Updating Your Curb Appeal

If you are looking to sell your house, one thing you can do to make it more desirable is to update your curb appeal! Even if you aren’t looking to sell and are looking for a change, we have found some easy, inexpensive ways to make your house look great!

Front door: To spruce up the front door, paint it a new color to make it pop. Choosing a vibrant color can make it stand out, but make sure it coordinates and goes well with the rest of the house. Another idea is adding plants or flowers by the doorstep. This extra splash of color help tie in the door with the rest of the house!

curb appeal pic

Lawn Care and Flower Beds: This one’s easy! By keeping the grass cut and looking nice, the exterior of the house already looks better. Spraying for weeds can also keep the grass looking fresh and clean. In order for people to get a good view of the home, you should also trim up bushes and trees. You will want to do the same things to your flower beds. Till up the soil, add mulch, pick the weeds, and remove of any rocks or other unwanted waste from your flower beds. Plant some fun flowers that are easy to keep alive, colorful, and pleasant to the eye! By doing these simple lawn care steps, your home will start to look fresh, clean, and inviting!

Driveways: When selling your home, it is a good idea keep the driveways clean and empty. You can do this by keeping your garbage and recycling bins in the garage or a shed. Pick up and store away any toys that may be out in the lawn or on the driveway. If you are hosting an open house or taking photos for advertisements, either park your vehicles in the garage or down the street. Another easy thing to do to make your driveway and sidewalks look nice is to wash them. Take a garden hose or power washer and clean out the dirt from the cracks in the cement.

Windows: By cleaning both the inside and outside of windows, your home will look cleaner!

Fixtures: Whether it’s your house numbers or light fixtures, by giving them a modern look, you can boost your curb appeal. To do this you can buy new fixtures to give an updated look, or if you don’t want to purchase new, give your current fixtures a fresh coat of paint!

For more tips and additional information about boosting your curb appeal on a budget, visit 8 Budget Curb Appeal Projects.



Kim, Lauren. “8 Budget Curb Appeal Projects.” HGTV, HGTV, 13 Apr. 2015, www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/8-budget-curb-appeal-projects.

Image retrieved from: https://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/8-budget-curb-appeal-projects

Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home

In our world today, it is important that we are environmentally conscious with our actions. Around your home, there are many ways you can go green. By choosing to have a more energy efficient home, you can also save money! Take a look at some of these great tips for saving energy in your home!


  • Make sure cracks around doors and windows are sealed for optimal energy and money savings. Also, by having proper insulation in your walls you will save money when heating your home in the winter.

Buy energy efficient appliances and light fixtures:

  • Energy Star is a highly recommended brand for energy saving appliances. Even if you don’t have these kinds of appliances, you can save energy by unplugging small appliances or electronics when they are not being used!


  • Dimmers: Save energy and you can control the amount of lighting that you want!
  • Outdoor motion sensor lighting: Only are on when you need them to be!
  • Skylights: Skylights can eliminate the need to turn on a light during the day. Utilize the sunlight as much as possible!
  • Window blinds/shades: Let sunshine in on cool days and block out heat on hot days! These also bring in natural lighting. They help you save energy and cut lighting, heating, and cooling costs!
  • Even using light colored paint on your walls will allow the sunlight to bounce off them creating more light in your home.


  • Leaves from trees can provide shade for your house which enables you to save energy trying to keep your home cool. During the winter months, the trees won’t have leaves on them, allowing sunlight to enter your home which provides natural heat.

Ceiling fans:

  • A cool breeze from a ceiling fan can lead you to turn up your thermostat during the summer months thus saving you not only energy but also money on air conditioning.


  • Wash clothes with cold water as much as possible.
  • Dry clothes on a line during summer months. Save energy and money by not using your dryer as much as possible. When you do use your dryer, make sure you are drying a full load of laundry to be the most efficient with your energy.

