Many homeowners value the extra storage space their garages provide for their vehicles, tools, and other belongings. Not to mention weatherized features that keep these items safe from the elements, come snow, rain, or shine.
But some homeowners don't realize that having an attached or detached garage may also increase the value of their properties significantly.
Consider this: A survey by Remodeling Magazine found that 74% of homeowners thought a well-organized garage was a major selling feature for the home, with 97% of participants preferring a garage over an attic or a basement to store their belongings.
What's more, the survey found that homeowners who invested in mid-range to high-end garage door replacements recouped 83% of the money spent on these improvements.
Similarly, mid-range garage additions saw a 69% return on investment, making them a lucrative home improvement project for their desirability among prospective homebuyers.
But beefing up an existing garage, or adding a new one, isn't only for gaining a higher selling price. Owning a garage also comes with a host of benefits for the long-term homeowner, who can turn it into a relaxation room, a studio apartment for guests, a rehearsal space for a band, or a home gym complete with treadmills and a bench press.
Adding value to your home garage is pretty straightforward, but rather than just "make it bigger," the value increase comes with making the space more functional.
To that end, here are some creative ways to maximize your home garage's value or function and convert it into a multipurpose space.
Weather-proofing or insulating your garage ensures that the items inside are protected from extreme temperatures on hot or cold days while also making it more attractive to buyers. A prefabricated building kit with insulated metal panels is one of the most popular and affordable ways to climatize your garage and comes in handy if you live in a climate with significant temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
Soundproofing can turn your garage into a hobby room or a space to live out your musical dreams. Although it may seem like a daunting project, soundproofing your home garage is fairly simple. Start by insulating the ceiling and walls with cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool (your choice of material depends on the desired effect). Other materials, such as foam panels, rubber mats, and acoustic blankets can help you jam out like a rockstar without driving your neighbors crazy.
Earlier we mentioned that installing or upgrading to mid-range or high-end garage doors can offer a healthy return on your investment. So consider upgrading your garage doors with insulated frames and windows. Not only will this add value to your home. It'll make your garage more energy-efficient and attract homebuyers if you decide to sell down the road. When upgrading your garage doors, try this DIY project or hire a professional who can take the legwork out of it.
Converting the garage into a studio apartment is something that your friends and family members will appreciate when they visit you from out of town. But like many home improvements, there are cons to consider when choosing this route. An obvious one is losing storage space for your vehicles and other belongings. You'll also need to consider zoning and building codes in your neighborhood that may restrict the blueprint you have in mind. That said, some homebuyers might find an additional living space appealing, especially if the property can fit a carport or a covered driveway for vehicles.
To increase functionality without breaking the bank, consider organizing your garage space into zones based on the value you want to get out of it.
These zones can be:
1) Organizing personal belongings by value and type, such as tools, equipment, bikes, and other outdoor gear. This is typically the first zone for homeowners because it's how they use their garage the most.
2) Keeping frequently used items in close reach with shallow shelves.
3) Storing rarely used items like seasonal decorations and old kitchen appliances in containers on the garage walls or other vertical spaces that can be reached with a step stool.
4) Organizing supplies that need to be kept for home repairs and projects in one area (including paint and other liquids) with extension cords in case an item needs to be plugged in when it's time to use it.
5) Keeping everything clean and tidy by investing in garage storage cabinets or shelves that can accommodate larger pieces like bicycles, ladders, and tools.
6) Creating a personalized space by attaching pegboard walls for hanging tools, coats, and other accessories.
7) Keeping groceries and sports equipment in designated areas to avoid clutter.
8) Staying organized by creating a system for writing down items that need repair or replacement so they can be bought at the right time.
These steps can help you organize your garage space into zones that improve the value and function while saving you time and energy in the long run.
Knowing the value of your home garage as a space for anything — from personal storage to hosting guests — can help you make the most of it.
At Hawaii Realty International, we value our client's homes as much as they do. If you're thinking about selling or buying in Oahu, or if you're on the hunt for a top Oahu realtor, connect with us and find out what our family-owned real estate business is all about.
Rightsizing is a term that's quickly becoming a hot topic for those who wish to live a simpler, less cluttered life. In a nutshell, it means making changes in your home to make it feel less crowded, more spacious, and much more enjoyable.
