Wood Countertop Options for Your Kitchen

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Having a beautiful home is wonderful, but having a beautiful home with an elegant and functional kitchen is fantastic. Updated kitchen décor and finishes are an on-trend way to create a warm gathering place for friends and family. A real wood countertop is a top option for perfecting the natural kitchen décor motif.

Wooden Countertop Styles

There are distinctive styles of wooden countertop materials available, and each serves a different purpose and esthetic.

  • Butcher Block Countertops: For countertop that allows you to slice and cut directly on the surface, the butcher block is your best choice. The wood is two to three inches thick of alternating species and can withstand damage from chopping and dicing with proper care. Available in various wood mixtures as end-grain and edge-grain, its hardness and color options make it easier to choose the one that fits into your kitchen theme.

  • Reclaimed Wood Countertops: For people who appreciate the rustic look, a repurposed wood countertop is a great option. Currently among the trending countertops, reclaimed wood is relatively simple to find and source locally. Most reclaimed wood countertops come from recycled or discarded wood.

  • Live Edge Wood Countertops: Made from planed but not trimmed raw wood, a live edge countertop retains the original shape of the tree. The unique thing about this countertop is its rustic and uncommon look; it curves inward in some areas and rounds out in others, giving your kitchen or bar area a beautiful and unique look. 

  • Solid Wood Countertops: The solid wood countertop option works well with all kitchen designs, creating a timeless and traditional look for your kitchen. Thick planks of mahogany, walnut, knotty alder, or other hardwoods waterproofed with acrylic polyurethane come in flat, dull, satin, and semi-gloss finishes for an elegant addition to your countertops.

Your Choice of Wood

Ensure that the design, grain, and finish of the wooden countertop you choose is appropriate for its purpose. Hardwood like maple, teak, oak, chestnut, and mahogany make great countertop material, especially if you intend to chop and slice directly on the counter surface. For a more sustainable option, bamboo, while not technically wood, is an attractive and durable choice. 

Your kitchen countertop has a significant impact on the look and feel of your room. For best results, consult with or hire a professional contractor who is knowledgeable about the installation process for these unique surfaces.

Should You Try Selling As A For Sale By Owner?

Many sellers rely on agents to help them to deal with the task of selling their home. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, a real estate agent isn’t required. There are many advantages and disadvantages to selling your home as a “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO). Read on to discover the good and bad of selling your home on your own. 

The Pros

Avoid Paying Commission

Real estate commission is the main reason that many sellers choose to go it alone. You’ll pay about 6% commission on the sale of your home between buyers and sellers agents. When figuring out the asking price for your property, this number that you’ll pay for a commission is included. This sale price also should be enough to pay off the remaining balance on the property. If you don’t have a lot of equity in your home, an FSBO may be your only option if you can’t afford the commission. Another option is to wait to sell your home until you have built up enough equity for the transaction to make sense for you. 

You Can Find Other Resources To Help You Sell The Property


There are so many resources available to FSBOs in today’s market. Yards signs aren’t the only thing that sellers can use to get people interested in their property. Many websites and resources assist people taking the FSBO approach. You still may not be able to get your property listed everywhere if you’re not a real estate agent. 

Cons

You Won’t Be Able To List The Property Fully

Only licensed real estate agents have access to the MLS, where buyers’ agents and other websites pull available properties.  Not having access to this can be a deterrent to the marketing of your home. You could miss out on getting many home showings that you otherwise would if your house was listed on the MLS. 

There’s No One To Help You With Paperwork And Negotiations

Real estate agents certainly earn their commission. There is a lot of work in both selling and buying a home. If you hire an agent, he’ll be taking phone calls, sending off forms, and dealing with the negotiations on the property. An agent will also coordinate home showings and have the ability to show your property when you’re unavailable. If you go it alone, you won’t have that assistance and may be a bit overwhelmed during the selling process.

A real estate agent also understands the lingo better than someone who has been outside of the business. There are many advantages to paying his fee if you decide to hire him for the sale of your home.           

How to Get The Most Out of House Hunting

Finding the right house that meets your family’s needs is an important decision; it’s one that can affect the quality of your life for years to come. That’s why it’s especially important to be in a focused, resourceful state of mind when house hunting. It’s also helpful to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and have a system in mind for comparing the strengths and weaknesses of every house you visit.

Knowing What You Want

Chances are, you’re going to approach your house search with some preconceived notions about features like the floorplan, bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. You may also have strong preferences for a particular school district, the size of the back yard, and proximity to neighbors. One thing’s for sure: There are a lot of details on which you’ll need to concentrate as you meet with your real estate agent and visit different homes for sale. While conditions are not always ideal for taking it all in, here are a few tips which may help you get the most from the experience.

  • Work from a checklist: Before plunging into a serious house-hunting campaign, it’s a good idea to prioritize the features and characteristics you’re looking for in a new home. Ideally, you should have a separate copy of the list for each home you visit and create a simple rating system for evaluating how well each property lives up to your expectations. Make note of your impressions and take a few photos of key rooms, such as the kitchen, master bathroom, or whatever areas are most important to you. As a courtesy, ask the real estate agent if they or the homeowner would mind if you took some pictures.
  • Arrange childcare if possible: When you’re going over important details with your real estate agent or visiting a listed house for the first time, you’ll be able to get more out of the experience if you can devote your full attention to it. Children, especially young ones, tend to be more focused on their own agenda, including hunger, boredom, sibling conflicts, and the impulse to wander off on their own to explore unchartered territory! When the opportunity arises to check out a potential new home, you’ll want to have 100 percent of your mental and emotional resources available to appreciate and absorb all the details, nuances, and possibilities of a house that’s for sale. Since “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, it won’t always be feasible to arrange alternative (and sometimes last minute) childcare plans for your little ones. When it is possible though, you’ll have more of your wits about you for the important task at hand.
  • While it’s unrealistic to always expect house hunting to go smoothly and without a hitch, a focused and organized approach to finding the home of your dreams will always yield the best results!
     

    Improving Energy Efficiency in an Older House

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    When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.

    1. Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.

    2. Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.

    3. Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You’ll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

    4. Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you’ll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.

    5. Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.

    6. Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.

    7. Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.

    If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.

    Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They’ll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.