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Are You Missing These Spots When Cleaning Your Home?

Houma Home Cleaning Tips

While looking at Houma open houses, the houses you view are always spotless. They have to be to make them more appealing to potential buyers. But wouldn't it be nice if, once you find the right house and move into it, you could keep it that clean all the time? You vacuum, mop, and dust regularly, but after a while, the luster still fades. Part of that may simply be because there are areas you're overlooking. Here are some of the most commonly missed spots when cleaning.

  • Vents and Registers
    Your air vents can get very dusty. That dust then gets blown into your home as your A/C or furnace runs. Once a year, remove the grates from each of your vents and wash them gently with warm, soapy water. Let them dry, and replace them. Not only will your vents be cleaner, but there will also be less dust in your home in general.

  • Baseboards
    Being so low to the ground, you don't look at or think about them much, which means they can end up pretty dirty. Use your vacuum brush attachment to get rid of the dust, then wipe them down with a mixture of warm water and vinegar.

  • Tops of Cabinets and Ceiling Fans
    These areas you don't think about because they're too high to see, but the dust that gathers there can spread through the house. A microfiber dust mop with a long handle and flexible head should be able to reach them, but it's also a good idea to get up there with a stepladder periodically to make sure they're getting clean. A simple wipe-down should be enough if you're cleaning regularly, but if it's been a while, you may need to use a mild cleaning solution to remove caked-on grime.

  • Behind the Refrigerator
    Pulling your fridge out to clean behind it can be a pain, but it may also save you money. When dust gathers on the condenser coil, it runs less efficiently. By cleaning there regularly, you can lower your energy bills. Unplug the refrigerator first (it will stay cold for up to four hours without power, as long as you keep the doors closed), and don't attempt to move it without help.

  • Garbage Disposal
    You clean your sink regularly, but how often do you clean the disposal? A bit of ice and some baking soda, run through the disposal once a month, will keep the blades clean and sharp and eliminate bad odors. You can also put lemon peels down there for a fresh, citrusy smell.

  • Stove and Oven
    In addition to wiping down spills around your stove, it's also important to clean the actual burners periodically. Remove any removable parts and wash them with warm, soapy water, then wipe down the burner area with a damp cloth and some cleaning solution. Before cleaning your oven, however, check to see if it has a self-cleaning function. If so, scrubbing it by hand can damage the self-cleaning coating. Instead, put it through the cleaning cycle, which will burn off any food residue. When it's done, give it a light wipe with a microfiber cloth.

All that cleaning may seem tedious, but it's worth it to keep your dream home looking pretty and new. Our Realtors® can help you find Houma homes for sale that will meet your needs. Contact us to find the house that's right for you.


2023 Interior Design Trends

Interior Design

Is your home due for an interior refresh in 2023? If you're not sure where to start, looking into the year's hottest interior design trends can be a major source of inspiration.  

Not to mention adopting the latest trends will help keep a modern vibe in your interior and also ensure your home is looking good when it comes time to sell.

Our Realtors® love looking ahead to up-and-coming design trends, and we expect to see both new concepts, as well as old trends re-emerging. Here are some of our top predictions:

  • We'll Continue to Bring the Outdoors Inside
    It doesn't look like this trend is going anywhere any time soon. From incorporating natural elements into finishes to prioritizing those softer green and earthy tones, an emphasis on natural elements will continue into next year.

  • Think More Color and Energy
    Minimalism has been in-style for the last five to ten years, and we're now seeing many homeowners shift away from plains and neutrals back towards a delightful combination of color and energy. Bright colors and energetic patterns will be a major theme. We also expect to see the much-anticipated return of wallpaper, which will give designers more ability to integrate unique patterns and color schemes. 

  • Upcycling Will Be Big
    As the cost of home goods remains elevated, consumers will be looking for cost-effective ways to furnish and decorate their homes. Upcycling, which involves reusing, repurposing, or refurnishing old household items, will be a big trend. We also expect to see more people incorporating vintage store finds into their decor.

  • Checkerboard Patterns Will Re-Emerge
    This one might be a bit of a long shot, but we have noticed an increase in checkerboard patterns lately. From kitchen tile to outdoor patio rugs, checkerboard patterns that were highly popular in the 1980s seem to be making a comeback.

  • Open Floor Plans Will Remain a Priority
    People still love the openness and connection offered by an open floor plan, so connected kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms will continue to be a big deal next year. The other big benefit of open floor plans is they can significantly increase energy efficiency, which will be a big focus as well.

  • Art Deco is Coming Back
    We've started to see signs of this in 2022, but art deco is coming back in a big way. Expect to see more wallpaper with bold, sleek geometric designs in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. We've even seen it pop up in several New Orleans homes for sale

We really love this year's interior design trends, and we're excited to see the unique ways homeowners incorporate them into their interiors. One of the many perks of homeownership is getting to decorate your space however you want to truly make it your own! Contact us today for more interior design tips or tips for staging your home for sale in 2023. Our team can also help you explore New Orleans open houses so you can find a home to decorate with your favorite styles.


