Trends

Transform Your Garage

The new trends today are transforming garages into an extra hangout room. Most Americans store their vehicles in their garages, which is totally normal, but are they being used to the full potential?

Homeowners across the country are converting their garages into a room that can be used by the entire family. If this is something that strikes your interest consider some of these ideas on how to do it right.

Think of the shape and location of your garage

It is a sensual to plan carefully when thinking of renovating your garage. Most garages have vaulted ceilings, strange angles, and tricky corners, which makes it a challenge to find storage space and decorate it eloquently. 

Keep in mind if you live in a place that gets cold you may be sacrificing your car to the outside elements during winter.

Focus on the details

In order for a garage to be comfortable you'll have to make sure the insulation, heating, cooling, and lighting are installed correctly. It won't be comfy if it's too hot or cold. And don't forget about the garage door. It would be ideal to have a separate entrance so the main entry point isn't pulling up and down the garage door all the time. 

For all the items that reside in the garage like a lawnmower, you may want to get yourself an outside shed to place in the backyard.

Use it to replace a room you pay for

You can use this room as a gym, office space, or even a art or music studio. Saving money is always cool, especially when you use your new space to take the place of the office you've been renting, or the gym you've been going to for years. 

All you need is a elliptical, some free weights, and you got yourself your own personal gym where there's never a line to use weights....

What is Dual Agency

Homebuyers and home sellers are two different sides of a home transaction. Should they have their own agent representing them? The norm says yes, but it isn’t always the case, so it depends.

The old adage “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” seems like the right thing to say here, but whoever said that never tried eating a little now and saving some for later. We sometimes have multiple options and have a difficult time choosing between two good ones. In real estate, dual agency breaks the cake rule. It may just happen that your agent is also the listing agent of the home you want to buy. If this is the case, you don’t need to find a new agent; you can keep your agent and get the house too!

More often than not in real estate each party has their own agent representing them. If it’s a dual agency case the agent gets both sides of the deal and keeps the entire commission. It also happens when agents from the same brokerage represent each party. There are surely pros and cons of dual agency, just like any scenario that is too good to be true.

Pro: Fast communication

If an agent represents both parties, they don’t have to wait to hear back from the other party every time communication needs to happen. Streamlined communication makes for a faster transaction because the agent is in control of both sides, and should know what each party is looking for. Motivated dual agents won’t be missing deadlines, or fail to perform their duties if they are looking at the entire commission check.

Con: No advice

This situation can often be a problem, conflict-of-interest. IF the seller wants the highest amount they can get, while the buyer wants the lowest amount they can spend, the agent cannot take sides, or give their advice. This situation is often like one lawyer defending both husband...

Homeowner's versus Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go has taken the country by storm, and not everyone is as equally enthused. Homeowners aren't so fond of it as it's causing some people to wander on their private property. Police have gone as far as issuing warnings to Pokémon Go players to stay off private and public places where they don't have access to go. 

The New York Police Department has issued warnings not only to stay off private property, but to not play while driving a car or riding a bike.

Police reports have been a little stranger lately; one report contained information saying a man's house was a gym where Pokémon can be trained. The homeowner said people started parking in front of his house and karge clusters of people began waving cell phones in his yard.

Not all experiences are so friendly. There have been reports of people tresspassing at 1 AM. At that point it could be construed as criminal. The defense of, "I was catching Pokémon" isn't going to hold up well in court. SO be sure if you are a Pokémon catcher, you do it where you have permission.  

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Snapchat and Real Estate

As a real estate agent it’s your job to advertise for yourself. Whether your platform is one of the various forms of social media, word-of-mouth, or if your reputation does all the work for you, you need to be the best at promoting your services.

Today’s agents are getting younger and they are using the many platforms of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. These are proving to work, but not all of them have been utilized to their full potential.

One of the growing tools for agents is Snapchat. Many agents are hesitant because they don’t understand it. But here is what you need to know to become a Snapchat star.

Be hyper-local – this means showing your face, and showing the hottest spots in town. Drive around the neighborhoods showing the real estate through video or picture. If you swipe right, there’s bound to be a “filter” that says if you’re in “old Louisville”, or “Crescent Hill”, and that can be very helpful.

Be authentic - Be yourself, show your excitement for what you do. If you come off as polished, so what, say what you have to in order to entice and show the Snapchat world what’s going on in the market.

