Aaron Wluka - Twisted Spoke Realty, LLC



 Photo by toddpharistx via Pixabay

Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area. 

1. Makes Entertaining Easy

One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering. 

2. The Hosts Can Participate

As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors. 

3. It Becomes a Team Effort

With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences. 

4. It's Cozy

While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness. 

5. Increases Living Space

Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room. 

If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale. 


Let's face it – cleaning a house from top to bottom may prove to be a time-consuming task. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline your home cleaning efforts and ensure you can get your house ready for the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three steps that home sellers should take before cleaning a house.

1. Make a Plan

If you only have a limited amount of time to clean your house prior to listing it, there is no need to worry. Plan ahead, and you can achieve the best-possible results.

Oftentimes, it helps to make a checklist of which rooms need to be cleaned. You also should include the types of cleaning that need to be done in different areas of your home. For instance, if you need to scrub the bathroom toilets or remove dust from the bedroom ceiling fan, you should include these details in your checklist.

With a plan in place, you'll be better equipped than ever before to speed up your home cleaning efforts. And if you need extra assistance as you craft your home cleaning plan, it may help to consult with a real estate agent.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to prepare a house for the real estate market. As such, this housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about how to plan ahead for home cleaning.

2. Establish Priorities

Once you know which areas of your home that you need to clean, you should establish priorities. By doing so, you can further streamline your home cleaning activities.

It generally helps to clean common home areas at the same time. For instance, if all of your bedrooms are located on the top floor of your house, you may want to go from bedroom to bedroom and perform extensive cleaning. That way, you can simultaneously clean all of your home's bedrooms.

In addition, it may be a good idea to schedule attic or basement cleaning first. Cleaning an attic or basement may force you to get dirty. And if you clean these areas right away, you can minimize the risk of spreading attic or basement debris into other portions of your home.

3. Pick Up Cleaning Supplies

Make a list of cleaning supplies that you'll need to make your house sparkle. Then, you can purchase these supplies and return home to kick off your cleaning efforts.

Don't forget to buy gloves, facemasks and any other items that you'll need to protect your face, hands and skin. These items will enable you to stay safe as you work in areas that may be loaded with debris.

Lastly, if you need help getting the best-possible home cleaning results, you may want to consider hiring professionals. With a team of expert home cleaners at your side, you can receive comprehensive home cleaning assistance.

Ready to clean your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can quickly and effortlessly prepare to clean your residence prior to adding it to the real estate market.


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Purchasing a new home is an exciting and life-changing event. While you likely know that you'll need to be able to afford to pay your mortgage each month, there might be other expenses that you aren't as familiar with.

1. Maintenance Costs

It makes sense that you'd need to include money to address the inevitable maintenance costs that a home requires. After all, you probably perform routine maintenance on your car if you own one.

For many people, though, the fact that home maintenance occurs so often and that it takes a sizable amount of money is a surprise. A good rule of them is to plan on spending one to two percent of your home's value in maintenance costs every year. 

2. Utilities

Whether you've never had to contend with utility bills directly before or you're moving from an apartment or condo into the larger space a home provides, your monthly costs for heating, cooling, natural gas and the like could come as a shock. There's a huge discrepancy between costs according to where you live as well. 

Expect to pay more for utilities in large metro areas like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, for example. Homes in southern states that don't have much of a range in temperatures will likely cost you less in utilities. 

3. Property Taxes

Property taxes are another expense that can span a huge range depending on where you live, the state of the economy and the size of the dwelling. Property taxes can fluctuate frequently when the municipality where your home is located reassesses the homes. 

4. Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is a must for your home if you are getting a mortgage to pay it off. Even if you are fortunate enough to have the cash to purchase the home in full, opting for homeowners insurance is still a smart move. 

Homeowners insurance that offers you the replacement cost of items that are damaged in a fire or stolen provides you with a better deal. When shopping around for homeowners insurance, ask about any discounts you might qualify for. For example, you might try bundling your vehicle and homeowners insurance together for a discounted rate. 

