Why winter is the right time to plan outdoor updates


(ARA) - Does the bitter cold weather have you dreaming of warm days spending time with friends and family in your backyard?

The cold may keep us indoors, but professionals in the landscape and remodeling industry are still thinking about the outdoors and use the winter months to plan spring projects, and so should you.

Winter months provide the perfect opportunity to prepare your outdoor space for the warmer months.

Planning and prepping now will ensure that you get full use of your outdoor space for the entire season once warm weather arrives. Get a head start by planning some of these spring projects now:

Grass
Before you know it, you'll be peeling off your wool socks and walking around your yard feeling the soft grass between your toes. To ensure a lush lawn, spend time this winter researching grass seed options so you can repair any sparse areas in your yard. Planting grass seed early gives the seed plenty of time to germinate which will give you a healthy, green lawn in the spring. In addition to research, you can also chat with someone at your local nursery for help choosing the appropriate type of grass to plant in the early months of spring.

Three Rivers beauty with reduced price

43647  Washburn Dr.,  Three Rivers, listed at $245,000.
**Mountain living just got better with a new, reduced price of $245,000 and a $4,500 painting allowance!

With fantastic views of Kaweah Canyon and Case Mountain, this custom built, Three Rivers home is the perfect getaway.

Sitting on a knoll secluded from other homes, the 4-bedroom, 3 bath home sits on about 1.3 acres with an invisible pet fence.

With 2,100-square-feet of living space, the home features a vaulted living room and owner's suite with tongue and groove open-beam ceilings. Each room has rock fireplaces and built-in bookcases and entertainment center.

The owner's suite has a niche for office, plus three other bedrooms - one with its own bathroom which is perfect for guests.

The home is plumbed for propane gas - even at kitchen cooktop but currently all electric. The dishwasher and cooktop are approximately 2 years old.

The owner's suite has double sinks.

The bones of this house are great, it just needs updating to make it more light and airy. This lower price offers great opportunity to live in peace and quiet with community water and a fire hydrant nearby.

There is a 2-car attached garage, cement roof. This home is part of a probate sale.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Fight the battle of rising heating costs

(ARA) - As fall weather continues to settle in, the leaves drop to the ground and the temperature begins to plummet, but your heating bills move in the opposite direction - 'tis the season of high heating costs.

According to early reports, heat and oil prices will continue to rise, which can cut a large chunk out of your home heating budget this winter, if you're not careful.

It's not too late to do something in the battle against rising heating costs. You can start by winterizing your home, plugging up the leaks and drafts that deplete energy - and your family budget. Here's your money-saving strategy:

* Start early - When the weather is still balmy, take care of the places outside your home where the uncomfortable chill of new seasons can creep indoors. Then, move inside to ensure there are no "holes" in the house where the chilly drafts of winter can hide.

* Be prepared - Rounding up products in the fall that will ensure comfort and warmth is a DIY task that is easier than you think. With the affordable, easy-to-use tools on the market, the job is doable in a weekend. Try these products for a sure victory in the heating cost battle:

Five tips to get your home ready for winter


(ARA) - It may not be winter yet, but do not wait for it to arrive to start getting the house ready for the coldest months of the year.

Preparing a home for winter will take time and should not be rushed. Neglecting certain projects or carelessly completing them can lead to major system failures, extensive damage and in extreme cases even health problems.

"Procrastinating can cost you when it comes to getting ready for winter," says Rhonda Hills, of Kudzu.com. "Systems that are not ready for heavy use can falter or even fail. This can be a recipe for disaster."

Is your family as safe as it could be from a household fire?


(ARA) - Did you ever wonder what would happen to your family if a fire started in the house? Would everyone be able to get out in time? Would they know what to do and where to go as soon as they smelled smoke?

The reality is that when a fire strikes, every minute counts. That's why the United States Fire Administration recommends that everyone have a comprehensive fire protection plan that includes smoke alarms, residential sprinkler systems and a well-planned home fire escape plan.

Custom home sitting on a knoll

43647  Washburn Dr.,  Three Rivers, listed at $252,000.
With fantastic views of Kaweah Canyon and Case Mountain, this custom built, Three Rivers home is the perfect getaway.

Sitting on a knoll secluded from other homes, the 4-bedroom, 3 bath home sits on about 1.3 acres with an invisible pet fence.

With 2,100-square-feet of living space, the home features a vaulted living room and owner's suite with tongue and groove open-beam ceilings. Each room has rock fireplaces and built-in bookcases and entertainment center.

The owner's suite has a niche for office, plus three other bedrooms - one with its own bathroom which is perfect for guests.

The home is plumbed for propane gas - even at kitchen cooktop but currently all electric. The dishwasher and cooktop are approximately 2 years old.

The owner's suite has double sinks.

The bones of this house are great, it just needs updating to make it more light and airy. This lower price offers great opportunity to live in peace and quiet with community water and a fire hydrant nearby.

There is a 2-car attached garage, cement roof. This home is part of a probate sale.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Do home improvement projects now, before winter


(ARA) - The to-do chores never seem to go away, which can make you want to leave the projects for another season.

