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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Property Near a School

dpg_school propertyIf you are looking to buy a house, you have your own list of priorities. Some are looking for a house with 3 bedrooms; while others want a big backyard. If you are a parent with young kids, you want your child to get the best education possible. That said, buying a property that is close enough to respected schools may be on top of your priority list. This may be a good option if your child will be attending this school, but you may regret this decision after that short period of time.

Take the following considerations into account before you sign on the dotted line.

PROS

Safer neighborhood

Areas near schools tend to be monitored closely. This means that your child will be very safe. Plus the chances of your kid meeting with dangerous encounters is very rare.

Higher property value

If the property is located near a prominent school, you can get a higher resale when the time comes to sell your house. Parents who are considering enrolling their kids in that school are probably looking for available properties in the area. You won’t have a problem selling your home in the future.

Cost and convenience

The expense of driving your kids to and from school can add up. Living near a school can eliminate the cost and time transporting the kids before and after school. Kids can just walk to school and parents can oversee them while standing in their yard or just by looking out the window.

CONS

Noise alert

Living near a school is fine. But you should be prepared to deal with the traffic and the bells ringing between class periods. Add to that, you may hear football games or band kids practicing after school.

Factors That Determine How Fast Your Home Will Sell

FastHomeSaleYou have decided to sell your home. Now that you have found a new house you like, you are eager to know how long your home will be on the market.

There are certain factors that can determine how quickly your home will sell. Here are some of them.

Price

You think of your home as a shining beacon of perfection and you’re thinking of selling it at a higher price. But if you really want to sell your house fast, you might want to look at similar properties in your area and determine how much they were sold for. Setting a realistic price on your home will help you attract more buyers.

It is important to get the pricing right the first time than to lower the price eventually. Many buyers will simply move on if the house is not priced reasonably.

Real estate agent

Another important factor that affects your home sale is the amount of knowledge and experiences your real estate agent posses. You will stand a better chance of a quick sale by working with an experienced agent. Choose an agent who is familiar with the area and has an experience selling the type of home you have.

Photos

Good listing photos can definitely shorten the amount of time your house sits on the market. Having good photos entice more potential buyers. Take photos that would highlight your home’s best features. Also, it is best to have too many photos than it is to have too few.

 

How Important Curb Appeal is When Selling Your Home

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In the real estate business, curb appeal is a reflection of how the owner takes care of her home. A clean exterior, well-maintained shrubbery and a neatly manicured lawn are ideal, especially if you’re selling your home.

The idea behind curb appeal is to make your home look attractive to anyone viewing it from the curb or street. Some sellers, however, are so busy staging the interiors of their house that they sometimes forget to make the exterior presentable.

Homes, just like books, are often judged by their covers. First impressions make a big difference when it comes to selling your home. In fact, studies suggest that potential buyers make a decision within a few seconds of driving by the house or just by viewing the property online. If they think that the exterior is unattractive, then they won’t be interested to look inside.

You may think the inside of your home is important, but an attractive landscaping and a clutter-free exterior will not only make your property standout, it will also add value to your home.

It is a well documented fact that homes with excellent curb appeal sell faster; whereas, homes that reflect overdue exterior maintenance do not sell quickly. Oftentimes, these properties even sell at a lesser price. Most buyers who are looking for a bargain often look at properties that appear distressed on the outside. If you want to sell your home fast, and for a fair market value, you must take steps to improve your home’s curb appeal.

You don’t have to spend a fortune just to make your home look attractive on the outside. You just need to keep the grass mowed, get rid of weeds and plant some seasonal flowers. Also, keep the outside of your home clutter-free. A few coats of paint can also breathe new life into your home.

5 Awesome Advantages of Living Alone

Man is a social animal, they say. We need other people to live a happy life. Despite this belief, the number of single-person household is rapidly growing.

Despite misleading movie stereotypes depicting women sitting alone, crying to sad music, a lot of people choose to live alone and do not feel lonely. Sure, living with roommates can certainly be fun, but living alone offers freedom you’ll only get from having your own space.

Here are some 5 awesome advantages of living alone.

Your home, your style

When you live on your own, you don’t have to put up with someone else’s terrible taste in furnishings. You are free to decorate your home to your own tastes.

