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Buying a home is the single greatest expense the average American will incur during their lifetime. Since such a large amount of capital goes into purchasing a home, most people consider it an investment.

As a homeowner, this means that you are betting on your house increasing in value over time. In recent years, houses across the United States have benefitted from rapid appreciation. During 2020 alone, zillow reports that homes in Marin County increased by 9.8%.

Although real estate is booming, there is always a chance that prices may decline during a recession. One way to protect yourself against this is to force appreciation by updating your house. This article explores tried and true updates that are proven to increase the value of your home.

Paint

Paint can have an incredible effect on the overall appearance of your house. When a potential buyer walks into a room, the first thing that stands out tends to be its color. Having the proper aesthetics can transform your house and increase its value.

When it comes to adding value to your home, a can of paint goes a long way. In fact, a single can of paint has the potential to increase your home’s value by $6,000. According to Zillow’s paint color analysis, homes with a black or charcoal front door on average sell for a higher price. With that in mind, imagine what a coat of paint can do to increase the value of other parts of your house. 

Perhaps the best part is that paint is relatively inexpensive. Although the cost of a can of paint varies, on average it sells for anywhere between $15 and $40 per gallon. This boasts a very high return on investment and is something all homeowners need to consider, especially if you plan on selling your house in the near future.

The key to repainting a house is to focus on finding the right color scheme. In general, it is highly advised that you select neutral colors when repainting. This appeals to the widest range of potential buyers, is easier to match, and tends to brighten up the room. Neutral colors will help you sell your home faster, minimizing holding costs while maximizing value. 

Due to its versatile nature, paint can be used on just about anything. Here are some suggestions for painting your house: 

To make a good impression, it’s important to give people something aesthetically pleasing to look at. Painting your home will increase your home value with minimal money out of pocket. 

Flooring Considerations

The type of flooring in your house can have a significant impact on its resale value. Like paint colors, certain floors offer higher returns on investment than others. Homeowners have a variety of flooring options to explore ranging from carpet to hardwood floors. Fortunately, this manageable upgrade can be exceptionally cost-effective. 

1. Carpet

Carpet is an affordable and common floor that can be found in homes across the country. Those who advocate for carpet cite its low cost to replace and the fact that it’s good for families with children. However, you need to think twice before opting for carpet.

Potential homebuyers are likely to question the cleanliness of carpets. The biggest consideration with carpet is that it absorbs pretty much anything. This means carpet will take on damage from spills, like juice from kids, or stains from pets which serves as a major deterrent to many buyers. It also holds dander and allergens, which can steer many people away. These factors make carpet a very low ( 25%-40%) return on investment in comparison to other flooring options.

2. Tile

Unlike the other flooring options mentioned, tile is less versatile. For the most part tile can be found in kitchens and bathrooms. It should not be a consideration in other areas of the home.

Although it has specialized uses, tile is still an excellent flooring option for certain rooms. Tile gives rooms a clean appearance and is relatively easy to clean if it does get dirty. Moisture resistance also makes it a great option for rooms where water can be found–hence the emphasis on kitchens and bathrooms. 

3. Hardwood

Hardwood floors are a timeless classic that many homebuyers covet. With glistening new hardwoods, your home is likely to sell faster. Such high demand for hardwood flooring across the country has led the National Association of Homebuilders to call it one of the biggest “must haves” in homes.

As you begin upgrading your flooring, there are many reasons to consider hardwood floors. One benefit is that hardwood can be placed throughout the house, making it quite versatile. It also comes in a wide range of colors and wood varieties, so options abound. If you already have hardwood floors, you can re sand and refinish them for a fraction of the price of installing new floors. This still has the same allure to homebuyers.

A potential downside to hardwood flooring is the price point. Although they are costly, CNN reported that having this type of flooring can increase your home’s value by 3%-5%. When considering the fact that homes can sell for 6 figures or more, this is very significant.

4. Laminate

Most people have seen laminate flooring without realizing it at all. This is because the most popular kind of laminate is often stylized to look like hardwood flooring. If you want the look of hardwood floors for a fraction of the price, you need to consider laminate flooring.

Two major advantages to laminate flooring are the price and ease of installment. You’ll notice that there are dozens of options and range in price. The price ranges from $2 to $6 per square foot, which in some instances is half the cost of hardwood floors. If you want to save money, you can install it yourself and get an even higher ROI.

