Is Your Kitchen Ready for the Holidays?

Cooking for a crowd is a challenge no matter the conditions. But, as we all know, working with cumbersome appliances and a disorganized layout can transform your holiday cooking into a kitchen nightmare. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to cure your cramped kitchen woes.

1. Upgrade Your Appliances

Start by thinking spatially. If you’re cooking large, holiday dinners, chances are you’ll have some helping-hands in the kitchen. One of the ways to work around a lack of space is to purchase appliances that make the most efficient use of the space available. In-wall, double ovens are a great idea if you frequently cook for a crowd, while countertop-cooking surfaces are perfect for those who need the extra cabinetspace. Of course, when you cook for a group you have to factor in the clean up. If you have the space, consider adding an extra dishwasher. If that’s not an option, consider replacing your current dishwasher with a larger, energy efficient model.

2. Check Your Plumbing

More than likely, your kitchen only has one sink (but how great would it be to have two?). Good news: If you have a decent sized kitchen-island, a quick chat with your plumber will let you know if an extra sink is a reality. If an additional sink isn’t realistic, consider adding a pot-filler faucet to your stove.This is a great way to improve your kitchen’s flow without breaking the bank. One final tip: If your garbage disposal isn’t happy, no one’s happy. Before you embark on your holiday cooking, make sure your disposal is cleaned and ready for the extra workload. If it’s been sounding rough, we recommend calling a plumber or handyman to come out and take a look at it.

3. Maximize Your Storage

Outside of a complete overhaul, there’s no better way to improve your kitchen’s functionality than by upgrading your cabinets. Retractable trashcans, lazy Susans, pullout shelving and drawer/cabinet dividers all make smart additions to your existing kitchen (and save you tons of space). If you have the budget to install new cabinets, opt for base cabinets with drawers and an extension of your existing cabinets to ceiling height.

4. Remodel Your Space

Few projects spark the imagination like a kitchen remodel. Whether you want to tackle the aesthetics of your kitchen (new countertops, matching appliances and lighting), or add additional room to accommodate more involved culinary adventures, a remodel is the way to go if you’re after the ultimate cooking and entertaining environment.

From Home Advisor – 11-2-2018

Painting Cabinets

Great ideas if you don’t want to replace your cabinets.

Sherwin Williams’ Pick for 2018’s Hottest Color


By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

A rich blue with jewel-toned greens is forecasted to be 2018’s hottest color of the year, according to Sherwin Williams, which unveiled its 2018 Color of the Year choice this week. Other paint companies will be announcing their paint choices over the next few weeks.

Oceanside SW 6496 is a statement color. It can add a bold, attention-getting pop to wall colors, furnishings, accessories, and even a home’s front door.

“Green-blues in deep values, such as Oceanside, respond to changes in light, which is a quality that creates intense dimension,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “It is a tremendously versatile color, and harmonizes with other diverse color groups.”

Oceanside is reminiscent of a marine-inspired look. But Sherwin Williams says the color can be woven into practically any design style, from mid-century modern to Mediterranean, traditional, or contemporary. Sherwin Williams says the color is versatile enough to be paired with any number of other colors, from hot pinks, yellows to navy or sky blues.

For 2017, Sherwin Williams had selected Poised Taupe (SW 6039) as the hot color. The company has been pushing the brownish-gray hue into more color schemes this year. Sherwin Williams had predicted taupe to become the next “it” color base for many homes today, edging out the popularity of gray.

But for 2018, Sherwin Williams is returning to a bolder shade for its hot-pick.

“People today have a growing sense of adventure, and it is making its way into even the coziest corners of our homes,” Wadden says. “We are craving things that remind us of bright folklore, like mermaids and expeditions across continents. Oceanside is the color of wanderlust right in our own homes.”

Photo credit: Sherwin Williams

Source:: Styled Staged Sold

4 Ways to Help a Home Seller Tackle Clutter


One of the most cost-effective ways to prepare a home for sale is to organize it, but I know for many home sellers it’s no easy task. It’s important to contain and, in fact, erase clutter for three reasons:

  • Gain more square footage.
  • Showcase the positive features in the home.
  • Buyers can visualize living in the space.

Clutter comes in all different forms and it lingers in most homes. So if you see piles of paperwork, clothes on the floor, stuffed closets — it’s time to declutter! Here are some tips:

1. Start small. Organizing is an evolving process that changes as the needs of a home owner change. Start small: One room, one closet, one corner. Just start somewhere! To make it count, tackle the first cluttered area a home buyer would see as they walk into the home.

2. Schedule it. Many times a home owner never starts the decluttering process because of time constraints. Schedule blocks of time (2-4 hours) or even just 15 minutes a day depending on what needs to be organized to make your goal a reality.

