Maximize Every Inch of Your Home


Nowadays our homes are serving as work, school, and social space all at the same time, so trying to maximize every square inch is important. Carving out dedicated areas and creating rooms that are reconfigurable depending on the time of day has become a reality. So, we want to offer a few ideas about how to combine several activities into one space.

Tired of eating, working, and studying from the dining room table? Think about rearranging and reorganizing a bedroom - whether currently occupied or reserved for guests - it may provide the space you need. Consider replacing a fixed-frame bed with a fold-away or murphy bed. They come as stand-alone pieces or can be built into a storage wall. This will free up a spot to add a sleek, stylish desk or storage unit to create an office, schoolroom, or whatever you need.

Stand back and take a fresh look at your home. Are there underused spaces or areas that could be reimagined? If you have built-in shelving along a wall, perhaps the lower shelves can be removed to make room for a chair. Now you have a place for the kids to study. Or maybe you could repurpose your stairwell closet and transform it into a reading nook or art space.

Remember to look up when storage opportunities are few. Vertical storage is often overlooked, so make use of your walls. Hanging bars are a nice solution for awkward objects, and floating shelves are a great choice for adding storage without creating visual clutter.

Home gyms are more popular than ever. Exercise bikes, dumbbells, and yoga mats now need space – along with solutions to store them when not being used. If your equipment lives in a multifunctional area, folding screens can conceal large pieces like treadmills or ellipticals. Storage ottomans can keep your smaller accessories such as dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands hidden and out of the way. Plus, they look snazzy and allow you to prop your feet up after your workout.

Take life outside. Porches, patios, and decks are great extensions of your home. Getting fresh air during a Zoom meeting, playing a game with the kids for “recess,” or getting some relaxing me-time can work wonders for your attitude. As the weather begins to turn cooler and the days become shorter, you can add a heat source to extend the time spent outside and string LED lights to brighten things up. From games to watching TV, and from grilling to dining; whatever you do for enjoyment or relaxation inside can be done in your outdoor living space; another great way to maximize every inch of your home.

Check out the “Maximize Every Inch of Your Home” board on the Stephens Pinterest page for lots of multi-function room ideas.

Stephens Real Estate has been your local resource for over 40 years, and we know how to adapt to whatever is going on in the Lawrence housing market. Ready to buy or sell? Call us at 785-841-4500.

6 Home Upgrades Buyers Want in the Era of COVID-19

Now, well into the COVID-19 era, many people continue working and logging in to school from home. This shift in daily life means buyers may be eager to upgrade to a new home.
Now is the time to step on the gas in preparing your home to sell. These home improvements will hit the right note with buyers during the pandemic (and beyond).

1. Upgrade your outdoor space
Most of us are suffering from an acute case of cabin fever these days. It’s little wonder that outdoor space has become more important to prospective buyers.
That doesn’t mean you need to splurge on a new in-ground pool; even a minor landscaping refresh can make a big difference and increase curb appeal. Depending on your budget and your neighborhood, you might also consider adding an in-ground fire pit or outdoor kitchen to maximize your outdoor space.
With cooler weather approaching, extending the usability of your outdoor space will be a big draw for buyers.

2. Create a functional home office or classroom
Many workers aren’t heading back to the office until 2021 or even later, which means home office space is at a premium, as is space for kids to log in to virtual classrooms.
Consider staging a guest bedroom as a home office or classroom to show the possibilities for buyers. Most of us host guests in our guest rooms less than a month per year—and probably even less during the pandemic.

3. Add separation of space
Homeowners are looking for distinct spaces for family members to work or study. If your space isn’t well-segmented, you may want to create separate spaces by adding barn doors or pocket doors—or even room dividers for a quick and easy solution.
Having distinct rooms helps to minimize volume from other people’s activities, and can create a different feeling in each part of the house. With people spending more time at home, it’s great to have different environments to avoid feeling “stuck” inside.

4. Add space for a home gym
Many people are forgoing the gym during the pandemic, instead preferring to work up a sweat from home to minimize risks of coronavirus transmission. That means people are looking for space to house gym equipment, from yoga mats to treadmills and stationary bikes.
Your home may not have the space for a fully equipped home gym, but you can still carve out a corner where home buyers will be able to picture their future at-home HIIT workouts or yoga flows.

5. Give your in-law suite a makeover
A guest house can be an attractive feature for buyers right now, especially those with multigenerational households, or people looking for a potential source of rental income. Even if this space isn’t used for personal reasons, it can be an investment property.

6. Spruce up the laundry room
Attractive laundry spaces are always at the top of our list, but with concerns about cleanliness and hygiene at all-time highs during the pandemic, laundry rooms are more important than ever.

People are doing laundry more often after running errands, and many of us have become more diligent about washing our bed linens. Plus, who couldn’t use more room for ironing, folding, and hang-drying clothes?

Thinking of selling?

Your Stephens agent can make suggestions to help prepare your home for today’s market.
We’ve been your local resource for over 40 years, and we know how to adapt to whatever is going on with Lawrence real estate. Ready to buy or sell? Call us at 785-841-4500.

Adapted from realtor.com article by Lauren Sieben.

COVID-19 Open House Instructions & Guidelines

The Stephens Real Estate team will continue to deliver a high level of service while navigating the challenges of COVID-19. As our community re-opens, sellers and agents may choose to host open houses. In the interest of public health and safety, homes accessible to the public will require extra precautions.

To minimize the risk of exposure to coronavirus for homeowners, agents, and guests we ask that these guidelines be observed when attending a Stephens Real Estate open house:

Stay home if you are potentially sick
You should not attend an open house if you are, or may be, infected with the COVID-19 virus or have been around any infected person(s). We recommend that those with compromised immune systems or other vulnerable populations not attend an open house.