There are many considerations to weigh before determining the flooring type that meets your needs. Each type of flooring has potential pros and cons. Depending on the room or area of the house, one option might be better than another. Be sure to analyze these options before choosing how to upgrade your house.

Final Thoughts

In home ownership, there’s always a project to do or an upgrade to make. Before you begin your next endeavour, be sure to revisit your paint and flooring options.

How Important is Virtual Staging for Realtors and Why?

Virtual staging for realtors is a vital tool. They stage their property to a display photos online to help the prospective buyer imagine what it would be to live in a particular house. These staged photos have interior design elements like furniture, accessories, lights, etc. An empty room can’t attract as many buyers as a staged space. Thus virtual staging became immensely popular amongst the realtors.

 According to a survey in the United States, 28% of real estate agents confessed that they staged homes before listing them for sale. 13% said that they prefer virtual staging for homes that are not easy to sell. (Source: https://www.nar.realtor/)

Following are some key benefits of virtual staging for realtors –

  1. Effective Online Marketing Tool

Buyers get options of many property pictures on real estate websites. Virtual staging makes a room come alive through furniture and decor. This, the shortlisting of such properties increases.

The improved listing will make sure that more people will check out your property. Virtual staging boosts your online marketing by making your property pictures stand out from the rest.

  1. Less Expensive Medium of Staging

If you opt for traditional staging, you will end of investing a hefty amount on buying or renting furniture and staging equipment. Whereas, if you go for virtual staging, you need to pay for the professional services only.

They will arrange the best decor for your room at less than 50% price of the actual room staging. You can also remove unwanted objects from the picture of your room virtually. If you want to do that in reality, you need to bear the transport and warehouse cost.

  1. Convenient To DE clutter Space

As a realtor, you would want your property’s rooms clean for the buyer. To do it yourself would be a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. Object removal services like the one offered by Styldod does this task for you at an affordable price.

Professional virtual staging services not only remove unwanted objects from your property’s pictures, but they also replace them with trendy and upmarket home decor elements.

  1. Consumes Less Time & Effort

Traditional home staging requires a hefty invest, and a lot of time and effort. You will need to call an interior designer or home décor expert to design and decorate the room. You will also need to purchase furniture and other home interior products. After the design and décor is done, then only can you get your property clicked. This takes a lot of time, effort, and energy.

Virtual staging on the other hand, saves you time, money, effort and energy. You will click pictures of your property in its current state and send them to a virtual staging service where experts will stage your property pics within 24-48 hours – in any interior design style you choose. 

  1. Grabs Attention of Target Audience

Virtual staging for realtors empowers you to change the look and feel of the room instantly. Some people like it modern and some like it vintage. There are different designing styles like Italian, Indian, and western.

You know your target audience best. Thus virtual staging can target the specific needs of your clients. You can easily customize the look of your property according to who your prospects are with virtual staging.

Virtual staging helps you as a realtor create a mood for your clients. It helps your buyers to see what the property will look like when nicely it’s nicely done up, and this helps them visualize a life in that particular property – this is a huge selling point.

Author Bio: Rahul Agarwal is the Co-founder & Chief Business Officer at Styldod, where he has taught a computer to do interior design! Styldod provides the most hassle-free & inexpensive virtual staging solutions for real estate agents so they can sell their listings faster, and for higher prices. Rahul was also a co-founder of Mebelkart (which is acquired by Ask Me). He’s your everyday IIT Kanpur nerd who pushes the boundaries with his innovative entrepreneurial stints and is also a sound start-up investor & advisor. Rahul attributes his success as a professional to the discipline he has learned from his district hockey days, being a swimmer and a gym enthusiast.

For most people, buying a home is the most expensive investment they are going to make. Some do it to get a decent place to live in. Others plan on reselling it after a while, and hopefully, turn a profit. But, in both cases, there are certain resale value factors to consider before buying a home. So, to help you out, we will go over these factors and see why they play into the value of a home.

Top resale value factors to consider before buying a home Before we start, we should mention that there are plenty of aspects that can influence a home’s value. Specific neighborhoods can suddenly become trendy. A particular style of home can become sought after. And let’s not forget that your realtor’s skill will play a significant role in the amount you will get for your home. But, these are the things that you can only keep an eye on and hopefully make the right decision when selling.

