7 Ways to Create an Outdoor Space for Summer Fun

outdoor space for summer funThe sun’s out, the birds are singing, and the weather feels absolutely amazing. It’s no wonder that you want to get outdoors now more than ever! Fortunately, you don’t have to venture too far to find fun – excitement and relaxation can both be found just outside your door! Here are 7 creative ways you can turn your backyard into your favorite place to spend your days and nights this summer:

Freshen up the Deck or Patio

After a long, harsh winter, your patio or deck deserves a bit of love. Switch out tired outdoor cushions for fresh pillows in your favorite color. Throw in a rug to tie your look together. Feel free to add a decorative plant or centerpiece to your outdoor table to make it look even more inviting!

Add Some Privacy

Don’t want passers-by to look in and start chatting you up while you’re busy relaxing? You’ll want to add an element of privacy to your space! Choose a chic set of curtains to hang from the deck or roll up your sleeves and create your own plant privacy wall.

Keep the Mosquitos at Bay

Mosquitos do a great job when it comes to ruining any party. Don’t let them win! Keep them away with a few strategically placed citronella candles and torches. If you’re enjoying a meal or snack outside, cover them up with some simple mosquito netting to deter mosquitos and any other curious bugs!

Create Your Own Movie Showing

There’s nothing like watching your favorite movie under the glow of the stars! Set up a projection screen to be viewed from the comfort of your deck, patio, or pool. You can keep built-in speakers hidden behind rock walls or planters for more of a surround-sound effect as well. All that’s missing is the popcorn!

Throw Some Shade

Whether you lack shady trees or want to shield yourself from the summertime weather, you’ll want to add some shade to your backyard oasis. You can add a large umbrella, get creative with curtains, or tap into your DIY skills by building a pergola. Your covering will help you stay out of the sun’s harmful rays and keep you dry should a storm pop up.

Roll Out the Mini-Bar

Don’t want to go all the way back inside to fix up a drink? Bring them to you with the help of a mini-bar! You can either purchase a proper cart or try your hand at creating your own by repurposing an old table to keep your drinks cold and nearby.

Add in Your Personality

Of course, your space isn’t truly yours until you add a few personal touches. Let your personality shine through with funky or vibrant decorations. Adorn your space with pillows, blankets, and a rug in your favorite color, add some quirky accent pieces, and hang strings of LED lights for a romantic touch in the evenings.

If your current home lacks sufficient outdoor space for memorable summertime activities, we can help you find the home of your dreams! Call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at either (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. We’re eager to find the right home that fulfills your wants and needs!

6 Tips to Make Your Home Office Work for You

tips for working from homeFor countless Americans, especially those working in industries deemed non-essential, WFH (working from home) has become the new normal. While many are discovering some amazing benefits from working from home – more time for sleeping, spending time with the family, exercising, and working on our hobbies – there are certainly some challenges. Fortunately, you can make your home office efficient, even if it’s at the kitchen table – and it won’t cost a thing. Here are a few tips to get your newfound workspace up and running!

Claim Your Own Space

If you don’t have a designated room for a home office, don’t fret – just about any space in your home can work as your new temporary office! Choose an area that offers fewer distractions, plenty of outlets, and adequate lighting. Yes, that means you definitely need to get out of bed! Set up your station in your library, carve a space at the dining room table, or corner off a section of your basement. Whichever spot you choose, make sure it’s one that will help you get into a work mindset and keep you from getting derailed!

Minimize Distractions

Whether you live by yourself or with others, interruptions are bound to happen. There are a few ways you can reduce them, however! If you find yourself wanting to binge the latest documentary on Netflix, work away from the TV and listen to some music instead. Working in your own room? Close the door to shut out distractions. Finally, if you’re living with others, keep them up to speed about what’s on your plate for the day so they can work more easily around your schedule (and vice versa!).

Clear out the Clutter

Speaking of distraction, clutter can really drag you down and kill your workflow. Take some time to straighten up your desk and toss out anything that’s unnecessary. Keep your workday essentials like pens, notebooks, and your agenda nearby to help you tackle your to-do list like a boss!

