Affordable Housing – 2/29/20

Missed out on our Podcast on Grow Lincoln in February? Don’t worry, take a listen here!

How to Stay on Track when Building a Home

When you decide to build a home, this is the first in many of the decisions to follow.  The questions go far beyond which color of siding is your favorite or whether or not you can afford those stainless steel appliances.  But, don’t let that deter you; we have some helpful hints to keep you on the right track.


Choosing your dream team is the first step.  A real estate agent can help you find a great location, plus answer all of your questions ranging from topography, to school districts, and negotiating price.  They can also help you choose a builder with plenty of experience.  With so many builders out there today, pick a builder that will stand behind and service the home.  Make sure the builder has a good warranty program and check their client’s lists and talk to clients who have built with them.


It is easy to let your imagination run wild, but more than likely you have a budget and if you really want to enjoy your home, you’ll need to keep those numbers in check.  As one realtor explains:  “Many times buyers think the greatest advantage of building is getting everything they ever wanted in a home.  This is only 100 percent true if you have an unlimited budget.  For most buyers, they’ll still need to make sacrifices to accommodate their budget.”  Just like purchasing a pre-existing home, start with a list of “needs” and “wants”.  And then consider which area you are willing to compromise.


Do you need to be close to work? The airport?  Do you want country living?  Wherever it is you dream of building, make sure you pick a lot that suits the type of home you want.    If you are head over heels in love with a lot that requires too much work to lodge your dream house, go back to your budget – and a map – to consider if there’s a more friendly choice.


Building a home is a lot more than just paint colors.  The right floor plan matters in a big way, not just for your enjoyment, but also if you’re considering resale value.  A house full of rooms sounds enticing, but don’t go overboard. says:  The addition of a playroom, game room or multipurpose room sounds enticing, but only plan to build a room that will actually get used.  What good is a wasted home gym where the treadmill is used to hold clothes from last season?”  Instead focus on square footage and functional spaces – like the kitchen.

The Hillsdale Virtual Walkthrough

The Hillsdale by Kinning Design Build, Inc. is a 1700 s.f. ranch with the perfect combination of modern elegance and comfort. The open floor plan features 2 bedrooms on the main level allowing for extra space in the areas you use most, the kitchen, dining and family room. The finished basement includes 2 additional bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a spacious living/entertainment area complete with stylish wet bar. Best of all, it comes with a 30 year reputation of quality and service.

For more information about The Hillsdale floor plan.

Tips for a sparkling kitchen – naturally

Have you ever thought about all the chemicals you use in your home to clean?  And after cleaning where do those chemicals go to?  Here are some alternative natural ways to get a sparkling clean kitchen.

The Power of Citrus — Oranges and lemons have powerful cleaning attributes.  If you cut a lemon in half and sprinkle with coarse salt, it works wonders on a dirty pan.  They can also shine countertops and faucets – and the leftover scent is a plus.  Or take the rinds and throw them in a pot of boiling water to add a fresh scent to your kitchen.

Baking Soda Magic – Just like citrus, baking soda is another alternative to scrubbing and deodorizing.  Keeping an open box in the refrigerator to absorb odors or pouring some down the kitchen drain helps keep the smells at a minimum.

Vinegar – this is a secret that grandma use to use all the time.  It is great for cleaning windows, and using old newspapers won’t leave lint on the glass.  If you find your old kitchen towels have that funky smell, put them in the washer with a cup of white vinegar and the musty smell is gone.  Hey, what about those fruit flies at this time of year?  Putting apple cider vinegar in a cup with a drop of dawn dish soap attracts those little pests and they drown.

Make Dust Disappear – Dust collects on everything, one way to help it from accumulating as fast is to use a dryer sheet.

Don’t Forget the Microwave – Put a bowl of water in the microwave for several minutes.  The steam will loosen everything and you can wipe it down with ease.  Just remember, the bowl of water is hot, so use caution when removing it.

Stage your kitchen to sell

When selling a home, a kitchen that is appealing is a selling point. Here are some tips on getting your ready to sell:

  • Minimize – Make it look like a show room instead of “your kitchen”. Buyers are looking for a blank slate to make it their own.  Clean off the fridge photos and any art work the kids may have.
  • Counter space – Buyers want to see lots of counter space. So pack it up and put it away.  Once the space is clear, add one or two decorative focal points.
  • Deep clean – Deep clean every appliance, maybe that means getting out that toothpick to get the grime in the corners. Organize everything under your kitchen sink.  Look under your hood or microwave and even your ice maker.  When you get on your knees your view is so different.
  • Finishing touches – open up the blinds or curtains, replace bulbs with bright LEDs. For more budget friend options, set the table to add a pop of color.

Create A Porch Space That Leaves Everyone Smiling

Have you ever taken a stroll through the neighborhood and stopped and looked at certain porch or front door? It is usually because there is something eye catching going on whether it is the color of the front door or maybe the decor.  But what all of this has in common is the fact that it is probably clean and colorful.

To get this look make sure your lawn is well maintained and manicured.  This goes for all of the landscape around the house too.  Next, give the porch a good old spray down and scrub getting rid of all the dust, leaves and cob webs from the fall and winter season.

First consider color, try painting the front door.  Pick an inviting color that compliments your house color.  Reds and yellows are trendy right now, but you can think outside the box and find one that you love.  Once you have that done, add a wreath and a welcome mat.

