Turn Your Home from Cold to Cozy

Turn Your Home from Cold to Cozy

As the days get shorter and shorter, you’re probably spending more time curled up on the couch than you were on those long summer days. Instead of letting the cold weather get you down, take the time to turn your space into a warm and cozy escape from the outdoors. Here are some tips to turn your house from cold to cozy.

Bake Your Favorite Dessert

Not only will the smell fill your home with sweet, warm scents but baking and the process it requires can fill your home with joy. Plus, you have a great snack to cuddle up with the couch!

Light Some Candles

Lighting candles will add to your comfy atmosphere. They will give soft light and welcoming scents for every corner of your home.

Add Texture To Your Decor

The right decor can make your space even more inviting. Plush cushions and throws paired with the perfect cable-knit blankets will make you and your guests want to spend the weekends binge-watching from the couch.

Have Guests Over

Instead of locking yourself in alone this winter, make sure you invite guests over to enjoy your cozy home with you! Have them bring their favorite snack or winter beverage and share your coziness.

Perfect A Winter Beverage

The best thing to have with your baked goods is a warm beverage to enjoy. Crock-Pot hot chocolate and apple cider is great for the kids and hot toddies or mulled wine will warm you up quick!

Make A Winter Playlist

The final step to making your space cozy this season is making the perfect playlist to play in the background while you are snuggled in. Grab your mulled wine + fresh cookies and enjoy the sounds of the winter from the comfort of your cozy home!


Posted on December 6, 2019 at 6:32 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyers and Sellers |

The What + Why For Home Warranties

The What + Why For Home Warranties

If you’ve only rented before, the necessity of a home warranty may be unknown to you. As a renter, you are used to a landlord who will fix any issues you run into- but that all changes when you become a homeowner. Now, when a water heater breaks or the fridge starts to leak on the new floors in the kitchen, there is no landlord to call. So what do you do now? You may have a friend or family member who can handle the smaller fixes, but when it comes to the big issues that will end up emptying our pockets, a home warranty can save the day.

A home warranty is similar to insurance, as it covers some or all of the costs of replacements or repairs when a system in your home malfunctions or stops working altogether. They range in annual costs of $300-$900 and remove the middle man in the fixing process. Instead of finding someone to fix an issue, you will directly contact your warranty provider and they will set up the repair or replacement with the appropriate vendors. Your premium usually covers all costs, with the exception of a co-pay with is typically around $50.

If you’re wondering who should buy a warranty, they are usually recommended for first time home buyers who have rented up until that point. When you are used to having a landlord, a home warranty can fill that role in a different way. Home warranties are great for homes with both members in the work force outside of the house or just busy family members who can’t always be home to wait for the repair person window or find the time to even get quotes for the best repair shops in the area. Home warranties aren’t just for first time buyers, though. If your appliances are nearing the end of their life expectancy, now would be a great time to get a warranty. If all your appliances were purchased in the same time frame, you don’t want to face the costs of them all failing at the same time. Warranties can save you time and money, especially in the first year of ownership.

Talk to me today about home warranties. I work with the best in the business and would love to connect you to the representative I work with.

 

 


Posted on November 22, 2019 at 8:04 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyers and Sellers |

The Seller Rejected Your Offer – What Now?

Finding the right home is a serious process. Just like any other long term commitment, you’ve likely spent a great deal of time finding a home that you love and can picture yourself spending your life in. So what happens when you think you’ve found the right one but the seller rejects your offer? Here are 3 ways to deal with losing out on the home you had your heart set on.

1. Don’t obsess over the seller.

It is natural to want to know why your offer was rejected and you may want to start to ask questions about the seller’s motives. You could spend all your time doing that research, instead of continuing your search for a home. It may be difficult, but moving on is your best option. You will never know how a stranger is thinking, so rather than heartbreak, keep searching. They may want to come back to the table, but just in case they don’t, it is better for you if you are still trying to find a dream home.

2. If you haven’t put out your best offer yet, now is the time.

Maybe you wanted some room for negotiations, so your offer was lower than what you’re willing to pay for the home. This is the time to consider if this house really is ‘the one.’ If you feel that you are willing to exchange that wiggle room for your dream home, it is time to make that your best offer.

3. Move on when it is time.

If you’ve made your best offer and your seller just isn’t ready, it is time to move on. It can be easy to get hung up on a house that felt like it could be your next home, but you will be thankful that you focused on moving on. Even if it takes time, you will be thankful that you moved on and kept looking when you find yourself in your true dream home.

Just like any other long term commitment, searching for the right home is worth the wait.