3. Find a home. One reason why clutter can build up in a home is if an item is homeless. Creating a place for each item in your home is a crucial part to obtaining an organized home. Of course, keeping the space in order only happens when you return an item back to it’s home after use.

4. Adopt “good habits.” By always returning an item home, you’re building in a maintenance system in your organizing process. Another good habit to adopt is to take 5-10 minutes every night and put items away. This way when you wake up in the morning, the house is ready to show off.

Clutter is one of the biggest turn offs to buyers. De-cluttering can bring you more $$$ and a quicker sale!





Short Sales Explained

Sandy Wagner




What is a short sale?

Selling a home for less than the amount the current owner owes the mortgage company is called a short sale.

Buying a home that is a short sale is different from buying a property that is actually owned by the bank, known as an REO, or real-estate owned property, or a property that is in foreclosure.

All of this sounds arcane, but it’s lingo that anyone shopping for a home needs to understand to navigate today’s marketplace.

A short sale can be a good deal for a buyer, and it can help the seller avoid having a full foreclosure on his or her credit record. Although a short sale and a foreclosure negatively affect a seller’s credit score, in a short sale the damage can be minimized if the homeowner can persuade the lender to report the debt to credit bureaus as “paid in full.”

In a short sale, the proceeds from the transaction are less than the amount the seller needs to pay the mortgage debt and the costs of selling. For this deal to close, everyone who is owed money must agree to take less — or possibly no money at all. That makes short sales complex transactions that move slowly and often fall through.

A recently announced extension of the government’s housing rescue plan could make it easier to buy short-sale properties. The new version of the Making Home Affordable plan will pay lenders up to $1,000 if they allow a short sale of a property when the owners don’t qualify for loan modification because they owe too much money on the home. The program will spell out a short-sale process and provide standard documents, the U.S. Treasury says.

The government’s plan probably still won’t help if there are multiple liens on the property, but it should encourage lenders holding the first mortgage to move the process along.

Keep your eyes wide open

If you’re house hunting and spot what seems like a great deal, chances are good that you are considering a short-sale property.

Most of the time, the seller has already fallen behind on the mortgage, but occasionally the seller is current but unable to continue to pay because of ill health or job change. This is particularly true in parts of the country where home prices have fallen significantly.

If you are considering a short sale, give me a call and I will try and answer all your questions.

sandy wagnerw4w325email (119x150)

Sandy Wagner

Short Sale Specialist in Tacoma, WA and Gig Harbor, WA

Helping people find a way out of foreclosure


Don’t Let Your Home Go To Foreclosure…There is a better way!





The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act extension, that eliminated forgiveness of debt tax for most homeowners, and had actually previously expired on December 31, 2013, was passed by Congress right before Christmas 2015; signed by the President, and has now become law.

This positively affects short sale sellers. It is a wonderful Congressional Christmas present of a further extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act, not only retroactively starting back on January 1, 2015, but extending all the way through December 31, 2016!!!


This was a special exemption that originally came into existence in 2006/2007 and was extended literally until 2014. This tax law  allows homeowners, who have lived in their property as a primary residence two out of the last five years, in most instances, to be able to avoid any forgiveness of debt tax that would be payable except for this exemption.

The forgiveness of debt creates income subject to ordinary income tax that, in many instances, could create a tax cost of upwards of $30K or $40K or more for a short sale seller.

It is still important, if you are considering a short sale, to consult with a Realtor who has the expertise and experience in this emotional and complicated process.

sandy wagnerw4w325email

Sandy Wagner

Short Sale Specialist in Tacoma, WA and Gig Harbor, WA

Helping people find a way out of foreclosure


10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value on a $200 to $2K Budget

Submitted by

Maintaining and increasing your home’s value can pay off in major ways. Not only does helping your home hold value help it sell for its full amount, it can also help your home sell more quickly, help maintain your neighbor’s home values, and ensure that you’re not overpaying in property taxes. These 10 projects are listed from least to most expensive, and may help you increase your home’s value. Best part: None of these projects cost more than $2,000, so you don’t have to break the bank to take on these projects either.

—-Low Cost: Budget under $500—-


Fertilizing your lawn may not seem as though it’s doing much for your home’s value, but a well-maintained lawn plays a major role in your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is how well your property looks from the road, and has a major impact on your home’s value and resale. Fertilizing a dry, brown, or otherwise patchy lawn can help boost your home’s curb appeal, and in turn its value.

