7 Easy, Inexpensive Home Storage Hacks That Will Free Up Your Space

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Even small spaces can feel spacious when the art of storage is mastered.  Here are 7 inexpensive storage hacks to free up space in your home.

 

 

  1. Racks On Racks On Racks

It’s often the first mess you see when walking into someone’s home — a clutter of shoes sprawled out by the entrance.  Take care of this mess with a shoe rack, which will only take up a few feet of space but allow you to store numerous pairs of kicks.

  1. Fold & Hang

Not your clothes, your chairs!  If you don’t use chairs often or rarely eat at the table, consider buying folding chairs instead as they can easily be put away when not in use.  Attach a few hooks to a nondescript area of your home and hang the chairs to store them.

  1. Slide Into An Island

Need more counter space but can’t sacrifice your kitchen table?  Well now you can have both (without renovating!).  Install a small island that has a slide-in table: you can slide out the table during meals and slide it back in when finished.  Perfect when paired with folding chairs.

  1. Make The Most Of Your Cupboards

Install small storage solutions inside of your cupboards to make the most of their space.  Hooks can hang mugs from the tops of shelves, and towel racks placed on the inside of a cupboard door can fit pot lids.  For a large cupboard, consider a hanging shoe rack for compartmentalized storage space from top to bottom.

  1. Multi-Purpose Furniture

When trying to maximize space, choose furniture that also offers storage, such as a bed frame with pullout drawers underneath it, or an ottoman that opens up to store remotes, books, or toys.  There are countless pieces designed for small spaces, so find ones that meet your own unique needs.

  1. Build Me Up Buttercup

When floor space is limited, you have no choice but to build upwards.  Shelves allow you to make the most of vertical space, and can fit into almost any area.  Corner shelves can help you take advantage of otherwise dead space, and tall shelving units can act as a room divider which is perfect for a studio.  If you want to create a more open concept, choose wall-mounted shelves as they have minimal design impact.

  1. Hang It Up

Along with every door comes a fantastic storage opportunity!  Choose a door-mounted hanging storage system to keep clothes, robes, towels, or shoes off of the floor.  Feel free to be creative — you can use them to store whatever you like.

Want more tips on small space living? Contact a trusted real estate professional today.

3 Ways That You Can Leverage Mortgage Financing to Build a Real Estate Investment Portfolio

home-3Real estate may be one of the most important things that you will ever invest in, but it can also be a useful means of increasing your financial well-being. If you’re getting into the real estate game and are wondering how you can make use of investing in homes to improve your net worth, here are three ways you can successfully work towards a real estate investment portfolio that will make you proud.

Home Equity Line of Credit Loan

Also known as HELOC, this is the type of loan where a home buyer taps into the equity of their home while they are still paying off their mortgage. As the equity that has been paid into the home is available without the home buyer having to apply for it, this allows those who invest in real estate to borrow against equity to renovate the property or pay for a deposit on another property.

Pick Properties That Will Appreciate

It goes without saying that most people want to invest in a property that will increase in value, so as an investor you need to be especially careful about what you invest in. Since you may have problems paying all your property fees if the value of one decreases, try and be aware of future market trends and neighborhood hotspots. This means diversifying the properties you invest in and including a buffer in your payment plan so that, even if the market takes a turn, you can still pay off your amount owing.

Investing In Under Market Value

There are few better ways to improve the financial feasibility of your investment portfolio than investing in a property that is under market value. Not only will you have an automatic gain with the purchase price, you will be able to invest that money into improvements in order to bump up the market price even more. While finding this type of property can be difficult for the newcomer, looking for neighborhoods with potential or properties that require little maintenance can be a good place to begin.

There are few better things to invest in than real estate, but it can be hard to know where to put your money in the beginning. Whether through a home loan or purchasing a property under market value, there are plenty of ways to bump up your net worth. If you’re currently considering an investment in real estate, you may want to contact one of our mortgage professionals for more information.

 

3 Key Reasons Why Buying Your First Home Is Like Planning a Wedding

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You may not see the connection right away, but buying a home and planning a wedding are two experiences that require certain skills and challenge you in similar ways.  Check out the three key similarities below!

 

  1. Budget

Whether you’re buying your first home or planning a wedding, you are likely facing one of the biggest financial obligations of your life.  That’s why, in both cases, it is essential that you pick a realistic budget and stay within it.

Sounds simple, but in either case it can be difficult!  Unexpected obstacles may force you to spend more than you planned, or you may find yourself wanting to overspend as you find things that would be “just perfect” additions even though they don’t fit your budget.  These temptations can be expected, but it’s important to remember the big picture.  When it comes to your budget, pick it and stick it.