Posted on October 7, 2019 at 5:54 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyer's |

What You Shouldn’t Sweat When Finding a Home

What You Shouldn’t Sweat When Finding a Home

 

 

If you’re on the home-buying journey for the first time, you may have the image of the perfect home in mind. Every wall a color you love, the best flooring, and the perfect backyard. While there’s a chance you may find your dream house, it is more likely that you’ll find that house with a few exceptions. So where should you draw the line? Are there things you should ignore if the price and location are right? The answer is yes! There are some things you can ignore while home shopping if it means checking the rest of your boxes. Here are some of the things you can overlook if you are considering making an offer on a home that has the perfect location or layout.

WEIRD CARPET/WALLPAPER
While it may be tempting to wait for a home with new carpet or freshly painted white walls, overlooking old carpet or vibrant wallpaper can help you get your otherwise dream-home. Replacing the carpet or painting the walls doesn’t have to be an expense for you, and it is something you can negotiate with the seller to get the best deal on your home.

ROOMS BEING ‘MISUSED’
You may walk into a house and see workout equipment next to a fridge, or a bed in a living room. Don’t let a room being used for something seemingly odd keep you from loving a house. It may be hard to picture your furniture somewhere, but use your imagination and give the room, and house, a chance. An exercise room today can easily be your kitchen next week!

SELLER PRESENCE
Some sellers choose to not remove personalized items before putting their house up for sale. It can be overwhelming to enter a home covered with photos of someone else’s family. While that may be the case, it is important to keep in mind that all of that personalization will be gone if you buy the home. Ignore what you can change, and just consider whether you can make the home your own.


Posted on August 17, 2019 at 4:21 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyer's |

MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT THIS SUMMER

MAKE YOUR HOME STAND OUT THIS SUMMER

 

 

As May comes to a close, school ends and the summer officially begins, that means one important thing – home selling season is upon us. With the kids home from school and vacation time accumulated, both buyers and sellers are ready to enter the market as the weather heats up. As the market begins to grow, you may wonder how to make sure your home stands out among all the others trying to sell during the summer months. Here are a few tips to make sure you can catch the eye of potential buyers during busy season!

1. Tour Other For-Sale Homes

Check out open houses for homes similar to yours that are also on the market. As you are preparing to list, use these tours to see what decor and design-types are attractive to you and potential buyers. If there are things you notice that you do not like, be sure to remove those features from your own home if you have them. Sometimes stepping out of the box (or in this case, your own home) will allow you to look at your home through the lens of a potential buyer.

2. Complete Your Home Inspection Up Front

The home inspection can be a dreaded part of the closing process. Instead of waiting for a buyer, complete your home inspection ahead of time. The goal is to set your home apart from the others on the market, and an easy way to do so is letting those potential buyers know that your home is not just for sale, but it is already inspected. If you repair any issues found by the inspector, you’ll be one step ahead and gives potential buyers peace of mind.

3. Completely Remove Clutter

Decluttering and cleaning is always the first step on the list when you are preparing to list your home, but often we don’t take the clutter ‘removal’ part as seriously. Instead of just moving clutter from a room to a closet, completely remove the clutter from your home. Whether that means donating, storing, or just tossing those items, removing clutter will allow potential buyers to picture themselves in every part of your home, including your closets and garages – rather than just picturing your clutter stashed away there.

4. Curb Appeal Is Key

With spring quickly transitioning to summer, your yard may need a little love. Spring rains and warmth might’ve left your lawn a little overgrown. Take the time to remove weeds, mow your lawn, and add new plant life around the outside of your home. The outside will be the first thing potential buyers see, and you want them to be drawn in by your yard, not turned away by it.

5. Use Refreshments To Your Advantage

Whether you’re a baker or just love buying baked goods, open houses are the perfect opportunity to draw potential buyers in with sweets. With rising temperatures, a thoughtful treat with a glass of lemonade or ice water adds a personal touch to your open house that will, at a minimum, guarantee that potential buyers cross the threshold of your home. Sometimes, getting them in the door is all you need.


Posted on May 28, 2019 at 4:30 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyers and Sellers |

WHAT TO PACK FOR THE FIRST NIGHT IN YOUR NEW HOME

WHAT TO PACK FOR THE FIRST NIGHT IN YOUR NEW HOME

 

You just finished unloading the final box from the moving truck, and now you’re officially moved in to your new home! You go to take a shower to wash off the day, only to realize you don’t have a shower curtain. After spending a full day moving into a new home, the last thing you are going to want to do is dig through all of your unopened boxes to find an outfit or a charger (or even a shower curtain). The next time you’re moving, create a ‘first night box’ so that your essentials aren’t hidden at the bottom of another box. Here is a list of what you should pack:

1. Toiletries

You may have thought about keeping your tooth brush in an easy-to-find place when packing, but you’ll need more toiletry essentials to get through the first night or two. Be sure to pack toilet paper, towels, a shower curtain + rod, shower items, and a first aid kit.

2. Clothes

Unless you are an extremely organized packer, finding an outfit for the next few days isn’t going to be easy if you have to dig through multiple boxes.  Pack 2-3 days worth of clothes and pajamas.

