6 Tips for Choosing Paint Colors for your Home

A fresh coat of paint can completely transform your living space, and choosing the right color scheme is just as important as the application. Here are 6 tips to give you a jumping off point.

1) Don’t use too many colors! Having too wide of a spectrum will look too busy and gaudy and take away attention from your furniture and home decor.

 2) When using color, try to avoid anything too bright. You can achieve vibrancy and style, just steer clear from a neon color palette.

3) Reflect your personality! Pick colors that embody who you are and complement your style.

4) Create your color scheme BEFORE making purchases. Make sure the colors you choose for your walls, flooring, and furniture all work cohesively together before going out and buying them individually.

5) Choose the correct sheen. While flat and matte finishes can hide wall imperfections, a glossier finish will reflect more light which you may want to brighten a smaller space

6) Buy only a small amount at first to test out your choices. Paint a decent size square of each color on the wall and let the swatch dry. Take notice of how it looks over the next few days, during the daylight and at night.


For more specific color choice suggestions, here are some placement insights from Sherwin Williams:

Ceilings: weighty and annoying.
Walls: advancing and energetic.
Floors: confident.

Ceilings: soft hues delicate and comfortable.
Walls: complimentary to skin tones when soft or pale. Dramatic when highly saturated and vivid tones are used.
Floors: for select and special spaces.

Ceilings: energizing and advancing.
Walls: soft peachy tones are warm and glowing. Bright tones are energetic, burnt orange shades are rich and warm.
Floors: creates movement.

Ceiling: dark hues are heavy but work in high, open ceilings, especially to conceal exposed duct-work.
Walls: mid-tone and dark hues can evoke richness, warmth, and comfort. Soft hues are natural and create a neutral backdrop for furnishings.
Floors: implies durability, stability, and reliability.

Ceiling: light hue, luminous, reflective, and glowing.
Walls: warm if a golden hue.
Floors: bright hues are distracting and agitating.

Ceiling: protective (reflection on skin tone can be unattractive).
Walls: safe, calm, reliable, neutral, yellow-based hues create warmth, blue-based hues tend to be cool.
Floors: natural up to a certain saturation point (light to dark), soft, relaxing (if closer to blue-green).

Ceiling: soft shades are cool and heavenly, dark hues give the illusion of the ceiling advancing.
Walls: pale to mid-tone shades are soothing, darker hues provide a dramatic backdrop.
Floors: movement (darker hues) to effortless movement (lighter hues).

Ceiling: shaded, creates shadows.
Walls: bland to neutral, cool and neutral.
Floors: neutral. Blends into a space.

Ceiling: blank – creates lightness, reflects light, and reduces shadows.
Walls: neutral to empty, clean.
Floors: intimidating.

Ceiling: heavy but works well for an exposed ceiling with open duct-work.
Walls: threatening or dramatic.
Floors: unusual and absorbing. Dark furnishings would get lost placed directly on this floor color.

6 Tips to revamp your outdoor space for Summer

Whether you are social distancing or having company over, you are bound to be making some use out of your backyard this summer. Here are some tips on how to revamp your outdoor space!

Maintain landscape
It might sound obvious, but having a kept lawn is the first step towards functionality and a clean cut foundation. Xeriscape is a great cost effective alternative that all utilizes vegetation while requiring considerably much less water and effort to upkeep. 

Whether it’s vegetables or flowers, taking some time to garden can be as rewarding as it is enjoyable. Hanging plants are a viable option if you are limited on space, or create a vertical garden by drilling planter pots into a wooden pallet and lean it against your siding or fence. Add a water fountain for some extra decor, or DIY your own using galvanized buckets or watering cans.

Give the framework a face-lift
Clean off and consider painting the cement on your front or back porch or lay out an outdoor rug. Sand off rust from railings and take a day to stain your deck if you have one.

In addition to your standard porch and garage lights, there are endless ways to illuminate your outdoor space to use it further into the evening. Create some ambiance with fairy lights, candles or torches; real or fake. Solar lights come in wide style varieties and rope lights can be used to create or outline a path.

Patio furniture is not just great for entertaining guests, but also expands your functional quarters. From a simple table and umbrella to a full outdoor dining set you can enjoy the nice weather and a home cooked meal simultaneously. Set up a station to grill and utilize a portable bar or an inexpensive kitchen cart for serving snacks and drinks. There are also several ways to build your own seating and tables with scrap pieces or up-cycling old furniture.

Storable games are a hit for entertaining guests, such as horseshoes and corn-hole. Set up a backyard theater with comfy seating, a projector, and a screen or white sheet tacked up to the roof. Create a warm place to gather at night with a store bought fire pit or DIY your own with easy to find supplies such as cinder blocks. Aside from already having an above ground or in-ground pool, you can build a small pool area with a stock tank or for a more advanced challenge with wooden pallets.

Millennial Home Must Haves

Millennial Home Must Haves

Millennials are currently the largest percent of home buyers, sitting at 37% of the buyer population. With such a large age bracket hitting the real estate market, they have a great influence on trends and demand. There are a few key aspects this demographic is searching for in a home.

