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Incorporating Eco-Friendly Features into Your Home

by The Hat Team


Today’s homebuyers are much more environmentally conscious and they are looking for homes that are eco-friendly.  Luxury homebuyers especially want design elements that support sustainability.  The National Association of Realtors' 2018 Report on Sustainability stated that 71% of members noted that promoting energy efficiency in listings was valuable to them.  In addition, millennials are big proponents of “green” living and with millions of them reaching the age where they will be buying homes in the next couple of years, there will be a large desire for eco-friendly homes that will play a part in protecting the planet.

So, how do you make your home more eco-friendly?  It’s surprisingly easy to upgrade your home with green features, while keeping it aesthetically pleasing. Here are some ways to get started:

  • USE ENERGY-EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS

While they have been around for many years, lots of homeowners are just now beginning to use energy-efficient lightbulbs. They have many benefits, including reducing electricity use and extending the life of the bulb. Per , if each American household exchanged one lightbulb for an energy efficient one, the country would save enough energy to light up to 2.5 million homes each year, and save $600 million in energy costs!One of the most common types of energy efficient lighting are LED bulbs.They come in all kinds of colors and styles and fit into current fixtures, making switching to energy efficient bulb one of the easiest ways to go green.

  • MAKE YOUR HOME A “SMART” ONE

Many people may think having a “smart home” is out of reach; that it’s something only luxury homeowners can afford. But truthfully, it’s one of the best ways to make your home eco-friendly and in the long run, it will save money.Home automation allows appliances to run with the lowest amount of energy required, thus creating lower bills for the homeowner.Automated controls save money, time, energy and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win for everyone to add smart home technology! How Smart Home Systems Reduce Your Footprint

The desire to eat healthy has many people participating in home gardening. With that in mind, urban home owners have started installing green roofs, if you don’t live in a designated local historic district.There are many benefits to green roofs; they don’t require a backyard, they provide natural cooling, and they are aesthetically pleasing.But most importantly, they are energy efficient. During the summer a green roof protects the building from direct solar heat. When winter arrives, it minimizes heat loss thanks to the extra insulation on the roof. And finally, thanks to the energy conservation it provides, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

If you enjoy gardening and desire to be environmentally friendly, consider creating a living wall in your home.Not only is a living wall a beautiful, organic addition to your living room, entryway, or terrace, it is also very eco-friendly.It provides natural insulation, reduces energy consumption, and aids in humidity level maintenance.They are especially popular in hot climates because they require less energy to cool your home. 30 Breathtaking Living Wall Designs for Creating Your Own Vertical Garden

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Wallpaper - It’s Back!

by The Hat Team

Wallpaper has been out for a long time, but as most trends do, it is making its way back into homes everywhere.  Wallpaper designs have changed a lot and unlike the dark floral prints of the 80s and 90s, new wallpaper looks more like murals or custom wall art.  So, if you’re thinking about a new look for a room (or several rooms) in your house, you may want to consider using wallpaper instead of paint.  Here are some current popular wallpaper trends to choose from:

  • Eastern Influence - Think Japanese and Indian designs with hand finished patterns; the perfect backdrop for classic decorative designs and geometric prints.


Photo Credit: pinterest.com

  • New Retro - Everything old is new again! Geometric patterns such as chevron, honeycomb, and zigzags are back in vogue in retro colors like orange, teal, and mustard.  Use as the backdrop for your funky mid-century modern furnishings.


Photo Credit: wordpress.com

  • Traditional Florals - Florals inspired by watercolors and oil paintings have been given a more modern look with oversized prints. Plain linens and lush velvets create a beautiful contrast to floral prints.


Photo Credit: archiexpo.com

  • Modern Rustic - Influenced by mother nature, modern rustic wall décor is a beautiful collection of faux textures. Cover your walls with paper that represents the natural beauty of the untamed wilderness and features raised patterns that mimic elements like brick, bamboo, limestone, cork, rock, and wood.


Photo Credit: blackforestdecor.com

  • Quiet Patterns - Create a peaceful, calming landscape with nature-inspired prints in the modern-country style featuring layered designs in a color palette that includes pale tints of gray, taupe, pink, and blue.


Photo Credit: pinterest.com

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Design Trends that Will Make Your House Shine in 2019!

by The Hat Team


With new trends endlessly popping up, it can be challenging to decide what home design projects are worth your time and money.  It will serve you well to research what trends are timeless and what trends have gone by the wayside before investing in updating your home, especially if you are getting ready to put it on the market.  To simplify that process for you, here is a list of five of the hottest home design projects for 2019!