It is essential to get a good real estate agent in order to get good value for your home.

The factors we will consider are what you need to keep in mind when buying to get a good return on your investment. These factors remain tried and true indicators of how valuable a home is and will probably stay the same for years to come. So, without further ado, let’s go over the most important ones.

The number of bedrooms and bathrooms

No matter who you end up selling your home to, everyone looks for basic comforts. This is why the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home will have a clear correlation to how valuable it is. The more rooms there are, the more options the buyers will have to organize the home as they see fit. An extra bedroom can quickly become a home office, a home gym, or even a reading area. Furthermore, when it comes to family homes, the basic premise is that the more rooms there are, the more privacy each family member has.

When it comes to bathrooms, you really want to have one per two bedrooms. Ideally, each bedroom will have its own bathroom. But, this can often be quite expensive to set up.

Single-floor vs. multiple

As a general rule, single-floor homes are easier to sell. This is because they are more structurally sound, and the elderly or disabled will have a better time coping. On the other hand, homes with multiple floors tend to have more space. After all, you are getting twice the home size for the same ground area. This makes these homes more viable for large families, as they get more room for less money. But, as an effect, this makes these homes less valuable, as they literally cost less per square foot.

Storage space

Every experienced homeowner knows that storage space is essential for home value. A simple garage or even a storage shed can present a surprising boost to a home’s value, especially if they are created out of prior need. Furthermore, attic or closet space will also bring value to a home, as they make everyday living much easier to handle.

Storage space is one of the easily missed resale value factors to consider before buying a home.

Living area layout

While current trends dictate that you should opt for an open living area, you need to figure out what works best for your home. Here again, you get the best value by carefully planning out your living area and seeing what works best for your living dynamic. While following trends is a good idea, you need to focus on what works for your particular home and how functional its living space is. That way, you will quickly register the pros of your layout and notice the improvements that can be done later on. The more you can make people think about their future life in your home, the easier it will be to sell it.

Location:

One of the fundamental tips to learn about managing an investment property is that the location is vital. There is hardly an aspect of real estate that can yield more significant value than having a good location. This is a fact no matter the type of real estate and regardless of the type of buyers. If you want to sell high, you need to be in a good neighborhood.

Neighborhoods can sometimes be more important than home quality.

Here you need to be aware of who you are selling to. A family person is looking for a completely different neighborhood than a young professional, which is why you need to be aware of what your area has to offer. All of them are looking for:


 Safety.
 Sound local infrastructure.
 Stable real estate value.

If you think your home is more suited for a family person, you should also check for schools in the vicinity, local parks, and the number of local family residences. For a young professional, you want to focus on decent transport and the vicinity of bars and clubs. Landscaping potential Even if you are not keen on gardening, you should really pay attention to your home’s landscaping potential. The important factors to consider here are:

 The size of your yard.
 The type and quality of the earth beneath you.
 Plants that can grow in your local climate.

If a person wishes to have a decent yard, which most homeowners do, they will want to know whether your piece of land can provide them with one. A good yard is easy to freshen up and present to an interested buyer. So, the better your landscaping potential is, the greater value your home will have.

Eco-friendliness:

The last and the newest of the resale value factors to consider before buying a home is eco- friendliness. Even though it is a relatively new trend, more and more homeowners value the eco-friendliness of a home. Solar panels, smart home appliances, high-quality insulation… These are just some of the many factors that can quickly bring up the value of a home.

2021 is fast approaching, and it looks like working from home is still the way to go for the foreseeable future. Our previous article entitled ‘Stop Working From Your Couch!’ outlined the various considerations that go into setting up a home office, from the size of the space to the kinds of furniture you need. In this post we will cover the best home office practices for entrepreneurs who are starting a home business.


Setting up a home business

Working from home has become the new normal and more people are seeing the benefits of this new setup. This includes new entrepreneurs who require a base of operations for their startups. And with the pandemic making the hiring or buying of office space very difficult, many are choosing to set up at home. The good news for those who are thinking of setting up their own business is that doing this from home is very simple. To make your business official, a post by ZenBusiness notes that registering your home address as your business address is a viable option for entrepreneurs. And because the business registration can easily be done online, all you need to worry about is your business’ operation and the space you will work in. With the initial creative idea moving forward and the registration done, here are some of the best practices for setting up your home office to ensure you are productive.

