How to Build a Custom Vintage Ruler Picture Frame

How to Custom Build a Vintage Ruler Picture Frame

How to Build a Custom Vintage Ruler Picture Frame Every year when I go to meet my sons’ new teachers, I tell them if there is anything that needs fixing to let me know. It’s my small show of appreciation for all they do for my kids. Before Christmas, one of the teachers took me […]

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5 Home Staging Tips From an Expert Flipper

You updated the plumbing, refinished the flooring, painted the walls. In short, your home renovation is finally finished, and you’re ready to put your flipped house on the market.

But before you do, follow these five home staging tricks that top house flippers use – if you do, you’ll likely see a quick full-offer sale coming your way!

Offer great curb appeal

Pulling up to their potential new home should be a joyful experience for buyers. Give them the great first impression they’re hoping for with curb appeal that conveys a genuinely warm welcome.

Stylish house numbers, updated porch lighting, a classy door color, charming outdoor seating, flowers in bloom, and a welcome mat seem like unimportant details, but they make all the difference.

When a house looks cared for on the outside, it lets buyers know the inside has been maintained, too.

Create ambiance

Once potential buyers step inside, give them a personal, emotional connection to the house. Remember to address all five senses:

  • Sight. Use flattering lighting throughout the house to brighten dark corners and create playful shadows. This includes canned lighting, floor and table lamps, hanging pendants, and under-counter spot lights.
  • Smell. Create a very subtle, pleasant scent throughout the house by lighting scented candles or plugging in an aromatherapy diffuser. Citrus, vanilla, and lavender are perfect choices. Make sure the smell is subtle, not overbearing.
  • Touch. Incorporate texture through textiles that entice touching, which promotes a personal connection to a space.
  • Sound. Turn on quiet music, hang wind chimes, or install a water feature to relax anyone touring the house.
  • Taste. It never hurts to have some cookies or a candy bowl ready! Also be sure to offer chilled bottled water.

By appeasing the five senses, you’re sure to help potential buyers connect to the house.

Embrace floor space

If there’s one thing every buyer is looking for, it’s square footage. Play up every inch of it for them!

To make the house feel spacious, put breathing room around monochromatic furniture, and hang mirrors to reflect windows and room openings. Hang drapes high (or don’t use them at all), place large artwork on the walls, and lay down oversized area rugs.

Choose furniture raised up on legs to create a sense of lightness, and use decorative knickknacks sparingly to increase surface space. Create a distant focal point, such as a plant at the top of the stairs or a beautiful pendant light at the end of a hallway.

Emphasize architectural details

Even if your house flip includes some quirky architectural details, it’s best to show them off rather than try to hide them. After all, a house’s personality is part of its charm.

For example, if there’s seemingly wasted space underneath a staircase, turn it into a reading nook. If there’s a giant fireplace, dress up the mantle and arrange furniture around it. Built-ins have a special place in everyone’s heart, so if your house has them, definitely show them off!

Play up a lifestyle

Remember, you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle. This means you shouldn’t forget to dress up the outside areas, such as the patio and backyard. If you want your buyers to feel at home, set up an outdoor dining scene, arrange lounge chairs around the pool, or hang a rope swing.

By showing buyers the kind of life they could be enjoying, you’re showing them it’s worth paying to get it.

Check out Success Path for more tips on real estate and renovation.

Top photo from Zillow listing.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Home Security and Monitoring from VTech

Home security and monitoring is easier than ever. But finding a wireless camera with easy setup, great performance, and value, is tougher than it sounds. We recently checked out the new VTech VC931 HD wireless pan & tilt camera—and recommend it for the high-definition video quality, night vision, and pan and tilt camera control.

We installed the VC931 in our downstairs den. It monitors the sliding glass door and den area, which would be a common place for a thief to break into our home. Beyond the peace of mind the VC931 provides, we have found it useful for monitoring the activities of our 5-year old son. We no longer have to yell throughout the house to locate him, as we simply open the app and will usually find him playing with his magnatiles or building Legos. We’re expecting a baby in April, and considering getting another VC931 to use as a baby monitor.

We had a stationary camera setup in the den when we moved in, but the limited view was a real bummer. The pan and tilt feature of the VC931 allows us to easily scan and zoom the room using the app, with a swipe or pinch of your fingers. Grainy videos are not an issue as the VC931 provides high-definition resolution in daylight as well as during night vision.

There are a ton of other features available with the VTech VC931 that you’d only expect from a camera costing much more. These include:

  • Motion alerts and motion-activated recording
  • Two-way talk
  • On-demand recording
  • Extended-range Wi-Fi
  • 10x digital zoom
  • Gesture controls

An unexpected bonus with the VC931 is that it looks good on our shelf. It’s small and discrete, which is what we want. It’s also silent when moving, so it won’t call attention to itself. We’re thoughtful about every item we display on our shelves and this camera takes up such little room there is no need to design around it.

The VTech VC931 is currently available on their website for $120. That’s a heck of a deal considering all that you get in this tiny camera.

This post is sponsored by VTech, but all opinions are 100% our own.

9 Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts

Your bags are packed, you’re ready to move and the last thing you want to do is follow your agent’s advice about putting time and money into your listing photos. But if you don’t, your photos could prevent the home from selling quickly.