Cost: The average cost of lawn fertilizing is around $.03 a square foot assuming a 6,000 square foot lawn, for a total of $180. Total costs range from $.02 a square foot for a DIY job to $.04 a square foot during peak season.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you are able to tackle this job DIY, you can save a lot of money (which you can then use to plant shrubs or trees to further increase your home’s curb appeal).
  • Tackle this job at the beginning of the season to avoid paying peak prices.


The attic is one of the most overlooked areas of the home when it comes to the impact on the rest of the home. Attics that are not properly insulated can become superheated, which can overheat the roof, cause ice dams, and raise your energy bills. Installing an attic fan can help protect your roof, lower your energy bills, and improve your home values.

Cost: The average cost to install a gable mount electric attic fan is around $275 for spaces up to 2,500. Total costs range from $39 for a wind-powered vent to $321 for an electric fan to cool up to 3,000 feet.

Money Saving Tips

  • Look into getting a solar-powered fan, which will not only run when you need it, but will also lower your monthly energy costs to run it as well.


Dingy, old, or out of fashion paint can really hurt the resale of your home. By giving a room in your home a fresh coat of paint, you can help remedy this problem. Choose neutral paints in light colors to get the most universal appeal, particularly if the rooms are small or dark, as these colors will help open them up and make them feel larger.

Cost: The average cost to paint a 200-square-foot room is around $378, with a full range between $162 for DIY to $459 for rooms that need more than one coat of paint on the walls.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you are able to tackle this job DIY, you can save a significant amount of money, allowing you to do more than one room.
  • Choose a color that is close to what you already have on the walls so you won’t have to apply more than one coat.


While a major bathroom renovation can be costly, you don’t actually have to complete one to help boost the value of your home. Sometimes it’s enough to tackle just one or two areas of the bathroom, replacing old or outdated items with new ones to help freshen up the space and help it function better. Things like installing a new, eco-friendly water saving toilet can have a major impact on the value of the room as a whole.

Cost: The cost to install a new toilet is between $300 and $500 with a total range between $100 for a DIY job to $700 for a higher-end model.

Money Saving Tips

  • Tackle small jobs yourself, such as toilet or faucet installation.
  • Look for lightweight acrylic tubs, which are less expensive to buy and install.

—-Mid-Range Cost: Budget under $1,000—-


The backsplash is one of the most personal and trendiest places in the kitchen, because it’s so easy to install and update. Most backsplashes are only around 30-square-feet in size, so even costly tile doesn’t add up to a lot when installed here. You can use the backsplash to update an older or darker kitchen by using glass tiles to reflect light, or trendy mosaics to boost style, any of which will help boost resale value.

Cost: The average cost to install 16-square-feet of ceramic backsplash is between $400 and $600, with a total range between $300 for lower quality ceramic tile to $1000 for high end, premium tile.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use small amounts of high end mosaic tiles and cut them into strips or square for borders and accents to brighten up a plain field of tile.
  • Install the tile yourself to save on the installation costs.


Old floor tile can really bring down a room, particularly if the flooring is dingy, cracked, or just out of date. Installing new ceramic floor tile can brighten up the room and improve its value at the same time. Newer tile floors are much easier to clean and maintain, and have grout joints that are both smaller and easier to keep clean than in years past, which makes this job a lasting one. Most areas that use tile – entryways, bathrooms, or kitchens – tend to be small enough to keep the costs down as well.

Cost: The average costs to install ceramic tile on the flooring of a bathroom is around $700 to $900 with total costs ranging from $550 for low-grade tile to $1,000 for tile with radiant heat beneath it.

Money Saving Tips

  • Install the tile yourself to keep the costs of this job down.
  • Look for odd-lot tile sales to get higher-end tiles at a lower price to keep the overall cost down.

—-Highest Cost: Budget under $2,000—-


Old bathtubs and bath/shower units can really lower the value of your home, particularly if they are filled with mold, mildew, and old water stains. Replacing your old tub can have a big impact on the way the rest of the bathroom looks, which can therefore have a big impact on your home’s resale value.

Cost: The cost of installing a new bathtub is around $1,006 for a standard fiberglass tub/shower with a total range from $143 for a low cost bathtub installed DIY to $1,857 for a high-end cast iron bathtub.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use a lightweight acrylic tub or tub/shower enclosure, which costs a lot less than cast iron tubs. They are also a lot lighter, and therefore cost less to install as well.


New wood flooring can transform a home. Wood flooring also has a major impact on a home’s value and its ability to be sold in a timely way. Bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly wood flooring option that also costs less than many other hardwoods, giving you the look of wood for less, along with sustainable design.

Cost: The average cost to install bamboo flooring in a 16 x 16 room is around $1,250, although costs can vary greatly by region.