7 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Holiday Home Selling Tips

With the winter months quickly approaching, you may wonder if it's possible to sell your home during the holiday season. Selling a home during the holidays is possible and even has a few advantages over selling at other times of the year, including less competition from other properties and homebuyers that tend to be more serious about buying a home. Our real estate agents suggest following these tips when selling your home this holiday season. 

  1. Price Your Home Competitively
    Pricing your home appropriately is one of the most effective strategies for selling your home quickly around the holiday season. Instead of pricing your home high to "test the waters" and then having to reduce the price, start with a more competitive price. 
  1. Create a Video Tour of Your Home
    A busy calendar and less free time may mean that homebuyers are less likely to venture out and explore Lafayette homes for sale. Make sure that you take the time to create a thorough video tour of your home. This allows potential buyers to explore your home's spaces and features when it's convenient for their schedule.
  1. Embrace the Coziness of the Holiday Season
    See that your home feels like a cheery, inviting haven for homebuyers. Consider lighting a fire, playing soft music, and using staging to fashion spaces that appear intimate and homey on a brisk winter day. 
  1. Focus on Curb Appeal
    Maximize your home's curb appeal so that it creates a favorable first impression with homebuyers. If buyers are deciding whether to make time for exploring Lafayette open houses, a home that looks appealing from the exterior is more likely to attract their interest. Touch up any cracked or damaged paint, clean your gutters, remove dead vegetation, and rake up your leaves. Add a doormat, wreath, and potted plant to your entryway so that it looks welcoming. 
  1. Decorate with Classic Holiday Decor
    It's fine, and even encouraged, to decorate for the holidays, but you want your decor to appeal to as many homebuyers as possible. You also want to see that your decorations enhance your home's features. If you have a gorgeous arch or lovely fireplace mantle, garland is a terrific way to highlight these features. Setting up a Christmas tree is a fast, simple way to add holiday cheer to your home's living room. Stick with classic white lights and coordinating ornaments; keep overly personal decorations in storage, as they can make it difficult for prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home. 
  1. Have a Plan for Keeping Your Home Looking Its Best
    During the busy holiday season, keeping your home ready for impromptu showings can be a little tricky. This makes it essential to have a plan for quickly tidying up your home. Consider having a plastic storage container where you can stow personal items, like shoes, coats, homework, and personal electronics so that they're out of sight. Make it a point to vacuum and sweep your home daily so you aren't trying to squeeze in a marathon cleaning session before the showing. 
  1. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent
    An experienced real estate agent understands the nuances of selling a home during the holidays. They'll assist you with marketing your home so that you're more likely to attract serious homebuyers who are ready to find a property. 

Following a few simple tips will make it easier and less stressful to sell your home during the holidays. Ready to list your home? Contact us to get started!


    How to Avoid a Bad DIY Project

    DIY Projects

    The DIY approach is not only affordable but also gives you more control over your results. At various Baton Rouge open houses, we've seen some lovely DIY remodeling jobs and decor projects. So, how do you ensure your own DIY project goes well and yields beautiful results? Here are a few tips to help you avoid a bad DIY project.

    • Know What You're Capable Of
      It's okay to challenge yourself a little with a DIY project, but you don't want to take on something so outside of your abilities that you end up doing a poor job. Before you take on a project, make sure you have the tools necessary to complete it. Also, make sure you have the skills necessary or can learn them easily.

      A good rule of thumb is that plumbing, HVAC, and roofing work should always be left to the pros. These fields require licenses and certifications for a reason; they're technical, and mistakes can be costly.

    • Measure Twice, Cut Once
      Getting measurements wrong is one of the most common ways to mess up a DIY project. You don't want to cut an expensive piece of flooring or wallboard to the wrong size and have to start over!

      Those in the building industry use the phrase "measure twice, cut once." If you're someone who often makes mistakes with numbers, have a friend or family member check your work before you make the cuts.

    • Prepare Your Surfaces Properly
      This is a common mistake homeowners make when painting. If you're painting, make sure you sand and prime the surface first. If you're putting down a floor, make sure the subfloor is level. Or, perhaps you're re-staining a deck. If so, you'll want to sand down rough spots and remove any oily residue before applying the stain. 

      Usually, finishing products like paints and stains will tell you how to prepare your surface prior to application. Read and follow these instructions closely.

    • Use a Level
      When you walk into a Baton Rouge home for sale, you notice whether pictures are level and the furniture is sitting evenly. Of course, you want your own home to have this same balance. So, use a level when tackling any DIY project that involves hanging wall art, positioning furniture, and the like.

