically costs less than $2,000 and returns nearly 77 percent of your investment when you sell.

In fact, six of the eight improvements with the best ROI on Remodeling’s report were exterior projects, and their average payback was nearly 75 percent.

Top exterior projects

Here are popular exterior projects that offer high ROI, according to the Cost vs. Value report:

* Roof replacement – A midrange roof replacement costs approximately $20,000 and returns nearly 69 percent of the investment. What’s more, a new roof helps protect your entire home from weather damage and can improve curb appeal.

* Composite deck addition – Costs vary, but Remodeling bases its evaluation of ROI on a cost of about $17,000. At that price, adding a composite deck delivers ROI of 65.2 percent. Of course, the value of your deck will depend on many factors, including the quality of the building products you choose. Capped board composites, like Envision Decking by TAMKO Building Products, are gaining popularity.

* Siding replacement – Another exterior feature that protects the whole home and greatly affects its curb appeal, new siding can cost around $14,500. When you sell your home, that new siding will recoup about 76 percent of your initial investment.

* Garage door replacement – Older garage doors may lack modern insulating qualities and a shabby-looking door can drag down the look of your home. Replacing the garage door costs roughly $1,700 and returns nearly 77 percent of that amount at the time of resale.

* Steel entry door – The single exterior home improvement with the greatest ROI is also one of the cheapest and easiest to do. Replacing a wooden door with a steel entry door will run you about $1,400 and you’ll recoup more than 90 percent of that cost when you sell your home.

Exterior home improvements not only enhance your enjoyment of your home and help maintain its security, they’re also the first things potential buyers see when they pull up to the curb. When you want to make cost-effective, high-ROI improvements, making exterior upgrades is money well spent.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

 

Light Solutions: What to Do When Your House Feels Like a Cave!

(BPT) – A house with ample windows can win your heart with silent promises of sun-drenched rooms and warm breezes wafting through open windows. The truth, however, is that even a home with windows galore can have rooms that feel dark and cave like.

Some of the most-loved aspects of modern design – open, expansive floor plans, wood flooring in darker tones, walls of windows – may leave portions of a room dazzled with sun and other parts dim and poorly lit. For example, a room with a wall full of picture windows will often lack windows on other walls. Near the windows, you’ll get plenty of sunlight and some glare, but the natural light might not make it to the far corners of the room – especially if it’s a large space like a great room.

What’s more, interior spaces like powder rooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms and closets often have no windows at all, making them feel small and dark. No one wants rooms that look like caves – not even if your house has an actual “man cave” or “woman cave” in it!

Fortunately, a few smart decorating tricks and some budget-friendly, high-impact enhancements can help brighten rooms and relieve that cave-like feeling.

Sunlight solutions

Of course, the sure-fire way to get more light into a room is to add more windows, but that’s not always a practical or cost-effective solution. Instead, look for alternative ways to bring more sunlight into a room.

Daylighting systems can bring sunlight from a rooftop down into a room, allowing natural light to illuminate dark spaces where light from windows can’t reach. For example, the Solatube Daylighting System captures daylight with a rooftop dome. A highly reflective tube funnels light inside the home, where a decorative fixture on the ceiling spills the natural light into dim areas. The tube fits between rafters, so there’s no need to cut through critical structures, do frame work or make repairs to sheet rock.

An options light kit provides electric illumination on cloudy days or at night. The included integrated solar-powered nightlight provides gentle, low-level illumination at night, and qualifies the entire system, plus installation, for a 30 percent federal tax credit. With the tax credit, Solatubes start at less than $500 installed, making them a cost-effective option for any room in the house, and especially in master baths, powder rooms, mudrooms, hallways and laundry rooms.

Another option is to amplify the sunlight coming into the room. Strategically positioning mirrors can help reflect natural light to dark corners. What’s more, a large mirror mimics the feeling of a window, making rooms feel bigger and brighter.

