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Aug. 12, 2019

Kitchen Makeover on a Budget

How does your kitchen look today? If you're thinking of remodeling and you're finding it too expensive at the moment, why not keep it fresh with these low cost ideas.

 

Posted in Home Design
Aug. 6, 2019

ORGANIC FOOD ON A BUDGET

 

Organic food usually tastes better, and is better for you, but it can also be very expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

So how do you get tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck.

 

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source.

 

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

 

Shop more frequently, and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals, and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away, because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

 

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby.

Posted in Home Tips
July 30, 2019

Why You Should Invest in Real Estate

 

There are a lot of ways you can invest your hard-earned money. You could invest in the stock market, CDs or bonds, but what about investing in real estate? There are certainly a lot of benefits in doing so. Here are a few reasons why you should consider investing in real estate.

 

Additional Cash Flow

Though you have the upfront costs of investing in real estate, you will soon have additional cash flow. Once you find renters you will be able to collect money from them. You can put that money towards the mortgage and use whatever is left to either save, invest or spend however you’d like.

 

Building Equity

Investing in real estate is a wonderful way to build your equity. You are building your equity every time you are making payments toward your mortgage. This is a great way to build up equity over the course of your life.

 

Stable Investment

Compared to other investments such as investing in the stock market, real estate investments are relatively stable. The price of real estate does not fluctuate wildly on a day-to-day basis like the stock market sometimes does. The price of your investment property, depending where it is located, also has the opportunity to appreciate quite a bit over time.

 

Providing a Home for Others

 

Building equity and having additional cash flow are already great perks of a real estate investment. Another great perk is being able to provide a home for others. Not everyone can afford the down payment or other costs of purchasing a home, so they only have the option to rent. So, you are not only becoming wealthier because of your real estate investment, you are providing others with a roof over their heads while doing so.

 

Posted in Real Estate Advice
July 23, 2019

Tips for First-Time Homeowners

 

Finally owning your first home can be one of the most exciting moments in your life. You get to enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you want with your new place! As a first-time homeowner, there are some new things you need to keep in mind that you may not have needed to think about while renting. You no longer have a landlord to take care of certain things like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters. You are also the person responsible for covering expenses when things break. To make sure owning your first home is a positive experience, follow some of these simple tips to make homeownership a breeze!

 

Spending on Upgrades Right Away

When you bought your home you likely had a vision of how you wanted it to look. You may have had ideas for renovation projects or plans to make one of the bedrooms a fully furnished guest room. These are common things to want as a new homeowner, but you should wait a little while before tackling these projects. You just drained a lot of your savings to put a down payment on your home along with covering closing costs. Take the time to build your savings back up a bit before you start to spend a lot of money on renovations or new furniture.

 

Additional Expenses

There is a reason we mentioned why you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on upgrades right away. You need to plan for unexpected issues that can pop up at any time! Maybe a bad storm came through and you need to fix your roof, or your washing machine decides to quit working. You need to put money aside in preparation for these additional expenses that you can’t predict.

 

Routine Maintenance

Houses require a lot of upkeep. Some tasks will need to be done on a weekly basis while others may only need to be taken care of every few months or even years. You should be able to remember when you need to mow your lawn, but it’s much easier to forget those tasks you don’t need to handle as often. For things such as cleaning your gutters, checking your roof for leaks or checking smoke detectors, you may want to create a maintenance calendar to help you stay on top of those tasks since they only need to be done every so often.

 

 

If you keep these few tips in mind when you buy your first home, things should go much more smoothly. Make sure to put extra money away for costs that can arise at any time, so you aren’t scrambling financially when things need to be fixed. Keep up with maintenance on your home so you don’t run into major issues down the road that may come up by neglecting past issues. Keeping these things in mind and making sure you plan ahead will make homeownership much more stress-free!

 

Posted in Home Tips
July 22, 2019

5 First-Time Building Mistakes to Avoid

 

Designing your own home can be exciting, but it's a lot more work than buying an existing house. With so many moving pieces involved, knowing what works and what doesn't is key. Protect your home's long-term value by sidestepping these five avoidable pitfalls of building a new home.

 

1. Forgetting About Storage Space

From seasonal items to extra bedding, everything requires a temporary home when not in use. For that, you'll need plenty of storage space. Some simple solutions might include a few extra closets, a sizeable garage space or built-in cabinets and shelving.

 

2. Skimping on Materials

Anything worth doing is worth doing right, and new home construction is no exception. Even if you're watching your pennies, try not to scrimp on quality, especially when it comes to important things like flooring. The materials you choose can have a huge impact on your home's overall value.

 

3. Overlooking Energy Efficiency

For an energy-efficient home design, make sure to use earth- and wallet-friendly features like well-sealed windows and green materials during the build. These are your strongest assets in keeping heating and cooling costs down long-term.

 

4. Losing Sight of Current and Future Needs

Design for your current needs, but keep the future in mind, too. For instance, do you plan to have children? Are you going to pursue a specific hobby, such as woodworking, when you retire? Whatever the future holds, work with your builder to create a dream home that will support your evolving needs.

 

5. Letting Someone Else Decide

You don't need to keep up with the Joneses to have an ideal space. Only you and your family know what you need most in a new home, so choose and upgrade according to your preferences alone.

 

 

In the end, building your ideal home is about identifying both what you want and what you don't want. Choose wisely so your new abode will be comfortable, efficient and attractive to future buyers.

Posted in Home Design
July 19, 2019

Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklist

Your home is an investment that requires ongoing maintenance to stay in tiptop shape. If you neglect annual and quarterly tasks, however, you risk overlooking potential issues that could lead to expensive repairs down the road. Stay on top of preventive maintenance tasks with a seasonal checklist and the reminders below.

