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August
29

You want your home improvement projects to turn out great, but you also want them to pay off. Here are the projects to focus on for ROI.

Whether you're selling your home soon or not, it's a good idea to think of home improvement projects as investments. These aren't the average repairs that you have to do in order to continue living in your home, such as replacing the water heater or repairing the furnace. These are the projects that you do to make your home more comfortable or attractive, renovate outdated features, or add features that weren't originally available in your home.

Not all home improvement projects are equal investments, however. Some will help you sell your home faster and may even provide a return on the money you invested. Others will actually lose you money. Here are the best and worst home improvement projects, according to our real estate agents.

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August
8

Moving into a new home is exciting, but it's also easy to make some rookie mistakes. Here's how you can ensure a smooth transition with your new house.

Moving into a new home is exciting, but it's easy to get carried away and make mistakes you'll regret later. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents on the top mistakes new homeowners make when they first move in.

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July
25

These summer fixes can help save you money in the long run. Here's where you should start.

Summer is a good time to do needed maintenance on your home because the good weather enables you to do more, especially with the exterior. Some maintenance offers the ability to save money on future repairs or energy bills, however. Here are a few suggestions from our real estate agents on what summer maintenance will offer the most bang for your buck.

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July
7

Summer is all about spending time outdoors. Here's how you can give your outdoor spaces an upgrade.

Beautiful summer weather is a perfect time to start working on your outdoor living spaces. If you headed outside as soon as the weather warmed up, only to discover your outdoor living spaces aren't as ready for relaxing and entertaining as you thought they were, you're not alone. Here are a few upgrades our real estate agents recommend, ranging from easy and inexpensive, to a little more involved.

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April
18

Gardening season is approaching fast, and we have the tips to ensure a bright and lush garden all summer long.

Spring is in the air, and it's almost time to start gardening... almost! However, if you're impatient to get started, there are plenty of things you can do now. Here is a quick checklist of things our real estate agents recommend for getting a jump start on your garden and on your home's curb appeal.

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February
9

Improving your cooking can be as simple as buying the right ingredients. Here's how you can create great dishes with in-season produce.

If you like to cook and occasionally garden, you probably already know that there's nothing better than cooking with super fresh, seasonal produce. But the benefits don't stop there! Our real estate agents recommend buying and cooking with local, seasonal produce for the good of our South Bend community, just as much as for our physical health and our culinary enjoyment. Here is everything you need to know to make the most of seasonal produce this winter.

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January
24

If you want to stay on top of things in 2022, make sure you add these home improvement resolutions to your list.

Owning a home can mean a constant stream of projects, but it's important not to overload yourself to the point where you get overwhelmed and put off doing any of it. If you are falling behind on home improvement and maintenance, take advantage of the boost in motivation that can come from making goals for the new year. If you only focus on a few projects this year, here are the ones our real estate agents recommend.

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January
10

A new color in your home can make all the difference. In 2022, consider some of the top paint manufacturers' colors of the year.

Every year, the big paint companies and interior design experts choose their colors of the year. This is about more than just decor and what you'll see in the trendiest South Bend homes for sale. The colors of the year also tend to reflect societal forces and changes. Here are the top colors for 2022, and everything they are intended to represent.

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December
27

It's hard to enjoy winter if you can't cozy up inside your home. Here's how you can make your living room a winter retreat.

Many of us associate wintertime with being cozy: warm blankets, evenings by the fire, and hot cocoa. Looking for ways to maximize your comfy factor this winter? Here are five ideas our real estate agents recommend for making your living room winter-ready.

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November
22

It's maybe been a while since you've hosted friends and family. Brush up on your hosting skills by avoiding these mistakes.

With the holiday season just around the corner, you can expect the number of holiday parties and get-togethers to increase. Thinking of hosting your own party? Having people over can be a lot of fun, but it also requires some thought and planning to pull it off well. Here are a few mistakes our real estate agents say to avoid making.

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October
27

Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn't mean you can't enjoy backyard birds. Here's how you can feed year-round birds this fall and winter.

Whether you're an experienced birder or just want to provide a source of sustenance for birds over the winter, backyard feeders can be a source of enjoyment for you and an important part of a well-landscaped garden. Are you planning on selling your home soon? Bird feeders are also a great way to add curb appeal and interest to your backyard. The birds will love these recommendations from our real estate agents!

