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Decorating Your 5th Wall

Now a days the ceiling is the 5th wall that everyone is looking to add some interest to.  When we look up  why shouldn’t we give the 5th wall the same amount of attention as the other wall?. Wallpaper today offer unlimited possibilities, with digital printing for an array decorations. We are seeing amazing faux grass cloth and materials such as; woods, bricks and metals. Patterns range in any color you can dream of and some of my favorites, grass cloth and shells.

Organize Your Closet

Many of us stash brooms, batteries, and tools separately. Here is a way to converted a coat closet that was a catchall for useless stuff into a central location for home maintenance items. Go vertical by adding a rolling drawer unit, a pegboard, and storage baskets. Keep sweepers and mops off the floor using adhesive wall hooks. To make it a cinch to find stuff, every item in the closet has its place: Heavily used items hang on the pegboard. Cleaning products live together in a basket. Hardware, adhesives, and batteries are stowed and labeled in the rolling drawer unit. Bulky, less-frequently needed items are kept in labeled baskets on the shelf. Tip: When deciding what to store in your closets, ask yourself what has more value, a particular item or the space you will gain.

Is it Time to Buy Your Own House?

At some point as you're writing out your rent check, you get to the point where you look at the amount and think to yourself - at this rate, I could BUY a house. If you're fed up with paying rent every month that's high enough to finance a mortgage, it may be time to take a serious look at what it would take for you to get a mortgage loan and buy a home of your own. How do you know if it's time to stop renting and time to start investing your monthly payment in a house of your own? 1. Are you planning to stay put in the area? The first question to ask yourself is how long you are planning to stay in your new home. If the answer is 'less than two years', then it may be to your advantage to continue renting for a while longer - and use the time to build up your credit more strongly. If, on the other hand, you're planning to stay in one residence for more than a few years, buying makes more sense. Owning a home puts down roots, and makes you a more stable member of the community. It also makes more financial sense to buy if you're going to hold onto the property for more than two years. Unless you 'flip' properties - buy cheap, make repairs and sell high - it's nearly impossible to recover your investment if you own a house for less than two years. 2. How's your credit? If you've never checked your credit score or read your credit report, this is the time to do it. The higher your credit score, the easier it will be for you to qualify for a mortgage, and the better the terms of the mortgage for which you'll qualify. If you find problems in your credit score, you can take steps to fix them before you apply for a mortgage. This includes erroneous information on your credit report or extenuating circumstances that may have led to a missed payment or two. In many cases, minor credit problems can be repaired with no more than a few months of on-time payments. 3. How much house can you afford? Figuring out how much of a mortgage you can take on can seem almost like some sort of voodoo. You know how much you can afford to pay per month for a mortgage payment - but how does that translate into how much you can afford to pay for a house? The easiest way to work it out is to use an online mortgage calculator. Many web sites that offer credit and loan information have mortgage calculators available that will work in either direction - plug in the asking price of a house and your expected interest rate and the amount of your down payment, and the calculator will tell you an estimated monthly payment. Or plug in your income and expenses, the amount of the monthly payment you can make and the length of time you want to repay it - and the calculator will tell you the most expensive house you can comfortably buy.

10 Things to Contemplate When Buying a Home

A home is the financial investment many people make in their lifetime. In fact the typical American homeowner has approximately 40 % of their wealth tied up in their home. With such a important decision here is some additional advice as you contemplate while you make such a big purchase.  1. Buy your home for the long run.  Look for features in your home that you'll need 5 year from now with the plan that you'll still be there then.  2. Buy a home to improve your life, not with the hopes to make some money off of the purchase.  3. Make sure you focus on the important features to you and your family.  Don't get distracted by the features you don't need.  4. Make your budget and stick to it! 5. A 20 percent down payment is ideal. If you can’t afford that, consider a smaller down payment, or lower your budget. 6. Keep a 6 month strategic reserve in case you get sick, face an unexpected expense or lose your job 7. Get pre-approved, and if you want to avoid uncertainty down the road, stick with a boring 30- or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. 8. Shop around for the best mortgage. 9. Don't spend more than your "take home income" on housing. (unless you live in a pricey market) 10. When you're ready to buy, don't be afraid to walk away - don't get too invested to each home you think will work for you until it's really yours.   