For other energy saving tips around your home, visit 24 Tips for Energy-Efficient Homes.

go green


Better Homes & Gardens. “24 Tips for Energy-Efficient Homes.” Better Homes and Gardens, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Apr. 2018, www.bhg.com/home-improvement/advice/24-tips-for-energy-efficient-homes/?slideId=slide_60f9e0e2-6904-4e22-b5b2-efd0d4164b3a#slide_60f9e0e2-6904-4e22-b5b2-efd0d4164b3a.

Image retrieved from:


How to Keep a Home With Pets Clean

Pets can play a huge role in many of our lives. They often are seen as another member of the family! We love our pets and they can impact us in so many ways. Many good ways, but also some bad ways; for example, tracking in dirt and filth from the outdoors, shedding hair, or just creating a general mess in your home. A home with pets can be difficult to clean and to keep clean. This is whyBUDDY Katies Dog we have compiled some different, easy tips and tricks for keeping your pet and home as clean as possible!

Stain Resistance

  • Stains are inevitable, especially with pets! Pets can have accidents, knock things over, etc. this is why using stain-resistant spray can be extremely beneficial! Spraying your furniture with a stain protectant spray will help prevent spills from staining and also makes for easy cleaning!
  • Another way to avoid stains can be by purchasing stain resistant carpet. Some types of carpet are specially made for homes with pets. This carpet can be great for all the dirt, shedding and other accidents that come with having animals in the house.


Pets That Shed

Additional Prevention

  • Along with preventing dirt and hair from entering your house, clean your pet as soon as possible. If your pet has been outside, especially on a wet/rainy day, make sure to clean your pet and its paws before it enters the house. Keep rags by the door for convenience. If your pets gets really dirty, giving them a bath is always a good idea.
  • Another tip for keeping a home with pets clean is by giving your pet a bed or pillow. If your pet always lays or sleeps in the same spot, put a pillow or bed there. This will keep the area from discoloration, stains, or other potential damages.


Save Money at Home


There are many ways you can save money around the house! By saving money around the house by doing little things, you will have more money to spend in other areas of your life. Some of these things are so simple, you’ll question why you haven’t been doing them your whole life! They may not seem like much, but little bits can really add up to big savings!


  • Wash your clothes with cold water when you can, and air dry them!
  • Turn ceiling fans off when you’re not in room, else it’s just wasted electricity.
  • Only plug in electronics you are using. Along with this, turn off your tv and lights when you aren’t using them. Limit your tv time to save money and live a healthier lifestyle.
  • Plant a garden. Save money on groceries by growing your own! Consider planting flowers and other plants that give off natural scents. You won’t have to purchase air fresheners if your home is filled with natural scents.
  • Also save money on food and other items by using coupons!
  • Use household ingredients to make your own cleaning products. Look up different recipes online. They will clean just as good, and cost much less!
  • Clean out your closets. Go through and find different things around the house that you don’t use or need. Have a yard sale and make some money off of the possessions that don’t get used!
  • Make a budget for everything in your house. Your meal plan, your different bills, your nights out. Planning and budgeting is a great way to keep you on track when in comes to saving money!


It can be really easy to save money around your house! By cutting down small costs in many ways, you can end up saving a lot of money and those bills won’t seem to big any more!

Housewarming Gifts


Someone you know just move? Or buy their first house? And you don’t know what to get them? Wanting to get someone a great housewarming gift can be a challenge. You don’t want to bring the same gift everyone else gives, but you still want to give a great gift. A gift that is both unique and practical. There are many different things to consider, but don’t worry, we came up with a list of cute and unique housewarming gift ideas to give!



If you don’t want to get too creative, and are just looking for a nice gift, you can’t go wrong with any of these gifts!

  • Wine & Wine Glasses
  • Salt & Pepper Shakers – They can be an easy gift and inexpensive! Try get some shakers that most people don’t have. Find unique ones that would fit in with the personality of the homeowners.
  • Plants – Plants are a classic house warming gift. Any plant will do, but we are big fans of succulents! They are low maintenance and so cute in any room!letter board


If you are going to give some home decor, give something that they probably don’t have! Consider a wreath for the front door or a letter board that the new homeowners can make their own!

