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3 Major Steps To Prepare for a Move

2/28/2020

3 Major Steps To Prepare for a Move

While there is a lot of excitement that comes with moving into a new home, there can also be a great deal of stress. Packing up your entire life and moving it somewhere else can seem overwhelming, but if you have a plan, it can seem a great deal more manageable. Here are the 3 major steps to take to prepare for a move and reduce the stress that can come with it.

Inventory Your Items

While this can seem like a daunting task, taking an inventory of every item in your home will save you a great deal of stress in the future. Whether you do a move entirely on your own or you hire a moving company, it is very important to have all of your items documented. If you sort your items by room and then document them as such and pack accordingly, you will be able to unpack your items by room into your new home in an organized way, ensuring you aren’t missing any items.

Box It All Up

Once you have inventoried all of your items, you will then begin boxing up what you can. Many hardware and home improvement stores have affordable boxes but checking on local Facebook pages for someone trying to get rid of moving boxes could save you a few dollars. Once you have your boxes, it is key to pack by room. This will help if you follow your inventory list, ensuring every item gets packed. Label your boxes by room to make moving in to your new home a breeze.

Renting a Moving Truck

If you’ve never rented a moving truck before, it can be difficult to guess what size truck you will need to transport all your goods. Thankfully, many sites offer ‘calculators’ that are easy to find with a simple search and allow you to enter your box and furniture information and give you a recommendation on what size will best fit your needs. While packing your stuff up is often something movers want to do on their own to keep track of their items, sometimes hiring movers for the truck portion of the move can take a great deal of weight, both physical and metaphorical, off of your shoulders. By hiring movers to load up your truck, you will save the stress on your body and also gain the experience of movers who have packed trucks before. Many people who have moved recommend hiring movers for the loading and unloading portion of the move, even if you want to do everything else DIY.

Don't Replace Your Agent With The Internet

1/29/2020
Don't Replace Your Agent With The Internet

With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn't a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. With every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are "attempting" to be applied to the real estate industry. 

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources can lead to a snowball effect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting surgery, you'll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional's input, but it's fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you'd still expect to get a professional's diagnosis.

Although a real estate agent isn't quite like a doctor, the industry with its legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional's guidance come after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. The same thing goes for sellers. If you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of with the price? Most importantly, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? There is a lot more to the sale of the home than just agreeing on a number. 

The next time you're digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. After you've found the perfect house, or after you've decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. It is going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can't be made on repairs and emotions are at an all-time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with its amazing resources, but don't let it replace your agent. We aren't in an age yet where technology can do everything a professional can. 

How To Throw A Great Superbowl Party

1/28/2020

How To Throw A Great Superbowl Party


While your team may not have made it to the final game, the Superbowl is the perfect excuse to bring together your family and friends for a day of fun. Whether the 49ers or the Chiefs win, you can throw a party that will be sure to win. Here are a few tips that will help you throw the best Superbowl party on the block.


Have great snacks

Having the best food is an easy way to guarantee your guests will have a great time. Consider making football-themed snacks or if you want to be a little more festive, make a few Mardi Gras themed foods to celebrate the game taking place in New Orleans.

Make themed drinks

While beer is definitely known as the drink of football, you can use this opportunity to create a themed beverage based on the team of your choice (or both!) that can be served both with and without alcohol, especially if kids will be around during the party.

Check your channels

Make sure before you begin any planning, you have the channel that will be playing the Superbowl this year!

Make your own games

Guests love to be engaged. Keep them involved by having everyone rate the commercials or take prop bets - like who will be MVP or if the halftime performer will get caught lip-synching!

Have fun!

Especially if you’re a fan of a team in the game, keep in mind that it is just a game! Enjoy the company of your loved ones and have fun!!

Turn Your Home from Cold to Cozy

1/25/2020

Turn Your Home from Cold to Cozy

As the days get shorter and shorter, you’re probably spending more time curled up on the couch than you were on those long summer days. Instead of letting the cold weather get you down, take the time to turn your space into a warm and cozy escape from the outdoors. Here are some tips to turn your house from cold to cozy.

