Home Guide: Choosing the Right Doors for Your Home

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Apart from being the most important part of ensuring privacy, doors can greatly affect the overall style of your home. Whether they are inside or out, your choice and preferences about the door’s materials and design will elevate the looks of your home and affect its energy consumption. When remodeling or creating your home, consider a variety of different doors and their characteristics to decide which ones will fit your home the best.

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Types of Doors

There are plenty of types of doors, and you may think you have to opt for functionality over design. However, several types of doors offer you the best of both worlds by combining both functionality and design!

Sliding doors are most commonly made of wood, glass, or are lined with mirrors. People usually use them for their closets because they don’t occupy too much space. However, glass sliding doors are also used as part of the exterior when it comes to the entrance to the deck or a porch.

Pocket doors are similar to the sliding ones, but they actually slide into the wall, thus saving much more space. These are most commonly used inside the house and can create functional stylish space dividers for your dining room and kitchen.

Panel doors are the simplest and most popular doors for the house. They are usually made of wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and can easily fit any classic style because of their classic patterns of square panels.

French doors fall into the category of elegant internal doors and they usually have a frame around a transparent panel. Also, they can have several such panels, which are usually filled with glass or some foggy translucent material. Besides being great for your kitchen or living room, these doors can make a big entrance into your home if used as the front door.

Barn doors have become a very popular part of the exterior design. They can perfectly fit in your home if its style is rather industrial or rustic. Also, you can use them in the interior if you have big spaces that need to be divided.

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Consider the Materials

The materials will determine the durability and performance of the doors you choose. Additionally, they will affect both exterior and interior design of your home. There are plenty of materials you can choose from, but these several should be considered.

Solid wood is the most common material for the doors and its price and durability depend on the type of wood used. While cherry, mahogany, maple, pine, and other hard and soft woods are rarely used, the most common material is pine with 6 panels. Such doors are generally used on the exterior, but you can use them inside as well. However, they shouldn’t be used for the bathrooms, saunas, and damp spaces, since the wood expands and shrinks with the changes in humidity and temperature.

MDF, the material we mentioned earlier, is an engineered product which is mostly used for internal doors. It is stable and can be used for bathrooms and damp spaces if you purchase the moisture resistant variety; plus it’s smooth and easy to repaint for future renovations!

Metal and glass doors are elegant and can exude modernity. Thus they are often used both for the interior and exterior. However, they tend to be pricey. On the upside, they offer durability and protection for your home!

A photo by James Bates. unsplash.com/photos/ZVYZx4c4abg

Choose Your Style

You should choose the door design according to the overall style of your home. However, you can mix and match a little in order to create a more fun and eclectic look and dynamic atmosphere, but try choosing same elements in order not to disturb the flow. Pay attention to the size of the room – avoid massive doors with plenty of ornaments in small rooms so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Also, small doors in big rooms can create a sense of bigger spaces, but the room might feel empty and unfinished.

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Insulation

Apart from elevating the looks of your home, doors can help you conserve energy. Depending on the material and framing, you will affect the amount of energy that is preserved or wasted, so always look for well insulated doors. Also, thick doors can isolate the sounds that enter or exit your house, which can change the atmosphere in your home depending on the amount of noise that is let in.

Even though picking doors seems easy, there are several things to be considered. The right materials, types and sizes of the doors can save you plenty of money and trouble with the noise, while upgrading the style of your home.

Thinking About Buying in Chicago?

By Tali Wee

If you’re considering moving to Chicago anytime soon, you’ll be glad to know that it’s ranked one of the top buyers markets and best places for first-time buyers.

The housing market across the country is still highly competitive, outpricing first-time buyers who typically have smaller down payments than other shoppers or investors. Zillow evaluated major metros nationwide to determine markets with the most opportunity for first-time buyers, looking at home values, affordability, inventory and the amount of competition from all-cash buyers. Chicago was ranked fifth, with a median home value of $203,700. Homeowners in Chicago spend 14 percent of their income on their mortgages.

