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Let Those Old Toys Go….

Let Those Old Toys Go…..

If you have kids, then you understand how their stuff can collect in your home even after they’re grown. A few examples might be your child’s first Christmas toy, Halloween costume, or picture of their first finger turkey from kindergarten. Whether it’s toys or art, as sentimental as they are, these items turn into clutter very quickly. Here are a few of the top things hanging around you can get rid of and a few tips to let go and declutter your home.

Get Rid Of Favorite Old Toys

How do you let go of the toy? Well, it’s easy if it’s been collecting dust and hasn’t seen the light of day in many years. If you’re like many parents when it comes time to purge, you can also ask yourself these three questions.

Do I have more than one of these?
Why am I holding onto this?
Would someone like it/use it more than we do?

After answering the questions, if you confirm your feelings that it’s time to go, then go for it. Try donating some of these toys to a local pre-school.

Old Costumes

Surely there’s some sentimental value to a lot of these things, especially when it comes to old Halloween costumes. However, if it’s been sitting in a closet or at the bottom of a bin, maybe someone else might find it useful. Try sending them to a consignment shop. You still have the pictures for the memories.

Old Children’s Books

Chances are you still have some old children’s books on a shelf. And odds are your kids aren’t beginner readers anymore. If your kids have grown past this state of reading, it’s time to let them go. An easy way to take care of these old books is to donate them to your local library or bring them to your local Goodwill store.

Those are just a few of the items cluttering up closets, rooms, and basements of many parents. Donating to someone who can really use these items will help you feel better about decluttering.

 

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Tips to Budget Your Remodel Project

5  Tips for Budgeting a Remodel

 

​We all like a change of scenery, especially when it comes to our homes. Whether it’s simply adding a different color to a room or taking on a major remodel, it’s refreshing to make a change, and sometimes it can add value to your home. Regardless of the size of the project, there’s a lot to think about before you begin.

One of the most important things to consider is your budget. Are you going to take on some of the job yourself to save some money? I wanted to share a few more valuable ideas and tips for budgeting for your project. Check them out below.  

Determine Where the Money Will Come from

​Will you use savings? Or will you take out a home equity loan? Once you determine your source of funding, determine how much you want to spend on the project – and stick to that limit.

Set Your Priorities

Before you pull out a calculator, clarify your reasons for renovating. Divide those reasons into “wants” and “needs.” For example, reconfiguring your bathroom so that your current questionable electrical and plumbing will pass an inspection is a “need.” His-and-her water closets, a whirlpool tub, and built-in towel heaters are “wants.” Setting priorities will help you make decisions as you move through the renovation process.

Step Away From The Computer

Visit showrooms, model homes, and design stores in addition to checking out pictures online. Before investing in materials and appliances, be sure to see and feel them, or samples of them, in person.

DIY Or Contractor?

The biggest question to answer when creating your budget is deciding whether to do the work yourself or to hire a contractor. Doing the work yourself is usually less expensive – unless, of course, something (costly) goes wrong. Using a contractor, however, can mean your project is completed to professional standards and usually in a shorter time frame. Be sure to calculate the value of your time (and your back and knees) and the inconvenience of having a bathroom or kitchen out of use during the project when deciding whether to opt for DIY or a pro.

Expect The Unexpected

Whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, add on an extra 15 to 20 percent of your total budget for unforeseen expenses. Added costs inevitably arise, especially if you’re dealing with an older home.

If you have questions or are looking for a good contractor, I’m connected with some of the best professionals in the business.

 

Jean@TheWheatonTeam.com

719-536-4581

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DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need

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Why You Need An Agent For New Construction

Are you ready to buy a home and considering going in the route of new builds? It may seem like an easy enough process, where you get to call the shots of how you want your dream home to be, but there is a lot of risk when it comes to new construction if you are going in blindly. It’s unfortunately not as trouble free as we’d like to hope, if you don’t have the right representative by your side to help with the things that need to be looked out for from a professional’s eye. Below, we’ll dive into the many reasons you need a professional buyer’s agent representing you in the sale. They are, after all, on your side. And it’s their role to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of by the builders and their representatives in the transaction.

1. HIRING THE RIGHT BUILDER
The most important part of finding an agent is having a professional’s perspective to finding a builder with a great reputation. You get to benefit from your agent’s network of vendors, lenders, and home builders. They have the industry expertise to connect you with a builder that matches your needs, and more than likely, have already had experience with the builder with a past client. Or, if they haven’t worked with a builder you want to use directly, they can gather person-to-person recommendations from other agents to know the expected experience with said builder. They will help you find one, that not only delivers exactly what their clients want, but in a timely fashion.