Bake Your Favorite Dessert

Not only will the smell fill your home with sweet, warm scents but baking and the process it requires can fill your home with joy. Plus, you have a great snack to cuddle up with the couch!

Light Some Candles

Lighting candles will add to your comfy atmosphere. They will give soft light and welcoming scents for every corner of your home.

Add Texture To Your Decor

The right decor can make your space even more inviting. Plush cushions and throws paired with the perfect cable-knit blankets will make you and your guests want to spend the weekends binge-watching from the couch.

Have Guests Over

Instead of locking yourself in alone this winter, make sure you invite guests over to enjoy your cozy home with you! Have them bring their favorite snack or winter beverage and share your coziness.

Perfect A Winter Beverage

The best thing to have with your baked goods is a warm beverage to enjoy. Crock-Pot hot chocolate and apple cider is great for the kids and hot toddies or mulled wine will warm you up quick!

Make A Winter Playlist

The final step to making your space cozy this season is making the perfect playlist to play in the background while you are snuggled in. Grab your mulled wine + fresh cookies and enjoy the sounds of the winter from the comfort of your cozy home!

Is It Time To Upgrade Your Heating System?

1/8/2020
Is It Time To Upgrade Your Heating System?

Winter has arrived and along with it, much colder temperatures. Maybe the heating system in your home has been in place since you moved in and you’re not sure if it is the best option for you, or you’ve recognized that heating your home is putting a hole in your pocket. Here are the different heating system options to help you find out if your current system is best for you, or if it is time for an upgrade so there will be no shivering indoors this season.

 Boilers

Boilers heat the floor, walls, and air by circling heated water through a piping system loop. Electricity, propane, and natural gas can all power a boiler system and can distribute heat in a variety of ways. There are old-school steam radiators, hot water radiators, and hydronic radiant floor heating. Boiler systems are usually more expensive and costly to install, but are typically more quiet than forced air and can be more efficient than forced air systems.

 Heat Pumps

Heat pumps heat or cool your home by taking advantage of existing outdoors, underwater or underground temperatures. Air-source heat pumps are the most common, followed by the split ductless system and the geothermal system. While heat pumps tend to be more expensive than forced air or central heating and can be noisy, they will save you money in the long run because of just how efficient they are.

 Furnaces

Furnaces, commonly referred to as forced air, are the most common system because while inexpensive, they are quite reliable. You may have an older furnace that needs replaced, and based on the current efficiency rating, it may be worth your time and money to invest in a new maximum efficiency furnace. A key factor in saving money with a furnace is making sure it is the right size for your home so it doesn’t overwork itself, costing you more in the end.

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help You Buy A Home in 2020

12/27/2019
New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help You Buy A Home in 2020

If 2020 is the year for you to buy a home, consider making these 5 New Year’s resolutions to help you be as prepared as possible to become a homeowner.

1. Cut down on monthly subscriptions.

With each month, there is a new subscription service out there. What starts as convenience turns into an endless list of subscriptions that we often don’t use enough to justify the costs. Sit down and go through your monthly/yearly subscriptions and cancel whatever you don’t use. Set aside that extra money with the rest of your savings so your down payment can continue to grow.

2. Build a better credit history.

Paying bills on time and paying off debts will help create a solid credit history. Make sure you have some utilities or rent in your name so that you can pay them on time and continue to build a solid credit history. 

3. Avoid changing careers.

Alongside income, your employment history will be a major factor during your mortgage application evaluation. While a new job could be a good career move, most evaluators are looking for a steady job history with little to no gaps in your employment over the last few years. 

4. Check your credit.

If you don’t know where your credit is at currently, now is the best time to check. Most credit sites will tell you what is impacting your credit, and you can use those tips to change your choices heading into the new year. If large debts are negatively impacting your credit, get started on a pay off plan so your score can improve in the new year.

5. Avoid large purchases.

Your debt-to-credit ratio makes a major impact on your mortgage approval. If you buy a brand new car or fund a large vacation, that ratio could sway in the wrong direction. If you want your lender to be willing to give you the maximum amount possible, make sure you aren’t making any large purchases heading into the new year.