Homes move so quickly in many markets that shoppers must make snap decisions to compete, leading to a stressful or regretful experience. Fortunately, inventory is high in Chicago, allowing buyers time to shop around before making the serious decision to purchase. Chicago ranks second in the country as the best buyers’ market for 2016. The extensive inventory grants buyers more negotiating power with sellers. Plus, sellers offer more price cuts to prevent homes from sitting on the market too long.

If you’re less interested in available properties and more drawn to custom homes, the city also offers several new construction developments. Burlington Meadows is a small community in North Naperville offering single-family homes, wooded views, and spacious backyards. Lehigh Station is also in Dupage County, in Aurora, offering more contemporary townhomes surrounded by walking paths and quick access to retail and restaurants.

The Lakewood Prairie community is located in Joliet, about 45 miles southwest of the Chicago Loop, offering single-family homes along with a club house including a pool, tennis court, sand volleyball area, and playground. Kearney Glen, near Lakewood Prairie, is a new development of single-family homes with open floorplans, offering community attractions such as a pond and playground. Depending on what you’re looking for, you should be able to actualize your dream home in one of the many communities near Chicago.

Whether you’re customizing a new home, landing a move-in-ready property or adding your own touch to a fixer-upper, you’re likely to have some of the best buying luck in Chicago this year. 

For reference:

Top Buyers’ Markets

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Chicago
  3. Baltimore
  4. Hartford, CT
  5. New York/Northern New Jersey
  6. Miami
  7. Indianapolis
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Orlando, FL

Best Places for First-Time Home Buyers

  1. Indianapolis, IN
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Oklahoma City, OK
  7. Louis, MO
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Tampa, FL
  • Birmingham, AL

Two Places to Consider When Relocating Near Raleigh

By Tali Wee

Moving is a big step – whether that means relocating a few blocks away or moving across the country. Regardless of your situation, it’s best to do research about the potential communities you’re considering moving to. Check out the local amenities, demographics of the area and pay close attention to the value of homes.

Weigh the options of available inventory in your favorite neighborhoods and compare the features of each property. Are the properties in good condition? Do they have comparable square footage, number of bathrooms, updated appliances and yard space? The details can keep you researching for months. Many buyers struggle to find all they’re looking for in one home, especially in markets where inventory is limited.

One solution is to consider new homes. New construction homes offer all the latest amenities and extra perks like energy efficiencies that help you save long term. In fact, some builders offer new-age energy standards sealing seams, ensuring air purity, incorporating local and sustainable materials and checking water drainage for the entire property and yard which can save buyers 30 to 40 percent on estimated energy costs compared to resale homes.

If you’re considering moving to Raleigh, NC and are entertaining the idea of new construction properties check out Chatham and Johnston counties.

Chatham County

Residents of Chatham County are within close proximity to the University North of Carolina (UNC) and the UNC Hospital providing both jobs and a lively community. M/I Homes, a Raleigh home builder, runs an Everyday Hero program where fire fighters, educators, law enforcement officers, medical providers or armed forces members (active, reserve or retired) are eligible for $1,500 off the price of their homes or $1,500 applied toward home upgrades.

The median price of all homes in Chatham County is $234,800, significantly more than the U.S. median of $180,100. Home values increased in the last year by 2 percent and are expected to rise another 2.7 percent within the next year. Although homes are pricey, it takes only 2.3 years for the cost of renting ($1,361 per month) to break even with the cost of buying a home; so it’s best to buy if you plan to stay longer than a couple years. Forecasted appreciation with long-term employment options nearby make Chatham County a great potential relocation town.

Johnston County

Another popular option for new construction homes is Johnston County, offering both ranch-style villas and traditional two-story homes, perfect for families. The town of Clayton is a welcoming, southern community with a recently built, nearby shopping center that hosts a summer concert series drawing interest from residents in surrounding areas. The Everyday Hero program is available in Johnston, too.