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October
18

Pumpkins are one of the most fun parts of fall, but you may not know all the uses for them. Here are some new ways to utilize them.

With Halloween upon us and Thanksgiving soon to follow, pumpkins are the vegetable of the hour. We all know how short a time they last once carved for Halloween, but fortunately, there are many other options for what you can do with your pumpkins this fall. Think outside the jack-o-lantern with these clever tips from our real estate agents.

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September
20

Before you take a hammer to that wall, make sure your renovation will be worth it. Here are renovation trends you should definitely avoid.

South Bend homes for sale have the chance to command a premium price under virtually any market condition. One of the biggest tools a seller has in maximizing their home's value is the ability to upgrade, improve, and renovate in the weeks before a listing goes live. Our real estate agents are there to advise sellers every step of the way. One aspect of that is by helping them decide on the best home renovations to fit their budget. Naturally, it's important to choose things that can get done within the right timeframe and yield a return on investment.

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June
14

If your home feels a little cluttered, some minimalism tips may be helpful. Here are some ideas to test in your home.

Whether or not you consider yourself one, decorating like a minimalist can help you take your decor to the next level. Minimalism means less clutter, less feeling crowded in your own home, and more clean, open spaces that encourage relaxation. Minimalist decor is great for selling your home, too! Homebuyers love neutral decor in South Bend homes for sale, as it enables them to better imagine their own lives in those spaces.

Here are five tips for improving your home's decor with minimalist ideas.

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May
24

Want to take your cooking to the next level? An indoor herb garden can be easy and rewarding.

They say the heart of the home is in its kitchen, and judging by the beautiful, modern kitchens featured in many South Bend homes for sale, that's still as true now as it was generations ago. Do you love to cook? If you enjoy trying out new recipes and cooking with fresh herbs, you'll appreciate having your own indoor herb garden! Here are a few tips to help your herb garden grow.

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February
22

Want to spruce up your landscaping this year? Stay on the lookout for these landscaping trends.Our world has changed dramatically, and the way we view and use our homes has been deeply impacted. As we continue to spend more time at home, outdoor spaces are suddenly high on people's lists of improvements. Many people want to redesign their gardens, care for their plants, and create their own lush retreat. Here are some of the landscaping trends our real estate agents expect to become even more popular in 2021.

  • Vegetable Gardens
    Veggie, herb, and fruit gardens will continue to be in high demand in 2021. Staying cooped up at home and going out can add to stress, so there has been a renewed interest in food gardening. Watching your plants grow and getting bountiful results can be incredibly satisfying. The trend is expected to continue with thought-out gardens, potted herbs, and raised beds.

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February
1

Selling or buying a home often spotlights special exterior and interior features that add visual appeal. Whether you're drawn to old-world traditional style or elegant contemporary glamour, our real estate agents can help you find the perfect home that appeals to your personal design style.

One of the most important interior features in South Bend homes for sale is the flooring.Beautiful rugs can immediately add ambiance and style that quickly turns your home into a design showplace! W hen choosing rugs for your home, think about the look you're trying to achieve, the size of your room, and your lifestyle.

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November
9

Budget Home Upgrades - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

If you're staying home to oversee online learning or to work remotely, your mood may be sagging from looking at the same, tired surroundings day after day. But maybe right now is not the time for a big home renovation or for buying a whole houseful of furniture. Still, no need to fret. Who said bigger is always better? There are some pretty cool projects you can do on a budget that will enliven your mood while giving your home the upgrade you've been longing for.

Who knows? Some of these little upgrades are bound to catch a potential buyer's eye if your home's listed among South Bend homes for sale.  Our real estate agents have plenty of tips to get you started. 

Let's start outside and work our way indoors.

  1. Copper mailbox.
    There's just something about copper. Warm and rich in hue, copper manages to be classy and understated at the same time. You're certainly welcome to go online and find the real deal, but if you're watching your bank balance these days, then go for a can of copper-colored Rustoleum (under $5) and spray paint your box. Then spiff up the post with a coat or two of shiny black. Follow up with some fall flowers planted around it to boost your curb appeal.