Rightsizing often results in getting rid of things you don't need. In some cases, it means relocating to a smaller home.
You might be wondering: rightsizing vs. downsizing? What's the difference, anyway?
Well, downsizing your home is exactly what it sounds like: you "go down in size" by moving to a new, smaller place. It's a common practice among retirees, empty nesters, and other individuals who just don't need as large of a home anymore.
By contrast, rightsizing doesn't always require a major life event to take place. It can happen at any time. What's more, you don't always have to move to a new home. You can stay right where you are and optimize your current living spaces to make them feel less crowded.
However, when rightsizing, it might be beneficial to move to a new home that features a smaller layout, ideally one that boasts plenty of usable square footage. That way, you can organize what remains of your furniture and other decor items once you've decluttered your old home.
The benefits of rightsizing your home include:
Making your home more enjoyable
Feeling less stressed and overwhelmed
Able to find what you need more easily
Living in a healthier environment with less clutter
When friends and family visit, they may feel more at ease
If rightsizing results in moving to a new home, it may also offer you some financial benefits. For instance, if you rightsize and reduce the amount of property taxes you pay, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Have you turned your home into an obstacle course of unnecessary objects, leaving no room to maneuver?
If so, rightsizing your home can transform your space into one that's more organized, tidy, and clutter-free. This, in turn, can boost your peace of mind.
After all, it's easier to stay on top of your daily tasks when you have a smooth, clutter-free environment, so you can avoid feeling stressed about where things are and how to manage your home's upkeep.
Furthermore, rightsizing your home can also help you identify what's important to you and your family. This means rightsizing your possessions, rightsizing decoration elements ... heck, even rightsizing the types of food you eat!
But for now, let's stick to how you can rightsize your home successfully one step at a time.
For starters, you'll need to consider your goals. What do you hope to achieve by rightsizing? Is it a mental health detox or a means to a financial end?
If your goal is to read more during bedtime, for example, then do you really need a TV in the bedroom? Also, if you tend to work at the kitchen table more often than your home office or bedroom desk, perhaps it's time to get rid of the desk altogether.
Other important questions to consider are:
How do I utilize my living spaces?
What can I do to optimize them?
What possessions am I willing to get rid of?
Rightsizing your home will be much easier once you've established clear objectives.
Have you figured out your goals? Great! Now, here are four tips to rightsize your home the right way without freaking out (or regretting it later!)
Let's face it: regardless of how passionate you are about reducing your belongings, family members might not share your enthusiasm for making this life change.
If you find that not everyone is on board with rightsizing just yet, then start small. For instance, instead of tackling the entire house in one go, why not rightsize your bedroom? Then move on to your wardrobe next, followed by your living room.
Once everyone realizes that this process isn't hurting anyone and that you're not throwing away everything that matters, they might be more receptive to rightsizing.
When rightsizing your home, use your living spaces the right way. Meaning, if you love to read books and spend time in your bedroom, install a bookshelf and make it the largest piece of furniture in your room.
Keep in mind that the goal is to optimize every space, not make them bare and plain.
This goes for the living room, too, which is a popular space in the home. While tackling this room, try to add furniture pieces that align with your personal needs and preferences. Just be careful not to go overboard. For example, if you don't entertain guests regularly, it might be time to swap the giant sectional with a comfy three-seater.
Sometimes rightsizing your home can mean making more useful spaces or rooms. For instance, rightsize your kitchen by removing or consolidating bulky, seldom-used appliances. Then, rightsize your living room by removing old furniture that you don't use anymore.
In addition, if you don't use the guest bedroom, convert it into a home office, a dedicated meditation space, or a study room for your kids. Lastly, if your dining room is gathering dust and there's no room to entertain guests at your dinner table, consider adding more furniture for everyday life activities.
Of all the steps on this listicle, getting rid of personal items can be the scariest one, especially if your possessions are as large as the new home you're moving into!
However, some studies have found that decluttering leads to better moods and happiness levels. So, to rightsize successfully, be open to getting rid of things — even cherished items — and embracing less.
To ease this process, consider the minimalist approach so you can focus on owning only the things you actually need, plus the ones that make you feel happy and comfortable. (Don't forget to declutter your outdoor storage, too!)
If rightsizing means that you're better off with a new home, then consider Hawaii Realty International to make your rightsizing goals manifest.