Keep Inspiration in View

Now more than ever, your surroundings should inspire you and help motivate you to do your best. Put your favorite photos of your loved ones front and center. Create your own inspiration board filled with photos of your goals and your travel destinations that you’ll visit one day and hang it on your wall. These little things can help you stay positive throughout the day!

Do a Background Check

Are Zoom calls becoming more regular? If so, you’ll want to look behind you and see if your surroundings need any sprucing up. Kick out that pile of laundry and any unsightly clutter. Show off a bit of your personality by displaying some of your favorite decorations on a bookshelf or two behind you. Make it fun and inviting while remaining professional!

Set the Right Tone for Success

Now that you’re working from home, you can control your environment a lot more. Put your headphones to the side and blast a motivating playlist from your computer or speaker. Light a candle in your favorite scent to help relax you. Keep a cozy throw nearby to warm up under throughout the day. Take advantage of this time now to help make working from home as comforting and positive as possible!

What are you doing to help you feel more productive and settled in your home office? Tell us in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

7 Simple Ways You Can Rediscover Joy in Your Home

finding joy at homeThe coronavirus pandemic has redefined our new normal and how we live our daily lives. As many of us have been staying at home for the past several weeks, we have all had to learn how to embrace this new way of life. You may feel like you’re “stuck” at home – but you don’t have to feel that way! Your home is your sanctuary, the one true place you can let your guard down and be you. It’s okay to feel so many different emotions during these uncertain times, but try to welcome in the light and find the joy in your home. Here are a few easy suggestions:

Tend Your Garden

Have you ever wished you had extra time to spend digging in your garden? Seize the moment now to venture into the yard and start fixing it up. Plant some of your favorite plants and flowers, add some bird feeders for your feathered friends (they can be such a delight to watch), and get creative with your landscaping. You’ll feel a swell of pride when you see a seed you planted beginning to sprout from the ground!

Relax in Your Favorite Room

Which spot in your home do you love the most? Maybe it’s the kitchen, which is flooded with an abundance of natural light in the morning, or maybe it’s in the library where you’re surrounded by books. Wherever you find your little slice of heaven, spend a little extra time relaxing there every day. Make it even cozier with a mug of your favorite hot beverage and a snuggly blanket!

Give a Room a Much-Needed Makeover

Admit it – you have at least one home project that has been on your to-do list for far too long. Break out the paint and give your guest room a new paint job (even if it’s just an accent wall!). Hang those canvases and wall hangings that have been sitting in your closet for months. Redecorate a room to match the season or a style you really love right now. You may find you’ll want to spend even more time in your newly adorned space!

Bake the Stress Away

Many of us will seek comfort and happiness in food, so whip out your apron and put your thinking cap on! Try baking a dessert you’ve been wanting to make but never had a chance to. Assemble a delectable charcuterie board for game night over Zoom or Skype. Cook up a new meal for your family to enjoy. You never know – what you come up with may wind up being so tasty that you’ll add it to your recipe book!

Sip and Savor a Hot Beverage

Now is the time to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life like a hot cup of tea or coffee. Before your day begins, make pour-over coffee or take the time to steep your favorite loose leaf tea in a teapot. These little rituals can bring you a lasting comfort and can help bring a little ray of sunshine into your life!

Revisit a Favorite Hobby

Do you have a spare room that’s been collecting dust? Make that space your dedicated hobby room! Curl up and re-read your favorite book, break out the scrapbooking material and create an album for a friend, or start sketching again. You can even get your friends involved by putting together your very own at-home paint-and-sip class via Skype or Zoom!

Take the Indoors Outside

Sometimes a breath of fresh air is all you need. Step out into the sunlight once in a while to help lift your spirits. Bring your laptop with you so you can work on your patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring around you. Even lounging on a covered deck with a hot drink during a rainy day can be blissful!

It’s true – the simplest things can make us happy, and the things we used to take for granted now hold a special place in our hearts. What are some of the things that have helped you find that spark of joy while you’ve been staying home? Please tell us in the comments below!