  1. Details

When it comes to a home purchase or a wedding, there are countless details to consider.  It’s not a simple, pre-packaged purchase, there will always be big decisions that you have to make and if you overlook something you may regret it later on.

Some decisions that you face will be similar in both experiences: Does the location work for you?  Does it work for your friends and family?  What is the parking situation?  Is it appropriate for the climate?  Will you be satisfied with your decision in the long-term?

Other details will be more unique to the situation: Do you need a cocktail hour?  Do you need a walk-in closet?  What style of photography would you like?  Is there too much traffic noise?

Either way you’ll have lots to think about, and you’ll become acutely aware of ‘the little things.’

  1. You’ve Got Style

Both your wedding and your home say something about you — they’re a reflection of your personal style.  When being presented with so many choices that are particularly catered towards your personal taste, you’ll learn what you like and what you don’t.  However, you’ll also learn what it is that you absolutely need, and what you’re willing to budge on.

Whether you’re choosing a wedding dress that is both gorgeous and functional for your ceremony or deciding whether or not you need an extra bedroom in your home, you’ll learn what it is that you’d want in a perfect world, and what is absolutely necessary for your current situation.

If you’re ready to seriously start looking for your first home, make sure you do so with a trusted real estate professional on your team.  Contact us today.

Feeling Squeezed by Higher Rents? It Might Be Time to Consider Buying Your First Home

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With the cost of rent going up across the board and becoming even less affordable in metropolitan centers, it’s never been a better time to seriously consider home ownership. While the price of a home and all the associated costs can certainly seem like a tight squeeze after years of renting, here are some reasons you may want to consider giving up your rental and springing for a home instead.

 

It’s An Automatic Savings

 It’s a sure bet that the money you spend on rent is going down the drain as soon as the month is over, but investing your money into a home each month means that you’re actually putting it into something tangible that you can profit from later on. While there are no certainties that the price of your home will improve, there’s a good chance you’ll stand to make a bit of money in the end that will easily offset the cost of insurance and property taxes involved in buying a home.

 

 The Insecurity Of Apartment Living

 With apartments being bought up all the time and torn down to make way for new developments, it’s always a possibility that the day may come when your home won’t be your home anymore. The good thing about using your purchasing power to invest in a home is that it gives you the freedom of feeling like you really have something that belongs to you, and you probably won’t have to worry as much about your loud next door neighbors or a landlord that never completes the required maintenance on your apartment.

 

You Can Consider A Roommate

 An apartment often means a smaller amount of space, but it’s possible that a home purchase may provide you with a little bit of extra room and a place for a renter who can help with the monthly bills. Whether you decide on a friend, relative or someone you don’t know, this can be a great way to make home purchasing a little bit more economical and still provide you with the equity you’ll need to make it a worthwhile, long term investment.

With rent becoming less affordable in so many cities, the idea of purchasing a home is becoming a more tenable reality for many people. If you’re interested in what is out there and are curious about your own possibilities for home ownership, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

 

Dream Renovations: Upgrading Your Bathroom from ‘Regular’ to ‘In-home Spa’

bathroomThere are times you might long for the relaxed leisure of the spa experience, but with the cost of a manicure it’s not always a pleasure one can afford. If your current bathroom set-up isn’t the optimal place for rest and relaxation, here are some cues for how you can turn it from a bit of a problem to a consummate pleasure.

 

Install A Vintage Vanity

 The look of slick steel and porcelain can certainly be classy, but if you’re looking for an upscale room you’ll love to spend time in, consider a vintage dresser that you can turn into your very own unique vanity. While you’ll need to develop some plumbing and woodworking know-how to make this dream a reality, it will easily fancy up your bathroom and lend for an elegant, everyday experience.

 

Spring For A Bold Color

 Part of the spa experience is often the palette of jewel-toned colors that are used on the walls, but it can often be considered a risk to take on such an intense tone in one’s own bathroom. However, if you have a smaller sized bathroom and can find a brilliant color you really love that will work with your décor, it may make for a unique and singular spa-style experience.

 

Add An Accent With Tile

 A sizeable Jacuzzi that you can really get comfortable in is a great start for an in-home spa experience, but there are some stylish ways you can add to it that will make for a particularly sophisticated look. Instead of taking out the tub, pick a colorful tile that will mesh with the other colors and textures of your bathroom to add an accent. It’s not necessarily a simple fix but it will add a lot of oomph.