While searching for a top Oahu realtor, Hawaii Realty International has the expertise and track record to help you find a new home that accommodates your lifestyle.
Reach out today and let's get started on your road to real estate success!
A relaxation room is a dedicated space in your home that's designed to help you destress when life throws curveballs your way.
Before creating one, make sure you have the essentials for finding peace and quiet in one place. It can be any space at home, as long as it's free of distractions.
A well-designed relaxation room should elevate your senses to their maximum comfort level. With this in mind, here are the necessary elements to include in your relaxation room:
To gain a sense of calm through lighting, replace harsh fluorescent bulbs with incandescents that emit warm hues.
Edison bulbs, for instance, emit a cozy, amber glow that creates a serene ambiance and sets the mood for relaxation.
Because lower light levels contribute to a better mood, opt for dimmable bulbs or recessed lighting whenever possible.
When installing overheads, make sure the light is equally distributed throughout the room with no harsh or bright spots.
Lastly, if you have an abundance of natural light in your relaxation room, soak it in while relaxing. This can help you achieve some much-needed balance during the day.
Climate control and air quality are key in maintaining a comfortable relaxation room.
Let's start with humidity: Low levels can make your body feel cold, even if the room is warm. Conversely, high humidity can make you feel hot and sticky.
Some experts recommend a humidity rate between 30% and 50% to alleviate poor breathing symptoms and remain comfortable.
For the right level of humidity, opt for a dual mist humidifier or choose from a wide variety of options based on your needs.
You'll also want air that's clean and free of airborne allergens. To optimize air quality in your relaxation room, invest in an air purifier. These devices emit a stream of ions that remove contaminants from the air as it circulates, leaving you with fresh air to breathe.
The furniture in your relaxation room should be soft and inviting, made of materials that promote relaxation.
Natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, are ideal. These fabrics are hypoallergenic and soft to the touch, giving you a sense of calm when you recline on your sofa or lounge in your armchair.
For your sofa, choose something that's long enough to clear your calves when you're sitting down. For maximum comfort, get a sofa with armrests and a headrest.
If you have a wooden floor in your relaxation room, add area rugs that give you a cozy feel. If your relaxation room has carpeting, pile it high with large area rugs.
Warm colors are inviting and inspire relaxation, so consider painting the walls in your relaxation room with these hues.
Calming colors include light shades of green, blue, grey, beige, and peach. You can also add other colors that evoke a relaxing feeling, such as yellow and lavender.
For your furniture pieces, choose soft and vibrant colors like chestnut brown, sky blue, and heather gray.
Similarly, earthy tones like terracotta, ochre, and sandstone evoke a sense of tranquility and can help you feel more relaxed.
The items in your relaxation room should have personal meaning so you can relax easier.
Add framed family photos, the latest bestseller you're reading, an item that reminds you of a cherished memory, or anything else that makes you smile. You could also liven up the space with low-maintenance indoor plants that improve air quality.
To avoid distractions, remove mirrors and other items that reflect light. This ensures an overall dimming of the room.
If you're okay with having a mirror, opt for one that's mounted on an angled wall or doesn't reflect light into your personal space.
A soothing scent can be a great way to induce relaxation and destress after a long day.
Add an essential oil diffuser in the corner of your relaxation room to spread its fragrance throughout the air.
To promote more relaxation, add a satin hand towel with a few drops of essential oil, such as rosemary, lavender, or chamomile. As you unwind, cover your eyes with the towel.
If you're sensitive to certain scents, consider adding an unscented candle for an ambient glow.
From the hum of city traffic to the roar of an airplane engine, there are many sounds that can make you feel stressed. The right amount of ambient noise can lessen these disturbances and help you relax.
Sound machines create a soft backdrop of white noise, such as the sound of ocean waves or bird calls.
You can also download white noise apps to your mobile device and play them through the speaker.
Once you've completed these steps, sit down in your relaxation room, close your eyes, and practice simple breathing exercises to slow your heart rate and reduce feelings of stress.
Stay in your relaxation room for at least 20 minutes per day. If you're having trouble concentrating on your breath, aim for a shorter duration and add more time gradually.
On the other hand, your relaxation room doesn't have to be a meditation space. It can be a space where you read, write, or listen to music. Use your relaxation room whenever you feel overwhelmed and need a break from distractions.
