Setting the stage for the sale of your home is key to making a great first impression on potential buyers and getting top dollar for your home. Home staging does not need to cost a lot, in fact, just investing in a few items can make a huge difference. Buying a few new throw pillows for your sofa can really update dated furniture and can be used to add a pop of color to the room. Having fresh fruit out in the kitchen and fresh flowers in the home really lightens and brightens the atmosphere, makes the home more inviting, and is an inexpensive way to add natural beauty to a room. Putting a new area rug in a space can tie the room together and create a cozy and cohesive look. Buying new towels that are used only for display in bathrooms goes a long way in creating a clean look for the space. New bedding instantly upgrades the look of a bedroom and is a lot cheaper than buying all new accessories or furniture for the room. Mirrors are also a great accessory to invest in; they create the illusion of more space and are perfect for small spaces. Implementing these cheap and easy accessories will get your home looking great and ready for buyers!
Going away for a weekend is fun but can be a lot of work. Why not stay at home this weekend and try out some of these weekend staycation ideas?
- Go swim at an indoor pool
- Have a movie marathon
- Head to the spa with family or friends for a day of relaxation and pampering
- Check out a local bookstore and take your time finding a great book
- Invite friends over for a game night
- Eat at a local restaurant you have never been to before. Have you tried Casa Maya (awesome Mexican cuisine) in Shorewood or Sovereign (unique farm to fork dining) in Plainfield?
- Tour the museums in Chicago
- Go shopping!
Getting your home prepped and ready to enter the market can be a stressful time and many homeowners are unsure of where to begin and what the first steps are to accomplishing this task.
- Get rid of your PMI: PMI is the lender’s protection in case you default on your loan and cannot make your payments. Typically borrowers that can’t put down at least 20% are required to have PMI since they are seen as a riskier investment. If you live in an area that has seen rising home prices and have been in your home for at least 2 years, speak with your lender about dropping your PMI. This can save you an average of $195 a month for a $200,000 loan.
- Lower your PMI: In January 2015 the government announced lower PMI rates for buyers with FHA loans. New homebuyers will be able to take advantage of these lower rates and existing homeowners may be able to refinance and lower their PMI rate.
- Refinance: Refinancing to lower your PMI is not the only way to refinance your loan. Taking advantage of lower mortgage rates or switching from a 15 year loan to a 30 year loan can save you thousands of dollars. Speak with your lender to discuss options available to you.
- Buy down your rate: If you are purchasing a home, speak with your lender about the possibility of buying down your rate. If you are able to, putting down more money initially to buy a lower interest rate can save you a substantial amount of money over the course of the loan.
- Find a tenant: If your home has an extra room, especially with a private entrance, consider taking on a tenant.
1. Home evaluation tools can be inaccurate: Although there are several online tools that can give an estimate of your home’s value, these tools are often incorrect by about 5-20%. These inaccuracies mean that you are losing out on both money and buyers if you strictly go by these tools. Realtors may use these tools to begin the home pricing process, but there is a lot more work that goes into the price than simply using online tools. Realtors perform a lot of ground work that the average homeowner may not be able to do.
2. There are many factors that go into the price of a home: Market data is just one component of property value that Realtors will use when coming up with a list price; the rest of the factors are very property specific. The age of the roof, home upgrades, neighborhood info, etc. all come into play when deciding on a listing price. The property specific data is not something that these online tools have access to which can make these home values very inaccurate.
3. A Realtor’s experience plays a big role: A Realtor does a comparative market analysis or “CMA” for every listing. CMAs involve going to a property and thoroughly inspecting both the home and the neighborhood to determine the best price. After completing a CMA, the Realtor will be able to effectively articulate the home’s list price to potential buyers and their agents. A Realtor will use their experience and expertise to come to a well thought out price.
This weekend is supposed to be SUPER cold making it perfect weather to enjoy some delicious soup! Here’s a soup recipe to try out this chilly weekend. Check out my Pinterest page for recipes, design ideas, helpful hints and more!
Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Gal On A Mission
- 1 large onion diced or 1 cup of diced onion
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 spring of rosemary chopped or substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 large fresh basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 20 ounces of three cheese tortellini
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Put the onion, garlic, olive oil and fresh rosemary in a soup pot or a dutch oven. Saute over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock and heavy cream and stir until incorporated together. Simmer for 18-20 minutes.
- Add the tortellini into the soup and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes or until the pasta is tender and cooked through.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Serve and garnish with more parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves if desired.
Kitchen design choices can be difficult to make but there are some safe, classic design elements that you can’t go wrong with.
- Hardwood flooring: Wood floors look great, are durable, and make a home cozy and inviting. They are a smart choice since they are so durable, especially maple, oak and ash. They typically have a 100 year old life and they can be refinished about 10 times.
- Carrara marble countertops: Carrara is an excellent choice for counters because it’s timeless, beautiful, and will last forever. Although it can stain easily, if it’s properly sealed twice a year there shouldn’t be an issue. Carrara is also typically less expensive than other choices such as quartz.
- White: White kitchens have always been in style. They are light and bright and can make a cramped kitchen appear larger. The great thing about a white space is you can keep it mainly white and neutral or you can add pops of color where you want. Brightly colored cabinet knobs and open shelving displaying colorful dishes are just some ways to add color and personality to the room.
- Plentiful storage: Homeowners store more in their kitchens now than ever. Kitchens used to be small rooms typically found in the back of the home instead of the heart of the home like they frequently are now. Having storage and plenty of it is very important and something that you won’t regret. Many cabinets now adapt to fit pots, pans, lids, and baking sheets with ease. Kitchen islands can also be open on one side to provide extra shelving and storage.