After all, the deck is going to be covered by snow all winter and the house can always be repainted in the spring. But taking care of these jobs now has benefits beyond just crossing them off of your to-do list.

For homeowners in areas of the country that have harsh winter weather, refinishing the deck this fall will help protect it from the winter elements like sleet, snow and ice.

For those who live in milder climates, refinishing the deck now means you'll still get to enjoy the fruits of your labor into the cooler months - and get a jump on spring chores.

In addition, having your deck and your house in the best condition going into the rough winter months means that you'll minimize any damage that could be caused by harsh weather conditions. To get the maximum benefits out of your efforts, take the time to make any necessary repairs to your deck or siding before you start painting.

This could include patching any imperfections in your siding and sanding away peeling paint. On the deck, replace warped boards and nail down loose ones. A good cleaning ensures that the surface is ready for stain or paint.

Once you're ready to paint, make sure you have the right tools for the job. It will make the task quicker and easier, and provide more professional-looking results. Paint brushes and rollers have their place as useful tools, but for making quick work of painting a house or finishing a deck, nothing beats a power paint sprayer. The beauty of outdoor painting is that a paint sprayer can be used to get the job done in a few easy strokes.

One home improvement project that nearly pays for itself

(ARA) - Did you ever think that a new garage door could almost pay for itself?

Garage door replacement ranked No. 2 in "cost recouped" on a list of 35 common home remodeling projects in Remodeling Magazine's 24th annual Cost vs. Value Report. Only steel entry door replacement ranked higher.

The average midrange garage door replacement cost was estimated at $1,291. Resale value of the project averaged $1,083 - an 83.9 percent return on investment (ROI) at resale. In some cities, such as Charleston, W. Va., Honolulu, Providence, R.I., and San Francisco, the ROI for a new garage door was more than 100 percent.

Upscale garage door replacements were estimated to provide a 69.8 percent ROI - No. 4 among the upscale projects listed in the survey.

Beautiful Marseille home with reduced price

1848  N Salierno Ct,  Visalia, listed at $320,000.
Join one of northwest Visalia's most beautiful neighborhoods at a new, reduced price!

Take a look at this 3 bedroom, two bathroom home in Marseille with an office.

The 2,610-square-foot home is on a cul-de-sac lot. There are floor to ceiling windows from living room overlooking the patio and lush landscaping.

A formal dining room and nook complement the open kitchen with corian countertops and granite island. There is a spacious pantry and extra cabinets in the nook.

The owner's suite is split from the two guest bedrooms. The owner's suite features a soaking tub, dual sinks and a large walk-in closet. There is access to the yard from the owner's suite.

The home features a 3-car garage.

Call Darlene for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

The sweet smell of success: How aroma can help you sell your home


(ARA) - If you're selling your home, you've probably heard about the value of "staging" it. Visually appealing decorative touches and artful arrangement of furnishings can help potential buyers recognize the appeal of your home and picture themselves living there. To strengthen your staging efforts, don't overlook the positive power of aroma. 

Ambient fragrance started to trickle into the real estate market years ago with savvy agents baking cookies or cinnamon rolls in the homes they were showing to create a comforting, deliciously scented atmosphere that was meant to entice buyers.

"The essential oils that are used in the practice of aromatherapy offer a more practical and potent way to use scent marketing to move a tired property," says Tom Havran, branded products developer with Aura Cacia. "Using even tiny amounts of familiar, tempting aromas like the oils of cinnamon, clove, vanilla and orange can fill a whole house with pleasant ambient fragrance and make it an attractive purchase for potential buyers."

Award-winning Beverly Glen home on the market

1419  W Laurel Ave,  Visalia, listed at $180,000.
Few homes on the market can claim to be award winning, but this Beverly Glen home is an exception.

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on West Laurel Avenue has had only one owner. In 2002, it won the Visalia Beautification Award for its wonderful landscaping.

With gorgeous rear windows to bring in the outside beauty, the 1,788-square-foot interior features vaulted wood tongue-in-groove ceilings throughout most of the home.

Lighting in soffit in living room. Heating and cooling updated in 1999. The dining room area was added to the living area-in square footage since that time but with no additional heating/cooling vent.

There are 2 closets in the owner's suite. Overall, the home has the charm of yesterday with some updating.

The kitchen has a marvelous window overlooking lush landscaping in the front yard. The orignal carport is enclosed for one car but open to side.

A new roof was installed 3.5 years ago and certified. The home is centrally located to downtown and shopping on Mooney Boulevard.

Come see it! Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today. (559) 625-9364.

Major price reduction on in-town estate

3030  W Iris Ave,  Visalia, listed at $424,000.
** SEE VIDEO BELOW**

A price reduction makes this elegant in-town estate worth a fresh look: $424,000.

This Royal Oaks home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Great new price on Visalia home

242  N Marcin Ct,  Visalia, listed at $377,500
 **SEE VIDEO BELOW**
 If you are in the market for a truly spectacular home, then take a look at this Lennar Pinnacle Home. The price was recently reduced.