How to Paint Your House

Painting your house is one of the most satisfying projects.  You look at it everyday when you come home from a long day and man does it look good.  But when the price tag to re-paint your home averages $2,500 it can be a little too expensive of a project to afford. But with time and some elbow grease you can cut the price tag of this house project by a ton.  What if you could DIY paint your house? Well this is how you can.  1-day project: Wash your house Technically you should be pressure washing your siding once a year.  But you'll want to pressure wash to clean the mold and mildew and prep your surface for work and painting. Don't forget you'll need protective eyewear, a couple of five-gallon buckets, a pressure-washing cleaning solution and a stiff brush for an effective clean.  Soak the surface first to loosen up debris, and then start cleaning with a wide, sweeping motion, from the bottom to the top of each wall. To prevent damage, start spraying at a distance of 10 feet and work your way in. Wash windows, garage doors and cracked seals at the lowest setting or by hand. If the idea of pressure washing is a little daunting  you can get the same results with a scrub brush, bleach solution and garden hose. Weekend project: Make repairs Once the outside of the home is all clean, you're ready for prep.  On Saturday, sand, fill and weatherproof the surfaces. On Sunday, cover any stains with primer. With sanding block and razor blade (or a power sander), remove any protruding burrs or paint drips. Patch and fill holes with the filler that’s appropriate for your siding. Sand it down when it's dry Replace old caulk by applying the caulk slowly for a smooth bead, using a damp rag to wipe up the excess. Replace any rotted trim or siding immediately.  Spend Sunday applying primer.  Even if you buy the 2 in 1 primer paint, you'll get much better and longer lasting results if you don't skip the primer step.  Month-long project: Paint! Once everything is ready for the paint....it's officially time! Week 1: Paint the siding  Tackle the job in sections. Shake and stir the paint before you begin for even coverage. Cover any light fixtures, doorbells, and windows where you intend to paint, and use an angled brush to paint along edges without making a mess. Use a roller to fill in the broad areas, working from top to bottom. Paint the trim last, wiping up any stray spatters with a damp rag. Week 2: Apply a second coat Sand out any paint drips or debris. Paint the siding and trim another coat. Week 3: Tackle the details by paint your front door the color of your dreams. If you've come this far you might as well add shutters, if you like. IF you want you can spend the last week and upgrade and add extras: new crown molding for the porch, a doorbell, a new house number, door handles, and light fixtures.  

Is an Old Home for You?

If you prefer a home that is unique and has character, you probably are giving some thought to buying an older home. Before buying, it's a good idea to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of owning the home. In this article, we cover the positive benefits I have realized by owning a home built in 1825. The Pros of An Old Home In 1972, my husband and I bought a house built in 1825. While maintenance has certainly been an issue, there are more than a few positives to the home. Everything is real. There's no fake anything. Bricks are brick. Wood is wood. Slate is slate. Fireplace mantles, chair rail, crown molding, and baseboards are not dinky little things; they're beautifully proportioned. The floors are rich, wide, heart of pine planks. There's a rich feeling of history and being connected to our country's past that permeates through our neighborhood. George Washington grew up just across the river and trudged up the lane across the street from us daily to attend school. James Monroe and Mathew Fontain Maury (the 'pathfinder of the seas') lived within a block of us. Our house was used as a boys' military academy (Philips' Military Academy) prior to the War Between the States. Put together, one gets a feeling of wonder when walking around the community. Old houses can also be a very good investment. First, there is a limited supply of them. With the popularity of historic societies and the preservation movement, people have become more appreciative of them. Precisely because of the center city locations of many of them (which provided drawbacks for us when we first moved here), they are often in what have become highly desirable locations. Our house is within two blocks of commuter rail that runs into downtown Washington, D.C. and many old cities have old house neighborhoods in terrific locations. Boston, Richmond, Savannah, and Charleston come to mind. We paid $35,000 for our house in 1972. Within the last year, two houses within a block of us have sold for more than a million dollars. I have a feeling that our home may be the best investment we've ever made. That about sums it up. Beauty. A sense of it being ìreal.î Feeling connected to the past. And a darned good investment to boot. Yup. Weíve spent some blood, sweat, and tears. Real money, too. But I'd do it over again in a heart beat.