Before leaving your relaxation room, think of something that makes you feel calm or happy. Then, head back to the world with newfound energy!
Now that you've discovered the power of a relaxation room, perhaps it's time to find the right home that can host it.
If you're ready to buy or sell in Oahu, Hawaii Realty International is here to help. Our team is one of the most reputable in the area, offering personalized service with unmatched market knowledge to help you find or sell your perfect home.
Contact Hawaii Realty International and let’s get started on your journey to real estate success!
Keeping a tidy yard can be challenging, especially if you have a lot of gardening and landscaping to do. Rakes, spades, and shovels are just a few examples of gardening equipment that may take up more storage space than anticipated.
Luckily, there are many creative ways to use the space in your garden to store these items, including outdoor storage options that'll keep your yard tidy at all times.
From storage benches and garden sheds to firewood racks and DIY pot hangers, you'll find a dozen ideas here to help get your yard tools off the ground and out of the way. Some storage options will even add a touch of style to your yard that'll impress your guests and potential homebuyers.
So keep reading to find out how you can keep your yard tidy with our 12 creative outdoor storage options.
An outdoor storage bench is an excellent way to give you extra seating while still having some essential garden tools nearby. You can purchase one of these smart storage solutions online or in home improvement stores, or you can build your very own.
Using an outdoor shed to store your gardening equipment plus other items is another great storage option to keep your yard tidy. The size of the shed you choose depends on how much equipment you'll need to store, but many sheds are available with multiple sections for better organization.
Bicycles can take up a lot of space, especially if you own several. But there's a way to store them that doesn't require much room at all: Say hello to outdoor bicycle sheds and racks. These come in a variety of styles to suit your needs, such as waterproof tents for one or two bikes and vertical racks that can hold up to four bicycles. You can also choose from a variety of colors and sizes to keep with your garden’s overall theme.
Another way to store items in your yard is to upcycle an old wooden pallet by using it as a tool organizer. You can easily cut it to size and drill holes to hang your tools. You can also paint or stain the wood before you install it to fit your outdoor décor.
For a more organized and stylish storage option in your garden, consider an outdoor storage table. This is another excellent way to keep your items off the ground while also creating a focal point in your yard. Plus, many of these tables come with benches or other features to add seating.
A nifty and good-looking firewood rack is another neat way to store your yard equipment. You can build your own or buy one that suits your style and needs, then use it to keep the wood dry before you're ready to warm up on chilly nights.
Getting storage racks or cabinets to mount on your exterior walls is another space-saving idea for outdoor storage. This solution is great if your garage is already jam-packed with storage bins, laundry machines, vehicles, and more.
8) Hanging Outdoor Storage Bin
Another way to store small gardening and landscaping equipment without taking up too much space is with hanging storage bins. These are typically made of metal or plastic and come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different items like trowels or rakes.
If your pot collection is taking up too much space in your yard, a DIY pot hanger can be the perfect outdoor storage option. These are easy to make and just need a few pieces of scrap wood, some hooks, and nails. You can also find tutorials online for making other types of pot hangers.
Another great outdoor storage option is to invest in outdoor storage cabinets. These are available in many styles and sizes to accommodate different types of equipment, as well as other items that are better kept outside. Just make sure that the cabinet's materials are weatherized and that the color matches your yard theme!
A more stylish (and sneaky) way to store your equipment is with hidden storage planters. These are made of wood, metal, or plastic and come in a variety of sizes. Just place them on the ground, fill them with soil, and plant some flowers or other plants, then use the space underneath to stash your garden hose or other tools.
Last but not least, a shoe organizer can do wonders for your organizational needs. It's also one of the simplest outdoor storage options you can do. You’ll likely find one at the dollar store for just a few bucks. Use it to store smaller gardening tools like hand pruners and shears, and enjoy your clutter-free yard.
We hope that by providing you with a variety of outdoor storage options, you'll be able to clear up your yard in no time or get it ready for showings before putting your home on the market.
At Hawaii Realty International, we believe that a good-looking home extends beyond the interior walls and that a well-kept yard can make a positive impact on how your home shows, leading to better offers and a quicker sale.
On that note, when it comes to top real estate agents in Oahu, Hawaii Realty International is the sound choice for many buyers and sellers in the Kailua and Oahu real estate market.