This 3 bedroom, 3 bath home is beautifully landscaped with front courtyard and two patios to the back yard.

The spacious 3302-square-foot floor plan includes a media/office/playroom with french doors.

The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops on kitchen island and pass-through cabinetry open to family room. The kitchen offers double ovens, vegetable sink in the island/bar sitting, microwave, 5-burner gas range, dishwasher, refrigerator, walk-in pantry, roll-out shelving, under cabinet lighting and breakfast room.

The formal dining room and formal living room sweep each side of entry which steps into dramatic family room with gas fireplace wrapped with bookcases/entertainment center and magnificent windows overlooking back yard.

This open plan is excellant for entertaining.

Owner's suite has roomy tiled shower, soaking tub, linen storage, dual sinks with tile countertops, huge closet with organizers and access to patio.

A 4 car garage sets this property apart from the others, and it's all on cul de sac lot.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.





Tudor estate in Visalia on the market

6111 W. Pershing Ave., Visalia. Listed at $499,000.
** See video below**

This elegant Tudor-style estate sits on 1.07 acres with space at the rear for a shop, garage, etc.

The 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home features 3,144-square feet of living space.

There is a new 50 year composition roof, and the Fig Garden pool has been replastered. The backyard also features Trek decking, and a gas firepit.

New water heaters, gas fireplace insert, and kitchen were re-modeled in 2007. The cook top was recently replaced.

The estate's Koi fish pond and waterfall were refurbished 2008. New carpet, alarm, and a intercom/radio system were installed in 2010.

The front and back yards have lawns big enough for croquet or whatever you wish. Screened porch brings outside in or sit on the new deck and listen to the water feature. The pool has it's own patio area too.

Inside the home you will find beautiful detailed oak crown moldings, fireplace mantel, 2 X 6 Walls, double staircase to upper loft and guest bedrooms, central vacuum system, plus an office downstairs with owner's suite.

The shower was remodeled in 2006 in the owner's suite, which also features a soaking tub, walk in closet and two vanity areas.

Not many properties available with this quality and versatility at rear. Oversized garage with storage areas. You must get beyond just driving by.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Price reduced on northwest Visalia two story

5522  W Wren Ave,  Visalia, listed at $279,000.
A gorgeous two-story home with all the custom features!

This northwest Visalia home is 3,147 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Walk into the formal living area PLUS a great room open to the kitchen nook and fabulous kitchen.

The formal dining room overlooks a Tuscan-style patio, enhancing that perfect, relaxing meal.

In the rear yard and you will find a built-in kithcen/BBQ island, large side yards and a cool pool ready for some fun!



Call Darlene Loose for your appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Designer tricks for the do-it-yourselfer

(ARA) - Ever watch those TV design shows and wonder how to replicate the look in your own home?

It's easy to incorporate designer tricks into your space, no matter the style or existing decor. Focus on adding layers of color and texture, and notice how hues flow from room to room to create a cohesive design.

Choosing coordinating colors is easy when you have the right guide. Look for color palette cards that group colors by design themes to incorporate a favorite style, from traditional to rustic to contemporary. Then draw these hues into all elements of the room, including flooring, fabrics and light fixtures.

For example, the new HGTV (R) HOME by Sherwin-Williams line of interior paints and supplies features eight designer-inspired color collections - each with 20 colors that work well together, no matter how many or how few are selected - along with expert design tips to help do-it-yourselfers create harmonious room-to-room color transitions.

New price on beautiful Visalia estate

3030  W Iris Ave,  Visalia, listed at $449,000.
This in-town estate has a great new price: $449,000.

This Royal Oaks home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Great new price on Visalia home

5942  W Country Ct,  Visalia, listed at $270,000.
Take a look at this beautiful 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home with office near entry in southwest Visalia.

Enjoy a touch of beauty with 10' ceilings, two-tone paint, walk-in closets in all bedrooms, crown moldings, wood flooring in entry/hall and family room, tile flooring in baths, laundry, kitchen and office.

Stainless appliances (installed in 2009) in gourmet kitchen with Corian counter tops plus granite on a huge island, which is all open to the family room with fireplace.

There is a sink and cabinets in the laundry room. There is a pedestal sink in the 1/2 bath. Exquisite molding in owner's suite.

Relax in soaking tub and enjoy the dual sinks and walk-in closet. Escape to sparkling pool through sliders in owner's suite and family room.

The 3-car garage has work bench and a pull down ladder to full attic storage. Full dog run on East side of home - even a dog house.

Front bedroom is spacious, light and airy. Lush landscaping with updated sprinkler system, rain gutters. YOU need to see this one, AND IT'S NOT IN A FLOOD ZONE!

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Secrets of a solid home inspection

(ARA) - Selling, buying or just putting a house on the market may raise many questions. Can I get a good price? Are there any problems I should fix prior to listing my house?

If I buy this house, will I encounter problems that may make me regret my decision?

The sale price of a house depends on many factors, including the market, location, size of the property, age of the house, condition of the structure, what appliances might be included in the sale and even how nicely the property and building were landscaped and decorated - just to name a few.

