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April 18, 2014

April 18th, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Miguel de Cervantes:  “A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.”  (Fred)  “The more things change there is still a proverb that is timely.”

Aprill 11, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #609984-From $222,900 to $218,900.  A Lewes DE Condo in Sandbar Village with 3 BR, 2 BA is available.  A Professionally decorated condo with 9’ ceilings, tile baths,  silestone countertops and a spacious great room with fireplace make this condo very comfortable.  Call me to see this condo at 302 258-6983.

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April 16, 2014

April 16th, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Michel de Montaigne:  “A closed mouth catches no flies.”  (Fred)  “A closed mouth also allows liberties to be undermined.”

April 9, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #609111-From $195,000 to $184,000.  A Rehoboth Beach DE 2nd Floor Condo with 2 BR, 2 BA in 1000 sq. ft. is now available.  New carpet and paint make this unit fresh.  Call me to see this unit at 302 258-5983

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April 15, 2014

April 15th, 2014 · No Comments

Happy Tax Day!

Today’s food for thought is from Michel de Montaigne:  “Wit is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if he knows not how to use it discreetly.”  (Fred)  “Wit is a double edged sword, it can cut both ways and not always equally.”

April 8, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #610937-From $749,900 to $699,999.  A Dagsboro DE Contemporary with 3 BR, 2.5 BA, in 2178 sq. ft. on .32 acre, which is on the Indian River Bay and boasts an open floor plan.  The Master suite overlooks the Bay and the home has many upgrades.  Call me to see this gem at 302 258-6983.

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April 14, 2014

April 14th, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Michel de Montaigne:  “There is no conversation more boring than the one where everyone agrees.”  (Fred)  “Preaching to the choir only gets one so far and gets boring quickly, preaching to other POV’s the conversation becomes stimulated.”

Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #611326-From $120,000 to $90,000.  A Frankfort DE Cape with 3 BR, 1.5 BA on .22 acre is available to a visionary investor.  This home is Sold AS IS for cash, it will not pas FHA or VA inspections.  Call me to see this home @ 302 258-6983.April 7, 2014

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Prep For Spring

April 12th, 2014 · No Comments

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There is a small window of time when the weather is beautiful and it’s not unbearably hot, and we are currently in it!  So, it’s the perfect time to get some of those outdoor projects done.  Here’s a quick rundown of a few projects you should do now!

Prep Your Mower – If you do your own yard work, chances are you’ve already been out mowing this year, but if you haven’t already, you should sharpen those blades before you cut any more grass!  Also check to make sure your other lawn & garden tools are in good operating condition.

Gutters and Downspouts – Check them out carefully to be sure none have gotten loose over the past year and clean out leaves and other debris.  Also check for sags and water stains that may indicate a problem.

Fans & Air Conditioners — Dust them, wash them, remove any debris or building, and clean or replace the filters.  If you don’t have central air and need to install window units, now’s the time.  Make sure to seal the area around them well!  While you’re at it, change the filter to your furnace, especially if you use the fan year round.

Roof Inspection – If your roof is older or you think there might be an issue now’s the time to get up there (or hire someone to do it for you!) and check it out.  Be on the look-out for missing shingles or shingles that may be loose.  Pay careful attention to the areas around chimneys, pipes, vents, skylights, and other such areas.  While you’re up there take a good look around and become aware of anything that might be a potential problem if there’s a nasty storm (such as nearby tree limbs, etc.)

Foundation Vents– Check your vent blocks and remove or open the covers to let some air circulate.  Clean them out if dirt has built up around them over the winter, and check to make sure the soil hasn’t shifted in a way that is allowing groundwater to drain into your basement or crawl space.

Outdoor Faucets – If they’ve been covered, uncover them and turn on the water supply if you shut it off over the winter.

Looking to buy or sell a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and let us work for you — 302-629-6693!

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Remodel Ideas to Increase Livability

April 11th, 2014 · No Comments

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If you google home remodeling, it’s easy to come across lists of which improvements give you the most bang for your buck and which improvements will be difficult to recoup in selling costs should you ever decide to move.  However, if you know you’re going to be in your home for the long haul, should renovating be about what works best for your family and not what is going to get you the most money if and when you ever decide to sell?