Plan ahead by exploring what these five expenses could mean for your budget after you become a homeowner. Setting aside a small amount each month can keep them from making such a big dent in your wallet. 


As a home seller, it is important to keep your house show-ready. By doing so, you can ensure your residence will look great, regardless of when a homebuyer wants to see it.

Ultimately, home staging can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. And with the right home staging advice, a home seller can learn what it takes to maintain a house's appearance both inside and out.

When it comes to last-minute home staging, here are three tips that every home seller needs to consider.

1. Illuminate your residence

Open up the shades and let sunlight into your residence – you'll be glad you did. By taking a few minutes to ensure that the shades are open, you can illuminate your residence and transform an ordinary home interior into a dazzling one.

In addition, turn on lights throughout your residence. This will enable you to brighten up each room in your home, thereby increasing the likelihood that homebuyers can see the true beauty of your entire house.

2. Wipe down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks

Let's face it – messy counters and sinks are eyesores that no homebuyer wants to see. Fortunately, wiping down bathroom and kitchen counters and sinks is a fast, easy way to help your house stand out in homebuyers' eyes.

Keep paper towels or washcloths and a general-purpose cleaner near bathroom and kitchen counters. That way, you can wipe down these surfaces without having to search far and wide to find various home cleaning essentials.

Also, don't forget to remove clutter from in and around a bathroom or kitchen sink. Whether it's dishes in the kitchen sink or leftover toothpaste in the bathroom sink, it pays to be thorough as you complete last-minute preparations for a home showing.

3. Check for odors in your home

Pungent smells that come from a refrigerator or other areas may impact how a homebuyer perceives your house. Thus, you'll want to do a quick odor check as part of your last-minute home staging routine.

Empty any garbage cans as needed. This will allow you to eliminate nasty odors that may be coming from garbage cans.

Furthermore, feel free to use scented candles to deal with tough smells. If you decide to use scented candles, however, make sure the odors that they provide are not too overwhelming.

If you need any extra assistance as you get your house ready for a home showing, don't hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent as well.

Typically, your real estate agent can offer expert advice throughout the home selling journey. He or she will make it easy for you to prep for home showings and stage your home properly. As a result, your real estate agent can increase your chances of receiving the best price for your residence.

As the clock ticks closer to a home showing, there's no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and a home seller can get a house show-ready in a matter of minutes.


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

If you’re planning to stay in your new home for many years, incorporating certain features into your home's design can make for a smooth transition. While you might not necessarily need these kinds of features immediately, you'll likely find they add convenience to your space. What can you do to make sure your home stays comfortable for you throughout the years? Consider the following ideas that can allow you to comfortably live in your home at any age. 

Grab Bars

Installing grab bars is a good place to start. Grab bars offer support for sitting and standing, especially in bathroom spaces. Common locations for grab bars include on the walls of shower stalls, next to toilets and along hallways. Grab bars are readily available in modern designs and finishes that can seamlessly blend with the other fixtures in your bathroom. They can do double duty holding towels or clothes as well.

Extra Lighting

Introducing light fixtures in dim areas, on stairways and layering light sources is a great way to ensure your home functions well over time. Selecting LED fixtures over conventional ones ensures you won't have to worry about replacing bulbs in high or otherwise awkward locations. Introduce task lighting in the kitchen. This will add to the overall design of your kitchen while also providing a well-lit prep area for cooking and entertaining.

Cabinet Remodeling

Consider adding pull-out shelves or drawers to lower cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom. These allow for much easier access to stored items so you can avoid searching through dark cabinet corners for your favorite pan or baking dish. You may also consider pull-down shelving options for top cabinets that allow for easier access to items stored high out of reach. 

Lever Switches and Handles

Switch out traditional light switches in favor of lever switches or dimmers. Their larger surface area makes them easier to use and adjust. Use lever-type door handles simplifies the action needed to open and close doors. Finally, consider updating cabinet door handles to D-shaped ones that are more comfortable to grab and open.