Open floor plans
While millennials rank as the largest buyer segment, they are not so highly classified in household income. This being said, they want to make the most out of the space, particularly in entertainment spaces. Staging homes with bar stools and kitchen islands will likely appeal to these potential buyers

Updated kitchens and bathrooms
In most cases, younger millennials have been saving their funds for a hefty down payment and are not budgeting extra funds for renovations. Finding a house with updated move-in-ready features is high up on the “want” list!

Vintage and European designs
In the face of growing up in a technology driven digital age, millennials have a considerably aged design approach. Mid-century, Mediterranean, pre-WWII architecture have made a stylish comeback along with herringbone flooring and art deco inspired elements.

Regardless of the desire for old fashioned structure, millennials still want to hold onto the convenience of smart home technology. From smart thermostats to doorbells, having remote control is a key feature to incorporate. Energy efficiency is also a winning attribute wherever possible as this generation is growingly more environmentally conscious.

Location preferences
Commuting time and cost are one of the most important considerations for millennials, whether the cost be in currency or environmental. Additionally, this age group is very interested in having a sense of community and belonging within the neighborhood. The younger subset of this population is opting to buy urban houses or condos with roommates to share expenses, whereas those on the older end are looking to move towards the suburbs

Pets have become increasingly more important to millennials as an alternative to starting a traditional family. Very frequently they are checking to make sure condos are pet-friendly and asking about weight or other restrictions. When it comes to single-family homes or townhouses they are looking to have a yard, ideally already fenced in, for their dog.


8 Signs You’re Ready to Stop Renting and Buy a Home

Buying a home is a major decision, and you want to make sure you are ready before diving right in. Here are eight signs that you’re ready to make the switch from renter to homeowner.

  1. You’re tired of rising rent prices.
  • Increasing rent rates makes formulating a budget extremely difficult, and even harder to save for other financial goals
  • You want to be building equity for the future, not pouring money into a bad investment month after month.
  1. Your credit score has improved.
  • Improving your credit score will help you qualify for a mortgage
  • You won’t require as large of a down payment
  • The better the score the better the interest rate and loan terms in general
  1. You’re good at managing debt.
  • Keep in mind your debt-to-income ratio: add up all of your monthly expenses and debts and divide by your gross monthly income
  • Most lenders require a ratio of no more than 43%
  • Some conventional loans allow up to 50%
  1. You have enough set aside for the extra costs of owning a home
  • Make sure you are thinking about emergency funds for unexpected expenses
  • Budget property taxes and routine maintenance costs
  1. You can afford the down payment and closing costs.
  • Most conventional loans require a 5% down payment
  • Some FHA loans, mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, require only 3.5% down
  • Closing costs could be another 2-7% of the property’s sale price, but this can sometimes be negotiable
  • Search for grants and other loan programs, or better yet contact us to find a loan officer to find what will work best for you
  1. You’re ready to settle down in one place.
  • With all of the upfront costs, you want to make sure you will be happy where you are settled
  • Having job security is key, as you don’t anticipate moving in the next few years.
  1. You’re going through a major life change.
  • Getting married, having a growing family, or getting a new job make for common incentives to prospective homeowners
  1. You know what you want.
  • Is there a specific neighborhood or school district that you want to live in?
  • Think about the different types of homes: houses, townhouses, condos, etc. 

Ready to leave renting behind?

Contact us to find out what’s next! Call Michael Olear at 418-9959 any time for a free consult or assistance with real estate related questions.


Spring Clean Home

While we regularly push off deep cleaning our homes until Springtime, there really is no reason to make this only an annual task. There are several small chores that can be done regardless of the season to keep things tidy and sanitary. Here are 8 tips to keep your home feeling spring-clean all year long.

#1 Keep garbage cans and wastebaskets clean and disinfected

  • Especially in winter when a closed up home traps all the germs in
  • Wash down cans and wastebaskets, even spray disinfectant
  • Scrub away and residue and let dry in direct sunlight as it help eliminate bacteria

#2 Wash and disinfect toilet brushes and holders

  • As with garbage cans, thoroughly rinse and spray wash the inside of the base
  • Let the brush sit in a mixture of hot water with either bleach or vinegar

#3 Flip your furniture over and around

  • Vacuum the underside of your furniture rather than just underneath it
  • Check dust covers that catch dust bunnies and dreck tacked under upholstered pieces
  • Shift the furniture around the room to vacuum the floor in previously hard to reach areas

#4 Clean horizontal surfaces

  • Be mindful of all of the flat surfaces that catch dust, not just tables and countertops
  • Clean the top horizontal edges of interior doors, baseboards, artwork and mirrors, upper kitchen cabinets, light bulbs & light fixtures as well as smaller items such as electrical wall plates and wall-mounted detectors
  • Dust off ceiling blades as a ton of dust gathers when idle

#5 Vacuum Behind the Fridge

  • Pull out your fridge regularly to vacuum behind it
  • Brush off condenser coils, whether in the back or behind the bottom faceplate
  • Check that the freezer vents are clear