Be patient – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your snapchat follower base. Consider this more of a marathon than a sprint. It takes time to get your name out there and have people follow you. So keep doing what you do while staying cool, calm, and collected.

Download the Ghost Codes app – One snapchat guru is Carlos Gil. This app will tell you everything you need to know and show you...

3 Simple Ways to go Green

In today’s world some phrases may intimidate people; a common one is “sustainable home”. Becoming green isn’t bad, and in fact if you knew a little more about it, you may even like it. To go green doesn’t mean you completely change your life style and get solar panels all over your roof, or buy all new electric cars.

You can have an ecofriendly home without building it from scratch. Simple tweaks here and there can turn your home from industrial to green.

Light bulbs and more

Using LED light bulbs is the simplest thing you can do in order to affect your electric bill. Another option is getting high-performance windows. They are usually triple-paned for maximum efficiency.

Thinking about your air ducts? There are air ducts out there that are actually ductless! They are mounted on your wall and are controllable by a remote.  It’s been reported that these systems are up to 300% more efficient than most of the systems out there. They also happen to fit and blend into most rooms.

Water conservation

Having the right fixtures can help save thousands of gallons of water per year. Stealth system toilets use less than a gallon per flush. The average American toilet uses about 3 gallons per flush; that’s anywhere from 6,000 – 9,000 gallons saved annually!

Having a tankless water heater is another option for saving water. These skip the wasteful process of reheating hot water in a tank. They heat on-demand and energy isn’t wasted keeping already hot water hot.

There’s also the good ol’ system of collecting rain water. Repurposed rainwater works excellent for gardens and landscaping. Put barrels or buckets under your downspout and install a rain chain, which drains water from your gutters and hang from the downspout.

The green thing about this practice...

Student Loans Preventing Your From Getting a Loan? Here's How to Beat it.

Student loans make buying a home much more of a hassle than it needs to be. Let’s figure out what the root problem is and how buyers can overcome it.

Problem number one is the student debt is often included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of your monthly income that is spent paying your debts. This would include your mortgage, student loans, auto loans, credit card payments, and child support. All these have a major impact on your DTI number.

Lenders use this factor pretty heavily in deciding if you are a good candidate for a mortgage. The preferred number among lenders is 36%, or below. Sometimes, 43% is allowed.

Before applying for your mortgage, make sure this number is quite healthy.

Your house payment is one of the most important factors in this ratio. Your DTI will be fluctuating since the house payment is affected by the property taxes, interest rate, and house price. IT doesn’t work in the way that everyone is qualified for a certain price. He bank just looks at the underwrite and what your monthly payment is.

Student loans aren’t always included on your DTI ratio, it just depends on what type of loan you he and if your payments are current.

If the buyer gets a conventional mortgage (VA loan – guaranteed by Veterans Affairs) the student loan will be included, even if payments have been deferred. If the buyer gets an FHA loan (insured by Federal Housing Administration) the ratio will be included unless the payments have been deferred for at least year. In this case, the payments can be excluded from the DTI.

The three ways to overcome DTI trouble is to reduce your debt, increase your income, and decrease your target mortgage payment.

Reducing your debt

If you have any loans that can be paid off within 10 payment periods, do it as fast as you can because lenders will remove this particular debt from the ratio. Paying off credit...

How to Have Your Own Garden in an Apartment

There are a ton of advantages to growing your own food, like knowing exactly where it’s coming from, you control the chemicals used, it’s cheap, and it’s healthy. Growing a ton of a food can be difficult without a ton of land, but it isn’t impossible. It’s actually a lot easier than you may think. Living on the 15th floor of a New York apartment can pose its problems, but first you must figure out which plants work best in your type of environment.

Try the herbs

Parsley, lemongrass, chives, oregano, and basil are super easy to grow indoors. If you can use a breathable pot, like the ones made of terra cotta, it’s easy to grow them indoors as long as you keep them near a window. All you have to do is not overwater them. The beauty of herbs is they only need to be watered once a week. You will know when to water them once the soil is completely dry, then you should make the soil completely wet.

The Greens

These plants like lettuce, spinach, arugula, and chard can handle low levels of light, so growing them indoors isn’t difficult. They have shallow roots so growing them in window boxes is ideal. Just be sure to give them a little light.

DIY an ideal growing environment

If your balcony or roof has too much sun, you can always get an awning to make some shade. Tomatoes need light but not too much. If you’ve got too little light, try painting a pallet white and put it against the wall the reflect what sunlight you do receive. If you live in warmer, drier climates, be sure to have your pots resting in drip trays that you keep filled with water. There are always self-watering planters too.