Start by de-cluttering

This first step is the most important, but is one that many people tend to forget. De-cluttering isn’t just moving all your stuff into another corner of the room: you’ll want to make sure that everything is in its proper place while also discarding what you don’t need. You should also schedule weekly de-cluttering sessions to keep your place spotless. These cleaning sessions can also be a good reminder to step away from the computer and recharge after a particularly busy week.

Paint your walls in a soothing color

Inc. maintains that color has a real effect on our psychology, so be sure to keep this in mind when painting your home office. The right color should be pleasing to the eyes and calming so that you can focus on the tasks at hand. To that end, a grayish beige or a dark blue are both worthwhile options you can consider, especially if you want to veer away from the standard white. Of course, it also helps to have your paint match your decor!

Look at your lighting

In connection to the previous point, your lighting can also affect your productivity. Placing your computer right under a light source can cause glare, which then leads to eyestrain. Natural daylight is still the best option (which is why you might want to set your office up by a window), as you can then supplement it with additional lighting. Having a dimmer in your office can also make it easier for you to stay productive even when the weather becomes erratic.

Get creative with storage

For those who are working in small spaces, a home office is still within your reach. The Spruce recommends relying on built-in storage as a way to maximize whatever space you have. You can also opt to install vertical shelving to help free up desk space. If your desks don’t have built-in storage, you can also opt to get your hands dirty and build some slide-out drawers to conceal things like printers and document holders. A cluttered desk can be very distracting, especially if you let it become a dumping ground, so may sure you have plenty of storage space.

These top tips can work for any space, which means there are no barriers between you and the home office of your dreams. Taking the time to set up your home office can get you excited to start your work routine, while constantly returning to these tips can give you a jumping-off point for any future redesigns.

Transitioning from renting an apartment to purchasing your first residential property is an exciting process. However, when looking for a home on the market, you will probably have many questions. Buying real estate is a real headscratcher, even for people who are not doing this for the first time. For your peace of mind, it is vital to cover all the common concerns of first-time homebuyers!

Do I really need a real estate agent?

This is the first question everyone asks themselves. The option to look on your own is tempting since technically, you can look for a place yourself and simply hire a lawyer to make sure everything goes by the book.

However, there are multiple benefits of having a real estate professional by your side. First of all, you get access to exclusive listings that are otherwise invisible. Consequently, chances are better that you will quickly find a place that suits your needs.

Secondly, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a home only to discover later it needs a complete remodel. Sellers have to be completely transparent if they want to work with a real estate agency.

Am I buying the best home for my needs?

Browsing through property listings is a fun activity. You are looking at different homes, checking out photos and amenities. People usually look at five to ten properties, or even more, before deciding which one to purchase.

However, one of the common concerns of first-time homebuyers is always the same; Am I really buying the perfect place? What if there is an even better property? What if I can find something better at a lower price?

Caption: Finding a dream home is a difficult task, but it can be done with the right help.

All of these questions and concerns are perfectly normal. When you have a wide array of possibilities, and you need to make an important decision, it is normal to doubt if you’ve made the right choice.

The best way to proactively solve this problem is to know exactly what you are looking for. Talk with your family members, decide on a budget, and see what home features are required. Then, discuss the possible locations. Once you have everything on paper, it will be easier to look for a property.

Will I be able to afford my own place?

Money always represents an issue. Mortgage rates are a constant concern, and many additional expenses can pop up at any moment. Nevertheless, the real estate market is booming with business. People are buying and selling homes like never before, and that can mean only one thing; If they can do it, so can you!

The crucial thing here is to know your financial limit. Many people get swayed by looking at better homes that cost more than they can afford, thinking they will manage it somehow. If money is of any concern to you, this is not a good strategy. The best approach is to:

Once you know the total cost of all expenses, consider your monthly earnings, and see where you are. Thinking in advance is the best way to avoid additional expenses.

The complexity of purchasing a home for the first time

Trying to understand the background procedures when buying your first property can turn into a massive source of stress. There are so many technical and legal aspects that your head might start spinning with all the new information.

The best piece of advice is to thoroughly research the start-to-finish process of buying a home. The more you read about it, and the more you inform yourself, the better. There is no shortcut for that.

However, there is the added benefit of having a real estate agent at your hand’s reach. You can always ask all the questions you have. A professional and experienced agent knows all the intricate details of purchasing a home.