Having a qualified professional inspect your house prior to putting it on the market - or for prospective buyers, before closing on a sale - can help guide your decision. But many homeowners and prospective buyers are unsure what's included in a standard home inspection, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). A qualified home inspector will review these aspects of a property:

* Roof, attic and visible insulation
* Foundation, basement and structural components
* Walls, ceilings and floors
* Heating and central air conditioning systems
* Windows and doors
* Water fixtures and faucets
* Decks

A great deal in northwest Visalia

3622  N Carson St,  Visalia, listed at $217,900.
This 2,424-square-foot home in northwest Visalia has a lot to offer a new owner.

With 4 bedrooms, plus an office at the entry and two bathrooms, there is plenty of living space.

The formal living room and a family room opens to the beautiful kitchen and dining room.

There is laminate wood flooring in the kitchen and dining areas. The bright kitchen features white raised-panel cabinets, a pantry and large breakfast bar.

The home has an upgraded electrical package, plantation shutters to front, a walk-in closet, soaking tub and dual sinks in the owner's suite.

There is a covered patio off of the dining room, plus patio off owner's suite.

Enjoy a 3-car garage, tile roof and spacious lot.

Call Darlene for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Spectacular northwest Visalia home

242  N Marcin Ct,  Visalia, listed at $415,000.
If you are in the market for a truly spectacular home, then take a look at this Lennar Pinnacle Home.

This 3 bedroom, 3 bath home is beautifully landscaped with front courtyard and two patios to the back yard.

The spacious 3302-square-foot floor plan includes a media/office/playroom with french doors.

The gourmet kitchen has granite countertops on kitchen island and pass-through cabinetry open to family room. The kitchen offers double ovens, vegetable sink in the island/bar sitting, microwave, 5-burner gas range, dishwasher, refrigerator, walk-in pantry, roll-out shelving, under cabinet lighting and breakfast room.

The formal dining room and formal living room sweep each side of entry which steps into dramatic family room with gas fireplace wrapped with bookcases/entertainment center and magnificent windows overlooking back yard.

This open plan is excellant for entertaining.

Owner's suite has roomy tiled shower, soaking tub, linen storage, dual sinks with tile countertops, huge closet with organizers and access to patio.

A 4 car garage sets this property apart from the others, and it's all on cul de sac lot.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.


Lovingly built custom estate in Visalia

31760  Chelsea Rd,  Visalia, listed at $649,000.
Take a look at this truly custom estate in northeast Visalia.

Your experience begins when you enter the 14-foot foyer that opens to the living room. Through the archway in the living room you will find yourself in the formal dining room and then to a music/game room with wall of cabinets.

The gourmet kitchen has an island with a vegetable sink and wine refrigerator. Your inner chef will love the Viking gas range, Bosch dishwasher and upgraded fixtures.

The walk-in pantry is terrific, along with the butler's pantry, featuring cherry cabinets.

A comfy nook overlooks a spacious patio. Through the wide hall you pass by the library, a 2nd bedroom and bath, and enter the elegant owner's suite.

The bath features a jetted tub and huge walk-in closet with Sola Tube (5 in entire home) and walk-in shower.

Near the kitchen a 3rd bedroom/office has a full bath! This room could be an excellant mother-in-law suite because it has access to the patio.

There is quality-crown molding, 6 Ext. Walls, Central Vacuum system, a whole house fan, surround sound and its plumbed for water softener.

The shop features a 1/2 bath, 2 roll-up doors and RV Barn at the rear.

The building pad is raised up so there are no drainage issues on the property.

It's obvious a lot of love went into planning and building this dream home of a lifetime. Owner may carry 1st TD with substantial down.


Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Look at this in-town half-acre estate

3030  W Iris Ave,  Visalia, listed at $474,000.
This is an incredible deal for an in-town half acre estate in Visalia. Listed now at $474,000.

This Royal Oaks home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Create a beautiful - and functional - outdoor room

(ARA) - As the weather warms and the days grow longer, who doesn't happily anticipate opening windows and doors to let the fresh air in? And once we think about bringing the outdoors in, our imagination naturally goes the other way, as well - bringing the indoors out. It seems that our love affair with backyard entertaining heats up around this time every year. Whether it's a quiet family meal under the stars or a backyard barbecue for dozens, the appeal of outdoor living is undeniable.

Home improvement expert Leslie Segrete says: "Your outdoor space doesn't have to be uncomfortable just because your favorite couch isn't there. With an expanded selection of outdoor pieces available now - and at all price points - it's easier than ever to set up a charming space that can serve as the perfect backdrop for small family gatherings or the big neighborhood bash."

Segrete offers some advice on how to create a beautiful, functional - and most importantly affordable - outdoor room no matter what your color scheme, whether it's apple green, citrus orange or other hot colors of the moment. With just a little work, your outdoor area will be the family's favorite gathering spot from spring through fall.

