Monday, August 25, 2008

6 Web Sites That Make Decorating Fun

For many people, one of the most fun parts about buying a home is redecorating it. Most of these sites are trying to sell products, but they are free to use and could give new home owners some good ideas.

DesignMyRoom.com- This is a sophisticated and complex site. It opens with a series of brief videos with Robert Verdi, a charming "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"- style guide to the art of interior decoration. The site allows you to choose furniture, art and accessories for 30 generic rooms.

BHG.com - Choose from Color-a-Room or Color-a-Home (exterior).

AndersonFloors.com- The Image Builder Design Center is a basic program that will change the color of the flooring, walls, ceiling and trim.

WoodFloors.org- From the National Wood Flooring Association, Design a Room is another basic wall and floor site.

Mohawk.Swatchbox.com - Mohawk DreamVision allows you to choose a room type (kitchen, bedroom, bath) and style (traditional, modern, etc.) then start designing.

Corian.com- The My Room Designer offers a good choice of cabinets, wall colors and of course, countertops.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Bonetti (08/23/2008)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Finding Furniture Bargains

Here are some ideas to help you search for the best furniture bargains:

Garage Sales
A staple for any bargain hunter's search, garage sales always offer great deals. In general, cash will get you the best deals, along with showing up early or just before closing. If you don't know how to shop them or where to find them, just ask around and you're sure to find a friend or relative who'll show you the ropes.

Flea Markets
If you're a bargaining novice, flea markets can be intimidating places. They're usually held in large, open spaces with many vendors and offer just about anything and everything you can imagine. It's best to take along an experienced friend who can help you haggle for the best prices.

Online Auctions
Not in the mood to go out and search? No problem. In today's society everything's online, including auctions. Do some pricing research before you bid, and search for similar products, noting the bids as well as the asking prices. Pay attention to the condition of products and ask questions before you buy.

Local Estate Sales
Look for these in local newspaper classified sections. Be sure to attend the "Preview Day" to see if you're interested in any of the items. It'll also be your best chance to examine the items up close and ask any questions. You may also have time to research prices and determine how much you're willing to pay.

With a little bargaining and the know-how, you just might end up with that great piece you've always wanted! For more information on how to find furniture bargains, contact your local agent today!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Walkability Becomes Plus for Buyers

Walk Score identifies San Francisco as the most walkable city in the United States, mainly due to the close proximity of amenities in its Chinatown, Financial District, and Downtown neighborhoods.

New York's Tribeca, Little Italy, and Soho neighborhoods helped it land a No. 2 ranking on the Web site's list of the most walkable cities, with Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, the District of Columbia, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Portland rounding out the top 10, in that order.

Experts say more people are moving to urban areas as a way to spend less money on gas, though convenience and exercise also play a role.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology--which insists a shift in transportation spending is necessary to make mass transit more efficient--says individuals reduce their annual gas expenses by as much as $2,100 when they live in urban areas versus outer-ring suburbs.

Source: Seattle Times, Amy Hoak (08/10/08)