  1. Vintage Lighting - Think less exposed lighting and more pendants and sconces. Brass and copper finishes will also be popular.  Changing light fixtures is a great way to change the whole look and feel of a room.
     
  2. Millennial Pink - Already a hit in the fashion world, this trendy hue is making its way into home décor in unique and creative ways in 2019.  This serene color softens any room and mixes well with other colors and metals.  15 Millennial Pink Accessories for Your Home
     
  3. Copper Accents - Say goodbye to rose gold - popular in 2018, and hello to copper for 2019.  The red and orange tones of copper add an earthy hue to any space. Copper Accents
     
  4. Bucket Sinks - Sometimes called a “trough sink”, the bucket sink is another vintage design trend that designers believe will make a huge comeback in 2019.  Farm-house inspired, these sinks will add a touch of nostalgia and personality to your kitchen and/or bathrooms.
     
  5. 70s Chic - You may have heard the saying “everything old is new again”, and that is so true for 2019!  Along with many other old design trends coming back in style, such as velvet and geometric patterns, the 70s era is going to be well represented in the new year.  Warm palettes, funky textures and abstract silhouettes will make your home feel groovy!

These are just a few of many Home Design Trends that can give your home a whole new aesthetic, and if you’re selling, make it more desirable to buyers in 2019!

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call them today at 334-834-1500!

Photo Credit: trenddesignbook.com

Home Improvements that Don’t Increase the Value of Your Home

by The Hat Team

Preparing to sell your home can be a stressful process.  Often you will find yourself making improvements just for the sake of the sale.  While some of these enhancements may boost the look of your property and make it easier to sell your home, you will be surprised to discover that they do not increase the value of your home.  In fact, some improvements might actually detract from it.  Here is a list of 6 “home improvements” that do not increase the value of your home:

EXTENSIVE PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPING

Landscaping choices are a personal preference.If you are going to invest in elaborate landscaping, you should do it for your own enjoyment, because no matter how grand your yard is, it’s not going to bring you big bucks upon resale.

NEW ROOF, GUTTERS, SPRINKLERS OR HVAC

There are certainly buyers in the market who will be looking for homes that have newer features, but they won’t pay more for them.Replacing things that are broken or past their life expectancy is considered and not something buyers expect to pay for.

SWIMMING POOL AND/OR PERSONAL SPA

While water-related improvements can provide a lot of fun and entertainment for your family, the cost of installing a pool or spa never finds its way back to you. In fact, some buyers will ask that you take the spa with you or won’t purchase a house with a swimming pool.Installing a pool or spa should only be done for your own pleasure.

MAKING DATED IMPROVMENTS

If you think you might be selling your house, you need to be careful about making improvements that are not in style. For example, you might love white appliances and countertops in your kitchen, but because these are not currently trendy, potential buyers are not likely to feel the same way.

PAINTING YOUR HOUSE

Painting may be the single most cost-effective improvement you can make before selling your home, but it won’t return any bang for your buck unless you do the painting yourself. Fresh paint on the exterior or interior of your home absolutely makes the home more saleable, but an appraiser will not give you a credit boost for it.

SOLAR PANELS

The people selling you those solar panels will tell you that they will improve the value of your home and add to your bottom line profit, but it’s not true. You get zero approved value for solar panel installation.

If you are in the market to sell or buy a home, let Sandra Nickel and her Hat Team of professionals assist you with all your real estate needs.  Call them at 334-834-1500 today!

Photo Credit: centrestaged.com

Record Improvements Now

by The Hat Team

There is a significant difference in how the money you spend on your home is treated for income tax purposes.  Repairs to maintain your home’s condition are not deductible unlike rental property owners who can deduct repairs as an operating expense.

On the other hand, capital improvements to a home will increase the basis and affect the gain when you sell which may save taxes.

filesAdditions to a home or other improvements that have a useful life of more than one year may be considered an increase to basis or cost of the home.  Other increases to basis may include special assessments for local improvements like sidewalks or streets and amounts spent after a casualty loss to restore damage that was not covered by insurance.

Unlike repairs, improvements add to the value of a home, prolong its useful life or adapt it to new uses.

You can read more about improvements and see examples beginning on the bottom of page 8 of IRS Publication 523.  For a form to keep track of money you spend, print this Improvement Register.

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Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit AvoidForeclosureMontgomery.com.

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