Start with the basics.
The hot trend right now is to make your outdoor space as put together as your indoor living spaces. Kmart's Country Living collection offers a large selection of beautiful and versatile patio furniture at an incredible value that will enable anyone to transform whatever space they have into an inviting outdoor living area. Whether it's upholstered cushions, a fast-drying sling chair, items made from resin, aluminum or steel, there is something available to suit every taste and every budget. And with the coordinated sets that are readily available, one doesn't have to be an interior designer to put together a beautifully designed space.

Follow the same design rules you use in your home.
Look for big items (such as sofa and chairs) in a neutral palette and add a pop of color with accessories. For example, cushions can provide a welcome splash of color, as well as make the space more comfortable and inviting. Just as it is in indoor spaces, lighting your outdoor space is key: Add a lighted chandelier or string a few party lights to illuminate the area. An outdoor fire pit can provide heating and light at the same time; it's a perfect addition for when the evenings are still cool.

Tulare home offers great master suite

2175 Stevenson Ct Tulare, listed at $168,500.
This unique custom home in Tulare is located on a spacious cul de sac lot in California Estates.

With 3 bedrooms and two baths, this 1,624-square-foot beauty is a must see.

The entry leads into an open foyer that can be a second living area, open den, or showcase a baby grand piano.

The open floor plan features high ceilings, a plant shelf, and lots of windows. You'll love entertaining whether friends and family gather in the kitchen at a bistro table, kitchen counter or in the formal dining room.

You can take the party outside where you'll enjoy the covered patio with speakers, grass area, sparkling pool and spa.

The master retreat has two walk in closets, two sinks, two shower heads in the oversized shower, room for large furniture and a French door to the covered patio.

The secondary bedrooms have high vaulted ceilings and one has a loft!

You'll appreciate the aggregate and berber flooring, bronzed hardware, alarm, finished garage, and large fenced side yard.

There are even special financing incentives available on this property through SIRVA Mortgage.

For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

Renovation inspiration: Upgrade your home's exterior for timeless appeal

(ARA) - As spring approaches and the winter snow begins to melt from your roof and lawn, now is a great time to step back and survey what you can do to improve the look of your home for the warm summer months, and for years to come.

Could your house use an exterior upgrade? Would you like a boost of color, but are afraid to stray from neutrals? Do you wish your home looked like the ones you see in magazines and television shows?

Renovating a home's exterior is one way to dramatically improve the overall curb appeal.

"Many homes that were built post-war during the mid to late 20th century lost the historical, architectural appeal of older homes due to the need for mass produced, affordable housing," says Deryl Patterson, partner at BSB Design, a leading national residential architectural firm. "Updating those tired exterior elevations with historical details and mixed materials can help give homes a timeless appeal and boost resale value."

Some homeowners might feel they do not have the tools they need to begin a renovation, and can become overwhelmed when thinking about the process. The good news is today's leading architects and product manufacturers are working to give homeowners the inspiration and confidence to move forward with an exterior renovation.

Secrets of a truly deep clean

rubber gloves
Via Flickr: Leah Lockhart Rogers
Deep clean your house and you'll brighten rooms and help maintain your home's value.

Deep cleaning your house is that top-to-bottom, take-no-dust-bunny-prisoners, mother-in-law-quality cleaning that truly maintains the value of your home. Here are frequently overlooked areas that a little spit and polish wouldn't hurt.

De-bug the light fixtures
See that bug burial ground within your overhead fixtures? Turn off the lights and carefully remove fixture covers, dump out flies and wash with hot soapy water. While you're up there, dust bulbs. Dry everything thoroughly before replacing the cover.

Vacuum heat vents and registers
Dirt and dust build up in heat vents and along register blades. Vents also are great receptacles for coins and missing buttons. Unscrew vent covers from walls or pluck them from floors, remove foreign objects, and vacuum inside the vent. Clean grates with a damp cloth and screw back tightly.

Polish hardware
To deep clean brass door hinges, handles, and cabinet knobs, thoroughly wipe with a damp microfiber cloth, then polish with Wright's or Weiman brass cleaner ($4). Dish soap shines up glass or stainless steel knobs. Use a Q-tip to detail the ornamental filigree on knobs and handles.

Replace grungy switch plates
Any amateur can wipe a few fingerprints off cover plates that hide light switches, electric outlets, phone jacks, and cable outlets. But only deep cleaners happily remove plates to vacuum and swipe the gunk behind. (OK, we're a little OCD when it comes to dirt!) Make sure cover plates are straight when you replace them. And pitch plates that are beyond the help of even deep cleaning. New ones cost less than $2 each.

Neaten weather stripping
Peeling, drooping weather stripping on doors and windows makes rooms look old. If the strip still has some life, nail or glue it back. If it's hopeless, cut out and replace sections, or just pull the whole thing off and start new. A 10-ft. roll of foam weather stripping costs $8; 16-ft. vinyl costs about $15.

Replace stove drip pans
Some drip pans are beyond the scrub brush. Replacing them costs about $3 each and instantly freshens your stove.
___________________________________
Jane Hoback is a veteran business writer who has written for the Rocky Mountain News, Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine, and ColoradoBIZ Magazine.
Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Copyright 2011.All rights reserved.

