Sandy Bliven - RE/MAX South County



Posted by Sandy Bliven on 9/20/2018

When looking at new homes, home buyers with high expectations can sometimes feel disappointed with their options. In a world where wood paneling, blue bathtubs, and wallpaper in every room have been popular trends it can feel like a lot of houses on the market are eyesores.

An important factor to keep in mind, however, is what parts of the home are merely cosmetic and which are structurally important. If a home is in a neighborhood you love with all the structurally important systems in excellent shape you can still add it to the top of your list. Poor design choices, or lack thereof, can always be changed down the line. 

If you were hoping for a home with lots of character and detail but the neighborhoods you love are filled with ranches and builder grade homes don’t despair. There are plenty of style upgrades you can DIY yourself to give your home the luxe look you’re looking for. 

Ready to make a dramatic first impression? Wow guests with just a few of these simple upgrades. 

If your entrance opens up to a staircase you can create a drastic difference with just a small change. The newel post, that is the first main post of the stair railing, can be swapped out for something more ornate and classic. With plenty of options ranging from boxy posts with molding to something sleek topped with an ornate finial ball. Add more drama by choosing a contrasting color for the finial, newel cap, and railing from the main post and spindles.  

A large mirror placed in an entrance or along the length of a hallway never fails to make a statement. Place a pier mirror between windows to create more light and dimension to the room. Create a built-in look by adding molding and wainscotting painted to match the trim of the room. 

Add elegance by installing a ceiling medallion. Not just for the foyer they are also a great detail to add to your dining room, guest bedroom or home office. With a wide selection at your fingertips, you can pair one with a chandelier for a chic look or for a more modern flair coupled with a contemporary style pendant light.

For a truly classic look wall trim instantly makes any room look more luxe. Keep it simple with box shapes or opt for an art deco touch with more geometric shapes. Paired with other vintage elements wall trim brings a sense of refinement. If you’re aiming for a more effortless yet modern theme pair with a mix of mid-century modern and minimalist pieces.

When house shopping keeping an open mind as to what can be changed and what is imperative for a safe home makes all the difference in your shopping experience. Print out pictures for inspiration or create a board on Pinterest to keep the ideas flowing. As you look at each new house keep in mind how you can easily add these elements to create a more luxurious home with a quick weekend project.




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Posted by Sandy Bliven on 9/13/2018

When you’re searching for a place to live if you have kids, or even if you’re planning on having kids in the future, the neighborhood you choose is of concern. When you’re single, it’s easy to fill your desire for the city. You live near bars, clubs, conveniences, and more. Once you start thinking with a family in mind, your ideas shift. 


So, if you’re looking for a neighborhood with children in mind, where do you start? Read on to discover the top priorities of a kid-friendly property search. 


The Schools


Most parents put a lot of consideration into where their children will go to school. Many resources allow you to research different school districts. You can also visit schools in person, or talk to other parents and see their opinion of the local schools for specific neighborhoods. 


The Safety Of The Area


Whether you have kids or not, you want to know that the area you’re going to live in is safe. Before you select a neighborhood to live in, you’ll want to research the crime rates in the area. You might assume that individual cities and towns have better crime rates than others, but you may be surprised. Ask your local real estate agent for more information on local crime rates and how to research them. 


Sense Of Community


If you are moving with kids or planning on having a family anytime soon, you’ll want to have a supportive community surrounding you. Having a community means that there are other families around with children. This way, it will be easier for you to build a network of other moms who are in the same stage as you. Some things to consider are:


Are there sidewalks in the neighborhood?

Is there a lot of traffic in the area?

Are there places for kids to play nearby? 

Do you see families out for a walk together?


Answering these questions will give you an idea of how family-friendly your neighborhood will be. Sidewalks make the area accessible for kids to go and hang out with their friends safely. Parks and playground are not only a great place to play for kids but a great place to meet other parents. If a neighborhood has the things that you want for your family, chances are, many other families in the area feel the same way. 


Choosing a neighborhood can be difficult, but with a little research and groundwork, you’ll be able to select an excellent place for your family to live.   






Posted by Sandy Bliven on 9/6/2018

If you’ve recently purchased a new home, congratulations! The hardest part and most stressful part of the process is behind you. But moving day can still be difficult, especially if you’re moving with kids, pets, or over a long distance.

Today, we’re going to provide you with a moving day checklist in hope that you’ll personalize it to your own needs, making your moving day as smooth a process as possible.

Not all of the items on the list will apply to everyone, but we can guarantee that if you follow most of our guidelines you’ll be able to sleep more soundly the night before your move and rest assured once you’re in your new home that everything has been taken care of.

Before the big day

The weeks leading up to moving day are an important time to iron out all of the details of your move. It includes making arrangements for pets, setting and confirming appointments with movers, and making sure your all of your belongings are accounted for. Consider this your pre-moving day checklist:

  1. Meet with your family and make your master schedule and to-do list. This could include things like sending change-of-address forms, calling your doctors to update your address, setting up an appointment with cable and internet companies, and so on. Doing all of these things before the move will make moving day much simpler.

