When buyers are ready to purchase a new home, their lender will require proof of insurance at closing. This is the perfect time to shop at least 3 different companies to compare policies and costs. Most of the time, customers will get the best rates when they bundle their auto and home insurance together. I also encourage my clients to look into “Umbrella” policies which provide additional coverage for very little money (usually $1,000,000 policies). Also, take time to review insurance company reviews, what good is a cheap policy if the company you work with refuses to pay or is very difficult to work with? Lastly, many insurance companies act like our cable providers and reward customer loyalty by jacking up their prices higher than new customers pay! So it makes sense to review your insurance company and costs annually.
Clark Howard Post of Insurance Ratings
If you are thinking of remodeling or updating your kitchen, remember that color and material trends typically follow 5 year cycles; therefore, it pays to be “fashion forward” with your up-dates if you plan to stay in your home for over 5 years. What is trending? Overall, think clean, simple, and contemporary. (Say good-bye “Old World” and hello Scandinavia).
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the following items are trending for 2013:
- White painted cabinets. Resurfacing your current cabinets would be a great way to save money. If you purchase new cabinets, select non-fussy lines. I am also seeing two-toned cabinetry (white above and a color below the counter).
- Quartz countertops. Quartz is starting to trend over Granite. Some of the reasoning is the uniform color and pattern, it is more stain and scratch resistant, and does not have to be resealed every year. If you live in the Raleigh and Cary NC area, granite is still more popular according to the sales associates at Cary’s Absolute Stone . (I advise clients who are thinking of selling their home soon and want to update their kitchen to install Granite because the price point is a little lower than quartz and my current buyers still want granite.)
- Glass back splash. Subway tile is still popular.
- A white and gray color scheme. This is a nice neutral palate that lets the homeowner easily update their décor by simply changing their towels and accessories. I am also seeing designers add elements of wood to the kitchen to create visual texture and interest – for example, a wood elevated section on the island to act as a bar, wood ceilings etc. Make sure it is cool!
- Satin and nickel finishes for faucets and lighting trim. Stainless steel under mount sinks still can’t be beat.
- LED lighting.