How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

You have probably thought of renovating your space. We all know it isn’t cheap, but it does provide several benefits. Not only will it help bring your house back to life, it can also boost your property value. Plus, it can improve the comfort and functionality of your home.

If you are considering having your home renovated, this blog post is for you. Prepare your home for renovation with these tips.

Set a budget

Knowing what you want to do and achieve in a remodelling project is the easy part. Knowing how much your remodelling dreams will cost is the tougher question.

Before you get started, it is important to establish a spending limit. This is one of the most important steps you need to take before you start envisioning your dream space. By determining how much you can afford, it will be easier for you to make a realistic plan for the project. The last thing you want is to end up having a huge debt due to poor planning.

Find the right contractor

Home renovations can be costly. Often, these home improvement projects cost thousands and thousands of dollars. As such, you want to make sure it’s done right. In order to get the most out of your remodelling project, you need to hire the right contractor.

Choosing the right contractor can mean the difference between a job done right and an utter nightmare. Ask family members, friends, relatives and colleagues for referrals. Also, make sure that you interview candidates and look at their credentials to ensure that they are the best person for your renovation job.

Renovate for the future

When planning for renovation, always think long term. You may not be interested in selling the house now, but there may come a time when you need to move or upgrade to a bigger house. Your goal is not just to beautify your home, but to increase the value of your home as well.

Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor living renovations can give your home value a boost. Make sure, though, that you keep your budget in check. Otherwise, you may not be able to recoup your investment in the future.

Find a temporary place to live in

Your home will soon be a renovation site. It can pose numerous dangers for children and pets. You can’t have them roaming or running around the renovation site. As such, it might be best to find temporary place to live in. This is especially beneficial if the project will take a few weeks.

Clear the property

If it’s a major renovation, it is best to clear the property. Pack away as many belongings as possible. Start packing your things once you decide to have the house renovated. Since this will be time consuming process, it is best so start early. Tackle each room one day at a time. Get rid of things you no longer use or need. Also, find a place where you can place your belongings temporarily. If it’s just a minor renovation, simply empty the room that needs to be renovated. Make sure that you cover furniture that may be damaged by dust.

Should You Buy a House Before You’re Married?

Before, serious couples would mark their commitment with one another through marriage. Today, however, more and more couples are electing to live in together before marriage. Many of them purchase their home together before walking down the aisle.

Rising rental costs, low mortgage rates, and the ability of deducting mortgage interest from income taxes make the idea of buying a house appealing to most people. According to a survey that was conducted by MONEY, 40% of millennials think it is a good idea to buy a house together before getting married.

Thinking of buying a house with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

You could break up

No matter how much you love your partner right now, purchasing a property together is a big risk. People change over time. One of you may fall out of love.

What do you plan to do if things don’t work out? Would you sell the house and split the proceeds of the sale? If you have a solid relationship, then we recommend that you get married first.

It’s a big financial obligation

Buying a house is a huge financial obligation. You’ll need to pay off your loan 15 to 30 years. When you co-sign a home loan together, you’ll both be responsible for paying up the entire amount. You want to make sure that your partner is capable of holding his/her end of the bargain. Otherwise, you’ll be held responsible.

Laywer fees aren’t cheap

Buying a house with your partner is a big financial risk. As such, you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Things could get ugly, so make sure that you put everything in writing. We’re not being pessimistic, but you need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. You both should hire a lawyer and draft a good and airtight co-habitation agreement. This document will protect you from unnecessary cost and litigation in case you co-habitation breaks down.

Lawyer’s fees aren’t cheap. Considering how much money you’ll be putting towards down payment, along with the added fees associated with homeownership, you may find yourself deep in debt.

There could titling issues

Our laws are suited for married couples acquiring assets. Titling will be handled for you if you’re married. For unmarried couples, however, titling can be complicated.

How you title the property dictates what happens to your share later on. If you take title as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, each party gets 50% of the property. If you sign as Tenants in Common, you can stipulate that one of you owns a larger share of the property. If the title ends up in one person’s name only, it means only one person is buying the house. The other person has no rights to the property.

Tips for a Successful Bathroom Renovation

Is your bathroom in dire need of a makeover? A good renovation can transform your bathroom from a boring, dated box into a dreamy spa-like bathroom.

Here are some tips for a successful bathroom renovation.

Have a plan before you start

Evaluate your existing bathroom and try to visualize your dream bath. Develop a clear idea about what you want to achieve with the renovation. Make a list of the features you want and what you want to change in your bathroom.

Set a budget

A bathroom renovation can be expensive. As such, it is important determine how much you are willing to spend before you begin.