The Cons of An Old Home In 1972, my husband and I bought a house built in about 1825. We moved in on August 15th. My husband had an out of town business meeting and left about 5 AM the next day. (What makes him so smart?) About an hour later, I started downstairs and flipped the switch to turn on the chandelier in the downstairs hall. Boy did I get light. There was a flash, and then what looked like lightening ran up the cord. I turned the switch off, but the fireworks continued. I ran and yelled for our sons (10 and 11 years old at the time). We got out a door off another hall and ran to our next door neighborís house to call the fire department. (This is a very exciting way to meet oneís new neighbors.) The fire department was really fast and got to our home before we got back ourselves. By the time my husband returned late that evening, we had been visited by not just the fire department, but also an electrician (old wiring needed to be reworked and a fuse box replaced with circuit breakers), a painter (to get a price on fixing water and fire damage), and a floor refinisher (same reason as the painter), and both our sons had been offered marijuana. (Did I mention that beautiful old houses are often located in intercity areas and sometimes the whole neighborhood has not yet been completely restored to its original state of gentility?) We were asking ourselves, ìWhat have we done?î Well, we had the wiring fixed, put off having the floors worked on and did the painting ourselves. We also paid tuition and fees to keep the boys in their old school district. You have to be flexible to happily live in an old house. Nothing is a standard size. Right angles are purely coincidental. (The water damage mentioned above had showed us that the floor on the outside edge of the front hall is about six inches higher than floor on the far side of the living room.) Go to Lowes or Home Depot to buy a standard replacement this or that? Forget it. You're probably going to have to fabricate it yourself or have it done. You need to either have a large home maintenance budget, be prepared to invest a lot of 'sweat equity' or both. Weíve lived in this same old house for over thirty years now. Items we've had adventures with include: 1. Plumbing, 2. Bringing in more electricity, 3. Replacing the heating system, 4. Repointing the chimneys, 5. Having dampers made for the chimneys so heat doesnít escape from them when theyíre not in use (did I mention we have four working fireplaces?), 6. Increasing the insulation, and 7. Painting many, many times. Our house is real wood, not vinyl, and the roof the original roof. That, of course, means there is a lot of surface to paint, and, since the house is two stories and has high ceilings, some of the surfaces are pretty high. (Did I mention that my husband has fallen off the roof twice?) We're in the process of having our home painted (not a do it yourself project this time) yet again. The bids we got ranged from $15,000 to $20,000. (Did I mention you need a larger maintenance budget with an old house?) Whew! I think the cons are clear, donít you? Owning an old home is wonderful. Just make sure you understand what you are getting into.

Buying New Construction or Preowned?

Some people hate hand-me-downs; others like things with a history. When we are talking about a home, there's something about a house that has never been touched that attracts many people.  For every advantage of buying newly built and existing homes, there’s a flip side. For example, much like a new car off the dealer's lot, a newly constructed home tends to cost more than similar pre-owned homes.  This comparison is sometimes as much as 20 percent more.  Howevere, initially they prove to be less expensive in terms of maintenance and utilities. So which one do you want to buy? Shiny new construction or a charming pre-owned home, here are some other factors to consider. Benefits of new construction Floor plan: You can opt for a more customized floor plan that fits your family's lifestyle.   If you’re buying pre-built new construction, chances are good the layout will lean to modern, with wide-open floor plans. Kitchens flow into family rooms so you can cook and oversee homework or watch the game. New construction usually boasts more natural light and have brighter, lighter and more spacious rooms.  Personalization: Custom homes are obviously amazing but if you're looking into a prebuilt new construction you may be able to personalize your home with upgraded finishes.  Efficiency: New appliances and home systems are more energy efficient. This also cuts costs with lower utility bills. Smart and healthy: “Smart” technology options allow you to automate internet, cable, speakers and even an alarm system. And new homes often use low- and zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and building materials, improving indoor air quality. Maintenance: A newly built home requires less maintenance since everything from appliances to the HVAC system and roof are brand new. This means you can better predict monthly homeownership costs, since you’ll likely spend less to maintain your home.  Warranties will help protect your home for the first couple years making it pretty easy to manage.  Amenities:  Master or planned communities with new construction often include amenities like parks and community spaces that are close to schools and transit.  Timing: The median time to complete new construction lets you feel less rushed than scrambling with other buyers for an existing home. The flip side Location: New construction typically pops up in suburbia which is typically slightly further from conveniences.  Landscaping: Existing construction is often surrounded by mature trees that shade the home in summer, protect against wind in winter, and block out traffic noises at bedtime. Mature trees may be salvaged at new building sites but often the landscaping takes years to grow into itself. Floor plan: Builders tend to stick with exterior design styles and finishes that appeal to the general consensus. You’ll have to count on post-purchase painting and decorating to stand out from your neighbors. Waiting: Custom home can take five to six months to be ready.  There are positives and negatives about pre-owned and new construction.  Hopefully this article is helpful for you to make that decision. 

How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?

Thinking about starting the process of buying a home but not sure what to expect? Here's a question a lot of people are curious about: How long does it really take to buy a home? A general answer is: on average it takes about 4 1/2 months to buy a house.  So lets review... 6 (or more) months.....  Request your credit reports.   Start the process of paying off any credit card bills and continue saving for your down payment.  This is a good time to figure out how much you'll be able to realistically afford.  4-5 months.....Do a generalized browse at homes for sale online and visit some open houses to get a feel for your market. Start interviewing real estate agents and lenders to begin assembling your team.  2-3 months.....Get pre-approved by the lender you choose so you can be taken seriously when you find a home you want to put an offer on.  (Most pre-approval letters are good for 60- 90 days.) Start touring homes with your chosen real estate agent. 1-2 months.....When you find a home you like, make an offer ( be prepared: on average less than half of buyers have their first offer accepted.)  After an offer is accepted, schedule a professional inspection. At this time if you're renting you'll want to give your landlord notice of your impending move.  Now it is time to starting planning the actual move!
  The last leg.....Pick a company where you'll have your home owners insurance and tell the lender who it is. You won't be able to finalize a loan without it.  As the loan is finalizing you'll want to make sure your down payment funs are easily accessible.  
At this time you can start packing up your non-essentials to make your move easier.  You'll want to fill out change of address forms and establish utilities in your name at your new address. Closing day....Make sure to set aside a chunk of time to sign paperwork. Once that’s over (or within a few days, depending on your sales contract), you’ll get your keys! Congrats on the new home!