 

Work A Walk-In Shower

 It goes without saying that a shower curtain does not always provide for the most sublime of bathroom experiences, so one step towards your own ‘in-home Spa’ may involve the addition of a walk-in shower. While this can be an expensive upgrade, it can completely change the look and feel of your bathroom, and might just mean you’ll save on manicures.

The spa experience can be enticing for the relaxation and comfort it offers, but you can create a similar experience in your own bathroom with a few changes that will elegant it up. If you happen to be renovating your home because you’re planning to sell, you may want to contact one of our local real estate agents for more information on homes available in your area.

Buying a New Home? Learn How the ‘Conforming Loan Limit’ Might Affect Your Purchase

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From mortgage to equity to debt-to-income ratio, there are many terms associated with home ownership that can be quite confusing if you’ve never been on the market for a home before. ‘Conforming loan limit’ may be a less familiar real estate term than the rest, but here are some things you’ll need to know about it and what it could mean for your biggest investment.

 

What Is The ‘Conforming Loan Limit’?

 The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) are legally required to provide loans for balances below a specific amount, and this amount is what is known as the ‘conforming loan limit’. While the loan amount is determined by credit history and income amount, these conforming loans that are less than the specific amount are considered lower risk. If a loan amount is above the conforming loan limit, it is known as a jumbo loan and usually comes with higher rates.

 

How The ‘Conforming Loan Limit’ Is Determined

 The Federal Home Financing Agency determines any adjustments made to conforming loan limits and the decided-upon amount is based on the home prices from October to October for the previous year. This amount is released annually in November and is enforced the following January. While this limit was $417,000 up to 2008, the amount for regions like Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the United States Virgin Islands is 50% higher than the standard amount due to the cost of housing.

 

Going Above The ‘Limit’ And Combination Loans

 While jumbo loans carry more risk, there are ways to avoid going above the conforming loan limit. There is the option of acquiring a conforming loan for $417,000, the amount established for 2014, and then utilizing a second mortgage for the remaining amount that will ensure you do not have to take out a jumbo loan; however, the rates for a second loan will likely be higher. In the event that you would like to avoid jumbo loans or a combination loan, you may want to consider putting more money down on your initial down payment.

The conforming loan limit changes each year, but it may have a significant impact on your home purchase if it falls below a certain amount. If you are curious about real estate terms because you’re considering a home purchase in the near future, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

3 Things to Consider Before Renting to Students

studentWhether you have a second property that you’re going to move into or you’re planning on being away from your dwelling place for a while, you may be considering putting your home on the market in order to boost your financial outlook. While students comprise one demographic that is always entering the rental market to scoop up availabilities, here are some things you may want to consider before deciding on a younger renter.

 

Will Your Home Be Rented Consistently?

 Many students will require a place to rent out since most of them don’t have the money savings or stable income to purchase a home, but if you’re doing this to make ends meet on your properties, renting to student may not be the best way. While some students may plan on hanging out over the summer, there are those who will be heading home in order to live with their parents and save money for the Autumn semester. A contract’s a contract, but a renter can always flee the coop if it’s inconvenient.

 

Will They Take Good Care Of Your Home?

 From furniture to family mementos, most people’s home is pretty personal to them, and that’s why it can be of supreme importance to have a renter that will respect your home and take good care of it in your absence. While there are plenty of responsible students in the world, you should ensure before settling on anyone that it’s someone you really trust who won’t damage your house or wake up the neighbors every Saturday evening.

 

What Rental Price Are You Looking For?

 If you’re trying to make financial ends meet with your property, you’ll probably want to charge the maximum amount you can while still having a renter in your home. The risk with students is that they may not be able to pay the dollar amount you’re looking for so that you can effectively maximize your investment. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking the financial brunt, it’s important to get the monthly amount that your living space can garner on the market.

There can be a number of downfalls when it comes to renting to students, but there’s also the possibility that you’ll have a responsible renter who will stick around for more than a couple seasons. If you’re currently on the market for a second home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

3 Reasons You Should Trust in a Mortgage Advisor Instead of Trying to Predict Rates

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If the time has come to purchase a home and you’ve been perusing the real estate market, it’s possible you’ve also been considering the mortgage options that might work best for you. In the event that you’re already spending a lot of time looking at homes and trying to sell your own, here are a few reasons you may want to leave your mortgage considerations to a professional.

 

Qualifications You Can Count On

 If you’re new to the world of home purchasing and have concerns about learning the ropes on your own, a mortgage advisor can be a great way to navigate the market and get the information you need without having to do all of the legwork. Because a mortgage advisor has to have the necessary qualifications to give you advice, they’ll be able to guide you through available options so you can find the product that is best suited for your financial situation.