Consider these nine do’s and don’ts to help your listing attract the attention it deserves.

1. Do: Take a shot from the curb.

Keep your home’s curb appeal top of mind. Buyers often decide in a matter of minutes (or seconds) whether they want to keep looking or move on to another listing.

Make sure you get the whole house in the shot, and don’t let cars or other objects block your line of sight.

Don’t: Create a landslide.

When taking a shot from the curb, be mindful of your camera’s angle. The roofline should be parallel with the photo’s frame to make it look level – not like there’s a landslide on the property.

2. Do: Welcome visitors.

An attractive front door and entryway go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Leaving the door open in one of your photos can also send a welcoming message.

Don’t: Threaten visitors.

Remove any threatening signs or barriers on the property before taking photos. The goal is to create a feeling of warmth with your listing photos – not scare onlookers away.

3. Do: Consider a bird’s-eye view.

Taking a photo from above is a great way to show off a large property or a waterfront location. Crop the photo close enough so the home is visible without having to draw an arrow or a box around it.

Don’t: Consider a fisheye lens.

Some folks use a fisheye lens to make smaller spaces appear larger. However, it often has the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and distorted.

As a general rule of thumb, stick with a traditional lens for listing photos, and make small spaces appear bigger with design tricks.

4. Do: Capture your home’s selling points.

You may think it’s best to skip the bathroom when taking listing photos, but if yours was recently updated, show it off! Bathrooms are among the first spaces to be upgraded in newly owned homes, and research shows that blue bathrooms sell for more than expected.

Don’t: Capture yourself in the mirror.

While a vanity can be a selling point, you want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror – not you. Stay out of your listing photos by avoiding angles where you or your camera’s flash may be reflected.

5. Do: Stage each room.

The goal is to put your home’s best foot forward. That means staging each room to sell shoppers on the lifestyle your home offers. Create cozy vignettes in each photo so it’s easier for shoppers to envision themselves living there.

Don’t: Stage a mess.

If there’s one absolute “don’t” for listing photos, it’s capturing a mess. Tidy up each room before taking any photos so your home looks its best.

6. Do: Play up the season.

Even if your home has been on the market for a while, it will feel up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.

Don’t: Play up your holiday decor.

Over-the-top holiday decor can be a turnoff, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. Instead, consider ways to decorate for the season as a whole and take photos of rooms without themed decor.

7. Do: Show off the view.

If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It’s best if you can capture it with a part of the house in the shot, like the deck or porch. That way, buyers can picture themselves there.

Don’t: Show off your pets.

Focus on the parts of your home that will be there when a buyer moves in. Unfortunately, your pets don’t fall into that category, as cute as they are!

8. Do: Show off architectural details.

Archways, beams and other architectural quirks may be hard to photograph, but they give your home character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.

Don’t: Show off architectural blunders.

Every home has its blemishes, but that doesn’t mean you have to capture them all in the photos. The listing is the time to put your best foot forward – the open house and inspection are when the buyer can take note of the imperfections.

You may also want to consider making a few small improvements, like updating the bathroom, before listing your home.

9. Do: Take a night shot with the lights on.

While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are ideal, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. The key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.

Don’t: Capture a dark room.

When it comes to interior photos, you want all the light you can get. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible while still looking natural.


John Deere Riding Mowers at Home Depot

Last month we visited one of the John Deere plants near Augusta, Georgia and were the first to check out their new lineup of utility tractors, zero-turn mowers and riding mowers.


These tractors and riding mowers are targeted to the residential consumer or hobby farmer and since we have almost zero-experience using this equipment we can vouch for how easy it is hop aboard and get to work.

The key here is ease of use as anyone who invests in a riding mower most likely has a bit more lawn than they can handle with a traditional push mower and is looking for the ease and simplicity of cutting their lawn with a riding mower.

You do need a bit more space to store your riding mower but don’t think of this as heavy equipment. The riding mowers from John Deere and others include a lot of great amenities such as cup holders, headlights, onboard storage and comfortable seats.

Home Depot now has a full-line up of riding mowers including the John Deere D100 series which will soon be replaced by the E110. They also have a fleet of zero-turn models available that are similar to the ones we tested in August. 

The new lineup of E100 series mowers will feature their new Easy Change 30-Second Oil Change System.  This integrated system, makes it possible for consumers to change their mower oil by simply twisting on a new cartridge that contains both the oil and the filter – no engine oil drainage needed. A daunting task that was once difficult, slow and messy is now easy, quick and clean. 

Traditional riding mowers are the simplest to own, operate and maintain. Most models from John Deere, Toro and Cub Cadet, now come with comfortable seats, large steering wheels and easy to reach pedals.


The zero-turn models take a bit more getting used to but are extremely fast and once you get the hang of driving and operating them you’ll be whizzing around your yard in no time. They are called zero-turn as you use a system of levers to operate them. Push them both forward and you’ll go forward, pull them both back and you’ll go back but push them in opposite ways and you’ll turn on a dime.

Before you head off to Home Depot you can check out their full-lineup from their website of John Deere mowers as well as models from top brands such as Toro, Ariens and Cub Cadet.

It always helps to do your research first online and then print up comparables and bring them with you when shopping.

We think you should treat yourself to a riding mower this Spring, don’t you?!