Have a large wall space that needs some décor but worried it will cost you hundreds of dollars in art? Not necessarily! Here are some ideas for filling a large wall without emptying your bank account.
- Take individual pictures of your family members and have large prints made in black and white. Add to the size of each photo by adding a photo mat, then frame them in inexpensive black frames and hang them in a row across the wall.
- Let your kids be the artists. Purchase large canvases and let your children paint their masterpieces. Or take artwork they have already done at school or at home and mat and frame them.
- Use floating shelves hung at various heights and topped with photos, vases, ornaments, books, candles, or mementos.
- Use plants to fill in empty spaces. You can place potted plants or succulents on floating shelves, use planters or hanging baskets made to attach directly to the wall, or make a DIY vertical garden out of an old wooden pallet.
- Use mixed media such as large woven or wooden trays, tapestries, or metal sculptures.
- Hang a collection of quirky clocks, different sized mirrors, graphic signs, old album covers, vintage prints, painted empty frames, or crosses.
- Stencil your wall with a graphic design, a tree, vines, or a floral pattern, or favorite inspirational quote.
- Reduce the wall space and soften the room by framing the wall with false drapery panels hung on either end of a sofa or pair of chairs.
- Light it up by attaching LED string lights in a pattern or hanging pretty wall sconces at various heights.
- Reduce the wall space by placing a potted tree or folding decorative screen in front of part of the wall.
- Search antique malls for vintage architectural pieces that can be hung on the wall, such as old window frames, an antique door, intricate fireplace screen.
- Create your own graphic by covering large frames or canvases with patterned fabric remnants and hanging them in a row or collage.
There's nothing like moving into a home that is truly new, with no smells, smudges or dust left behind by a previous owner. Even better is when you get to make your own custom selections. But buying from a builder is a different ball game and it’s important you know how to play. Consider these questions if you are considering new construction.
Should you use a real estate agent? I think so! The builder may have sales agents or an assistant that helps buyer’s through the process, but those people work for the builder. It’s always a good idea to have a professional advocating for you, and most builders will pay agents a commission for bringing the buyer. It’s important that your agent accompany you to the first visit to the model center or builders’ office so that representation is established.
Does the builder have a good reputation? We’ve all heard stories of builders who fail to deliver on their promises, using lower grade materials than quoted, or even disappearing before the work was completed. Check out your builder before signing anything. Find out if there are any complaints registered against them and ask for references from other homeowners. Find out if you can tour a model or a recently completed home, and bring someone who can judge the quality of the workmanship.
Should you use the builders’ lender? Many builders work with a preferred lender that offers attractive discounts on closing costs when you finance through them. It’s important to know if the lender is working as a referral or if the mortgage company is owned by the same company that is building your home. If your lender and builder both work for the same company, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your contracts as an independent set of eyes.
Can the builder charge extra for unexpected cost increases? Look over the builder’s contract carefully, or have an attorney do so, and note if there is an escalation clause that would allow the builder to pass cost increases onto you in the event that materials or labor costs increase during construction.
What warranties are provided? Normally a builder offers a warranty lasting from six month to two years, possibly longer for some items. You should know what is covered under the builder’s warranty and for how long. All the major structural items and mechanical systems are usually covered. Appliances are not, but they should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Damage from weather, shrinkage or expansion of the home or foundation, and anything resulting from the homeowner’s failure to provide maintenance or from work done on the home after construction is not covered.
What is the timeline for completion? This will depend on whether the build is a production home, meaning the builder is building select models throughout a development, or if you have hired the builder to build a custom home. Production homes can be completed in three to four months, where custom homes usually take a minimum of six months. Regardless, the builder should be able to give you a timeline outlining each phase of construction. Factors affecting the timeline include weather, delays receiving building supplies, or the number of changes you make along the way.
Can you choose different finishes or colors? Again, it depends on the type of build. Certainly, if you are building a custom home, you can make as many changes as you are willing to pay for. But if the home is part of a development and the builder has color palettes and finishes chosen, there may be a limit to how much you can change. Often the builder will allow you to change paint colors, flooring, fixtures, tile or appliances, as long as what you choose is in line with the budget he set, and those items have not already been ordered.
Are appliances included? More-often than not, appliances are not included in the purchase price but the builder but you can choose a package through the builder for an additional cost. Make sure when buying new, to budget for new appliances.
Is landscaping included? It’s no fun to get to the end of construction and find out there is no budget for landscaping. Find out what the builder plans to put in in terms of grass, trees and shrubbery. You may want to make additions or changes to his landscape plan.
Every home buyer hopes to find the perfect house. The one that, as soon as you walk through the front door, you know it is the one for you.
It happens, and when it does, I am really happy for my buyers. I always want my buyers to fall in love with the perfect house and live happily ever after.
Just like in relationships, however, emotions often come into play during the home buying journey…Emotions that may result in some not-so-loving feelings.
While I’m not a therapist, I can help you talk through your emotions about the homes we visit and help you identify if you are making decisions with your heart and not your head.