Now that you have an idea what you want to do with your bathroom, it’s time to do some research and determine if you have set a realistic budget. If not, now would be the best time to make certain adjustments. Without a budget in mind, it can be easy to overspend. Don’t send money down the drain in your bathroom remodel.

Know which splurges are worth it

Survey reveals that a mid-range bathroom remodel may cost about $18,000; while an upscale renovation may set you back about $75,000. Unfortunately, homeowners only recoup about 55% to 65% of its cost at resale. That said, it is best to stay within budget during the renovation process. The good news is that you can give your bathroom a luxurious feel without going broke.

Spend money on something you absolutely love. Opt for that deep soaker tub you’re eager to relax in after a long day at work. Save money by choosing more economical flooring material. Instead of installing natural tiles, use porcelain tiles instead. Some tiles mimic the look of natural stone. You’ll get the look you want without spending a huge sum of money.

Plan a lighting scheme

In a bathroom remodelling project, most people tend to focus on tub, toilet, vanity, and tiles. While these things play a big role on the functionality and appeal of your bathroom, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a well-lit room.

A lot of people are spending more time in the bathroom. Proper lighting is essential to create a space that is not only relaxing, but safe as well.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Home

Most buyers would look at dozens of properties during the house hunting process. But with so many properties available on the market, it can be difficult to choose the perfect home for you and your family. You may have prepared a list of features you want in a home, but a lot of buyers end up getting swept away by a stylish property.

In the hopes of making the selection process easier, we listed down some tips that will help you find the house of your dreams. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect home.

Location, location, location

Once you’ve settled on the idea that you want to buy a home, the first thing you need to do is to determine where you want to live. It is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a house.

You may fall in love with the house, but you may end up unhappy and unsatisfied later on if the neighborhood doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Be sure to consider your current needs and lifestyle when scouting out different neighborhoods. You want to make sure that the neighborhood has everything you need to live a comfortable life. That said, we suggest that you do some research about the neighborhood. If you have kids, research the school district and the crime level in the area.

Buy what you can afford

Now that you have decided where you want to live, it’s time to determine your budget. Buying a house is a big financial obligation. It is best to determine how much you can afford before you start looking at houses. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a house, only to find out later on that you can’t afford it.

Once you have figured out your budget, make sure that you stick to it. Never settle for a house that is out of your budget. If you do, you may find yourself in a deep financial crisis. Worse, you may end up losing your home.

Go for the long haul

In order to recoup your investment, you need to stay put for about 5 to 7 years. That said, you need to look for a house where you can see yourself living in for several years. Also, you need to consider the value of your home in the future. You should put some thought into how easy it would be for you to sell the house when it comes the time that you need to move.

Be patient

Buying a house is a big decision. You can’t rush into it. You want to make sure that you’re prepared both financially and emotionally on being a homeowner.

Finding the house of your dreams takes time. Since you’ll be staying in that house for a long period of time, you want to make sure that it suits your needs, lifestyle, and taste. There are a lot of houses out there. Go ahead and look at a few houses before making a decision. Never settle for the first house you see.

New Year’s Resolutions for Prospective Homebuyers

The New Year is the time for goal-setting and resolution-making. Some people decide that they are ready to be homeowners and buy their first home this year. If you are one of them, then you need to take action now.

Here are 4 New Year’s resolutions prospective homebuyers should make.

Save money

If you are planning to buy a house this year, then you should have saved enough money right now for your down payment.

Buying a house is a big financial decision. Just because you have saved enough money for the down payment, it doesn’t mean that you’re ready to buy a house. Remember, there are several fees that come with home buying. This includes home inspection fee, closing fee, home insurance fee, appraisal fee, moving fee etc. Make sure that you include these fees into your budget.

Check your credit

We know you’re excited to start house hunting. But there are a lot of things that need to be done before you start looking at houses. Checking your credit report is one of them.

Your credit score can impact several areas in your life, including your ability to buy a house. Lenders will use it as a determining factor whether or not you get approved for a mortgage. Checking your credit report ahead of time will give you an idea what kind of shape your credit score is in.

Get a copy of your credit report and check it for any errors or discrepancies. If you find any errors, do not hesitate to dispute them with the credit bureau.

Improve credit score

Improving your credit score takes time. If you are planning to buy a house in the near future, it is important to take steps as early as now to improve it.

If you have a lot of debt, try paying down your balances and make sure to pay your bills on time. Pay off credit cards with small balances. The smaller your debt to income ratio, the better it is for your credit rating.

Know what you want

Most people would start the buying process by visiting dozens of houses. House hunting can be fun. However, you first need to know what you want before you go out there and start looking at houses.

