When it comes to the room homebuyers focus on most, the kitchen always scores high. With the popularity of open floor plans, the kitchen often becomes, and is desired as a focal point of the entire home. So it is the kitchen that deserves our attention.
Whether you embrace cooking or do it only when you must, quality kitchen equipment is requisite. But no one wants a kitchen cluttered with random and overly-specific gadgets that do nothing more than take up space. So how do you know what’s worth the buy? We’ve narrowed it down for you in this compilation of our favorite kitchen essentials that keep delivering, time after time.
So, it’s true.The hype about the Instant Pot is real. It’s a pressure cooker plus so much more. You can also saute, steam, slow cook, and it’s a rice cooker. It often replaces more than a few of your existing kitchen tools and does all the jobs well, and quickly! And with an easy to use interface, you don’t have to be one of these manual readers to use it. Some say it will revolutionize your kitchen game. We agree. If you haven’t tried an Instant Pot yet, get on it!
To quench your thirst, check out the SodaStream sparkling water maker. It’s easy to use, and it’s slender design makes it conveniently accessible for everyday use. The carbonation comes from a cylinder that, once empty, can be conveniently traded-out at local retail stores or through SodaStream mail exchange. You can even pick up flavorings to make homemade sodas with much less sugar than regular soft drinks. So ditch your beverage cans or bottles for an eco-friendly alternative. Enjoy the endless options of creating your own custom sodas, cocktails or mocktails that will be sure to please.
When it comes to preparing delectable dinners at home, incorporating herbs and spices into your recipes is a must. A pair of herb shears make quick work of cutting fresh chives, cilantro, parsley or other herbs with little effort. For grinding seeds and spices for fragrant and potent flavors, pick up a simple yet classic marble mortar and pestle like this one. It’s the best for breaking down whole mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, peppercorns and so much more. Your guests will appreciate you going the extra mile for the freshest taste. Continuing on with the freshness, add a quality citrus juicer to your list of must-haves. From fresh squeezed orange juice for brunch or fresh lime juice for that key lime pie, there is no substitute for fresh-squeezed citrus.
Silicone Kitchen Sponge
Finally, what comes after all the cooking? The dishes! Make your effort count with this awesome silicone kitchen sponge for your pots, pans and dishes. It’s an eco-friendly option to disposable sponges and, it’s easily refreshed in the dishwasher.
So whether you consider yourself a seasoned home chef or if you’re just getting it done, quality and detail matters in the kitchen. Focusing on key kitchen tools will have you serving your family and guests in style.
Certain items on your to-do list are obvious as your prepare for your upcoming vacation. Make sure the plants and animals are watered and fed? Check. Close and lock all doors and windows? Check. But there are other steps to take that will make it hard for any potential opportunists from realizing you aren’t home and breaking in. This isn’t to alarm you or create panic before your upcoming trip, but to give you ideas on how to make sure your home isn’t an easy target.
Per the Postal Service, mail can be held for a minimum of three days or for a maximum of 30 days. If you’re planning to be gone for three days or longer, it’s likely worth having your mail held. It’s a sure sign that you’re out of town if your mailbox is full.
Dark houses for days on end signal no one’s home! Have your most used lights (bedroom and kitchen, perhaps?) set on a timer while you’re away. There are timers that connect to the light switches in a room, ones that are programmable power strips, or others which are for outdoor use. Find the one that’s best for you based on how you use the lights in your home. Set the timer to an irregular pattern, instead of having everything turn on at the same time each day.
Plants and Animals
If possible, have someone take care of your plants and/or animals at your home. Someone going in and out regularly (or, ideally, staying in your home) creates activity and makes it look like someone’s present. Most pets are happier at home than in a kennel, and you’ll be less likely to worry about them while you’re away.
If you typically keep your blinds open on the first floor of your home, don’t close them while you’re away. It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s a sure sign you’re not home for anyone looking for an opportunity to break in.
If you mow your lawn every week during the summer, arrange for someone else to come over and mow while you’re away. Similarly, if you shovel snow from your driveway without fail, have someone lined up to clear the driveway if it snows while you’re gone.
Save the Pictures
Unless you have really tight security controls on your social media (and maybe even then), wait to post photos of your glorious vacation until you arrive home. If you’re posting real-time accounts of your European tour, that’s a big green light for anyone looking for an opportunity to break in!
Extras For Peace of Mind
Unplug everything not in use while you’re away, such as microwaves and televisions, etc. Appliances not in use but still plugged in do still use electricity, which means your bill is going up even when you’re not home. If there was a power surge to your home, any electronics that are plugged in may be affected or permanently ruined. Why take the chance?
