Revive Your Home with These 4 Tips

Does your home need a little TLC? Help revive your home’s exterior and curb appeal with these 4 tips:dining-room-469298_640

Give your front door a fresh coat of paint. Add a rich red, golden yellow, or autumn orange to your front door to make it pop and will enhance your home’s appeal.

Include a walkway. A fun way to increase your home’s beauty is to place a walkway from your driveway or sidewalk for a visual interest. Incorporate small bushes, plants, and lighting for additional benefits.

Refresh your deck. Repaint your deck, add some new cushions to your chairs, or perhaps a new patio set to create a more welcoming space to relax after a long day or entertain friends.

Set the mood with water features. A pond, pool, or hot tub or excellent features to include in your landscaping design and give a soothing atmosphere to your backyard.

What are some things you’ve done to enhance your home’s curb appeal? Let us know your tips and tricks on Facebook.

Choosing Which Home is Best for You

When it comes to buying a home, one thing you need to consider is what is your best option: townhouse vs condo vs house? Each have their own pros and cons and you need to decide what best fits your lifestyle.

houses-691586_640As you first decide which option is best for you and your family, consider: your location and lifestyle; maintenance costs; rules of ownership; lending and price; and monthly fees.

If you are a first-time home-buyer, you may not want to responsibilities or have the time for home maintenance. A condo or townhouse may be the perfect option for first-time buyers because association fees cover maintenance and repairs. In addition, condos and townhouses are more preferable for those who aren’t interested in homeowner responsibilities or yard care.

A downside of condos and townhouses are you have little control over annual fee increases and unforeseen special assessments.Although condos and townhouses can have assessment fees, single-family homes can have their share repairs that can hit the owner with a large bill.

In the end, you will need to weigh the pros and cons associated with each option and decide which best fits your lifestyle and future goals.

Find Your Power Through Financial Freedom

I recently came across an article by the financial guru, Suze Orman, about “What Money Has Taught Me About Personal Power.” Throughout the article, she touches upon some excellent points I feel can apply to anyone’s life. Regardless of how much you make, what debt you have, or whatever else has happened in your life, you can take back your power and not let money control you.Small hands

Out of the six topics she touches upon in her piece, the two that stood up to me were: 1) Do what’s right, not what’s easy and 2) How you respect your possessions says a lot about how you respect yourself.

Do What’s Right, Not What’s Easy. She touches upon some excellent points in this section because it is so easy to run up credit card debt. Suze Orman suggests you ask yourself three questions: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true? And you should answer yes to all three questions before lending money or cosigning on anything.

How You Respect Your Possessions Says A Lot About How You Treat Yourself. I found this one to be extremely interesting because as the saying go, your outer world reflects your inner world. In the piece, she advises you ask yourself what were you feeling the last time you bought your last item? How did it make you feel?

While you get in touch with your inner power surrounding money, now is a good time to clean out all the clutter in your home and reclaim your power. Here are some great tips through feng shui.

 

3 Habits for a Happier Life

Af0sF2OS5S5gatqrKzVP_SilhoutteThe Dalai Lama once said, “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” But how do you increase the happiness in your life? Here are 3 habits to incorporate for a happier life:

1. Gratitude. Studies have shown that people who express gratitude on a daily basis are a lot happier than people who do not. It was also shown that people who performed an act of kindness for someone else (no matter how small) were happier. So the next time you are prone to complain, start counting your blessing and you’ll start noticing everything you have to be thankful for.

2. Actively pursue your goals. People with goals and who are working towards them are 19% more likely to feel satisfied with their lives. While you are pursuing your goals, remember, don’t compare yourself to others. As the saying goes, you cannot compare your chapter one to another’s middle. To help stay inspired, set measurable goals and keep track of your progress. Each day you do something in line with your aspirations is one day closer to achieving your dreams.

3. Surround yourself with good people. One of my favorite quotes is: “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” If you want to be happier and more positive, than you should surround yourself with those kind of people. If you hang out with negative people who are there to put you down, you aren’t going to live the life you were meant to have. Life is too short to live it unhappy.

