View Real Estate Info and Guides

Sept. 23, 2020

WHAT TO DO WITH AN UNFINISHED BASEMENT

 

 

Although currently dimly lit and a little rough on the eyes, your unfinished basement still has a lot of potentials. With just a little love and the help of the following ideas, you can spice it up in no time and get some great use out of the space.

 

1.    1. Add a pop of color. Give your basement a whole different look without a big renovation by adding some color to space. Consider painting and sealing the floors, opening up the room by painting the rafters white or a light color, or creating a bold accent wall.

 

2.    2. Divide the space. Want to make your basement a multi-use room? Partition out the area by installing an inexpensive curtain system. This can be done either with a curtain track or a simple wire, some hooks, and curtains will suffice.

 

3.    3. Add foam mats. Whether you’d like to use the basement as a home gym to get a quick workout in or a place for the kids to play and rough house, adding some foam mats into the mix is a great and easy solution. They come in various colors and can quickly be picked up and tucked away if need be.

 

4.   4. Use a large rug. As an alternative to adding mats, find a large, eye-catching rug to be used as a focal point, and furnish the area around it.

 

5.   5. Add lighting. Basements often offer very little built-in lighting and few outlets around the room. Consider stringing café lighting across space from the rafters to give a nice ambiance and glow without any difficult electrical work.

Posted in Home Design
Sept. 11, 2020

Home Sellers FAQ

 

Most people have a long list of questions when buying a home. What are the first steps in the home buying process, how much can I afford, what features are most important to me, etc. This is no different for home sellers. For those first-time homebuyers, they eventually become first-time sellers when they are ready to look for a new home. Here are some frequently asked questions from home sellers along with a few answers.

How Much Should I Sell My Home For?

This is one of the most important questions home sellers ask and for good reason. You don’t want to list your home for too little and end up not making as much as you could have if you had known the proper price to list at. On the other hand, you don’t want your home to sit on the market forever because you think your home is worth way more than it actually is. If you are looking for a price estimate, check out our Home Valuation Tool.

How to Increase the Value of My Home?

When selling our homes, we want to get as much as we can out of the sale. After all, you made a big investment when you bought it so getting a good return on that investment would be ideal! There are a few ways you can increase the value of your home without breaking the bank. Doing little things like painting your walls, upgrading the handles on cabinets, staining or painting cabinets, etc. If you are interested in other ways to improve your home, hop over to our blog Top Ten Home Improvement Projects for ROI.

How Long Does It Take to Sell a Home?

This question is a little difficult to answer. The real answer is, it depends. Many different factors determine how fast a home sells such as inventory, the economy, if it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, if your home is priced properly, etc. There is no definitive answer. Some statistics give us a better idea of how the market is looking and how fast homes are selling on average. Check out our most recent Wisconsin Housing Market Report to see how the market is currently looking.

Where Can I Find a Real Estate Agent?

The previous three questions are some of the most common when it comes to selling a home but you likely have many more that you would like answers to. Contact us for more information or if you have any questions regarding your home value or about selling your home.

 

 

 

 

Sept. 2, 2020

How You Can Finance Your Home Renovation

 

Outdated kitchen. Overrun backyard. Unusable basement space. If you have a home renovation project on the mind, the first thing you must consider is how you are going to finance it. Here are the most common options to make your dreams become a reality.

 

Cash. Paying in cash is the most straightforward financing option, just save until you have enough money to cover the expenses. This will help eliminate spending outside your budget; however, it can also extend your timeline.

 

Mortgage Refinance. If you’ve been making payments on your home for a few years and your interest rate is higher than current market rates, you may be eligible for a mortgage refinance, reducing your payments and freeing up some money.

 

Cash-Out Refinance. You can tap into your home equity and borrow up to 80 percent of your home’s value to pay off your current mortgage plus take out more cash to cover the renovations. This option is encouraged only when you’re making improvements that will increase the value of your home, as it can add a lot of interest and fees.

 

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.

 

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments but may be worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.

 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
Aug. 25, 2020

Garage Cleaning Tips

 

Tired of looking at the mounds of items piling up in your garage or the cobwebs that span across your walls and ceiling? It’s time to be proactive and clean your garage!

