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Quarantine Spring Cleaning

There’s a good chance you’re spending more time at home than you are used to. Whether you had travel plans change, or you are now working remotely from home, or you are on a ‘shelter-in-place’ order from your local government, you probably have some extra time on your hands. Now is the best time to get ahead on spring cleaning so when things are looking up, you won’t have to worry about clutter or chaos at home! 

Take advantage of this extra time. While a large project can seem daunting, added stress is unnecessary. Taking on a project like spring cleaning step by step can help it feel doable. Make a list of what you want to take care of, section by section. For example:

-Backyard – sweep patio, clean furniture, update light fixtures
-Kitchen – deep clean floors, clean out fridge and pantry, organize freezer items

Once you’ve made a step by step list for each part of your home, you can create a to-do list for the members of your house and spread the items out over the next week or two. 

This is also a great time to get rid of clutter. If you are spending more time in your house than usual, it may become more obvious what is clutter and what is necessary. Take time on one of your first days home to deem items as “clutter” and store them away. If you didn’t miss them over that week, you know it is time to toss or donate them when you can leave your house again.

As you continue to clean, you may be concerned about a shortage of cleaning products. Even if the shelves are running low on Lysol, you can create your own DIY disinfectant. A popular combination includes rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and water. You can also use vinegar and dish soap to clean glass!

Lastly, make it fun. Open the windows if the sun is shining and play your favorite music. Being stuck inside doesn’t have to feel so terrible.

Finding The Right Home For You

If you’re a first time home buyer, the stress of choosing the perfect house for your family can feel overwhelming at first. While that stress may seem very real, it is often unnecessary. Instead of entering the market trying to find a house that is perfect in every way, keep an open mind. Approach the situation with a willingness to hear ideas and you are much more likely to find a home that you and your family will love. The process can be long and require work, but it will be worth it in the end – and i doesn’t have to drive you crazy. Here are some tips to guide you when you are trying to find potential new homes and how to know if it is the right one for you.

DECIDE ON DEAL BREAKERS

The easiest way to narrow down the right house for you is to start by deciding what you either can’t live without or cannot tolerate. If two bedrooms will never work for you, or you must have a large backyard for your pets, create a list of those things so that you can rule out properties that just aren’t worth your time. 

TRUST YOUR GUT

There may be times when you walk into a home and it seems like it may fit what you need, but there is just something off that you can’t shake. On that same note, if you tour a home and you instantly fall in love, don’t doubt your feelings. Sleeping on a house you love for too long can end up in you losing that home to someone else. Trust your instincts and you will end up in the home that is perfect for you.

TRY TO VISUALIZE

Can you see yourself in this home? Can you imagine your children playing in the backyard and doing homework in the kitchen? If you are touring a home and can already picture what it would be like for your family to live there, you are heading in the right direction.

KEEP LOCATION IN MIND

While a house may check most of your boxes, don’t forget to consider the neighborhood. Are things that are important to your family close by? Are you close enough to good schools or your place of employment? Make sure that you consider location factors so that you don’t end up in a home that becomes an inconvenience.

TRUST YOUR AGENT

While it is important to know what you want and trust your gut in the process, don’t forget that your agent has your best interest in mind. They want to find you the perfect home, and they have worked hard to do that for many others before you. They know the ins and outs of the real estate world, and are there to help you if you are willing to trust them! 

How To Maintain Your Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways are becoming more popular again, and there are plenty of reasons why. With a lifespan 10-15 years longer than asphalt, often lasting around 30-40 years, concrete is a worthy investment if you are willing to maintain it properly. If you’re considering making the investment or you already have concrete and want to make it last for decades, here is how:

SEAL IT

Water exposure of any kind can result in pore development in your concrete. Water alone can dissolve calcium hydroxide in concrete, and that process can be made more severe if there is any carbon dioxide in the water. Once your concrete loses strength and harmful substances can get inside, there can be damage to the concrete’s internal structure. This is why sealing your driveway is a major key step in maintaining your concrete.

FILL ANY CRACKS

Preventing cracks is important, and can be done by hiring an experienced contractor who will properly install and cure your driveway. If you’re moving into a home that already has a concrete driveway and cracks exist, you will want to fill those cracks as soon as possible with a resurfacing material for fine surface cracks and sealant for cracks that are wider.

ADDRESS SPILLS ASAP

While preventing spills entirely is impossible, it is imperative that you clean up spills as soon as they happen. Car fluids, like oil, can both stain and damage your concrete . Rinse any spills when they happen and for cases with stubborn oil, you might need to use a solvent.

DON’T USE DE-ICER

If you live somewhere that gets snow, you may be tempted to use chemical de-icers or salt on your driveway. While it may seem easier, these products can seep into your driveway and can lead to deep cracks. Opt to use sand or kitty litter to create traction on your driveway on icy days.

CREATE A RUNOFF AREA

Making sure water and melted snow has a place to runoff will help prevent water seeping into your concrete.

START NOW

Don’t wait for your concrete driveway to show signs of damage before taking care of it. Putting in the time to maintain your driveway now will save your money in the long run.

