Shut the Front Door

What is the first thing a visitor sees when they visit and the last thing they see when they leave? Your front door and entryway of course! First impressions count. Therefore if you are selling your house, hosting a dinner, having family over for the holidays, etc, you should take some time to spruce up your entryway. Here are a few quick, cheap and super simple tips to achieve instant results!

1.) Wash it down

It is surprising how much grime and dirt builds up on your front door. You will want to grab a sponge and wipe it down with warm
and soapy water. If you have a door with older paint, make sure you use a soft sponge and wipe it clean carefully to make sure you don’t accidentally take some of the paint off.


 Roll on the paint

After you have washed your front door, you may be left unsatisfied. If it seems something is missing and washing the door hasn’t done the trick, it is time roll up your sleeves and go to the paint store. Take your significant other, family member or friend to the paint store and pick out a nice new color or polish for your front door. Since this is a DIY project make sure you give yourself enough time to do it properly. This project could be timely; sanding, primer and two coats of paint.


3.) “Welcome”shutterstock_112951723

Perhaps your home is not as welcoming as it could be. If you have an old front door mat that is worn by both age and more shoes than you remember then it is time to find yourself a new one. A new mat can make all the difference in the world.




4.) Charactershutterstock_19178257

Add some color and pzazz to your front door. Transform your doorway into a bright welcoming entryway. This can be done with seasonal decorations, plants, or anything you see fit. You could even choose something hearty that looks good throughout the year and doesn’t require much maintenance.


5.) Knock, knock

Who’s there? Go to your local hardware store and pick yourself out a door knocker. It is a nice alternative to a doorbell and when someone knocks you will actually be able to hear it. Adding a door knocker will create a design-savvy point of interest which you are more than welcome to take all the credit for.

shutterstock_90640846 provides real estate advice and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 27 offices with over 1,200 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore Metro, Federal Hill,  Harbor EastPhoenix, Timonium, and Westminster. Pennsylvania real estate offices include Lancaster, Ephrata,Elizabethtown, Mt Joy, Quarryville, Camp Hill, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Harrisburg,Hershey, Lebanon, Schuylkill Haven, Wyomissing, York, Dallastown, Gettysburg,Hanover, and Shrewsbury.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners


Shut the Front Door

Your Kitchen- Decorate on a Dime!

Are you bored with your kitchen or selling your home and need a new look? Here are some great ideas that will help you decorate and spruce up your kitchen without breaking your bank account!

June 2013 IOV - Ecard
Wall Color – Change the wall color, choose a neutral shade such as gray or beige. A bright color tends to “date” a room while neutral shades stay fresh and give you a better building block for your other fabulous decorating ideas!

Rugs – Area rugs will add a splash of color and can cover an old floor. Rugs used under your table should be large enough to accommodate chairs that are fully pulled-out.

Slipcovers – Covers can be used to add holiday and seasonal charm to your kitchen. They will also help to soften the room and enhance the décor.

Drawer/Cabinet Pulls – There are so many patterns and textures available! You will easily find a design to compliment your kitchen style and they are a breeze to install!

Cookbooks – No budget for accessories? Use the cookbooks you already own to create an interesting display. Group them in different, interesting configurations with some standing and some lying down or align them in graduating heights.

Touch of outdoors – Hang a plant from a bare ceiling corner to add warmth and life to the room. Plants will provide points of interest. Silk plants could work too, but take the time to shop around and choose ones that look realistic!

Accessorize – A few carefully placed accessories can take a room from dull to dramatic! Choose a theme and give your kitchen a new look by replacing just a few key items, like dish towels, canister sets, salt and pepper shakers, and pot holders.

Border – A wallpaper border is easy to install and fairly inexpensive. They can be used to add color at the top of the walls, to break up a tall, drab wall in the middle, or try a new twist and place the border underneath the cabinets!

Check with the pros – Books, magazines, television, and the internet are all great resources for endless decorating ideas!! Find a design you really like and have fun trying to re-create the look in your own room!

Big space or small space, big budget or small budget; it doesn’t matter what you start with. As long as you bring your creativity, and enthusiasm; you can end up with the charming, cozy kitchen you’ve always wanted!

Your Kitchen- Decorate on a Dime!

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Looking for a fun way to dress up your outdoor living space? check out these great do-it-yourself projects using recycled wooden pallets.

It is no secret that wood pallets can be repurposed into impressive furniture and decor.It is amazing what people have created from these abundant, often discarded resources that can usually be found for free with little effort.

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Pallet Sofa Materials:  4-5 Pallets, Plenty of workspace, good pair of gloves, Circular saw, 3×3 or 4×4 posts for frame, wood screws, sander for smooth finish, clear wood sealer, outdoor cushions/pillows, and some creativity!