Moving to Your New Home

This is the season for new homes! However with a new home does come packing your stuff and moving in.  And after all these decisions, there's one last one: Hire movers or do it yourself?  As you weigh your options, you’ll want to consider both budget and logistics such as distance and time. Doing your homework on moving costs and details will really help avoid headaches later.  Estimate your costs Professional moving prices vary greatly, so getting at least 2 - 3 estimates from different companies either recommended by friends or trustworthy consumer sites. You’ll want to make sure the company is licensed and insured. If you’re thinking of DIY, factor in these costs:
• Rental truck (with fees typically based on hours used and miles traveled)
• Boxes and tape
• Packing paper and bubble wrap
• Moving blankets
• Dolly, hand truck, moving straps Don't forget the implied cost of having "free help" from friends which includes repaying with dinner, beer or another favor.  If you choose to tackle this on your own....... Packing pointers Pack one room at a time, making it easier to unpack in your new home. Some tips:
• Don't skimp and wrap each thing carefully and make sure everything is cushioned. 
• Mark all boxes according to the room they’ll be moving to.
• Don't pack the boxes more than 50 pounds. 
• Keep some boxes labelled as "essentials".  These boxes should be full of the stuff you'll want to unpack first at your new house.  For example, toiletries or kids items that you might need right away.   Packing supplies Tip: Through online neighborhood groups, try to stock pile moving supplies such as packing paper and boxes from other neighbors moving in to save costs.  • Boxes (variety of sizes and styles)
• Packing paper
• Bubble wrap and/or cushioning foam
• Packing tape
• Moving blankets
• Plastic wrap
• Paper towels
• Scissors
• Screwdriver set
• Markers for marking boxes Share your info Once the move is certain you'll need to let the people in your life (friends, employers, creditors) know of your address change.   A good place to start is the United States Post Office.,  Either in person or on the official website you can have your mail forwarded to your new address through the USPS.   Even with mail forwarding, you should still update your address with individual organizations and companies. To prevent service lapses and past-due bills, you need to inform your utilities and service providers about your relocation plans. Contact telephone, cable, internet, electricity, gas, water and other municipal services. Arrange for the utilities at your old home to be disconnected on moving day and have them reconnected at your new residence by the time you move in. Other must-updates include your bank, credit card companies, stockbrokers and other relevant financial institutions.  Good luck with your impending move!

Take Care of Your Home This Spring

As Spring is in full swing here are a few things you'll want to "Spring Clean" this season! Inside
• Wash windows inside and out on a cloudy day to avoid streaking
• Power wash deck and vinyl exterior siding
• Steam clean carpets and floors
• Dry clean or machine wash drapes
• Dust baseboards and cabinet toe kicks
• Do a deep clean on bathroom surfaces and renew tile grout
• Give your oven and stove top a good scrub
• Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors The yard
• Prune trees and shrubs to shape and let in sun
• Gather fallen branches and other yard debris, and compost if possible
• Prune shrubs and plants to 2 feet away from air conditioning compressors
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs like dahlias after last date of frost
• After the lawn wakes up, fertilize and over-seed if necessary
• Scrub and fix patio furniture
• Power wash sidewalks, patios and paths Home exterior
• Clean and repair gutters and downspouts
• Repair or replace window screens to keep out bugs
• Scrape and touch up peeled paint
• Remove, replace and paint rotting wood trim
• Remove and replace crumbling bricks and stone
• Inspect foundation and seal cracks
• Check and replace cracked roof shingles and vent collars