Be picky about where you buy your plants

Buying from a nursery rather than...

First-Time Home Buyers Want to Skip on Starter Homes

According to Bank of America, 75% of first time home buyers would prefer to skip buying a starter home, and buy one that’s a better long-term fit. They would much rather buy a home that they can grow into, even if they don’t necessarily fit into it now. 69% said they would prefer to save more money and move into a nicer home in the future than settle for a home now.

Of those surveyed, 35% said they want to retire in their first home. 31% said they would like to move into a starter home now. The rest are willing to wait for a better home.

A good portion of the market shows buyers who have a plan are willing to buy a starter home, as opposed to those who want to be a homeowner eventually. Of those with a plan, 41% want a starter home, and 23% without a plan would buy a starter home.

Over 50% said they don’t think they could afford a home due to debt, and another portion says they just don’t want one. They must be content living with their parents, or renting.

An interesting statistic about this survey conveyed that Gen Xer’s put off buying a home more so than Millennials due to debt. 43% of Gen Xer’s put off buying a home as opposed to 32% of Millennials.

Starter homes are good for everyone. You don’t have to stay there for long, and you own your own home, instead of paying rent, which is money you will never see again. If you put a little sweat equity into the home, you can even turn a profit when you decide to upgrade. 

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Survey: Buying Online is Becoming A Trend

An online brokerage firm called Owners.com surveyed 1,000 future home buyers and c determined they are becoming more familiar, and quite comfortable with the home buying process. Another conclusion was they are becoming more self-reliant with buying homes.

The findings of the report stated that 80% of the buyers believe that the market will be just as good, or better, than it was give years ago; and that mortgage interests rates are “somewhat to very important” in their decision when to buy.

Exactly 69% of the buyers graded themselves with an “A” or “B” in terms of understanding the home-buying process. It’s fair to say they are confident in navigating themselves through the real estate market.

Here’s another fun number: 73% said they would search for homes online, and 53% would book online home tours. 43% said they might go for online financing products and 27% would send a purchase offer online.

There are a lot of positive feelings towards this spring season. One area buyers are willing to explore a bit more is the online real estate market. They get to learn the process themselves all while saving time and money. This trend is expected to only go up.

For the fancy buyers, 29% had a dream of a full smart kitchen, and 19% wanted a spa bathroom.

33 of buyers said they would surely upgrade to a better home, 25% would invest in real estate, and 24% would relocate to a totally new area.

And let’s not forget, 80% think this year will be the same, if not better than the past 5 years. Let’s hope they are right!

 

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Preparing Your Home to Live with a Senior Citizen

Multigenerational living is the new norm on TV, and it’s becoming more popular in the real world as well. Having your grandparents live with you isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you get to create more memories this way, all while making sure they are in good hands.

Before taking on this responsibility, you should make sure your home is capable of housing a senior citizen. Chances are you will need to make some minor changes to reduce the risk of accidents. Let’s discuss the most important rooms, and the best ways to make them safer.

Doors, stairways, and walkways

Here you will want to use nightlights so they don’t stub their toes, and can see in the dark. Keep these in hallways and bathrooms.

Clear away the clutter so they have less chance of tripping over your stuff. If you’ve got loose electrical wires, tape them down.

The elderly do better with lever handles vs. traditional round handle doorknobs. They are much easier to grip for them, and don’t require twisting of the wrist. There’s even a bonus – if their hands are full, they can still manage to open them!

Something you may take for granted is the ability to go up and down stairs without rails. Throw your grandparents a bone and add some rails on the stairs.

Lighting and room temperature

As you get older your vision tends to fade, so do them a favor and increase the lighting in your home. Focus on brightening the areas in their closets, bedrooms, kitchen, and living room.

Change the switches to rockers, this way they can turn them on if their hands are full. Rocks also don’t need strong motor skills to operate.

Smart lights are very helpful too, whether they be timed, or motion sensor, this means they don’t have to be searching for the light switch....

8 Things Your Home Inspector Won't Inspect

Who can’t wait for inspection day? It’s one of the most exciting days there are! You get to explore every inch of the home looking for flaws. Run all the appliances, peel back the carpet, and test all the lights while keeping your fingers crossed!