Winter -- To prevent pipes from bursting, drain and insulate exposed outdoor pipes and leave the water dripping inside on cold nights. Also check your boiler's water level every now and again to make sure it doesn't get too low.

Spring -- Winter can leave a layer of grit on your home's exterior. Get it ready for spring by cleaning windows, doors and siding with a garden hose or power washer. And while the weather is mild, have your HVAC systems serviced by a professional to keep them running at optimal efficiency.

Summer -- Inspect your sprinkler system for clogs or malfunctioning heads. Keep an eye out for damaged pipes or pooling water to avoid a larger issue. Review or establish your family emergency plan and restock your disaster supply kit if necessary.

Fall -- Get ahead of winter by having your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly and have fresh batteries. And keep your gutters clear of leaves and debris to protect your roof and foundation.

These are just a few maintenance items to stay on top of around the house. Keep up with all of your annual, monthly and seasonal to-do's to preserve the value of your home and avoid potential headaches down the line. You'll be glad you did!

 

Posted in Home Tips
July 10, 2019

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.

 

July 9, 2019

7 Ways to Save Energy

 

Find out how you can reduce your household's energy consumption this fall while preparing for the seasons ahead.

Reducing Home Energy Use
The average U.S. household consumes tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and much of it is completely unnecessary. Making changes as simple as adding a few energy-efficient appliances and turning off gadgets when you're not using them can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your carbon footprint.

Don't fret if new Energy Star-labeled appliances aren't in the budget. Instead, try working in a few small changes from this Home Energy Checklist to help you save throughout the year. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Unplug electronics, gaming consoles and chargers when not in use.
  • Insulate your water heater with a blanket and turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
  • Replace bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs and turn them off anytime you leave a room.
  • Schedule an energy audit and replace your thermostat with a programmable unit.

 

Prepping Your Home for the Cold
During cooler months you can save additional money and energy with simple, inexpensive fixes like:

  • Using insulating drapes to help diffuse winter chill. Just make sure to open any south-facing drapes to take advantage of the sun's natural heating capabilities.
  • Finding and sealing air leaks. Check your windows, doors and pipes, and use weatherstripping or caulk to stop cool air from seeping in.
  • Closing fireplace dampers when not in use. You can also have the entire flume completely sealed off if you use your home's heating system exclusively.

 

Reducing your energy consumption not only makes a positive contribution to our planet, it also leaves money on the table for fun fall pastimes. With just a few of these small changes, you can get more from your energy budget.

Posted in Home Tips
July 4, 2019

Affordable Ways to Update Your Home

 

Tired of your home looking off-trend and out of touch? Or investing in an older home and want to update it? You don't need deep pockets to do either. In fact, upgrading your home can be quite affordable with the right projects.

Here are five ways to make a big impact without spending a lot:

Repaint. Paint trends come and go, so if your walls are still the same color or have the same wallpaper from 1950, they're likely out of date. Consider giving the walls a new look with a more modern tone.

Change light fixtures. It's time to kick out-of-style light fixtures to the curb. Pendant lighting, Edison bulbs and simple recessed lighting are what's hot with today's designers and buyers.

Update your hardware. You'd be surprised at how easily doorknobs, drawer pulls, locks and handles can start to look aged. Take a good look at your existing hardware, and consider upgrading to newer models. And don't forget the hinges.

Reface your appliances. Have an old, yellowing appliance but don't want to replace what's not broken? Just use peel-and-stick stainless steel or marble contact paper, and reface those appliances instantly.

Install a kickplate. If you want to upgrade your curb appeal but can't afford a new door, consider installing a kickplate. It's an instant, affordable way to add visual appeal to any existing entryway.

These upgrades may seem minor, but when done properly, they can have a serious impact on your home's aesthetic.

If you're considering more extensive updates, let's get together to discuss ways to increase your home's marketability and long-term value.

Posted in Home Design, Home Tips
June 28, 2019

Signs You Have Outgrown Your Home

 

For most homeowners, this is inevitable. You may love your current home, but at some point, it may not fit your needs. Maybe your family is growing, or you have picked up new hobbies that your current home doesn’t accommodate. Here are a few signs you have outgrown your home.

Your Family Has Expanded

You may have bought your current home with your spouse when it was just the two of you. Now you have kids and your kids are growing but there is no longer enough space in your home for you all to live there comfortably. Whether you need a bigger space inside or a bigger yard, it’s time to upsize!

Items Continue to Pile Up

When your family grows, typically the amount of stuff you have increases as well. The kids have toys and sports equipment everywhere. You may have picked up a new hobby or acquired souvenirs from family vacations. All of your life experiences since you’ve bought your home have generated more items. You can try to purge your closet or get rid of things you no longer use, however, sometimes that is not enough and upgrading to a larger home is the only option.

Unable to Host Gatherings

Who doesn’t love to spend time with friends and family? Maybe it’s your time to host a holiday dinner but you can’t stop stressing over it because you don’t know how you’re possibly going to fit everyone around the table or in the living room. Even if you don’t love to host gatherings, you still want to have a space big enough to have a few people over without it feeling cramped.

Long Commute to Work

Outgrowing your home doesn’t always mean you no longer have the physical space to live comfortably. It can also mean it doesn’t fit the needs in your life anymore. You finally landed your dream job but now you’re dealing with a painfully long commute. This is cutting into the time you get to spend with your loved ones, and you don’t want to continue to sacrifice that precious time any longer. You may want to move to a home that is closer to your office to cut down the hours you spend on the road.

Thoughts of Getting a Bigger Home

Are you already sitting on your couch or even at work and thinking about searching for a new home? Chances are it is definitely time to make the upgrade. Be proactive and begin your search! 

Posted in Real Estate Advice