Pallet Coffee Table Materials:  Wooden pallet, sander for smooth finish, 4 wheels, paint or sealer to create a colorful, water-resistant finish.  Don’t forget to personalize with a few flashy items to sit on top!!

Pallet Benches Materials:  Several wooded pallets (depending on how many benches you want), tape measure, saw, sander, wood screws, paint or sealer to finish, and more creativity!!  Keep in mind….if your benches are not against an outdoor wall you will need to be sure the backs are well supported!

Outdoor Lounger Materials: 2 Pallets, sander to smooth, 2-3 metal hinges, chains & hooks to secure adjustable back of lounger, paint or water sealer to protect wood, colorful, outdoor cushions, And of course a good book and icy, cold beverage to enjoy when you are finished!!

For detailed instructions and more do-it-yourself decorating ideas visit:

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Dress up your Décor

dress-up-you-decorNeutrals are safe, easy to decorate around, and lend themselves to any design theme.  Preferring a simple, neutral décor does not mean you are boring or dull!  You can show off your personality and sense of style by “dressing up” up a neutral room!

A neutral is any color that stays in the background and doesn’t take over a room.  Popular choices are beige, grey, ecru, cream, and brown.  So when you can’t decide on a color for a room or furniture; keep it neutral and flexible.  It will provide the perfect backdrop for easy, seasonal, and personal-style changes.

  • Start with the walls – A neutral wall color keeps the room warm and white, contrasting trim will make the walls “pop”.  A perfect combination!
  • Carpet – Install a neutral color, trying for a shade or two darker than your walls.  You can buy a less expensive carpet, because using area rugs in various colors or prints is a popular trend for adding color to a room.  (plush padding can be installed for better carpet wear and to make it feel more expensive)
  • Hardwood – If this is your preference in flooring, any wood tone will be fine.
  • Furniture – Stick with neutral colors, but explore the great variety of textures and patterns that are available to break up the monotony.  Rattan or wicker, and leather are considered neutrals and can add a bit of rich elegance to a room.  If you are trying to save money, slipcovers and second-hand finds can also work great.
  • Recycle – Paint end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, in the same color with an enamel finish.  Matching your tables to the walls will give the room a larger, less-cluttered look.

Once you have your neutral palette complete, it’s time to have some fun!!

Accent color – This is used to bring some emphasis to your color scheme.  Accents are expected to be a bit “bold”.  You have the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want!  Start with a key piece of wall art or an area rug to “anchor” your space.  Look for colorful accessories to compliment the base color and these “anchor” pieces.  Here are some suggestions…

• Lamps         • Candles
• Artwork      • Throw Pillows
• Vases           • Throw Blanket

Texture – Not sure about adding color, then add texture.  It will add dimension and depth to your décor.  Wicker containers will add a roughness, while mirrors and glass will add sleek, smoothness.  Soft plush bedding or pillows will add comfort and warmth.  An area rug will bring coarseness and help define the space.

Greenery – Add life and movement to any room with plants.  Potted plants, colorful flowers, hanging ferns, garland, and swags are a great way to add a splash of color.  Place in the corner of a room, atop cabinetry, on tables or a decorative plant stand.

Follow these simple suggestions to show off your personality and style.  
Change it up seasonally or whenever you have the urge.  
You don’t have to break the bank to re-decorate or rejuvenate a room in your home…go ahead, have some fun!

Dress up your Décor

Time to De-Clutter

declutteredA brand new year has arrived, spring is just around the corner; it’s the perfect time to clean-out, clean-up, and get re-organized! Your bedroom closet is the perfect place to start. A cramped, chaotic closet can make your mornings very frustrating.

Before you begin a closet remodel, evaluate your closet’s size and prioritize your storage and dressing needs. You should also get rid of items you no longer need or wear by donating them to a local charity.

Consider these suggestions based on
the most common closet types/style

Long, Skinny Closet
Since you are limited on space, you should determine if there are items currently in your closet that could be store in other drawers/cabinets or under your bed, like shoes, purses, and other accessories.
Try using a closet system with half-rods, drawers, and shelves. Place the half-rod in the middle and use hangers that will hold multiple items. Place a tower of shelves to the left for shoes, purses, and accessories. Place a tower of drawers to the right for folded clothing and socks. Don’t forget to put a shelf above the rod to fully utilize all open spaces.
If you are not hanging long items, you could place a second rod below the first one.
Use floor space for shoes, boxes, etc.
Don’t forget the ceiling! Hooks can create another great spot to hang belts and store purses!

Small Walk-in Closet
A closet system is a good idea for any size closet. Being able to customize the size of shelves, drawers, and the location of rods, will allow you to utilize all available space.
Use extra floor space by installing a shelf and storage bins that fit above and below it.
Hang a shoe storage rack over the back of the door.