The inspector should inspect every nook and cranny to give you an honest evaluation. If they miss anything it could end up costing you a boatload of money. Even if you hire an inspector don’t expect them to reveal every little hidden secret your house holds. Some do not inspect areas of homes they are not qualified in, because they don’t want to be held liable. Check with them first to see what areas they cover and don’t cover. Here are the following fields in which you need inspected.

Roofs

Calling in a roof specialist will save you thousands if there turns out to be something wrong with your current roof. Keep in mind when you are trying to have an inspection, because having a roof covered with snow could pose a problem.

Chimneys

If there is a question of structural damage or instability, you want your chimney to be inspected. They can use their chimney cam (video camera) to inspect the tall tube and look for damage.

Geological

Having a home on a cliff, hillside, or flood zone could be an issue, but having a geological inspection will set you at ease. They could uncover the damage possibilities you probably missed, or give advice on how to prevent a disaster, saving you thousands down the road.

Sewers

Sewer inspectors can enlighten you on the integrity of your pipes and uncover cracks or leaks from the street to your house. If your home is heavily landscaped, you will want to get your sewer inspected because roots tend to invade the pipe...

4 Awesome House Plants for Every Home

Having plants around your house is a simple way to keep your home lively. They do a lot of good things for a home like provide pretty decoration, smell nice, soak up unhealthy toxins in the air, and give rooms a little more color.

These plants are easy to take care of even if you forget to water them for a few days. They just sit there are grow.

Dracaena

This is one of the most common household plants. They’re in almost every doctor’s office, and they’re perfect for any corner of a room. It will grow pretty tall, but if it gets too tall for your liking, trim the canes and dip the trimmed ends in a rooting hormone. Once you have 4-inch canes in a bag of sphagnum moss, let them sit in direct light in a pot and the roots will begin to grow. Now you have a brand new plant!

Mistletoe cactus

Buy one of these spaghetti plants. They last forever and need very little attention. They can adapt from rooms with very low light, to very high light without problem. The only thing you cannot do is drown them, they will rot. The stems can be placed in potting mix to perlite, of even a little glass of water. Eventually they will sprout little white flowers and tiny cute berries afterward.

Air plants (Tillandsia)

These don’t really need soil to survive, just a little water two or three times a week. If you have them in your bathroom, sometimes the shower steam alone can do the trick. Just place them in a cup, and watch them grow!

Haworthia

Originally from South Africa, these plants aren’t too popular yet. These are pretty shade tolerant, and really the one thing that can kill them is too much water. If all you have to do is not drown them, you should be fine. Even if they somehow get knocked over, or stepped...

The Kitchen Appliance Guide

A kitchen is often times the heart of a home because it is where most of the family members spend their time. Because this is true, this is one of the first rooms to be remodeled, and new appliances are always in the conversation.

If your kitchen has been updated recently, it’s probably a bit behind on the newest appliances. These have all the newest, most high-tech features. Factor in the size of your kitchen, your aesthetic taste, your family’s cooking and eating habits, and your budget.

Like most families, money is a factor and we try to save all we can. Search online for coupons, deals, and negotiate with retailers for better deals or perks like free delivery or installation. Think for the future too; buying an appliance with an energy star means it’s “green” and will use less energy meaning lower electric bills. Before you buy the one you want, measure your doorways to make sure it will fit.

Finding a fridge

The average family of four typically uses 19 to 22 cubic feet, but now there are models offering 30 cubic feet and more. Before sheer size, there are other things to consider, mostly like door style. Other things is the whether the freezer is on top like the traditional type, or on the bottom as people don’t reach for frozen food  as often as fresh food. Fridges with side-by-side doors fit well into narrow spaces. The French door models have a freezer on the bottom, and tend to be taller and wider. And for the big spenders, having a built-in fridge to match your cabinets, while being flush is always a classy option.

For the features, look for temperature controlled bins, humidity monitoring for freshness, and easy to arrange shelves. If you feel like splurging and getting extra features like door-in-door storage and through the door ice/water dispensers, go for it.

Choosing a dishwasher

Dishwashers...

7 New Years Resolutions Homeowners Can Get Behind

The New Year is fast approaching, and we all will have some resolutions to try to uphold. Some are attainable, others we are just flat out lying to ourselves. These new changes don’t particularly need to be life-changing, so here are some simple ones when it comes to real estate resolutions. These are attainable, and will pay you fortune down the road.