Personalize it

By getting a personalized gift, I always think it means so much more! The new home owners will see you put thought and time into getting their gift and they’ll appreciate it greatly! You could get them a framed portrait of their home so that no matter where they go, they’ll always be able to remember their first home! Personalized door mats or a personalized return address stamp are both extremely practical and adorable! By using a map of their location you could give custom map coasters or serving trays.


If you don’t like any of these suggestions, just keep looking! Let your friends and family know you are thinking of them and are happy for them by putting a little thought into your gift! Thoughtfulness will always trump extravagance.


For more gift ideas, visit Perfect Gifts for New Homeowners


Source: Gowen, Zoe. “Perfect Gifts for New Homeowners.” Southern Living, www.southernliving.com/christmas/gifts-for-new-homeowners.

Image retrieved from: www.etsy.com

Patio Updates


During this beautiful time of the year, you may find yourself spending more and more time outside! The summer months are a great time to sit outside, relax, and enjoy a nice day out on your deck or patio. If your patio is lacking appeal, don’t worry, that’s why we’re here! We have found some great ways to give your patio a new look so you can optimize your outdoor space!


Keep it Calm

Many patio spaces are meant for relaxing. In an area that is used to unwind, make sure your patio furniture and any additional decorations match that concept. You don’t want to implement any updates that may be excessive or overwhelming. Along with this, if you want this space to be utilized as a space to relax in, make sure to buy furniture that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Also, buy furniture that is functional and comfortable! There is plenty of patio furniture that is cute and comfy; don’t sacrifice comfort for a stylish design.

  • You can accomplish a comfortable yet stylish design more easily than you think! When choosing a color theme, make sure it goes with your house. Don’t be afraid to add a little color though! You can add different pops of color or patterns with vibrant plants or throw pillows. Throw pillows also add extra comfort!


When choosing your patio furniture, there are many things to keep in mind. You want to achieve a stylish design while having comfortable pieces! Buying furniture that can serve multiple purposes is a good idea! For example, purchase a table that can hold an umbrella! Umbrellas are great for providing shade on hot days! Along with this, think of different ways to utilize your patio space and furniture. Creating a multipurpose area will be great for when you want to relax or entertain!

  • Having lightweight furniture can be extremely beneficial. Lightweight furniture can serve more of a purpose than furniture that is heavy to move. You can utilize your patio furniture in many different ways whether on the patio, or around a fire pit. Also if you have a deck, carrying outdoor furniture up and down stairs is inevitable and if it’s lightweight it can be done much more easily!


Additional Furnishings

You can add many other things to your patio set to create a great look! Plants and flower pots are always a great touch for any outdoor area! If you really want to spruce things up, adding a water feature is an option! Whether it’s just a bird bath, or a koi pond, water features can be a great bonus! Outdoor lighting is also a great place to make improvements or to add a little extra decor! Having citronella candles can provide the perfect amount of light for a cozy, relaxing mood while simultaneously repelling bugs! Hanging string lights is another super cute option for additional outdoor lighting! How ever you decide to update your patio, make it unique!


For more design tips and ideas, visit 16 Great Patio Ideas.



Better Homes & Gardens. “16 Great Patio Ideas.” Better Homes and Gardens, Better Homes & Gardens,www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/designs/patio-ideas/?slideId=slide_ffaa6ef0-d648-48cd-b159-033da861be5f.

Image retrieved from: https://www.homedepot.com

Ready to sell?


Are you getting ready to sell your home? Is your agent going to start showing your home to potential buyers? Well, we have some tips for you! From cleaning to staging to showing, we have some good information to keep in mind when going through the process of selling your home!



Cleaning is a huge aspect of getting your home ready to sell. Having a clean home will only make things better for yourself and the buyer. No one wants to purchase a dirty home. Having the carpets professionally cleaned is another good idea. Getting out stains and dirt from within it will make if look clean and unused.


When trying to sell your house, make sure it is always ready to be shown. Organize everything, and organizing your closets specifically can be very beneficial. If your closet looks like it is about to explode, consider taking some stuff out so it looks more spacious and not cluttered.