Getting a Low Down Payment Mortgage

Back before the housing market crash in the early 2000's it was easy to buy a house with no money down as “zero down mortgages” and “100 percent financing home loans” were the primary driver of the mortgage market. However because of the lack of proper documentation and analyzation of a borrower's true ability to borrow a loan, these types of loans were the main cause of the global financial crisis.  Now that the market is more stable, there are strict law that require lenders to prove that their borrower can actually repay the loan and many low down payment mortgage options are back in the game.  According to federal law, lenders must prove to regulators that they followed eight loan approval factors to ensure they properly verified the borrowers ability to repay the loan. Here are some of the low down payment mortgage loans 1) Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac : 3 percent down  This loan that allows first time buyers (or buyers who haven’t owned a home in the past three years)  to put just 3 percent down on loans up to $417,000, which means a home that costs up to $430,000. 2) FHA 3.5 percent down With this loan you can get a loan with 3.5 percent down but it will require more expensive mortgage insurance. 3) VA 100 percent financing With Veterans Affairs loans  you can get financing for up to 100 percent of a home’s value with no mortgage insurance. The national loan limit is $417,000, but can go up to $1,000,000 in high-cost areas. You'll want to check what your limit is depending on the area your hoping to purchase in.   VA loans also let you finance most of your closing costs, including appraisal, credit report, title insurance, lender origination fee, recording fees, and survey fees.  However, the VA loan isn't for just anyone, you or someone in your immediate family has to have served or is currently serving in the U.S. Military.  4) New one-percent down programs To qualify for this program, you must have a credit score of at least 680 and earn less than the median income for your area.    All low-down programs have a lot of fine print, so the only way to determine if you qualify is to complete a full profile with a lender.  Talk to your real estate agent about the steps to getting a good local lender that you work well with and get pre-approved.

Violet is the New "It" Color

The color of 2018 is Violet!  Purple is the color that occurs the least in nature but it has forever been a symbol of royalty.  Bringing some of this hue into your home can be as simple as  a painted piece of furniture, a natural looking or raw element, or a high shine of a metal chair/doorknob.  What do you think about adding this new "IT" color to your home?

Tips for Organizing Under Your Sink

Under the sink often turns into a dumping ground for toiletries, hair products, and bathroom cleaning supplies.  This cluttered space can make mornings a bit chaotic when you can’t find any of the right supplies.  Here are some tips for organizing your things under the bathroom sink. the supplies you'll need for this little DIY project include:  - Tension rod - Paper towels - Bathroom cleaner - Baskets - Washi tape - Permanent marker - Pullout baskets Step 1: Remove everything from the space, and purge as you go. Throw away expired and rarely used items.  Keep only the essentials. When you're done, group like items and organize them together. Step 2:  Store things vertically in the cabinet by using the pullout baskets and stack them using stacking shelves. This increases space by a ton! Step 3:  Label your baskets according to the groups you originally organized them in.  Step 4:  Create a "daily basket" that stores all the things you use on a daily basis.  This makes your daily routine much more convenient and organized. Step 5:  Use a tension rod to hold cleaning supplies and clear more space on the bottom of the cabinet for baskets.    Good luck! A little time and effort today will make tomorrow’s daily routine that much easier.

60 Bentridge Court, Lynchburg, VA

🏡🏡😲Come See This Home Sweet Home!! 🔴60 Bentridge Court, Lynchburg, VA 📞📞TEXT 310652 to (434)363-3899 for an AUTOMATIC text message response sent to your phone with more property details and images! 🛏️🛏️🛏️3 bedrooms
🛀🛀2 bathrooms 2,766 sq ft 💰224,900 ☑️Great single level home on a quaint cul-de-sac in the convenient Russell Springs Community. 
☑️Minutes to Wards Road, Restaurants, Downtown & Liberty University. 
☑️Enjoy your large rocking chair front porch as you enter into this immaculate home offering beautiful hardwood floors & complete hard surface throughout the finished terrace level. ☑️The kitchen offers a pantry & large bar and opens to the living & dining room. 
☑️Bright & airy floor plan w/ cathedral ceilings. 
☑️The finished basement offers a HUGE den, office w/french doors, rough in for a future bath plus a large area for storage. ☑️This lot backs up to a wooded area for PRIVACY while you are grilling off your main level deck or concrete area below. 
☑️Fresh paint, newly sealed and painted front porch & a new roof within the next few weeks!

919 Leander Drive, Forest, VA [OPEN HOUSE]

🏡🏡💥OPEN HOUSE THIS SUNDAY on this Gorgeous & Luxurious New Construction!! ⭕919 Leander Drive, Forest, Virginia 24551 💰$499,900 🏡🏡🏡🏡🏡5 Bedrooms
🛀🛀🛀🛀4 Bathrooms : 3 full : 1 half  Acres 0.370
🏡3,147 sq ft ✅Stunning new construction with all brick exterior & decorative accents.
✅Hardwood flooring throughout main living area & expansive windows backing up to a private wooded yard
✅Kitchen features oversized island, gorgeous cabinetry, complimenting granite & stainless appliances including a gas cook top.
✅Features built in organized "mud room" with hooks, cabinets and cubby.
✅The formal dining space is customized with intricate moldings
✅Main level master offers spacious walk in closet, master bath with soaking tub & walk in tile shower.
✅Terrace level offers ample storage or expansion opportunities. TEXT 307897  to (434) 363-3899 for an AUTOMATIC text message sent to your phone with more property details and images. 