When is the right time to purchase a home?

Even though you might be in the middle of the purchase process, a question may be lurking in the back of your mind.

Am I ready to become a homeowner? Is now the right time to buy?

It is a fact that markets are constantly changing. Prices go up and down, and you never know when a crisis might hit the economy.

If you already decided to look for a home, that’s a good enough sign that you are ready. If you are having concerns or second thoughts, revisit them with your loved ones and try to figure out the source of these feelings.

Did I hire the right person for the job?

With so many real estate agencies around, it seems impossible to know if you’ve hired the best agent you could find. Here is how to tell if you have hired a professional or not:

Common concerns of first-time homebuyers and how to deal with them!

One last thing to have in mind is that these common concerns of first-time homebuyers are not something to be afraid of. It is just a normal response to an unknown situation. The best approach is to acknowledge all of these concerns, talk about them, and find the most efficient solution. There is nothing left but to wish you good luck with your first home purchase!

A loan from a bank or other financial institution to help a borrower buy a home is a mortgage. The mortgage’s collateral is the home itself, which means that the bank will sell the home and recoup its money if it does not make monthly payments to the lender and defaults on loan. 

Usually, if we are in a regular state today, then that’s how it works where homeowners will be dealing with their monthly payments. However, due to the pandemic, there are many jobless homeowners, which results in financial instability.

Fortunately, the government created a project to cover everyone’s needs in this aspect. A project such as a mortgage stimulus program is extension assistance for many homeowners who struggle in dealing with their mortgage commitments. 

Now, here are the following reasons why this program is beneficial to homeowners in these trying times.

Can Temporarily Pause Your Payments

Forbearance is when your servicer or lender allows you to temporarily pause the payment for your mortgage at a reduced rate or delay to pay your mortgage. However, it does not mean that your balance will be erased, it will still be there, but the payment will be put on hold until you return to your regular earnings.

It is also important to note that asking for temporary pause payments is not a thing in loan-related transactions. Therefore, taking advantage of what’s included in this bill can help many homeowners fix their financial issues.

This stimulus bill for homeowners is best utilized if your house was in the state of big problems such as this pandemic. Aside from that, it is also applicable if your home is being destroyed during a flood, you had an illness or accident that raised your healthcare expenses, or you lost your job.

Zero Percent Interest

Interest in debts or loans is an issue for many homeowners. There are instances that a homeowner can be late in paying due to personal reasons, like lack of money for payment, getting busy at work, busy doing household chores, just to name a few. The bills, if left unattended, can shock them, for it causes higher costs.

However, since we are now in a new normal, it is evident that countless jobs can be a reason for not paying bills on time. That’s why a zero percent interest in your loan transaction is a big

This benefit is of considerable support for homeowners. It can make their mind at ease and lead them away from stress knowing that there is no interest, and they can pay their obligation as soon as they have money available.

Relief Options

The financial crisis is no longer unexpected, and this will affect countless homeowners in these trying times. Losing jobs and destruction of properties are also among the culprits. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t get away with this easily as of the moment. Being worried about what to do and finding a way to solve can be a burden as well.

However, in the mortgage stimulus program, there are relief options a homeowner can consider. The opportunities for mortgage relief depend on who owns or backs the mortgage, the services they provide, and the eligibility conditions they set.

Extension of Assistance

Being granted forbearance is a huge thing. How much more if you are allowed to ask for an extension of assistance? This is a big relief that will help homeowners big time. However, this is not a one-way process. 

All you need to do is contact your servicer and ask what additional assistance you are eligible to avail and the requirements needed for it. This applies when the payment deadline is over, and homeowners still can’t settle their obligation. They can extend it for their own relief. 

In some cases, the servicer may offer additional assistance to lessen the monthly expenses or some other ways regarding the loan. This is another way that homeowners can benefit from their needful times.

Quick and Easy Access

People don’t like hassle processing, like having to go to different offices just to find answers to their questions, especially now that the threat of COVID-19 is still around the corner. In this program, the servicer may be one call away. Just dial the customer service number, and homeowners can lay down their concerns. 

For example, a homeowner can contact their servicer to help avoid foreclosure. The servicer can then expose different ways to solve it. Without using a lot of energy and effort, they can save their home from foreclosing.