De-cluttering is another part of this. If you can’t find a good way to organize some things, box them up and store them!


  • Take down your family pictures and store up personalized belongings. Although pictures may make your home what it is, the people viewing your home do not want to see it. It can make some people feel uncomfortable “taking over” another person’s home. An empty, open house without clutter on walls will give the buyer a clearer picture and enable them to picture how they would decorate and personalize it.
  • Along with this, if you have pets, make sure they are in a kennel or at a pet hotel. Your animals may seem perfect to you, but not everyone is a pet person. Also, buyers will see you had pets in the home which may turn away some people.

Simple Touches

  • You do not have to completely stage your home in order for it to sell. Although, adding some things such as a plant or vase here and there can be beneficial!
  • You also don’t have to completely renovate your home for it to sell. One small thing you can and should do is make small fixes. If you have loose cabinet handles or door knobs, give them a quick fix! Clean scuff marks of floors and walls. If you have rooms that have bright colored paint, paint them a neutral color.


Create an inviting look to your home by having excellent lighting. Opening windows and shade will bring a lot of natural lighting into your home, making it feel more open and clean. No one will want to purchase a dark, dingy home. When getting ready to sell, replace old light bulbs and take down drapes.

First Impressions

Have an entryway that is welcoming and clean. Also make sure the exterior of your home looks nice. Keep your curb appeal up to date by taking care of your lawn and driveway. Inside of the home, the kitchen is the most important. People rely heavily on the kitchen when purchasing a house. It is a place people spend a lot of time in, and it can be a focal point of a house. If your kitchen is below average, consider giving it a small renovation. This could be as simple as painting the cupboards and replacing the handles. This is simple, but can make a big difference.

Let the agent take over

Remember that the agent is the expert. It is their job to sell your home, so let them do it! Remember that you are on the same team and have the same goal in mind.Luke-Small-Print-Right


For more tips and information visit, Home-Selling Checklist: 12 Things to Do Before Selling Your Home.



Ericson, Cathie. “Home-Selling Checklist: 12 Things to Do Before Selling Your House>.”Realtor.com®, Realtor.com, 2 Nov. 2017, www.realtor.com/advice/sell/home-selling-checklist-things-to-do-before-selling/.


Attention: First Time Home Buyers!

Buying a home is a huge financial decision, perhaps one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. Buying your first home can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be! We have compiled a list of things you should think about and plan for when going through the process of buying your first home!

  1. Are you ready? Just because you want to buy a house, doesn’t mean you are ready to. Be sure to be in good financial standing. Also keep in mind that having a house requires more upkeep and additional payments than just the mortgage. Keep in mind utilities, property taxes, insurance, etc.
  2. Once you know you are set to buy a house, compile a list of your needs and wants. Ask your friends, mentors, family, or significant other for help and advice when prioritizing your needs. For example, what is more important to you: the price, the size of the town, neighborhood, access to downtown, school district?
  3. Now that you know what you want and need, look online and then find an agent! Feel free to browse the internet for different listings. Just like shopping for something else, it is good to check out different homes and listings and compare them before making a decision. Next, find a real estate agent. Having an agent help you though this new experience will be extremely helpful! Professional help is immensely beneficial. There is a lot more to purchasing a home than what you may first think, and an agenext homefor salent will help you each step of the way!
  4. After finding an agent, find a lender and chose a mortgage loan that will suit your needs and plan. Your agent can also help you with this step to make it less stressful. Remember to maintain good financial status during and after this process. You should get preapproved for a loan before you start looking at homes and going to open houses.
  5. Next comes the fun part! Visit different houses and listings to see what works best for you! The first home you buy is one that you won’t ever forget!
  6. Once you make a decision on a house, make an offer, and negotiate with the owners. This can be stressful, but negotiating will pay off in the end. Once a deal is made, make sure to get an inspection of the home and appraisal done.
  7. Sign the closing papers, and you have just bought your first home!

Contact NextHome TriState Realty to find an agent who will help you in each stage when buying a new home!


For additional information on each of these steps, visit The Everything Guide to Buying Your First Home.