 

A Knowledgeable Expert On Your Side

 Between putting in offers on a home and dealing with lenders, it can often feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place, and getting squeezed financially. However, the ideal mortgage advisor will be someone who is there solely to assist you and provide you with viable options. Instead of a very specific set of options provided by the bank, an advisor will be able to identify products your lender might not suggest, which means you’ll have more options and a broker who will be able to recommend the best ones for you.

 

The Inside Scoop On The Industry

 It’s the job of a mortgage advisor to be on top of the market, have a comprehensive knowledge of the products out there and be familiar with the lenders, so this means less research and a lot more expertise for you when it comes to any final mortgage decisions. Not only will they have the know-how in the industry you’re heading into, they’ll be aware of the information the lender requires and may be able to score you a better deal when the time to make a decision comes.

Finding the ideal lender for your mortgage can be a struggle in times where there are so many small details to deal with, but a mortgage advisor can work to simplify the process. If you’ll soon be applying for a mortgage and are considering your lender options, you may want to contact one of your local mortgage professionals for more information.

3 Reasons You Might Decide to Retire to a Tiny Home – and Why You’ll Love It

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Many people romanticize the idea of paying off their home mortgage early so they can enjoy their home in retirement, but when it comes to the later years of life, a big house can actually be too much to handle. If you’ve started to consider a smaller home and are wondering why it might be a good decision for you and yours, here are a few things you may want to consider.

 

It’s Much Easier To Maintain

 It is often the idea of the palatial estate with a pool that homeowners get excited about, but when it comes to reality, the larger the home, the harder it is going to be to take care of and maintain. If you don’t have a maid or a butler, a smaller home will enable you to spend a lot more of your free time doing things that you love instead of being bound to a house that is full of repairs and maintenance that needs to be completed.

 

Save On The Big Home Bills

 One of the worries associated with getting older is having the ability to maintain your lifestyle in old age, and a smaller home can actually alleviate many of the high costs that go along with having an oversized home. A smaller home will not only minimize your insurance and taxes, it can also positively impact the amount you pay each month for heating and electricity, so you’ll notice the savings right off the bat.

 

The Freedom Of A Downsized Lifestyle

 One of the best things about downsizing to a smaller home is the huge sense of responsibility that can be left in the dust. Instead of being held back by all of the stuff required to fill a big house, a small home means there is less to worry about. This may mean you’ll have the option to go on longer vacations or can even relocate to a hot climate for the summer months, and you’ll only need someone to come by and water the plants every once in a while!

There are plenty of people that decide to downsize later in life since it can actually be a great way to save money and have a lot more freedom. If you’re considering your smaller home options and are curious about what’s available on the market, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

 

3 Quick Painting Tips That Will Help Take Your Walls from Tacky to Tasteful

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Whether you happen to be a painting pro or you’ve never dared to pick up a roller, there are a few tricks of the trade that professionals use to make a paint job look its best. If you want to take an old, outdated paint job and turn it into something you can be proud of, here are a few tips from those who know best.

 

Start With A Perfectly Smooth Surface

 If you’re trying to rush through it, sanding might seem like an unnecessary step in re-covering your walls, but it’s very important in order to level out the spackle paste and ensure that no ridges will appear in the paint around the nails. According to one professional painter, you should start by sanding from the baseboard to the ceiling with a fine grit sandpaper, and then move on to a horizontal sand that will make for a smooth wall finish.

 

Forget About The Plastic

 The proper floor coverage while painting is just as important as the paint when it comes to getting the job done properly, so opt for a large canvas cloth instead of linens or plastic. Paint on linen can sink through to your floor and stain it, while paint on plastic takes a long time to dry and may end up smearing all over other things. A canvas cloth will keep any paint splotches away from your floor and ensure they aren’t tracked throughout the home after they fall.

 

Stick To One Wall

 It can be tempting to get done the rudimentary step of completing the corners and trim before you move on to painting, but this can actually make for a less smooth finish. Instead of finishing one task at a time, complete the corners and trim on one wall and immediately reach for the roller. This is something professional painters do to ensure that the brushed and rolled paint will blend together more seamlessly.

There are a few simple steps you can follow when painting a room that will make it look like a professional did the job. By using a canvas cloth to cover your surfaces and sticking with one wall until the job is done, you should have a smooth new surface you can be proud of. If you’re currently painting your home and preparing to sell, you may want to contact one of our local real estate agents for information about your options on the market.