Sit down with your spouse and discuss what features you want in a house. How big of a house do you need? How many rooms do you need? Do you want a house with an updated kitchen? Do you prefer a house that is near your office? Make a list of features you want and discuss it with your real estate agent.

4 Stylish Ideas for Decorating with Gray

Not too long ago, white, brown, and beige were considered the neutrals du jour. Back then, gray was considered boring and somewhat dreary. Today, however, gray is taking a hold on the home decor market.

Here are some stylish ideas for decorating with gray.

Bedroom

Image Source: https://www.houzz.com

If you are tired of having plain, white walls, consider painting the walls gray instead. This will make your home look simple, clean, and modern. It can make an attractive statement without shouting.

You can choose to paint the walls dark or light gray. A dark hue can eat up a lot of light in the space, but it can add instant elegance to your bedroom. Counteract the darkness by painting the trim and ceiling white.

Gray and white works well together. But if not done right, the room can look flat and boring. If you want to add maximum excitement to an otherwise neutral room, try playing with colors. Set off the sizzle with red. Placing a red pillow on the bed is enough to spice things up without going overboard. We also recommend adding sparkling elements such as a chandelier for a clean, sophisticated vibe.

Living room

Image Source: https://www.thespruce.com

Gray, when combined with sophisticated styling and classic details, is the epitome of elegance. Create some serious wow factor by combining contemporary gray interiors with luxe fabrics, and deep hues. Don’t forget to add a little bling to create a modern yet sophisticated look.

Bathroom

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com

If your bathroom is quite small, then we suggest painting the walls white to make it appear larger. If you really want to use gray in the bathroom, you may do so by opting for a medium or dark gray vanity. Installing patterned flooring is also a good idea as it can add character and personality to the room.

Make sure that there is a nice balance between light and dark. The combination of white and gray will create a cool, calm, and sophisticated feel.

Kitchen

Image Source: https://www.decoist.com

One of the most common reasons why homeowners choose gray as their color palette is because of its versatility. Gray is considered neutral and can work well when combined with other colors. You can complement it with a contrasting hot and bold hue such as yellow, orange or red and it will look rocking.

If you want to maintain a neutral kitchen, use contrasting neutrals. Think white and charcoal gray or beige and gray. White walls with charcoal gray cabinets will make the colors pop.

3 Winter Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Winter is a great time to buy a house. Houses are priced low, there are fewer buyers, and real estate agents have more time to assist you through the buying process. Despite these advantages, there are some costly mistakes everyone should dodge when buying a house.

Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when buying a house in winter.

Lowballing your offer

Most sellers who put their home on the market in winter are desperate to sell their house fast. Most buyers try to take advantage of it by lowballing their offer. They may be in desperate need to move out of their house, but you won’t be able to buy the property if you lowball your offer.

Sellers love their home. They have stayed in that house for several years and consider it their most prized possession. Lowballing your offer can offend the seller. If you are serious about buying the house, make sure that you place a competitive offer that isn’t offensive to the seller.

Assuming you’ll automatically score a sweet deal

With the chilly winds and freezing temperatures, house hunting during the winter can be a bit of a challenge. In addition, most people are also busy with the holiday celebration. As such, most buyers put off buying a house till spring.

With fewer buyers during this time of the year, most buyers assume they’ll get a great deal. Sure, the prices are lower and you are less likely to end up in a bidding situation. But you also need to consider that the number of houses on inventory is also quite low. So, if you decide to buy a house in winter and you’re expecting to get a bargain, you may end up disappointed.

Ignoring possible closing date delays

In a real estate transaction, buyers and sellers agree to a target closing date. But most of the time, it doesn’t take place on the specified date.

Closing delays happen due to a number of reasons. Errors in documents, problems with down payment, and last-minute requests from the lender are some of the most common causes of delay. To ensure that the closing takes place on or before the closing date, make sure that you have your down payment transferred to the closing agent, check all the documents for error, and make sure you have all the necessary document needed to complete your loan.

4 Smart Tips to Make Moving in Winter Easier

Winter is a great time to move. Since most people are out on vacation or busy with holiday get-togethers, you can get great deal with moving companies. However, moving house during the winter is not without challenges. Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can make the moving process even more difficult.

Here are 4 smart tips to make your winter move easier.

Keep an eye on the weather

Winter weather can be unpredictable. Even if the sun has been shining all week long, a blizzard may suddenly pop up just as you’re pulling away in your car.

Check weather reports from time to time and make sure to follow it up until the moving day. Keep the radio on until the movers arrive so you get the latest updates. Anticipate any weather challenges and adapt to them.

