Stop Waiting – Organize That Garage!

Stop Waiting - Organize That Garage!

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed every time you look into your garage because it has become a dumping ground for items that don’t have another home, it is time to start clearing and organizing to make the best use of your space. This can be a simple task if you go in with a plan and create organized storage space. You can transform that garage, and here is how.

First thing? Throw out or donate what isn’t used. After you’ve done that, sort what remains into groups. Items used together should be stored together. Using clear containers with lids to do so will make your items visible and help to encourage you to only keep what you need and use.

Once everything is grouped and stored, you will want to consider positioning. What items do you use most? You will want to make sure those are the most easily accessible. Put rarely used or seasonal items in the harder-to-reach spots.

The main focus of keeping a clean, organized garage is getting things off the floor. Capitalize on your wall space! This will help you fit more while keeping it all visible and easy to access. There are many types of wall storage, and many homeowners opt for one or a combination of the most popular choices to include pegboards, open shelving, closed cabinets, and panelized systems. For your most infrequently used items, the ceiling can provide an ideal storage space, but keep in mind that ceiling storage must be placed so that it doesn’t interfere with the garage door.

Now is the best time to get your garage in order. Take advantage of the cooling temperatures and get to work!

Boost The Mood Of Your Space

Boost The Mood Of Your Space

If you’re still working from home, you may be feeling down about your current space. While working from home can be fun, it is important to make sure your space keeps you motivated. The best way to do that is to change up your style! Here are some of the easiest ways to boost the mood of your space:

Compartmentalize

If you’re working at home, it is easy to get distracted by your typical home responsibilities since they are now right in front of your face. To stay focused on work, try designating different areas for certain activities. By assigning specific areas for fitness, work and leisure, you will have an easier time letting your brain and body know what you should be focusing on.

Try Some Color

Adding an accent wall, or even painting a whole room, is one of the easiest ways to immediately boost the mood of a room. Consider adding a feature wall with a pop of color or lighting up the space where you work during the day. If you’re not ready to commit to painting your walls you can use accessories like throw pillows, curtains, or artwork to bring color into your space.

Declutter!

Spending more time at home can make a space that didn’t seem cramped before feel overwhelming. There’s no better way to bring harmony to your space than decluttering. While having a clean, decluttered space is aesthetically pleasing, it can also reduce your stress and help you stay focused on work instead of worrying about all the clutter in your field of vision during the day.

Try a Digital Detox

Staying informed is important, and many jobs require technology, but cutting down on screen time can greatly impact how you feel in your space. To reduce screen dependence, set up manageable boundaries based on time or place. Designate phone-free times or remove tech devices from your bedroom for a daily reset.

Lighten Up

If your home is now your office, you can now control the light conditions of your workday. Natural light is one of the best ways to literally and figuratively lighten up a space. Try positioning your desk near a window and keep drapes and shades open during the daytime. You can also add reflective surfaces to enhance the light in dark rooms.

Why did my credit score drop?

Why Did My Credit Score Drop?

If you’ve seen a change in your credit score recently, you may be wondering why. There are a number of factors that contribute to a dropping credit score and it is important to know what may be causing that! When buying a home, it is important to maintain your credit and not make any major purchases that could impact your score. Here are the top 5 reasons for a drop in credit:

YOU MADE A LATE PAYMENT

Accounting for about 30% of your total rating, your payment history has a big impact on your credit score. If you make a loan or credit card payment more than a month after the due date, it could cause your credit score to drop. A payment 60-90+ days late will have an even greater impact on your score.

YOU MADE A LARGE PURCHASE

Your credit utilization ratio can largely impact your credit score. Your ratio is how much of your credit you use in relation to your total available credit. The goal is to have a lower ratio so if you’ve been using more of your available credit lately, you may see a drop in your score. If for any reason your credit limit is lowered, it can impact your credit utilization ratio and impact your score.

AN ACCOUNT GOES TO COLLECTION

Timely payments on all accounts is an important part of your credit journey. Late payments on credit cards, loans, to medical facilities, student loans and utilities can be sent to a collection agency, which could in turn show up in your credit report.

YOU OPENED A NEW LINE OF CREDIT

When you apply for new credit, you are giving lenders the permission to access a copy of your credit report, which is known as a hard inquiry on your credit. If your credit report indicates that you’ve applied for multiple new credit lines in a short period of time, your credit score may be impacted.

YOU CLOSED A CREDIT LINE

Closing a card means losing available credit, which could increase your credit utilization ratio. As a result, your credit score may drop. If closing a card helps you stop spending, it may be a good idea. Otherwise, it is usually wise to keep lines of credit open. The length of time you’ve had accounts open shows that you have a solid payment history, so that could be another reason to keep that card you’ve had awhile open if you are using it wisely!

Use Your COVID Downtime to Make a New Home Wish List

Maybe you haven’t started looking yet, or you found a home you love but COVID is postponing the move. Either way, you can use this time of waiting to create a plan or wish list for what you want to find or the changes you want to make. The best way to start this list is to use your current space to decide what you wouldn’t want in a new home.