NEW LISTING: Two story in northwest Visalia

5522  W Wren Ave,  Visalia, listed at $293,000.
A gorgeous two-story home with all the custom features!

This northwest Visalia home is 3,147 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

Walk into the formal living area PLUS a great room open to the kitchen nook and fabulous kitchen.

The formal dining room overlooks a Tuscan-style patio, enhancing that perfect, relaxing meal.

In the rear yard and you will find a built-in kithcen/BBQ island, large side yards and a cool pool ready for some fun!

For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for your appointment today! (559) 625-9364.

New price on beautiful Visalia estate

3030  W Iris Ave,  Visalia, listed at $449,000.
This in-town estate has a great new price: $449,000.

This Royal Oaks home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Cost-effective ways to boost curb appeal


(ARA) - Anyone who's ever bought, sold or even just looked at a house can tell you first impressions matter. A house can be filled to the rafters with luxury touches, but if it lacks curb appeal, few potential buyers will ever step in the door to see what's inside.

With real estate sales still sluggish across the country, curb appeal is taking on a new meaning for many homeowners. While an attractive home exterior can still boost potential resale value, homeowners are also looking at curb appeal as a way to enhance the enjoyment of their homes.

Giving the exterior of their home a facelift not only makes the house stand out on the street, it also allows homeowners to "move up" without the expense of remodeling or moving.

Fortunately, many curb appeal-enhancing projects can be cost-effective too, yielding significant improvements for a modest investment.

"Projects can be inexpensive and simple while adding tremendous value and curb appeal," says Mark Clement, HGTVPro.com how-to expert and host of "MyFixItUpLife."

If you're looking for low-cost, high-impact ways to create or improve curb appeal, consider these ideas:

* Make small improvements that have a big impact. Simple touches like repainting the front door, window trim and shutters, planting flowers, and switching outdated light fixtures can create a whole new look. Plus, these simple improvements have the advantage of being scalable. Instead of re-siding the entire house, you can freshen the facade by tackling smaller portions, such as a porch or garage. Later, if you want to continue the improvement, you can re-side other areas of the facade.

* Choose materials that are durable and stylish. Skimping on materials may seem like a great way to save money, but you could end up spending more in the long run if you have to redo a job that was first done with lower quality materials. Purchase the best quality materials you can afford - not only will they look better than cheaper goods, they'll last longer and provide more enjoyment and value.

When it's time to move, have a plan

After I help my clients sell a home, I know they are ready to move out to the next house. Selling a home is a huge relief, until the thought of packing up everything you own and moving it across town, or elsewhere, starts to really settle in.

But you can manage the workload and stress of moving if you break it down into manageable pieces. Start with a comprehensive check list of things that need to be accomplished. Here are some of the basics:
  • Sorting through stored items that could be given to charity
  • Finding a moving company
  • Notifying utilities, schools, creditors, etc. of your change of address
  • Get packing supplies
Make an inventory of household items, including things stored in the garage. Put together a packing list so you know what's in each box, and clearly label them according to their location in the new house.

5 things to know about your home loan's good-faith estimate

Knowing how to read your good-faith estimate can help you save money on your home loan.

When you're shopping for a mortgage loan, it's sometimes hard to understand the jargon lenders use in the good-faith estimate explaining the costs and fees you'll pay when taking out a mortgage.

escrow papers (photo tip #3)
Via Flickr: billaday
When you apply for a mortgage, the lender has three days to give you a good-faith estimate of the fees and interest rate you'll pay, as well as other loan terms. Here are five tips for using the new three-page form to your advantage.

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender has three days to give you a good-faith estimate of the fees and interest rate you'll pay, as well as other loan terms. Here are five tips for using the new three-page form to your advantage.

Know which fees can increase and by how much
In the past, lenders provided an estimate of the costs involved in getting your home loan, and if those costs rose by the time you closed on your home, tough luck. The good-faith estimate shows some fees the lender can't change, like the loan origination fee that you pay to get a certain interest rate (commonly called points) and transfer costs.

The form also lists the charges that can increase by up to 10%, like some title company fees and local government recording fees. The lender must cover any increase over that amount.

Finally, the good-faith estimate lists the fees that can change without any limit, such as daily interest charges.

Look for answers to basic loan questions
In the summary section, lenders explain your loan's terms in simple language. Can your interest rate rise? If so, a lender must spell out how much the rate can jump and what your new payment would be if it does. Can the amount you owe the lender increase, even if you make your payments on time? If it can, a lender must show you the potential increase.

Evaluate the "tradeoffs" on a loan

In the new "tradeoff table," you can ask lenders to provide details on the tradeoffs you can make in choosing among home loans. If you'd like the same loan with lower settlement charges, how will the interest rate change? If you'd like a lower interest rate, how much will your settlement charges increase?

Home maintenance provides enduring value

19/52: the homeowner
Via Flickr: Inger Klekacz
Regular home maintenance is key to preserving the value of your house and property.

