8 Kitchen Trends to watch in 2013!

Kitchens are a popular spot that home shoppers judge in a home. So what are the trends in the kitchen for 2013? HomeThangs.com, a home improvement superstore, offers up some of the following kitchen design predictions for the New Year:

1. Modern style: Kitchens are getting more modern in style, boasting simplified lines and offering up big, open spaces perfect for entertaining.

2. Tucked-away appliances: Appliances designed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen, like with the same wood of the cabinets, are becoming more popular. Also, some appliances, like under counter or mini refrigerators or trash compactors, are being tucked away into a kitchen island.

3. Lots of lights: Great lighting in the kitchen is becoming more important, with lighting being layered with a mixture of task lighting and ambient lighting. Under-cabinet LED lights are becoming more commonplace.

4. Super sized kitchen islands: “2013 kitchen design trends are moving away from dining rooms and toward eating, drinking, and interacting in the kitchen itself, and a large kitchen island complete with bar stools is the perfect way to make this happen,” according to HomeThangs.com. this helps to create “a nice open-air feeling – especially if one can be used to bridge kitchen and living areas, another major 2013 kitchen design trend.”

5. Neutral color schemes: The use of neutral colors in the kitchen is on the rise, particularly in shades of grays and greens and a variety of wood tones. Bright colors are being reserved for only small accents in the kitchen.

6. Fancy appliances: Professional gas ranges and induction cook tops are popular kitchen appliances for making a more gourmet kitchen.

7. Decorative range hoods: Trends are moving away from a conventional stainless steel trapezoid-shaped hood to more decorative range hoods. These hoods may have built-in LED lights and are even serving almost like a decorative chandelier for a kitchen island.

8. Glass back splashes: High gloss is “in” for cabinets, appliances, and back splashes. A single-sheet, back-painted glass black splash is growing in popularity, which are also known for being easy to clean. These glass back splashes are also reflective, adding a polished decorative touch to kitchens. Glass mosaic tile sheets are also increasing in popularity.

First things to do after buying a new home!

You closed on your new property. The boxes are off of the moving truck, the furniture is in the right rooms and you are wondering what to do first. Here is a checklist of important tasks that are high priority.
1. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install new alarms or change the batteries if necessary.
2. Establish an escape plan and safe meeting place with your family in the event of a fire.
3. Make sure you know where the main water, gas and electrical shutoff valves are, in case of an emergency such as a burst pipe or gas leak.
4. Determine which outlets serve which circuits and then label the breakers.
5. Change the alarm system code, garage code, and any other password-sensitive devices.
6. Change all of the locks and make a few sets of spare keys.
7. Update your car insurance, driver’s license and voter registration to reflect your change of address.
8. Have all your mail and magazine subscriptions forwarded to your new address. Keep a close eye on your bank accounts and credit cards, because during a move you are especially susceptible to identity theft if mail is not delivered to your current address.
9. Unpack any and all medication that may be needed. Also, make sure you have a first aid kit readily available and a fire extinguisher in the kitchen pantry.
10. Add any child locks that are necessary, on toilets, kitchen appliances, medicine cabinets, and any doors that lead outside. Do not forget to place child safety gates and safety plugs in outlets if you have small children.

Ways to save for a new home

A home is often the biggest investment most people will make in a lifetime. Saving for a down payment can be a lengthy and disciplined process. Taking advantage of federal tax incentives and low interest rates are great ways to reach your goal of owning a home. Here are some small ways that can really add up to big savings.

1. Make coffee at home instead of buying a daily brew. Prices on lattes, coffee and espresso have gone through the roof.
2. Eat at home instead of going out. When you dine out, consider lunch instead of dinner and avoid purchasing alcohol at meals.
3. Consider taking on a roommate or smaller apartment to cut down on rent.
4. Eliminate extras like premium cable, expensive DVD rental plans, and excessive cell phone plans.
5. Use coupons at the grocery store and look for sale items. Shop for groceries and household cleaners at retailers that offer major discounts on items sold in bulk.
6. Cancel your overpriced gym membership fee and work out on your own.
7. Program your thermostat so heat is lowered at night or during the day when occupants are not home. Turn off the lights when you leave a room and use fans instead of air conditioning to keep your electricity bill low.
8. Carpool to work, buy low octane fuel and avoid taking costly taxis.
9. Purchase generic medications and toiletries instead of brand names, often,the same active ingredients are used and the items are a lot less expensive.
10. Pack a sandwich and bring it to work. Work lunches and office take out can be a drain on your budget.

Open house etiquette for buyers

The purpose of prospective buyers viewing a home is to learn as much as possible about the property. Focus on the residence itself, not the current owner's furniture, decor, or items that do not pertain to the sale of the property. Follow these simple tips when walking through a home.

Be prepared to leave your shoes at the door. This is a frequent request of homeowners, especially when carpet and inclement weather is involved. Dress accordingly and acquiesce to any requests.

At an open house there may be a sign-in sheet. Sign in and let the Sales Professional know if you are already working with an agent.

Ask before taking any pictures or video, remember, this is someone's home and they are entitled to privacy.

Feel free to walk through a home, but please refrain from touching or moving any personal property.

Inspect linen closets, walk-in closets, laundry rooms and built-in cabinetry, but don't snoop. Measure cabinets, check for squeaky hinges, but avoid prying through personal effects.

Don't speak negatively about the property. Keep in mind that neighbors, friends, and even the homeowner may be present at an open house.

If you bring children, do not leave them unattended. Supervision ensures their safety and prevents any unintended damage to the property

Ask permission from the agent for use of the restroom

All questions should focus on the property, not the homeowners. Don't get distracted by family pictures or diplomas, remember the purpose of your visit is to learn more about the property itself.