 

#1 – Remove Everything

Before you even think about beginning to clean your garage you need to move everything out. Taking all of your items out of your garage and temporarily placing them in your yard or driveway makes it easier to clean. This will also make it easier to reorganize your garage once you’ve cleaned it.

 

#2 – Get Rid of Unwanted/Unused Items

Your garage is a dumping ground. If you don’t know where to put something it is often tossed into your garage even if that’s not the best place for it. That leads to hoarding a large amount of stuff that you likely never use. Now that all of your items are spread out in your lawn or driveway, you can go through and decide what items you want to get rid of. Whether you donate, sell or simply throw away items, it will make organizing easier and will also put your mind at ease knowing you’ve gotten rid of unneeded items.

 

#3 – Clean from Top to Bottom

Garages get dirty. It happens and it is unavoidable. Now is the perfect time to clean everything starting with your ceiling and working your way to cleaning the floor. You’ll want to vacuum any spider webs, dust and dirt that has accumulated. Your shelves and cabinets certainly could use a good wipe down. Also, your floors need to be swept and potentially mopped.

 

#4 – Organize

It’s time to organize! You don’t want your garage to look cluttered like it did before you cleaned so you will want to organize accordingly. Make good use of your shelving and group items together so they are easy to find. If needed, you may want to install more storage or organizing units such as hooks, a peg board or cabinets. Now is the best time to set up additional storage.

 

#5 – Relax!

 

You’re done! Now is the easy part. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the rest of your day with a clear mind knowing that your garage is no longer messy, dirty and unorganized.

 

Posted in Home Tips
Aug. 19, 2020

PREPPING PETS FOR THE MOVE

 

PREP YOUR PETS FOR THE BIG MOVE

Your moving day is set and it’s time to start preparing. As you’re making your lists and checking them twice, don’t forget to factor in your furry friends. Here are some tips for making sure the process goes smoothly.

 

Medical records

When moving to a different city or state, one of the main things you need to take into consideration is finding a new veterinarian that is the right fit for you and your pet. If you have family or friends in the area, ask for recommendations or do your own research by reading reviews and news articles. Once you find one, contact your current vet to initiate a transfer of medical records. Then schedule a “get to know you” appointment shortly after your move.

 

Transportation

Whether it’s a short drive or a long plane ride, you pet will likely need to be put into a carrier. For most pets, this is a foreign concept and they require time to get comfortable with it. Start acclimating your pet as early as possible and use comfort items like treats and favorite toys and blankets to make the experience a positive one for your pet.

 

Acclimation

 

Pad your moving schedule with ample time to get your dog or cat acclimated to their new home. While the movers are still hard at work, keep them safely away from foot traffic to reduce stress. Once they’ve left, make sure to clear anything that could be dangerous and block off areas as necessary then let them free to get a lay of the land on their own.

 

 

Posted in Home Tips
Aug. 11, 2020

HOW TO GET READY FOR RETIREMENT

 

For most people, retirement feels like a long way off. But, if you don’t start preparing as early as possible, you may find yourself in a place of financial insecurity when the time does come. To avoid this, consider implementing the following tips.

 

Calculate your target savings. In general, it’s recommended that you save between 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement. However, you can always use an online savings calculator to determine the amount you need to save for your specific needs and goals.

Contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan. Does your job offer a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA? Sign up and start saving as soon as they allow you to. It’s recommended to set up automatic paycheck deductions and, once the money is in your retirement fund, don’t touch it.

Take advantage of employee benefits. Many employers offer matching which generally requires you contribute a certain percentage of each paycheck and your company will then contribute a matching amount with funds of their own. They might also offer health savings or flexible savings account. By contributing to these accounts, you reduce your amount of taxable income, allowing you to save more money.

Pay off your debts. Start by paying off any high-interest credit card debt first. Then look at other debts, such as student loans and car payments, and make a plan for paying those off incrementally.

Reduce daily spending. Although this feels like a no-brainer, spending your money thoughtfully now can make a big impact later. Seek out areas of your life where you can.

Aug. 3, 2020

Summer Staycation

 

Everyone deserves to take time off of work to relax and recharge. With many places closed down, traveling to your favorite vacation destination isn’t much of an option right now. That means you may have to spend your paid time off at home. Sound boring? It doesn’t have to be! Here are some ideas on how to make the most out of your summer staycation.

