Room with a View

Room with a View

Not everyone is able to live at the beach, or the lake, or in the mountains. Some live near busy highways, power lines, or trash dumps. So, what do you do if the view from your room is not exactly a room with a view? Be creative and give it a view of its own! Of course you can use window coverings, and they can be useful and do a great job of hiding what is outside. However, if you want natural light, you may want to find another solution. You’ll want to draw the eye into the room. Attention should be on one or two focal points. There are so many products that can help give a space the beauty you envision without breaking the bank. You can do things that range from adding accessories to a complete renovation. Here are some ideas in both categories: Simple Wallpaper – Today’s wallpaper is not the velvet textured paper your aunt had in the guest bath (although retro is making a comeback). There are a plethora of designs, colors, textures, and applications on the market. From a basic paper that mimics wainscoting to the most intricate colorful designs, you can let your imagination run wild. I have even seen vendors that will make a wallpaper from your design. So, if you want black & white profiles of your pets in your breakfast room or a replication of your grandmother’s wedding dress in your closet, it can be done.Accessories – Pillows, floral arrangements, candles, fruit-filled bowls, wall hangings, mirrors, art books, bedding, the list goes on. Pretty much anything can be used as an accessory. The key is, make it interesting. It may be a bright color, an intricate shape, or an oversized piece. I had a client that had a giraffe in their living room (yes, a life-sized giraffe from a taxidermy.) Talk about eye-catching! Once inside, you would have never known what was beyond those walls because you were mesmerized by what was inside. I caution from going over the top with items, however. Too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. A space that seems cluttered may have the opposite effect and have people wanting to look out the window to clear their mind.Paint – Paint is quite possibly the most economical way to have the most impact on a room. Don’t play it safe, either. Be bold with the color. Paint the ceiling. Accent one wall. There are many ways to “try before you buy” so you don’t regret your decision. Sample size cans are typically available for purchase so you can try the color on the wall. There are also adhesive squares...

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Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

There is a lot going on in our world that we have every right to be upset about. We’ve been stuck in our homes for weeks. People are sick. People are dying. Some have lost their job. Some lost their retirement savings. Others wonder how they’re going to feed their children this week. You’ve heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s easier said than done sometimes, however, I have learned that attitude is everything. I have a client who is retired and on a fixed income. She wanted to sell her house and move to sunny Florida. Before everyone was quarantined, we got a contract on her house. Right before closing, the deal fell through. She had her house packed up, was closing on a new house in Florida and had everything lined up. Guess who was more upset about it all? ME! Don’t get me wrong. She was disappointed but she took it all in stride and was an emotional trooper. She was deciding as to whether she should just unpack and stay in her house. She is in a high-risk category and wanted to stay safe and healthy. Having people in her home was a bit disconcerting. But, I had a feeling we would get another Buyer very quickly so she decided to move forward with selling and show the property. It only took one more showing before we got another contract. Yay! Things were looking up and after the heartache of the last deal, we both needed some good news. That Buyer seemed solid but my client had valid fears of job loss, furlough or income reduction since there were so many uncertainties during that time. Things moved along smoothly. We were just waiting for the appraiser to contact us. We reached out many times and used various modes of communication but never heard from them. Were they waiving the appraisal? Were they going to do a “drive-by?” We were getting antsy. Finally, we heard that the appraisal had been received by the lender. Great! The appraiser must have just used public information to gather his findings since no one had spoken with him. My client was thrilled and through the stress and anxiety, always had a positive attitude. The appraiser valued the property lower than the contract price – and it was 4 days before closing. I frantically looked over the appraisal and realized that we had many valid reasons as to why the value should be increased. So we went to work trying to get the appraiser to change his report. At first, he responded then went MIA. My client lost the house in Florida she was going to purchase...

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What Do We Really Need?

What Do We Really Need?

It was the eve of 2020. A new decade was about to begin. Fresh starts and hopes of something big and endless possibilities. Who would have thought that within the first 4 months we would be quarantined to our homes, physically separated from other humans, out of work, and out of toilet paper? In these unprecedented times, I find myself thinking, “what do we really need?” Most of us are accustomed to so much more than the necessities. Multiple cars, televisions, closets full of clothes, shoes, and accessories, houses big enough for all the “stuff”, everyday tableware, special occasion tableware, decorations for every holiday, toys, toys, and more toys, and a multitude of other items that are stored in our too-big house that we have forgotten about or that we are saving just in case we need it someday. During this time when I am spending most of my hours at home, I am realizing that I am using the same things daily. Even though I can see all the stuff, I don’t need all the stuff. I’m not suggesting we give away all our possessions and live like paupers, but it is a challenge to see what is necessary and what we can do without. I don’t know about you, but I am figuring out ways to save money. I have cancelled subscriptions, used up pantry and refrigerator/freezer items, worn mainly the same handful of clothes for weeks, worked out at home, and stopped the weekly Amazon deliveries. Here is what I found I really need. Shelter: Shelter can look very different depending on how many people you are housing. What is your basic need? Bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room is what most of us could get by with. I have lived in a 3000 square foot home and a 600 square foot apartment. I had extra stuff in both. Get my point? Need a work space in your house? We end up at the kitchen counter or on the living room couch anyway, so why not just put a small desk in the corner or store files in a cabinet in a closet and take your computer wherever you feel like working today. Have kids? Try bunkbeds and room sharing. It worked for the Brady Bunch, it can work for your kids too. Food: Yes, we need to eat. The better we eat, the more nutrients our bodies receive and the less food we need to feel full and stay healthy. Most of us have been cooking at home. You may have been surprised at what you can make with limited ingredients and how you have been able to repurpose leftovers. Recipes, food photos and cooking...