If your object in remodeling is to enjoy living in your home even more than you do now, then consider a few of these improvements instead of some of the more traditionally encouraged renos:

1.  Rethink bathrooms

There are a few ways you can get creative if you’re looking to change up your bathrooms.  First, consider sharing the master bath.  Meaning, position the floor plan so that the tub and sink are accessible to the rest of the house.  This can prevent you from needing a separate half bath.  Think about it!  How often do you use the toilet/sink portion of your master bath during the day?  You could always have a second sink in the “master” portion of the master bath as well.  That’ll still save you money!

Another idea is to do a similar thing with a second bathroom.  Tuck the toilet and shower away, and have a nice double sink in a separate attached area.  This will allow three people to get ready at once without needing three separate bathrooms!

2.  Consider a walk-in pantry or two

Cabinets can be very expensive and depending on how tall you are and how they are positioned, can also be a pain to utilize efficiently.  Consider using kitchen wall space for windows and building a couple of walk-in pantries instead.  They save space, store a lot more stuff in a more convenient configuration, and they cost less to build than cabinets do to install.

3.  Shower vs. Bath

The idea of a big bathtub is nice, but unless you use it often, it’s probably not worth the space it’s in.  Consider installing a large shower instead.  You will use it more often, guaranteed!  Plus, it takes up less space and saves you money since it uses less hot water.

4.  Skip the vaulted ceilings

Unless you are absolutely convinced that the drama of a vaulted ceiling will make your life better, consider skipping it.  It might add square footage, but it isn’t square footage you can actually use.  Rooms with high ceilings are harder to clean and decorate and cost way more money to heat and cool as compared to rooms with average ceilings.  If you really want high ceilings, go for the 10 foot ceiling and cap it there.  There are plenty of tricks for adding the illusion to height of a room if you feel too claustrophobic.

5.  Go for the view

If you have a great view somewhere, capitalize on it!  Instead of placing a couple of windows in each room, choose a room that faces the view and put (almost) all of your windows there!  Trust me, you won’t regret it.  One of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever been in was in Alaska.  It was not that fancy or that large, but two walls of windows in the living room looked out over one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen!  I just wanted to sit in that living room all day long and stare!  I still drool when I think about that otherwise plain house.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty – 302-644-2266!

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Budget Bathroom Updates

April 10th, 2014 · No Comments

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If you’ve been dreaming of updating your bathroom, but you don’t have a huge budget, consider these tips.

Go white to save green!  Sticking to traditional white features such as sinks, tubs, and toilets will save you a ton of money because they are more readily available than their colorful counterparts.

Change out your hardware.  If you don’t have the budget to replace cabinets, give them a low-cost face lift with new hardware.  For a more dramatic impact you can paint or otherwise refinish cabinetry and then replace the hardware!

Organize your cabinets.  Adding pullout shelves to cabinets will maximize your storage space and ease the frustration you feel when you can’t find what you’re looking for!

Go for style.  Keep most of what already exists, but change out a few key pieces to add style and drama to your space.  For example, replace your faucets and/or showerhead with a lovely new piece or switch out existing lighting for a dramatic chandelier.

Change the color.  Painting is a fairly inexpensive weekend project.  Follow-up by replacing hand towels and adding colorful accents such as vases, candles, and soaps.

Save on tile.  If you love a specific tile that is far too expensive for you to afford, consider using a more affordable alternative (or keeping your existing tile!) and using the tile you love for a border or randomly placing a few here and there to create an interesting pattern.

Pinpoint your complaint.  Sometimes changing just one aspect of a room will make you feel like you’re in a whole new space, so determine what it is that really bothers you about your space.  For example, if your sink is in good condition, but the vanity bothers you, would replacing just the counter do the trick?  Could you keep all of your features and just replace the floor?  Keep the tub but replace the shower head and faucet?  Specifically identifying problems and addressing them individually will save you a ton of cash!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266!