Make extra mortgage payments

Chances are we all have mortgages, and that number slowly gets smaller. You are mostly paying interest for the first long-while, but if you can muster up enough cash to make the extra payments per month, your debt will shrink much quicker. This will likely save you tens of thousands of dollars if you can make double payments multiple times per year. Just be sure to tell the loan officer, this extra payment is going towards the principal.

Get a new homeowner’s insurance quote

Insurance renews every year, and you probably didn’t know that or think much about it.  Each year, you could be eligible for new discounts that weren’t originally on the table. Insurance companies won’t be calling you to notify you that you now qualify for whatever discount. Call your agent yearly, and see if you can get an extra discount here-and-there. If not, start shopping for a better policy elsewhere.

Have your home reassessed for tax purposes

Homes get reassessed every few years by whatever county they are in. This means your property value could increase or decrease year to year, but it’s not documented. You could be paying too much in taxes in some cases. Most states allow free online assessment requests. Watch out for scams though, they are typically outside companies offering small assessment fees.

Get an energy assessment

Winter months...

Best Saving Strategies for Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials

If your plan is to save money for the upcoming year, you will need a plan. Your plan will be determined by how old you are, and what strategy best fits your current stage of life. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size fits all, but there are certain strategies dependent on your financial obligations in life.

Baby Boomers (51-69)

As a Baby Boomer, you are part of the huge generation which makes up over a fourth of the American population. You obviously are in better financial shape than generations after you, but there’s a good shot you don’t have a ton saved for retirement. Only 60% of Baby Boomers have admitted to having a sound retirement account. Chances are you don’t have a pension, and have endless questions about Social Security and Medicare.

If you have these endless questions, and little retirement, you probably feel a bit uneasy. You seriously have to crunch now to start saving, or you may have to give up your lifestyle. Here are a few steps to get started.

  • Go back to work
  • Live within your means
  • Accelerate your retirement savings
  • Make sure your investments are spread out, and not all in one place.
  • Consider long-term care insurance

If you happen to be an empty nester, and still providing for kids, start taking care of yourself fist; it’s their turn to go through life on their own.

Generation Xers (36-50)

Most of these Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1979, and are in full swing of trying to build their careers and families right now. Some are also caring for their elderly parents. Watching and managing your cash flow is extremely challenging, given this is the most expensive time of your life.

What you want to do is pay yourself first. Each payday set aside a portion of your money so you don’t spend it. If you can, have someone else do this saving for you,...

The 20% Down Payment Debacle

If you are struggling to save your 20% down payment mostly because your rent is too damn high, you are not alone. Many Americans are finding this to be a crippling catch 22. It is also not helping the buyers’ market that homes are rising.

People use to save up for down payments with the help of a second job without much problem, but this has become somewhat rare since the recession. The trend now is to graduate from college, move home to pay off debts and get a job, and stash money for a down payment. These are the people who are looking to stay there for more than five years, and potentially raise a family.

New buyers also cannot quite meet 20%; forcing them to get private mortgage insurance. Despite having another bill to pay, your total mortgage payment will be less than your rent. Renters typically spend around 30% of their income on their rent, but homeowners usually spend about 20%.

If you’re in a market that is quite expensive, the lower down payment option could be a good deal for you. If you buy a $300,000 house and put down 5%, you could sell it in 10 years and have accrued the 20% down payment for your next home. If you budget right, you could even have money left for a few upgrades.

Everyone likes getting help from parents, so do that if you can! 

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Younger Buyers Asking Family and Friends for Down Payment Help

Here’s a fun statistic: The percent of homebuyers who are relying on family members to assist them with their down payment has tripled during the recession, and is still higher than before the housing crises.  21 percent of home purchases were financed by a loan that was a gift by a family member or friend.   The number has fallen to 13 percent in 2014; and was just 8 percent in 2007, which was before the crises.

What this actually shows is a lack of savings from people buying homes today. Having a big wad of cash to put down on a house is typically how you buy one. People today aren’t buying houses like they used to, and part of it is because renting is easier.

In 2014, 25 percent of middle-income earners had help from family or friends with their down payments. Only 16 percent of high, and low, income earners asked their family and friends.

A few other factors keeping young people from buying homes is higher rent, student debts, and little income growth. For the determined, they are asking for help because they still see the value in owning a home, where some do not. A concern with the market is that younger buyers won’t be able to pay their loans back, which is what happened in the housing crisis. There might be some forgiveness with family or friends, but not with banks.