Buying A New Washer & Dryer

Laundry is one of those household chores that always seems to be a headache. Whether you like doing laundry or not, it is often a necessary task in most households. When the time comes to either invest in a washer and dryer set or upgrade the set you have, you may realize that choosing your favorite color is not the biggest choice you have to make. Laundry systems come in all shapes, types, and sizes, and it is important to decide what you need before heading to the store to make your purchase. Here are the parts to consider when making your choice!

1: Side-by side or stackable? Gas or electric?

If your laundry room is already set up, make sure you check if your home will support gas or electric connections. Choosing side-by-side or a stackable set comes down to what you have the space for. Stackable systems are usually smaller and better for space conversation. 

2: What capacity works best for you?

Do you do laundry for just yourself, or a family of 6? Are you frequently washing heavy towel loads or only small loads once a week? Front-load washers tend to have a larger capacity and handle bulky items well. Compact top load machines usually have a smaller drum and fit less weight but are more affordable.

3: Front load or top load?

Before considering which you like better, take second to decide which would fit your space. Will the machines be going under a counter, preventing you from purchasing top-loaders? Will they be in a tight corner of a room that will make it hard to open the door on a front-loader? Once you know what your space can handle, then you can decide which you prefer. Front-loaders tend to be more expensive, but are easier to load and unload as you no longer have to strain your arms trying to get the items left at the bottom of the washer. If you are interested in a front-loader but aren’t crazy about crouching to load and unload, you may want to invest in a pedestal that raises the height of the machine. 

4: What features do you need?

Today, the features you can get on these machines are endless. Some have digital displays, some have wi-fi capabilities, some are meant to be energy-efficient, and some can even steam your clothes. If any of these (or more) features are a deal-breaker for you, make sure you are searching for the machines that offer these incentives. 

5 Must-Do’s Before Buying a House

If you’re ready to begin the journey of homeownership, it is important to cross a few items off of your to-do list before hunting for the perfect house. Buying a home is a process, and you want to be as prepared as possible. Here are a few steps to take that will get you ready to buy a home.

1. Get your money straight.

A year to six months before you begin the buying process, find a lender and have them pull your credit. This will give you insight into what you expect and what you may need to mend before you can make the purchase that you want to. Your lender will be able to let you know what you qualify for based on your income at the time so that you can look for homes within your price range when the time comes.

2. Decide where you are willing to stay a while.

A home is a commitment. You can always resell, but with the transaction fees that come along with buying a home, you may end up losing equity if you try to sell your home quickly after buying it. If you don’t think the home is somewhere you can see yourself for several years, keep looking.

3. Don’t hesitate to take your time.

There is a lot more to the purchasing process than just buying a home. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of a home that you are considering buying. How is the neighborhood? Will the long commute be overwhelming in 6 months? Make sure you’ve considered the aspects of what makes up your day-to-day life and how your new home will help or hurt that process.

4. Know the difference between your dream home and a fantasy home.

Being realistic is a key part of making the home buying process easier on you. Your agent will work hard to make your deal the best it can be, but when it comes down to it, you will usually get what you pay for. Major discounts typically mean you will have work to do, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a steal for you. Be realistic during your search and keep in mind that the perfect home might not be out there, but that doesn’t mean that your dream home isn’t.

5. Find an agent for you.

Finding an agent that works for you take a major weight off of your shoulders in the home buying process. Ask your friends and family, and look into local agents that come highly recommended. When you find a trusted agent, they will be able to show you houses that you can’t find from a simple internet search and be able to negotiate for you along the way. It is their specialty – don’t waste the time or energy trying to do the job of a realtor on top of everything else you have on your plate!

Home Buying Myths

Although the internet can be a great resource for a variety of information, a lot of that information is incorrect. One of the most important and expensive decisions in your life, home buying, tends to circulate a lot of misinformation. Most of that misinformation is in regards to how much of a down payment you need or what your credit score needs to be. Let’s go over the real facts about buying a home and knock those myths out, so they don’t hinder your ability to purchase!  

CREDIT SCORES

Though it may come as a surprise, you don’t need a perfect credit score to purchase a home. Traditional bank lenders will work with credit scores as low as 640, but your agent can also get you connected with local lenders that accept credit scores as low as 580. Although there are other required stipulations to qualify for the loan, you don’t need a perfect score in the 700’s or 800’s to get approved for a mortgage. 

DOWN PAYMENTS

You don’t have to sell an arm and a leg to be able to purchase your dream house. There is a huge misconception that you need to pay a minimum of 20% down to buy. That information is outdated. These days, there a large variety of loan programs that only need an average of 3-5% down. Based on your income or military status, you may even qualify for mortgage programs that require 0% down. Although you’ll expect to pay an additional 3% in closing costs, which is separate from the down payment, this is still significantly less that 20% of the purchase price. If you’re in a buyer’s market, you may even be able to negotatie for the closing costs to be covered by the sellers. 