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Benefits of Different Mortgage Types

April 9th, 2014 · No Comments

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When you are buying a home, the industry standard is a 30-year mortgage.  However, if you can swing it there are definite advantages to a 15 year mortgage instead.  The biggest benefit of a fifteen-year mortgage is, of course, that you pay your home off in half the time and wind up saving a lot of money in interest.  In addition you will also accumulate equity in your home faster as you pay off the principal, which could free you up to take out a home equity loan if needed.  Of course, you shouldn’t bury yourself to be able to afford a fifteen-year mortgage.  Remember that you don’t want to spread yourself too thin… your home should not be your only source of savings.  You also want to make sure you can save for retirement and emergencies each month.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Tips For Pricing Your Home

April 8th, 2014 · No Comments

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The price of the home is the aspect that sellers have the most control over.  Even though the right pricing strategy can take a home off the market quickly, it’s amazing how many people still make mistakes when pricing their home.  Here are five tips for pricing your home right the first time!

Find an agent you trust:  Don’t just hire the agent that quotes you the highest list price for your home.  If they quote you a high price to insure that they get your listing, but then your home sits on the market forever because the price is too high, that’s counterproductive and you end up having to slash your price anyway.  The best idea is to interview several agents and choose someone who can back up their suggested list price with recent comps.  Which brings me to point number two…

Get the comps:  Once you have an agent you trust, ask them to prepare a comparative market analysis of similar homes that have sold recently in your area.  This is more important than looking at the list price of other homes for sale in your area, because the comps will tell you what the home actually sold for, which is often quite a bit lower than the original list price.

Pick the correct price:  Pricing your home correctly right out of the gate will gain the attention of serious buyers and sell your home faster.  If you have to list your home for less than you’d like to make this happen, think of it this way… it will cost you more in the long run to pay the costs associated with owning your home if it sits on the market for several months while you’re dreaming about an unrealistic asking price.  Then you’ll have to lower the price anyway, so wouldn’t you rather just price it right from the get go?

Price with the market:  If your house is priced to high from the start, you will most likely find yourself making price drops after several months on the market with no interest.  Dropping your price is a good strategy, but everyone else (whose homes were priced more reasonably to begin with) is dropping their prices too, meaning that your home is still the highest priced home on the market and will never catch up with the competition.  Instead of dropping the price several times causing buyers to wonder what’s wrong with your property, price it competitively from the start, rather than holding out for the high end of the market.  Remember, the more competitive the price you start with, the better the chance you will sell quickly for a higher price than if you wait it out and negotiate 6 months down the road.

Don’t balk at lowball offers:  When selling your home it’s hard not to be emotionally attached, but buyers most likely aren’t feeling the same way, so don’t be offended by lowball offers.  Use them as a jumping off point for negotiation and let it drop only if the buyer makes it clear they are not serious about buying.

Looking for a real estate agent you can trust to help you through the whole process of pricing and selling your home?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and let us show you why we’re the best — 302-629-6693.

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Staging Suggestions

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments

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They key to successful staging is a clean & clutter free space that prospective buyers can imagine themselves living in.  If it is done well, nobody will be able to tell you’ve done anything at all!

Bathroom:  Remove personal items such as toothbrushes, make-up, hair products, etc. from counter space.  Be sure the entire room is clean, and invest in a new shower curtain and some hand towels.  (Do NOT stack towels, tie them with a ribbon, fold the toilet paper into a pocket and put flowers in it, or in any other way make your home bathroom look like a maid from a luxury hotel cleaned it.)

Kitchen/Dining Room:  Be sure the table and chairs and clean and clutter free place a simple centerpiece on the table – a vase of fresh flowers is always a nice touch!  Be sure that kitchen counters are clear and clutter free (put any large appliances away in cabinets or closets) – a simple bowl or basket of fruit gives a clean, open look – go for multiple colors! (Do NOT set the table with a full place setting!)

Bedroom:  Invest in nice bedding and be sure there are night tables on each side of the bed.  For the master bedroom include a dresser and chest of drawers.  If the room seems crowded, use a double bed and put your larger bed in storage for the time being.  (Do NOT drape a throw, stack multiple books on the end table, or place any kind of tray on the bed or otherwise stage in a way that in no way reflects the way you live!)

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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What If Your House Doesn’t Sell?

April 5th, 2014 · No Comments

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Has your house been on the market for awhile and it’s still not selling?  Assuming it is in saleable condition, if your home is still on the market, it is most likely priced too high for the area.  Luckily for you, of the three basic elements that sell a home (location, condition & price), price is the one you, as a seller, can control!