4 DIY Projects to Improve Your Home’s Value

There is a lot of pride that goes into owning your own home. Not only is homeownership a great investment, but it can add a sense of belonging. While you can add little additions to your home, like a spa or fire pit, to make your place more inviting.

No matter how much you take care of your home, keeping up with repairs is important. Here are 4 simple DIY projects you can do to keep your home looking its best.

  1. Add a fresh coat of paint to your door. Painting your door cannot only enhance your home’s appeal and can make your home inviting.
  2. Maintain a healthy lawn. It is amazing how much a well kept lawn can improve the look of your home. Take time to make sure your lawn is aerated, mowed, and watered.
  3. Keep your walkways clean of debris.  Pressure washers are a great tool to get the debris off your pathway to keep them looking their best and minimizing any accidents.
  4. Install Safety lights. Floodlight or landscape lighting is perfect for adding a little extra safety to your home along with showing off the beauty of your home at night. Floodlights are a great to accent focal points in your yard as well as highlight favorite flowers and shrubs.

What are some things you’ve done to improve your home’s appearance? The more you take pride in your home and protect it from the everyday wear and tear, the better your investment will be when you sale.

Why You Should Buy Now

The decision to buy your home is not always the easiest one to make. How do you know if you are ready? Is it cost effective to own your own home? Whatever has you dragging your feet at buying a home, here are some things to consider:success

First of all, with the interest rates rising, now is the best time to buy. Picture this, if you buy a home today that costs $250,000 at a 4.41% interest rate, your mortgage payment would be $1,253.38. However, if you decide to wait another year before buying a home, with the interest and mortgage rates rising, the same home costs $270,000 at a 5.7%, your monthly payment for the same house will be $1,567.08 – that is a $313.70 difference! Now look at the bigger picture, if you stay in the home for 30 years, if you bought the home at the lower interest rate you will have saved $112,932…just think what you could do with that extra chunk of change.

Buying a home also gives you the luxury of making the place your own. Unlike with an apartment, you have the freedom to decorate however you want, remodel, and alter the landscaping. Plus, there is the incentive of actually owning your own property which, if or when you sell, will bring you a nice return on your investment.

What are some of your fears or hesitations about owning your home? Give us a call today and let us answer your questions. We are here to help you find the right home for you.

Are Moving Expenses Tax-Deductible?

A lot of people ask if moving expenses are tax-deductible, and for good reason, it can be confusing. Here are some guidelines to help you determine if you will qualify*.

If you are qualified, you may deduct the expenses of:

  • Tolls and parking fees on the trip
  • Up to 30 days storage of household goods
  • Disconnecting and connecting utilities.
  • Packing and transporting household goods.
  • Mileage for use of your own car (or gas and expenses).
  • Transportation and lodging for yourself and member of your household while traveling to the new house.

Not all moves are tax deductible. In order to deduct your moving expenses, you have to meet two tests:

     Time– You must begin working as a full-time employee within 13 weeks of your move, and you must work at least 39 weeks during the 12 months after your move. It doesn’t matter whether you were transferred by your employer or you took a brand new job.

     Distance- To meet this test, your new job has to be at least 50 miles further from your old home than your old job was. If you didn’t have a job before the move, your new job has to be at least 50 miles from your old home.

*Consult a tax adviser to see if you qualify.

 

Information was provided by:

 

Realistic Ways to Get Organized

Okay, so this is the year. You’ve decided that you are going to finally get organized and throw out all the clutter around your home.

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Where do you even begin? Take a deep breath and check out these tips to making your home a place that brings you joy.

  1. Be realistic. Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting unrealistic expectations of what you want to accomplish in one day. Instead, break it up a little and focus on just cleaning out the closet, uncluttering the desk, or emptying out the garage.
  2. Organizing buddy. If getting organized is not your thing, why not have a friend help you? Or better yet, why not do it together by finding someone who wants to get organized too? That way you both can support each other and make a weekly “show off” date where you can show each other what you’ve accomplished for the week.
  3. Make it fun. Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring. Why not organize that drawer while watching TV? Put on your favorite CD, blast it, and mop those floors! What are some other things you could do to make it fun?