Large Walk-in Closet / Dressing Room
A large closet like this can be fun to organize and has many available options! Start with your closet organizing system and move forward from there.
A full length mirror will make the closet look bigger and give you a better view. If you have room for a tri-fold mirror, go for it. You’ll be able to get a view from every angle.
Don’t just limit yourself to wall space; consider installing a center cabinet. This cabinet can be fitted with shelves and drawers and will provide a work area as well. It will become a great spot for sorting laundry and folding clothes!
This center cabinet can also serve as a vanity area for make-up, a lighted mirror, jewelry, or other small accessories.
Consider installing a fold up ironing board. It’s a great out of the way spot and is easily stored!
If room allows, consider creating a small, private nook for yourself. A spot for getting dressed, putting on shoes, or even a quiet corner for reading or doing yoga.

A few final thoughts…
Once you have it organized the way you want it, it’s important to keep it that way! Keep it clean and tidy. Organizing clothes by color, type, sleeve length, etc. is just one more great way to get it organized. Now is also a great time to update the light fixture to maximize lighting and provide easier access. Fluorescent lights are the safest and most effective for this type of space.

Go on, get your supplies, gather your creative thoughts,
and get organized!

Search for homes in Maryland or Homes in Pennsylvania.

Time to De-Clutter

Winterizing Your Home

For those of you dreading the long, cold months of winter that lie ahead, taking the time this fall to follow these simple steps will save you money on heating while keeping you warm.

Block the leaks – With energy costs on the rise, nothing makes more sense to homeowners than checking for any and all leaks around your home. On a breezy day, walk around and check the obvious sources of leaks: windows, doors, electrical outlets, etc. Caulking and adding outlet gaskets are two easy fixes for these trouble areas.

Windows – As you check for leaks, it is also a good time to replace your screens with storm windows.

Clean the gutters – This may be an ongoing chore through-out the fall season. Keep all spouts, gutters, and drains free of leaves and debris. Clear gutters will keep water moving away from your home and prevent icy clogs and back-ups.

Reverse the fans – Not often thought about, but your ceiling fans can impact the comfort of your home during the winter. Adjusting the fan to rotate in a clockwise direction will push warm air down into the living area.

Wrap the pipes – A pipe burst in the dead of winter is a nightmare! Check for un-insulated pipes in your home (crawl spaces, garages, basements) and get them wrapped. Remove hoses and drain all water from outside faucets before the first frost.

Check the furnace – This should be done monthly to keep the furnace filter clean and air flowing efficiently. Replacing the filter is an easy way to keep your home comfortable ALL year round. An annual “check-up” by a professional is also a good idea.

Thermostat –Turning the temperature down a few degrees when you leave is a huge energy saver; every degree lower can save you between 1% and 3% on your energy bill. A programmable thermostat is a great way to eliminate this from your morning to-do list.

Insulate – Check the attic and other unfinished areas. It is recommended that you have a minimum of 12 inches of insulation. If you decide to add more insulation, avoid the type with paper backing, this will act as a vapor barrier and cause moisture problems.

Check the chimney – Last but not least…take a look at your chimney if you plan on using it over the winter. This should be done at least once a year, more often if you are using a woodstove. A chimney cap is also good idea for keeping foreign items out of the chimney. If not in use, close the damper to avoid cold drafts.

Stay Ahead of “Old Man Winter” and Protect Your Home!


Check out more tips for homeowners at

Winterizing Your Home

Garage Makeover (Part 2)

In today’s economy, homeowners are trying to make every inch of their home useful. They want more active and functional living space. Reclaiming attics, storage rooms, closets, garden sheds and garages is the easiest way to utilize wasted space. Garages are often full of “junk” that we no longer need or use. By giving your garage a makeover you can transform that cluttered space into a totally new and functional living area. By using these few tips you will feel confident and ready to show off your new space.


Use a modern modular couch. They are
easily re-arranged and come with removable
slipcovers that can be washed easily.
Garage Door
Use colored sheets of plastic to dress-up
the garage door. These can be found at any
hardware store and can be easily screwed into
the door frame.
Peel-and-stick mirrors will reflect light,
creating a brighter space.
Movable partitions are the easiest way to hide
unwanted items.
Accent Color
Pick an accent color and use it sparingly.
Incorporate this color into accesories like
pillows and centerpiece for a table.
Hanging lights create the illusion
of height and create dimension
against a flat surface.
Remove old oil stains using an acid cleaning solution.
Use paint (formulated for garage floor use), carpet,
or colorful interlocking tiles to give the floor a more
comforting and appealing look.
Don’t forget about the door! Purchase a new door that fits
the style and look of your new room. Make sure to get the
correct size and allow space for weather stripping.

Information courtesy of and hgtv.com2010.

These tips can also help sellers who are looking to sell their home; by helping to increase the overall look of their home, and entice home buyers.


Garage Makeover (Part 2)