Read New Books

I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation I like to relax and read a new book. A lot of us say that we are going to read more but life gets busy and those books we said we were going to read sit on the shelf and collect dust. Now is the perfect time to dust off that book and start reading! Instead of sitting on your couch to read, go outside or even hang up a hammock to relax in while reading.

Outdoor Games

Spend some of your time playing games outside! There are plenty of games for you and the whole family to play in your yard. Bag toss, croquet, bocce ball and many other games are fun and family-friendly. You could also incorporate water activities, especially if you have younger kids. Set up a sprinkler and fill up some water balloons to toss. Plus, water activities will help you cool down on those hot summer days.

Sunset Ritual

No matter if you are on a beach or up north, we often associate relaxing vacations with watching the sunset. This is something you could also do at home! Make it a nightly ritual to spend time outside and enjoy watching the sunset with your loved ones. It’s also a great way to unplug, put down the smartphones and enjoy a little bit of nature while at home.

Enjoy Dinner Outside

There’s just something different about eating dinner outside at a restaurant on vacation. This is something you can definitely do at home! Get a table and chairs to set up on a patio or in the backyard. If you would like to prepare dinner yourself you certainly can, but you can also order takeout from a local restaurant if cooking isn’t your thing.

Campfire Nights

There’s nothing quite like sitting around a campfire on a beautiful summer night. It’s a great way to enjoy the summer weather while sharing stories and laughs with the whole family. And don’t forget about the best part about campfires, toasting marshmallows and making s’mores! If you want to, you can grab some sleeping bags, flashlights and set up tents in your backyard to get a full camping experience.

Rainy Day Activities

It would be nice if the weather would cooperate during your entire staycation, but sometimes they may not be the case. If it rains outside, preventing you from enjoying any outdoor activities you will want to make sure you are prepared. Sure, you can read inside but what else can you do? You could make it a movie day, put together a puzzle or play board games.

 

Posted in Home Tips
July 29, 2020

Tips for Getting Adjusted After Moving to a New City

Photo via Pexels

 

Moving to a new city can be incredibly exciting and completely overwhelming at the same time. You’re suddenly living in a strange house, surrounded by unfamiliar people, navigating a city you don’t know. It’s normal to feel out of place and a little lost. But just remember, this feeling won’t last forever! Eventually, this new place will feel just as much like home as the town you left behind. Keep reading to learn how you can get settled into your new home and enjoy a smooth transition after the big move.

 

Set Up Your New Home

 

First things first, get your new home set up so that you have a comfortable space to retreat to when you need some sense of familiarity. Start by giving the home a deep clean, hitting all of those nooks and crannies where dirt can hide. Then, unpack all of your stuff as soon as possible. Get rid of all the cardboard boxes and moving supplies, arrange your furniture in a familiar manner, and add anye finishing decorative touches that will make this new house feel like your own.

 

Now is also a good time to tackle a few home projects! Do some decluttering and organizing, fix squeaky doors, tighten loose cabinet hardware—anything that will make your home more livable. And don’t forget to set up your utilities! After verifying that your gas, electric, and water services are good to go, consider testing your water quality and installing a simple filtration system. Enjoying clean, great-tasting drinking water will make it easier to feel comfortable in your new home. Just remember to keep some spare filters on hand!

 

Meet Your Neighbors

 

Once you’ve tackled those final moving tasks and set up your new home, get out of the house and say hello to your neighbors. Meeting others who live in your neighborhood is a great step toward getting adjusted. Doorsteps recommends getting in the habit of introducing yourself to those around you as you go about your day, whether you’re working in the yard or taking a neighborhood stroll. You could even host a party at your new house and invite everyone who lives on your block.

 

Get Involved in the Community

 

Joining local activities and groups is another great way to meet people in your new town. Ask around at community centers about drop-in sports, get active on community forums to find out about events and hobby groups, or reach out to a friendly neighbor and ask for recommendations on things to do. Join a volunteer group, go to the gym, or attend charity events. If you’re a parent, consider joining a committee at your children’s school. There are countless ways to get involved and meet new people!

 

Explore Your New City

 

Beyond your immediate community, spend some time exploring the city around you. Pretend to be a tourist and check out the local sights, attractions, and top eateries. Wander Lush recommends exploring your city with a guidebook and camera in hand so you feel like you’re on vacation. You could even join a guided excursion around town! This is an excellent way to learn about the city’s history and find fun spots in town to explore further on your own.