Keep the heat on

You might be tempted to have your utilities disconnected prior to moving day, but please resist the urge to do so. On moving day, you’ll be opening and closing the door many times as the movers carry your boxes. This will send cold air into your home. Without the heat, everybody will feel cold and uncomfortable. You’ll want to keep the heat on on moving day.

Protect your belongings

Some items are especially vulnerable to cold temperatures. Electronics and other cold-sensitive items should be kept indoors for as long as possible and should be transported in a heated vehicle to avoid damage. Objects that are made of wood should be insulated during a move. These items can warp when exposed to freezing temperatures. Books and other documents will also need additional care. Place them in waterproof bins and make sure that they are sealed tight before they get loaded onto the moving truck.

Clear snow

We understand that you have a lot on your plate right now, but make sure that you shovel snow prior to moving day. Snow and ice can be slippery. Clear the snow to prevent anyone from getting hurt. You may also spread rock salt on the ground to slow down the re-icing process. If snow is falling, we suggest that you mix calcium chloride with the rock salt. This will make snow and ice melt faster.

How to Sell Your House to Millennials

Millennials are growing up, settling down and looking to buy their first home.  According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers at 34%. They are dominating the housing market in many parts of the country.

If you are planning to sell your home, consider marketing it to this generation. Use these tips to ensure that your home will appeal to millennials.

Create an online listing

Once upon a time, home buyers would browse through the newspapers to check out the listing books in real estate offices in the hopes of finding their dream home. Today, however, homebuyers start their search online.

Millennials grew up with technology. They rely on their smartphones on almost everything. They use it for ordering food or hailing a cab. They also plan on using it for looking for their future home. They want to be able to view homes, communicate with the listing agent, and make an offer with their fingertips. Also, make sure that you include good quality photos with your listing. They want to see what the house looks like. This way, they can decide whether or not the property is worth considering.

Make sure the house is move-in ready

Millennials are in search of homes that are move-in ready and fully updated. Due to the increase in student loan debt and stagnating wages, many of them don’t have enough money left to handle repairs and home improvement projects after closing. As such, they

If you want to meet or exceed a millennial’s expectations, you need to deliver a move-in ready home. Staging is also of great importance. They want something that resembles homes that are featured in magazines.

Location matters

Location is an important consideration when buying a house. Millennials want to live in a house that is close to the things they want to do and also close to their work. Research shows that 65% choose the location of their future home based on how far it is from their workplace. They want to be close to work to save on travel expenses and commute time.

More than the perfect home, many of them are in search of the perfect neigborhood. This is especially true for those with children. If your house is near schools, park or playgrounds, be sure to mention it. They are more likely to consider your home if the neighborhood is suited to what they are looking for.

Tips to Avoid Holiday Plumbing Disasters

Christmas is such a joyous occasion. Everyone is looking forward to eating good food and spending time with their family. However, holiday meal preparation and clean up can lead to a lot of unwanted waste in the kitchen. Plus, extra occupants who require additional toilet flushes, hot water usage, showers, and washing can put a strain on your drain system. As much as you try to avoid plumbing problem during the holidays, you still end up with clogged sinks, toilets, disposals, and sewers.

Here are some tips to avoid holiday plumbing disasters.

Turn off water before going on vacation

There is nothing more frustrating than coming home to a flooded home. To prevent plumbing disasters, make sure that you turn off the main water valve prior to your trip.

Pipes are susceptible to freezing during the winter. Water inside them expands as the temperature drops. This causes the pipes to freeze and burst. Shut off the main water valve when you leave your home, even if it’s overnight. This is the best protection against catastrophic water damage.

Use a strainer screen

During the holidays, you cook more food and wash more dishes. Having guests also mean taking more showers. Hair and food particles that go down the drain can cause it to clog eventually. Using a strainer screen can help prevent these issues. They keep hair from clogging your bathroom sinks and bathtubs. Plus, they prevent food particles from going down the kitchen sink.

Give the garbage disposal a break

Your garbage disposal is not a trash can, so you shouldn’t treat it like one. Overloading your garbage disposal can damage the blades and create clogs. Never feed your garbage disposal with non-food items such as fibrous foods, fruit and vegetable peels, and bones.

Never dump grease down the drain

Fat and grease are common bi-products of any holiday feast. But they are a drain’s worst nightmare. Pouring excess grease down the drain may not seem like a big deal, but they tend to harden as they cool down. This can seriously clog the drain.

Be mindful of what you put down the drains. Pour excess grease in an empty container and then throw it in the trash can.

Get your trashcans ready

Throwing trash like cigarette butts, kid’s toys, sanitary napkins, and paper towels down the toilet can create a plumbing disaster you don’t want to deal with. Place trash cans in the bathroom, so guests won’t be tempted to throw trash elsewhere.