Catherine Stewart's Blog
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your home. Each room in a house requires its own tone and brightness.
In the bathroom, you’ll want bright vanity lights to see what you’re doing in the mirror. In the kitchen, you’ll want plenty of natural light to work by in the morning, and lights bright enough to see at night. The home office is a matter of personal preference--some people like bright lighting to keep them awake and alert, whereas others like to work in a calming environment that is more dimly lit.
In addition to adding character to your home, lightning is also a matter of conserving energy. Homes that are using energy efficient lighting can save $75 a year on their utility bill by replacing old incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, energy efficient bulbs have a longer life span, so you’ll have to change fewer of them over the years.
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about energy efficient lighting for your home and which options will best suit your needs.
Traditional incandescent bulbs
Many people have gotten used to the tone and warmth of traditional incandescent bulbs. However, with these bulbs 90% of their energy is given off as heat. In terms of lighting your home, that is 90% wasted energy.
Furthermore, due to upgrades in technology, incandescent bulbs are no longer manufactured and difficult to find.
There are three main choices available for energy efficient bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs can be purchased in a range of shapes, colors, and sizes for your home. Although they meet energy ratings, the other two options are much more cost-efficient.
CFL or “compact fluorescent lamps,” are about 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and they also come in a range of sizes and colors. However, if you’ve ever noticed some lights that take time to brighten or “warm up” you were probably looking at a CFL bulb. For this reason, they aren’t the best choice for extremely dark areas, such as a basement, where you need a lot of light immediately to find your way around.
The third option is LED lights or “light emitting diodes.” The most energy efficient of the three, LEDs are brighter and longer lasting than the other options.
While they were once the most expensive bulbs on the market, reserved for small electronics displays, LEDs have become much cheaper in recent years. They are available in various sizes, colors, and are able to be dimmed. They’ll also use the least amount of electricity over a twenty-year timespan in your home, up to ten dollars less than CFLs.
Choosing the right bulb
Now that you know about the three types of energy efficient bulbs, you’ll be able to consider their benefits and drawbacks for each room in your home. LEDs will last longer, they reach their maximum brightness immediately, and they’re able to be dimmed, making them an excellent option for most rooms in your home. However, they are more expensive on average than CFL or halogen bulbs.
One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!
That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.
Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.
Professional Help May Be Needed!
Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.
If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.
Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.
So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!
As a homebuyer, you likely want to do everything you can to ensure you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Yet problems may arise that hamper your homebuying aspirations. Lucky for you, we're here to help you analyze the property buying journey and ensure you can avoid complications along the way.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can minimize the risk of problems as you search for your dream residence.
1. Learn About the Homebuying Journey
There is nothing quite like buying a home. As such, you'll want to do whatever you can to prepare for the property buying journey to ensure you can limit the risk of encountering potential pitfalls.
Oftentimes, it helps to review housing market data related to residences in your preferred cities and towns. This information can help you assess the prices of available houses in your area and find out how long residences typically stay available before they sell. Plus, this housing market data may help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market.
You also should establish realistic homebuying expectations before you enter the real estate market. In some instances, homebuyers require many weeks or months to find the perfect residence. But if you set realistic expectations for the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than ever before to overcome myriad property buying challenges.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage is essential for most homebuyers. If you secure a mortgage before you start your home search, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your home search accordingly.
It generally won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage, either. If you meet with local banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
There is no telling what may happen as you pursue your dream residence. However, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to prepare for any homebuying challenges that might come your way.
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to teach you about all aspects of the housing market. He or she will help you craft a homebuying strategy, as well as respond to your homebuying concerns and questions. Furthermore, a real estate agent will maintain constant communication with you to ensure you can get the homebuying support you need, exactly when you need it.
For homebuyers who want to minimize complications, hiring a real estate agent is crucial. This housing market professional will set up home showings, help you analyze properties and enable you to submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream home. And as your home closing day approaches, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you quickly finalize your house purchase.
Ready to buy a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the property buying cycle.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you have a lot of options. Do you want to buy a fixer-upper? Should you get a home close to the city or nestled in the suburbs? How much can you spend on a home to get the amount of space you’ll need for you and your family. There are so many variables that exist in the decision to buy a house.
One thing that many buyers want but aren’t sure of is the concept of a “move-in-ready” home. Sometimes, move-in-ready means that a home is brand spanking new. There should be no work in the house that needs to be done because everything is installed new during construction. As soon as construction is completed, you should be able to move right into the home.
Other homes that are deemed ready to move right in are those that are relatively new and have very little work to do. If a home has a roof that’s caving in, it’s not move-in-ready. If a home needs paint, it’s a sure bet that you can move right in. You may just need a bit of elbow grease in some of these situations. It’s your job to let your real estate agent know what you are looking for and what your budget is. Read on to discover the benefits of buying a move-in-ready home.
You Can Enjoy It ASAP
It takes a lot of work and a lot of cash up front to buy a home. You want to enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner rather than later. If you buy a home that needs little to no work, you’ll be able to enjoy it sooner. There’s no waiting period to move in when you buy a house that’s in excellent condition. You can just start living.
If you buy a home that you can move right into, you will often get things that are trending at the moment. The best of appliances, technology, and security are just some of the benefits that you’ll be able to enjoy when you buy a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.
Many times, you’ll find move-in-ready homes in great locations. These homes will also give you a great resale value once you head to sell the house in the future.
Whether you buy a brand new home or a home that has been upgraded, these sellers are often very motivated. Builders want to get paid for the work they have done. Sellers of upgraded homes wish to get their homes off of their hands and get a return on their investment.
Finding a move-in-ready home may take some time, but the benefits are definitely worth it.
The concept of a starter home is an American tradition that has existed for decades. Buying a starter home makes it possible to achieve homeownership, financial independence, and to build equity and credit while you transition to a larger home.
However, your first home doesn’t need to be a tiny, one-bedroom house with none of the amenities that you want.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at some of the things that are desirable in a first home or starter home, so that you can make the best financial decision now that will help you save more in the long run.
Top things to look for in your first home
1. Resale value
Perhaps the most important thing to think about when buying your first home is the day that you eventually decide to sell it and upgrade. There’s a lot that goes into the purchase value of a home. But, if you maintain the home or even make some upgrades, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell it for more than you paid.
Other factors that affect resale value are the location and real estate market trends. While you may not be able to change the economy, you can choose to buy a home that is in a location others will find desirable in the coming years.
The cost of your first home will be determined by its location, as mentioned before, but another huge factor will be the size or square-footage of the home and yard.
If you don’t plan on having children in the next few years and don’t currently have kids at home, having several bedrooms and a large backyard probably aren’t huge priorities. This means you’ll be able to save by buying a small home on a small property.
Similarly, if it’s just you and a significant other living in the home, you may be comfortable with just one bathroom for the next few years. These omissions can save you a ton of money on your first starter home.
3. Transportation and proximity
Typically, when people buy their first home they are just getting settled into their career and may still change jobs a few times. Most workers in today’s economy change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their career and do so more often toward the beginning.
This means it will make sense for you to buy your first home within commuting distances to companies in your industry.
4. DIY and fixer-uppers
Homes that are in need of repairs or renovations can be a great way to save money and see a return on your investment when you decide to sell. Of course, there are limits to how many repairs are reasonable while still getting your money’s worth from a home.
You’ll know from your home inspection or by doing a walk-through with professional contractors how much work is required to bring the home up to standards. Use those resources to ensure that you’re making a sound financial decision for your first home.