So, how do you know if you need to lower the price of your home?  Ask your real estate agent what the average time is for houses to be on the market in your area.  If your house has been on the market for longer than that, then you should consider lowering your price.  Another indicator that you may need to lower the price is if your house has been on the market for several months with low to no interest.  In many areas, home prices are continuing to fall, so even if your home was pried well when you first listed it, if it’s been sitting on the market for awhile, you may need to adjust it.

Once you decide that you need to lower the price of your home, you need to decide how low to go.  That decision should be based on local market research.  Again, to make the best decision you need to have a real estate agent that you trust and seek out their advice.  Ask your agent for a new comparative market analysis (comps), and be sure that the comps are recent.  If you put your home on the market without having it appraised, having it done now could help you even more.

Trying to sell your home?  Looking for an agent you can trust?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty and let us help you sell your home – 302-856-6434.

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April 4, 2014

April 4th, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Florence Nightingale:  “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”  (Fred)  “Fear stifles all kinds of activity.”

April 4, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #609765-From $565,000 to $549,000.  A Lewes DE Coastal Contemporary with 5 BR, 3 BA in 3200 sq. ft. on.51 acre boasts 2 master suites on the first floor, two story ceilings in the Great Room with a fireplace.  Call me at 302 258-6983 to see this mini-estate.

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Attention Grabbing Home Features

April 4th, 2014 · No Comments

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There are a few features that will almost always catch a buyer’s attention.  Of course, your home may not have all of these, but a few of them are easy to “fake” and others are affordable to update!  So go on, catch the attention of your potential buyers!

A Nice Entryway – fake it with a fresh coat of paint on the front door and clever furniture placement.  A table or chest of drawers added near the front door can create the illusion of an entryway in a home that doesn’t necessarily have one.

Hardwood Floors – there really isn’t an easy way to fake this, but an affordable wood laminate can still make a big difference in selling your home if your carpet has been a turn-off to buyers.

Nice Countertops – It doesn’t have to be granite, but if your kitchen currently has tile or laminate counter tops, consider replacing them if you’d like to appeal to more buyers.  Any kind of slab countertop is appealing to buyers, but of course granite is the favorite!  Other options are butcher block, marble, Corian, concrete, and many other stone slabs.

Organized Closets/Cabinets – Spaces that are pre-organized suggest to the buyer that they too will be nicely organized if they moved into this home.  If you have closet organizers, be sure they aren’t dated.

Landscaping – Simple, clean landscaping with nice open lawn space is universally appealing.  Remember, massive landscaping projects might look beautiful, but when buyers see that they see maintenance.  If your yard space is a lot of dirt, growing some grass will help a lot!

Of course, other features like lovely bathrooms, and gorgeous kitchen appliances always catch a buyer’s attention too, but it is difficult to “fake” or cheaply upgrade those.  Of course, if you can figure out a way to do it, it will help your house sell all the more!

Looking to buy or sell a house in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and let us help you make your dream a reality – 302-644-2266.

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Steps to a Successful Remodel

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

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I’ve been talking a lot about remodeling this week, and today’s post is no different.  If you’re considering a remodel here are five steps to help you succeed:

1.  Do your research.  See yesterday’s post for several questions you should ask and do your own research before you even begin.

2.  Get your money straight.  Remodeling can be a big task with a seemingly endless cost attached to it.  Before you begin any work be sure that you have a reasonable budget for the kind of work you want and that your financing is completely in order.  Going back to number one, this is something you should research to determine what your best options are.

3.  Get estimates.  Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and others that you know and then get in-person estimates from multiple designers, contractors, and anyone else you might employ.  Ask for references and examples of work.

4.  Consider the details.  Make as many decisions as possible before you project begins.  Even the smallest details will cost you time and money once your remodel is under way.

5.  Plan for the unforeseen.  There is no such thing as a perfect renovation and the unexpected can throw a wrench in even the best plans and even the most generous budget in the trash.  Plan to cushion your budget by at least twenty percent from the beginning so that you are prepared if (often more likely, when) these things happen to you.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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April 1, 2014

April 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Ezra Cornell:  “The Children must not be idle, they must study some, work some, and play some, they must be at something all the time.”  (Fred)  “I concur!!”

April 2, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #610793-From $418,900 to 399,900.  A Millsboro DE Waterfront Contemporary with3BR, 2.5 BA in 2205 sq. ft. which has a private pool overlooking a canal,  bulkhead for your boat, a pool table, a gas FP and a 2 car garage.  Call me to see this gem at 302 258-6983.