#6 Clean seasonal entry

  • Utilize coil doormats to wipe away winter slush and mud
  • Maintain a clean floor by sweeping up dirt and leaves that track in
  • Create a shoe station; somewhere to sit to take off boots and add a rack or tray to keep wet footwear

#7 Clean the windows

  • Take advantage on natural light by cleaning the dirty layer that tints your window glass
  • Clean both the inside and outside surfaces with solutions and microfiber cloths

#8 Change Furnace Filters

  • One of the simplest chores is to regularly change these out, at least every 60 days
  • Minimum efficiency rating values range from 1 to 16, though 7-13 is typical for households
  • Filters with a higher number have a better efficiency, but also restrict air flow

5 Steps Towards A Usable Garage

With the nice weather finally breaking you might find yourself eager to move your spring cleaning project outside of your main home. The garage is somewhat a removed space; out of sight, out of mind but accumulates clutter quickly! Tackling storage central may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but knowing where to start can help alleviate the stress.

1.Clear and clean first – Take everything out of the garage to start. Once empty, thoroughly clean the floor, ceiling, walls, and any built in shelving.

2.Scrub, sweep and survey – Scrub down grime from the floor and walls, and use a broom to know down cobwebs from rafters and light fixtures. Sweep debris from the furthest point inside towards the door and outside. Check outlets and electrical appliances, change out light-bulbs if necessary.

3.Paint the floor – A couple fresh paint coats will fill in any cracks and ensure a longer life of the concrete base.

4.Keep and go piles – Taking inventory of everything pulled out, separate items that you know you want to keep first, followed by what can be donated or thrown away.

5.Organize while putting it all back – Use existing shelving or install a new unit to keep items off of the floor. Aim to keep long term storage items furthest in the back, and more frequently used or seasonal items up front. Keep up with putting things back where they came after use and avoid another massive overhaul!

The Resurrection of Industrial Design

The Resurrection of Industrial Design

As trends cycle through the ages, interior design styles are due to repeat and resurrect ideas of the past. Industrial elements such as Edison bulbs and exposed brick are currently the most popular style in the U.S., indicated by internet searches being studied by a furniture company called Joybird. 

According to this research, Joybird categorized 18  distinctive design style searches. Industrial styles topped the charts as the most searched style in 12 different states. The next leading style, vintage, only ranked highest in 6 states search logs.

Some states follow trends that compliment the surrounding culture, such as Florida and California sharing coastal influence. Other states had more surprising results, for example Louisiana showed very little interest in French country style contradicting its founding French history. 

Taking a look at the country at whole, a visual of these trends can be created. The South in general favors shabby chic, whereas the more west you move transitions into minimalism and industrial, continuing Northwest. The Northeast promotes a classic vintage style, and the remaining states in the Midwest hold the highest real estate in the industrial category. For sellers looking to curate interest from potential buyers, playing into these regional trends will be key in staging a house accordingly.

Buffalo Society of Artists Virtual Exhibit

The Buffalo Society of Artists group exhibit that was set to open this month at the Carnegie Art Center has been transformed into the groups first ever cyber exhibition! In cooperation with their host, the two groups have set up virtual galleries to view in the comfort of your own home available through May 7th.

The complementary online exhibit can be found on the Buffalo Society of Artists website, along with the Carnegie Art Center’s Facebook page and website. Each of the 45 artists’ information can be found attached to the images in the gallery, and the award winning submissions can be found here!

Help Save Buffalo’s Old Buildings – The 1850 Project

Preservation Buffalo Niagara (BPN) recently acquired a survey performed by Buffalo’s Preservation Community back in 1996 identifying structures built prior to 1860 in the City of Buffalo. They are seeking volunteers who will receive training to help investigate and research  the history of these buildings to search for anything that will earn them preservation rights. 

The survey noted approximately 215 of them, with the oldest dating back to 1818. Upon inspection and further research nearly 25 years later, roughly 30% of these structures are no longer standing. Of the structures that remain intact, upwards of 80% have no historic designation or protection from the same fate.  This loss is what inspired the BPN to focus on this conservation program, initiating “The 1850 Project”. 

“We are so excited to pick up this project and finally give these structures the preservation protections and designations they deserve” said Jessie Fisher, executive director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.

Questions may be directed to Preservation Buffalo Niagara at 716-852-3330 or [email protected]

Heroes Loan Program – For every day heroes.

Heroes Loan Program – For every day heroes.

Written by Steven Long at Northwest Bank

Heroes don’t always wear capes – they wear boots and fatigues or carry a badge.

They work tirelessly to serve others without asking for anything in return. That’s why, for their dedicated, selfless service, we want to give back.

Our Heroes Loan Program provides military members, veterans, police officers, firefighters, and EMTs the opportunity to own a home with fewer fees, little down and lower monthly payments. This loan offers great rates, affordable payments, and fewer upfront cost.

For more information, please contact Steven Long, Mortgage Loan Officer at Northwest Bank – 716-903-1819.