Window dressing

Maximizing the amount of light that comes in through the windows you do have is easy. Keep curtains light and airy, and use blinds or shades to control the amount of light coming from the window. Install curtain rods 2 feet wider than windows so that when curtains or drapes are open, they don’t block any of the window or the light coming through it.

You can also “dress” walls to mimic the look of windows. For example, if you have a windowless powder room, adding a transom above the door can help the room feel bigger while borrowing light from adjacent rooms. The tactic of borrowing light can also work if you’re able to put a pass through between a closed off room and an adjacent one that has windows.

Decorating tricks

Finally, don’t overlook the power of decor in making a room feel bright and welcoming. Light-hued walls of white, cream or pale yellow or blue not only make a room feel bigger, they evoke the visual qualities of natural light.

Large windowless rooms, like a basement play room, can benefit from large framed art. Select scenes that mimic the view you might get from a picture window, such as a seascape, mountain scene or city skyline.

Filtered overhead light can also create the effect of a natural light source. For example, drape light-colored, opaque fabric above a bed, so that the cloth conceals the overhead light fixture. As the artificial light shines through the fabric, it will imitate the diffused look of natural light.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

Plumbing The Power of a Powder Room Addition!

(BPT) – Never underestimate the power of a powder room to make your home more livable and increase its resale value. Having more and nicer bathrooms consistently scores high in surveys on homeowners’ wish lists. What’s more, extra baths deliver more than just convenience; a National Association of Realtors study found each extra bathroom boosts home sale prices approximately 24 percent.

With more Americans living in multi-generational households, many will be looking for ways to add a half bath to their homes. If you’re tired of haggling over bathroom time or just looking for a high-value way to spend your home remodeling dollars this year, adding a powder room could be a good investment.

Finding the right spot

Adding a full bathroom can be problematic. A full bath requires you to give up more living space, or even build an addition on your home. However, powder rooms can be tucked into small spaces like part of a walk-in closet and areas you might not use otherwise, such as under a staircase or in a nook in the garage.

A space as small as 20 square feet (5 feet by 4 feet) can make a comfortably sized powder room, but you can even squeeze a half bath into a space as small as 11 square feet. You simply need enough room to fit a toilet and sink, and accommodate required setbacks. When choosing a location for your powder room, be sure you understand building code requirements for your area.

Smarter plumbing

If you attempt to run water and drainage to your powder room using traditional plumbing methods, you’ll be limited as to where you can put it. Typically, with traditional plumbing you’ll need to locate the powder room somewhere that has easy access to existing water and waste lines. You’ll have to open walls, add new piping and possibly even cut through concrete if you’re adding a bathroom in a basement or in the garage or ground-floor of a slab-foundation home.

However, opting for up-flush plumbing opens up a greater range of possible locations for a new powder room, because above-floor macerating plumbing systems, like those from SFA Saniflo, U.S.A. allow you to easily add a toilet and sink where no drainage existed before. Above-floor plumbing eliminates the need to open walls or cut through concrete flooring. The compact systems are a perfect fit for the kind of smaller spaces you find in powder rooms, easily fitting into a closet or space beneath a stairway.

Size and space wise planning

Because powder rooms typically occupy small spaces, it’s important to be smart about how you lay out the space and keep in mind the size of the fixtures you put in it. As you plan the space, think of where the toilet and sink will go – side by side or on opposite walls – and be aware of clearance needed for the door to open.

Choose a toilet, sink and vanity that fit the space without overwhelming it. For example, a pedestal sink, rather than a cabinet, can make a powder room feel larger. A round-front toilet may fit the space better than one with an elongated bowl. You’ll likely need little or no storage in a powder room, and won’t need to add a medicine cabinet.

Powder rooms frequently lack windows, so be sure to provide ample lighting. If you really crave a window in a powder room, one option is to install a small one above the door. This preserves privacy but allows additional light to enter the room from the space outside it.

