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The New Kitchen Finish: Black Stainless


Photo Credit: KitchenAid


Among all the tech hype at CES 2016 this week, appliance manufacturers are showing off their latest high-tech, super energy efficient models. But they’re also doing it under a new finish: Black stainless.

KitchenAid, LG, and Samsung are among the appliance makers showing the black satiny finish. It’s the latest finish to go up against the long-held popularity of stainless steel, the rugged industrial look that has adorned modern kitchens for decades.

But stainless steel has had a love-hate relationship with home owners. Home owners love the shiny look but they tend to hate the fingerprint smudges that are often left behind. Manufacturers have tried alternatives, such as Whirlpool’s White Ice and GE’s Slate. But none have come close to biting into stainless steels’ popularity.



Photo Credit: KitchenAid


Will black stainless catch on? Possibly, because it’s not that too different of a look.

It’s less reflective than the conventional stainless steel. It’s just slightly darker and offers a slightly more (but not completely) smudge-free finish.

KitchenAid first launched its black stainless steel finish in September 2015, which had designers calling it the hot “new neutral” that added “warmth” and “sophistication” to a kitchen space.

“Major appliances are the anchor pieces of a kitchen, and their color and design contribute largely to the overall look of the space,” says Beth Robinson, senior brand experience manager for KitchenAid. “As a stylish alternative to traditional finishes, our black stainless steel offers designers and consumers tremendous design flexibility and the chance to experiment with fresh ideas.”

What do you think? Do you think black stainless will catch on?


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR Magazine


Foreign Investors See Big Opportunity in U.S.

Foreign investors are expected to pour more money into U.S. real estate this year than they did last year, according to a newly released survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate of about half of the group’s 200 members.

The survey showed that 64 percent of respondents said they intended to make modest to major increases in U.S property investments this year. Thirty-one percent said they plan to maintain their holdings or reinvest sales proceeds into other U.S. assets.

New York remains the top target market globally, according to the survey.

“This is a very strong response,” says Jim Fetgatter, chief executive of AFIRE. He noted to Bloomberg that China’s economic slowdown, Brazil’s recession, and Europe’s immigration crisis have instilled in international investors that “the U.S., at the moment, really is the safest place for them to go.”

Download NAR’s latest international home-buying activity report.
The U.S. ranked as the country with the best opportunities for price appreciation in 2016, followed by Brazil, Spain, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, according to the survey.

Investors from Canada, Asia, Europe, and Australia in search of higher yields have been making investments in office towers, warehouses, apartment buildings, shopping malls, and hotels.

In the residential sector, foreign buyers have remained strong too. About 209,000 homes were estimated to have been sold to foreign buyers in the 12 months ending March 2015, according to a report released last year by the National Association of REALTORS®, “The 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients.”

What’s more, foreign buyers, on average, paid nearly $500,000 for a home – compared to about $256,000 overall for the U.S. average house price. NAR’s report showed that the four states accounting for 50 percent of international sales last year were Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona.

Source: “U.S. Real Estate to Draw More Foreigners in 2016, Survey Says,” Bloomberg (Jan. 3, 2016)

How to Improve Your Home Appraisal

Many sellers find that they believe their home is worth more than the appraisal states it’s worth. People can be emotionally connected to their homes, so it can be difficult if an appraisal comes in lower than expected. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to increase the appraisal amount. In addition to making sure you have all the important features and upgrades of your home ready for the appraiser, follow these five tips to improve your home appraisal.

1. Request that the lender sends a local appraiser.

If your appraiser is unfamiliar with your area, there may be a chance the appraisal will come in at less than what the property is actually worth. If you can’t get a local appraiser, make sure you provide the appraiser detailed information about your neighborhood.

2. Only make renovations that add the most value.

Kitchen and bathroom upgrades and finished basements will generally increase your appraisal. If you’ve renovated any part of your home, make sure you document the renovation and costs with before and after photos and a spreadsheet of the detailed costs. Be prepared to show receipts if necessary.

3. Clean up your yard.

Having trimmed trees and shrubs, a well-maintained lawn, and flowers or flowerbeds can help improve the appraisal. Give your landscaping an update. Don’t neglect any part of your yard.

4. Repair or replace outdated or broken appliances and/or light fixtures.

It may not be cost effective to purchase all new appliances. However, if there is any appliance or light fixture that is not working properly, it could affect your home’s value negatively.

5. Clean up clutter.

Clutter is an eyesore, but it can also cost you money when getting an appraisal. Some experts claim a clean, clutter-free home can appraise for up to ten percent higher than a comparable home that is messy and full of clutter.

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Five Simple Ways to Boost your Home’s Value

1. Spend an hour with a professional designer or your Realtor.

Invite your Realtor, an interior designer, or a professional home stager over to your home for their input. Many agents do this as a courtesy, while you may need to pay a consultation fee for a designer or stager. The standard hourly fee is generally less than $100. In an hour, you can receive great feedback and a lot of ideas to improve your home and possibly increase its value. Even small suggestions such as where your furniture is placed and what you have hanging on your walls can make a big difference in how your home is perceived by potential buyers.

2. Clean up the yard.

Unkempt bushes, weeds, and overgrown trees can be a turnoff to potential buyers. Curb appeal is important when selling your home and can be what attracts buyers into your home. A small investment in professional yard work and/or landscaping can bring a big return and make a significant difference in the price. A nicely mowed lawn, a few trimmed shrubs, and a clean porch and walkway all make a great first impression. Don’t overlook your yard when selling your home because buyers won’t.

3. Update your lighting.

Updated, modern lighting can significantly enhance your home’s appeal. Make sure you fix broken panes, open your windows to let the light in when showing your home, and consider installing lights that use motion detectors. High wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces. For less than $100, you can install new fixtures to make your home more modern.

4. Get them at the door.

The front door and the porch are often overlooked. Make sure your front door looks fresh and new and has a nice handle and lock set. The doorbell needs to work, and don’t forget an overhang such as an awning or portico above the front door. Also, exterior upgrades such as a deck or patio can create an extension of living space and be very appealing to home buyers. If a deck is built with the right material, it will generally hold its value.

5. Paint.

One of the simplest improvements you can make to your home is a coat of new paint. When selecting paint colors, stick to neutrals. Neutral colors will make your home more desirable to more people. Paint is generally inexpensive.

Categories: General Real Estate, House and Home, Local Topics, Markets/Economy, National Topics, New Trends, Places/Spaces, Real Estate News

Originally posted by Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Florida Realty