Takeaway

The government will take care of its people, for it is their utmost duty. That is why they are eager enough to make plans and programs that could help their people, especially amid COVID-19. In these trying times, it’s good to take advantage of projects that the government created to aid many homeowners.

One of the best ways to attract more people to your listing and convince them that your home is worth their money is to stage it. Many real estate agents use this technique, and that is not without reason. Staged houses sell quicker and for more money. So, there’s no doubt whether you should do it or not. You will be able to make your home look irresistible with our home staging tips. And we will teach you how to do it step by step.

Make your home look appealing.

The first impression is one of the most important things when you’re selling your home. Many buyers know if they’re interested in buying as soon as they approach the property. So, preparation is the key.

You want to induce envious stares when people look at your home. Therefore, do minor refurbishments to bring the area to life and order. Make sure that the lawn is mowed, plant some flowers, and take the leaves away. If you can, add some garden furniture to make the outdoor space even more inviting.

When it comes to indoors, put a fresh coat of paint where needed. Thoroughly clean everything, so it looks spotless. These are all little things that make a great difference. They will help people moving into your house feel at home after relocating to a new city, and that’s what will help you to make the deal.

One of the most important home staging tips is to make your home look appealing and memorable.

Seek professional help

Any necessary repair work will look better and last longer if performed by professionals. And not only that. Besides hiring a professional landscape designer and repairman, consider hiring a photographer as well.

There is no point in spending hundreds of dollars on quality paint and nice flowers if what you do doesn’t end up appealing to the potential buyers. You will make sure that is not the case by hiring professional help.

Light is everything

Light is a powerful companion if you know how to use it. You see, pretty much any room can look beautiful if there’s enough light in it. So, do your best to make that happen. Open the curtains, hang the chandeliers, or install higher quality light bulbs.

This will make the room feel warm and pleasant place to be in. The light will create an atmosphere that encourages people to stay longer. And if that happens, you have almost guaranteed sale.

One additional home staging tip that we feel obligated to give you is to take photos for listings in the sunshine. The home will feel much more inviting as opposed to ones that are photographed in gloomy weather, especially to the people that are doing long-distance house hunting.

It’s proven that the rooms that are full of light look nicer and airier, and that’s exactly what you want to achieve.

Remove all personal things.

This is one of those home staging tips that is mentioned again and again, and people still manage to forget about it. When a buyer enters your home, he has to be able to imagine his belongings in it. That means that every room should look like a hotel room. Leave just the minimum of your personal things if you have to.

Personal photos, gifts, or collections give out the impression of a stranger’s house. So, put all of these away. Ideally, use a storage unit, which will ensure your prized belongings are kept safe and sound. This will also give you a chance to find a way to get rid of clutter. Your visitors will get a better sense of space, and you’ll minimize your work when it comes to moving.

The kitchen and the bathroom must shine.

Ask any homemaker, and they’ll tell you. The kitchen is a space that is treated very personally and on which a huge amount of time is spent. The same goes for the bathroom. It is not easy to imagine someone else using it. However, you need to understand that buyers feel the same way.

The idea here is to make these two rooms so clean and shiny that they get the idea that no one is using them. We don’t even have to stress how important it is that there are no personal belongings here at all. Only this way will these rooms seem new and give way to the imagination of the potential new owners.

Your bathroom and kitchen must feel like there’s no one living in the house when the buyers arrive.

Upgrade the interior

Now, we’re entering the area of a higher budget home staging. Therefore, if you have enough money and want to sell your home as quickly as possible, make sure to get rid of old appliances and fixtures. Outdated ones can and will spoil the look of your freshly cleaned spaces.

On the other hand, you can do a lot with not that much money. For example, you can brighten wooden panels in your house with a mix of lemon juice and olive oil. Avoid having multi-purpose rooms as they can produce a ‘double effect’ on the potential buyers. If you already have a room like this, think about redecorating it. It is not too difficult to set up a home office or a room for yoga. This will leave a much better impression.

Furniture placement

It is important to understand that it is not enough to put some furniture in random order and call it a day. In the ideal scenario, you should hire a professional designer to do the task of arranging for you. This way, you’re ensuring that the furniture enhances the interior and adds value to a home.

However, if you already feel like a master of home staging tips and you want to do it on your own and save some money, this is also possible. Make sure that the main pieces are placed so that they create the focal point of the room. Also, don’t put anything next to the bedroom window as buyers love to look out of them to see what’s outside. 