A powder room can be a powerful way to enhance the livability and value of your home. For a smaller investment of time, money and space, a powder room delivers the same essential convenience of a full bath and a healthy dose of resale value, too.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

6 Smart Home Features That Could Sell Your Home Faster!

(BPT) – Fresh paint on the walls, professional staging and an asking price that ends in 999 – when you’re selling your home, you’ll do whatever you can to help it stand out and sell faster. Because the National Association of Realtors is predicting modest growth for the 2017 real estate market, as a seller you want every edge you can get. And on the heels of the popular Consumer Electronics Show in January, perhaps that edge is a smarter home.

According to IHS Markit and CNBC, 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year. That’s a 64 percent increase from 2015.

Here are six trending smart home features that might catch buyers’ attention and help sell your home faster:

* Keyless/remote entry door locks – Have you ever left the house and worried that you left the front door unlocked? If your home is equipped with a keyless/remote entry door lock – available from multiple manufacturers – you can use an app on your smartphone to lock the door from wherever you are. Some manufacturers make versions that will also send a text or email to your phone when the door opens. Locks that can be programmed with multiple entry codes also allow you to see who comes and goes and when.

* Smart lighting – From lighting automation that allows you to control lights remotely and wirelessly, to energy-efficient LED bulbs that can change color to match your mood and decor, lighting has come a long way. Some smart lights work in tandem with home automation systems to allow you to turn them on or off, or even dim them, from an app on a smartphone or tablet. Others require no communication hub and can be controlled directly from your mobile device. You can also put some smart bulbs on timers (using your wireless device), sync them with certain TV shows or movies, and integrate them with security cameras and thermostats.

* DIY security systems – Don’t want to sign a contract or deal with complex security systems? Install-it-yourself security systems are affordable and offer security features like cameras, sensors, motion detectors and alarms or sirens, without the need for a security service to monitor them.

* Smart appliances – The Internet of Things (IoT) – everyday objects that have network connectivity – includes a growing list of smart appliances. Many manufacturers are offering washers, dryers, refrigerators and other home appliances that can communicate with you – and each other – wirelessly. Many can be controlled remotely from your smartphone – so if you leave the house and can’t remember if you turned off the stove, you can check in and turn it off using your smartphone app.

While appliances aren’t always included in a home sale, they do make for interesting features that keep your home top of mind to buyers.

* Smart plugs – One of the easiest, most affordable smart home upgrades you can make is to add smart plugs to your home. These Wi-Fi-enabled plugs fit existing outlets and can be controlled from a smartphone app. Plug anything into a smart plug, like lights or a television, and you can turn it on or off remotely, track energy consumption, or even create an on-off schedule.

* Temperature controls – Programmable thermostats were just the beginning; today’s home temperature controls are even smarter. Like other smart home features, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile device. You can program them to make automatic temperature adjustments and then use your smartphone to override the program like turning up the heat on a particularly cold day. Some smart thermostats learn from household behavior and adjust the temperature to meet your family’s needs and save energy, while others adjust based on the number of people in a room. And several can now be operated via voice-controlled virtual assistants.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

Four Statement Pieces to Elevate Your Bathroom to a Work of Art!

(BPT) – Investing in a bathroom upgrade is in the cards for nearly a quarter of homeowners planning to renovate within the next 12 months, according to a new survey. Improving a bathroom is rewarding on multiple levels; if you’re selling, buyers love great bathrooms. If you’re staying, a luxurious bathroom can be a relaxing oasis where you’ll be happy to begin or end a busy day.

Your bathroom is also an expression of who you are, and it should reflect not only your needs but your unique artistic flare as well. What could be more satisfying than making an artistic statement in one of the most-used rooms in your home? If you’re planning a bathroom renovation, here are four ways to make a statement in the space – and elevate your bathroom to a work of art:

Choose a showpiece sink

Few design elements afford such a perfect opportunity for utility and artistry to blend beautifully as does the bathroom sink. A striking statement vessel in patterned porcelain or smoky glass can be a focal point for your vanity while still providing ample space for essential functioning. It’s not difficult to find statement-style sinks, but to truly elevate the basin to a form of art, look for options that evoke the look and feel of the era when luxury items were handcrafted by learned artisans. Kohler offers Artists Editions collections that turn everyday fixtures into striking statement pieces.