1163 Grand Oaks Dr, Forest, VA OPEN HOUSE

OPEN HOUSE TODAY! 🏡🏡👇👇👇Privacy & elegance in the sought after community of Grand Oaks!  🏡1163 Grand Oaks Drive, Forest, VA 🛏️🛏️🛏️🛏️4 Bedrooms
🛀🛀🛀3 Bathrooms 💰424,900 Enjoy the quality of this beautiful home built by award winning builder, Deitz Lilly! 
✔️Nestled In the heart of a partially wooded lot on a quaint cul-de-sac, this all brick home features a rocking chair porch w/ tons of privacy. 
✔️This well thought out floorplan has a main level den/office with french doors for added privacy. 
✔️The formal dining room was stenciled by a local artist for added elegance.
✔️The main floor master ensuite offers an oversized master & bath!
✔️Custom designed fixtures and 3/4 hardwood adorn the grand stair case and main living areas. 
✔️In the kitchen, enjoy the eat-In Bar, Cherry Cabinetry, Granite Countertops & Stainless Steel Appliances. 
✔️The great room houses a cathedral ceiling, tons of windows & fireplace.
✔️Just off the kitchen enter into the screened porch with access to a large maintenance free deck TEXT 310404  to (434) 363-3899 for an AUTOMATIC text message sent to your phone with more property details and images. 

Increase You Home Value With Bathroom Improvements

Many home owners look for ways to add value to their homes through improvements. One of the best ways is to have a go at your bathrooms.  The Almighty Bathroom  Today's bathrooms are wonderful. Showers that "rain" on you, warm air hydrotherapy bathtubs, sinks that look like water worn boulders. You can pamper yourself now and smile on your way to the bank when you sell because homes with good kitchens and bathrooms are in demand. The only caveat is don't make it so grand that it's above your neighborhood's standards. It's hard to get your money out when yours is the most expensive house in the neighborhood.  Explore and Plan  The scope and style of your bath update needs to fit the style and price range of your home and your family, and youíll face space constraints. One way to approach the project is to canvas various places that sell bathroom fixtures, see what you like, comparison shop, and then see if thereís an outlet for your price range with a good design staff to help you on a 'freebie' basis if you buy from them.  Lowe's and Home Depot are useful if you are very price conscious. They carry brands we're all familiar with. It can be fun to explore some of the avant-garde fixtures in some of the high end outlets, and then see if something similar can be achieved for less. And if the budget (and the neighborhood) can take it, go for a truly luxurious spa of a bath.  Simplicity is prized today. I think it may be because life tends to be so rushed and complicated. Simplicity does not mean boring. Far from it. The simple can pamper and provide great visual appeal.  Put together a plan within your budget and you are on your way. Improved bathrooms can actually add tens of thousands of dollars in equity to your home.

Increase Your Home Value With Bathroom Improvements

Many home owners look for ways to add value to their homes through improvements. One of the best ways is to have a go at your bathrooms.  The Almighty Bathroom  Today's bathrooms are wonderful. Showers that "rain" on you, warm air hydrotherapy bathtubs, sinks that look like water worn boulders. You can pamper yourself now and smile on your way to the bank when you sell because homes with good kitchens and bathrooms are in demand. The only caveat is don't make it so grand that it's above your neighborhood's standards. It's hard to get your money out when yours is the most expensive house in the neighborhood.  Explore and Plan  The scope and style of your bath update needs to fit the style and price range of your home and your family, and youíll face space constraints. One way to approach the project is to canvas various places that sell bathroom fixtures, see what you like, comparison shop, and then see if thereís an outlet for your price range with a good design staff to help you on a 'freebie' basis if you buy from them.  Lowe's and Home Depot are useful if you are very price conscious. They carry brands we're all familiar with. It can be fun to explore some of the avant-garde fixtures in some of the high end outlets, and then see if something similar can be achieved for less. And if the budget (and the neighborhood) can take it, go for a truly luxurious spa of a bath.  Simplicity is prized today. I think it may be because life tends to be so rushed and complicated. Simplicity does not mean boring. Far from it. The simple can pamper and provide great visual appeal.  Put together a plan within your budget and you are on your way. Improved bathrooms can actually add tens of thousands of dollars in equity to your home.