No rules to follow

Living alone means you have total control over your space. Everything runs according to your rules. The space is yours and yours alone. Meaning, you can do whatever you want. Nobody will complain about how you do things. No waiting for someone else in the shower. You can listen to your favorite music, and no one will complain about the noise. Plus, you don’t have to adapt to anyone else’s timetable.

Budgeting

Sure, living with a roommate means having someone to share rent, utilities and other expenses with, but roommates with expensive taste can cost you a considerable amount of money. Living solo means you’ll be more in charge of how you spend your money.

Peace and quiet

After a long day at work, it’s nice to have a private sanctuary where you can relax and unwind. But it can be difficult to relax if there’s music blasting out at full volume. It’s easy to find quiet time when you’re on your own.

You can come and go as you please

Living on your own can be very comfortable since you don’t need to explain to anyone where you’re going and what time you’ll be coming back. Also, you don’t need to worry about waking up your roommate as you come home from a party at 2 in the morning.

Tips for Selling Your Home When You Have Kids

Selling a home can be stressful and difficult enough. Add kids to the equation and the entire process gets infinitely harder. While it may take you 30 minutes to scrub all the fingerprints and dried pasta sauce off your dining table, it will only take them a few seconds to write on the walls. How are you supposed to keep the house clean for weeks or months with children running around the house?

Here are a few tips to make things a little more manageable and make the selling process a bit easier.

Have a place to store kids’ stuff

You bought one new toy last week and another one this week. Before you know it, your home is overtaken with toys and kids’ stuff.

While some buyers will likely have children of their own, it may be impossible for them to envision themselves in your home if all they see are children’s stuff. That said, you need to minimize your kids’ presence throughout the house. Put the toys into storage and keep just a few. Don’t forget to remove children’s artwork from the walls or the refrigerator.

Plan lots of activities outside the home

Kids are going to make a mess no matter where they are. To keep your house in clean and tidy, why not bring the kids outside and plan out some activities? Bring them to the park, catch up on doctor’s appointments, walk around the neighborhood or bring them to a friend’s house. After all, you’ll need to get everybody out of the house when someone wants to see it, and driving around in circles in definitely not a good idea.

Schedule showings

Talk to your real estate agent and let him/her know that you need 3 hours notice before you can show the place. Since you’ve done your best to keep your house as clean as possible, it would be easy for you to get the house ready.

Keep your trunk clean

Despite your request of 3 hours notice, there are times when you’ll be given a shorter amount of time to prepare. Once, we received a notice of 15 minutes, and we hardly had time to sweep the floor, let alone get the kids out of the couch. In cases like these, it is best to keep your trunk cleared out so you can just swoop everything up and throw it in the trunk.

How to Decide If a Home is Right for You

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Anyone who has ever bought a house will agree that finding the perfect house can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Most buyers would spend months or even years searching for the right home. That’s understandable since you’ll be tied to it for years to come.

Now that you’re ready to begin your home buying odyssey, you want to make sure you find a home that’s a perfect fit for you.

Here are a few things you should consider before you rush into a commitment to buy.

The house fits your needs

Before taking a look at houses, be sure to create a list of things you want in a home. It’s easy to get swept away by a home’s most charming details once you start touring open houses. So, we suggest that you keep your list close.

Since you’ll be living in this house for several years, you want to a house that will meet your basic needs. Is the house the right size for your needs? Does it have a central air-conditioning and heating system? Does it have enough room to accommodate the entire family?

Price

Another way to know if the home is right for you is by grabbing your calculator. Is the down payment within your means? Are you comfortable with the monthly payments? Will you have enough money left to cover the transaction and moving costs? There’s no point living in a mansion if all you’ll be living like a pauper.

You get the flutters

The moment you find the perfect house, you’ll get that wonderful feeling you can’t seem to explain. It’s a mixture of excitement and comfort knowing that your dream is about to come true.

You start picturing you and your family living in the house and envision furniture arrangement. If you start justifying flaws that would normally be unacceptable to you, then you’re already hooked.

 

How to Upgrade Your Apartment Without Pissing Off Your Landlord

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One of the biggest disadvantages of living in a rental apartment is the amount of restrictions put upon you. Landlords prohibit their tenants from painting the walls or do any changes on the house. Meaning, you don’t have the freedom to do whatever you please. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t customize the apartment and make it feel like home.

Here are a few simple ways to update your apartment without pissing off your landlord.