If you have stairs or even one step up, add potted plants or lanterns for that look of depth. Also adding a flag makes a pop and you can change that out for game days of your favorite team.

If you are lucky enough to an extra-large porch with furniture, make sure to have pillows that burst with color.  And always make sure that you have fresh lemonade or a bottle of wine ready for when your neighbors want to relax on that inviting porch.

Make your Laundry Room an Oasis

A laundry room is the last place most of us want to be, but it is part of life and without it…..we stink.  Here are some tips that can help make it a little more enjoyable.

  • Spruce it up – Use large decorative glassware to hold your powder detergent or dryer sheets
  • Store it High – Install some racks on the walls and keep them stocked with laundry baskets. Laundry is way better when you are not falling all over it.
  • Double Your Storage – Laundry organizers are a fabulous way to get your laundry organized and know when there is a full load to be done. Another great idea is to attach a laminated note with color codes to it to help your children know what goes in each compartment.
  • Make Ironing a Breeze – Do you want to get out an ironing board every time you need to iron something? Ever thought about attaching one to the back of the door?  Or have a wall mounted one?  Also, if you add aluminum foil under the lining of your board.  The heat it absorbs makes ironing quicker and reduces the need for shirt flipping.
  • A Greener Dryer Sheet – Using a tin foil ball rolled up helps gets the static out of clothes when drying. Or you can invest in wood dryer balls which help too.

Looking to Build or Buy A Home? Here are five steps to save for a down payment

Depending on your type of loan that you get, you will need anywhere from 3-20 percent of the home cost.  How do you get there, here are some ways.

  1. Know your budget.  There are plenty of programs on the internet that can help you know your budget.  Or if you have a bank you love, there is someone that can help you determine that too.  Your home expenses should be less than 28 percent of your income, also include utilities, if you have a Home Owners Association fee, and an emergency fund for anything unexpected.
  2. Once you know your budget, decide on a timeline. Hopefully you have wiggle room to start saving.  “A good way to set a monthly savings goal is to subtract your current rent from your estimated mortgage payment, including principal, interest, property tax, home owner’s insurance and mortgage insurance, then save the difference.”
  3. Open a Savings Account. Having a savings account to hold that money will be less tempting to spend it; compared to if it is in your checking account.  Of if you have time, do a certificate of deposit or a CD.
  4. Start Saving. How do I start?  Cut down on extra expenses, coupon, take a side job a few hours a week.
  5. Pay off debt. Take the time to pay down any credit card debt you have.  A mortgage lender will want you to have a low debt-to-income ratio.    Plus it helps your credit score.

Hopefully this has helped a little for you to start thinking of how I can manage to have a home and how to start.

9 Kitchen Trends That Can’t Go Wrong


Your kitchen is a place that you want to be careful being trendy.  The last thing you want is a kitchen that’s out of sync in just a few years simply because you followed a trend.  Instead look at the trends in terms of the value they bring to your life and your home.

Here are nine trends that are popular now, but have staying power because they address lifestyle needs, convenience, and savings – ensuring you’ll enjoy your kitchen for many years.

  1. Love White?  You Won’t Go Wrong

White kitchens are still going strong and in fact 67% of National Kitchen and Bath Association members said that white is their top choice for cabinets.  White appliances are so much easier to keep clean than stainless, which smudges if you as much as look at it.

  1. Want Color?  Go for Neutral Gray

Grey is the fastest-growing color scheme for kitchens in 2014, and it isn’t slowing down.

But be careful of the gray you choose.  In cold, cloudy climates, gray can appear frozen unless you use it on warm materials like wood cabinets, or pair it with hot colors like red and yellows.  On the other hand, Gray can appear pleasantly cool in sunny, hot climates – a breath of fresh air in heat and humidity.

  1. Embrace Small Appliances

Micro-living is taking off for millennials and retirees.  People are installing tiny, secondary kitchens for returning adult children and elderly parents.

  1. Choose Quartz Counters Over Granit

Quartz is the toughest countertop material, which resists scratches, burns and chips.  Quartz is easy to maintain, and unlike granite, you don’t have to seal it annually to prevent stains.

  1. Invest in LEDs

Ribbons of LEDs are showing up in the weirdest – and most wonderful – kitchen places:  Along toe kicks as nightlights; on the inside of cabinet doors to show off grandma’s china; concealed in crown molding to wash ceilings with light.

  1. Rethink Your Fridge

Homeowners are customizing their cooling needs with “point of use” refrigeration, adding cool where they need it.

That could mean adding a counter-height produce fridge in your prep island, next to a wine cooler for the adults, and a juice/soda fridge for the kids.

  1. Install a Touch-Activated Faucet

The popularity of the touch-activated faucets are bursting to the must have.

  1. Stick with Transitional Design

More than 60% of NKBA designers say contemporary, with its sleek simplicity, is the fastest-growing kitchen style. Fussy doodads and decorative and distressed glazes are out.

  1. Embrace Accessibility Because It’ll Make Your Life Easier.

Aging in place is a big snore — until you get to that age when the right modifications will allow you to stay in your home. And since a large part of the population is reaching retirement age, accessibility finally is catching on — even with homeowners who aren’t intentionally seeking those features. Why? Because the designs make so much sense.

  1. Side-opening ovens at counter height.
  2. Drawers with deep pockets
  3. Microwave drawers

This information was from houselogic