Stun with a standout shower

Most Americans spend six to 10 minutes or more in the shower each day, according to multiple surveys. But a shower is so much more than just a place to get clean. A shower can soothe at the end of a trying day, or invigorate your senses in preparation for a busy day ahead. Statement showers incorporate luxury features such as multiple shower heads, wall jets, hand showers, rainfall shower heads, seating, customized lighting and even sound and video.

While bigger may be better in a statement shower, it may not always be possible. Start with a glass enclosure that makes the shower feel open to the room. If your space is small, choose lighter-colored tile. Bigger showers can withstand darker tile work.

Create luxury with counter tops

Options like granite, marble, concrete, limestone and other natural stones might be too costly for a kitchen, where you have a lot of counter space, but they’re a cost-effective way to make a statement in a bathroom where you have less square footage to cover. These high-end materials pair perfectly with statement sinks to create a unique, one-of-a-kind look. Upgrade bathroom counter tops to your dream material and then add luxury touches like a matching backsplash or under-counter LED lighting.

Transformations with tubs

Tub options are virtually limitless these days, and you can find statement tubs in every size and style imaginable. The tub is often the essential element homeowners and designers first fall in love with, and the one that establishes the direction for their overall bathroom redesign.

Soaking tubs continue to be popular installations for bathroom renovations, according to the 2016 National Kitchen & Bath Association trend report. Whether you choose a traditional claw-foot design that evokes a bygone era, a concrete tub that creates a more modern or industrial look, or a porcelain confection with sweeping, graceful lines, you can find a statement tub to match your personal sense of artistry.

Renovating a bathroom is an investment well worth the time, money and passion – and it’s an opportunity to put your artistic mark on one of the most important rooms in any home.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

Follow this New Year’s Plan to Get Fiscally Fit!

(BPT) – Buying a new home tops your list of New Year’s resolutions. As you picture the big moment, the one where you pull up to your dream home in your moving truck, sprint up and unlock your front door, you probably understand there’s something you need to do first. You need to get your finances in shape.

Just like those who make resolutions to run a marathon, making this big investment starts with a plan. Runners know that if they run a certain distance each day, it gets them closer to accomplishing their goal.

By following a few tips to reach financial fitness goals, you, too can achieve the goal of home ownership.

Do those daily sprints

People who reach their fitness goals begin with a look at their current habits and then make a plan to replace them with better ones. The same is true for home buyers. First, look at the spending choices you’ve been making, and review three to six months’ worth of bank statements. Consider what is necessary and what needs to cut back. The goal is to trim the fat in your budget so you can use the extra money to reduce your debt and increase your savings.

Crunch your debt

Take a look at your debts and consider the monthly payments you make. Are there any debts standing in the way of making a house payment affordable? Those are the ones you want to knock out with an accelerated payment plan, using the money you freed up by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. Try focusing on one debt at a time, paying close attention to the ones with the highest interest rates to pay off first.

Beef up your credit score

The good habits you exercise today will make all the difference on your interest rate later. Put in the extra work to raise your credit score. Your credit score pulls together many details from your past and current debts as well as other financial factors, and helps lenders determine your creditworthiness. Making the effort to raise your score is worthwhile because shaving off even one-quarter of a percentage point from a mortgage loan can potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

A credit score factors your history of on-time payments, the amount you owe on your debts, the type of credit you have, the age of that debt and any recently opened new credit lines as well as other factors. You may be able to improve your score and get the lowest possible interest rate on a home loan if you follow these steps every month: pay all your bills on time, don’t close old credit card accounts and don’t open new lines of credit.