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October
5

Pumpkin Carving - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

There's a chilly wind blowing, and it's only a matter of time before Halloween is at our doorstep. If you're anything like our real estate agents, we have a feeling you're pretty excited about it! 

Pumpkin carving is one of our favorite traditions of the season, and we're here to share a bit of Jack-O'-Lantern know-how. Once you've picked out your pumpkins at one of these awesome local pumpkin patches near our South Bend homes for sale, use these tips and tricks to carve a perfect Jack-O'-Lantern. 

  • Get a Pumpkin With a Stem
    If a pumpkin lacks a stem, that likely means that the stem has been broken off due to mishandling. That being the case, you don't know how banged-up and damaged the pumpkin might really be. Always choose one with a stem, so at least there's a better chance that it's in good shape.

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August
24

Staycation Ideas - Homeowners - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Raise your hand if you need a vacation! These days, we could all use a little R&R, but unfortunately, many of our travel plans for summer vacation have been canceled. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways you can have a memorable summer without ever leaving your home. Instead of jet setting around the globe, our real estate agents encourage you to grab your family and enjoy an all-inclusive staycation right in your own back yard. With a few supplies and a little creativity, you can make staycation memories that will last a lifetime.

Staycations for Families

  • Movie Night
    Who doesn't love a movie under the stars? All you'll need to create a theatre in your back yard is a sheet, projector, and some comfy outdoor furniture. Pop some popcorn, grab the candy, and fill up your soda cups for a movie night with the kids. You can even make it a double-feature and screen a movie for the parents when the kids go to sleep.

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July
27

Herb Garden - Homeowners - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Herbs, revered in the ancient world for their healing powers, receded in importance in the 20th century as we began to rely more on pharmaceuticals and technology. As a result, we encountered them less often—usually dried in a jar on a supermarket shelf. But over the last couple of decades, herbs have enjoyed a resurgence in their freshest, most potent forms, as homeowners turn to them not only for cooking, but also for enjoyment.

If you've ever thought about growing your own herbs, take heart, because it's not hard to get started. Mark off a small garden plot with good morning sun and dappled shade in the afternoon, or create a container garden on your patio. Plant kitchen herbs, or choose another theme—medicinals, medieval, fragrance—and get going. 

A pretty or aromatic herb garden will also be a pleasing element when it comes to selling your home, helping it to stand out from other South Bend homes for sale. Get additional tips from our REALTORS® on how to make your home special.

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June
22

Backyard Fire Pit Safety - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Fire pits are the hottest thing in outdoor entertaining. They're simple to construct, provide light for summer evenings, and the chance to perfect your smores-making technique. As the evenings draw in and take on the crispness of fall, fire pits provide the warmth you'll want when enjoying a cup of cider.

Part of the beauty of fire pits is their flexibility. They can be as petite as a salad bowl or large enough for the whole family to roast marshmallows. You can have them professionally installed, assemble them yourself from a kit, or even design and build one on your own. Our real estate agents enjoy seeing how a DIY contribution to a home reflects the tastes of the homeowner and celebrates the style of the home itself. If you'd like your own custom fire pit, keep the following tips in mind.

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May
26

Family Time Capsule - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented response around the world, including right here in the Michiana area. Someday, though, this will be a memory—we'll look back at this time as a short, odd interlude. Our real estate agents suggest capturing this momentous, historic time by preserving your memories, thoughts, experiences, and mementos in a time capsule. Years from now, you'll have a discovery to help your family remember the significance of this time.

What to Put in a Time Capsule

Your time capsule should be filled with items that symbolize this time.

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May
18

Home WiFi Improvement- Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Your home's wireless internet connection may be working harder than it used to, and it's not alone. More people are working from home than ever before. And with the expansion of online education offerings, meeting software, and other ways to virtually connect with the world, a family can go to school, work, and then shop for groceries or catch a movie without ever leaving home. But most home connections aren't built for heavy use by multiple members of a household. Internet service providers are working hard to step up speed and improve connectivity, but there are things you can do at home to boost your home's WiFi coverage that our real estate agents would like you to consider.  

