Pam Spiros' Blog
Designing a home can be intimidating, especially if it's your first time. Maybe you were a design aficionado with the perfect dorm room, but designing a whole house seems intimidating. Maybe you're worried you have no feel for design at all and will leave your room an empty canvas with one, central couch, an old packing box for a coffee table and your television and gaming system across from you. Maybe this isn't your first rodeo, and you're looking for a few quick tips to redesign a room in your house. Either way, welcome! Let's get started on our three essential design tips for new homeowners.
1) Choose your aesthetic first.
Consider whether you want your space to look modern, contemporary, traditional, urban or industrial, or classic. Deciding on the style of the public areas, such as the living room, bathrooms and dining room, is one of the most important decisions to make early on. By deciding on your design style, you can then search for furniture, lighting and accessories by keyword, making the design process far easier and ensuring that everything in your space will present harmoniously.
2) Lay out each room according to its purpose.
A great deal of what makes a room fun and comfortable, beyond its aesthetic, is how convenient it is to live in. That means storing items where you'll need them and storing often-used items where they're easiest to reach. It makes sense to purchase a seat with built-in storage for extra throws, for example, in your living room. In a kitchen, place utensils you'd often use while cooking -- large stirring spoons, ladles and tongs -- standing up in a jug rather than in a drawer you'll have to open and close. It can help to mentally run through a task and see how far you have to walk to reach important objects to decide where to place them. You should also ensure that paths traveled frequently remain open, such as the path from the kitchen to the dining room.
By a similar token, "sitting rooms" can be used for a lot of different purposes. If you're a gaming family, consider making your gaming space central to the room, with a smaller seating area for chatting or reading. A family with small children might want to incorporate a play area. Above all, remember that each room should serve you and your family's lives rather than solely serve your aesthetic.
3) Choose your paint color last of all.
Start by finding a piece or two of furniture you absolutely love in your design style. Then, design the rest of the room around what you've chosen, including your choice of paint, carpet and, if possible, flooring. Keep in mind that there are thousands of paint colors in the world and it's very cheap and quick to change a paint color you're not fond of or that doesn't work as well as you thought it did; however, it's almost impossible to replace your furniture in the same way. Therefore, start with your furniture and end the design process by choosing your paint.
Keep these design tips in mind and you will be well on your way to designing the perfect home!
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
Creating curb appeal is an essential ingredient to attracting potential buyers to a house for sale. Similar to the concept of "dressing for success," when you make a strong first impression, your chances for producing positive results are greatly enhanced.
Looking good from the outside is the first step to capturing people's interest, but that's only the first of several hurdles that you have to clear. The last thing you want to do as a home seller is disappoint prospective buyers when they start looking around inside. That's why it's important to start strong and finish strong! While that may be easier said than done, it's a principle of success you can't afford to ignore.
Once you put your house on the market, there are two factors that could potentially work against you: the elements of time and competition.
- Time is of the essence: Time can either be your friend or your adversary, depending on how long your house has been on the market. When house hunters see the words "just listed," it creates a feeling of excitement and urgency. For many eager home buyers, those two words mean there's a fresh opportunity to discover the house of their dreams... or at least a reasonable facsimile! It's especially enticing to frustrated buyers who have already looked at a lot of homes, without having found the right one yet. When a new house is listed and put on the market, couples will be thinking and saying "Maybe this house will be the one!" Your challenge as a home seller is to do everything possible and cost-effective to live up to their expectations! An important factor to keep in mind is that the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it generally is to prospective buyers. Once a house has been languishing on the market for more than a couple months or so, it also puts the sellers at a negotiating disadvantage.
- Competition is a fact of life: Buying a house is weighty decision. No one takes it lightly, and few buyers are going to make an offer on a house if they haven't looked at several others, too. Well-organized house hunters will have wish lists, "must have" requirements, and detailed notes and recollections about how each house stacks up. So it's important to work with your real estate agent to present your home in its best possible light. When your home compares favorably to other similar properties on market, your chances of getting it sold within a reasonable period of time are greatly improved.
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