Increase your intake of savings

Even when paying down debt, it’s still a good idea to start a small savings plan so you have some cash to fall back on if you need to go to the doctor or get new tires for your car. Start by opening a savings account and set up automatic transfers each month. Even with $50 a month, you’ll have $600 in one year, which could bail you out of a number of small emergencies. Eventually, once your debts are paid off, you can divert those payments right into savings, which also can build your down payment for that new dream home

Prepare for the big event

All these steps lead to one main event: buying a home. Once you meet those smaller goals – following a budget, eliminating debt, raising your credit score, and saving for your down payment, you are ready for the final push toward home ownership.

First, figure out how much home you can afford. Look at home prices in your area, use an online loan calculator to estimate your payments, and go through your budget. Then gather up the financial documents you will need, including proof of employment, bank statements and tax statements. Finally, choose a lender that is right for you.

“Following these habits can be challenging from a motivation standpoint,” Hamilton says from Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. “It takes patience, but once you’ve followed the steps to get financially healthy, it is a very rewarding experience.”

Pacific Home Brokers offers all your financing needs.We can preapprove you, same day, and help you plan for the future home purchase!

Please click here to learn more about Pacific Home Brokers™ home financing.

4 Tips to Help Keep Your Home Efficient this Winter!

(BPT) – With winter comes the holiday season, a time that’s supposed to be associated with “comfort and joy.” But how joyful will it be if pests invade your house, or if your home is cold and drafty? Help stay warm all winter long by addressing factors like air leaks from gaps and cracks that can make your home feel uncomfortable.

“Drafts and heat loss are common problems in the winter, and they affect homes of every age, size and construction,” says Gary Parsons, fellow at The Dow Chemical Company. “Those factors can seriously affect your home’s energy efficiency and how comfortable it feels. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to deal with issues like air leaks and insulation, and doing so can significantly improve your home’s function and livability.”

Parsons suggests these steps to help ensure a draft-free, pest-free and comfy home this winter season:

Seal cracks and gaps

Gaps and cracks throughout the home allow hot air to escape and cold air and pests to enter. Energy Star estimates that homes can have a half mile or more of cracks around doors, windows and sill plates alone, and those aren’t the only places in a home where gaps can exist. Air duct joints, points where piping enters a home, and anywhere wood meets concrete (such as around the foundation) are locations where cracks and gaps can occur.

Sealing cracks can help prevent air leakage, improve a home’s overall energy efficiency and block out pests and insects. In fact, homeowners can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling by air sealing their homes and adding insulation, according to Energy Star.

Even do-it-yourself novices can easily and quickly seal cracks and gaps in their homes. The ready-to-use insulating foam sealants can fill gaps up to 1 inch. When using the product, be sure to follow safety guidelines, including covering all skin, using gloves and safety goggles, and keeping the work area well ventilated.

Check insulation

Insulation is like a blanket that your home wears to help keep everyone inside warm and cozy. If your home doesn’t have the right amount or type of insulation for your climate, it can lose heat, energy efficiency and comfort. About 90 percent of existing homes don’t have enough insulation, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Follow Energy Star’s guidelines for more information on how to check your insulation to see if your home could benefit from adding more.

Take care of the HVAC system

If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system isn’t working as well as it could, you’re sacrificing comfort and increasing your energy bills. Make sure to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall to ensure they are operating efficiently.

Have the ducts inspected and seal any leaks. Be sure to change air filters regularly, per the system manufacturer’s recommendation for filter type and frequency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty air filters restrict airflow, making HVAC systems work harder and consume more energy to heat your home.

Don’t overlook little things

Things as simple as a forgotten window left cracked in summer months or neglecting to close the flue in your wood-burning fireplace can all affect the amount of heat and comfort that escape your home in the winter.

Before the weather turns very cold, make a sweep through your home and check for these minor but important points:

* Windows – Are all your windows closed? If you’ve recently sealed around windows, you probably opened them for ventilation. Double check to be sure you remembered to close them.

* Thermostat – Is yours properly programmed to optimize energy use by adjusting the temperature when you’re out of the house? Proper use of a programmable thermostat can cut energy bills by nearly $200 per year, according to Energy Star.