Warm Up Your Bathroom For Winter

12/13/2019
Warm Up Your Bathroom For Winter

While you may enjoy stepping out into a cold bathroom in the middle of summer, that usually isn’t as enjoyable when winter strikes. Even with your heat running, sometimes bathrooms can get a little frosty - especially after a hot shower. All of the surfaces in your bathroom, like the tile floors and porcelain toilet, are not ideal for holding in heat. Here are 3 ways you can bring the heat to your bathroom this winter so you won’t have to dread shower time anymore.

Invest In A Towel Warmer

What better way to beat the chill than a warm towel to wrap up in when you are ready to get out of the shower? Heated towel racks can be installed right outside of your shower door. The rungs of the rack typically act as warming rods and can hold several towels at once, so everyone can enjoy a warm towel this winter!

Heated Toilets Seats Are In

While America is a little behind on technologically advanced toilet systems in comparison to other countries, heated toilet seats have started to make their way into the mainstream bathroom decor here in the US. These toilets usually come with bidet-like system, so toilet paper is no longer needed. With a quick wash and a gentle dry with warm air - all while you are on a heated seat - going to the bathroom in winter doesn’t have to be dreadfully cold!

Never Get Cold Feet With Heated Floors

Most people would agree that stepping out of the shower onto an ice-cold tile floor can send a chill up your body no matter how warm you are. Instead of hopping across the bathroom as quickly as possible to find slippers, consider investing in radiant floor heating if your bathroom is due for an upgrade. While it is definitely not an easy project, it will add value to your home and be priceless on those days where you don’t want to freeze your toes on cold tile.

 

How to Care for Holiday Houseplants

12/10/2019
How to Care for Holiday Houseplants

The holidays can be a time of stress, but your houseplants shouldn’t contribute to that. For the holiday season, your poinsettia, holiday cacti, and amaryllis only need sunlight, moisture, and proper drainage. Here is a quick guide about what your houseplants want this holiday season!

Your Plant’s Holiday Wishlist

Sunlight 

Light alone isn’t enough - your plants want and need natural light so it is key to make sure they get bright, indirect sunlight. If you’re wondering what indirect sunlight will look like, it will be bright enough to be able to read indoors without needing to squint from the brightness. Your plant should have a blurry shadow - this is a great indicator that it is getting enough indirect sunlight.

Water

The top plant killer is overwatering. Considering their vulnerability because of the cold, it is very important to water your plant based on their needs. To keep from overwatering, wait for the top inch of the potting mix to be dry. When you water the plant, be sure to water the potting mix until it is moist from top to bottom and avoid watering the leaves themselves.

Drainage

The first step to proper drainage is transferring your plant into a real flowerpot from the cellophane wrapped plastic pot it is usually purchased in. Make sure you have a saucer to place under your flowerpot’s drainage hole to prevent any furniture stains.

What You Need To Know For Winter House Hunting

11/26/2019
What You Need To Know For Winter House Hunting

While house hunting in the winter was never really a thing of the past, today’s culture keeps things going year-round - which means finding a home can be done at any time of the year. While exploring in the cold might be your focus or concern, house-hunting in less-than-ideal conditions can show you things you can’t always see on a warm, sunny day. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to find a home before the holidays.

Winter Weather Can Help You See Hidden Flaws

Even if you don’t love the cold and snowy weather, it can help you see household flaws that you may not see in the warmth of summer. Maybe the windows are drafty or there is a major loss in privacy when the trees are bare from the cold. It will also help you to love your home for its’ bones, and only love it more when warmer seasons arrive bringing flowers, grass, and colorful foliage.

Photos Can Help Fill In The Blanks

It can be hard to picture what a poolside oasis looks like when it is covered in snow. This is where photos can save the day. Whether they are listing photos or images from previous owners, seeing certain parts of the home in better weather may check the final box for a home you are falling in love with.

Know How To Handle Features Unavailable In The Winter

If that pool you fell in love with isn’t operational in the winter, you should request that they leave money in escrow or extend the closing time frame so that you can inspect the pool when warm weather returns. Sellers are responsible for remedying any issues unless they provide a disclosure about some part of the pool not working.

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