Kitchen

Since repainting the kitchen cabinets is a no-no, you can spice them up by buying new knobs. You can also use contact paper on shelves and drawers to personalize them a little.

Kitchen space is another problem in rental apartments. Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to increase storage space. You can either add a magnetic shelf to hide spices under the counter, a tension rod or a closet rack to add extra shelf or attach adhesive hooks inside a cabinet door.

Dress up your windows

Curtains and shades add elegance and charm to your windows. For less than $100, you can make your space look more interesting and unique.

Touch up walls

If you can’t paint your wall, getting some vinyl wall stickers are a great alternative. Unlike wallpaper, vinyl stickers won’t leave an unwanted residue so your landlord won’t notice that you applied something on the wall. Plus, they’re easy to apply and are gorgeous looking they almost look like they’re painted on wall. Ultimately, there are a lot of designs to choose from. Thus, allowing you to transform your place from blah to beautiful.

Switch light fixtures

Let’s face it. Standard-issue ceiling lights are hideous. You can dramatically improve the appearance of your space by replacing your lighting fixtures.

There are a lot of affordable options to choose from. So, there is no reason to stick with the existing fixtures. If you’re not a handyman, you can hire an electrician to install it for you.

 

Things You Should Know About Closing Costs

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If you are seriously considering making a home purchase in the near future, you have to understand that the selling price is not the only cost you need to prepare for.

A lot of home buyers forget to include the closing costs in the equation. It’s no wonder that many people are surprised by some of the charges that make up the closing costs. That said, it would be best to include this in your home buying budget.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are those extra costs that you need to pay for in addition to the sales price of the property you are purchasing. This will be the last step you need to accomplish before you can sign your name on the dotted line.

Closing costs will inevitably take a large bite out of your wallet at the settlement table. While it is difficult to tell the exact amount, expect to pay between 3-6% of the selling price. Also, keep in mind that these fees vary widely from lender to lender, market to market and state to state.

What charges make up the closing costs?

Different companies have different names for different fees, but they often include items such as:

  • Appraisal fee
  • Loan origination fee
  • Title insurance
  • Survey fee
  • Setting up escrow
  • Inspection fees
  • Costs associated with running your credit report
  • Fees paid to the attorney or title company conducting the closing
  • Underwriting fee
  • Title search fees
  • Courier fee

Arm yourself with knowledge

Contrary to popular belief, closings costs do not all go to the lender. In fact, the fees are often broken down into 3 groups: lender fees, local government fees and third party fees. How much you pay in closing depends largely on the location of the property and your mortgage provider.

Before you even get to the closing, we suggest that you shop around for homeowner’s insurance. Try to get at least 3 estimates from home insurance carriers. By doing so, it will help reduce your closing costs and save money on your insurance premiums.

Tips for Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

buying and selling a house at same timeBuying and selling a home at the same time is no walk in the park. Add a slowing market to the equation and the experience has nightmare potential. But before you begin, we advice doing some advance planning and having a good agent on your team.

There are a number of things you and your agent can do to increase the odds that your multitasking will pay off. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition.

Focus on improving your home

Your dream home may be affordable, but unloading your current one may be harder. If you want to sell your house fast, get busy fixing those things that affects your home’s value or could cause your home to sit on the market longer than necessary.

Start packing

If you are in this situation, starting early is beneficial. Start packing stuff that you don’t use on a regular basis. This way, you can stage your home easily and would be much easier for you to move later on. You may also want to consider renting a storage unit temporarily for your stuff.

Know your finances inside and out

Before you even get started, it would be a good idea to know what your house is worth and what you can afford to buy. Talk to your agent and consult a mortgage broker for loan pre-approval.

Rent your house

If someone has made a solid offer on your home, but you haven’t purchased a new one yet, you can ask the buyer to let you stay put for a set period of time, say 30 days, while you continue your house search.

Keep in mind, though, that this option could be a whole lot more expensive than what you’re used to.

Move back home for a while

The benefits of selling first before buying a new property is that you’ll have a good idea how much money you will get from the sale. However, moving out of the house at closing is one of its biggest disadvantages.

If you need more than a month, you might want to consider moving out of your old home and moving in with a friend, sibling or parents. While your parents would be thrilled to have you back home, remember that you’ll need to move twice and pay movers twice by choosing to go this route.