3. Electronics

Don’t forget your chargers. Make sure you’ve got your phone, laptop, and any other charger you may need for your devices during the first few days at home. Pack any necessary cords and cables needed if you plan to unbox your television the first night  Be sure to pack a flashlight as well just in case!

4. Air Mattress/Bedding

If your bed hasn’t made it to your new room yet, you will want to make sure you have an air mattress in your first night box. Check to ensure the air pump is packed as well! If your furniture is unloaded, you will sleep better if the bedding you love is easily accessible on that first night in your new home.

5. Eating Utensils & Kitchen Items 

Avoid the mess of dirty dishes your first night home and pack disposable eating utensils.  You may also want to pack wipes to quickly clean up any messes made at mealtime and a garbage bag to be able to dispose of any waste quickly. Cleaning supplies typically aren’t the first thing on our minds when moving into a new home, so be sure to pack these items so that you aren’t scrambling to the store after a long day when you’re ready to clean up after a meal.


Posted on April 16, 2019 at 4:02 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyer's |

You’re Making Your Landlord Rich

You're Making Your Landlord Rich

While you’re fussing over your bills, did you realize you’re making your landlord rich? Rentals are the most lucrative business to get into. It turns ordinary people into multi-millionaires. The next time you’re afraid of committing to a mortgage, keep in mind that you’ve already committed to paying off the mortgage of someone else – every single month you rent. The only time home buying doesn’t make sense is if you’re still living with your parents rent-free. Or you prefer to live out of an R.V. or tent. But if you prefer to live in a home, or a condo, it always makes the most sense to buy.

Stop making your landlord rich and start building your own net worth. You can still enjoy owning a home – even if you don’t intend to stay in an area for long. You can always resell your home, most often for more money than you put in, or turn it into a lucrative side business by hiring a property management company to rent it out on your behalf. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid of a mortgage commitment – you’re paying one regardless. Now ask yourself, do you want to make yourself money or make your landlord money?

 


Posted on February 13, 2019 at 4:16 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyer's |

Don’t Replace Your Agent With The Internet

 

 

With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.

We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input, but it’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.

Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, the industry in it’s legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.

The next time you’re digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you’ve found the perfect house, or after you’ve decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it’s going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can.


Posted on March 3, 2018 at 6:09 pm
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyers and Sellers |

Ready to paint your home?

 

Be sure to use the right finishes in each room and feature to make the best impact in your home. Using the wrong finishes can backfire for home owners if the wrong ones are used in the wrong spaces. Below, you’ll find the most common finishes and recommendations on where they are best applied to.

– PAINT FINISHES –

Flat is a low-sheen paint with a non-reflective finish that touches up well and hides minor surface imperfections.  It’s ideal for low traffic areas, interior walls and ceilings.

Matte has a low luster reflective finish that is durable, easy to clean, touches up well, and also hides minor surface imperfections. It is great for low to moderate traffic areas, such as bedrooms, and interior walls.

Eggshell Enamel has a soft, velvety appearance and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas such as living rooms.

Satin Enamel if you desire a pearl-like appearance, and are painting moderate to high traffic areas or areas that have some exposure to moisture, such as kitchens.

Semi-Gloss Enamel if you desire a sleek, radiant sheen that is great from cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas and high-moisture areas.

Hi-Gloss Enamel creates a brilliant, shiny appearance with a glass-like finish. This is great for high-use surfaces


Posted on January 9, 2018 at 4:32 am
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Uncategorized |

Storage Ideas For Small Bathrooms

Is your bathroom small? It’s the worst, isn’t it? Well, unfortunately, small bathrooms are very common, and are usually the smallest rooms in the house. I can almost bet that it almost always feels cramped and tight in there. Although the square footage doesn’t change, a change of organization and storage space can make a drastic change to how your bathroom feels. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your bathroom space feel more functional and spacious.

  •  Medicine Cabinet
    If you have a regular mirror, replacing it with one that includes a medicine cabinet and provide further storage space.
  • Shelving
    If you have free space above your toilet, vanity, or other another empty part of the wall, install shelving units. Purchase a few decorative baskets to maximize shelf space.
  • Hooks
    With a few decorative hooks, in a style of your preference, you can declutter by placing a couple on the back of the door to hang towels or robes. Perhaps one or two right next to each end of the shelving unit you just installed.
  • Towel Racks 
    A rack installed inside of you shower can save you space and convenience, also adding an additional shower bar above the original will work nicely. Another idea is installing a few racks a couple of feet above each other or right next on another. If you have an excessive amount of towels, store some of them away in the bedroom closet.
  • Vanity with Cabinet
    I have come across plenty of pedestal sinks in small bathrooms, but if you want save some space, add some storage, and upgrade the look of your bathroom at the same time, a vanity cabinet will definitely do the trick.

Posted on November 8, 2017 at 3:14 am
Brenda McKinley | Posted in Buyers and Sellers |