The Surprising Color Trends for 2016



If you like to stay up to date on the latest in home design, you may be interested to hear the color trends predicted for 2016. From Benjamin Moore’s Simply White to Behr’s Ivory Keys, the leading color trend is white, which serves as a neutral backdrop for other dramatic elements.

But before you go out and buy gallons of white, note that this year’s on-trend whites have color and warmth to them. These subtle variations in tone make them the perfect accompaniment to other hot colors highlighted this year, so keep that in mind as you select accent colors.

To update your space using the neutral white trend, take the following steps:

  • Create a blank canvas — Paint an entire room in your favorite warm white. Starting with a neutral background lets other elements in the room stand out and become the focal point. Neutral rooms tend to be minimalist, so scale back on accessories and let the major pieces support your design.
  • Experiment with hues — Try layering with several shades of white. Create a clean, classic look with a white room and an occasional pop of color. The design possibilities using a white color palette are surprisingly endless.
  • Add contrast — Bold accent colors and crisp lines create sharp contrasts against white walls. Consider creating a feature wall with one of the other 2016 trend colors, like Blue Cloud from Olympic Paints or Paradise Found by PPG Porter Paints. You can also add other architectural elements in a dark wood or with geometric patterns.

sandymueller2I look forward to helping you buy and sell your next home!!

Sandy Mueller
Baird & Warner Real Estate


5 Staging Tips for a Faster Home Sale



The numbers don’t lie; often well-staged homes can see faster sales and higher offers than their cluttered counterparts. The key is getting an early start on the process. By beginning the monumental task of clearing the clutter and doing a pre-pack now, you can reduce the stress of preparing for showings and make it easier to move when your home sells.

Try these five staging and organizing tips to help you reach a faster sale.

Purge From Top to Bottom — Do a proper sort and purge, getting rid of outdated clothing, duplicate items and rarely used gadgets. To keep this task from turning into a source of serious frustration, tackle one room (or even one drawer) at a time.

Pack Up Everything but the Essentials — Start pre-packing your home, storing non-essentials or out-of-season gear in the garage or off-site. The idea is to give potential buyers a sense of space, which can’t be done if your home is overloaded with clutter.

Fix Glaring Problems — Remove out-of-style wallpaper, replace broken light fixtures, update cabinet and drawer pulls, and refresh dated window treatments. Simple fixes like these can make your home stand out from the competition.

Depersonalize — Remove family pictures and personal collections, and replace them with neutral artwork and simple accessories. The idea is to give potential buyers a neutral canvas so they can imagine their belongings in your home.

Go for Polished — Research the latest design trends and stage your house to match. Professional stagers recommend tailoring the design style to your target demographic. For example, if you’re in a family neighborhood, style the bedrooms for children, even if none live in your home.

sandymueller2I look forward to helping you buy and sell your next home!!

Sandy Mueller
Baird & Warner Real Estate


Housing’s impact on the national economy

homeownershipA nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) measures the economic performance of the country and is defined as “the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.”3 In short, GDP measures how well a country, state or region’s economy is performing.

Housing has contributed to more than 15% of GDP for the past 2 years.

According to the NAHB, housing contributes to GDP through residential investment (e.g., home building and remodeling) and housing services (e.g., rent including utilities, the estimated cost of an owner renting their residence and utility payments). It also indirectly impacts consumer spending—when homeowners have more expendable income or increased access to credit, they may buy more goods and use more services, which benefits the overall economy.

Housing comprised 15.45% of the nation’s GDP at this same time last year. Home building and remodeling made up 3.14% of this.

Homeownership Benefits the Community

Homeownership bolsters a community’s treasury through the collection of property taxes. The money collected from property taxes helps support infrastructure, police and fire protection, education and community programs. Additionally, studies from the National Association of REALTORS® show that homeownership has many social benefits, including:
• Increased civic participation and charitable activity
• Better health for homeowners
• Less crime
• Higher student test scores and high school graduation rates
• Higher social capital

Sandy MuellerThinking of Buying or Selling?
Get a detailed report showing market trends in your neighborhood, including recent listings, sales prices and average time on market. Call Sandy Mueller at 847-494-8868.