If you think home maintenance is an unavoidable series of weekend-eating chores, remember the age-old advice of Benjamin Franklin: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

The fact is, proactive maintenance is essential to preserving the value of your home-without it, your home could lose 10% of its value. Regular, routine maintenance enhances curb appeal, ensures safety, and prevents neglected upkeep from turning into costly major repairs.

"It's the little things that tend to trip up people," says Frank Lesh, former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and owner of Home Sweet Home Inspection Co. in Chicago. "Some cracked caulk around the windows, or maybe a furnace filter that hasn't been changed in awhile. It may not seem like much, but behind that caulk, water could get into your sheathing, causing mold and rot. Before you know it, you're looking at a $5,000 repair that could have been prevented by a $4 tube of caulk and a half hour of your time."

Maintenance affects property value

Outright damage to your house is just one of the consequences of neglected maintenance. Without regular upkeep, overall property values are affected.

"If a house is in worn condition and shows a lack of preventative maintenance, the property could easily lose 10% of its appraised value," says Mack Strickland, a professional appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, Va. "That could translate into a $15,000 or $20,000 adjustment."

In addition, a house with chipped, fading paint, sagging gutters, and worn carpeting faces an uphill battle when it comes time to sell. Not only is it at a disadvantage in comparison with other similar homes that might be for sale in the neighborhood, but a shaggy appearance is bound to turn off prospective buyers and depress the selling price.

"It's simple marketing principles," says Strickland. "First impressions mean a lot to price support."

Prolonging economic age

To a professional appraiser, diligent maintenance doesn't translate into higher property valuations the way that improvements, upgrades, and appreciation all increase a home's worth. But good maintenance does affect an appraiser's estimate of a property's economic age-the number of years that a house is expected to survive.

Economic age is a key factor in helping appraisers determine depreciation-the rate at which a house is losing value. A well-maintained house with a long, healthy economic age depreciates at a much slower rate than a poorly maintained house, helping to preserve value.

Estimating the value of maintenance

Although professional appraisers don't assign a positive value to home maintenance, there are indications that maintenance is not just about preventing little problems from becoming larger. A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that maintenance actually increases the value of a house by about 1% each year, meaning that getting off the couch and heading outside with a caulking gun is more than simply a chore-it actually makes money.

"It's like going to the gym," says Dr. John P. Harding, Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UConn's School of Business and an author of the study. "You have to put in the effort to see the results. In that respect, people and houses are somewhat similar-the older (they are), the more work is needed."

Harding notes that the 1% gain in valuation usually is offset by the ongoing cost of maintenance. "Simply put," he says, "maintenance costs money, so it's probably best to say that the net effect of regular maintenance is to slow the rate of depreciation."

Happy 38th Anniversary RE/MAX

I'm happy to say that my company, RE/MAX, is celebrating its 38th anniversary and a year of significant success despite a challenging housing market.

As a newer member to the RE/MAX family, I have had the opportunity to watch this national company's success evolve over time. This month, RE/MAX and its Co-Founders, Dave and Gail Liniger, celebrate a year of remarkable achievements and Founder’s Day, the day RE/MAX was created.

In 2010, RE/MAX worldwide franchise sales were up nearly 30 percent from the previous year and RE/MAX agents were ranked the most productive in the industry by two notable industry surveys.

That's good news for my clients. It means you can partner with us confident that your housing needs, whether buying, selling or investing, will be handled professionally and efficiently backed by years of expertise.

Immaculate Visalia home with great backyard

3921 South Bollinger, Visalia, listed at $145,000.
This Visalia home at 3921 South Bollinger is an immaculate jewel with a welcoming front porch and custom interior colors.

The 3 bedroom,  2 bath home features vaulted ceilings and an open living area. The fireplace burns wood!

Inside there are 3-panel white interior doors with bronze knobs, along with tile floors in kitchen and entry.

The kitchen features upgraded tile countertops.

In back there is a covered patio overlooking a lush backyard with mature landscaping. A concrete sidewalk leads to the front of the home. No flood insurance required on this property.

The refrigerator, washer and dryer will be included with no warranty. This home is adorable and shows well.

This listing is a traditional sale. For more information and pictures, click here.

For an appointment, call Darlene Loose today! (559) 625-9364.

New price for Royal Oaks home in Visalia

3030  W Iris Ave,  Visalia, listed at $514,000.
Come take a look at the unique architectural design of this Royal Oaks Estate on a half acre in Visalia. Listed at $514,000.

This home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

Keep spring pests from hatching in your home


(ARA) - As spring approaches, homeowners won't be the only ones opting for stay-cations. Insects that hibernate during cold winter months reappear in the spring, setting their sights on a location closer to home than you think - the safety and warmth of your house.

Hundreds of thousands of pests breed and hatch in large numbers in early spring. For example, most spiders live either one to two seasons and one female spider may produce as many as 3,000 eggs.

"Hidden places in your home could be the breeding ground for pests that hatch in spring," says Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products used in and around homes and businesses. "Once these pests hatch, their numbers quickly increase, and food sources and shelter often determine the length of their stay."

