Monthly Archives: November 2012
If you ever wind up in Montevallo, a small but charming Shelby Co. community south of Birmingham, drop by for a visit at Eclipse Coffee and Books, and your taste buds will appreciate it.
I stopped in a few days ago and heard one of their sandwiches calling my name. The Italian Panini, offering a blend of ham, salami, peppers and olive spread, was a definite treat:
Eclipse offers a variety of foods, baked goods, sandwiches, shakes and drinks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nightly events include music, poetry reading and trivia contests.
The atmosphere is casual eclectic. You’r likely to find anyone here, from a 20’s something student attending the nearby University of Montevallo, to a half century or more long resident making their regular visit…
All we can say is: Wow.
Talk about adding some pizazz to our home!
We talk with our Clients frequently about adding features that make your home more attractive and enjoyable.
If you’re trying to get your home sold in the Birmingham/Shelby Co. area, these enhancements can be what it takes to get a successful sale. But even if you’re not selling, they’re still wonderful to enjoy while you live there.
We’ve taken our own advice.
Our Kitchen upgrade project is basically complete. To say that we’re pleased is an understatement.
We knew we’d like it … but we like it even more than we thought.
This upgrade includes sparkling New Venetian Gold granite counter tops, a Frigidaire professional series hybrid induction cooktop with convection oven, microwave oven, dishwasher, disposer, under mount sink and fixture, and new stone back splash. We’re even adding an instant hot water dispenser.
A lot of coordination and logistics had to go into this to make everything work.
Different work crews had to be scheduled to come in at various times, and they could only do their work in a certain order (i.e. Crew #2 could come in only after Crew #1 had finished its task).
With the need to do all this coordination—and the fact that the work crews have busy schedules themselves—Colleen and I had suspected that it could easily be three, four or even five days before our Kitchen could be used again.
Amazingly, the entire process—from removing the old, to finishing installation of all the new—was done in less than two full days (the template tracing for the counter cuts had been done two weeks earlier).
I never realized how much we depend on having water in the Kitchen—until we lost access to it! No water out of the tap or refrigerator, no rinsing dishes in the sink, and no stove adds up to having to improvise.
With all the different workers involved, it’s pretty easy to figure that someone in the process is likely to make a mistake. And I sort of figured there would be a lot of cleaning up we’d have to do behind everyone.
We were wrong on both counts.
The workers who did this project—every single one of them—did an awesome job. Nothing got damaged, no hardwoods got scratched despite everything being moved in and out, no walls got scraped, everything got put in correctly, protective covering was put down on our floors, stairs and counters, and nothing got tracked on flooring or spilled.
After finishing their work, there was no clean-up for us to do. Everything was left immaculate.
What more could we ask?
For all the logistics that had to come together, Colleen and I think we have come out great.
Steve Poe with Cahaba Cabinets, Inc. in Pelham did an excellent job overseeing all the work and handling the installation of our new counter tops. We do not take him for granite.
Oscar Requena with Hunter Home Improvements handled making sure all the gadgetry was delivered, connected and working. The changes Oscar made in his schedule are part of why we were able to have a functioning Kitchen so quickly again.
Shane and Heather Massey, the husband-wife team known as KB Pro, took Colleen’s design ideas and turned them into the beautiful back splash that we think really makes the Kitchen pop (I’ve always thought that, if she wasn’t a real estate Agent, Colleen has a second career waiting in home design and staging).
We have a lot of learning ahead, now that we have purchased an induction cook-top (the fact that it’s a hybrid means that we can cook using induction and/or the conventional way, with standard electric).
Our appliances came from the AllSouth Appliance Group, whose staff and impressive showroom can get you pointed toward the best choices for your lifestyle and needs.
It’s pretty wild to be able to put a pot of water on to boil and, instead of waiting several minutes, full boil starts in only a few seconds.
Our research into cooking technology covered electric, gas and induction. We wound up choosing Frigidaire’s professional series for several reasons.
Induction cooking is far more precise. Colleen liked the fact the stove is a hybrid; if we do sell the home and the new Buyer isn’t familiar or comfortable with induction, standard electric cooking is still available. A keep warm zone and keep warm drawer are added benefits.
The Frigidaire’s clean lines represented the look we were going for, and last but not least, this series fell in an attractive price point (we could have spent much more).
Even the dishwasher is going to require some educating. When running it for its first cycle of dishes, we first thought it wasn’t working, only to discover that is working. Yep. It’s that quiet.
Regardless of whether you’re selling or planning to stay put and just want to enjoy your surroundings a little more, upgrading your Kitchen is sure to please.
If you’re thinking of selling your home and plan to do an upgrade like this with the expectation of getting your money back in the sale, hold on a second. That generally doesn’t happen.
Home upgrades such as redone Kitchens and baths are still tremendous selling points, because they will likely put your place above the competition. Whatever you can do to stand out in a good way boosts your chances of getting an Offer.
As Colleen and I look around and enjoy our new Kitchen, we can only think of one thing we would change.
Whether we sell or stay, we wish we had done this upgrade sooner.
There’s nothing like misinformation to cause confusion and despair.
The popular story we’ve heard circulating a lot is that—starting January 1st, 2013—anyone selling a home in this country will be hit with a new 3.8% tax to help pay for President Obama’s new healthcare plan.
It’s true that the new tax does take effect with the start of the new year, and it’s true that some real estate sales will be subject to the tax. But it’s not a real estate tax, per se, and many people selling homes will not have to pay the tax.
So, just what is it?
“It” is a tax on some investment income. Interest, dividends, rent and capital gains will be subject to the tax, but only for people whose adjusted gross income is above $200,000, or couples who file jointly and whose AGI is above $250,000.
If you’d like information that makes this tax more understandable, check out this one page flyer showing the Top Ten Things You Need To Know About The Tax.
Hopefully, these facts will show that—while the tax is real and it’s about to take effect—its scope is more limited than many people have been led to believe.