Start with what works and what doesn’t. Make a list of what you love about your current place, and what you don’t. What room is your favorite? What makes it your favorite? Take the time to think about what features make that room favorable. How about the structure? If you currently have low ceilings, decide if you want higher ceilings in your next space. Go through each feature you dislike and try to figure out how your new home can be better.

Take time to ask yourself how you feel when you are home. Do you need more space? Maybe you have too much space now and realize you have too much clutter because of that. Does your current layout suit your style and needs? Maybe an open floor plan would work better than what you have now – make sure you note that. Decide if your current number of bathrooms and bedrooms suits your needs, or will suit your needs in the future.

Next, consider your outdoor space and neighborhood. Do you find yourself spending all your time indoors because you don’t have an outdoor space you love? Do you wish you were closer to a park? If you constantly feel stuck inside, you should decide if that is impacted by your yearning to spend time inside because you enjoy that space or because you can’t enjoy your space outside.

Once you’ve completed your list, reach out to your local real estate agent, (ME!), and start looking for a home that checks the boxes you need today!

Benefits of a Home Gym

Exercise is a key part of staying healthy. Every aspect of our lives are impacted by our health, so doing the little things to ensure you stay in shape aids in your overall health. While exercise is important, many of us lead busy lives. Having your own workout space in your home can help you stay active without sacrificing your time. Here are a few benefits to turning that extra room or extra space in the garage into a home gym: 

No Commute Necessary

If you work outside the home, the last thing you may want to do is add more time to your daily commute with a trip to the gym. Instead of spending 2 hours of your time to get an hour long workout, you can enjoy a quick outfit change at home and a 30-second walk to your home gym.

No Closed Signs

Maybe you work late some nights. Maybe you are a morning person and prefer to workout before the sun rises. With a home gym, you no longer have to worry about restrictive gym hours. This is also helpful in creating a routine that you are able to stick to!

No Lines, No Strangers

While many gyms do their best to keep their exercise equipment clean, others leave it up to their clients to wipe down machines after use. If you aren’t a big fan of using sweaty equipment that may or may not be cleaned regularly, a home gym might be just what you need. The best part is, you will never have to wait in line to use a sweaty squat rack again!

No Limits

Do you love cardio machines? Maybe you prefer to run outdoors but love lifting? If you prefer to be able to customize your gym, a home gym allows you that freedom. You won’t need to buy any more than you will use, which makes your home gym a great investment.

Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Buy/Sell

Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Buy/Sell

If this is the first time you’re considering buying a home, or selling your first purchase, there are a lot of possible challenges you can end up facing. Having the right agent can ensure you’re able to get through these challenges, but since some of the issues are universal, let’s review some mistakes you want to avoid making.

 

1. THE RIGHT PRICE

Pricing a property is a science of its own. There are a lot of components and factors and so many small details that ultimately lead to the value of a home. Although there are a lot of sites with estimates, namely Zillow, the technology used on online sites to determine property values are simply not accurate. Zillow even states that their numbers can be inaccurate up to a whopping 20%. Without a background as a real estate professional, it is virtually impossible for a consumer to be able to know the proper components needed to price a home. When you’re purchasing a home, your eagerness to find a deal can lead to stubbornness about what you’re willing to pay and what you think a home is worth. But what you WANT it to be worth is the complete opposite of what it should sell for. If you’re a first time seller, you may want to sell your home for as much as you can squeeze out of it, but this can lead to unrealistic expectations, and ultimately lead to an overpriced home that never sells. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what a home’s value should be. Instead, partner with a real estate agent that truly is working for your best interest, and let them provide you the tools to support home values, so you can place an offer, or price your home, at a number that makes sense.

 

2. REFUSING TO NEGOTIATE

If you go into a sale, or purchase, refusing to make negotiations, dead-set on what you want without exception, you’re more than likely going to cause a lot of grief and stress for yourself during the sales process. When you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you have to have an open mind about negotiations. They are a common practice within the industry, with buyers wanting to spend less and sellers wanting to net more. If neither party is willing to make negotiations, you’ll find yourself in a contract time and time again, only to fall apart before you can finally close on the home. Having a great agent will help you ensure you make negotiations that are reasonable to lead both parties to the closing table, without compromising your interests.

 

3. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Although we all have an idea in our mind what our dream home should be, sometimes the market, and your budget, can’t realistically checkmark everything off of your list. Find an agent that helps you look for the most important needs in your dream house, but keep an open mind to a home that fits most of your needs, but not necessarily all of them. Having too many expectations within a home can become stressful and result in never finding a home that really matches your needs. If a home has the major components you are seeking, get creative and see if the other things you want can be added down the road. Have a certain number of non-negotiable items, like bedroom/bathroom count, but then have a list of “wants.”

4. YOU’RE NOT ALONE, DON’T GO IT ALONE

Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle the sales process all on your own. There is a reason that the real estate profession, and the laws around it, are as strong as ever. Real estate agents are a necessity during the sales process to ensure the right steps are taken to get a home sold. Buying and selling is a difficult process that requires knowledge and expertise that comes from a professional within the industry. From legal terms, to finding homes that aren’t even listed on the market, there are a lot of ins and outs inexperienced buyers and sellers may not think about, which can lead to losing value on your home or never finding the right one. Avoid the stress of “learning the hard way” and find a professional that can give you the guidance you need to get the task at hand completed and ensure you’re happy with the outcome.

