Archive for category Buying a House

Picking the Right Type of Garage Door

Picking the Right Type of Garage Door

In order to contribute to the value of your home, you should choose a garage door that is practical and, at the same time, attractive.   There are different types of garage doors that are available on the hardware market these days, so you are sure to find something that fits your style and needs. They are Canopy Side, Retractable, Roller, and Side Hinge Doors.

  1. Canopy Side. The canopy door swings outward as it opens and slides upward into the ceiling of the garage, leaving about one-third of the door jutting out from the garage. The advantage of this type of door is that it takes up less room inside the garage than other options.
  2. Retractable. When opened, a significant part of the door swings outwards and slides away into the ceiling of the garage. If you prefer to automate your door with an electric opener, this type of door is the easiest and most suitable to utilize.
  3. Roller. This type rolls up into the garage ceiling. No door frame is required and it saves a lot of garage space.
  4. Side Hinge Doors. This is a conventional style whereby the doors swing out to the sides.  The outer part of the garage should be cleared in order to completely open the door.

The major concern when choosing your garage door is the type of material that will be used. You need to consider the style of your home and how insulated you want your garage to be.  This also provides you with the opportunity to have unique features, such as windows and a heated garage. The three main materials that are used in the construction of doors are steel, wood, and fiberglass.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Lighting a Small Space in Your House: How to Make It Brighter

Lighting a Small Space in Your House How to Make It Brighter

Small spaces at home are often dark and cramped.  Having to work in a small home office or eat in a small dining room makes it difficult to feel relaxed and comfortable. Although installing lights can help brighten the room, there are also other ways to do so using natural lighting, such as the following:

  • Add windows to let the sunshine in. Install a window in your small living room or dining room to make the space light and bright.
  • Cut an opening in your solid wall divider or install an interior window. If you have a huge divider in between two rooms that makes each room smaller, cut a long opening out of the top of it to create more open space. If you don’t want a huge opening, install an interior window instead. An interior window will help expand the feel of the room and also let the light come in.
  • Use thin, sheer curtains instead of thicker drapes. That way, even if you need to close the window with a curtain, the natural light can still pass through, making the room brighter. Use silky sheets in white or pastel colors.
  • Install a glass interior door instead of a solid hardwood door. Interior doors add class and style to a home, but the drawback is that they take up a lot of space.  Maximize the use of interior doors without compromising the space of a room by adding a glass panel or full glass door. This will allow you to see the other room and create more light for each smaller room.
  • Paint your small space white. Painting in dark colors will create the impression of a smaller, darker room. But, painting in white or other light colors will brighten the room.
  • Let the natural light reflect all over the room. Add a mirror to an opposite facing wall to help reflect the natural light and make the room brighter.
  • Use better lighting solutions, such as wall scones, chandeliers, and pendant lights. These kinds of lighting tools can provide the proper lighting for a room without taking up much space.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Home Updates: Year One

If you’ve just purchased a home, you’re likely still reeling from the long list of initial costs that come along with homeownership. While you’re focusing on replenishing your savings account and getting accustomed to paying a mortgage, you might not be ready to gut your kitchen and bathrooms and take on a major home overhaul. However, if you have some cash left over after closing, a few simple, inexpensive home improvements can add value to your home and bring it more in line with your tastes. Consider making these updates in your first year of homeownership:

  • Make basic repairs. Don’t let that torn screen door or leaky window drive you crazy for years. Go ahead and fix things that are broken before or shortly after you move into your home. You’ll thank yourself later.
  • Paint.Painting is one of the simplest, most cost-effective home improvements out there. If you plan to live in your home for a long time, feel free to go wild with color: Paint your kitchen fuchsia and your bedroom lime green if you want to. But if you might only live in your home for a few years, keep resale in mind and choose neutral colors that will appeal to a large pool of buyers. Neutral doesn’t have to mean bland: Beiges, greens and other earth tones are all universally appealing, yet still stylish.Also, don’t think of paint as something that’s just for walls. Have outdated, dark wood cabinets? Roll a coat of crisp, white paint on them for an instant kitchen update.
  • Install new floors. If your home has carpeting or linoleum that still looks dingy even after a thorough cleaning, new floors could be a great investment. When it comes to resale, hardwood is a timeless option that appeals to most buyers, but it can be expensive. If you want the look of hardwood for less, laminate flooring is a great alternative. And there’s also cork, carpet tiles, vinyl and many other options to suit all tastes and budgets.
  • Spruce up your ceilings. Popcorn ceilings were once all the rage, but these days, they make a home look outdated. Fortunately, popcorn ceilings can be remedied. Just visit a local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture, and then scrape the popcorn away. It’ll bring your house into the new millennium with minimal cost and effort.
  • Update fixtures and hardware. Lighting, faucets and doorknobs may seem like details that only the most nitpicky of homeowners would notice, but outdated or cheap fixtures can really affect the overall look of a home. If your home’s brass chandeliers make you feel like you’re stuck in the ’80s, replace them. Even inexpensive options can give your home a much more contemporary look.
  • Add low-cost landscaping. Shrubs and colorful plants add beauty and value to your home, but maintaining a landscaped lawn can seem daunting. When you’re shopping at the local garden center, purchase plants that are native to your region or water-conserving, drought-tolerant vegetation. These require less water and maintenance, which means you’ll save time and have a little more green in your yard and your wallet.
  • Go green. Eco-friendly home improvements are a great investment because they add value to your home and save you money in the long run. There are lots of ways to make your home more energy efficient, ranging from simple fixes like adding weather stripping to doors to keep drafts out, to large updates like installing solar panels or a tankless water heater. See All About: Green Real Estate to find eco-friendly updates that fit your needs and budget.


Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Tiny House Movement. Could you Live in 500 Square Feet?

Alan and I recently listened to a popular podcast called Stuff You Should Know and the subject was “What is a Shotgun house?”  I’ve heard the term before but not been exposed to many in Oklahoma architecture. Having family in the Mobile, Alabama area, I had seen some when visiting but more than anything the name caught my attention.

The show reminded us of the tiny house movement we’ve seen in the United States the past 5 or so years. Many people have wanted to downsize to something more manageable and less expensive while others want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The shotgun house and tiny house have size in common. I wondered if they had design commonalities as well. This is what I learned.

Built before central heat and air, shotgun houses were designed to offer the best airflow with doors and windows open. Given it’s name because the floorplan allows someone to stand at the front door and shoot a gun through the house and out the back door, these homes were popular after the Civil War

in the Southern states. They continued to be popular through the 1920’s. New Orleans has many shotgun homes but they can be found as far away as Chicago.

The shotgun house has been revived since Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area as an easy and quick way to build housing to those displaced by the 2005 storm.

In the western part of the country, California and other areas started thinking smaller houses for other reasons. The economy crunch and the real estate market decline caused people to want to own but have less maintenance and lower cost. The tiny house movement came from this.

Tumbleweed Tiny House:

The Widbey Plan

461SF for 1 bedroom/1 bathroom

557 SF for 2 bedroom/1 bathroom

Estimated Material Costs: .

$35,000 – $41,500.

Tumbleweed, Tiny House Company is the commonly known company to offer this kind of a home. Offering floor plans from 99 SF to 874 SF, these homes can be stationary or on wheels. They have three styles: bungalows, house to go and cottages with the later being the largest. I did find that the floorplans are quite different from the shotgun house as their main goal is efficiency and offering today’s conveniences in as little space as possible.

One of the earliest things we learn as students is that history repeats itself. The reasons can be different but usually the outcome is the same. We have seen a recent movement toward simplifying and this is how it has evolved in housing. The question is… what is your definition of enough?

Finding what works best for you and your family is what matters. Sometimes that has to do with the amount of space. Other times it is more about features of a house or location. Or maybe wanting a house on the go.

I will close with one thought… isn’t nice to have so many choices?

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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10 Simple Things That Will Make You Happier At Home

I am a BIG believer that “nesting” is a very important part of life – creating a comfortable home helps to create an anchor for everything else in your life and this article gives 10 simple tips to make your home that sanctuary every day. Enjoy!

Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.

It’s amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.

1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.” I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Sourced From:

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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Getting the Right Sized Interior Trim

Adding trim to your walls, windows, and doors instantly adds beauty to your home.  Crown molding creates a striking focal point and enhances the qualities of the other design elements in a room.  Choosing the right size of trim is important because you want to be sure it enhances the beauty of the room rather than makes it appear too elaborate or gaudy.  In the end, however, you ultimately need to choose what you like and what gives you the look you want.  If you want a modern interior, ceiling and floor moldings should be kept to a minimum, but if you’re going for a classic look, crown molding and casings will help you achieve that.

So, to help you determine which size of interior trim would be most appropriate in your home, consider these tips:

  • Decide what style you want in your room. Having a standard design in your house will help you decide if you need to add trims or not. Do you want to make the room appear modern and slick? If so, install thinner baseboards or none at all. Thick baseboards are often seen in more traditional homes.
  • Follow a 7 percent ratio when sizing your baseboards. A 7 percent ratio means that your baseboard should be 7 percent of the total height of the wall.
  • Consider the height of the room. If you have a room with lower ceilings, use smaller trim and less of it. If you have higher ceilings, you have more leeway in terms of the size of trim you choose.  Larger baseboards help make rooms with high ceilings look cozier.
  • For crown molding, a good trick it to make the molding the same in every room, so it has a consistent flow and doesn’t look mismatched. If you have shelving that needs crown molding, be sure it matches what’s on the walls as well.
  • If you want to install a chair rail on the wall, make sure that its height is one third of the wall from the floor. This will make the room appear taller and more open.  Chair rails are also great if you want to use two paint colors on your wall or you want to incorporate different patterns and textures in each section.
  • Door and window casings are ideally half the size of the baseboards. However, it’s fine if they are the same size if that’s what works best with your home interior.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors




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Oklahoma City Launches Public Open House for PlanOKC

To showcase the latest developments on a plan for the city, the Oklahoma City Department of Planning will be hosting an open house for the public on Tuesday, July 31. A comprehensive plan for the city called planOKC will be presented during the meeting.

PlanOKC is the latest development plan for the city that has a long-term goal of providing a healthy and sustainable city for all residents. PlanOKC began in 2008 and has seen continued progress through the creation and improvement of polices and facilities spanning the 621-square-mile city.  The plan focuses on providing better transportation options, retail and entertainment opportunities, culture, education, and safety. City planners are hoping to have the plan finalized and adopted by 2013.

The open house for planOKC will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Council Chamber of City Hall, 200 N. Walker. There will be a 30-minute meet-and-greet followed by a short presentation of the plan and its goals.  After the presentation, attendees can meet with the city’s planners to talk more about the plan and ask questions.

Heather & Alan Davis
Oklahoma City Realtors

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