      If you don't have a physical level, there are level apps you can download to your smartphone.

    • Have Your Paint Matched
      If you are painting something to match an already-painted surface, don't just go buy another gallon of paint you assume is the same color. Instead, bring a sample of the old paint with you to the paint store. The technicians can match it, so you end up with the perfect match.

      Pay attention to paint finishes, not just color. If the surface you're trying to match has an eggshell finish, for example, your new paint needs to have an eggshell finish, too.

    • Use a Stud Finder
      So many DIY projects involve hanging or mounting things on the walls. When you do this, you need to make sure you're drilling into wall studs, not just into the drywall.

      There are a number of stud-finding tools you can purchase, and also some stud-finding apps for smartphones. Use them to locate wall studs so you can mount things to them securely.

    If you follow these tips, you should have better luck with all of your DIY projects. Contact us if you're still looking for a new home to live in. Our Realtors® can help find you a place worthy of your DIY efforts. 


    Increase Storage Space With These Tips

    Storage Space Tips

    Storage space makes a big difference in your home! Maybe you're staging a home and want to show off all the storage it can offer. Or maybe you'd like more storage so you can be more organized. In any case, there are plenty of options for adding more storage space to your home. Our real estate agents point out these areas where you can increase your storage space.

    • Add Upper Shelves to Closets
      Is the space at the top of your closets going unused? Add a shelf about 12 - 18 inches from the ceiling. You can use this shelf to hold baskets, which you can fill with smaller items like purses, belts, sunglasses, and umbrellas. This will free up more space in the lower levels of your closet and get all of these small, cluttery items out of your way.

    • Put Hooks on the Sides of Cabinets
      Are the ends of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets exposed? Take advantage of this extra space by screwing some hooks into the exposed ends. In the kitchen, you can use these hooks to hang measuring cups and spoons, your shopping bags, or even your extra hand towels. In the bathroom, such hooks can be a great place to park your bathrobe, towel, scrub brushes, and other bathing accessories.

    • Buy a Storage Bench for Your Entryway
      In many homes, the entryway is the place where clutter tends to stack up first. Consider buying a storage bench to add to your entryway. Look for a padded one so it can double as a seat. Most storage benches have lids on hinges, which you can fold up to access the interior of the bench. Inside, you can store your hats, gloves, and other winter apparel, especially during the warm season when you're not using it.

    • Put Storage Shelving Under Your Sinks
      The cabinets under sinks tend to get cluttered with old sponges, half-empty bottles of cleaner, and worn-out scrub brushes. If you put a small storage shelving unit inside this cabinet, you'll be better able to see and access all of the items stored there. This will make it easier to find what you need and call attention to worn-out items that need to be thrown away.

    • Mount Old Cabinets in Your Garage
      Are you remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? Instead of throwing away the old cabinets, have them installed on the wall of your garage. They don't have to look perfect to hold your sporting goods, gardening supplies, and tools. You can even add some hooks inside a few of the cabinets, making it easier to hang up tools and cleaning cloths.

    • Add a Magnetic Strip to Your Bathroom Cabinet
      You can find stock-on magnetic strips at many home goods stores. Buy one of these, and mount it inside your bathroom cabinet. It will be a convenient place to store bobby pins, hair clips, nail trimmers, and other hygiene tools that would otherwise end up scattered about and lost.

    • Purchase Under-Bed Storage Boxes
      Visit a home goods store, and look for some flat, under-bed storage boxes. You can use these to store off-season clothing, holiday decorations, spare bedding, and anything else that's getting in the way inside your closets.

    With these ideas, you can create more storage space inside almost any home. If you're still looking for the perfect house to call your home, feel free to contact us. We'll guide you through the process of finding Lake Charles homes for sale and attending Lake Charles open houses


    Should You Steam Clean Before a Showing?

    Steam Cleaning Tips

    When selling your home, you need to make sure your home is ready for the market. While other activities like making repairs and updates are important, cleaning is the essential and cheapest step in getting your home ready. Besides killing germs, allergens, and pet odors, steam cleaning also helps make your home appear (and smell) new again. Our real estate agents know that a clean home makes a great first impression when potential buyers come to visit. If you're considering steam cleaning before your next showing, keep in mind these things.

    • Buyers Will Notice Your Flooring
      Chances are you don't pay much attention to your flooring at the moment. But potential buyers certainly will. The first impression a potential homebuyer gets about your home significantly contributes to their purchasing decision. If your carpet or floors appear stained or discolored, your potential buyers will notice, and that could negatively affect their first impression.

      A popular belief is that steam cleaners are only ideal for carpeted flooring. However, you can use a steam cleaner for your floors. A steam cleaner is highly effective, especially for hard-to-access corners around your house

    • Steam Cleaning is a Cost-Effective Option
      You would like your home to attract a potential buyer, but what do you do when you are on a tight budget and cannot afford to replace the carpet? Steam clean it. Steam cleaning changes the look of your carpet, making it appear new.