  • Spot Checking 
    Do you have an overall weak signal, or do you have one or two dead spots? Your mobile phone will give you a rough idea of the signal strength around your home. Check near your modem and router first, and move further away from them, checking every few feet. Note that your bathroom may have a weakened signal due to the copper pipes in the walls.

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April
13

Landscaping Prep - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

When it comes to landscaping a yard, preparation is important to make sure everything is done efficiently and effectively. It helps you determine the project's budget, creates an ideal environment for introducing additional or new features, and lessens chances of delays when the project commences. Here's a guide from our real estate agents on things you can do to plan, organize and prepare for landscaping:

  • Evaluate Your Yard
    Start with an evaluation of your yard and make an inventory of the permanent structure it and their placement. This helps you to focus on areas that will be most affected by the project and understand their preparation needs. For example, if you want to add a water feature, you need to know the proximity to an electrical power source or locations of hidden hazards. Also, mark hardscape and softscape features that do not fit into your landscaping plan.

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April
6

Deep Cleaning - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Whether you're spring cleaning or you're just fed up with how your house looks, deep cleaning is a great way to freshen up your home and enjoy the clean air that comes with it. It may not be an exciting thing to do, but it's easier than you might think and the payoff is huge. Just follow our real estate agents' top 7 tips for deep cleaning your entire house.

  1. Make a Schedule
    Approaching your home room-by-room is the best way to ensure you effectively deep clean your house at any time of the year. Scope out your home and start with areas that need extra attention or those that you skip during routine cleaning. Regardless, of which room your start with, having a plan and a checklist will keep you focused on the task at hand.

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March
16

Home Office - Homeownership - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

With so many people choosing to work from home, it's no surprise that a home office is becoming one of the most desirable upgrades found among South Bend homes for sale. The good news is, you can create a home office of your own, even if you don't have a spare room. 

In fact, our real estate agents have seen many super-creative solutions when it comes to creating a home office space. Here are a few of our favorites. 

  1. Convert a Closet
    A walk-in closet is the perfect spot to create a quiet home office. Consider storing your clothes in a free-standing wardrobe in your bedroom. Then, you should easily be able to fit a desk, shelving, and whatever else you need in the former closet space. The walls will likely already be bare, so you can get really creative with your paint colors and other decor.

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February
25

Indiana Home Winter Warm
No matter how cold it gets outside, our real estate agents are here to help you find the perfect Indiana home for you. Our team works in rain, shine, or even the Indiana snow.

That said, it's important to recognize that Indiana winters can be fierce. Especially if you're new to the state, it's vital to prepare your home well in advance.

Of course, our winters in Indiana aren't the worst. No matter where you're from, you'll soon get the hang of things. All you need to do is get the right information in front of you early on.

Yes, some parts of Indiana can have major winter storms. Most trouble in the cold season isn't caused by heavy snow; however, it comes about as a result of putting off preparations.

Here's how you can get your home ready and keep it comfortable all winter long.

  1. Use Natural Light to Get a Head Start on Heating
    The sun remains the most energy efficient heater around. Even in the dead of winter, most days will have some sun. Part the curtains, raise the blinds and open the shutters to let heat in during the day. Then, close windows up tight and cover them to keep the heat from escaping overnight.

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December
31

Fireplace Safety Tips
If you're like many homeowners, you light up your fireplace to chase away the chills. Your fireplace does double duty this time of year: As glowing embers warm your living spaces, they also add the perfect cozy atmosphere. As you ignite the flames for the first time, remember to keep fireplace safety in mind.

Our real estate agents believe a fireplace adds warmth and beauty to your home, but we also recognize the inherent danger one can cause. To help you keep your home safe this winter, we researched fireplace safety so we could share these tips with you.

  1. Maintain and clean your fireplace and chimney
    Before you ignite your fireplace, remember to inspect it and clean away the soot and creosote buildup from last year's flames. Your chimney provides an exit for the smoke, gases, hydrocarbon, and other substances your fireplace produces, and while this minimizes the direct harm to you and your family, the creosote they produce causes fires that burn out of control. DIY Network offers tips for cleaning and maintaining a fireplace. If you'd prefer to have a professional perform this annual task, you can locate certified chimney sweeps and learn more fireplace safety facts at the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

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