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SERIES: Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus II

Stephens Real Estate is here to help you navigate this confusing time in real estate. We are sharing portions of the national realtor.com series, "Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus," and adding local details specific to the Lawrence market.

How to Conduct a Virtual House Hunt

This season of the year is usually the busiest time in the housing market. You may have planned to search for a new home right about now, but the coronavirus pandemic probably has you worried about how to safely check out homes without risking infection. So, let’s talk about how to conduct a virtual house hunt and how to protect yourself if you do visit a home in person.

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Walk this Way to Final Fridays!

On the last Friday of every month (all year long!) from 5-9PM, the streets of Downtown Lawrence erupt. Storefronts convert into flash spaces, and performances and exhibits spill in and out of galleries and businesses. Final Fridays include activities for kids, exhibitions designed to challenge adults, music, dance and theater for all ages.

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Spencer Museum of Art

The collection expanded significantly in 2007 when the Spencer Museum of Art assumed stewardship of approximately 8,500 ethnographic objects from the former University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology.

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Winter is coming. It’s time to get ready.

It happens every year. One minute everyone is talking about the heat, then all-of-a-sudden, the temperature drops, and cold weather is here. If you, like many of us, are spending more time around the house during the pandemic, the experts at Stephens offer a few tips for winterizing your home before it’s 15 degrees outside.

Check out the gutters.
Your gutters prevent damage from your home’s foundation and protect your siding and landscaping. Start with a sturdy ladder or hire a professional to help with this task. If you’re the DIY-type, spread a tarp underneath the area and use a small scoop or old spatula to remove gunk. Then use a garden hose to flush the gutters and downspouts of any remaining debris (aka gunk).

Protect the pipes.
Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during cold weather and can cost thousands in water damage. The pipes most at risk are those in unheated spaces like basements, attics, and garages, although lines in cabinets or exterior walls can freeze as well. Protect them with pipe insulation which is inexpensive and can be found at the local hardware store. Also, remove all attached garden hoses, shut off the valves, and insulate outside faucets.

Do away with drafts.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to stop cold air from coming in is to caulk around holes and openings. Inspect the weather stripping around all exterior doors to ensure that it is in good shape and replace it if necessary. Close the door and check for air-leakage around all four edges. Take a peek underneath. If you see sunlight, you will need to raise the threshold or install a door sweep.

Keep it cozy.
Set your thermostat for at least 65 degrees and make sure your home is well-insulated. The most effective use of insulation is in the attic. A properly insulated attic floor will prevent heated air in the rooms below from escaping. Place an insulated cover over the attic opening or stairway. We also like to keep cozy blankets around for TV watching. (Full disclosure: we do this during the summer months too.)

How about your heater?
This is the perfect time to call your HVAC professional and have them come out to inspect your furnace for safety and peak performance. Breakdowns usually happen when you need heat the most. A trained technician may very well find small problems that could result in a major repair if left unchecked. You’ll hear this from your HVAC tech too, but we recommend changing your air filters every month year-round to improve the efficiency of your system.

Don’t forget…
Home fires are more common in winter, so your smoke detectors must work. Check them monthly and replace batteries as needed. You should also consider installing a carbon monoxide detector to avoid inadvertently trapping this toxic gas in your home.

Thinking of buying or selling? Contact Stephens Real Estate. We’re ready to help.

SERIES: Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus III

Stephens Real Estate is here to help you navigate this confusing time in real estate. We are sharing portions of the national realtor.com series, "Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus," and adding local details specific to the Lawrence market.

Is It Safe To House Hunt During the Coronavirus Crisis?

In the best of times, shopping for a house is a complicated and involved process. But, of course, these are not the best of times. Now that the coronavirus pandemic has folks in Lawrence and across the country trying to limit their exposure levels, even the most determined home buyer might be wondering: Is it safe to shop for a house right now?

While risk is a personal decision, the real estate industry is adapting to provide ways to go about home buying safely. You can now do many things at a safe social distance, or even remotely, that you may not have considered doing in the past.

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SERIES: Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus

Stephens Real Estate is here to help you navigate this confusing time in real estate. We are sharing portions of the national realtor.com series, "Home Buying in the Age of Coronavirus," and adding local details specific to the Lawrence market.

Should I Buy a House During the Coronavirus Crisis?

Spring 2020 has been a season like no other. Life has changed for everyone, everywhere. Typically, this time of year has lots of potential home buyers checking out properties, negotiating contracts, and closing on new places. But the coronavirus outbreak—with its quarantine measures and economic uncertainties—has many a real estate shopper wondering: Should I buy a home now, or wait?

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Locust Street Marketplace

Drive north across the bridge over the Kansas River, take a quick right on Locust Street, drive a few blocks to 7th and you will discover a charming little shopping district in North Lawrence known as the Locust Street Marketplace. It’s off the beaten path and many people find out about it by word of mouth from others who have been pleasantly surprised by their experiences there.

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Historic Union Pacific Depot and Lawrence Visitor Information Center

Whether you’re visiting Lawrence for the first time or you’ve lived here for years, stop by the historic Union Pacific train depot and Lawrence Visitor Center. Located at 402 North 2nd Street, in North Lawrence, across the Kansas River Bridge from Downtown Lawrence, friendly volunteers are ready to help you make a plan to explore Lawrence.

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Stephens Real Estate, Inc.
2701 W. Sixth Street
Lawrence, KS 66049

Phone: 785-841-4500
Toll-Free: 1-800-875-4315