 

Stay in Touch with Old Friends

 

You don’t have to leave your old life behind just because you moved somewhere new. Keeping in contact with your old friends can help you stay social and get through those first few months on your own in a new city. Fortunately, today’s technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected with long-distance friends. For example, consider using video chat tools like FaceTime and Google Hangouts so you can see each other during your calls!

 

 

Everyone navigates an adjustment period after moving to a new city. While some people may feel comfortable in a new place as soon as they unpack their moving boxes, others can take months—and even years—to settle in completely. Whatever your transition looks like, just remember to keep an open mind and take it one step at a time.

 

 

Article Courtesy of

Shirley Martin

Tidylifetoday.com / shirley@tidylifetoday.com

 

 

Posted in Home Buying, Home Tips
July 17, 2020

Budgeting for a Move

Regardless if you are moving hundreds of miles or just down the street, it is going to cost you money. You can try to cut back on certain moving expenses, but it still is going to take some cash to get you to your new place. If you don’t plan for these expenses it can cause a decent amount of stress. There will be places you can cut costs but make sure you have enough saved up to cover any moving costs that may arise.

Moving Supplies

The amount you spend on moving supplies should be pretty low, but you still should include it in your budget. You’ll need to have moving boxes, packing tape, trash bags, and other supplies to effectively pack up your things and get them to your new home. Again, the cost of these supplies will be relatively low compared to some other moving expenses but add it to your budget anyways.

Movers

One question you will have to ask yourself is if you can handle moving everything on your own or not. There are plenty of moving companies who can help you get your things to your new place, but that may not be the only option. You could ask a couple of friends or family members to lend you a hand! Due to COVID-19, you should try to limit the number of people touching the items you are moving as well as how many people are going in and out of your new home. For tips on moving during the coronavirus pandemic check out this article.

Traveling Expenses

If you hire a moving company, they will give you an estimate on how much they will charge, and they will take the distance of your move into account. If you opt to move yourself, there will be other expenses you will have to include in your budget. You will likely have to rent a moving truck. It’s also going to cost you gas money to move with your own car.

Furniture & Décor

If you plan on moving all of your old furniture and décor to your new place, you can skip this section. If you need new furniture and décor, you will want to look into that beforehand. Furniture can be pretty expensive, so this is something you should account for in your budget when moving into a new place.

Stocking the Shelves

 

When you move to a new home, you will need to spend a little extra at the grocery store to fill up your pantry and refrigerator with food. You likely won’t be able to bring all of the groceries you had at your old place, so account for a bigger grocery bill when you first move in. You will also need to buy other household items if you didn’t bring them from your old place such as dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, etc. Take an inventory of everything you plan on buying when you move into your new home so you can have a better idea of how much money you will need.

For information about how to pack for a move, here's link for information and useful checklists: How to Pack for a Move: A Complete Checklist

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2020

Summer Selling Tips

 

One of the most popular times to sell a house is during the summer months. There are a lot of reasons for that. People may be taking advantage of their kids being out of school to help move, curb appeal is at its peak since flowers are blooming and trees are full of leaves, and more people are simply outside during the summer months. With all the other houses on the market, you will need to make sure yours stands out. Here are some tips on how to sell your home during the summer.

 

Keep it Cool

Nothing feels better than getting out of the hot and humid weather by walking into a cool home. Make sure you keep your house air conditioned during showings so that potential buyers are comfortable while they look around your home. Sure, your bill for running your air conditioning will be higher but it is a small price to pay when it comes to selling your home.

 

Clean Up and Declutter

This is an obvious one but is definitely very important. You want to make sure your home is spotless during showings. You also don’t want your home to look cluttered so remove anything that doesn’t need to be out in the open. This will make your home appear more spacious.

 

Decorate for Summer

Use summer colors in your decorating scheme! You should also plant flowers both outside your home as well as place flowers inside your home.

 

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Open up those curtains! Letting the sun shine into your home is an easy way to make your home more appealing. It’s the perfect way to avoid the interior looking dimly lit.

 

Show Off the Outside

 

The outside of your home is arguably just as important as the inside. You’ll want to make sure you mow your lawn regularly, so it looks it’s best. Take advantage of using patio furniture to create a homey environment outside. It doesn’t take too much effort to create an inviting environment outside of your home.