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5 Home “Quarantine” Projects

5 Home “Quarantine” Projects

While most of us are staying at home these days focusing on disinfecting and staying healthy, we don’t have to be lazy. This could be a great time to do some things on that “honey-do” list you haven’t gotten around to. Here are 5 home quarantine projects that you most likely have all the supplies for.  Closets. If you’re like so many, you put things in the closet and it becomes like a black hole. This is a great time to take everything out of closets. Linen closets, coat closets, and bedroom closets. Make piles to sort and organize all the items. I like a trash pile, a donation pile, and a keep pile. Once everything is out and in piles, Clean the closet top to bottom and on all sides. This is a good time to wear your mask or put a bandana or scarf around your nose and mouth so you don’t breathe in all the dust you are likely to find. Get out your vacuum and then wipe down all the surfaces. If you don’t have chemical sprays or wipes, use soap and warm water. As you go back to the “keep” pile, you may decide that some of the items can be moved to a different area of your home to create more space or for better utilization. Put all “keep” items back in the closet neatly. Fold clothing and linens with clean lines and stack nicely. Take the trash pile to the trash and put donations in a bag or box to be donated later.Kitchen. I know, it’s not a fun job but it looks and feels so good when it’s done. Take everything out of the refrigerator and freezer. If shelves are removable, take them out and put them in a sink full of hot soapy water. Wipe down the inside and wash the shelves. When you replace the items, you may find things that need to be thrown away or something in the freezer you forgot about – bonus!Bathrooms. This is a dirty job but you’ve got the time to do it. Do the obvious. Clean and disinfect the toilet (don’t forget the bottom), shower, tub, sink, and countertops. Take drain stoppers out and get any “gunk” (technical term) out. If you have a slow drain, unclog it using a plumber tool or a plumber approved chemical. Take all soaps, hair products, etc. out of the tub or shower and clean the area where they are kept. If you have a shower caddy, take it down and scrub it. Take everything out of drawers and cabinets. Use the pile system again and throw away or donate what you can. Wipe out cabinets...

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Is Real Estate Really ESSENTIAL?

Is Real Estate Really ESSENTIAL?

With so many cities, counties, and states declaring we must not leave our houses to work unless your work is classified as “essential,” it has many wondering, is real estate really essential? I will let you decide. A wife lost her husband in a tragic accident and, now, with two children and bills quickly piling up, the three-month mortgage deferment is not enough to help since her husband didn’t have life insurance. She can’t afford this home and needs to sell to get the equity out to be able to buy a much smaller home in the same school district so her children don’t have to be more traumatized than they already are from losing their father. A man was transferred for a new job right before everyone was told to work from home. His company will allow him to work from home but his “home” has been a hotel since he moved three weeks ago. Now with hotels closing their doors, he is being kicked out and needs a place to live and work. After a fall, an elderly woman cannot care for herself or her home any longer. She and her family do not want to put her in a nursing care facility due to health concerns. They need to sell her current home to afford home health care and they don’t want to move her in with them as her son is an ER doctor and could potentially cause her to be ill. They decide they need to buy a small, one level townhome that could be used as a rental property in the future. A retired couple lost most of their life savings in the stock market over the last month. Though it is paid off, hey must sell their large home and move to a smaller, less expensive condo. They will be able to save the profit from the sale while lowering their monthly expenses. A family’s home was destroyed in a tornado. The temporary housing they had is coming to an end and they must find a place as quickly as possible. What did you decide? Is real estate really essential? Certainly, consumers and agents need to be smart and safe. Anything that can be handled virtually needs to. However, as our history has shown us, if the housing market crashes or stops, our entire economy is negatively affected. Contrary to what some may think, for most Realtors, it has very little to do with the paycheck. It’s about taking care of people and coming up with solutions. Every transaction has a story and every story is about humans. Let’s do our best to take care of each...

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