2. THE RIGHT LOT IN THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD
The lot you choose to go with in a new build can either be a positive to your new home, or detrimental. In the excitement of the process, we tend to overlook important features of a property. It’s important to have a professional to ensure you make a purchase that will best serve you. They’ll be able to find a neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle and a lot that has a location that works for you. Whether you’re single with pets, or a family with children, the lot location can really make a huge impact. Especially when it comes time to selling it in the future. These are important things your agent will be able to help walk you through, so your decisions work in your favor in the long term, as well as now.

 

3. UPGRADES AND PLAN MODIFICATIONS
Not only will your agent be able to ensure you get the upgrades and modifications that will best suit your lifestyle, but will also help you make decisions that will increase the value of your home in the long term. They are working for your best interest long term, and with an agent’s guidance, you can be sure to make changes that end up benefiting you.

 

4. HANDLING CONTRACTS AND PAPERWORK
Your agent will handle the contract and all of the paperwork, and they will be sure to review it to ensure that it is in your best interest. They will be able to help you break down the best loan types, purchasing processes, and steps to take that benefit YOU, not the builder. They are, after all, working for you. They’ll make sure there are no overlooked terms in a builder’s contract that could end up hurting you after you move in. Or even during the building process. You want to make sure you have a professional who is experienced with the paperwork and contracts and knows how to make revisions that work in a way that make you happy.

5. NEGOTIATIONS
It is imperative in the purchasing process to have an agent that is able to represent you and negotiate for you. The building process is so much more than having the builder put in your favorite counters and floors. They will be able to get you a price that actually benefits you – not the builder. They will be able to run a comparative market analysis to ensure you are paying a fair price for the property. You don’t want to end up overpaying for the home – it could put you in a tough spot when it comes time to sell. They’ll also be able to negotiate terms around building time frame, closings costs, and so many other aspects of a contract that you may otherwise overlook.

6. BUILDER’S AGENT REPRESENTS THEM, NOT YOU
It may seem easy just to pop into an office of a new build, or a builder’s office, and use the onsite agent. But keep in mind that this agent works FOR the builder, NOT for you. So they will be working to make sure the builder gets the best deal at the end of the day. By having a buyer’s agent of your own, you can ensure there is a professional on your side that can walk you through the process and avoid being taken advantage of during the transaction. They will also have a better handle on things when you hit bumps along the way. If you end up working with a builder who isn’t holding their end of the deal, they will have the power to make connections that ensure the builder holds their end of the contract terms.

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The Incredible Joy of Owning Your Home

If you haven’t bought a home yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “Finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes that’s a real feeling!

We often hear, and read, about the cost effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don’t often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home.

There is a sense of security, and a sense of “this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment,” that provides moments of bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can’t be beat.

Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down some roots. And we mean that figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family, that leave a significant impact into the later years. You also get to build bonds with your neighbors, and grow in a community oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. Potlucks, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and build new relationships.

By The Wheaton Team / LRE – Mar 26, 2018

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Why Rent If You Can Buy

Home ownership rates are the lowest they have been in the last 50 years. Yet a large portion of Americans are still renting properties, instead of enjoying a home of their own. Consumer reports believe this is an issue because of a buyer’s lack of trust in their ability to purchase. It is still a long standing notion that a buyer needs 20% towards the cost of the home in order to move forward, but this isn’t true. With countless down payment assistant programs, and closing cost roll-ins, a home owner could move in with as little as a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Which is a huge difference in the time it takes to save up to make the move.

With interest rates at an all-time low, home ownership in today’s market is a great investment. The money saved over a mortgage’s lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. That’s more money in your pocket today. Don’t wait to buy when interest rates soar again. With low interest rates, that means your monthly mortgage payments are at a significantly lower cost, as well. With such a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment, if you can move into a home a pay a monthly rate that is the same, and get a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard?

There is also a fear that a home can keep you “stuck” or “rooted” to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn’t easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to selling is going to be far more beneficial, than if you put money into a rental and decided to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place.

Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you’d be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn’t be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you’d be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, you might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into.

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Spark A Bidding War

Ready to make a move? Have a certain figure in mind that you need to sell for? Depending on your market, you might be able to get a little more than what you may be needing. Go over with your agent if setting a bidding war is smart for the sale of your home, and if they give the green light, here are a few things to consider to help get your sales price over asking after starting a bidding competition. 

1. ATTRACT MORE BUYERS

When there isn’t much interest in a property, buyer’s get nervous and suspicious that there may be something wrong with the home that they may be missing, and that could sometimes be further from the truth. You want to price your home competitively to entice more showings. When you price your home right under the market standard, it leads to more showings, more appointments, and more excitement around your home.

 

2. PRICE IT TO MOVE IT

You want to make sure your price gets buyers interested in your property. Even if they end up paying more than asking, the excitement from feeling like they are getting a deal and landing your home sets the right mood for buyers to WANT your property. Always price the home in a way that is going to appeal to a large audience. Pricing a home at $399,900 can generally generate more foot traffic than one listed at $400,000. Advertising a home for sale that is listed for slightly under the market value can garner a lot of interest, which can lead to the home selling for more than what the seller originally wanted.