  2. Hire your movers early. Don’t wait until a week before the move as some may already be booked for the day. A day or two before the move, call to confirm your appointment and double check to see if the movers require anything else from you before the move. Confirm your current and future addresses with them, as well as routes if it’s a long distance move.

  3. Also for long distance moves, plan an itinerary for things like driving and fuel breaks, hotels, food, etc.

  4. Clean house. Have a yard sale, donate used items to charity, and put unwanted items in your front yard for free. You don’t want to move more than you need and leaving junk at your old home isn’t polite and might be a violation of your contract.

  5. In the weeks leading up to your move, use or discard old pantry items or frozen food. You don’t want to be moving a lot of groceries to the new house, especially perishables.

  6. If you have pets who aren’t used to leaving home, get them used to the new house if possible and have them stay with a friend or pet care facility on moving day to avoid them getting lost or in trouble.

On moving day

Once moving day is here, if you’ve followed the items above, everything should run somewhat smoothly. Here are some checklist items for moving day.

  1. Pack a bag with items you’ll need the first day of your move that can be easily accessible. This includes toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, toilet paper, etc.

  2. Do inventory for your boxes. Odds are you won’t forget any, but having a correct count at your new home will set your mind at ease.

  3. Bring nutritious snacks like granola bars (moving is hard work).

  4. Don’t lift heavy items alone.

  5. Use sliders to move big items to avoid scratching your floors.

  6. Show your helpers they’re appreciated (pizza is always a good “thank you”).




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Posted by Sandy Bliven on 8/30/2018

An open house enables a buyer to check out a residence in-person and determine if this home matches or exceeds his or her expectations. However, a buyer who fails to plan ahead for an open house may struggle to make the most of this opportunity.

Ultimately, there are several things you need to consider before you attend an open house, such as:

1. Your Home Must-Haves

Make a list of must-have home features – you will be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can check out a house in-person and determine if it has the features you require.

You also may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns prior to launching a house search. This list will allow you to hone your home search – and your search for open house events – to a small group of cities and towns.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

As a homebuyer, it is crucial to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence. If you enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of attending an open house for a residence you may be unable to afford.

To establish a homebuying budget, you should review your current finances. You may want to meet with banks and credit unions as well. And if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know exactly how much you can spend on a residence when you start your house search.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

There is no guarantee that attending one open house will help you find your dream residence. But if you maintain flexibility, you can attend a variety of open house events and boost the likelihood of discovering a residence that falls in line with your expectations.

Furthermore, you should be ready to act quickly if you attend an open house and want to buy a residence following the event. In this scenario, you should be prepared to work diligently to put together a competitive offer to purchase the home.

As you get set to attend an open house, you may want to employ a real estate agent, too. A real estate agent can keep you up to date about open house events in cities and towns where you want to reside. Plus, a real estate agent can attend an open house with you and provide plenty of homebuying tips and insights.

Let's not forget about the support a real estate agent provides once you find a house you want to purchase, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Consider the aforementioned factors closely before you attend an open house. By doing so, you can prepare for an open house and use the opportunity to determine if a residence is right for you.




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Posted by Sandy Bliven on 8/23/2018

Choosing outdoor furniture for your home can be a challenging task. You might not even know where to start. What type of furniture do you need? What colors should you choose? The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you take it step by step, and look at your own needs, the process will be easier for you. 


Pick Your Colors


The outdoors have a bit more flexibility than the indoors of your home. There are no wall colors to worry about, only the natural landscape and the shade of your deck. You can choose from a spectrum of colors to suit the feel you want to create in your outdoor space. Color will provide everything from a fun party atmosphere to a classy, refined outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to mix and match as well.


The Outdoors Are Your Indoors


If you have the style of your home down to a science, don’t be afraid to carry that look over to the outside of your home. You can use the same types of fabric textures and colors. Keep in mind that you’ll want a more durable fabric since your furniture may be exposed to the elements. 


Use the same design principles outdoors that you would with your indoor furniture. If you have an outdoor fireplace, for example, you can use that as a focal point to gather your furniture around. Don’t be afraid to have a setup similar to that of your living room including a coffee table, sofa-like chair, and other cozy seating.       


Keep It Visually Stimulating


Just like the inside of your home, the outside of your home is also a reflection of your personality. You can embrace the feeling of fun, bright colors, and contrasting shades. Use what makes you happy and the rest of the design will fall into place! 


Remember one of the simplest design principles when designing your outdoor space- use throw pillows! Throw pillows can add so much to a space. Find colors that bring out the best in your outdoor furniture and desired color patterns. When it comes to the outdoors, know that the bolder you go, the better your space will be! 


Forget The Rules


Your outdoor space is a place where you can just “forget the rules.” Go with what feels right for you. The outdoor space is less “stuffy” than the indoors. Not that the inside of your home isn’t comfortable, but the outdoors is a place where an “anything goes” attitude can really work for you.




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