Jacqueline Ducharme's Blog
If you know absolutely nothing about buying a house, don’t learn the hard way. There’s plenty of information available to help you avoid the many potential pitfalls in the process. You want your first home buying experience to be exciting, not exhausting. Here are some tips to get you started the right way.
- Know when you’re ready. Sometimes the pressure to buy comes from well-meaning family and friends. Even your boss might press you to buy a home. But there are personal and financial milestones you need to pass before jumping into the housing market. These include paying down debt, monitoring your credit report and credit scores and freeing up cash to save for a down payment. If you can’t adjust your cash flow so that you can set some funds aside, you may not be ready to buy a home. Yes, there are zero-down and low-down-payment loans out there, but you still have closing costs, taxes, insurance and maintenance to cover. If you’re not there yet, start by making small adjustments to your financial picture. Trying living on a budget. You’ll find plenty of apps online or for your phone to help you follow the money. Once you know where your money goes, you can redirect it to where you want it.
- Learn what you want. While you’re working on your financial adjustments, start visiting open houses. Go to single-family homes, new builder developments, condominiums, townhomes, patio communities and hi-rise buildings. Keep a list of what you like and dislike about each. Then, consider the time it takes to maintain the property. Calculate the hours spent mowing the lawn or caring for landscaping, or the cost to have it done for you. Consider if you want a ready-to-live-in home, or if you’re up to the challenge of a renovation. If so, will you do the work yourself or hire out to have it done? While not a perfect depiction, watch television shows about home renovations and remodels. You’ll see some of the disasters that might be lurking behind an innocent-looking wall.
- Hire the right help. Buying a home for the first time is not the time to go it alone. Hire a professional real estate agent that represents buyers. You need someone in your corner during negotiations and the contract process so that necessary paperwork gets completed and a seller’s potential lack of disclosures doesn’t slip by you. Your agent can refer a home inspector to find out everything that might need repairs. Then they can negotiate for you to get the price reduced or the item fixed during the closing process.
If you follow these suggestions, when your agent finds the perfect home, you’ll be ready to take the exhilarating leap to purchase your first home.
Looking to buy or sell a house in the near future? Hire a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving the best possible homebuying or home selling results.
Ultimately, there are many great reasons to trust a real estate agent throughout the homebuying or home selling journey, including:
1. A real estate agent boasts comprehensive industry experience.
When it comes to buying or selling a house, there is no reason to work alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who possess extensive industry experience and understand what it takes to buy or sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
An experienced real estate agent is easy to find – all you have to do is search.
With a simple online search, you can discover dozens of qualified real estate agents in your area. Then, you can reach out to local real estate agents and find one who can help you navigate the homebuying or home selling journey.
2. A real estate agent can help you accelerate the process of buying or selling a home.
The process of buying or selling a house can be time-consuming. Conversely, a real estate agent understands what it takes to streamline the homebuying or home selling cycle.
For a homebuyer, a real estate agent will help this individual discover a great home in no time at all. In fact, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses as they become available and ensure a homebuyer can narrow his or her home search. That way, a real estate agent will make it simple for a homebuyer to quickly and effortlessly complete the property buying process.
On the other hand, a real estate agent will help a home seller add a property to the real estate market and optimize the property's value. This housing market professional will even negotiate with homebuyers on a home seller's behalf to boost a seller's chances of generating a profit from a home sale.
3. A real estate agent knows how to handle tough situations.
Buying or selling a house should be a fast, seamless process. However, this rarely, if ever, is the case.
Luckily, a real estate agent knows how to handle difficult situations and ensure a homebuyer or home seller can overcome assorted hurdles. He or she can help an individual alleviate stress and proceed with confidence throughout the homebuying or home selling journey.
If you need a helping hand as you get ready to buy or sell a house, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is a real estate expert, and as such, will do whatever it takes to help you accomplish your homebuying or home selling goals.
Employ a real estate agent today – you'll be happy you did. With a real estate agent at your side, you can increase your chances of enjoying a successful homebuying or home selling journey.
If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.
While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.
Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.
Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.
One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.
As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.
Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.
Nothing completes an open floor plan better than open shelving. Open shelves present everything for the world to see. They transform what may be a cluttered, dark, hidden space into one that becomes a place of not only function but of style.
Open shelving complements the Minimalist, Industrial or Scandinavian Modern styles. But depending on how you arrange on those shelves, it can also work with those who love something more cozy like Rural or French Country.
On the other hand, open shelving isn't for everyone. Some prefer the convenience and privacy of tucking items away behind closed doors. They feel less need to continually ensure everything looks beautiful on those shelves. And if you live in an arid climate, doors protect dishes, cans and boxes of pasta from the dust that tends to settle.
Doors vs. shelving? That's the question you'll need to ask yourself before making a change. But if you're ready to transform your cabinets to open shelving, here's how it's done.
Clear Your Cabinets
Get everything out of the way. That includes removing those doors, which should simply require a screwdriver. Already, you'll begin to see your open shelves taking shape.
Fill Any Holes
You won't need them since you're not replacing the doors. Fill any holes with wood filler. If these look uneven, hand sand them. But paint will cover up most of the imperfection.
Remove Center Braces
A cabinet with more than one door will likely have a piece of wood where the two doors come together. You don't need it. Remove it with a saw and hammer.
If you find any nails or staples left behind, you may need to pry them. But sometimes you'll find they've been driven in too far. If there's nothing that the claws of a hammer can grasp, force the nail back through the wood. It should only take some careful whacks to the sharp side with your hammer.
Paint Your Shelves
You choose the color. But why stick with one? Open shelves are the perfect opportunity to add contrast. Try painting the inside a dark color like navy, black, dark gray or red. Then paint the outside a complementing light color, pale gray or white.
Whatever you do, don't forget to seal the paint with a polyacrylic. It reduces the risk of water damage and strengthens the paint so that it's less likely to chip or fade.
Let It Dry & Organize
Don't place anything on the shelves for at least 48 hours. But once that timer dings, you're ready to assemble. If you have more dishes than you can presentably place on the shelves, ask yourself if you need them. Less is more on open shelving.
We hope you enjoy your new open shelving. To learn more about home maintenance and design, follow our blog.