The Incredible Joy of Owning Your Home

The Incredible Joy of Owning Your Home

If you haven’t bought a home yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” is incredible. There is such a joy created from looking at all of your boxes (maybe rolling your eyes about why you buy so much stuff) and then giving yourself a moment to let it soak in that you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes, that’s a real feeling!

We often hear, and read, about the cost-effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don’t often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes, there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home.

There is a sense of security, and a sense of “this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment,” that provides moments of absolute bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can’t be beat.

Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down roots. We mean that, figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family that leave a significant impact into the later years, all in the comfort of your home. You get to build bonds with your neighbors grow in a community-oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. You get to share experiences – potlucks, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and building long-term relationships.

Buying a home isn’t about the dollars and cents for everyone, sometimes it is just about the joy of owning your own place and getting to build amazing memories in it. If you’ve been longing for this, get in touch with a real estate agent, and make it happen. You owe it to yourself to make your dreams come true!

2020 Can Cost You Ten’s of Thousands

2019 Can Cost You Ten's of Thousands

“I’ll hold off on buying a home until next year.”

If you’ve thought of purchasing a home, but don’t want to deal with the process now, you’ve probably had this thought cross your mind a time or two. A pretty common tendency is to put off things on our to-do list, especially the ones that seem like a lot of work. But would you hold off the task if I told you that waiting could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars? Meaning it could cost you a $10,000-$50,000 (or more) difference to get the home you want today in 2020’s market. 

It is anticipated by the national historical trend report that homes are on the rise by over 5% each year. That house you’ve been eyeing online listed for $225,000 could be listed next year for $236,250. That is over $10,000 more just for waiting until 2019. This isn’t even bringing into question the rising APR rates for mortgages that can increase your monthly payment amount on a home pretty significantly as well.

I get it, the home buying process can seem pretty intimidating. But with an experienced agent on your side, it can actually go pretty smoothly. Let’s get in touch! It won’t hurt to connect you with a preferred lender and run the numbers through to see what you qualify for. The right time is always right now, and I want to help you save the money you deserve to keep by avoiding the wait.

10 Home Chores To Do Annually

10 Home Chores To Do Annually
Sing me some graces, there is such a thing as over-cleaning! Here are ten chores around the home that you really only need to do annually, minus special circumstances. Let’s dive in!

1. Curtains & Drapes

Unfortunately, we don’t mean the dusting part. You’ll want to dust at least once a month, but when it actually comes time to getting them cleaned, you only really need to do that once a year. You can take them in to get dry cleaned or follow the instructions on their tags if you choose to wash them at home.

2. House Gutters

Gutter guards can be a great investment, especially if you live around trees that shed all year long. These can keep your gutter cleanings minimal, generally about once per year. You’ll want to do this in the autumn when all of the leaves from the trees have already fallen.

3. Fireplace & Chimney

After the winter, you’ll want to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. You can use a shop vacuum to clean up the embers. Make sure to wash down the fireplace tools as well. Go an extra step further and schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper.

4. Carpets

We wish we meant vacuuming, but that’s pretty much a weekly or biweekly task for most households. In this case, we mean a deep clean. The best time to get this taken care of is right after summer.

5. Outdoor Furniture

The best time to clean outdoor furniture is when you bring them out of storage for Spring. Of course, if messes happen while you’re using them, you want to clean the spots right away to you avoid an accumulation of stains in a short period.

6. Mattress

Mattresses have improved through the years but they still need a little bit of attention. At least once a year, give your mattress a thorough cleaning and change the position of it.

7. Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry

Early November is a great time to clean out kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry to get ready for the holidays. Do a section of cabinets at a time and empty them out completely. Wipe down the shelves and reline with shelf paper if needed.

8. Linen Closet

Just once a year, empty out your linen closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Take time to vacuum away dust and spiderwebs and reline any shelves.

9. Garage, Basement, & Attic

No one is expecting you to have a perfect garage, basement, or attic. However, a good cleaning at least once a year can help you keep an eye on things, such as moisture or insect problems. It can also feel good to get rid of junk that tends to accumulate in these hidden spaces.

If you’re in the market to sell your home, you can always give me a call, and I’ll refer some preferred vendors that can help you knock out your cleaning tasks.

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

Durable Kitchen Floor Options
Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips, and everything in between – your kitchen is often one of the most used rooms in a home. Your kitchen floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won’t be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, I’m listing my favorite kitchen floors that will help keep them low maintenance while keeping a balance between style and functionality.

 

CERAMIC TILES

Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions. They come in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen.

DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and is a long-lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of concrete can be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock which allows it to remain durable and long-lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you’ll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind that it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material which helps it to be more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It’s tough to refinish because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. These floors also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement-quality linoleum in your kitchen or it may begin to curl when faced with humidity.

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. The lifespan of vinyl generally tends to run from 7 to 10 years before it starts showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean!

Don’t want to replace your flooring? You can always give me a call and we’ll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love!