      It maximizes the value of your home while minimizing expenses. Besides, it helps eliminate the need to get a new carpet since steam cleaning helps achieve the same objective.

    • Helpful When Repainting Your Home
      As you prepare your home for sale, ensure the house is well painted. If a year has gone by since you last painted your home, the house might need some touching up. Repainting or touching up paint can help make your home appear new.

      If you have wallpaper that you need to remove before painting, you can remove it using a steam cleaner. Some wallpapers use glue that comes off with paint, forcing you to repaint the entire wall. Using a steam cleaner helps you remove wallpaper quickly and effectively without damaging the wall.

    • Say Goodbye to Pet Odor
      Although you love your four-legged companion, you shouldn't assume your potential buyer loves pets. Therefore, you need to eliminate pet odor, and the best way to do so is by steam cleaning. Steam cleaning removes urine odors from any carpet or upholstery around your home. It ensures the house is clean, smelling fresh, and ready for your next showing. Make sure to target the spaces your pet normally lounges throughout the day!

    Are you looking to sell your home or buy a dream home? Go through these Lafayette homes for sale. You can also stop and view our Lafayette open houses or contact us to learn more about the local real estate market.


    New Year's Resolution: How to Make a Cleaning Schedule

    Cleaning Schedule

    Trying to think of a New Year's resolution for your home? Making a cleaning schedule helps you keep your home extra tidy all year long. Plus, if you are getting ready to sell your home, a cleaning schedule can help ensure your home is ready for any showings. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help you set a successful cleaning schedule for 2022. 

    • Make a Master Task List
      Part of the problem with keeping your house clean is forgetting how many things you actually have to do. It's easy to get into a routine of keeping the kitchen clean, and then next thing you know, you've got dust piling up on all your surfaces. Sit down and make a comprehensive list of all the things you need to clean regularly in order to keep your house clean, noting the frequency of each task on the list. If you need to do a deep cleaning of anything, for instance, before your house joins other Lafayette homes for sale, put that on the list too.

    • Pick Your Cleaning Style
      There are a few different approaches to cleaning the house. For instance, are you the type who likes to do a little every day to avoid lengthier cleaning days? Or do you prefer to get it done all at once? One approach to a daily cleaning schedule is to focus on speed cleaning everything lightly every day to prevent the need for deep cleaning. Alternatively, you can set a timer every day for 30, 60, or 90 minutes, and when the timer goes off, you're done for the day. For those who like a more rigid approach, you can actually schedule all of your tasks on a monthly calendar. Or, if you're an all-in-one-day kind of person, pick a day each week or every couple of weeks where you have the time to devote an entire day to cleaning.

    • Assign Tasks
      Once you've figured out how you'd like to schedule your cleaning, it's simply a matter of assigning tasks to fill in the time. If you're speed cleaning daily or doing timed cleaning, pressing or frequent tasks come first, and other tasks from your master list can be added as time allows. If you're the calendar type, fill in your cleaning calendar with tasks throughout the month according to how often they need to be done to stay on top of a clean house. If you're a one-big-cleaning-day type of person, do the regular tasks first, and fill in with an alternating schedule of less frequent tasks where you have time.

    • Regroup as Needed
      The biggest problem with New Year's resolutions is that people often don't reassess and adjust their original goals. Try out your new cleaning schedule, and if it obviously isn't working, change it! Do you have busy days where you don't have time to clean? Does something need to be cleaned more often? Can something else be cleaned less often to make life easier on you? Change what needs to be changed, and don't be hard on yourself when you don't get something done. Just pick it back up next time.

    Most people don't love cleaning, so setting a schedule can help you stay on top of it. If you're planning to sell your house soon, on the other hand, you may need to devote time to a more thorough cleaning. For more information on what should be cleaned to stage your home for sale, contact us today.


    Prepare for Showings: How to Improve Your Home's Scent

    Showing Tips

    Our sense of smell can be a powerful influence over us. Certain smells carry with them emotions or even memories. Pleasant smells can also impact our first impressions of a place, which gives you a powerful tool you can use as you begin staging your home.

    Making your home smell fresh and welcoming can help generate interest. Below are a few tried-and-true methods our real estate agents recommend for making your home smell good right before a showing or open house.

    • Remove Odors Using Baking Soda
      First things first: You need to start with a clean slate, which means eliminating any existing odors. Fortunately, you likely have the perfect solution for this already in your kitchen. Baking soda absorbs odors instead of covering them up, so sprinkle it on your carpet and upholstery about 15 minutes before vacuuming.