This is why having a personal family bank seems like a good option for the younger generations. Their rents are high, little credit availability, crippling student debt straps them tight for cash, making that 20% quite difficult to obtain. Since home values having been rising, so have the down payments.

Be careful when taking money from a family member or friend, because it can turn ugly quickly if things don’t go as planned. 

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Why a Condo is a Better Option for Millennials

The trend these days for millennials is to rent instead of buy. Buying has become too expensive for some, but rent costs still remain increasingly high. They doubt it buying will be worth it in the long run.

Rent has nearly doubled the growth of wages since 2000, but the benefit to buying a home is the incredibly low interest rates. Some areas of the country are seeing houses that are priced below the pre-recession peak. If you are worth anything, meaning have an entry level job, and decent credit, a condo could be your best option to buy. Buying your first place is always a tense couple months, but here are five reasons why you may want to buy a condo instead of a house.

Still live in your favorite neighborhood

If you still want to live in the middle of the action of your city, it is always more affordable to buy a condo instead of a house. Condos can be extremely nice in the downtown and college neighborhoods, so consider checking them out.

Saving money

There’s a good probability you are paying more for rent than a mortgage and HOA fees would run you. Yes, condos are smaller, but so will the monthly payments. Another benefit of a condo is the maintenance on the place is usually covered in your HOA. These repairs generally are for the outside property, so if it’s a plumbing issue, or anything of the like, that will be your responsibility.

Saving time

Guess what!? No more mowing grass! You can use that time to host cookouts instead of doing yard work. Because this complex is probably communal, snow plows will be provided too!  The major benefit here is that there are little weekend maintenance projects outside.

New friends

If you decide to buy a home out in the suburbs, there’s a good chance it’s a small...

Time the Market Right with These Questions

After much thought if you want to buy a house or not, it’s imperative to time the market right. It could be a seller’s market when you are finally ready. Interest rates could just begin to rise. But how do you know if the market conditions are just right for you? These are the questions you will have to ask in order to know the market.

  1. 1.       Do I buy now or wait?

The first step is to ask yourself whether it is a good time to buy. Asking the experts is a great place to start. Asking a professional real estate agent is ideal, because they know the market, and will have facts to back up their claim. They could tell you if houses have seen upticks in their prices recently, which neighborhoods are popular, and whatever trends the market might be seeing.

  1. How much do seasonal trends affect my results?

It’s no secret that most homes sell during spring and summer. No one enjoys driving around freezing looking at houses in winter. The result is a bunch of buyers ready to make a move come spring time. Not every single sale is the same though, because some markets may be more partial towards the unfavorable months due to some event. Ask your agent to see the data patterns influencing sales during different times of the year.

  1. Are 2015’s patterns in line with 2014’s?

Will buyer data be same as the previous years? A good agent will be able to give you historical context to answer this question. They will tell you if the rise in asking price is normal this time of year, and should advise you on your best move based on prior year’s results.

  1. How is my price range relative to the markets?

Ask your agent what your price range today will...

How to Personalize Your Rental Unit When Painting isn't an Option

If you are living in a rental that just doesn’t feel like home, we may have the answer. There are several options outside of painting that will help you transform your rental unit into your cozy home. The way we recommend is to add color, texture, and patterns. Ignore the boring beige walls and use these steps to help personalize your home.

Art

 You don’t need paint to cover a wall up. You can easily create an accent wall out of pictures, sticky strips, hanging fixtures, or any other decorative piece. To embellish color, just add bright, pattern heavy pictures or paintings. If elegance is your taste, go for more of a black and white tone, abstract art all encompassed by black frames.

Rug rendezvous

No matter what kind of floor you have, hardwood, linoleum, 70’s shag carpet, a good quality rug will never be a bad choice. Area rugs open the room with good color, texture, and cover up any unwanted spots. Try mixing and matching colors and patterns to tie the room together.

High shelving

Since painting isn’t an option, putting up shelving definitely is. You can create a good accent wall by adding floor to ceiling shelving, whether they are bookshelves, armoires, or wall shelves. Not only will these give you a bunch of storage, they will be really fashionable too. You’ll look like you are a master decorator. Painting these shelves a bold color will definitely make it stand out and look good.

Awesome windows

Taking big structures out of the rental is probably a bad idea, but covering it up will do too. Covering a window is a good way to add your own touch. Go to an arts and crafts store and see if you can find some good fabric that would look nice hanging by your windows. Windows are made to draw the eyes up away from...