Be sure to connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have the right facts. Don’t let online myths persuade you into thinking you can’t qualify or afford to buy a home. There are a variety of programs to help you get into your dream house. Since these vary by county to county, and state to state, it’s imperative to call your agent and let them fill you in on the facts. 

Add Charm To Your Bedroom

With a new season upon us, you might be wanting to spruce up your bedroom to add a little charm and “newness” to your space. Here’s some tips to decorating your bedroom by adding some charm and elegance. 
 

1. BEDROOM FURNITURE

Your bedroom furniture is what makes the biggest impression on you, first thing in the morning, and at the end of each day. You’ll want to add pieces to your bedroom that you’ll love, unique pieces that add character and charm to your personal space.

  • Canopy Beds

A modern style canopy bed can add a lot of simple beauty into your bedroom. Use a four-poster frame that is clean and matches your current finishes. A simple design allows you to dress up the bed as you please. Keep it clean for a masculine touch, or add a soft look by hanging gauzy panels. 

  • Daybed

Have an empty corner in your bedroom? You can consider adding a traditional style daybed and bring it to life with an elegant French countryside flair. Add lots of layered pillows and throws to bring out the character of your set. 

  • Antiques

Don’t be afraid to incorporate antique pieces throughout your modern decor. Adding a fun vintage trunk or even an antique dresser with a crisp bedding set can really coordinate a beautiful theme. Antiques can give your bedroom a lot of personality and provide a conversation piece.

2. LUXURY BEDDING

Sometimes, all a bed need is a new bedding set. Brands these days carry an array of fabric options, allowing you a large variety of textures and patterns to fit any bedroom style or mood.

  • Silk Bedding

If you want to do something outside of cotton sheeting, you can add a luxurious touch with some silk bedding. It’s naturally hypoallergenic and provide a less friction sleep on your skin. Silk is beautiful and really stands out in a bedding set.

  • Linen Bedding

If you want a more lived-in look, linen helps achieve that in a modern and classic way. Use neutral colors to create a layered look that’s simple and relaxed.

  • Cable Knit Bedding

Expanding beyond the typical sofa throw, cable knit blankets are soft enough to use as your coverlet and add the right amount of texture for your decorative shams. Cable knits are the perfect blend of practicality, elegance, and comfort.

3. BEDROOM DECOR

Your bedroom furniture and bedding have a large role in making your master functional, but it’s the little things that will really bring out the personality and charm. Consider the type of mood you want your bedroom to have and decorate to match that mood. Do you want a dark cozy room? Do you want a spa like feel? Or do you prefer a beach theme? Whichever mood you want to go with, adding decorative pieces can bring it together.

  • Throws & Quilts

Piling up on extra blankets can be a great way to add decorative pieces throughout your bedroom, that can also be functional. Quilts and silks add a cozy element to the room, where as cotton can add a modern clean feel. Drape bed scarfs over chairs to add a lived-in look.

  • Flowers & Candles

The aroma of fresh flowers or a lit scented candle can help you unwind and enjoy the quiet moments in your bedroom. Scents can elevate the mood, but they also help you relax. Get one that isn’t too strong, can be enjoyed long term, and fit’s into the decorative mood of your room.

  • Style Your Nightstand

Keep your nightstand free of cords and electronics. Clutter can bring a negative mindset, and when it’s the first place you look at in the morning, you want to keep the electronics and mess off your tables. Add a stack of timeless books, an elegant tray, or a decorative pieces of art. Only keep the necessities, like reading glasses, a glass of water, or your favorite book.

You’re Making Your Landlord Rich

While you’re fussing over your bills, did you realize you’re making your landlord rich? Rentals are the most lucrative business to get into. It turns ordinary people into multi-millionaires. The next time you’re afraid of committing to a mortgage, keep in mind that you’ve already committed to paying off the mortgage of someone else – every single month you rent. The only time home buying doesn’t make sense is if you’re still living with your parents rent-free. Or you prefer to live out of an R.V. or tent. But if you prefer to live in a home, or a condo, it always makes the most sense to buy.

Stop making your landlord rich and start building your own net worth. You can still enjoy owning a home – even if you don’t intend to stay in an area for long. You can always resell your home, most often for more money than you put in, or turn it into a lucrative side business by hiring a property management company to rent it out on your behalf. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid of a mortgage commitment – you’re paying one regardless. Now ask yourself, do you want to make yourself money or make your landlord money?

All My Single Ladies!

In 2017 alone, 60% of women millennial buyers were single! Buying a home seems to come with the idea that it’s the step AFTER you get married and have a family – but that simply isn’t true! Not only is home buying an incredible investment, it provides stability. If you’re worried that a home is too much of a commitment, while you still enjoy travelling around the world, having a great Realtor on your side can help ensure you aren’t tied down by a home.

No one ever said your net worth is a burden. Build your net worth by owning your own dream house and recoup your investment when the day comes to sell. If you’re paying the same amount on rent as you could on a mortgage payment, doesn’t it make sense to put that monthly amount into a home you could actually get the money back on? Of course it does! Since I know you’re a smart woman, give me a call! It’s time to invest in yourself and your future.