    • Bake Cookies
      If you enjoy baking, making cookies before a showing is a great way to fill your home with a wonderful smell no one can resist. The smell of baking cookies often brings to mind memories of childhood, grandparents, and holidays, in other words, all things that turn a house into a real home. As an added bonus, you could even leave the cookies out for prospective buyers to munch on. Can you imagine a warmer welcome?

    • Simmer Seasonal Scents
      If you don't have the time to bake cookies, you can whip up a little scent factory on your stove instead. Bring a pot of water to a simmer, and then add your desired scents to the water. For instance, many simmer pot recipes call for citrus and vanilla for a warm, welcoming fragrance. Cinnamon and cloves are also popular. For a host of seasonal suggestions, search the internet for "simmer pot recipes" and whatever season you want to evoke.

    • Add Some Plants
      Flowers and other plants aren't just for curb appeal. You'll find house plants and flower arrangements throughout Lafayette homes for sale, partly for the welcoming look but also partly for their fragrance. Whether you are using potted plants or bouquets of cut flowers, look for something with a light, sweet fragrance that won't be too overpowering. For instance, roses and lavender are two popular scents that are floral without seeming too perfumed. Do avoid flowers like lilies, however, as many people are allergic to their pollen.

    • Diffuse Essential Oils
      If you don't have time to bake or simmer up a scent, and you have no green thumb for staging with plants, all hope is not lost! Diffusers and some carefully chosen essential oils enable you to fill your home with a clean, welcoming scent. A fan-style diffuser would need to be run for a few hours before your open house, but a few simple reed diffusers throughout the house will ensure that your home smells ready for a showing at any time. For the best results, stick with a single scent throughout the house, something not too perfume-like. Citrus and herbal scents tend to be liked by the widest range of people.

    Scent is a powerful influencer that can help turn a prospective buyer's decision into a more emotional one. For more tips on how to win over your potential buyers and sell your home, or to start your search for the perfect dream home, contact us today.


    Staging Tips for Your Living Room

    Houma Staging

    Before putting your house on the market, you want to ensure it will make a great first impression when potential buyers come to take a look. Chances are the first room that will be seen is the living room. For this room, it is not enough to just clean and tidy up. You need to go the extra mile and stage it. Set the stage for a great first impression by following these living room staging tips. 

    1. Declutter
      Before you start cleaning, it's important to declutter. Start with one wall in the living room and take down some decor items. Or consider removing furniture from the room and storing it in a storage unit until you move. The goal is to present an airy, spacious, light-filled living room. 

    2. Fix it up
      Look around and make a list of items you'll need to repair. It may be holes on a wall where you have taken down a painting or other wall art, a cracked floor or wall tile, or a broken window pane. Fix what you can or hire a professional to help tackle larger issues. 

    3. Remove and Replace
      There be some items that are in bad shape and you are wondering how to handle them. For instance, perhaps your sofa is worn out with faded, sunk cushions. It is true that the buyer will move in with their own furniture so the state of yours shouldn't matter. However, keep in mind that what you are doing is staging your living room for the sole purpose of making a sale. For the sake of presenting it in the best light possible, consider renting a sofa and maybe other pieces to make a good impression. Look at it as an investment that will pay off when you get a buyer. If you plan to keep the sofa or other older items, consider repairing it or reviving it with new upholstery or a new coat of paint.

    4. Fresh Coat of Paint
      When everything has been decluttered and fixed, consider painting the living room walls and doors. Go for neutral, soft colors and leave it to the buyer to pick their own color. 

    5. Deep Clean
      Lastly, you can get down to cleaning. If you can, bring in the professionals to clean your sofa and carpet. Not only will this help prevent odors in your home, but you will also be a step ahead with getting ready to move once your house does sell. Do a thorough clean of every space including the walls, doors, and light fixtures which sometimes might get overlooked in your cleaning routine. Going the extra mile will pay off when buyers come over to view the space.

    If you are looking for Houma homes for sale, leave it to Latter & Blum to find you your dream home. If you are looking to sell, our real estate agents can also guide you through making a sale including home staging tips. Contact us today.


    DIY Projects That Increase Your Home's Value

    DIY Projects for Home Value Increase

    Renovations and keeping your home up-to-date can increase your home's value, not to mention it's a lot more fun to live in an updated house and enjoy those renovations while you live there. But not everyone has money to throw into a renovation, especially if you're planning on moving out afterward. Fortunately, there are many low-budget DIY projects you can do to increase your home's value. Here are a few easy upgrades our real estate agents recommend to get you started.

    1. Add light.
      A well-lit home shows better than a poorly lit home. Updating your light fixtures is a fairly easy upgrade you can do on your home with just a few tools and a little basic electrical know-how. Replace those vintage light fixtures with better, brighter ones. You might also look into updating your light switches to smart switches or installing dimmers to allow more control over lighting options. And while we're on the subject of lighting, if you're going to be listing your home for sale, be sure to clean the windows, both inside and out!