COVID-19: All of Your Real Estate Questions Answered

COVID-19 real estate

There are so many questions we are seeking answers to right now, especially for those who are looking to enter the housing market. Many of our buyers and sellers have concerns and questions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it might affect their plans. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we have been receiving lately:

Are open houses still being hosted?

Unfortunately, as of April 1, no open houses are allowed in the state of Illinois in accordance with orders from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

What about showings? Are there any alternatives?

We are still doing showings; however, we are more than happy to conduct virtual showings for our available listings! Keep in touch with us, and we will guide you down the best, safest path toward achieving your goals during these trying times.

What should I know about the housing market in the Metro East and Greater St. Louis regions right now?

Currently, the housing market has slowed down due to the coronavirus. This isn’t surprising with several states being under a Stay at Home order, including Illinois and Missouri. Even so, there are still consumers buying and selling homes, especially anyone who might be relocating for their jobs.

What measures have you put in place for everyone’s safety?

Everyone’s health and well-being is our absolute top priority, so we’ve taken quite a few extra precautions to help everyone remain safe.

If you’re a buyer, please keep these new precautions in mind:

  • Allow no more than 4 people at a showing – this includes the realtors and buyers only. We love children, but only adults purchasing the home should be in attendance to keep families of all types safe.
  • Please refrain from touching things unnecessarily within the house.
  • Don’t turn off any lights – we will handle them for you!
  • Remove shoes or use the provided shoe covers during showings.
  • Please be courteous and ensure that your hands are clean before entering the home. You may also use the provided hand sanitizer upon entering the home!
  • If you or someone you know is or has been sick recently, please do not attend the showing.

If you’re selling your home, we ask that you follow these extra steps to stay safe:

  • Please provide hand sanitizer upon entrance for any buyer who may wish to use it.
  • Please provide shoe covers for buyers to wear and discard after each use.
  • Please use disinfectant wipes on all door handles, light switches, countertops, and other frequently used surfaces before and after all showings.
  • If you or someone you know is or has been sick, please do not allow showings.

What steps can I take now?

It’s understandable to feel worried and unsure of what you should do if you’re thinking about entering the housing market at any point in the near future. If you can, take this time now to prepare your home as much as you can to sell when conditions improve. Give your house a good scrub-down, eliminate clutter, organize your space, and consider painting any tired walls you may have. Doing so won’t just be good for your house – it will also help you stay active and busy.

This is an unprecedented time for us all, but remember: we are in this together, and we will all get through this stronger than ever! Should you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. We are here for you and are ready to assist you while keeping your safety at the forefront of our minds!

Essential Dos and Don’ts of Listing Photos

Listing Photos Dos and Don’ts

Put yourself in the shoes of a homebuyer. What’s the one thing that you must have before you buy a place? Proof that it exists. That’s why it’s time to introduce your home to potential buyers by listing as many appealing pictures as possible! You certainly don’t want to include every single square inch of your property, so here are the Massey Team’s dos and don’ts of listing photos.

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Welcome Spring with These 13 Essential Home Maintenance Tips

spring home maintenance

Once again, our long winter slumbers are over. It’s time to get up, throw back the curtains, and welcome in the sunshine! Before you bask in all that vitamin D Mother Nature’s throwing our way, though, you’ve got some chores to do around the house. Here are the 13 essential spring home maintenance tips you should accomplish before you really celebrate the new season:

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Is Buying a Historic Home Right for You?

is a historic home right for you?You see it as you drive down the street – a gorgeous, towering home complete with a wrap-around porch and skyscraping gables. The mere sight of it causes you to brake and stare with awe, jaw agape. Whether you’re house hunting or simply curious, you might wonder what your life could look like as an owner of a historic home. While there’s plenty to love about the unique characteristics of these homes, there’s certainly much you need to consider before signing that dotted line. Here are the pros and cons of purchasing a historic home:

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Selling Your Home: A Helpful Timeline

Home For Sale TimelineThere are many reasons why people decide to sell their homes – upgrading from a starter home, downsizing after the kids move out, or simply moving closer to a new job. No matter what yours is, start by planning your sale. This is going to take time and effort, so The Massey Team highly recommends sellers to check out the following helpful timeline for selling a home. Continue reading to learn more!

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