If you're looking for a top Oahu to help with your real estate needs, Hawaii realty International has the expertise and track record to make it happen.
So start the no-pressure conversation by reaching out today and let's get started on your road to real estate success!
Island living in Ohau can be a dream come true. Yet, Mother Nature also enjoys the location.
Whether it’s a heat wave brownout or an earthquake interrupting service, you may not be able to control power outages. Thankfully, the tech world hears your concerns and has solutions for providing comfortable living during these occurrences.
If you are a current homeowner or looking to purchase a home in sunny Oahu, it’s worth some research to improve your home’s efficiency and resilience.
Maybe a home battery backup is right for you! Read our guide about home battery backup systems and how they are changing the way homeowners think about sustainable power.
If you have ever endured a lengthy power outage, you know the mess it can create with food spoilage and humidity levels that can damage furnishings and cabinetry.
You may also be part of the growing population of remote workers who require reliable power to do your job.
Worse yet, you may have a family member with medical equipment that can cause a life-threatening situation if power is lost.
In any of these scenarios, a home battery backup system may be worth the investment that brings peace of mind. So, what are they and how do they work?
Just like many of the batteries we use to operate children's toys or even the car, a home battery backup system stores power for later use. Units come in various sizes depending on your power source and energy needs.
A home battery can be lithium-ion such as those used in smartphones, or lithium ferro phosphate as used in solar systems. Another type of battery is lead acid, like typical car batteries. In terms of the amount of energy storage and lifespan, lithium-ion outperforms lead acid batteries for home use.
Many home battery backup systems can be installed inside or outside. For large homes, installation outside can be a great benefit if multiple batteries are desired.
One of the attractions to home battery units is the power of a generator without the messiness and fumes of fuel. A home battery backup system gets energy from two different sources.
This type of home battery backup gets its energy from solar panels. The battery unit is connected to your solar panel array and is provided with a consistent charge throughout the day.
Homeowners can reserve use of the battery for power outages, or use stored power to operate the home at night for further energy savings.
This energy source comes from your utility company.
The home battery backup system is directly connected to the main house electrical panel. Should power be lost due to an electrical line falling or peak overload, the backup battery system will switch on to continue powering your home and devices.
There are many factors in today's real estate market that suggest home battery backup systems do increase the value and marketability of your home.
In states like Hawaii, clean and sustainable energy resources are almost always a consideration for homebuyers. Here are a few reasons.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) completed a study for 2021 that demonstrates Millenials are the largest percentage of homebuyers now. This is a trend that has continued since 2014.
Millennial homebuyers have different expectations from their homes than previous generations. The top requirements for Millennials are energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and automated technology.
Home battery backup systems fulfill these requirements and may be a selling point that encourages higher bids for real estate that is already in high demand throughout Oahu.
Wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods… they are a possibility in many parts of Hawaii. Understandably, they are a top concern for potential homebuyers. Any home feature that makes life a little easier when nature strikes is a selling point.
If you are considering installing a home battery backup system, there are some factors you need to consider before making a purchase and hiring an installer.
Will you be using grid power or solar to charge the battery units? Each source has advantages and disadvantages for capacity (how much energy is stored) and discharge (how much power is released).
Some manufacturers such as Tesla require the purchase of their own brand of solar panels for use with their home battery backup systems.
When using grid power for charging your home battery, check with your area's building codes for compliance.
Most people use home battery backup systems to power limited areas of the home such as HVAC, and a few outlets for small appliances and computers.
If you want to power the entire house, multiple units will be needed. Compare pricing based on amps and lifespan of the battery unit.
The amount of space you are willing to dedicate to your battery installation is a very important factor before considering how to retrofit your home for backup power.
Decide if you have ample space in a utility room or garage. If not, you will want to shop for home battery backup systems that can be installed outside. Fortunately, the weather in Oahu and Hawaii is suitable for most outside units.
The digital age offers many technological advancements to help us live comfortably and sustainably, even when things go wrong. If you want to make your home more efficient and more resilient to potential problems, a battery backup system might be part of your solution!
Are you looking to buy a home, thinking of selling, or just want professional real estate advice on the advantages of energy-efficient home upgrades like home battery backup systems? Contact us to discuss how we can help you reach your goals.