Housing & The Economy


Buying a home not only impacts the homeowner’s financial situation, it also impacts the local and national economies. Since 2016 is an election year, there’s no doubt the economy and housing’s role within it will be a hot topic in the news. Let’s take a look at the impact of housing on the local economy and on the larger national economy.

Housing’s impact on the local economy When you buy or sell a home, you not only build your financial portfolio, you benefit your local economy as well. Typically, there are 26 services involved in a single real estate transaction in the 30 days before and after a real estate transaction has closed. Buyers and sellers may use services such as movers, painters and contractors during and after a transaction has closed. Additionally, buyers may continue to use these services and more while they own the home.

The Impact of New Homes While the true economic impact of new home building varies by community, the National Association of Home Builders calculated the figures for a typical metro area.


The Impact of Remodeling Renovations contribute to the economy through the use of local labor and businesses, as well as permitting and other government-related fees. The National Association of Home Builders also conducted a study on the one-year impacts of residential renovations on the local economy. Spending one million in remodeling generates an estimated $841,000 in private income and an estimated $71,000 in government revenue.* It also creates an average of 11 local jobs.

Sandy MuellerHome prices are rising!

Don’t undersell your home.  Choosing the right realtor makes all the difference. Get more money for your home. Call me first at 847-494-8868!


Save Money this Holiday Season

save money holidaysFeeling big on Holiday spirit with a small budget?

You don’t need to break the bank on gifts and decorations to make the holiday season memorable for your loved ones and friends.

5 Ways to Save on Gifts

1. Make a list and stick to it. It’s easy to succumb to impulse buys while you’re shopping. If you want to watch what you spend, be sure to stick to your list.

2. Get daily deals delivered to your inbox. Sign up for emails from sites like and, which offer discounts on popular brands for women, men, kids and the home each day.

3. Take advantage of in-store pickup. In-store pickup allows you to save money on shipping fees by having your items delivered to your local store, instead of to your home or office.

4. Hit the sales. Research sales circulars before you shop to make the most of your trip and enjoy big savings.

5. Play Secret Santa. Do you come from a large family or have a large group of friends? Instead of buying gifts for everyone, each person draws a name from a hat and purchases a gift for that person. Be sure to set a spending limit that keeps everyone’s budget in mind.

5 Holiday Décor Ideas for Less

christmas decor for lessLooking for creative ways to decorate for the holidays without spending a fortune?
Here are some inspired tips below.

Get inspired by your surroundings. Collect natural materials such as pinecones or branches and decorate them with ribbons, paint and glitter.

Host a décor or ornament swap. If you’re bored with your holiday décor and you have family and friends who feel the same about theirs, invite them over to exchange items. It’s less expensive than buying new items and you may find some new holiday favorites.

Get crafty. Consider DIY decorations to save a bundle. Pinterest and other craft sites are treasure troves of inspiration for all holidays.

Check out pre-Christmas sales. Many craft supply stores offer discounts on holiday décor and ornaments before the holidays. Although the best time to stock up is after the holidays, when discounts are often up to 75% off, you can still find major deals a few weeks beforehand.

Organize a holiday cookie exchange. Instead of baking dozens of different cookies, organize a cookie exchange with family, friends or neighbors. Each person bakes several dozen of one type of cookie and then everyone trades what they baked. Be sure to clarify what everyone is baking to ensure that each person receives different kinds of cookies.

3 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Cards

1. Send postcards. It costs less to send a postcard than a regular letter or greeting card.

2. Make your own cards. Websites such as allow you to upload photos and personalize your message for less.

3. Send e-cards. Sending e-cards from websites such as or is a great alternative if you have a large holiday card list.

Baby Boomers Finding Freedom In Retirement

Baby-Boomers-KCMWithin the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

In a recent Merrill Lynch study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)


As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.”

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Merrill Lynch Moving In Retirement | Keeping Current Matters

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with fewer children at home, they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help with deciding your next step.

Sandy MuellerIf you are retiring and looking for a new home
or a summer home call me
If you are planning on retiring soon and want to find the home of your dreams I can help!  Call me at 847-494-8868.