    2. Give your kitchen cabinets a face-up.
      Our agents have noticed that Baton Rouge homes for sale with updated kitchens are quick to get a buyer's attention! Not everyone has the money for a kitchen renovation, but you can freshen your kitchen's look with some paint, new matching hardware, and a weekend of your time. If you are selling the home, make sure to choose a fairly neutral color scheme. A new set of modern, matching hardware will put the finishing touches on your kitchen's new look. For extra style points, look into updating your sink and faucet, too.

    3. Refresh your bathroom.
      Just like kitchens, updated bathrooms can make a huge difference to a buyer. Repainting your cabinets and replacing the cabinet hardware is a good place to start. Bathrooms are just as likely as kitchens to have outdated plumbing fixtures, so consider replacing them with something more attractive and modern. If your bathroom's mirror and lighting aren't good, look into replacements for these as well. These are all fairly affordable projects that are easy to do yourself and can give your bathroom a brand-new look without the expense of a full renovation.

    4. Maximize your closet space.
      Storage space is another concern for you if you continue living in the house and for any potential buyers when you sell. Older homes tend to have fairly basic closets, but that single bar and shelf may be hiding a lot of wasted storage space. Look into a DIY closet shelving with adjustable shelving and other options to help you make the most of your storage space. If you're planning on selling the home, make sure you also declutter and put stuff into storage for staging, as a closet that's only partially full looks much bigger than one that's jam-packed!

    5. Boost curb appeal.
      Finally, don't forget the importance of first impressions. There are several easy DIY you can do that will dramatically improve your home's curb appeal, which is especially important if you're going to sell. Consider giving your door, the trim around it, and the porch a fresh coat of paint. Decorate that area around the door with planters. A little time spent on the landscaping wouldn't go amiss, either, particularly the part of the yard visible from the street.

    Making a few choice updates can make a surprising difference in your home's value. Contact us today, and one of our agents will help you decide what DIY projects to focus on.


    Eye-Catching Ways to Display Your Books

    Book Display Ideas

    If you're a heavy reader, chances are you have a relatively large book collection sitting at home collecting dust. Some of our real estate agents really dislike parting with good books after they've finished reading them. Instead of storing them in the attic, why not turn your book collection into a home library? 

    Showing off your book collection is such a great way to add a touch of elegance to any room of your house. In fact, there are so many creative ways to put your books on display that you may never want to get rid of another book again! Below are some ideas on how to turn your collection into a stylish display.

    1. Line the Fireplace
      If you want to create a classic literary vibe in your living room, consider lining your fireplace mantle with your favorite books. You can group them into sections, separate them with decorations or photos, or organize them by color. Depending on the size of your collection, you may have limited space so be sure to select the titles that you really want to show off.
    2. Put Them in the Fireplace
      If you have a non-working fireplace that isn't being used for any other purpose, use it for book storage! Sorting your books into piles and stashing them inside your fireplace is a great way to create a chic, sophisticated Brooklyn vibe. 

    3. Fill-up a Dead Corner
      If you just can't figure out what to do with an empty corner, use it to show off your books. Add floating shelves or a sturdy bookcase to construct the ultimate corner library. If the room is large enough, you could even add a chair and some lighting to create a cozy reading nook.

    4. Build a Coffee Table
      Pick your sturdiest books, compile them into four even piles, and then find a strong flat surface to create the ultimate literary DIY coffee table. Not only is this a practical way to store your books, but it can also serve as a great conversation piece. Just be sure to include interesting titles. 

    5. Group By Color or Size
      If you have a truly large collection, there are many ways you can creatively show them off on a shelf. Forget alphabetizing -- instead, try creating interesting patterns with color or height. You can also alternative vertical groups with horizontal stacks. Your goal is to create a tidy, visually appealing bookshelf instead of an old stuffy look.

    6. Try Floating Cabinets
      We especially like this idea for a home office. Try adding some floating wall cabinets that are large enough to store a decent number of books. Alternate horizontal groups and vertical stacks, and be sure to break them up with some decorative elements. 

    7. Create A Gallery Wall
      If you have a lot of heavy, coffee table books that make for great conversation pieces, consider showing them off with a wall gallery. Just simply install a wall shelf with a decent-sized ledge and prop your books up against the wall. Be sure to pick the best books in your collection!

    The owners of these New Orleans homes for sale are always looking for new ways to show off their book collections. Doing it the right way can create a unique, intelligent vibe. If you need advice on interior design, don't hesitate to contact us today!


    Helpful Tips for Hanging Your Wall Art

    Hanging Wall Art Tips

    Does it feel as though hanging wall art takes as much talent as actually creating the art itself? Don't be intimidated when decorating Alexandria homes for sale and other houses. Use these valuable tips from our real estate agents to hang wall art like a pro.