 

3. START UP THE BUZZ

Make sure you work with an agent that has the ability to start up a coming soon buzz around your home. You want to let the market know that your home is going to be coming soon, and start up conversation and interest. This gives time for word about your home to spread to get more foot traffic and competition on your house.

 

4. STAGING IS KEY

It’s without question that to get over market value for your home, it has to be in tip-top condition. Discuss with your agent the importance of having your home professionally cleaned and stage to attract more buyers. Starting up a buzz won’t lead to much if buyers walk into your home and turned off by orders, unappealing lighting, or rooms that are not properly staged. You want to allow buyers and opportunity to see your home in the best light the first time they walk through your door.

 

5. CREATE A DEADLINE

Have your agent set a deadline for offers, say a Monday or Tuesday, right after a weekend of doing open houses. This can generate a sense of urgency around your home, letting buyers think there is a large amount of interest and to get offers in quickly. Setting them up with this state of urgency generally makes them want to put their best foot forward with their first offer.

6. SWEETEN THE DEAL

To generate a little more excitement and foot traffic, you can offer an incentive for whomever purchases the home, or set a fun giveaway during an open house. Some people have given away cars, tickets to a major event – like the Super Bowl, given away vacation tickets, etc. Doing an out-of-the-box giveaway helps to generate organic buzz around your home. Some giveaways have even landed seller’s homes in the local news. More buzz means more potential buyers, which means a potential opportunity for a bidding war to get you a better sales price.

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Kitchen Improvements Under $100

 

Kitchen Improvements Under $100
Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you’re ready to list your home to sell on the market.

1. REFRESH THE SINK:

If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.

2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE

A decorative light fixture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current decor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20.

3. PAINT THE CABINETS

With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new.

4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD

Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint.

5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES

Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they’re a cheap fix to replace.

6. CHANGE HARDWARE

Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.

7. EXPAND STORAGE

Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you’re thinking of listing your home.

8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR

Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out decor that looks like it belongs in the 90’s, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you’re trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character.

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it.

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Jean Wheaton; Real Estate Titans, hosted by Greg Fowler!

Real Estate Titans, hosted by Greg Fowler! ???????????? Interviewing the top real estate professionals in our marketplace, gathering insight, inspiration, and business advice from the top minds industry wide! Live every Tuesday and Friday afternoon. @RealEstateTitansLive @gregfowlerco #RealEstateTitans (Guest) Jean Wheaton Real estate agent RE/MAX Properties Inc. (Host) Greg Fowler Regional Sales Manager Stewart Title

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10 Home Chores To Do Annually

10 Home Chores To Do Annually

 

Sing me some graces, there is such a thing as over-cleaning! Here are ten chores around the home that you really only need to do annually, minus special circumstances. Let's dive in!

1. Curtains & Drapes

Unfortunately, we don't mean the dusting part. You'll want to dust at least once a month, but when it actually comes time to getting them cleaned, you only really need to do that once a year. You can take them in to get dry cleaned or follow the instructions on their tags if you choose to wash them at home. 

2. House Gutters

Gutter guards can be a great investment, especially if you live around trees that shed all year long. These can keep your gutter cleanings minimal, generally about once per year. You'll want to do this in the autumn when all of the leaves from the trees have already fallen. 

3. Fireplace & Chimney 

After the winter, you'll want to give your fireplace a thorough cleaning. You can use a shop vacuum to clean up the embers. Make sure to wash down the fireplace tools as well. Go an extra step further and schedule an appointment with a chimney sweeper. 

4. Carpets

We wish we meant vacuuming, but that's pretty much a weekly or biweekly task for most households. In this case, we mean a deep clean. The best time to get this taken care of is right after summer. 

5. Outdoor Furniture

The best time to clean outdoor furniture is when you bring them out of storage for Spring. Of course, if messes up happen while you're using them, you want to clean the spots right away, so you avoid an accumulation of stains in a short period. 

6. Mattress

Mattresses have improved through the years but they still need a little bit of attention. At least once a year, give your mattress a thorough cleaning and change the position of it. 

7. Kitchen Cabinets & Pantry

Early November is a great time to clean out kitchen cabinets, drawers, and the food pantry to get them ready for the holidays. Do a section of cabinets at a time and empty them out completely. Wipe down the shelves and reline with shelf paper if needed.

8. Linen Closet

Just once a year, empty out your linen closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Take time to vacuum away dust and spiderwebs and reline any shelves. 

9. Garage, Basement, & Attic

No one is expecting you to have a perfect garage, basement, or attic. However, a good cleaning at least once a year can help you keep an eye on things, such as moisture or insect problems. It can also feel good to get rid of junk that tends to accumulate in these hidden spaces.

If you're in the market to sell your home, you can always give me a call, and I'll refer over some preferred vendors that can help you knock out your cleaning tasks.