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April 1, 2014

April 1st, 2014 · No Comments

HAPPY ATHEIST DAY!

Today’s food for thought is from a Florida Judge who Quotes Psalm 14:1”The fool in his heart, there is no God.”  (Fred)  “Therefore April 1 is a day for the atheist.”

Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS #611624-From 299,900 to $285,900.  A Lewes DE Colonial which has 4 BR, 2.5 BA on .23 acres that boasts an Open Kitchen/Family Rm, a large morning room, a 2 car garage and a front porch.  Call me to see this home at 302 258-6983.April 1, 2014

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Tips To Sell Your Home Faster

April 1st, 2014 · No Comments

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If your home has been sitting on the market for longer than you’d like, or if you’d like to put your home on the market and have it sell quickly, consider that you might need to get creative!  One way to help your home sell quickly is to help it make an incredible first impression.  Some of the best ways to do this are to update things like carpeting, appliances, and wall coverings (strip wall paper, cover unique paint colors in a soothing neutral) just to name a few of the things that make a huge impression on buyers.

A good impression starts before the buyers even get in your front door.  If you want your home to sell quickly, you should start with curb appeal.  Try power washing the exterior and driveway, mulching flower beds, adding a fresh coat of paint to your door and freshening up your house number so that it’s easily visible.

You might also consider staging your home or having it professionally staged.  This includes de-cluttering, rearranging furniture, and more.  The point of staging is to attract as many potential buyers as possible by appealing to wide variety of people.  A professional stager can help your home sell more quickly by creating an inviting atmosphere that potential buyers can picture themselves in, as opposed to the personal space that they may be seeing by viewing your home as you live in it.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Questions You Should Ask Before A Remodel

April 1st, 2014 · No Comments

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If you are thinking of remodeling your kitchen or any other part of your home here are three questions you should ask yourself before you start anything:

1.  What is the purpose of this remodel?  Do you want a fresh look, completely new function, or a serious overhaul?

2.  What is most important?  Create a list of your priorities in the order of their importance to you before you begin and you will have a much easier time making budget choices in the long run.

3.  What investment can I afford?  Regardless of your personal budget, consider the value of the other homes nearby and the current value of your own home.  Over spending may give you the results you want immediately, but it might not be the best long term investment, so be sure to consider your options.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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March 31, 2014

March 31st, 2014 · No Comments

Today’s food for thought is from Ezra Cornell:  “Idleness is to the human mind like rust to steel.”  (Fred)  “Humans need work to be whole.”

March 31, 2014Today’s BARGAIN from fredsporch.com is MLS # 609481-From $241,500 to $209,500.  A Selbyville DE Bank Owned Contemporary which has 3 BR, 2.5 BA in 1455 sq. ft. on .46 acre.  The home is 5 miles from the Beach, with a large family room, WB Fireplace, front and rear decks a 2 car garage and an electrified storage shed.  Please call me to see this home 2 302 258-6983.  Home sold AS IS!

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Garage Organization Tips

March 31st, 2014 · No Comments

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Tired of barely having enough room in your garage for your car?  Check out some of these tips for organizing.  With a little organization, you might find yourself hanging out in your garage, “just for fun!”

Two Words:  Adjustable Shelving
Hang several layers of shelving around the perimeter of your garage and stow away off season equipment, boots, buckets, etc.  By getting as possible off the ground and onto shelves, you eliminate clutter and gain a more organized space.

Peg Boards
Hang a few pegboards and use a variety of hooks instead of just one type and you’ll open up all kinds of storage opportunities!  Pegboards are great for hanging most tools and a whole lot more.

Garbage Cans
If you store large quantities of dog food, salt, sand, birdseed or other items that come in heavy bags, dump them in a garbage can (or put the whole bag inside), put the lid on, and label it.  Your storage will look much neater than if you have open, half-used bags lying around.  Throw a scoop inside and everything you need will be at your fingertips when you need it!

Canisters
Small kitchen-type canisters are useful for storing nuts, bolts, screws, nails, and more.  You can even get magnetic canisters and secure a magnetic strip to the wall for out of the way storage.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Let us help!  Give Cooper Realty Associates a call today – 302-629-6693.

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