    1. Location, Location, Location
      The #1 rule of real estate also holds true when decorating. Determine where you'll place each piece of art by considering room functions, existing furniture and accessories, and sizes and shapes.

    2. To Thine Own Self Be True
      Shakespeare's words are always good advice, including when it comes to choosing artwork. Don't be guided by trends or the need to impress others. A single picture you truly cherish is worth more than a museum full of masterworks.

    3. Don't Look Up
      According to design experts, hanging a piece of art too high is the most common decorating mistake. People shouldn't have to strain their neck, admiring the artwork in your home. The rule of thumb used in museums and galleries is to place the center of a wall hanging 57" above the floor, which equals eye level for most people.

    4. Strike the Proper Balance
      Wall hangings and furniture should neither fight for attention nor drown each other out. When proportions are correct, both elements create a sense of harmony. Aim for an artwork or grouping that's approximately two-thirds the length of adjacent furniture, with the bottom of the art no more than a foot above. If you're working above a fireplace, go with a piece that's slightly narrower than the mantle but slightly wider than the fireplace opening.

    5. Bigger Is (Usually) Better
      When in doubt about size, err on the side of bigger. An oversized piece of art can serve as a focal point, while one that's too small comes off as an afterthought and adds absolutely no interest to a room.

    6. Blend Form and Function
      "Art" doesn't have to be rigidly defined as something created solely for visual appeal. There's a wide range of shelving, storage units, and other organizational items that offer equal parts style and substance. Incorporate these "wall hangings" for some great multitasking design elements.

    7. Consider a Gallery Wall
      Grouping several small and mid-sized pieces can tell a striking visual story. When you have an even number of pieces similar in size and appearance, a grid arrangement works well. Another option is using several pieces of varying sizes, shapes, and mediums, placing them in a carefully-drawn "random" arrangement. 

    8. Measure Twice, Hammer Once
      "Measure twice, cut once" is a popular saying applied to home improvement projects that's easily adapted to hanging wall art. If you're using more than one piece in a specific area, place a piece of butcher paper on the floor and test different arrangements. Once you've found the right one, trace the outline of each piece and mark the spot of the hanger to create a handy template.

    9. Use Alternative "Hanging" Methods
      Maybe you want a more casual, contemporary look, or you just don't want any hardware on your walls. One popular option used by many designers is simply leaning a piece of art against the wall. Larger pieces can rest on the floor, while smaller ones can be placed on a side table, bookcase, or floating shelf.

    Home, like art, is in the eye of the beholder. Contact us today and let Latter & Blum guide you on the journey to find your perfect house in Alexandria. 


    How to Prepare Your New Orleans Home for a Virtual Tour

    New Orleans Home Virtual Tour

    COVID-19 has created considerable disruptions across the country. Many states have placed significant restrictions on home showings, open houses, etc. However, that doesn't mean you can't sell your house in the meantime. Our real estate agents can help you harness the power of technology to reach an even broader audience without ever having to leave the couch. Hosting a virtual tour of your home gives you a chance to show off the features around your property and present details about the house in a polished, professional manner.

    Preparing Your Home for a Virtual Tour

    Clean everything out so that the home looks open and spacious. This means cleaning the cupboards, clearing out the garage, polishing the fixtures, cleaning windows, and removing debris from the yard. Essentially, give your home the super spring cleaning treatment. Potential homebuyers will want to see every possible angle of their potential new home, so leave no dust bunnies behind!

    When shooting a virtual tour, you can also remove furniture from rooms while filming. This can open the room up and give you time to decide which pieces of furniture you want to move with you, and which pieces you will donate or sell before you make your move.

    As with a traditional open house, you should make minor repairs and repaint rooms to a neutral color before filming. This helps the audience better appreciate the home and alleviates concerns about damage and potential remodeling expenses. 

    Shooting Footage

    If possible, shoot live footage of your home using an ultra-high-definition camera. Better still use a camera that can capture a 360-degree view of the home through a fisheye lens. This will give viewers a realistic view of the interior and exterior of your home. Similarly, make sure to open windows and turn on lights. This will help eliminate shadows in the footage.

    Take test shots of the rooms and make adjustments to lighting, furniture position, and camera placement. 

    You will also want to make sure the home is quiet during the video shoot. Have children and pets play quietly outside while you are filming inside and choose quiet times of day to film exterior footage of the home.

    When filming, it's best to use a tripod or a camera with an effective stabilizer. This helps create a more polished, professional look. Similarly, it's a good idea to run your footage through a professional editing program. This can help remove sounds and other blemishes from the finished product. 

    Contact us to learn more about how to stage your home and prepare your property for a virtual tour. We'll provide you examples of other virtual tours of New Orleans homes for sale that have helped others in the area sell their home.  