* Ceiling fans – you can use ceiling fans to supplement your furnace during the winter, but you have to remember to reverse the air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the fan blades to spin clockwise, which pushes warm air down from the ceiling during winter.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

New Neutrals Dominate the Color Trends of 2017!

Home decor: The hottest colors of 2017

(BPT) – From furniture to walls, new homes to remodels, cool grays have dominated home design palettes for the last five years. Look to 2017 to gently shake things up with a focus on fresh neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create versatile color with timeless appeal.

One of the most notable trends of the year is the transition of neutrals from monochrome gray to warmer hues, including complex taupe, beige, khaki and brown colors. These warmer tones create an inviting feeling, and while grays will continue to be popular, look for hybrid hues that blend the best of gray with warmer undertones for colors that are unique, yet familiar.

The perfect example of this trend is Poised Taupe (SW 6039), the Sherwin-Williams 2017 Color of the Year. Earthen brown combines with conservative gray resulting in a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that fits well in virtually any room.

If you’re looking to refresh your space with this new color trend, there are countless opportunities. Here are three stunning home decor themes using this up-and-coming color:

Organic re-imagined

Create an updated nature-inspired palette in your home with citrus green, weathered bronze, mustard yellow and light, cool-toned blue paired with earthy neutrals. This contemporary organic look is perfectly re-imagined for the modern world with just the right amount of visual appeal.

Wine and taupe

Saturated color pairings that evoke deep moods are gaining popularity by taking cues from baroque and romanticism designs such as rich colors that are reminiscent of vine-ripe fruits, dramatic wine colors and deep blues. Balance this mysterious palette with a neutral you’ll have a look that is unexpected and gorgeous.

Gray tones always provide a clean, modern base, but contrasting these hues with vivid colors allows you to transform any room into a contemporary paradise.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

6 Holiday-Friendly Home Design Features!

(BPT) – Whether you’re shopping for a new traditional, manufactured or modular home or just attempting a renovation project, it’s important to consider the functionality of key spaces like kitchens and living rooms. These most-frequented rooms will host meals, family gatherings, movie nights, homework sessions and holiday celebrations, so they need to include features that facilitate all these uses and more.

If the layout of your current apartment or house isn’t working for you as well as you would like, it can seem even more unlivable during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. As you consider which home elements will be the best investment for your money, the home experts at Pacific Home Brokers suggest keeping these features in mind:

* Kitchen island – With the exception of galley kitchens, virtually every kitchen can benefit from an island. Kitchen islands are the perfect spot for serving Christmas morning breakfast, setting out dishes for a Thanksgiving buffet, food prep for a New Year’s celebration or a staging area for an all-night wrapping party after the kids are in bed. Utilize generous under-island cabinet space to store large items like a crock pot or large serving bowls. The island also makes a great space to add additional seating if you are expecting guests.

* Farmhouse sink – Also called apron sinks, farmhouse-style sinks are perfect sinks for holiday entertainers and very trendy in new homes. Larger and deeper than standard under-mount or top-mount sinks, a farmhouse sink gives you plenty of room for washing large kitchen items. The baking sheets you used to whip up a batch of holiday cookies, the big pot where you simmered chili and even the racks from your oven will fit easily into a farmhouse sink. What’s more, farmhouse sinks give any kitchen a comforting, homey, yet elegant look.

* Sweeping technology – With all the cooking and entertaining you’ll be doing in the kitchen, crumbs and spills are inevitable. The last thing you want to do with a houseful of guests is wrestle with a full-sized vacuum cleaner or risk having a hand vac prove inadequate for your needs. Sweeping technology like a central dirt-removal vacuum system can make cleanup much quicker and easier. The central dirt-removal vacuum system unit installs at the base of a kitchen cabinet, and you simply use a broom to move debris in front of the unit. A tap of the toe turns the vacuum on, and the unit sucks the dirt inside a pull-out pan. You can open the drawer and ditch the dirt immediately, or leave it for later while you entertain guests.