Increase Appeal to Sell Your Home

There are some tips that this article will give you in order to make your home appealing enough to gain lots of potential buyers and soon you will have the best deal ever.  You have to look or view your home or you can ask a trusted person and appoint that person to approach your door and see things that you may not notice. Do you home need to be repainted, do you need to replace your door, do the doorbell still working, are the faucets working well, are the railings safe, these are few of the things that you should look up to since it can help any interested buyers to decide whether theyíll be interested or not.  Impression is very important, so you have to check out your home and do improvements in order to gain good impressions. A clean and neat exterior can make potential buyers feel that you have maintained your home and it is in good condition.  Windows should also be clean, so you have to make sure to clean it all up or hire window-washing service to make sure that the windows are efficiently clean and free from cobwebs and debris.  In order to add home exterior decoration that can make a home appealing is by planting flowers and hanging potted plants. Make sure to clean the gutter and mow the lawn in order to make sure that your yard is appealing enough for buyers and visitors. If you can't do the work, you can hire professional lawn service which will help you treat unhealthy grass. If you have kids, you have to make sure that their toys are properly stored and do not let it left hanging in your yard or inside your home.  If you have pets, you also have to make sure that they are in their proper places and never let them roam around your home, especially when potential buyers will come to visit. Not all people love pet, so you have to be careful. You have to make sure as well that the house number of your home is visible enough in order for potential buyers to easily locate your home. Working with real estate agent can be helpful but make sure to have the right one. Take time to find the one that has the right skills and experiences in order to make sure that he/she can help you out in selling your home quickly.

I'm Almost Ready To Buy A Home, What Should I Do?

Well, the first thing you should do before you shop for your new home is to get a copy of your credit report and credit score! You can obtain a copy of your credit report and score from one or all of the three credit bureaus:   TransUnion, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA. 19022  www.transunion.com; Equifax, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA. 30374 www.equifax.com Experian, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX. 75013  www.experian.com You may even consider ordering a three in one credit report to see what each credit bureau is reporting about you. You'll want to review your credit report for any potential problems that will need to be cleared up before you start shopping for your home.  You don't want any surprises when you complete your home loan application.  So, it's important to be proactive about getting your credit report first! After you have secured your credit report, the next step for you to consider when preparing to purchase a home is to get pre-approved for your home loan.  That's right, get pre-approved for your home loan not pre-qualified, there's a big difference! Getting pre-approved for your home loan means that you have obtained approval from your chosen lender to pay a certain amount for the home you are about to purchase.   Basically, pre-approval means you already have your money for your home purchase and have the ability to negotiate a better deal with the seller because you have the funds to purchase quickly.  A pre-qualification doesn't have much clout, because you have not secured approval of your home loan from a lender.  A pre-qualification is that you may qualify for a home loan.  So, do your research and secure  pre-approval of your home loan from a lender of your choice before you start shopping for your home!   As you look for your home, you may want to choose a buyer's agent to represent you for your home purchase.  Remember, the sellers agent represents the seller and not you the buyer! That means that whatever offers you make or whatever you tell the sellers agent for the most part must be relayed to the seller.  For example, if you tell the sellers agent that you could pay up to $200,000 for a particular property but relay a bid of $180,000 directly to the agent for the seller, the agent usually has a duty to tell the seller that you would pay up to $200,000 for their property.  This would leave you with no room for further negotiations of the purchase price to the seller.  So, consider getting your own buyer's agent that will represent your interests for the home you are trying to purchase.  Consider getting a buyer's agent that will split or get a portion of the real estate commission for the home sell with the sellers agent so youíre not stuck paying a commission fee directly. If you're interested in purchasing a brand new home, it is recommended that you have your own buyer's agent representing your own interests and not the agent who represents the builder! In most cases, you will find that the terms of the contract for the purchase of the new home presented by the builder's agent, is one sided and may not protect your interest! So, get an agent that will represent you for your new home purchase.  You will find that you may have a better peace of mind during the purchase of your home. Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you'll make in your lifetime.  It's also one of your bigger investments for your future.  So, it's important that you do your research before you buy and take precautions that will make your home purchase easy going, less stressful and carefree! So go ahead, get started on your home purchase today!