    How Staging will Help Sell Your Home

    Home Staging

    We've all watched those HGTV shows where a home is renovated and transformed before being listed for sale. The last step before the open house is "staging" the home. Most real estate agents agree that staging is the most important element when selling your home.

    Staging a room that sells means creating an environment that will have buyers thinking about curling up on the couch with a good book, hosting a game night with friends, or spending quality time with the family.

    Here are some tips to help you set the perfect stage to sell your home!

    • DeClutter! - Both professional home stagers and top real estate agents agree clutter is the biggest problem when selling a home. While you may be fine with the pile of magazines on the coffee table, or the mantle full of family photos, a buyer will only see it as clutter. The goal is to make your living room feel fresh, clean and open.
    • Deep Clean - After decluttering, it's a good idea to deep clean the room. Hiring a professional cleaning service will not only make your life easier but in just a few short hours, you can get the job done without spending a fortune.
    • Use Simple Colors - It's best to stay away from "danger colors" like oranges, pinks, reds, and fluorescents as these can turn off a buyer. Keep it neutral, think grays, whites, and beiges. These classic colors are always in style and have mass appeal. 
    • Create a WOW Factor with Statement Pieces - Selling your home is all about creating an emotional connection with the buyer. Display an open and inviting space and add a "wow factor." A single stunning item or a few key pieces can draw people in. In the living room, this can be anything - a statement piece of art on the wall, a sculpture on an end table, a few accent pillows in different textures on the couch, or a bold rug. Whatever you do choose, keep it restrained to appeal to the widest possible audience.

    Why Staging Can Help Sell Your Home

    The living room is often the first room a potential buyer sees when they enter a home. Most buyers will make an emotional connection within the first 30 to 60 seconds of entering. By professionally staging your living room, you're showcasing it in its best light and giving buyers the opportunity to see themselves living in the space. It's this connection that sells homes.

    Unlike the kitchen and bathrooms, which are functional, the living room's primary purpose is relaxation. In fact, the living room was ranked as the #1 most essential room in the house, followed by the kitchen and master bedroom by buyers in a recent study on

    Potential buyers need to walk in and immediately be able to picture themselves enjoying the space with family and friends. Memories are made here, from your annual Super Bowl Bash to family game nights, and Christmas mornings.

    Our REALTORS® know the market and have experience offering staging advice for Baton Rouge homes for sale. Contact us today!


    How to Stage Your Home for Real Estate Photos

    Real Estate Photos

    You only get one chance to make a first impression! Today's homebuyers do most of their decision making before they see the property in person. Photos of a home for sale, in most cases, will be the first impression buyers will get of your property. So staging for these photos is crucial!

    Our real estate agents have gathered these tips to help you stage your home like a pro:

    1. Kick Clutter to the Curb
      If you want your house to stand out from the other Baton Rouge homes for sale, the first thing you need to do is declutter. Make sure all countertops and other surfaces are clear. Put children's toys and other items away in closets or storage, and remove all personal items like family photographs. 
    1. Think Like a Photographer
      When staging your home, think about how it looks for the camera, rather than worrying about comfort or function. In this case, you'll want to focus on things like lighting and angles. Your photographer and your real estate agent should be able to help you with this. 
    1. Present a Clean Home
      It's also important to make sure the entire home is as clean as possible before the photo session. Things like dust bunnies or streaks on the windows can make a poor impression. If you're not sure you can do it on your own, consider hiring a cleaning company. 
    1. Pay Attention to Details
      Small details, like forgetting to put the toilet seat down, can also ruin your photos. Take a moment before the photographer starts shooting to look through the home one last time. Make sure to fluff pillows, smooth out wrinkles on the beds, open the blinds, and turn on the lights.  
    1. Less is More!
      It's great to have some furniture and decor in the home, but be careful not to overdo it. Keep things simple and stick with neutral colors or a single color scheme in each room. When decorating, strive for symmetry and repetition as this is naturally aesthetically pleasing. You want potential buyers to envision the space as something they can personalize. 
    1. Boost Your Curb Appeal
      Remove all vehicles from the driveway, make sure trash cans and children's toys are put away, and remove anything else that pulls attention away from your home's curb appeal. Mow the lawn a day or two before the photoshoot, make sure your edges are neat, freshen up your mulch, and sweep the sidewalks. Consider adding some potted plants on the porch and a simple wreath on the front door. 
    1. Add Some Fresh Flowers
      Never underestimate the power of adding some fresh flowers to your home. This will add a splash of color and some class. Choose a simple vase and strategically place the flowers on your kitchen countertop or the coffee table. 
    1. Consider Hiring a Professional
      While it certainly is possible to stage your own home, this is a task that's often best left to the pros. Great staging can mean the difference between selling your home quickly for top dollar and having your house linger on the market for far too long. In most cases, this is a service that's well worth the investment. 

    If you're thinking about listing your home, don't go it alone! Contact us today to get started. 

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