One of my rituals, a 5 minute pick-up right before bed. It is amazing how simple it is and what a difference it makes. Each night my family and I do something we call, “room ready,” where we make sure the room is picked up and ready for the next day by picking up our stuff and putting it where it belongs.

What are some of your tips?

Staying Sane During a Remodel

It is always fun to give your home an update, but sometimes that face lift can be more than what you bargained for. Before you start down the path of remodeling, it is important to know what changes you want to make to your home. Take time to really give this some thought, ask family members what they like and dislike about the home, explore magazines for ideas, and think about the traffic patterns of your home.13e9bf62-2c0e-4596-9ece-ebee7a374599

Hiring a qualified professional can be a daunting task. Ask around and see who’ve others would recommend or if there is no one to ask the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a directory of finding someone near you. Use some of these tips for saving money during your remodel.

Before hiring a contractor, it is important to ask what their schedule is. This will give you time line that outlines the tasks and when they are expected to be completed. Some other important questions to ask are: who will be there every day? How will they protect your property? How will they communicate with you? What areas of your home will be off limits to workers? Does your house have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there?

Hold a pre-construction meeting so everyone is on the same page. This allows your contractor to clarify procedures, answer your questions, and explain the whole job process. Remember to establish guidelines for the renovation crew and understand the hours of work, impact on neighbors, and parking and bathroom facilities are all considerations.

One other great tip to keeping your sanity during this whole process, regardless if it is a full-scale remodel or a single room, take a moment to admire and celebrate the process. As writer Chantal Eustace of Tsawwassen said of her renovation: “When a window is installed, admire it. Don’t focus on the exposed insulation beneath it or the unfinished flooring below. Embrace the improvements, one nail at a time.”

What are some questions you would add? What do you wish you had asked before your remodel? Would you do it again?

8 Health Hazards To Avoid In Your Home

Protect your home from health hazards by keeping these 8 areas of your home free of germs:

light-bulb-3229-830x5501. Bed linens. These can hold germs, grime, and allergens. Wash at least once a week using the hottest washer and dryer settings. It takes extreme heat to kill most bacteria.

2. Pet toys. These can be a source of staph, as well as coliforms, yeast, and mold. Hard toys should be cleaned once a month with hot soapy water, rinsed, disinfected with a mild bleach solution, then rinsed again. Sanitize soft toys with laundry on the hot water cycle.

3. Refrigerator ice and water dispensers. A recent study found these can be loaded with yeast and mold. Clean the ice dispenser monthly. Turn off and wash the bin with dish detergent and warm water, then dry with a clean towel. Every six months, pour 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar into the water supply tube and let it run through to sanitize. Wipe water spout once a week with cotton swab and a dry cloth.

4. HVAC ducts. In a year, a 1500 square foot home’s ducktwork can collect 40 pounds of dust containing allergens, bacteria, dirt, fungi, mold, and about 40,000 dust mites per ounce. When you turn on the system, all this circulates, causing fatigue, sinus problems, and asthma. Have a NADCA-certified company clean ducts every 2 years.

5. Sponges. Unless disinfected, a sponge is a prime place for germs to grow, and then spread around the kitchen. Clean a nonmetallic sponge by completely wetting it and placing it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Throw out sponges after two weeks. Better options are towels, dishcloths, and rags you can sanitize with bleach in your washing machine’s hot water cycle.

6. Ceiling fan blades. These are home to dust mites which the fan then circulates. Put a pillowcase on each blade and pull it off while wiping the dust into it. Empty it outside, and then launder the case inside out on your hottest washer and dryer settings.

7. The dishwasher. Mold can form here when moisture lingers after the heat cycle ends. Run your dishwasher only when you can empty it soon after it stops.

8. The washing machine. Mold and staph can grow here. Once a month, use the self-clean cycle or put a cup of bleach in an empty machine and run on the hottest setting. Leave the door or lid open when not in use.

What would you add to the list? Do you have an pet peeve when it comes to cleaning your home?

This information was provided by Danene Strand (NMLS# 442493) with Veritas Funding.