If you’re traveling for a week or more, it’s so wonderful to come home to a clean house. As you plan for your trip, build in a little extra time to clean the kitchen, make beds with fresh sheets, and put things in their places. You’ll be so glad you did when you return after long flights or car rides!
We hope you have an amazing, stress-free vacation!
When selling a home, it can be difficult to know what features potential buyers may be looking for. Each buyer brings their own unique set of criteria and preferences to the home shopping experience, making it challenging for sellers to make the right decisions when preparing their homes to sell. Fortunately, there are some discernible trends that sellers can take inspiration from. Here are a few of the most popular home features currently on buyer’s minds:
First up – home office space. Work-from-home jobs continue to be on the rise, and so is the need for a home office – even for those who don’t exclusively work from home. Whether it be a nook or a room with a door, appeal to homebuyers’ sense of place by showing them how their work-life balance can be achieved through an inviting, dedicated home office space.
Smart Home Features
And when the work day is done, homebuyers want to enjoy smart home features that make their lives easier. Bonus points if the product can be controlled from a smartphone app. Items like smart speakers and lights are just the beginning. Go one step further and think smart video security systems, doorbells and thermostats. These enhancements take cutting edge technology and bring it home (literally!) into the hands of homeowners to make their lives more efficient, convenient, and productive, and will give your home a competitive edge in the marketplace.
The next heavy hitter in homebuying trends is eco-friendly everything-you-can-think-of.
Energy efficient appliances are a must. And with so many options on the market, it’s a no-brainer. According to homeadvisor.com, Energy Star appliances can reduce energy usage and costs by 10-50 percent. With virtually no drawbacks to choosing Energy Star-rated products, this is a feature homebuyers are coming to expect. Energy efficient windows follow suit, so look for argon-filled, double-paned products with Energy Star ratings the next time you’re planning any window repairs or upgrades. Finally, consider an environmentally friendly paint for both interior and exterior applications. Paints with low or zero VOC ratings and GREENGUARD certification are features to remember.
For today’s homebuyer, details matter. With a little intentional planning, you can keep one step ahead by tuning into what homebuyers value most. Whether it’s desirable home office space or smart home features and eco-conscious products, your decisions are sure to impress.
Thinking about buying real estate in Asheville? During your next trip here to explore the new home market and the area, be sure to leave time to explore some of the must-see places that lie just a short drive from town. You’ll be glad you did.
Let a trip to Linville Caverns engage your wonderment and awe. Located outside of Marion, NC, it’s the only “show cavern” in the state. Get an up close look at stalagmites and rare blind fish, plus bats, salamanders and even an underground stream. Your tour guides offer expert history as they take you through this stunning view of nature. Be sure to bring a jacket and comfortable footwear, as the temperature inside the cavern year round stays a constant 52 degrees fahrenheit.
Mount Mitchell, famous for being the highest point east of the Mississippi (elevation 6,684), is a relaxing 30 mile drive from Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Suitable for families and adventure seekers alike, you’ll find not only majestic views from the top but also an observation deck and museum alongside plentiful hiking trails for all ability levels. Pack a picnic or visit the Mount Mitchell Restaurant to re-fuel after taking in the sights of this unique spruce-fir forest. Want to learn more? Check out this video of Mount Mitchell produced by North Carolina State Parks and Recreation.
And don’t forget to immerse yourself in the quaint yet bustling mountain town of Boone, North Carolina. Home to Appalachian State University, this college town offers local art and craft, pottery, and the iconic Mast General Store, where you can browse outdoor clothing and gear as well as a signature selection of old fashioned candies. To round out your trip to Boone, spend some time in nearby Blowing Rock, and visit The Blowing Rock feature after strolling around Blowing Rock’s downtown shops, galleries and fine dining restaurants. Recently featured in the New York Times, these lesser-traveled mountain towns are not to be missed.
One more destination is Lake Lure, North Carolina, nestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge, just 27 miles from Asheville. Perfect for families, there is a beachfront, a water park and a boardwalk to keep everyone entertained. Or visit Chimney Rock Park to see the characteristic rock formation by hike or by elevator; no matter how you get to the top, the panoramic views won’t disappoint. Then reward yourselves with a first-class dining experience at LaStrada At Lake Lure or Treetops Restaurant, both offering exquisite views of the lake while you dine.
All of these destinations are within an easy drive of Asheville and offer a small mountain town feel while delivering on fun and relaxation. Meet the locals, take in the sights and enjoy the southern hospitality just waiting for you.