How to Find a Good Real Estate Investment Property

There are many ways in which you can find a great property for your real estate investment. The problem lies in the fact that many would be investors aren't exactly certain what specific types of investment they wish to make. Unfortunately, the type of investing will greatly affect the type of property that will best suit your real estate needs. This article focuses on finding a great property for the purpose of flipping or rehabbing a property. Seek Bargains This is absolutely a necessary step when it comes to finding properties with excellent potential as flipped properties. Bargains are often sold at bargain prices for a reason. The good news is that many of these reasons are purely cosmetic and quite simple to fix. Finding a realtor that is willing to work with you for lower prices, bargain properties offer an excellent place to begin. If he or she is a knowledgeable professional you should have access to properties that would have been unavailable to you had you continued the search without the assistance of a professional. Another great place to find bargains of this nature is to search through foreclosures, auctions, and homes that are preparing to enter into foreclosure. While not always the case, there are many in these situations that are willing to be a bit more flexible with the price. Never offer full asking price first. Start low and negotiate up. This may lose some properties but in the end it will be a much more profitable venture if you can get the properties you want for a smaller investment. Know the Neighborhood Before placing a bid on a potential property for flipping you need to learn as much about the neighborhood as possible. You do not want to place a family home in the middle of a retirement neighborhood, nor do you want to place a potential bachelor pad in that type of area. You also want to avoid areas that are entering a state of decline, as the rehab efforts are unlikely to achieve the profits you are hoping to receive. Instead, look for bargains in areas that are approaching some sort of renewal or have very low crime and excellent growth potential.  If you are rehabbing a home that is meant to appeal to families make sure the neighborhood is safe, has a relatively low crime rate, access to good schools, and entertainment opportunities that may appeal to families. These things will affect the price you are likely to be able to expect once the rehab efforts have been completed as well as the type of renovations you will need to perform on the property. Buying a property in an area that you know nothing about is like buying a property without an inspection-which brings me to my next point. Get a Thorough Inspection This is one of the most important steps in the process of selecting the perfect property for your real estate investment needs. A qualified inspection will prepare you for any problems that may arise during the course of your work on the home. These are things that will affect the amount of money you should offer on the home, the amount of money you will need to invest in repairs, and the amount of money you can expect once all is said and done.  Failing to have a complete and proper inspection can lead to disaster when the renovations begin costing extra money and time as efforts are undone in order to get to the root of the problems as you go. There are very few things that can save you the time or money that having a decent inspection can manage to save. Inspections can also make you aware of any structural problems, code problems, and other problems that may mean the difference between this property offering a possible profit or a probable loss. It is much better to be armed with this knowledge before ever making an offer on the property in question. Realize That You do not Need to Buy the First Property You See This is an important thing to remember. If the first property doesn't speak to you, move on until you find one that does. This process is part science and part inspiration. If you are uninspired by a property it is unlikely that this property will suddenly take on a life of its own in order to suit your real estate investment needs. Keep searching until you find the property that meets all of your needs in order to find the perfect property for your first or your fiftieth flip.

Fix Your Sticking Deadbolt!

Does your front door deadbolt stick when you key-in? The lock needs lubrication, but not with oil, which can attract dirt over time. Squeeze in graphite powder to lube the lock without creating future gunk-ups. And while you've got the tube handy, give any other squeaky hinges or sticking locks around the house a squeeze too.

Creating the Best Playroom EVER

Considering making a great looking but very functional play room for your children?  Here are a couple of ideas of things you might not want to leave off the list.  1. Cabinets and Tubs for storage - large, medium and small are all crucial to organize things from Legos to board games.  2. Playroom shelves that can show off your children's accomplishments and creations.  3. A train table is great for fine motor skills, imaginary play, engineering and math skills by having to place it just right to create different track sets. 4. A doll house allows kids to re-enact things that are on their mind, experiences that they’ve had and situations that they may need to work through. 5. Kid's art cart or art wall that neatly stores art supplies and allows children to explore their creative side.  6. Gaming area for electronics consoles and games /DVD’s too. 7. Book shelves full of books of all different genres.  8. Make sure that you have a "cuddly" area, with soft things like bean bag chairs, teddy bears, and soft blankets or maybe even a kids couch.  Don't forget to declutter and reassess the toys in the play room yearly to make sure your play room stays clean or else it'll be overwhelming for both you and the kids.  

Setting a Home Renovation Budget

Are you ready to do some renovation projects in your home?  Whether you're hoping to increase your home value or you're trying to keep up with your growing family, you'll want to figure out how to plan a renovation project that doesn't break the bank.   Here are five key steps in planning your home remodeling project. 1. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn't be spending more on a room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value. For example, a kitchen generally accounts for 10-15%  of the property value, so spend no more than this on kitchen renovation costs. If your home is worth $200,000, for example, you’ll want to spend $30,000 or less. 2. If you're planning to take out a loan for this renovation here are some financing options that might be just the one to help you out.                      a. Depending on your current interest rate, refinancing could help you lower your monthly rates so you can afford your renovation.                    b.  If you have enough equity,  refinancing your existing loan for an amount that’s higher than what you owe, a cash-out refinance, could be an option.                     c. A home equity line of credit works a lot like a credit card that you can borrow a set amount on how much equity you have in your home.                     d. Home equity loan that you can take out a second mortgage on your home if needed.  3. Get multiple quotes from different contractors.  Make sure you're specific down to how you want something done and what materials you want used so there are no misunderstandings about the cost.  4. Make sure you stick to your remodeling plan so you don't keep adding to your budget! 5. Account for hidden home renovation costs that might pop up.  Even the most perfect looking homes can have hidden issues lurking underneath the surfaces.   
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