Money Saving Tips

  • Float the floor for an easy installation that you can tackle DIY.
  • Purchase the flooring from a local seller to cut down on shipping costs.


Nothing lowers the resale value of a home faster than old carpet. Carpets can be notorious for hanging onto smells, stains, and allergens, which make them a major turn off for home buyers. Replacing old carpet with new can have a major impact on your home’s value.

Cost: The average cost to install new carpet in a 16 x 16 room is between $1,200 and $1,400, although costs can vary greatly by region.

Money Saving Tips

  • Cover up old carpets temporarily using new throw rugs to hide stains.
  • Invest in stain-resistant carpeting to lengthen the amount of time before you need to replace again.


Water damage can take a major toll on your home’s value. Water can cause wood rot, mildew, and black mold in your home, as well as unsightly stains, all of which can lower your home’s value if you don’t repair them in a timely way. Tackling water damage should always be done as soon as possible to help minimize the amount of damage that will ultimately occur.

Cost: The average cost to repair water damage in an 80-square-foot bathroom is about $23 a square foot, which translates to around $1874, although this figure can be impacted by what the damage is and how much needs to be replaced.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use fans after the water has receded to help dry things out before damage like mold can set in.
  • Do the tear out of damaged materials yourself to help eliminate some professional fees.


No matter how small your budget is, there are always things that you can do to help increase or maintain your home’s value.

To find the costs of more ways you can improve your home’s value, be sure to check out the Fixr and How Much cost guides.

Source:: Styled Staged Sold

My Favorite Staging Accessory: Mirrors


Styled Staged & Sold will be featuring staging professionals’ favorite staging accessories and props over the next few weeks. (Do you have a favorite? Submit your favorite for consideration to

Photo credit: Karen Hakola, listing agent

Go-to prop: Mirrors

Stager: Natalie Gray, Gray Group Design, San Clemente, Calif.

Why I love them: “Mirrors are my favorite staging accessory because they play many roles. They can make a space feel larger, increase light in a room, act as artwork to create a mood, and they can reflect a great view. Using a mirror also gives a stager the opportunity to show off an architectural feature or other selling point of the property that a buyer might otherwise overlook.”

Photography by VirtualWalkthrough; Adam Alcaraz & Max Black, listing agents

Make it work tips:

1. Use a mirror to lighten up an otherwise dark space. Adding mirrors along with reflective surfaces – like tables and glassware — can bring more light to a room.

2. Choosing a great mirror is like choosing artwork for a property. The size, shape and style should compliment the architecture, and space of the property.

3. Be careful when taking photos. When using mirrors, you need to check the reflection from all angles and make sure the photographer is able to capture the best angle of the room without being in the shot.

Gray_mirror1Photo Credit: Gray Group Design

Source:: Styled Staged Sold

Design Trends to Watch in 2016

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

What are the hot trends to look out for in 2016 in home design? Here are a few predictions from the remodeling and design site Houzz on some of the big trends to expect.

1. Two shades of kitchen cabinets.
The upper cabinets may be a white or neutral but then more designers are trying out deeper colors or wood tones for the lower cabinets.

2. Formal dining rooms are back.
More home owners are opting to keep the dining room and not turn it into an office. The formal dining room is expected to get more attention this year.

3. Multi-purpose kitchen islands.
The “workhorse” kitchen island is about more than just adding workspace in the kitchen, but also for adding more storage, prep sinks, and a way to add extra seating.

4. Mirrors that make a statement.
Medicine cabinets are heading out and now wood-framed, modern, or vintage mirrors are adding more style to bathrooms.

5. “Barely there” kitchens.
Kitchens are fading into the backdrop as the open layouts infuse more seamlessly into the living room or other spaces in the home. Aiding that trend, more kitchens are featuring open shelves to add to that openness.

6. Sunrooms are hot.
Houzz identified this as one of the top dream spaces for home owners. Some home owners are finding ways to even transform tucked away corners in their home into a sunroom with a few chairs to relax near windows.

7. White kitchens dominate.
White kitchen walls and cabinets and even countertops is a trend with staying power, Houzz predicts. To add some splash to the all-white kitchen, designers are adding touches of color through the tile floors or floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

8. Powder rooms get more bold.
Wall coverings are getting punched up in powder room, that include everything from custom graphics to textured walls. Also, designers are mixing in ornate chandeliers or furniture-like pieces to add some more pizzazz to these spaces.

9. Farmhouse style guides the entryway.
Farmhouse style is catching on, particularly for the mudroom. Simplicity in the storage solutions and durable materials are taking charge.

View the full 25 list of trends to watch in 2016 at Houzz.

Source:: Styled Staged Sold