We all know that buying a house long-distance is not an easy task to perform. However, with proper planning and execution, it can be done. Thousands of people who buy houses like this every day are the guarantee for that. But, you’ll need a good real estate team, knowledge of the area you’re looking at, and most importantly – realistic expectations. If all of those combine in a proper way, you’ll find a home that suits your needs and lifestyle without any trouble. To help you with your search we collected all the best tips for successful long-distance house-hunting in one place.

Find an ideal real estate agent

It’s never a good idea to dive into the world of house hunting alone, especially if we’re talking about long-distance buying. Find a real estate agent who will show you all the ins and outs of the area is crucial. Only this way you’ll be able to make the right decision when the time comes. And since it seems that 2020 is a good year to buy real estate, there’s no point in waiting.

You see, the agent you hire should be familiar with the city and its market. Additionally, having lots of contacts is part of the job description and you can definitely benefit from that. It’s also important that you have good rapport with the person in question. At the end of the day, he or she should be able to tell if the house suits your needs as soon as it comes on the market. Here’s what else you should look for in your real estate agent:

One of the most important tips for successful long-distance house hunting is finding a good real estate agent.

Alttag: Real estate agent talking about the tips for successful long-distance house hunting.

Do your own research on the area

There is always the option of leaving everything to your real estate agent. However, one of the most important tips for successful long-distance house hunting that our friends from Go Movers Bay Area shared with us is to do your own research beforehand. They help people move and are then privy to plenty of hellish real estate stories. So, before you decide to pull the trigger and move, read all the guide books you can find, look at the maps, and explore online about the place you’re planning to move to.

If you know anyone in the city, be sure to contact them and get the inside information about life there. How good the schools are, what about the crime, and don’t forget to check out the livability scores. Only if you arm yourself with the knowledge you will be able to choose the perfect place for the start of a new chapter in your life.

Determine what exactly you need

Another thing that is very important in the house-hunting process is figuring out exactly what you need. Without a real and proper understanding of the topic, your chances of choosing the right place are slim. Everyone wants to feel at home after relocating to a new citySo, the thing to do here is write down everything you want from your new home. 

To do this in the proper way, there are some questions you should focus on. Choose a rural or urban environment and determine the type of house you want to live in. Do you want to be within walking distance from the restaurants and other amenities? How many rooms do you need? Are you looking for a furnished or an empty home? 

All of these are things you need to know when you first contact your real estate agent. Explain to them exactly what you want so the search can begin right away. Who knows, maybe there’s already a house on the market just like the one you’re looking for.

You’ll have much better chances of finding the perfect home if you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Alttag: Beautiful house on the lake.

Figure out your budget

The next of our tips for successful long-distance house hunting is about money. While researching the city, you’re probably going to get a good understanding of listing prices around the area. Additionally, you can compare the cost of living in that city to your old place. Consider the average price of gas, groceries, transport, etc. None of these things should be overlooked as they all influence how much you can pay for the house.

Only when you explore everything there is to explore can you start thinking about your budget. The most important thing here is to be realistic. Don’t shoot too high, but also don’t settle for less than you can get because you’re afraid. Talk to your agent and get some price guidance before you make the final decision.

Make plans for visiting the new place

Although technology has come a long way, online research can only reveal so much. You’ll get a much better sense of what you’re diving into if you plan a visit. We understand that this could be a problem because of the current situation in the world, but do it if at all possible. 

While you’re there, meet up with your agent and visit a few different neighborhoods. You’ll get to know the city and learn a lot about the place from just a few days being there. This will enable you to make better home buying decisions and you’ll learn exactly how much house you can afford. Also, try local restaurants, explore your transport options, and visit a few stores. Try to get a glimpse of how locals live so you know what’s in store for you.

Although it could be hard to do now, it’s advisable to pay a visit to your future hometown. Alttag: View from the window of a plane.

Keep an open mind

The thing with buying a home long-distance is that you can’t really become an expert on the market during the process. Therefore, it’s important to keep an open mind about the neighborhood and all the possibilities. No matter what kind of house you’re looking for, be sure to explore other options also.

Consider it this way. If you’re too focused on finding a specific house in a specific neighborhood, you might miss something even better. So, the final of our tips for successful long-distance house hunting is to stay open-minded and open your eyes to all possibilities that get thrown at you.