Pests like bed bugs and stink bugs that have found their way into homes across the country often stay year round, as long as they find food and shelter.

Also, as the spring real estate market heats up, many lenders are requiring re-inspections that could reveal pest-related health and safety hazards. At least buyers and sellers are on the same page about one thing: the importance of taking preventive action to avoid or manage pest infestations. Ask any pest management professional to share horror stories about problems new homeowners have experienced with pests, often with repercussions for sellers who neglected to fix a problem.

What can homeowners and sellers do? Take these easy-to-follow steps, suggested by the acronym I.N.S.P.E.C.T:

INvestigate - Become a pest detective and investigate your home or a potential new home for pest problems. On the inside of your home, open food containers, look for cracks in interior walls, look for signs of droppings, check vents to the outside, holes in window screens and know that pests like to hide in cool, dark places like attics and basements. On the outside of your home, make sure the cold temperatures aren't causing cracks in your exterior walls, and investigate for holes, unsealed garbage cans, woodpiles and plants that may be too close to the home. Also, check any structure that can hold standing water, which is a favorite breeding ground for mosquitos. Also check for stinging insect nests on the ground or in your gutters.

Price reduced on custom Visalia charmer

3030 W. Iris Ave. in Visalia, listed at $524,000
Come take a look at the spectacular architectural design of this Royal Oaks Estate on a half acre in Visalia. It is now listed at $524,000 - a great value!

This home has it all. Enjoy a sparkling pool and spa with a waterfall. It also has a fitness center that includes a steam shower and sauna (335 square feet).

Inside this 3,108-square-foot home are floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and rear of the house, creating lots of natural light in the open living area and offering great views of a lush park-like yard.

There are tile floors in the entry, hall, living room, kitchen, laundry and owner's suite. There is a fourth bedroom/office with full bath, offering lots of privacy.

The remodeled kitchen has raised-panel cabinets, a center island with vegetable sink, roll-out shelving, pantry, and a SubZero refrigerator.

There are skylights in the vaulted wood ceiling, extending into the dining room with oak floors and another skylight - all electronically controlled.

The spacious guest bedroom wing has full bath and a 11'X16' family/computer room.

The owner's suite has a wall of windows overlooking the patio and yard with vaulted a ceiling. The three-sided fireplace splits the elegant, remodeled bath area with top-set sinks, jetted tub with leaded glass backdrop, a huge shower and a walk-in closet.

This unique property is a must see. For more information and pictures, click here.

Call Darlene Loose for an appointment today! (559) 625-9364

8 tips for adding curb appeal and value to your home

Our House!
Via Flickr: Kris247
Appraisers and real estate agents offer advice for adding curb appeal that both preserves value and attracts potential buyers.

Curb appeal has always been important for home sellers. With the vast majority of today's home buyers starting their search on the Internet, the appearance of your property is more critical than ever. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention as they scroll through listings online to get them to stop and take a closer look.

But the role of curb appeal goes beyond just making a good first impression. The way your house looks from the street can impact its value. It can also shorten the time it takes to sell your house.

We asked real estate agents, appraisers, home stagers, landscape designers, and home inspectors which curb appeal projects offer the most value when your house is on the market, both in terms of its marketability and dollars. Here is what they told us:

1. Paint the house.

Hands down, the most commonly offered curb appeal advice from our real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it and appraisers will note it on the valuation.

"Paint is probably the number one thing inside and out," says Frank Lucco, managing partner of Houston-based IRR-Residential Appraisers and Consultants. "I'd give additional value for that. If you're under two years remaining life (on the paint job), paint the exterior because it tends to show wear badly."

Just make sure you stay within the range of accepted colors for your market. A house that's painted a wildly different color from its competition will be marked down in value by appraisers.

2. Have the house washed.

Before you make the investment in a paint job, though, take a good look at the house. If it's got mildew or general grunge, just washing the house could make a world of difference, says Valerie Torelli, a California real estate agent with a background in accounting.

Before she puts a house on the market, Torelli often does exterior makeovers on her clients' homes, a service she pays for herself to get higher selling prices. Overall, she says her goal is to spend less than $5,000, with a goal of generating an extra $10,000 to $15,000 on the sale price.

Torelli specifies pressure-washing-a job that should be left to professionals. Pressure washing makes the house look "bright and clean in addition to getting rid of unsightly things like cobwebs, which may not be seen from the yard but will detract from the home's cleanliness when seen up close," she says.

The cost to have a professional cleaning should be a few hundred dollars--a fraction of the cost of having the house painted.

3. Trim the shrubs and green up the yard.

California real estate agent Valerie Torelli says she puts a lot of emphasis on landscaping, such as cutting down overgrown bushes and replacing them with leafy plants and annuals mulched with beautiful reddish-brown bark. "It runs me $30 to $50," says Torelli. "Do you get a return on your money? Absolutely. It sucks people in."

You also don't want bare spots. Take the time to fertilize the yard, throw out some grass seed, and if need be, add some sod.