HouseLogic. “The Everything Guide to Buying Your First Home.” Houselogic, HouseLogic, 5 Mar. 2018, www.houselogic.com/buy/how-to-buy-step-by-step/home-buying-steps/?site_ref=mosaic.

Image retrieved from: nexthome.com 

Increase the Value of Your Home

Before selling your home, there are many things you can do to improve your home’s value. Some steps are easy, while other are more complex and may require a professional. It can be helpful to know what improvements will be most beneficial in increasing the value of your home.


One area to focus on is the entryway. This is where home buyers will get their first impression of your home, so make sure to impress them! This could be something easy like adding a new rug, fresh coat of paint, or a plant.


If you want to update and make major renovations, make sure to update areas that are used every day; such as the kitchen or bathroom. These two areas of the house have the greatest return when renovating. In both of these rooms, you can make large or small improvements. In the bathroom, small fixes could include removing wallpaper or getting new fixtures. In these two areas especially, it is a good idea to keep up with the regular maintenance and repairs that may come with the different appliances or plumbing. Solving any issues as they come will be much more helpful than trying to fix major problems when you are trying to sell.


There are also a lot of general updates that you can do all over the house to increase the value of your home. Painting is an easy, extremely beneficial update that will give your home a fresh look. Having good lighting and replacing old light bulbs can also give your home a clean look. It is also a good idea to replace things that date your home, whether it’s old carpet or popcorn ceilings, by replacing them, your home will look more modern without even changing that much. Changing out the carpet can be beneficial because many home buyers don’t like to look at a home and think about having to replace all the flooring. When making updates, it is best to focus on one room and finish it before starting another renovation. Jumping around from room to room can be overwhelming and will often lead to unfinished projects.


There are some things that you can do, that aren’t really renovations or updates. You can increase the value of your house by decluttering and cleaning. When showing or promoting your house, make sure it is clean. A clean home will influence the buyer’s first impression of your house, and if it is clean they will be more comfortable buying it at the price it is listed. Decluttering is also important. Make sure to organize your belongings and keep it looking tidy. Doing this can make a space feel much larger than it actually is!


By keeping your home clean and tidy, or by making small renovations, you can increase the value of your home! Buyer’s will notice these things and will be ready to purchase your home!


For additional tips and information visit, 30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value.



HGTV. “30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value.” HGTV, HGTV, 1 Sept. 2015, www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value.

Image retrieved from:



How to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer

Do you ever feel like you are constantly trying to keep your house clean? Or thinking that you just cleaned and everything’s a mess again? Keeping a clean house can be a challenge, especially if you have pets or many people living in your house. We have found some different tips for cleaning your house and ways to keep it cleaner longer.


By placing doormats by doors in high traffic areas, you can keep entrance ways more clean. These mats collect dirt and may encourage individuals to take off their shoes before walking throughout the house. Some doormats can be vacuumed or machine washable, but even shaking them out outside is an easy way to clean them. Just by adding something small, like a doormat, less dirt will enter your home!


One interesting tip we found for keeping your showers clean is by using rain-repellent spray that is used for cars. By spraying and cleaning with these types of products that are normally used for car windshields, water and soap will rinse off the shower glass rather than cause scum to build up.  

Protectant Sprays

Keeping your furniture and carpets clean can be done by using protectant sprays. These sprays can protect spills from absorbing into the couch which helps prevents from stains.

Daily Cleaning

Cleaning can be much less of a chore if you clean more often. By cleaning little bits at a time, your house will begin to remain clean. If you store different cleaning products all over the house, rather than in one area, you may find yourself quick cleaning an area. For example if you store bathroom cleaning products in the bathroom rather than in a storage room, it will be easier to quick clean the counter tops or toilet.

For more in-depth information and additional tips, click Here.

cleaner longer

Source: Sullivan, Deirdre. “7 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Cleaner Longer.” Houselogic, HouseLogic, 23 Oct. 2017, www.housel



Image retrieved from https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/spring-cleaning-tips/?site_ref=mosaic