The median home price in Johnston County is $146,500, less expensive than Chatham and the U.S. as a whole. In the last year, values rose slightly by 0.9 percent, but are anticipated to rise another 2.8 percent in the next year. This prediction indicates healthy community growth and sustainable appreciation, a sign of a good investment. Rents in Johnston County cost $1,136 per month, less than both Chatham and the U.S. median cost ($1,369). If Johnston is the perfect location and you plan to stay for two years, it’s more cost effective to buy since the breakeven horizon is 1.8 years.

Whether Raleigh or another U.S. city is the best fit for you, be sure to evaluate the value of properties from an investment perspective and consider which properties are best suited for your daily lifestyle.

*** Tali Wee writes about finances, home improvement and interior design for Zillow and other partners.

Home prices: Biggest rise since housing bubble

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Home prices continued their recovery, rising 8.1% in January, although a separate report showed a slight slowdown in new-home sales.
The S&P Case-Shiller index, which tracks the 20 largest markets in the nation, showed the biggest year-over-year gain in prices since June 2006.

“This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In a separate government report Tuesday, new homes sold at a 411,000 annual rate in February, down nearly 5% from the January sales pace but up 12% from year-earlier levels. The typical price of a new home sold in the month was $246,800, up about 3% from both the January and a year earlier.

Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank, said that bad weather in February could be partly responsible for the slowdown in sales. But he said market fundamentals suggest that the market for new-home sales should remain strong.

“Despite the pullback in sales in February, the uptrend in housing remains clearly intact,” he said. He is forecasting even stronger sales in the second half of this year.

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source: By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney

How to Make a Home Picture-Perfect

Home Photo

Walt Danley Realty
An Arizona home on the market for just under $5.7 million. See photos of this home and others featured as a House of the Day.

Add a photo, earn an extra few thousand dollars. In Mansion on Friday, we reported that adding at least one photo to a residential real-estate listing can up the final sale price by 3.9%.

Photos are already fairly established in listings. Roughly 85% of online listings include photos, says Ken H. Johnson, an associate professor of finance at Florida International University’s Hollo School of Real Estate and co-author of a 2011 study on photos in real estate. But the type of photo matters, he adds.

“When people first look at a home, they look at five or six scenes, and that will make the determination if they want to look at more,” says Brian Balduf, co-founder and chairman of VHT Inc., a visual marketing services company for the real estate industry. “You want to put your best foot forward.”

If you’re crunched for time or cash, homeowners can still set their space apart by taking steps beyond basic de-cluttering and depersonalizing.

1. Remove large pieces of furniture. Clearing a room of large furniture can make a home seem more spacious. “You want to focus on the space and less on the furnishings. Unless the dining room table is being sold, you don’t want it to be the focus of the shot,” Mr. Balduf says.

2. Consider a paint job. Sometimes the difference between selling a home and having it sit on the market is as simple as a coat of paint, says Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realty International/Christie’s International Real Estate in South Florida. Mr. Shuffield advises homeowners to decorate in the most neutral colors as possible, like beiges and browns. Jarring colors like bright oranges and deep purples can be off-putting to potential buyers.

3. Remember the front door. Mr. Shuffield recommends paying special attention to the front door. “Pressure-clean the sidewalk, plant some flowers, trim landscaping. It’s a small investment to make sure you make a positive first impression,” he says.

4. Look for details. Photographers often recommend shooting from the corner of a room with a wide-angle zoom lens to show a room at its largest. But sometimes, the whole room doesn’t have to be the focal point. Look for intricate design work, quality fireplaces, eye-catching staircases and high ceilings. “In normal real-estate photography, that gets overlooked because you’re looking at the room itself,” Mr. Balduf says.

5. Be your own editor. Apps like Instagram, an online photo-sharing service, make it easy for homeowners to gloss over imperfections and dress up photos.

Mr. Johnson, the FIU professor, recommends putting in as many photos as possible into online listings. But sometimes, leaving a little mystery can be equally alluring. “You don’t need photos of everything,” Mr. Balduf says. “You need just enough to entice people to want to see more.”

 

By Sanette Tanaka, WSJ

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