Kitchen Renovation Tips for Entertaining

Did you host the holidays this year and find your space less than ideal? Or did you not host because you didn’t feel that your kitchen layout was adequate? Make 2019 the year to fix that! While a large, open kitchen is great for entertaining, kitchens of all sizes can be maximized to accomodate a crowd. No matter the size of your kitchen, see below for tips to consider when renovating for entertaining with ease….

A Large Island
This is an ideal space for food prep, cocktail creation and lingering guests during the final dinner preparations. You can avoid being locked away in the kitchen if there is space in the kitchen for your guests to join you! Additionally, the island can be cleared off and used to create a serving bar for guests should your holiday dinner be buffet-style. If your kitchen space does not accomodate an island, consider a breakfast bar, hutch or other long counterspace that could serve a similar function to an island.

Plenty of Seating
Do you feel that you kitchen never has enough seats for everyone during holidays? Create a small eat-in space within your kitchen for guests to sit at while they nibble on hors d’oeuvres. This space can be either a breakfast booth, bar stools, pub table or window seat depending on your space available. It can also double as a kids table during formal dining if your party warrants it!

Point of Service Refrigeration
Self-serve beverages can be a godsend as guests begin to arrive. Stock a small beverage fridge with water, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and whatever other options you feel your guests would appreciate. If space permits, arrange glasses, an ice bucket and cocktail ingredients on the countertop above or next to to the beverage fridge. This will allow guests to make their own beverage upon arrival rather than waiting for you to serve them individually. Bonus – this frees up your time to visit with guests and put any finishing touches on the food!

Flat Screen TV
Do you find yourself often entertaining during sporting games or other televised events? Including a flat screen TV in the kitchen layout in an asthetically pleasing way will allow guests to keep up with the latest action and spend time with you in the kitchen. From an everyday perspective, this ‘appliance’ is also handy for watching the news during morning coffee or entertaining oneself during dinner prep.

Counterspace and Walkways
Two important things to consider in all kitchen designs, particularly those that will often be used for entertaining are counterspace and walkways. Be sure to include significantly more counterspace and walkway clearance than you think you need, as these two features are always at a premium when the kitchen gets crowded! Additionally, be ensure to account for your kitchen triangle (sink, fridge, range) to be easily accessible when the kitchen is full of people – you don’t want to be squeezing between Great Aunt Helen and her new beau to take the turkey out of the oven!

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Why December may be the BEST Time to Buy Real Estate

While it is true that there is less real estate inventory on the market in December, it is also true that this may be the BEST time to buy!  Not only will you likely wind up paying less for the property, but you will save on your buying costs as well.  In the following post, I give you 6 reasons why.


1. Less Competition

There may be less sellers on the market in Decmber, but there are also less buyers!  As holiday shopping, shorter daylight hours and poor weather cut into time available for house hunting, many people put off their property search until after the new year.  This means that if you make an offer on a property, you are less likely to be up against competing offers.  Due to lack of other options, sellers who want to move the property before year-end are more likely to accept an offer at a lower price, with less earnest money and/or with more contngencies during December than they would at other times of the year.  Of course, this translates into a financial savings for you as the buyer!

2. Motivated Sellers

Let’s talk sellers.  There is generally only one reason why sellers list property in November-December… they are highly motivated to sell and don’t want to wait for Spring!  Whether this be a job change for the new year, an unfortunate family event or the property did not sell during the past Spring-Summer season, property owners with real estate on the market during the slow season are highly motivated to sell.  Again, this translates to the buyer having more negotating power and being able to purchase the property for less than they would at other times of the year.  Before you feel bad for negotiating against a seller that may be forced to sell their property, remember that you are doing them a huge favor by purchasing in the slow season regardless!

3. View How the Property Holds up to Weather

Depending on which part of the country you are looking in, the winter months are typically not as nice as the summer months and thus homeowners are more likely to encounter major issues.  This weather change  may be anything from a few degrees less and a few raindrops more to the great blizzards of New England or the Rocky Mountains.  In either event, it is difficult to hide leaky roofs, drafty windows and other unsavory house qualities during inclement weather.  When you tour a house in the late fall – early winter, be sure to take particular notice to any temperature changes or signs of water as you walk through the property.  If you are curious about heating efficiencies, you should be able to obtain recent usage statistics from either your real estate agent or the local utility company.

4. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are still at historical lows, but have been steadily climbing over the past several years.  While there is no guarantee they will go up in the new year, history tells us it is highly likely.  Securing your financing now will ensure that you are not subject to the increased market rates comes January. Be sure to consult with your mortgage broker to know what is best for your specific financial situation.

5. Availabiliity of Agent & other Vendors

Due to a lower volume of overall real estate transactions during December, you will likely have more attention and flexiblity from your real estate agent and other vendors.  This includes availability to view properties at your convenience, flexiliby in scheduling home inspections, year-end specials from moving companies, discounted contractor rates and more.  As most vendors are looking to increase Q4 business, be sure to ask about any current specials for the holidays.

7. Builder Incentives

A lesser known perk of buying in December is builder incentives.  If you are buying a new construction home, you may be able to negotiate upgrades at a reduced rate from your builder.  Similar to the above, many builders are looking to increase sales for the slow-moving month of December in order to end the year on a strong note.  As such, your builder may be willing to cut you a discount on that upgraded tile or custom cabinets you have had your eye on!

Please feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions on the above or if you’d like to a get a jump start on your home shopping this holiday season!

Carolyn Quelly, Licensed Realtor
Coldwell Banker Chesapake
2525 Augustine Herman Hwy.
Chesapeake City, MD 21915

Mobile: 267-374-6963
Office: 410-885-2200