There are six basic emotions; let’s look at how they can affect your decision-making skills.
- Fear: We have all learned that fear triggers a “fight or flight” response. In terms of making decisions, fear may cause you to “flee” from making any decision at all, which could make your home buying experience exhausting. If you are afraid you will run out of time, or that if you pass on a house you won’t find another one, you may “fight” by making a rash decision too quickly.
- Sadness: Feeling sad can cause you to lower your expectations and settle for less than you truly want. You may decide you don’t need certain features that you previously wanted. Or you may settle for one of the first homes you see instead of persevering with the search.
- Disgust: Disgust can cause you to eliminate choices that otherwise might have been in the running. You might find the perfect floorplan, style, or location, but if the home has a bad odor, a filthy floor, or some other off-putting defect, you might not be able to stomach it, even if it is a completely reversible problem.
- Surprise: Surprise is an emotion that is fleeting– it happens quickly and then subsides. Surprises can be pleasant, like if you go to see a home you were not expecting to like and find it is much nicer than you expected. But if you are touring the home and a rat runs out of the pantry, you get a negative surprise. While surprise doesn’t last, the memory does, and it can influence how you feel about the event.
- Happiness: We all want to feel happy when buying a home but be careful that your excitement doesn’t cause you to make bad decisions. When you are happy or excited, you tend to underestimate risks, assuming everything will work out. People also tend to spend more money than they planned when super excited.
- Anger: Anger can also cause you to take bigger risks. Research shows angry people are more likely to make impulsive decisions. Anger can sometimes be helpful. If handled properly, anger can help you to identify your needs and outline action steps to get the information you need to act responsibly.
In January 2020, sales of single-family-homes dropped by 16% from one year ago, and 26% from the previous month.
174 single-family-homes sold on the MLS compared to 208 the previous year. Inventory is tightening which is one of the factors impacting sales. Despite interest from buyers, the stress-test has reduced purchasing power and pushed many buyers to the sidelines. There is an increase in demand for mid- and lower-priced properties, but the lack of inventory is limiting many buyers ability to move forward with their home purchase.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you wanna get it right — especially when it comes to introducing your home to potential buyers.
With ninety percent of home buyers relying on the web for home searching, those listing photos matter, folks!
Make your cozy abode stand out from the rest with these quick tips:
- Select a realtor who understands the importance of clean, and bright listing photos. Hop online and check out a prospective realtor’s listing photos.
- While we’re sure your furry friends are always photo-ready, keep their cuteness (and all their toys) out of your listing photos.
- If you’re not crazy about the photos of your house, say so! Whether it’s one image or all of them, you deserve your listing to have its best face forward.
One of the most stressful situations in home buying occurs when other buyers are competing for the home you want. To make an offer on the perfect house only to find out you have entered a bidding war is certainly frustrating.
It doesn’t happen often, but if there is a shortage of homes for sale, or you are looking in a particularly sought-after area, it’s a possibility. It’s common to feel helpless as you wait for communications to come back through the agents involved, hoping for some good news.
To that end, I’ve put together some tips for how to make a multiple offer situation as comfortable and successful as possible for my buyers.
- Pick a real estate agent who is well organized and an exceptional communicator. A lapse in communication could be interpreted as disinterest. Don’t get overlooked because your agent didn’t communicate with the seller’s agent in a timely manner.
- Have your pre-approval letter or proof of funds in hand. You may have a great offer to submit, but if you can’t back it up with proof you are qualified to purchase the home the seller may just move on. Make a cash offer if you are able. If not, make as large a down payment as possible, and use a lender that communicates effectively with all parties.
- Offer more than the asking price. Your agent should do a comparative market analysis to give you a good idea on the home value as soon as you decide to make an offer. If it’s not too out of line with the CMA or your budget, offer more than the asking price.
- Keep your offer clean and simple. Don’t ask for contingencies that aren’t necessary to closing the transaction.
- Shorten the subject removal period. Asking for a 5 to 7 day inspection period instead of the traditional 14 lets the seller know that you aren’t going to waste anyone’s time. Find a home inspector who has availability to schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
- Have your deposit ready. Offer a deposit that sends the message that you are serious about your offer and have the funds ready to turn in as soon as your offer is accepted.
- Offer flexibility with your closing date. Convey through your agent that you are willing adjust the closing date to suit the seller’s needs.
- Include a personal letter with a family photo. Let the seller know who you are, what you like about the home, and that you intend to take good care of their former residence. Let them know what it is about the home that has already made it special to you.
- Offer an additional deposit after the subject removal period. This is another way to let the seller know you are serious about the house and not just trying to get it off the market while you make up your mind or look further.
- Consider an escalation clause. Let the seller know that if your offer isn’t the highest you will go up by including a clause stating that you will increase your offer, up to a set price, if the seller shows you a higher offer from another buyer.
- Be diplomatic with negotiations after your contract is signed. Remember that the seller has other interested parties to fall back on. If you turn ugly after the contract is signed, making additional demands or not following through with your promises, the seller may hand you back your deposit and work with someone else.