Meta: All the tips for successful long-distance house hunting in one place. Here’s what you need to know before you jump into the world of online buying.

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Stop Working From Your Couch! Use These Tips to Set Up a Home Office Instead

BY Katie Conroy, Advicemine.com

Okay so working from your couch or your bed or your kitchen table can certainly do in a pinch. But when it looks like you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, you really need to carve out some dedicated workspace. Doing so will help you retain productivity and some sanity if you’re in lockdown with kids, pets and a spouse. Now you may be asking yourself whether setting up an office in a smaller home is even possible? You’re sure to have a few other questions as well and these handy resources can help answer all of them.

Should I Just Find a Bigger Home?

Before you start making major changes to your current home, you may want to think long and hard about whether that home truly fits your growing needs. Here are some things to consider: 

Where Should I Set Up My Workspace?

Okay, so once you’ve settled on keeping your current home or moving to a new one, you can start making plans for your new workspace. Just be sure to think about these essential tips:

Where Can I Find Furniture to Fit a Small Space?

When your home is short on square footage, you really need your home office furniture and decor to pull double duty. Luckily there are endless options for outfitting a smaller space: 

 Whether you want to stick with your smaller home or buy a bigger one, you have plenty of options for creating a productive and practical home office. You just need to get creative with your placement, furniture and decor, and of course, have this guide to help you out. So don’t let your limited space keep you from setting up your dream home office.

Before you jump at the substantial opportunity the real estate and financial markets may present you with right now, take a step back and consider all the costs of homeownership. There are many expenses—like one-time versus ongoing costs—to take into account when figuring your homebuying budget. Many first-time homebuyers overlook these costs, so we’ve put together a list of some of the larger ones you may be missing in your budget calculations.    

Homeowner’s insurance

Homeowner’s insurance generally falls into two categories: property damage and liability. Property damage insurance protects the investment you’ve made in your home in the case of unexpected events like fire or natural disasters. It also provides coverage for your belongings, for example in the event you are burglarized. Liability insurance, on the other hand, protects people who may be injured while visiting your property.

When you borrow any amount of money to buy a home, your mortgage lender will insist that you purchase homeowner’s insurance that’s sufficient to cover the amount of your loan. While lenders mandate homeowner’s insurance to protect themselves, the best homeowner’s insurance policy will also protect your financial interests. 

When purchasing a homeowner’s policy, it’s important to pay close attention to the coverage limits selected. While your mortgage lender may only oblige you to purchase the minimum coverage required to protect its own investment in your home, it’s wise to elect coverage that far exceeds the amount remaining on your loan. With every dollar you pay against the principal of your mortgage, the need for robust liability coverage increases. A serious accident on your property could make you liable for thousands, or even millions, of dollars. Taking a more altruistic view, your homeowner’s policy ensures that a visitor who is injured on your property will be compensated for medical and other costs arising from the accident. And that visitor might even be someone you love very much. 

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private lenders will typically require you to carry Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for the entire length of time that you have less than 20% equity in your home. The amount you pay for PMI is determined by your PMI interest rate (usually somewhere between .55% and 2.25%), the amount of you borrow to buy your home, and your home’s value. For that reason, we can’t estimate how much PMI will add to your monthly costs. But finding out is imperative when creating a monthly budget. 

Real estate taxes

Real estate taxes are a given, no matter where in the US you live. Communities depend on real estate taxes to fund indispensable services, from education to police and fire protection. If you love your neighborhood playground and public library, you can thank real estate taxes for those, too. Real estate taxes in California are based largely on the purchase price of real property. 

Unlike the other expenses we have mentioned, the real estate tax on any home is relatively easy to estimate, by looking at previous tax records. But bear in mind that the government periodically re-evaluates a home’s appraised value and your tax rate may go up or down each year. By the same token, property tax rates are subject to change. Real estate tax is often collected in monthly increments by your lender (who in turn pays the government) along with your other mortgage expenses. The same may be true of your homeowner’s insurance premium.

 Maintaining your home and its value

Paint peeling, failing furnaces, and leaky roofs are inevitable in homeownership. Depending on the age and condition of the home you buy, you can expect to spend a significant sum on home maintenance each year. And you should spend it. Taking care of repairs in a timely manner not only keeps your home safe, it also maintains its value. Over time, as you build equity, your home may likely become your largest asset. And that’s something worth protecting, indeed.

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