* Fireplace – Few home features are more appropriate for the holidays than a fireplace that will add warmth and ambiance to any celebration, no matter how large or small. Gas log fireplaces set a festive atmosphere with the flick of a switch. It’s possible to install one in virtually any style home, from site-built to manufactured, and some versions can even work on interior walls of a home. Many homes will even feature a hand-laid stone or tile fireplace for a stylish, sophisticated look.

* Pet-friendly features – Four-legged friends are part of the family – and every holiday celebration. Home builders now offer a variety of features to make life more pleasant for pets and easier for homeowners. Clayton Built™ homes can be customized with a pet dish drawer that allows you to hide feeding dishes when they’re not needed. A window seat or hideaway cubby can be the perfect escape spot for pets who feel overwhelmed by holiday activities and guests. And a built-in grooming station in a mudroom or utility room makes it easy to primp your pet before holiday guests arrive.

* Single-level construction – If you’re thinking of getting into a new home in time to celebrate the holidays, remember that a single-level design and an open floor plan will make holiday entertaining easier and more enjoyable. Having all rooms on one floor ensures guests never have to climb stairs to find a restroom or go to bed. Plus, an open floor plan allows you to work in the kitchen and interact with guests – or keep an eye on kids – in the living room.

Please click here to contact a Pacific Home Brokers™ agent to learn more.

We are Thankful for You!

During this month of Thanksgiving, We have been reflecting on the things we are most grateful for this year. Primary among them is our talented group of agents and our clients. Thank you for the work you do to make our agency great. You help us provide valued services to our clients. Without your commitment, creativity, and high standards, we would not be the thriving company we are. We are very grateful for your efforts. To our valued customers, we want thank you for your remarkable patronage and for letting our company provide what you really deserve. We wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and bright moments.

Warm wishes,

Pacific Home Brokers Staff

Please click here to contact an agent to learn more.

Holiday Entertaining Tips and Tricks

(BPT) – A holiday party is a wonderful way to celebrate the season with friends and family. However, no matter how big or small the guest list, hosting the event can turn stressful fast. Before you know it, your holiday gathering has become more frustrating than festive, and you’re suddenly feeling like a Scrooge.

With a few tips and tricks, you can easily host an impressive holiday party without the fuss. From easy appetizers to elegant ambiance, try these five stress-free ideas for creating a memorable event:

Opt for potluck: The holidays are all about coming together and helping others, so this year instead of tackling a multi-course meal, set up the buffet table and invite guests over for a potluck. You provide the appetizer and main course and allow guests to bring over their favorite holiday recipes to share.

Amazing appetizers: Set out apps that are easy on the host but don’t compromise taste, such as cheese spreads with a crudite plate and a variety of chips or flat breads. Try the new Alouette Sharp Cheddar spread on a crostini topped with thinly sliced prosciutto. If you want to be a little more adventurous, swap in either the Chipotle or Ranch variety for an extra kick.

Simplify the color scheme: To give your home a professionally-decorated touch without the extra effort, focus on simplifying holiday hues. For a time-saving, chic look, use just two or three colors. For example, gold and red or silver and purple are timeless pairings that will transform your party into an elegant affair.

Add a magical twinkle: Strings of lights are one of the easiest ways to transform any space into a winter wonderland. Try incorporating strands of mini lights into topiaries and tablescapes for instant holiday allure. Just remember to test lights before using so you don’t end up with burnt-out bulbs or broken strings.

Create a premade signature cocktail: By making a big batch of a signature drink ahead of time, you’ll have more free moments for mingling. For example, fill a punch bowl with eggnog or set out pitchers of sangria so guests can grab a tasty libation and toast to a happy new year.

The right strategies will help you create a holiday party that will be the talk of the town long after the new year has arrived. What’s more, these tips don’t require excess time, stressful steps or unneeded expenses. And that’s a holiday surprise to welcome with open arms.

Please click here to contact an agent to learn more.